Fiona Richards and her partner Doug Jones were both professional artists living in Calgary when Western Living magazine ran a profile of Nelson in 1991. “We came in 1994, and were part of an early wave of urban refugees that first heard of Nelson through that article,” says Fiona.
As lead designer and innovator at Cartolina Cards, Fiona combines images from her collection of vintage curiosities to create contemporary designs. Fiona’s unique designs are also licensed for giftware, home furnishings and textiles, and her card and stationery designs are sold in some of the finest stores in the world. More recently, Fiona created the popular Cartolina iPhone app, which allows users to send beautifully-designed greetings – either digitally or on paper – straight from their iPhones.
In 2014, Fiona and Doug opened the Cartolina retail outlet in downtown Nelson, BC, which now serves as the headquarters for their business. “I don’t actually think it’s special that I’m in the Kootenays,” says Fiona. “I can do business all over the world, from anywhere in the world. It’s just I would rather have my lifestyle here.”
“You don’t have to live in a city to have a world class business and to do business all around the world! I’m always telling people that,” she says. “I’m here for the lifestyle and I’m also proving that you can do as good a job from here as from anywhere else.”
“There are some things that are better in a small community though – like knowing your service providers by their first name,” she laughs. “I did call the post office once and say “Wait! Don’t send the mail yet! I’m on my way!”
In 2012, Fiona Richards was presented with the Most Innovative Entrepreneur Award from the Kootenay Association of Science and Technology. View the nomination video for Cartolina Cards here: http://vimeo.com/52496150.