Isolation inspiration: handcrafted card creation

July 22, 2020

Selection of Zoe’s card creations

Zoe Koumi uses lockdown as an opportunity to launch her own creative cottage industry

Going from working full-time whilst also completing a university degree to being at home 24 hours a day, with very little to do, was a very big shock to the system for me.

Most of my days consisted of getting up really early either for a full day of work or a day full of university lectures and seminars. This meant that, when lockdown hit, I had no idea what to do with myself!

I have often found that when I get a long break from work or education, for example the six weeks summer holiday from school, I’m more relaxed and so this is when my creative ideas start to flow the most. This has also been very much the case during lockdown.

Right at the start of the period, when leaving the house was very strict, one of my closest friends had their birthday. I felt awful that we couldn’t see each other, and that they couldn’t properly celebrate, so I thought I would try and make something special for them.

I looked through Instagram and Pinterest to get some inspiration and found a few styles that I really liked and gave them all a try

I had a few ideas but one that really stuck was creating a handmade card and sending it through the post so at least they would get a little surprise on their special day.

I looked through Instagram and Pinterest to get some inspiration and found a few styles that I really liked and gave them all a try. I put all these ideas together and came up with my own unique design, which was a watercolour flower wreath with a handwritten message in a calligraphy font in the middle.

I was really pleased with the result and couldn’t wait to send it off. On the day of my friend’s birthday I got a message saying how much they loved the card, how thoughtful it was and how their mum had joked and said I should start up a business selling them.

Well, with literally nothing else to do, that is exactly what I did. Every day I would get up and make a handful of cards, all with different designs, colours and lettering. I would then photograph them and market them on my social media pages.

Going through the process of setting up my small business has given me a real sense of accomplishment and achievement

It took a while to build up a base on social media but after posting content regularly, engaging with my audience and general word of mouth, I managed to get a couple of hundred followers.

Initially friends and family started buying my cards and sending them to people they knew. This sparked wider interest and business began to grow from there which has led to more orders coming in every day and me being busy once again!

Going through the process of setting up my small business has given me a real sense of accomplishment and achievement. It was something that I had gone about by myself and worked hard for.

I love creating every single card and at the moment making a little bit of pocket money is just a bonus. However, in the future who knows what may happen with the business? I am excited to see where it could lead.

I have also had an order through from Exposure to create several commemorative ‘Thank You’ cards that celebrate its young people’s commitment and contribution to the charity during these crazy times.

It is taking me a while to complete, as each card is totally unique, but with all these hours on my hands it is nice to take my time to create something that I can be really proud of and share with so many others.


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Exposure is looking for young people’s testimonies of how they are getting through the coronavirus crisis. Please get in touch to share your experiences and advice.

Zoe is studying for a degree level apprenticeship in business management. She has been artistic from a young age and in her spare time runs her own small creative enterprise.

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