A Look Behind the Scenes of Kali Stileman Cards

kali stileman cards

A Sneak Peek at the Ideas & Inspiration of Kali Stileman Cards

In our latest look behind the scenes of an Inspiring Independent we’re catching up with the ladies behind Kali Stileman cards, gift wrap and more.

A unique indie brand who make delightful greeting cards and paper goods for young folks, and the young at heart; each illustrated with care, love and lots of bright colours by illustrator Kali Stileman.

For this exclusive look we spoke to Kali’s business partner Lucy.

The Business

What inspired you to start Kali Stileman?

Kali founded the company back 2002 when she noticed a gap in the market for quality children’s cards. I came on board 18 months ago so that Kali had more time to design. We work from Kali’s studio in a the middle of the woods in deepest darkest Dorset. It’s brilliant!

What can you tell us about your indie business? What sets you apart from your corporate contemporaries?

For starters, we like to think that we offer un-naff cards! There are so many amazingly talented card companies out there but we hope that we can offer something unique. The biggest compliment we received at a trade show recently was that we’re offering something different, which we were really pleased to hear. Kali has been in the business for over fifteen years, which hopefully means that alongside good designs and high quality production, we also understand how to offer a top customer friendly service.

You recently changed your brand name from The Square Card Company to Kali Stileman. What you can tell us about why you made the change and what it means for the future of the business?

We don’t just do square cards now so we thought it sounded a bit silly! Kali also writes children’s books and does a lot of licensing work so it made sense to tie everything together under one name.

The Team

What’s your role in the business? What’s your favourite things about your job / running an indie business?

Kali is creative director and she does all the clever artwork. Although she spends a lot of time on designing she still takes an active role in how the business is run. I do the day to day administration of the business. Everything from dealing with customers to marketing. I love building relationships with my customers. My role is varied and every day is different.

Are there other people in your business? What can you tell us about the rest of the team?

We have a fantastic team of sales agents across the country. Communication is integral to the growth of the business and I like to think I have good a good relationship with each and every one of them. We have the most amazing fulfilment team that takes care of dispatching our orders. We’d be lost without Kerry, Tom and of course Tony at LB Warehousing.

We are just in the process of training up Julia to be my right hand girl. She will look after order input while I concentrate on other things (swan off on holiday). We love a bit of Julia!

Here at Piccadilly Lane, we believe that independents offer an amazing combination of unique design and high quality. Do you agree? How do you ensure this happens with Kali Stileman Cards?

We recently passed the fulfilment over to LB warehousing which has freed us both up to concentrate on what we are good at. We will be launching two new ranges at Autumn fair and I believe they are our strongest yet. A really important part of the design process is bouncing ideas off one another. We now have the luxury of taking the time to really think about how these ranges will work for our customers.

Kali Stileman Cards & Gift Wrap

You currently specialise in fun, bright greetings cards and gift wrap. What inspires you about this area of design? Do you plan to continue in this area or do you have plans to extend your collection?.

Children’s cards will always be at the heart of what we do but I’d like to see us branching out into the quirky grown up cards market too. Kali’s latest designs are a little cooler and have a bit of an edge to them which should mean that they appeal to adults too. We have a lot of wrap designs and they coordinate well with all of our cards. Careful consideration goes into colour palette and texture so that our products all work well together.

You have some gorgeous designs perfect for little card givers. What can you tell us about the process of creating these designs?

All sorts of things can trigger inspiration for a range. We talk about what we would like to offer the customer and how we see the range working. After the initial ideas stage the next process is for kali to get her paper and scissors out. More often than not I will find a paper cut out of a space ship floating around on my desk or a panda in the scanner. Teehee! Next, she adds hand drawn elements to the collage . Later the image is played around with in photoshop and worked with until we are both happy with the result.

Kali Stileman cards and gift wrap use high quality paper stocks and bright, colourful inks. What can you tell us about the materials and craftsmanship involved in creating the range?

Kali Stileman cards are printed digitally by the imaging centre, which makes the colours really zing. . We paid particular attention to sourcing the best papers and envelopes for them and I think the quality really shows. For our gift wrap have opted for a really heavyweight matt paper, which feels lovely to wrap with, stays crisp and stands the test of time.

Shopping with Independents

Why should people shop with you? What makes you different?

Quality! We use the best possible quality of paper and printing but we still manage to offer really good value for money, (our most expensive card retails at £2.50). I think our cards and wrap are bright, fun and unique.

We LOVE independents and think more people should be supporting them. Why do you think people should shop with independent businesses like yours?

Why choose something that has been mass produced with little thought when you can choose something produced by talented individuals that care passionately about what they do. It makes all the difference to us little guys.

Last but not least, what’s your favourite independent business and why?
Whirligig is an independent creative gift shop based in Chichester, Tunbridge Wells and Brighton. They specialise in things to make and do – fun and memorable toys that will make children think and really enjoy the experience. They stock a number of our ranges and our bubbles personalised cards do so well as they fit in well with the shop’s interactive ethos. They are a great bunch of people and a pleasure to deal with.

Find Out More

Now you’ve found out a bit about Kali Stileman cards, gift wrap and what goes on behind the scenes why not take a look at the Kali Stileman collection featured in the Piccadilly Lane directory.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 12/07/16
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