Designing greetings cards is a profession I (Louise) stumbled into accidentally, about half a year after finishing my illustration degree in 2014. I was actually saving up to do a yoga teacher training course whilst doing a bit of freelance illustration work from my parent's spare room, when I learnt about the trade show PG Live.
I decided to exhibit in 2015, which was an enormous learning curve (apparently you need to know what price your cards are to sell them?) and then launched Louise Mulgrew Designs officially at Spring Fair the following February, equipped with a few animal illustrations, a very supportive Mum and the same Ikea shelving unit as 49 other exhibitors.
In addition to my very supportive Mum, conveniently I have a very business-savvy, accountant-brained Dad who was coming to the end of a contract at the time and was in the market for a part-time, low stress, project. For the next two years (working full-time and most weekends) Dad devoted his life to helping me build the solid foundations of our animal-loving, paper enterprise.
Last year, our team grew to include Mum (who was promoted from unpaid intern to pay-roll employee) plus our two wonderful non-Mulgrews, Cait and Yaz. We now stock more than 400 independent shops in the UK, supply nation-wide accounts like Paperchase and John Lewis and export to Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. In 2017 we were nominated for Three Henrie awards and on the night won ‘Best Art Range’ for our Jungle Tumble collection.
Our cards are printed in the UK, using responsibly-sourced, textured board, without any additional embellishments or finishes, and are coupled with FSC-certified coloured envelopes or recycled kraft envelopes. Orders are packaged and sent out by our fabulous, family-run fulfillment center in Gloucestershire.
It really is an absolute privilege to work alongside my fabulous team, without whom it would not be possible to see through this creative dream of mine and hopefully we create something that makes others happy in the process. Thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about us and I hope you find some smile-inducing illustrations whilst you’re here.
We create whimsical, illustrated greetings cards featuring lots of fluffy and feathery friends and the odd rainbow or three.
Inspired by animals and nature, celebrating silliness and capturing special relationships.
All of our designs start out as one of many pencil scribbles in Louise’s sketchbook. She has always loved the physical drawing process and likes to stay true to her traditional roots, maintaining a handmade, hand-drawn feel in all of her designs.
Working with pen and ink, watercolour, gouache and acrylics, she combines colourful inky washes, intricate line-work, playful mark-marking and a lot of negative space to create characterful illustrations that capture the essence of their fluffy, real-life counterparts.
Let’s start with what we love and value: All the animals ever. Kind gestures and camaraderie, bright colours (preferably as many in the same place as possible), authentic relationships, avocados, strangers who smile at you on the street, sunshine, exploring new places, the kind of quiet that you only hear in nature.
Our mission is to bundle all these things together, one little illustration at a time, and send them out into the world to touch as many people as possible.
We hope our illustrations help you to say what you can’t find words for, capture your special relationships, and make you, and those you love, smile.
We are a small but mighty team, squashed into a rather miniscule (but fabulously decorated) studio/office in Brighton's wacky and wonderful North Laine.
Louise is head fluffy animal-drawer, creative brainbox and social media doer. She graduated from Loughborough University in 2014 with a First Class Honours in Illustration and now lives in the Sussex countryside with her boyfriend, two cats and the many small animals and birds that they let loose in the house. Louise loves walking, reading and yoga, a strict 9pm bedtime, listening to Harry Potter audio books, bringing her teddy into work and eating. She’s easily distracted, excellent at procrastinating and often abandons her responsibilities to go on holiday for “inspiration”.
Favourite animal: elephants and cats.
Cait is our Southern Irish superstar, in charge of all things analysis, stock and supply management, legal and IT, as well as managing our nationwide accounts. In short, she’s a force to be reckoned with and her partiality to an intense analysis exercise quite bamboozles the creative brains in the office. Cait moved from London to Brighton last year to marry her lovely chap and we snatched her up immediately. Outside the office, Cait can be found in her garden, in the gym, beavering away at her own gin business or popping back to Ireland for family weekends.
Favourite animal: currently, a grizzly bear.
Yaz is our purple-haired, vegan foodie and thrift-shopper extraordinaire. She’s in charge of independent customer orders, our foreign distribution, website maintenance and is our own personal eco-warrior. If you need an overnight oats recipe or advice on how it’s ever possible to make tofu taste nice, Yaz’s your gal! When she’s not being brilliant at work, you’ll find Yaz cycling her fixed gear bike, cooking up a planty feast, yoga-ing or adventuring.
Favourite animal: dusky leaf monkey.
Mum does all the odd jobs that Mum’s are amazing at such as keeping the office beautiful and the plants alive. She also manages our product releases, organises and preps for trade shows, packs samples for agents and submissions, updates our catalogue and is generally our ideas person. For all her common sense and creativity, she’s not allowed to navigate due to the tendency to get distracted by pretty gardens and uniquely shaped clouds. Mum loves yoga, cycling, walking and all things animals, nature and wildlife.
Favourite animal: elephants too.
Is really the unsung hero of LMD. He is a rare and unique specimen of fanatical and meticulous numbery genius; the most modest and humble Northern grafter with an attention to detail that is quite frankly alarming. Dad now, finally, works three days a week on mysterious financy, accounty reconciliatory stuff and devotes his free time to various military operations such as power-washing the drive. Deep down though, Dad is just a yoga-doing, incense-burning hippy who loves the outdoors and dreams of travelling Europe in a camper van.
Favourite animal: giraffe.
Charlie and Rosie (collectively known as The Bobs)
... are Louise’s cats. They’re spoilt, completely in charge and most energetic at 4 in the morning. Favourite animal: baby moles.
... is Mum and Dad’s magnificent feline… look at those whiskers!! Much to Mum’s dismay, Humph is a boy’s boy and is most often found in his radiator hammock in Dad’s office. Favourite animal: nesting birds.