À La Carde is a gorgeous line of cards (and totes) designed by dynamic duo Hea-Mi Kim and Nova Megantara. Featuring fun foodie puns, each card is hand-painted and lettered, held in a kraft sleeve precisely cut so that a tiny portion of the watercolored design peeks out. Hold one of these cards in your hands and you’ll feel how much love and care has gone into each one.
We love your food puns! What made you decide to make food your focus?
Hea-Mi: This was an intuitive decision for us. Both of us have always loved cooking, baking, eating (a given), and trying new places. Our friendship was built on food; so naturally we figured that this was the right path to take.
Nova: It’s safe to say that food has played a vital role throughout our friendship and we’ve always enjoyed a good pun, so why not combine the two! Plus, Hea-Mi is without a doubt one of my top three DFFs (Designated Foodie Friends).
What is your favorite food? Can you describe a memorable meal or a go to comfort food?
Hea-Mi: This is trickiest question of them all. I have to say nothing beats someone delivering sesame chicken at your door when you’re having a rough day. All hail Seamless.
Nova : Oh man, putting me on the spot here. My boyfriend makes these Coca Cola chicken wings (weird, right?) but they’re amazing and taste very homey to me.
Your envelopes are the most unique I have seen, with wonderful cut outs how did you think to compliment the cards with that?
Nova: It was actually by chance that this idea came to be. We had a paper with a circle cut out placed over one of the watercolor sketches of the fig and saw the potential aesthetic appeal. I tested a few different shapes and cutouts with the proper sized sleeves to see how it’d look as a finished product.
Your cards are hand painted and lettered, made to order. What made you decide against mass production?
Hea-Mi: I don’t think we are necessarily against it, but for now, we want to focus on each customer receiving a one-of-a-kind item that feels unique and taken care of.
Nova: For the time being, we’d love to be as hands on as possible in the creation of each card from start to finish to ensure the best quality for our customers. Additionally, it is good practice for us to maintain our craftsmanship – Hea-Mi with her watercolor and me with my excessively OCD tendencies for finely cut lines.
How did you meet and decide to embark on A La Carde together? What does your collaborative creative process look like?
Hea-Mi: We met at school our freshmen year and bonded instantly over our shared love for cupcakes. Each holiday, we always gave one another handcrafted greeting cards and admired each other’s skill sets. We attended an Etsy craft fair two years back and were immediately inspired by other sellers and makers turning their hobbies into full time careers.
Our creative process is synchronized yet separated. We’re still students so our schedule is not very consistent, but we make it work. I sketch and then make a digital mock up with the measurements and placements of all the components. I then measure it out on watercolor paper and paint the illustrations alongside the lettering done in ink. After they’re dry, I hand them to Nova to cut and coordinate the envelopes. We then do some finishing touches, et voilà!
Nova: We bonded over Sprinkles Cupcakes because she hadn’t tried them at the time, and being from California, I’m a fan of them so I bought her some to try. Fast forward to 2013, we talked about having an Etsy shop and finally acted upon it May of 2015.
Over the summer, we had the luxury of meeting and working consistently alongside each other daily. However, with fall semester starting, we have to put in extra effort to juggle school and À La Carde.
Continuing from Hea-Mi’s process, my main objective is to find the right style to highlight the artwork. My previous method, tedious as it may be, was to align and measure each card and envelope to get the cutouts right. However, as we eased into the groove and measurements became more precise and consistent, the same mockup process is done digitally. The result? Our sleeves are ready for as many prints needed with cutting guides provided. Tada, an À La Carde is done.
Your watercolors are so lovely – do you have an art school background? Tell me why a greeting card line appealed to you.
Hea-Mi: Thank you so much! I am currently majoring in Fine Arts at Parsons The New School for Design. During this day and age (especially in our age group), I think it’s rare to receive a handwritten note. Typing is conveniently at our fingertips, and handwritten cards aren’t as vital anymore. I cherish every card I receive and hope through ours, others celebrate personal handwritten notes that feel intimate and special.
What does your creative space look like?
Nova : For the past few months, we’ve mostly been working at my studio apartment or at our school since it’s within walking distance. I have a big chalkboard table that fits both of us comfortably and occasionally makes a feature in our posts. In case anyone’s wondering, that’s our “office dog”, Sausage the Pug.
Your totes are totes awesome! Do you have any other products in mind?
Hea-Mi: Ideally we will have prints, mugs, tea towels, and other small knick knacks. We are currently working on our prints to be launched in the fall!
Nova: We have received helpful suggestions from our family and peers on ways to expand in terms of our product range. Some of our followers are quite persistent and supportive about us expanding to shirts – it’s so exciting what’s ahead of us!
When you are in need of a little creative inspiration, what do you do?
Hea-Mi: Not the most compelling answer, but usually the thesaurus or Rhyme Zone.
Nova: Looking at other people’s Behance portfolios gives me a surge of inspiration and drive to just make, make, make!