Hartland Brooklyn
7 questions with Emily Johnson, founder of the woman-owned illustration studio
and coffee shop in the Catskill Mountains of NY
What inspired you to start your brand?
I was working as an accessory designer for a major retailer, and started making birthday cards for coworkers; and soon their friends and family. I never realized it could be a career, but once I started an Etsy store it happened organically.
3 Words That Embody Your Brand:
Cheerful, Bright, Graphic
Tell us about your favorite part of running a small business.
My favorite part is making my own schedule. Once you find the balance (and not work all the time) it’s wonderful. Some weeks are total chaos, but other weeks I can skip a day when it’s sunny to take a hike or work in my garden. Not saying it’s easy at all, but I can design when I feel inspired, or throw on a podcast and pack cards.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of creating and managing an independent brand?
The most challenging part is finding your voice and identity, and letting it stand out in a sea full of other brands. It’s important to be true to yourself, and not compare yourself to anyone else. If you are doing something you love, it shows through. The second most challenging (in a much different way) is the financial end. If I were to start over again I would make sure to take a quickbooks class. Lately I’ve been working with Faire Wholesale, and it’s changed the game since they take care of all the payments and invoicing.
3 things inspiring or influencing your design/creative process right now:
I’ve been really inspired by vintage fabrics and botanical books. My garden and seasonal flowers are also a huge inspiration.
When or what makes you feel most rewarding as a small business owner?
Being in control of my finances and my creativity. I’m not giving it all away to someone else. It’s also really exciting when a store you admire purchases your cards.
Any new exciting projects/products coming up?
We are preparing to re-open our store, and I’m adding a lot more stationery from friends. I love being able to support other brands from mostly women-owned brands that I admire. To me it feels like a tiny art gallery.
Explore our collection of beautiful cards from Hartland Brooklyn