NEW MINAS, NS - If she gets a laugh from one of her products, she considers it a job well done.
Melanie Sampson of Auburn, owner of “hi, love. greetings”, has been making greeting cards since she was a child. It’s something she always considered a hobby or creative outlet.
After learning more about Adobe programs such as Illustrator and purchasing a professional printer, she officially launched her business locally with an outing to the Wolfville Farmers Market just before Christmas in 2012. In 2013, she launched an online Etsy.com store.
Sampson said she enjoys attending markets and craft shows, particularly around the holidays, to interact with customers face-to-face. Contagious giggling and laughter is often the reaction to her products.
“That’s what I love about the craft markets, you get this honest, amazing feedback when people just stand there for ten minutes giggling, you just laugh with them. You can’t get that reaction online,” she said.
Sampson enjoys the camaraderie among vendors and isn’t concerned when there are other greeting card makers at the same event, as her product is so personal and unique.
An online presence gave her the freedom to balance her business with her work commitments as program director and afternoon host on K-ROCK 89.3 FM. She said the Etsy store was a safe platform to launch an online shop where she could sell internationally and local consumers could still find her. Sampson later launched her own website.
She said most of her online sales are to the United States and Europe although Canadian online sales and local sales have consistently grown. The more the business grows, the more opportunity she has to try new things.
Sampson said the catalyst for starting the business was not being able to find the sort of greeting cards and gifts she was looking for. They somehow didn’t feel honest enough. On her website, she describes her products as “funny, naughty, sweet, sexy, honest stationery and gifts.”
“Some of them are a little spicy and some of them are very sweet, it sort of runs the gamut of that,” she said.
Sampson said almost every card is born from her own life experiences or that of a friend or family member. She said she loves this and wouldn’t have things any other way. Sampson currently has close to 200 different card designs, most of which have personal memories attached.
She said people sometimes send her things they find funny and ask if it could be incorporated into a card, for example. Sampson politely declines because this doesn’t fit what she’s doing.
Aside from greeting cards, Sampson also sells art prints, bookmarks, postcards, gift bags, sticky notes, tote bags and mugs. She said there are many Valley residents putting their creativity to work in the form of a business and people here seem very supportive of these types of ventures.
Sampson said the business name came from a favourite greeting she shares with her partner, Goose, and the fact the first greeting card she made carried the simple greeting “Hi, Love.”
She chooses to print all her cards and envelopes on 100 per cent recycled paper, produced using sustainable energy. The sleeves her cards are packaged in are vegetable based and biodegradable. Her mailers are made with recycled material and are fully recyclable.
For more information, visit www.hilovegreetings.com. You can access Sampson’s Etsy.com store through a “Shop” link on the site.