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Meet the Artists

Seiwaa from Doodles by Ini

22 Oct 2020

Meet the Artists: Hello from Doodles by Ini

Tell us a bit about yourself….

My name is Seiwaa Osei Afriyie, founder of Doodles by Ini, a personalised card company based in my home country Ghana. I created Doodles by Ini during my second year at the University of Warwick where I recently graduated with a BASc in Global Sustainable Development and Sociology. My passion for authentic african cards and personalised cards fueled my decision to start up Doodles by Ini.

How did you get into the creative/greeting card industry?

I had always loved the idea of personalised greeting cards, especially when I was planning gift ideas for a friend’s birthday - who happens to be one of my sweetest (and pickiest) friends. My favourite item of all the things I got her was the customised design I made her: it described how special she was, and we could easily relate to it. The smile on her face was indescribable and I felt so much joy. This led me to wanting to brighten every recipient's day whilst filling the gap in the greeting card industry to represent black and African people through our cards. I had also noticed that most card shops in my country, which is predominantly black, mainly exported cards that didn’t reflect our culture. This motivated me to fill this gap in the market and take it to the next level.

What have been your biggest challenges to get to where you are today?

Persuading the Ghanaian market to order online instead of the traditional ways of buying from a physical store, and new urban methods like placing an order via WhatsApp. Also, being a student and a business owner simultaneously.

What has been the proudest moment of your career?

Honestly, having my designs on Moonpig! This was my GO-TO card company whenever I needed a personalised card or flowers whilst I was at Warwick. A year ago when I first launched my company, I wished that Moonpig could stock my cards and thought I was absolutely dreaming.

Do you have anyone or anything in mind when designing your cards?

I think of cards I would like to receive. I also draw a lot of inspiration from my family, my friends, and their personalities. Sometimes when I’m mid-conversation with my friends, if anything funny, naughty or rude comes up, I write it down! Another thing that inspires me is my favourite Ghanaian foods - I’m the biggest foodie hence why there are so many food related cards! And finally, my tribe, culture, my country, and my continent inspire me.

What is the best card you’ve ever been given?

One that had money in it! Joke, lol. It definitely had to be the card I received from my team - getting messages from all my family members and friends I had no clue they even knew about. It was one of our first life-sized cards we ever made and it absolutely made my day. I re-read the messages every time I need to be uplifted!

Which is your favourite card you ever designed and why?

Definitely my postcard collection! I love being vibrant and through this collection I got to express a lot of colours. Also, researching different African proverbs and their meanings to be able to tell a story through my cards whilst also making it serve as a motivational, funny, friendship or romantic card.

We love that your cards celebrate Ghananian culture! Of all your cards, which is the most loved and relatable?

I would say the “Harmattan Pawpaw” card is the most loved as it’s in the top 3 of our best sellers. I have had several clients tell me stories of how they used that pickup line when they wrote letters and notes to their highschool sweetheart. Another favourite is the “Look up to you” card. Growing up a lot of clients never saw cards that represented them so they are much happier finding cards that their daughters could give to their father with both of them represented on it.

What do you love most about your job/brand?

What I love about my brand is how the clients react and how it MAKES PEOPLES’ DAYS! It brings me so much warmth. Checking my phone or email at the end of the day and receiving the sweetest texts from clients really makes those sleepless nights worth it. What I also love about my brand is what it represents: black/African people, its youthful exuberance and how it allows people to express themselves.

What is the one message you want to send for Black History Month?

For everyone to be educated about black history, to understand how it has shaped today’s society and to unite in combating the issues that continue to affect the black community, as we need society to come together.

How can the greeting cards industry be more inclusive?

There is so much amazing talent coming out of Africa in the design space and it would be great to hire more black/African designers in their creative teams. This helps with having authentic representation that can appeal and relate to more ethnic minorities without being stereotypical and avoiding caricature.

Is inclusivity an issue you have ever faced in the industry you work in? If so how did you deal with this, overcome the issue and get to where you are today?

Inclusivity has not really been an issue for me in Ghana.

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