SAAFBA sat down with Krisa Tailor, founder and artist at tailored-prints.com. to discuss her journey as a greeting card artist, challenges facing South Asian creatives, and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
Krisa Tailor started making greeting cards as an escape from Silicon Valley.
Hailing from a large Gujarati family in North Carolina, Krisa came to the Bay Area in 2016 through her job. She had worked in healthcare tech her whole career. But her creative roots were calling to her.
Krisa had studied design in college. Her older sister is a physician, and she felt pressure from her community to follow the same path. “It was quite a hurdle trying to major in art and design at the time,” she says.
Fast forward to 2016. During the day, Krisa geeked out on tech. At night and on the weekends, she was making greeting cards in her 500-square foot cottage in Palo Alto.
“I started making them as a side hustle,” she says.
In the beginning, Krisa made traditional, ‘American’ greeting cards. She went door-to-door, shop-to-shop, and got into dozens of shops, cafes, and companies in the Bay Area.
As Krisa got engulfed in the wholesale market for greeting cards, she met other greeting card artists and shop owners. She learned how greeting cards are distributed across the U.S. It was very clear to her that diversity and inclusion were not a part of this space.
So she tried out a few South Asian themed cards, featuring whimsical puns: You’re Kind of a Big Daal, and You’re the Cheeni to my Chai.
“Something really just clicked for me, then,” she says. “They were selling out, people were asking for more. It’s not easy to go out and find a fun Diwali card, or a Mother’s Day card that my mom could relate to.”
That’s when she realized that her side hustle could be much more than that. Earlier this year, Krisa quit her job and launched Tailored Prints — an online shop selling hand-drawn, playful paper goods celebrating South Asian culture.
What are some of the challenges facing South Asian creatives?
I think that there is broadly a maker movement, a creative movement going on. I’m meeting more and more South Asian creatives. But it’s still just as hard for them to pursue nontraditional careers.
It’s not easy to go out and find a fun Diwali card, or a Mother’s Day card that my mom could relate to.
The number one challenge for us, who are in this creative space, is actually getting that support network. It’s so important because any kind of entrepreneurial effort is so difficult.
What are some changes you’d like to see?
I would love to see more diversity and inclusion in design programs around the U.S. We see a lot of South Asian faces in STEM settings, but we still don’t see it in the creative space. So I would love to see the South Asian community embracing and becoming more comfortable with it. Especially because South Asians have such vibrant cultures.
Why greeting cards?
As a piece of art, people can appreciate greeting cards. It’s always nice to open a handwritten note. Craft paper goods and the stationary market is actually growing.
It’s a way for specifically first generation South Asian Americans to feel connected to their culture. What I’m trying to do is highlight the positive things about our culture, whether they are nostalgic moments, things our parents used to do or say or celebrate.
The inspiration for my cards come from aspects about the culture that I’ve come to love over the years. A lot of them are based on childhood memories. I grew up in a really large Gujarati family in North Carolina, and at the time there were just a handful of Indian families around us. Our family did a lot to preserve the culture, teach us the language, the traditions and rituals. I think a lot of what I’m able to create today is based on what I’ve learned from that.