BY JOSE MORALES & LUIS DE JESUS
During our visit to San Diego, we took a weekend stroll through the Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market. We love farmers markets! It gives you the opportunity to meet great people; not just local farmers, but also artists, and entrepreneurs. As we walked by appreciating the range of products on display, our eyes were immediately drawn to the tent of Some of Me Cards. Owned by entrepreneurs Mark and Paul, Some of Me Cards specializes in hand-made, artfully created greeting cards. Not only did we fall in love with the minimalist and delicate design of the cards (for which Some of Me Cards has been awarded four LOUIE Awards), but were also delighted to meet Mark and Paul, “two guys with fours eyes” whose passion and love for what they do are driven by one mission: to make you smile.
1- Can you tell us a little bit about how Some of Me Cards started?
We started working together in this business 19 years ago. Before designing greeting cards, we were both in the chocolate business. However, it was not something we thoroughly enjoyed, and it did not go so well. We wanted to do something where we could be self-employed and where we could work from home, so we went into the business of creating cards.
We went to our first market show in Los Angeles in 2000 – The LA Mart. At the time, before social media, going to these shows was a very big deal. It went very well for us. We went into the wholesale business for our cards; totally different from how we conduct business now. However, around 2005, one of our biggest clients decided to start buying from China, and it affected our business. At that point, in 2008, we started going to farmers markets to see how customers would react to direct sales. From then own, we have continued to do so, and it has become a great little business! People enjoy very much seeing us in farmers markets.
2 – What was the inspiration behind the name and branding for Some of Me Cards?
This was Paul’s concept and creation. As he was coming up with ideas, he was inspired by the fact that when you gift a card, you are giving some of you -the card- to that person. You will also notice that our branding is an illustration of us: two guys with four eyes — the two guys behind Some of Me cards.
3-How long is the process of creating these greeting cards?
The cards are made in our family room here in California. We are what I call a micro-small business. It is just the two of us. Paul is the artist, and I’m the business manager. He makes designs in Adobe Illustrator from scratch, and then we print them at home. From there, Paul attaches all the beads and charms to the cards by hands; step by step from card to card. Once printed, for him to finish a batch of 25 cards of the same design is a process of approximately 2hrs. Attaching the beads are a time-consuming process and this time frame does not include how long Paul has to wait for the cards to dry in between steps.
4- What is the driving force behind the design process?
The seasons dictate the design process and the types of cards we offer. People tend to look for greeting cards related to the seasons or holidays. However, birthdays cards are very big for us. Many of our clients are travelers visiting the farmers markets, and they tend to look for things ahead of time before a particular season. For example, people start looking for Christmas cards before the holiday season actually starts, so we try to offer them before the season arrives.
5 – How is your product distributed to clients? Do you also sell internationally?
At this time, we do two markets in California. There is the Palm Springs Villagefest on Thursday nights in Palm Spring, and the Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market in San Diego on Saturday mornings, where you met us. We also have a few wholesale clients in Canada, and though most of our clients are within the USA, we work with clients internationally as needed.
6- What is in the future for Some of Me Cards?
At this age, we probably would have retired already! However, we love the farmers market setting, and the great feedback we receive from our customers. The customers like us and our product. I feel that each of us individually might not have much of a personality. But, when we come together for Some of Me Cards, and we put on our aprons, bowties, and white shirts, there is a synergism that translates through our cards. So, we kind of create a likable personality. We give people a great deal of ourselves. We provide them with a product that they like, and that is of good quality. We get very positive comments about that.
We admit that we are not great at social media. It is not part of our generation. But, it is our goal to grow in that aspect of our business. We want to offer the farmers market experience to our clients through social media and our website; to continue our mission of making people happy. The plan is to do this through our pricing as well as branding. It is our goal to increase our online business in the next two years and have a more substantial online presence. Maybe then, we will semi-retire! – GM
GUILD MAGAZINE - THE TRAVEL ISSUE