From Card Buyer To Publisher: Lianne Harrison, founder of Paperwhale

Tapping into the growing trend for pot plants and all things botanical, the theme of this year’s Retas greeting card retail awards event is ‘the finery of greenery’. When approached by the Max Publishing team (owners and organisers of The Retas) as to whether she would be interested in providing the visual branding for the event, based on elements from her greeting card and art prints portfolio, Lianne Harrison (pictured top), the founder and talented creative director of Paperwhale Cards & Paper Goods was “absolutely delighted” to come on board.

Here she shares her story…

What led you to become a card publisher?

“I set up Paperwhale Cards & Paper Goods in 2014, after working as an illustrator for several years, and assistant buyer for gifts and stationery at Foyles bookshop in London. Discovering the creativity within the vast variety of greeting cards publishers in the UK, inspired me to illustrate my first collection.

And I’ve not looked back since, now supplying over 100 shops in the UK and overseas.”

Above: Some designs in Paperwhale’s Botanics card collection.
Above: Some designs in Paperwhale’s Botanics card collection.

You create all of Paperwhale’s papercut collage designs, from where do you take your inspiration?

“The inspiration comes from my love of nature and wildlife. I love visiting botanical gardens and greenhouses, and I’m passionate about plants – I have a growing indoor plant collection that fills my home and studio with greenery.”

Above: Some of Lianne’s inspiration.
Above: Some of Lianne’s inspiration.

What you feel is driving the trend for pot plants?

“I feel the recent popularity and love of house plants is a reaction to the fast paced world we live in. People are embracing slow living and connecting with nature, being more mindful and wanting to bring the beauty of the outdoors in, creating leafy green environments in their own homes. Plants bring a harmony and positive energy through their natural beauty, which is therapeutic. There is an amazing diversity in their natural forms, and the unique shapes, textures, patterns of individual plants, from the delicate String of Pearls to the big leafy Swiss Cheese Plant.”

Above: Lianne’s distinctive artwork features on the entry form of The Retas 2020. 
Above: Lianne’s distinctive artwork features on the entry form of The Retas 2020.

What is your favourite plant and why? 

“It’s really hard to name a favourite house plant, as I love so many, but at the moment I’m really drawn to Fishbone Cacti – they have the most beautiful unique wavy leaves.”

Paperwhale’s popular Botanics Collection of house plant greeting cards are inspired by Lianne’s love of indoor greenery and urban jungles. There are 15 designs which feature individual plant care tips on the back of each design. The publisher recently launched six vibrant tropical new additions to its Pocket Collection, and some Glasshouse designs featuring an array of tropical collage illustrations including cacti, succulent, palm and waterlily houses and a treetop walkway.

Above: A new Glasshouse design.
Above: A new Glasshouse design.

Being as environmentally friendly as possible is very important to the ethos of Paperwhale. All of its greeting cards are printed in the UK on FSC-approved card, with recycled envelopes and either biodegradable cellobags, or naked with recycled kraft belly bands.

Above: Lianne’s current fave pot plant is a Fishbone Cactus.
Above: Lianne’s current fave pot plant is a Fishbone Cactus.

Top: Lianne Harrison’s love of nature has fuelled her designs for greeting cards.

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