Why? Plum City Designs!

There is nothing I love more than getting a card in the mail from a friend, except perhaps popping one in the mail to send to a friend. There’s something really special about snail mail. Which is what first drew me to Plum City Designs on Instagram (which is how I meet people these days apparently ;-))

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Plum City Designs offers beautiful hand-lettered cards, some of which are Cleveland-centered and all of which are adorable and charming and heart-warming.

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Plum City also sells Cleveland shirts (I need this one and this one, stat).

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So, since I love what Plum City Designs is putting out there, I thought I’d share it with you!

I’m going to let Marnie Fletcher, the creative force behind Plum City Designs, tell you about it Plum City Designs her own words (my questions are in bold and Marnie’s answers are in italics):

Tell me about Plum City Designs. How did you get started?

Plum City has been brewing for a long time, but only recently became a reality last July.  I’m a self-taught calligrapher, and a constant doodler, and the two together brought me here.  It all started with a few handmade cards followed by what felt like a gutsy move to ask a local boutique to carry some cards in their store.  Before long I had a couple of accounts and was selling cards to friends and family.  One of my Cleveland designs was pretty popular and I had a lot of people suggest that I get shirts made.  It took me about a week to connect with a local company, Image by Design, to get a run of shirts printed.  That was a pretty big instant success that I didn’t really expect.  Since that first design back in August, I’ve designed and delivered five other shirt designs in a variety of colors and styles.  Plum City is now in about ten boutiques in the Greater Cleveland area.  I’ve had a tremendous welcome into the world of design, sales and business, something I never would have anticipated, and definitely don’t take for granted. My family has been wonderfully supportive of my work.  My kids help with packaging and inventory, my husband, Eric, is in the process of building me a custom workshop/office so I can move out of our dining room.

What are some of your most popular items?

I do a lot of custom work (invitations and artwork), which I don’t advertise too much, because it’s a little more stressful 🙂  I put a lot of pressure on myself to make things just so, and when I know I have to please someone else’s specific tastes and requests it adds to the pressure.  So far, though, my customers have been fantastic, and very enthusiastic about my work.

Our most popular sellers are our Cleveland heart t-shirts, and the CLE compass t-shirts. They seem to appeal to a wide audience from kids to seniors, and we offer them in a wide range of sizes. In terms of cards, that seems to be dependent on the location and current need.  One of my birthday cards, which has a cupcake drawn on it is hard to keep in stock.  My favorite, however, is the mama and baby Joey card.  That was one of my first color designs that I tried, and I just think it’s sweet.  Not to mention, my oldest son is named Joey, and I have his name hidden in the design.  

Where can we buy Plum City Designs products?

Plum City Designs products can be purchased on my website and through Facebook.  In person, they can be found at Knuth’s in Pepper Pike and Westlake, Blush Boutique in Coventry and Chagrin Falls, The Green Roots Collection at The Cleveland Clinic Main Campus, The Nest in Chardon, Sophia Boutique in Concord, Munch CLE in Solon, and Artisans’ Corner Gallery in Newbury.  (When I listed these I just realized that we are really spreading out!)

Tell me your Cleveland story. What do you love about the city? Favorite places to go, with or without your children?

I’m a lifelong Clevelander other than my years in Athens, Ohio as a Bobcat.  I grew up in Mayfield Village, moved into my grandparents’ old home in University Heights when we got married, and then moved to Moreland Hills just a few years ago.  Our parents and siblings are all in the Cleveland area as well.  I can’t really imagine, nor have I ever considered living anywhere else!  In Cleveland I feel like I know someone wherever I go, and that’s comforting to me.  I feel connected no matter where I am. 

When our kids were really little we did all of the usual Cleveland-family stuff: The Children’s Museum, the Zoo, the Natural History and Science Museums.  We love all of the local parks and playgrounds and those were always part of our circuit.  We live close to the Metroparks and in the last few years have spent a lot of the summer in the parks.  The Art Museum is a definite treasure that we have here, and I could easily lose myself in there. 

For me, I think it’s mostly the people.  I’m a people-person, and I like making new connections.  A natural by-product of starting up your own business is meeting lots of new people with lots of different experiences to share. Cleveland has been the perfect place for that – I’ve been amazed and humbled by the generosity I’ve been shown.

What’s next for Plum City Designs?

What’s next?  Someone needs to rein me in!  I have no shortage of design ideas – the only thing I’m working against is time.  But who isn’t? I plan to expand my market this summer including the Westside of Cleveland, and other parts of Ohio.   I’d love to branch out a little with my clothing ideas and styles.  I keep trying to come up with some new designs for shirts and apparel that would appeal to the guys a little more too.  My pen usually gets the best of me and I wind up with a finished piece that’s either too delicate or something else that I can’t quite identify.  I just like a mix of patterns and styles, particularly with my lettering.  

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that there’s nothing that I’ve ever felt like I can’t try to do or figure out.  That sums up how I got here and will hopefully keep me moving forward.  It’s very satisfying to have an idea and see it all the way through to a finished product.

I hope Marnie’s excitement, creativity, and love for Cleveland spark you as much as they spark me. Check out their great cards and shirts today!

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