It’s 11 p.m. the night before Father’s Day or a graduation. What are you going to do? Head to a Kodak kiosk at a CVS or Target store, upload a picture and personalized card right then and there. “It’s a great way to be able to use all those photos sitting on your phone,” says Westport artist, Bonnie Marcus, whose custom-designs adorn these mementos. “You can also put your child’s design on the card.” This entrepreneur aims to give moms a boost each day by brightening their activities with her colorful sketches of stylish female characters. The whimsical “to-do list” and popular “mom-planner” are at the heart of her stationary company, based around the needs of women, just like herself.
“I feel like moms are always juggling and my best selling design is one of a juggling mom with all the balls in the air,” laughs Marcus, who has 3 boys, ages 11, 10 and 5. As a Special Events Coordinator in Manhattan, organizing parties for the likes of Martha Stewart and Clint Eastwood, she stumbled upon a business idea. “I found that the invitations available in the market at that time were very boring. They weren’t appropriate for my clients,” she says, explaining that she always loved to create images. “So, I commonly custom-designed invitations to meet the needs of my clients.” Somewhat impulsively, she made a change: “I was 6 months pregnant with my first child and decided what better time to have another baby! I launched my invitation business at that point.” Fast forward a decade and her illustrations now enliven products sold around the globe in more than 1,000 stores including Bloomingdales, Henri Bendel and Harrods of London.
Summer is a busy time for Marcus, as she produces new invitations for barbecues and beach parties, as well as major milestones, such as baby showers and weddings. “I feel like people spend so much time on their event,” she says. “The invitation truly sets the tone for what’s to follow.” Marcus believes tradition is important and now comes as a surprise: “People get emails and text messages on a daily basis so to get a special invitation in the mail is really something unique.”
With cookbooks, puzzle books and a relationship with well-known website, Tiny Prints, the Bonnie Marcus Collection is growing. This former employee of famed fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg is also launching a line of T-shirts and pajamas for pregnant moms. She has found a niche that’s both personal and meaningful: “To be able to make a mom’s life a little easier is definitely something that keeps me going everyday.”
To see Bonnie Marcus’ designs, check out http://www.bonniemarcus.com and watch Monday’s Fox CT Morning News.