We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Ritterstein and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicole, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, I went to college in New York City and now I live in Los Angeles. I am a first generation American – my Mother is from Poland and my Father is from Slovakia. My parent’s love of travel took me around the world starting when I was just a child, camera in hand. My dad’s sense of humor and interest in photography made every day a new adventure, and I continued those adventures while working in TV production for 15 years. I love meeting new people, exploring new places, smelling new scents, and tasting new flavors. I believe that all of this is reflected in my snarky greeting cards, they are a collection of who I am today – colorful, funny and adventurous.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I make snarky greeting cards using my photographs. My cards are square-shaped and come in two sizes (I’d like to think the mini ones are slightly less offensive, ha!). I also design magnets, trucker hats, baby onesies, tote bags, stickers and candles. Some of my cards are sweet and some are sassy, just like my customers. I absolutely love seeing people smile and laugh when they read my cards. To me, that’s the best part of all of this. And the fact that I can make a living out of it, blows me away. There are a lot of talented people out there who make really funny cards and accessories. I’ve seen calligraphy, plain text, illustrations, etc. What sets me apart from others is that everything I sell features my original photography. I’m most known for my mini greeting card that says ‘Go F*ck Yourself”. I love the juxtaposition of a curse word that looks really pretty. I always carry them with me to hand out to people that I meet. Their reaction when opening the tiny envelope is priceless! I travel as often as possible, to get inspiration for my photos and because I just love it. I love to photograph a city, take in the vibe and create an image that reflects that feeling. I do custom work as well, anything from Halloween party invitations to Prostate Cancer Awareness cards… that one read: “Fear Not the Finger”. It has been an interesting journey, that’s for sure! I don’t have a formal business background, so each step is one I had to take largely on my own, such as locating a printing house, deciding on the specific paper, finding the right envelopes and packaging to fit my square-shaped cards. How do I sell these? Where do I sell them? How do I get the word out there? I had so many questions, so many details to figure out and learn! So I hit the ground running. I started selling my products at various craft fairs, to help figure out my audience and learn about my customers. I created and built my own website, I designed my own logo, the list goes on. When you’re just starting out, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to ask for help. No business is run alone and you’d be surprised just how supportive others can be. For example, at craft fairs and markets, there is a strong sense of community between vendors. Even if we might be selling similar things, we all want to help each other out. The most important piece of advice I can give anyone is: trust your gut. Taking chances can be hard and scary but it’s exciting and rewarding at the same time. I truly believe in my product. I love photography and I love making people laugh. And I figured out the perfect way to combine the two.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
One of my favorite local spots in the area is a Venice restaurant called Flake. Their “rad muffin” breakfast sandwich is my current go to!

The Venice canals are a hidden gem and perfect for a serene afternoon walk. Lined with unique houses and quaint little docks, each canal has two or three bridges connecting to each side.
The dinner at Scopa Italian Roots is absolutely delectable, the staff is knowledgeable, and I love to have drinks while sitting at their ornate bar.
Following dinner, a night cap at Chez Jay is in order. This is a great little beach side dive with peanut shells on the floor and a classic jukebox playing in the background. I can guarantee you will meet some real characters at the bar.
In Los Feliz, you’ll find a delicious brunch spot called Little Dom’s. I highly recommend the eggs bruschetta.
Down the street from Dom’s is the classic Vista Theatre. This lovely and charming single-screen movie theater will not disappoint. The seats have a ton of leg room and the building has kept its historic architecture through the years.
The area craft fairs and street markets are one of my favorite activities. When I am not participating in the markets, I find it fun to support other local artists and makers.
Lastly, I cannot get enough of stand up comedy! L.A. has so many great venues and some of the most talented and hysterical comedians. If you find yourself at the Comedy Store for an evening, you never know who might pop in!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give a shoutout to all the Murderino Makers. We are a group of creatives who also happen to be fans of the true crime comedy podcast, My Favorite Murder. We call ourselves Murderinos. This podcast has built a huge community of fans that have gone on to start clubs, groups, meet ups, friendships and more. Every month for one week, Murderino Makers donate 15% of our sales to different charities and organizations chosen by us in the community. Among the makers you can find unique products such as art,  apparel, paper goods, bath & body products, jewelry, and more! I have met so many lovely friends through this group. We support each other in businesses and just day to day life. I never expected to find such inspiration and support from something so unrelated to me and my business but, Murderinos Makers have impacted my life in extraordinary ways.

Website: www.avantcardstudio.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/avantcardstudio/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AvantCardsINC/

Image Credits
Scott Fleishman, Steven Lake