Remember the last time you sent a card to a relative, friend or acquaintance? Or opened your mailbox and found a card with a note inside? Giver or receiver, it probably brought a smile to your face. Teenager Anna Brekken wants us to celebrate the people in our lives, and she has created thoughtful, beautiful cards that can help make it happen. Her grandmother inspired her creativity, and Anna took it from there, starting AnnaMade Design Company and selling her cards at craft fairs, pop-ups and now on TheWMarketplace.
In the meantime, Anna is giving back -- helping other teen business entrepreneurs get started. It is one of the reasons why we featured her recently as one of TheWMarketplace’s Teen Entrepreneurs and in our Teen Collection. We hope you enjoy learning about Anna and will find a card perfect to give to someone special in your life.
What inspired you to start AnnaMade Design?
One day when I was in 5th grade, my Grandma marched into our small California house with 3 floral TJ Maxx bags overflowing with multicolored card stock, orange rubber stamps, and these metal things called "die cuts". That afternoon at our kitchen table, she taught my sister and I how to make handmade greeting cards. It was a hobby of hers, and I absolutely loved it! I really enjoy the process of choosing coordinating colors and designs, cutting, stamping, and gluing it all together. I quickly made more cards than I could send, so I decided start a shop: AnnaMade Design Co. I’ve always been entrepreneurial (lemonade stands and library craft fairs, anyone?), and this was the perfect creative outlet for me.
Tell us something that is rewarding about owning a business?
One of my favorite parts of running my business is getting to connect with my customers. Whether it's creating a custom card for them or selling in-person, it's amazing to meet the people who use my cards to celebrate their friends and family. It means A LOT to know that the art I'm creating is being sent to someone I've never met.
How has AnnaMade Design changed since you started it?
I've had my business since 2018. Since I started, I've expanded my greeting card collections. In the beginning, my cards were simpler, with just a stamped design or patterned paper. Now, I've developed a style of cards that stand out with fun, bright colors and designs that make my customers smile. I've also partnered with Animal Rescue of the Rockies to give back to them for every purchase of a dog or cat themed card. While my packaging has upgraded, I still send a handwritten note with every order.
What communities have been important for you as you’ve developed your business?
It's so important to me that I'm building my business alongside other teen entrepreneurs! It's why I started Soaring Together, a community for teen business owners offering them resources to help them grow their businesses. It's also why I hosted a free online event in March, bringing together 16 teen and adult speakers to help over 200 teens learn strategies to grow their businesses.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
Entrepreneurship is perseverance. It's refusing to give up, even when things are challenging. It's having courage to try new things. It's humility plus being able to take advice from people who are where you want to be. It's setting goals – and pursuing things that excite you. It's being teachable and learning from your “failures” instead of holding on to perfectionism. And it may just mean rebelling against the way things have always been done. It's a type of business that puts people first.
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Launched in 2020, TheWMarketplace is a nationwide e-commerce marketplace for women-owned businesses to sell their products and professional and personal services. Offering favorable terms to its sellers, it also is a supportive community of women entrepreneurs that have access to learning opportunities through the trademarked HER-Commerce™ programs. With over 500 women-owned businesses selling 4000+ products and services ranging from home goods to coaching, in over 35 states, TheWMarketplace empowers shoppers with a new way to find the communities they want to support, including Black-woman owned, Latina-owned, AAPI-owned, Veteran woman-owned, and more. The Her Story Q&A is one benefit TheWMarketplace provides to sellers.