Through her two-year-old company Cheek & Pen Paper Co., Bailey Spasovski has been creating and selling greeting cards far more exciting than what you might find in the local drugstore. Her Etsy store bio reads, “Everything you wish you could say without adding ‘JK,’” and Spasovski delivers cards that can put a smile--or blush--on anyone’s face.
A Bradenton native, Spasovski has lived in Sarasota for four years. And although Etsy business is far-reaching, she considers herself homegrown and is proud to work out of Sarasota. Her hand-written style is more elegant than your standard font, while still remaining fun and fresh. And the messages on her stationery are funny and tongue-in-cheek.
When Spasovski’s daughter was a newborn, she had a chubby face. So she named the company after herself and her daughter, who is now two years old. “She is the cheek and I am the pen,” Spasovski explains. “It also goes along with the [the saying], ‘Oh, that’s such a cheeky card.'”
”[Cheek & Pen] was my release for my snarkiness and attitude,” she continues. “My daughter was born, and I knew at some point I had to stop swearing out loud.”
Spasovski started her business by sharing her cards with her friends. She's always creating new designs, but she keeps all of her designs available online in case someone wants a specific card. She picks up the sayings on her cards from watching TV or talking with friends. Often, she creates her designs while she plays with her daughter.
“I spend my days doodling with her,” says Spasovski. “Even when we're doing art projects together, I may be in the corner writing out some bad words.”
Spasovski starts out with sketches and then creates the cards digitally or on her iPad. “I don’t like to use any fonts you can get on the computer,” says Spasovski. “So [my cards are] all hand-drawn.”
She works entirely from her home office and tries to buy her materials from small businesses. “I do all my cutting and printing,” she says. “I do not send anything to be sourced elsewhere; I try to keep it as local as possible.” And though Spasovski mainly sells her cards on Etsy, her work is available at local businesses, such as the Siesta Drive boutique Spider Lily Finery, as well as at local markets, like the monthly Rosemary District Indie Market and annual Atomic Holiday Bazaar.
Spasovski’s clientele varies. “It's a little bit of everybody,” she says. “At my shows, I have these wonderful little old ladies who are like, ‘I have been looking for these cards forever.’ I've found that I can’t judge anybody on what they would or wouldn’t like.”
Lately, Spasovski has also been making “We The People” postcards. All proceeds are donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. In the wake of the Women's March on Washington, she's also created pink pussy hat stamps, with the profits from those being donated to Planned Parenthood. She has already sold out and has restocked the cards and stamps twice. "I have to give back somehow," she says.