Monday, October 19, 2009

Featured Artist - Kirby Maragulia of Happy Hound Creative

This week's featured artist is fellow EtsyNJ member Kirby Maragulia of Happy Hound Creative,
(See above for a sneak peak of her cutting edge cards and stationary.) Happy Hound Creative offers a fine selection of paper goods, ranging from festive holiday note cards to one-of-a-kind elegant invitations. Whether you’re throwing a holiday bash or an intimate soiree, this paper princess is sure to have something special!

1. The Tote Trove (TTT): How did you come up with the name Happy Hound Creative for your business?

Kirby Maragulia (KM): When I started my business, my dog was just a little puppy. As I was thinking about a name for my company, I was dreaming about being able to stay home with my puppy and work on my business. I thought Snoopy (my puppy) would be one happy hound if I didn’t have to leave him for my office job.

2. TTT: How did you become interested in making stationary? What is it about paper that sparks your creativity?

KM: I offered to make wedding programs for my sister-in-law’s wedding and was amazed at how great they looked. I started playing with other types of stationary, including note cards, wedding invitations, etc., and people really responded well to my work. The thing about paper that sparks my creativity is all of the different colors and patterns that are available; I love bright, beautiful colors and patterns.

3. TTT: How did you decide to turn your passion for making stationary into a business?

KM: Several things happened. I started hearing “you need to start your own business” from many different people. As I mentioned, we got a puppy and I hated leaving him alone in the house while I went to work. Finally, I lost my office job due to layoffs. I guess you could say all of the cards just fell into place!

4. TTT: What is your favorite item in your shop?

KM: I love the “Hope” breast cancer awareness cards I created (pictured above). I love the way they turned out. Sometimes I see something in my head and am amazed at how beautiful it turns out!

5. TTT: What items, if any, would you like to add to your shop?

KM: WOW! I have so much in my head that I want to add to my shop. The biggest one is ensembles, meaning matching invitations, thank you cards, and favors, or wedding ensembles including matching save the date cards, invitations, programs, place cards, etc. Also, I still have tons of invitations to add to my shop.
6. TTT: Describe your creative process. Do you follow a routine, create when inspiration strikes, or a little bit of both?

KM: Well, I have a 4-month-old, so I think and create a lot in my head, and then when she goes down for a nap or to sleep at night I try to get all of the ideas out of my head and onto paper!

7. TTT: What is the best thing about running your own business? The worst?

KM: The best thing about running my own business is that I have so much freedom, and the worst is worrying about how to make it all work!

8. TTT: How did you discover Etsy?

KM: A friend suggested it to me – I had never heard of it but started exploring and was amazed at all of the wonderful handmade items and fantastic artists! I am addicted to it!!

9. TTT: Do you sell your work in venues outside of Etsy (i.e., other sites, craft show, etc)? If yes, then how does selling online differ from selling in person?

KM: My biggest customer base is through word of mouth – as soon as a big batch of wedding or party invitations goes out, I usually get about 2 - 3 interested customers. I don’t sell on any other Web site and have yet to do a craft show. Selling online is difficult because people don’t get to see the caliber of my work the way they do in person, plus I take such terrible pictures. I love to meet my customers in person and be able to hand them actual samples of my work.

10. TTT: Who is most (emotionally) supportive of your business?

KM: Aside from my happy hound, my husband is so very supportive of my business! He even helps me glue when I have a huge order!

11. TTT: Are there any new artistic/creative skills you’d like to learn?

KM: So many! I want to learn calligraphy so I can offer to address the envelopes for the wedding invitations I make. I’d love to learn how to sew so I can incorporate stitching elements into my designs, and I’d love to be able to create my own graphics.

12. TTT: On your Web site, you mention that you enjoy a good book. What are some of your favorites?

KM: I have so many favorites – The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is my favorite right now, but that will change once I read something I like better. I loved the Harry Potter series too.

13. TTT: Tell us about life outside of Happy Hound Creative. Hobbies? Family? Pets?

KM: Since I was let go from my job when I was 8 months pregnant with our first child, I am determined to make Happy Hound Creative my only job. Emma Grace (now almost five months) was born this summer, and I am enjoying being a mom so much. I am so grateful that I lost my job because I am able to stay home with Emma and I feel that being able to do so is a gift! My family includes my wonderful husband, Andrew, Emma, Snoopy the Happy Hound, and our two cats, Hank and Layla. I was born in New Mexico and most of my family is out there.

14. TTT: What are your hopes for Happy Hound Creative in the future?

KM: My number one hope is that I can continue to stay home and not have to find another job. I hope to be able to do a craft show or two next summer and hope that I continue to meet amazing artists and friends who share my passion.
15. TTT: BONUS QUESTION. Just for fun, if you were stranded on a deserted island and had to eat the same thing every day, what would it be? You can pick a drink and a dessert, too. (I find that dreaming up a whole meal makes this game more entertaining!)

KM: OH FUN!! I would have green chile chicken enchiladas with a side of French fries and a warm pecan tart for dessert, then chase it all down with a cold glass of Corona.

Thanks for stopping in and meeting Kirby! I hope you had as much fun as I did. For more Happy Hound Creative be sure to check out Kirby’s Facebook, Blogspot, and Web site locations at:

Don’t forget to check back next Tuesday for another exciting artist feature. Interested in being featured yourself? Just email me at for details.


Made by Melissa said...

I love those candy corn note cards! Congrats on the birth of your first child!

Happy Hound Creative said...

Thanks so much for featuring me!!