Based in Bristol, we design and publish wrap and small, square greetings cards which we supply to lovely shops across the UK and beyond.
You can buy our cards right here on this website, have a browse of our small square greeting cards.
If you’re interested in stocking our cards in your shop, have a look at our trade information for shops.
In March this year, we took part in an Instagram challenge called #MarchMeetTheMaker. The challenge was set up to help small creative businesses to tell their stories behind the brand. A theme was set each day, and we created a post on Instagram about ourselves based on that theme.
Here are the 31 posts we created for the challenge.
Day 1 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is about ME… Hello I’m Helen. I grew up in North Wales, studied graphic design in Bristol and for the last 14 years have been the face behind Cardtastic. Cardtastic design and publish greeting cards and wrapping paper that we supply to lovely independent shops across the UK. I work from our home studio outside Bristol. I’m married to Tim and Mummy to Ross, Joe (7 & 4) and 4 chickens! Looking forward to showing you behind the scenes at Cardtastic HQ and meeting others along the way…
Day 2 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is ‘Favourite to Make’ We started Cardtastic after returning from a world trip with 1000’s of photographs. Our first range of photographic cards featured the little details that catch your eye when visiting new destinations. My favourite thing to “make” is still photographs, and I’m always on the look-out for vintage props and unusual “treasures” – although today the photoshoot locations are sometimes a little less exotic! (like turning the kitchen table into a photographic studio!).
Day 3 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is ‘Workspace’ Home is also my workspace and I love the flexibility this gives me. I do miss the office banter every now and then but hubby Tim works from home too which is a bonus! I spend lots of my working day and some evenings on my Mac. On cold, wet days like today I cosy up: light the stove, put the kettle on, and sometimes pop a spud in the stove for lunch! When I’m sketching ideas and working out things it’s back to the kitchen table as I prefer to spread out all my papers…
Day 4 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is about tools! Can you guess what this is? Okay, I'll tell you my secret! I use this gizmo to get an even spacing between my cards when I stick them up on our stands at trade shows. It's just a home-made foam-board cross, but it works a treat and must have saved me hours over the years!
Day 7 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “How it’s made” The final process of how it’s made at Cardtastic relies on machines! Here I am press-passing our wrapping paper at a local printer in Bristol. The excitement of seeing our designs coming off the press overrides the slightly anxious feeling that it’s the point of no return once they start the press rolling! This machine prints things fast! FACT: Offset litho presses can print 250 sheets per minute – that’s 15,000 per hour!
Day 8 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Where” We’re based in the village of Flax Bourton a hop, skip and a jump away from Bristol. I know it’s a cliché to say it’s the best of both worlds but it really does feel that way! We love the country life, have chickens and woodland walks right on our doorstep yet the vibrant city of Bristol is just a 10 minute bus ride from the bottom of “our” lane in this photo.
Day 10 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Recommend a maker“ Here’s the work of lovely Vicky from @handpainted_stuff Vicky upcycles furniture by hand-painting them with nostalgic and folk-inspired blooms and birds that typify her beautiful work. She also makes super-cute mini penguins and guinea pigs all individually named! We’ve been lucky enough to work together on a collaboration publishing Vicky’s designs as mini greetings cards. You’ll find Vicky with all her colourful ‘handpainted stuff’ at craft fairs and markets around Bristol and North Somerset. Check her out!
Day 11 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Post / Mail“ Day 11 of this challenge falls on a Saturday and I’ve been pottering about outside with my boys for much of the day. This reminded me of the walk to one of our closest post boxes up the hill and across 2 fields! - a perfect screen break in the fresh air :-)
Day 13 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Photography” I’m either on location or in the kitchen studio! The first photo is out and about shooting everyday ”things” that catch my eye, like these tools outside a shop in Pembrokeshire. Secondly photographing these beautiful rag dolls handmade by the talented @madebycharlied
Day 14 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Creative friends” The wonderful world of greetings cards has introduced me to so many creative friends, with a surprising amount based in the vibrant city of Bristol. One of my first “card buddies” was Silkie, formally from Rosehip Paper, “famous” for her beautiful wrapping paper designs. Her creative work now concentrates around @theforgebristol – a workspace for creative freelancers, and a venue to learn new skills, a modern craft or join a creative business workshop. It’s a fabulous renovated space in Bristol created by @silkie_lloyd and her other half @sijohnthebass . They’re such a talented duo! Silkie is also a top stylist and this is definitely apparent in this latest project. The Forge is so welcoming… it’s a place to share skills and ideas and no doubt meet many more creative friends 😍.
Day 15 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Work clothes” My creative day isn’t messy so my work clothes are pretty much everyday clothes. I do wear jeans a lot and looking over at hubby @bimtrayshaw wondering if I should invest too in a pair of Hiut jeans. I say invest because they’re not cheap but they’re a classic. @hiutdenim are made in Wales, and the brand has a beautifully packaged story with great attention to detail, plus @hiutdenim_fadesandfixes offer free repairs for the life of your jeans! FACT: “Cardigan is a small town of 4,000 good people. 400 of them used to make jeans. They made 35,000 pairs a week. For three decades.” The factory closed but the local skills remained. The Hiut Denim Company was born about 5 years ago and Cardigan is making jeans again. They call their workers Grand Masters and I love their slogan “Do one thing well”. My work clothes when I’m “on show” at an exhibition are a different story. I spruce myself up and always have a show hair cut!
Day 16 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Time to relax” The latest craze to hit this house is table tennis. The kitchen table comes in handy again! A quick round of ping pong with my boys means there’s always lots of giggles before bedtime 😊 Time to relax is family time - walks in the woods with our kelly kettle, growing our own veg on our allotment, camping trips, visits to the seaside and drinking wine with friends!
Day 17 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Feedback” Our photographic range features flowers from our wedding day, images from our honeymoon in Japan, my trusty bike, and husband’s childhood teddy bears. These cards tell a unique personal story… Customers telling us that “our secret story” hidden in our designs is what they love about our brand makes us very happy! My favourite quote about Cardtastic is “super cute!”
Day 18 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Hyperlapse” As of this week we’re delighted to offer a selection of beautiful wrapping paper from Rosehip Paper alongside our Cardtastic range. Samples arrived this week so it was prefect timing to get wrapping and try out this app. We are great believers that the wrapping paper outside looks as special as the gift inside!
Day 19 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Helper” My boys love helping out at Cardtastic HQ! Perhaps it’s inspired them as today they reopened their egg shop outside our cottage 🐣 Here’s four-year-old Joe, helping to stock-up the card spinner at our local garden centre. It’s like a massive game of Snap! Riverside Garden Centre was our very first stockist 14 years ago. They’re a top team who really know their stuff! If you’re local to Bristol it’s a gem worth checking out…
Day 20 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Sketchbook” I’ve kept every single sketchbook right back to my college days! I used to be forever “sticking” magazine tears and packaging inspiration in my sketchbook but pinterest has eased that addiction! I use a notebook to scribble designs, plans and doodles - I love that feeling of starting a new notebook (or is that just me?!) Combining text and images for a recent card design I called on the help of typographer Tim (my other half!) who sketched this hand drawn lettering overlaying with tracing paper. I love seeing the elements come together… the hand drawn font was then scanned and tweaked in Photoshop.
Day 21 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Inspiration” Inspiration comes in many forms — and sometimes when I least expect it! It might be while rummaging for vintage treasures in charity shops, exploring the nearby woods, or out and about on our travels. I have to admit that I’m addicted to growing my own veg and flowers on our allotment and in the garden. These spaces give me “head space” and have inspired many designs, if something isn’t going to plan a little break planting seeds always sorts thing out! Here’s a picture taken last year of our front garden. When I saw this again I couldn’t believe it was mine - it looks like a proper grown-up cottage garden!
Day 22 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Close up” Here’s a close up of a pattern-repeat from our “rainbows” wrapping paper. It’s printed on a lovely matt finish paper and it’s double sided so it’s perfect for lots of “crafty” projects too: garlands, bunting, origami and all sorts of other paper crafts...
Day 23 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Recent make” It’s back to the kitchen table again for our “recent make”. Here are mock-ups of our Photographic card range with new crops and no borders. We initially launched this range with borders around the images, but more recently our new designs have been “full bleed”. So, it’s time for change! We’ve simplified the layout to let the photographs fill the card and go “edge to edge”.
Day 24 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Milestone” For 8 years I handled the pick, pack and dispatch of trade orders myself. I think I became one of the fastest card packers in the West, but not quite fast enough! We soon assembled a little network of outworkers who would fold and pack cards for us. We had a spare room at home racked-out with stock, and I'd drop boxes of cards, envelopes and cello bags around Bristol to outworkers, and a few days later I'd be out and about picking them up again. A big milestone for us was in 2007 when we got our first export order, with distribution in Australia. This photo shows packing-up boxes late into the night for an export order bound for Heathrow the next morning! It was soon clear that we'd need to change our picking and packing procedures, and we took on a fulfilment warehouse. Moving stock from home to a fulfilment warehouse was the best decision… orders now come-in and go-out like clockwork allowing me time to focus on other areas of the business.
Day 27 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Goals” I love my job! Designing, sourcing, meeting customers and working from home gives me flexibility. My goals are to continue doing what I love, keep my work/life balance in check, and be thankful for the simple pleasures of the “good life” we’ve created. Here’s a photo of me out and about with my camera, more of this please!
Day 28 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Organised” I try to run a paperless office - I feel more organised this way. My “Scansnap” mini scanner is like a personal assistant and the PDF files created are easily searchable. My techie hubby has also done wonders with a bespoke database system: automatic stock control, customer statistics, and delivery notes sent off for pick, packs and dispatch at the press of a button.
Determined to finish my “meet the maker” posts. So here goes… last 3 coming up! Day 29 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Can't live without” Has to be my family. My boys are my rock! Cardtastic is a homegrown family business and I love it when we’re refereed to as Team Brayshaw! Ross and Joe have grown up with the business, travelling to trade shows as babies and sleeping in prams on exhibition stands! The boys are now 4, 7 (and 45!) and they constantly support, help and inspire me. I also couldn’t live without being creative - aside from the business I use it in so many aspects of life. If I bake a cake and just want to get to the decorating bit, when gardening it’s all about the colours and structures. Taking time to create things (and fiddling around) fills me with joy!
Day 30 of #MarchMeetTheMaker by @joannehawker is “Top tip” In my previous job at Mulberry I was part of a Creative Team and perhaps the biggest change working for myself is making more decisions alone. These top tips have guided me… 1. Go for it! I’m guilty of sometimes overthinking things so this is a note to myself. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Even if it doesn’t work out you’ll always learn something along the way… 2. Research, research, research… I’m addicted to sourcing and finding the very best product for the job. 3. Trust your gut instinct… 4. Believe in fate! things always happen for a reason…