It's time for another Face Behind the Cards! This time featuring husband and wife team, Matt and Katie who are the masterminds behind Jolly Awesome cards. Based in South West London, they met 12 years ago when they both first moved there. Matt is a Southerner originally from Bournemouth and Katie, a Northerner from near Manchester. They share a love of travel and adventure, with Japan being their all-time favourite destination!
So, how did the two of you get into making cards? Was it something you always wanted to do?
Matt launched Jolly Awesome way back in 2014. He'd been working in marketing for a big bank, but a creative at heart, he'd been feeling the itch to do something different. He started illustrating, posted some of his designs on Instagram and after getting a good reaction, he realised they'd work pretty well on cards. He pitched them to a few retailers and lo and behold, Scribbler became Jolly Awesome's first customer!
Katie is from a retail merchandising background and supported in her spare time before quitting her job in 2015 to join full time. Along with our Frenchie, Raffy we make up the Jolly Awesome studio!
How do you guys find it working together as a couple?
Everyone asks us this! It actually works really well for us as we have very different skill sets and work on different areas of the business: Matt on the creative side and Katie on sales and operations. We enjoy the flexibility of running our own business and being able to take our work with us anywhere.
Sounds like an ideal set-up! What inspires your work?
Matt's original and still some of our most popular designs are based on funny animals. Our inspirations often come from hip-hop, pop culture and anything Matt thinks of - usually after a few drinks! We love to make people laugh and not take ourselves too seriously.
We can relate! You're going through a bit of a rebrand at the moment, tell us more about what we can look forward to seeing from Jolly Awesome?
It’s been 6 years since the business launched and we thought it was time for a little refresh. We've recently started publishing other illustrators too. Matt is British-Vietnamese and it’s important to us to represent diversity and inclusion as well as bring in different design styles. We're excited for what’s to come in the future for Jolly Awesome!
That makes two of us! Did lockdown change the way you've worked over the last 18 months?
We've always worked from home, but like many we definitely found lockdown difficult. We predominantly supply wholesale to retailers, which slowed down as they were closed. This, along with the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes, gave Matt the idea to launch another business - Paperboy. An app where you can send artist-led gifts including cards, prints and chocolate from your phone. With creativity and inclusivity at the heart, Matt’s now has over 70 artists from all round the world represented on there!
That's amazing! What's your favourite card you guys have made to date and why?
It’s tied between ‘Sidekick For Life’ and ‘Fox Shit Up’. The idea for Fox Shit Up actually came to Matt whilst sat on the tube. The foxes kept ripping open our bin bags every week when left out overnight. There was a business man wearing an actual bowler hat sat on the train carriage opposite and the idea of this posh looking fox just randomly came to him in that moment!
Inspiration can strike at the most random times! What was your favourite thing you got up to this summer?
We didn't think it was possible due to their physiques but whilst on holiday in Wales - with the help of a mini life jacket - we taught our Frenchie Raffy to swim! It was a proud dog parent moment.
Aw, so cute! Give us a hint, what are you guys working on at the moment?
We’re always juggling various projects! We're currently working with some new illustrators on future designs.
Exciting stuff, we can't wait to see! If you weren't designing cards what would you both like to be doing instead?
Likely, running other creative businesses. Matt is very entrepreneurial and always having new ideas (sometimes too many!). We do already have another business – The Last Co. where we design and sell functional, reusable products. Including a portable and reusable telescopic straw with case (designed by Matt).
We love that! To finish off, can you please tell us one fun fact about yourselves?
Matt – Before Katie and I were dating, I once tapped Prince William on the shoulder in a Chelsea nightclub. I then lied to the future king of England and said it was Katie’s birthday. To try and impress her, I asked him to wish her a Happy Birthday... And he did!
Katie – I grew up on an alpaca farm, so alpacas made an appearance on our wedding day!
Wow, both equally random and brilliant to imagine - thanks so much, Matt and Katie! As one of our long-term designers, we loved getting to know a bit more about the guys at Jolly Awesome and their latest ventures. You can find their cards in Scribbler stores or browse their full range right here!