Cherelle from KitsCH Noir
Pull up a chair, grab a brew and settle in as today we’d love you to meet Cherelle, the artist behind KitsCH Noir’s joyful and brilliant cards celebrating inclusivity and diversity! Not only are we lucky enough to have her amazing designs at Moonpig, but she very kindly let us pick her brain about the inspiration behind her brand, the challenges she has faced and her favourite things about being an illustrator. We absolutely loved talking to her, so enjoy!
I’m from North West London, born and bred! I studied an Accessories degree at the London College of Fashion, thinking that I wanted to eventually have my own handbag line but soon fell out of love with it after working in the industry for 4 years. I yearned to do something that made an impact for my community and made change somehow. So, creating KitsCH Noir was a no brainer because I love drawing, silly jokes & puns and laughing so much that my belly hurts whilst making other people smile or laugh!
I started by drawing family and friends, and the response from them was amazing but at first I thought maybe they were just being kind! Then I opened an Etsy store online to see if anyone would actually buy some designs…and they did! I created social media platforms for the brand and the word spread quite organically because it was a product missing in the greeting card industry.
I would say it’s been a challenge to stay confident and brazen whilst constantly standing up for and defending the brand to people that don’t understand its importance. When attending trade shows or pop-ups, it is a hard task to keep your spirits up when you come across people who question why the focus of my work is on black people or boldly state that they would prefer if the designs were not all of black people. I understand the brand so well now, that it’s impossible for my confidence to be knocked when hearing ignorant comments, it just proves the point that education and representation is needed!
When I won the Stylist Retail Award for ‘Best New Product’ at Stylist Live. It was a complete shock and I felt like the brand was finally being recognised in the public eye.
The meaning of ‘kitsch’ is ‘an object or a piece of art that some see as too loud, cheesy or bad taste, but some see it as being the best thing since sliced bread’. I think this is pretty much me in a nutshell (lol) because I LIVE for cheesy jokes and some would say my dress sense is a bit…well, kitsch haha! And I couldn’t not mention the word ‘noir’ (which means black in French) as it’s unapologetically what the brand represents.
The person I have in mind is the younger me, I often think of my mind set at different stages of my life and the kind of cards I would have liked to be given. I always try to create cards that I wish existed when I was younger. But even now, at this age, I receive cards and think, well it would have been nice to see myself reflected on the card as opposed to a crab or elephant in a birthday hat.
It was a handmade card, made from awful magazine cut outs and messy pva glue for Valentine’s Day from my husband haha! It looked really scary and amateur but I received it in the post unexpectedly and the handwritten message inside was really sweet.
I have so many, I love WakanDAD because it actually features my Dad’s face and anyone that knows him says how much it looks like him. He’s a real fan of that card too as he loves the movie Black Panther, so it’s a great one to give him every birthday! Another favourite has to be a card that has sadly been discontinued…I found it so hilarious at the time and couldn’t stop laughing whilst I was drawing it but no one else got it!
My parents are my biggest inspiration; they provided so much for me growing up. They made sure I had a good education, laughed a lot and enjoyed any job I did. They set great examples for my brother and I and always shared their many goals and successes with us. I hope to achieve just as much as them one day.
I love watching customers’ reactions to the cards. I love being at an event or pop up and seeing the faces of women like me light up when they relate to the cards I create. There is such a high-frequency connection when this moment happens because I feel like we are smiling/laughing at the same experiences without even talking. There is so much negative imagery in the media nowadays and I’m glad that my brand is all about spreading love, joy and positivity about our culture.