Meet Queenie Best, the heart and soul behind queenie’s cards
It all began when Queenie received her first Valentine in kindergarten. This sparked her love of snail mail and passion for paper goods, and queenie’s cards was created. The cute, cartoony designs are inspired by everyday life, puns and inside jokes. After experiencing continued success on her Etsy store and at events such as the Etsy: Made in Canada Shows, queenie’s cards opened up a brick and mortar shop in May 2017 in Toronto’s Danforth neighbourhood.
My first job ever was… A summer high school job at Tilley’s Endurables. It was a great first experience in the retail world, I had a lot of fun!
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I wanted to set my own rules, I believe in my work and I wanted to test my creativity.
The best part of my job is… As cliche as this sounds, making people smile and laugh! I cannot count the number of times customers have laughed so hard that tears would be rolling down their cheeks, all from seeing illustrations that I created.
The hardest part of my job is… Not being able to work 24/7. I’m not even a workaholic, I love a good vacation, but being the sole proprietor of a business means there is always something that should have been done a week ago.
My proudest accomplishment is… Opening up a brick and mortar shop! In May of this year, my pipedream of owning a gift store came true!
My boldest move to date was… Definitely quitting my full-time job as a graphic designer/photographer at a children’s toy company to exhibit at the National Stationery Show in NYC.
I surprise people when I tell them… Queenie is my real name, and yes, all of my cartoons are drawn by me!
My best advice to people starting their own business is… Do all the research. From your business name, if there’s a market for your products, who your possible competitors are, what your start-up costs will be, setting budgets, to how long until you will profit from sales and when it’s time to move on.
My best advice from a mentor was… Sometimes you have to work backwards to get to the start.
My biggest setback was… Copyright infringements (and still is my biggest daily nuisance).
I overcame it by… Public support and hiring a trademark lawyer. Not cool!
Work/life balance is… Incredibly hard. Everyday I feel mom guilt, as much as I try to set work hours it’s impossible to turn on an out of office message when you’re running two online shops, have wholesale and distributor accounts, and now a physical store which requires round-the-clock attention.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… What my home office looks like, because it’s a total sty!
I stay inspired by… Reading, travelling, going to museums and doodling random thoughts.
The future excites me because… I have no idea what the future holds!
My next step is… Preparing for the Etsy Made in Canada Show in Toronto! I’ll be at the MaRS building for the third year, and I can’t wait to see returning customers and meet new ones. It’s a sweet annual reunion for the vendors too, and I love discovering new talent. It’s where I first met the majority of my fellow maker friends.