A hospital stay in 2007 was the unlikely catalyst for Eileen Conlisk to start her own card company. At the time, the graphic designer, who got her BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, found inspiration for her own small business in the flower bouquets friends and family sent her.
“I just started drawing the flowers in my sketch book, and I just made these really intricate pen and ink drawings of all of the flowers people were giving me,” she says. “I turned them into cards, and approached a bunch of stores with them.”
People started placing orders, which Conlisk filled from her Greenpoint apartment, naming her new business Design Parlour. At a certain point, however, she started getting feedback from her buyers that her cards’ flower motifs and lack of messages might be limiting their appeal to specific customers–who were not exactly the hipsters who frequent North Brooklyn boutiques. “I realized a lot of parents and grandmas and old ladies were buying them,” Conlisk says, “but one store said to me, ‘Your cards don’t say anything on them.’ And for me it was like, ‘I’m an artist. I just want to draw and print my drawings and that’s it. But then I started thinking of the business aspect of it, and I said, ‘You know what, I’m only going to draw things that I believe and and sayings that are true to me.'” (more…)