Read our new interview from a series of blogs exploring representation in greetings card design.

Cherelle Brown sitting at a desk with her laptop writing notes on a sheet of paper. Behind her is a stand with a range of cards on display and a shelve with paper gift bags. Her studio's wall is painted pink. She wears an orange blazer.

Cherelle Brown in her studio

We are collecting greetings cards to capture some of the stories of makers and small businesses driving change. Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing more interviews here on our blog about the importance of diverse representation in greetings card design.

Meet Cherelle Brown, our next guest and the founder and illustrator behind the contemporary greetings card and stationery brand KitsCH Noir.

Hi Cherelle, can you tell us about yourself and your company?

My name is Cherelle, I am the founder and illustrator of KitsCH Noir, the award winning black greeting cards and stationery brand. I started the brand in 2017 after it dawned on me that I had never received a birthday card that even slightly resembled me. After working in the fashion industry for 4 years, it soon became a very pretentious environment for me. Luckily, I was made redundant and saw this as a sign to start something that could create impact for me and my community. I knew I needed to pay my bills and get by but did not want to return to fashion, as I wanted to do something meaningful and help others. So I took on a job as a civil servant helping the unemployed people from my local community get back into work. The job was literally 5 minutes from my home so I was able to work on my business, before and after work, and take orders to the Post Office during my lunch break! After many long days and lots of hard work, I was able to leave my full time job and work on KitsCH Noir full time.

What inspired you to set up KitsCH Noir? How has it grown since launch and where can we find your products?

I was inspired by family and friends’ special occasions! Any time I was invited to a birthday or celebration I realised there was never a card that would be appropriate or represent the recipient in the right way. I slowly began to plan ahead and make sure that I would be able to attend every event with a card which resembled the recipient. I quickly began to create a large collection of cards for all occasions! I started off selling my cards on Etsy, then created my own website, As the range grew, so did my stockists! My cards are now available to buy on Moonpig, Waterstone’s, Scribbler, National Theatre Bookshop and Tesco’s!

Can you tell us a bit more about the designs we have collected and what they mean to you? How did they come about?

Sure! The Christmas cards I created (Black Santa & Mother Christmas) were created as they were cards and images I wish were available when I grew up! The only black Santa I would see was when my Dad dressed up, which made me wonder – If Santa is a fictional character, why couldn’t he be black? Then I got even more curious…why could he be a woman? It was my mother who made the presents appear every Christmas morning after all!

Mother Christmas and Black Santa greetings cards

I am also an absolute sucker for puns so I had to put a twist on the phrase ‘Season’s Greetings!’ I illustrated the seasonings which are found in the majority of my family and friends’ kitchens!

‘Seasoning’s Greetings’ card

What would you like someone to feel when they see KitsCH Noir designs on shelves?

I would like people to feel seen and represented. I would also like people to feel that the culture and diverse society we live in is being portrayed through my illustrations. I want people to feel inspired and encouraged by the motivational words and imagery of regular black and brown people I have drawn.

Do you know…card

What change were you seeking to inspire in the industry? What more do you think needs to be done to improve representation?

I have always aimed to progress the mindset of card and gift buying consumers. Although the main focus of my cards is on black and brown people enjoying and celebrating, I don’t want non black consumers to feel they can’t buy my cards or products. I have made them for everyone to enjoy! I just love representing my culture and providing something that was not there for me when I grew up. We can improve representation by being more open minded when purchasing cards.

‘Tomorrow is over’ card

Have you received any feedback from a stranger who bought your greetings cards that really stood out? What difference did your cards make to them?

Most of my feedback comes from strangers as I don’t know the majority of them! But yes, I receive AMAZING feedback all the time! One of my most memorable customers is a Swedish customer who has supported me from the very beginning! She came across me in my first year of business when I used to trade at Portobello Market. She was so impressed by all my designs and nearly bought one of each card as she knew someone she could give each one to. She bought many ‘Mother’ cards and I thought that maybe she knew black women who she saw as mothers. She posted photos of when she gave the card to her mum and I saw that her mother was white like her…this really opened my own eyes and made me realise that we are so able to progress our mindsets and relate to beautiful designs despite the skin colour of the illustration, it is how I grew up receiving cards after all? She told me she loved the style of my work and found it so refreshing.

What do you see as the future of greetings card design and can you share any news about upcoming designs?

I think the future of greeting cards is representational and inclusive. For KitsCH Noir, the designs will remain fun, cute and always have Black British culture at the heart of it. We launched an awesome new Mother’s day collection so take a look at that!

What would you like someone in the future who discovers these cards in the museum’s collection to know about them? About the moment that inspired their creation and about their significance.

I would like people to know that KitsCH Noir was created by a black female who had no idea how to enter into a new industry, but she did it and she thrived in it. She was constantly inspired and motivated by people who thought she couldn’t or shouldn’t, but she could and did.

You can find out more about KitsCH Noir on their website. Look out for our next Meet the Maker interview, coming soon.