What makes the perfect gift? Something handmade, or something expensive?
There’s no one answer. It can be a challenge to find the perfect present. However, most of us can agree on the significance of one thing: cards. When we want a gift to feel authentic and heartfelt, we pour that feeling into not only the gift, but into its accompanying card and message. Regardless of whether it’s handmade or store-bought, has a funny one-liner or a small doodle, cards are essential in getting the message across.
If anyone understands this, it’s local artist and businesswoman Colleen Germain.
As the founder of Lovely Note Co., a greeting card and artwork business based in Scranton, she channels a passion for art that she has fostered for nearly all her life. As a child, she preferred reading books or working on creative projects in an art studio. This passion pushed her to pursue decorative arts and design at Bard College in New York and a year of artistic study in Florence, Italy. Her talent and drive also earned her a Fulbright scholarship, along with the opportunity to polish her craft and gain exposure to other cultures and arts in Thailand. From there she put her skills to work, spending 10 ten years working in the arts in New York City.
With the loss of a dear family member due to COVID-19, Germain focused more intently on her art. She complete the Women’s Entrepreneurship Center program, StartUP and it helped her build an intellectual foundation for her business and in refocusing. Germain attributes this mainly to the help and support of the women at the center. Today, she juggles a full-time job with managing her small business. In her free time, she operates Lovely Note Co. out of her home alongside her dog Ivy. She views her day job as a blessing in disguise, as it brings financial stability and funds supplies.
The biggest inspiration for her paintings is Mother Earth. A childhood near picturesque lakes, hills, and rivers, combined with her experiences abroad, serves as the primary muse. Her talent has garnered a growing fan base through her social media, allowing her to have four exhibitions in 2020. She finds joy in creating and sharing artwork with friends and the community and is writing a book dedicated to her late cousin.
She would ideally love to open a studio where friends can “inspire each other and spread beauty in each other’s lives.” For now, she focuses on defining and promoting her brand, creating new designs and investigating how to utilize social media and subscription services. When asked about the perks of her startup, Germain explained the positive feeling of accomplishment and how owning a business allows someone to tailor their schedule to their needs.
She emphasizes the importance of taking calculated risks; for instance, she can spend time on art that doesn’t sell because it hones her skills. Each painting holds and demonstrates skills she has accumulated, which increases its value exponentially. She advises other entrepreneurs to price their services correctly, as time is valuable, and wants aspiring business owners to feel pride in what they do and in their community. She advocates for female-owned businesses and feels an obligation to succeed in order to support and inspire the female community so that others will follow her footsteps.