In April’s Los Angeles Original Farmer’s Market box, we included the super cute tea towel designed by Gooseberry Designs. The print was a whimsical map of Los Angeles, and yes, the farmer’s market made it onto the map, right there east of Santa Monica between the carrot and oranges!
We are always curious to learn more about our California small businesses, and so we asked Nina from Gooseberry Designs for more information and a few questions to get to know her.
Hello, my name is Nina Kulick and I am the owner and principal artist at Gooseberry Designs. I started Gooseberry back in 2005 as a creative outlet for my love of illustration. I worked full time as a scientist at various universities and was illustrating for myself in the evenings when I got home from work. Once my husband and I found out we were having a baby in 2006, I started thinking more seriously about my art – I wanted something I could work on while I was home with my newborn and I started to take on work in the form of illustrating wedding invitations. Before I had time to fully absorb my new vocation I was taking on more and more illustrating work. I am self taught and create what I love. I am an avid traveler, photographer and reader of books. I enjoy history and learning all about a place I am going to visit. Illustrating maps allows me to satisfy my love of travel, reading, research and illustration all in one swoop. I have made it my full time career, now that my daughter is 13 years old. I opened my first brick and mortar studio location in downtown Los Gatos, last April after having worked from my kitchen for the past 12 years. It has allowed me to spread out and take on bigger projects. We have a DTG printer and laser etcher in our studio. All of our products are illustrated by me and then etched or printed by my mother. We have been working together for several years and share the same philosophy about handmade, eco-friendly art.
1. What is your background?
My background is in neurobiology. I have a masters in Neuroscience, specializing in sleep research. So essentially, I am a former scientist turned full time illustrator of maps and travel designs. I create stationery and home goods in my studio in Los Gatos, CA.
2. Have you always been artistic/crafty?
Yes! I have always been interested in creating art in several mediums.
3. Tell us what is unique about your products. What does your theme represent?
I specialize in hand drawn whimsical maps and travel illustrations. I love to travel and I love to illustrate all of the places I have been and where I plan to go!
4. How has the product changed since you started?
I started off mostly doing wedding invitations but I now focus on my line of home goods and and stationery.
5. What do you love about what you make?
Everything is unique and I get to make new things every day. I also love to do custom work for clients so that is always fun and different.
6. What is your favorite item so far, and why?
I love the tea towels because they are a fun souvenir that are easy to gift.
7. What inspires you to create a new product?
Sometimes a customer will ask for something or I will do a custom project and try a new product that may be a good fit for our product line.
8. Do you participate in trade shows or special events? If so, what is your favorite part?
Yes, I do two professional trade shows: NYNow and National Stationery Show. I love to see new and returning customers and I also like to see what my favorite brands are releasing for the new season. It’s a lot of work but it is a lot of fun too.
9. What are your words of wisdom for someone starting out in their own small business?
Its ok to take calculated risks and try new things. If you don’t then you will never know if something could have worked for your business. It can be scary but it can also be the making of you.
10. What’s next for Gooseberry Designs?
Taking time to travel with my family for pleasure this year and not overstuffing my schedule with work. A good work/life balance is key!
Feel free to visit us at our studio to see for yourself!
Facebook – facebook.com/GooseberryDesigns
Twitter – twitter.com/GooseberryPress
Instagram – instagram.com/GooseberryDesigns
Pinterest – pinterest.com/GooseberryDesigns
Website – www.gooseberrydesigns.com