There is nothing quite like opening up your mailbox to find a pretty love-filled note from a friend. It’s a sweet and simple gesture that never fails to bring a smile to the faces of both sender and receiver which is why we are so excited to share our next creative in our Maker Series. At A Jar of Pickles, Kirstie creates the most adorable little doodles and accompanies them with pun-filled phrases and prints them on greeting cards for you to give to your besties and loved ones.
Take a quick glance through her online shop and we dare you not to fall head-over-heels for way too cute designs that are designed, printed, and packaged right here in California. She is a force of talent and you’d never assume that her business got started on a bit of a whim. “I really didn’t enjoy high school, but the one passion I had was my involvement with the school newspaper. I spent hours on Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign working on graphics and page layouts. After I graduated, I went to UC Berkeley and made flyers and logos for student groups during my free time. My college roommates saw how much I loved designing, so they convinced me to start an Etsy. I figured I’d sell five or so cards in a year – so I was really surprised when it took off.” We, for one, are so happy it did!
We had a chance to catch up with Kirstie to chat all about her cards, why she loves to shop small, and her tips for aspiring creators.
What is the story beind the name, A jar of pickles?
I get asked this question a lot at craft fairs. A very quirky friend randomly gave me the nickname “Pickle” in middle school, and it kind of stuck. I grew up with various people calling me “Kirstiepickles” or “Pickle” or “Pickles.” I didn’t even like pickles in my burgers until after college, so it’s a pretty random nickname, but nevertheless a fun one that has greatly shaped my business!
Where do you think your passion for creativity stems from?
Growing up, I never considered myself a “creative.” The art classes my mom signed me up for were short-lived and the doodles on my school notes were not that great. So when I get called “creative” now, I have to remind myself that while I didn’t grow up self-identifying as one, I am by all means a creative! I think technology has grown “creative” to encompass far more than the traditional sense of the word (like with fine arts or writing short stories, etc). Now, there is a growing trend to foster creativity in everyone; anyone can DIY something, hack IKEA furniture, learn to code, or start a blog.
Being a small business, why do you think it’s important to shop small?
The best part about attending events such as Renegade Craft Fair is meeting other small business owners. The creative small business community is incredibly supportive and open. Everyone starts with a unique story and is filled with so much passion for their craft. It’s really fun to have something in the house or gift an item when you know a bit about the makers and company behind it. Plus, when you shop small you are supporting someone’s dream of sharing their ideas to the rest of the world, a goal I’m very familiar with.
What is your ideal summer day?
There’s an amazing farmer’s market that comes downtown every Saturday, walking distance from my house. My schedule is so packed now that I am so grateful any Saturday morning where I can sleep in, take a late morning walk to buy some fresh fruit and flowers, come home and make a brunch (or lunch, because I end up waking up so late).
What can’t you leave the house without?
This is SO Californian of me, but I cannot leave my house without my sunglasses. I seriously feel blinded if there’s any hint of sun and my eyes aren’t shielded. I went to Seattle and wore sunglasses everywhere to protect my eyeballs from bright clouds and my friend I was visiting told me she and most of her friends don’t even own a pair at all! If I can’t find my Ray Bans when I’m running out the door, I’ll wear a Giants cap.
What advice can you offer aspiring designers and creators?
I’d share what I have to remind myself with every day: TAKE A BREAK. When you’re passionate about a big project, it’s so easy to obsess and write a to-do list that never ends. During weeks where I feel like I can never get through what I have to do, I feel slightly panicky “wasting” time reading a book on the train or eating a long dinner with a friend— but then I have to remind myself that breaks are recharging time! Don’t spend all your time working or thinking about what you have to get done; you’ll go crazy and you’ll forget to pause and enjoy life a little.
Do you have any promotions or news you’d like to share with our readers?
I have an incredible opportunity to attend and vendor at Brit + Co’s Re: Make, a two-day conference discussing creativity + technology. They have a great speaker and activity lineup, and the festival the next day will have many local sellers that encompass the idea that creativity can be found in anyone. If you’re in the Bay Area or can make it out to SF in September, I think it’ll be so worth your time!
One More Thing
Kirstie was oh-so-kind to offer a discount code exclusively for Stylust readers to shop her pretty cards on ajarofpickles.com! From now until September 14th you get 15% off with this code: STYLELUST15. Thanks, Kirstie!
Photos by Dan Chern