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Mean Mail was founded by Vicky Simmons as an antidote to the saccharine greeting card industry. Vicky is a BA (Hons) Graphic Design graduate from Camberwell (2008) who has spent the last decade working as an art director in London, Los Angeles and New York. She launched with just 16 designs in mid-2017, which were quickly picked up by stockists nationally and internationally, including Liberty of London and Colette in Paris.

What’s your fondest memory from your time at UAL?

I loved our end of year shows – from a derelict prison in Clerkenwell to a vacant office space in Marylebone to a shop on Hoxton Square. They were a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun!

How did your company come about?

The idea for Mean Mail came from not being able to find cards that were suitable for my own relationship. One of the first cards I wrote was ‘I’d like to keep this when we split up.’ 
We’re still together in case you were wondering!Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by conversations with friends and sometimes even strangers.

I also collect books (more art/factual than novels) and love nothing more than trawling round my local charity shops in search of interesting new reads. For a few years I worked at an advertising agency on Charing Cross Road and would pass all the secondhand book shops on the way to work. One of my favourite books I bought came in a giant cigarette box and is all about cigarette packaging. It’s called No Smoking.

What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?

Our latest collection is inspired by modern day communication. We spend our lives chasing up or apologising for texts and emails so I’ve designed a set of cards that mean at least you can reply with style; ‘Did you get my email?’, ‘Sorry I didn’t reply to your text.’, ‘My phone died.’What purchase have you currently got your eye on?

A flight to Canada – I’m planning a road trip there in August!

Where is your most inspiring place in London?

On top of the reservoir behind Nunhead Cemetery! You have to find the hole in the fence to climb through to get there but it’s worth it.

What advice would you give current students hoping to start their own business?

It’s useful to work for a couple of other people first, so that you can fully understand how other businesses work. It doesn’t even need to be in the same industry – in fact, it helps working in a different industry as the processes can be completely different but can still be relevant.

Stay uncomfortable and don’t get complacent. It’s really easy (especially in employment) to just coast or worse, hibernate. Keep challenging yourself – it’s tough to adhere to but it helps you in the long run.

What’s next for your brand?

We’re currently working on new card designs and developing new products. Sign up to our mailing list to find out more