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Featured Shop: Cynla

Nov 11, 2016

by Julie Vadnal

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

When Cindy LaColla first started designing cards for Cynla, her line of hand-drawn paper goods, she took inspiration from what surrounded her: New York City’s cloud-reaching skyscrapers, bustling groups of people, and…a lot of stress. “I found that I drew a lot of ‘Relax’ and ‘Take It Easy,’ cards,” she says.

So when the artist moved to the Hudson Valley with her husband and began drawing from her home studio overlooking a lush backyard, the designs took a new, more relaxed bent. Even the lettering on her cards began to resemble the vines and flowers that surrounded her. “I love to study nature,” LaColla says. “If you look really closely at leaves, there are so many patterns in them, and my art is an interpretation of that. I have a million pictures of plants on my phone!”

Read on to learn how Cindy’s work continues to evolve, and shop the Cynla collection

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How did you become a greeting card designer? It sounds like a dream job.

I was working in the corporate world, doing graphic design for a legal publishing company. The work was very text-heavy, so I started taking classes at the School of Visual Arts as a creative outlet. I took a greeting card design class, which I didn’t even know existed. That class taught me about building a line, the business side of it. I got hooked. Plus, it was always my dream to find work that I loved that I would be able to do from home.

Speaking of, what is your studio like?

It’s on the second floor of my home, and there’s a window where I can look at trees — right now they’re changing colors. I usually find different spots to draw, either outside on a lounge chair or inside on the couch where the cat crawls into my lap. I recently had a baby, so it’s a little harder to find time to draw now. I’m mastering holding a baby in one arm and drawing with the other hand.

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In your shop’s About section, you say that drawing is the best medicine. How so?

Instead of journaling or talking, I feel like drawing is my therapy. It helps me relax and deal with anxiety. To draw, I have to sit in a comfortable spot; when I’m not relaxed, my drawings don’t come out that well. I really have to be relaxed to feel inspired and get my ideas out.

How do you come up with the messages for your cards?

My husband actually inspires a lot of the cute phrasing. He’s a teacher, and he has a way with words. A lot of the love-y cards are inspired by love notes that we wrote to each other when we were dating. When we started living together, we would leave notes like, “I love you more than all the work that piles up in the world.” So it got me thinking in that way for my cards.

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Which card is the most popular?

I used to sell a lot of starry designs, and I still do. But oddly enough, one of my best sellers is a whiskey card. My husband drinks whiskey, and sometimes it’s hard to find cards for men, so I made that one for him. I sell that card to people around the world!

What else do you have coming up for the shop?

I just released a calendar for 2017 that I’m really excited about. It’s a moon calendar, and each month has either a moon phase or a moon phrase, with drawings of animals on the moon. It was a lot of work! I did all the illustrations and I also hand-lettered the months and numbers and days of the week. And of course, I made my husband double-check for any mistakes.

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Why is it important to send handwritten cards, even in the age of email?

Greeting cards connect people. Any time you’re celebrating a moment or a life event, they embody that. It inspires me when I go to a celebration — a birthday party or a wedding or baby shower. I get so many ideas. People are always happy at those events, and I try to capture that in my cards. I like it when people say, “This is the perfect card!” because that means I’ve captured something that speaks to them.

Follow Cynla on Instagram and Facebook.

Photographs courtesy of Cynla.

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1 Featured Comment

  • jwalk432

    jwalk432 said 316 days ago Featured

    Congrats on the beautiful feature! So cool. Cynla has been such an important part of our lives. We used Cynla prints in our nursery when our daughter was born, and now they adorn our playroom. One of the "starry" series cat cards helped me to emotionally get through when one of our cats suddenly passed. When we made a huge move from Brooklyn to CT, I ordered her beautiful Brooklyn-scape cards in bulk and used them for all of my personal goodbye notes to my dear friends and co-workers. And for every wedding and baby shower I've been to over the past few years, I've found the perfect whimsical cynla card to bring :)

76 comments

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 316 days ago

    Beautiful shop and congratulations on the new baby!!! Definitely will have to check out the moon calendar. Sounds amazing!

  • marisam4

    Marisa M. from FeltInMyHeart said 316 days ago

    Nice to see a fellow upstate NY shop featured! Gorgeous cards and prints. Congratulations!

  • suemako

    Sue from SuesAkornShop said 316 days ago

    You are very talented! Congrats on the feature.

  • PrimCountryCurtains

    Francine from HomespunHeartofMine said 316 days ago

    You are so very talented, Cindy....LOVE your designs....so imaginative! I can see why they are so popular!!! Congratulations on the feature and many blessings for your continued success!!! :D

  • maggiesraggedyinn

    Mary Robertson from MaggiesInn said 316 days ago

    These cards are amazing and very unique. I love your work!!!

  • QueenBeeVintiques

    Kim from RiverHomeVintage said 316 days ago

    Congrats on the feature...your work is whimsically beautiful.

  • minipotterybyanita

    minipotterybyanita from potterybyAnita said 316 days ago

    Love your quirky and unique designs! And the story of your and your husband's "love notes" is too sweet! Congrats on being Featured and I know you'll have much future success! ♥♥♥

  • conniejetter

    connie jetter said 316 days ago

    Your Heart Of Gold Shines:):)--Thank You For Sharing A Piece With The Sea-Of Etsy:):)

  • dominna

    Katrina Dzerkale from Dominna said 316 days ago

    I LOVE your calendars !

  • ClassicMemories

    ClassicMemories from ClassicMemories said 316 days ago

    Lovely cards. Congrats on the feature.

  • GTDesigns

    renee and gerardo from GTDesigns said 316 days ago

    sweet feature! love the details and fun spirit in every card! congrats!

  • emileemanley1

    Emilee Manley from YarnOverHookByEmilee said 316 days ago

    Love your designs! Congrats on the feature!

  • jwalk432

    jwalk432 said 316 days ago Featured

    Congrats on the beautiful feature! So cool. Cynla has been such an important part of our lives. We used Cynla prints in our nursery when our daughter was born, and now they adorn our playroom. One of the "starry" series cat cards helped me to emotionally get through when one of our cats suddenly passed. When we made a huge move from Brooklyn to CT, I ordered her beautiful Brooklyn-scape cards in bulk and used them for all of my personal goodbye notes to my dear friends and co-workers. And for every wedding and baby shower I've been to over the past few years, I've found the perfect whimsical cynla card to bring :)

  • jillsandusky

    Jill Sandusky said 316 days ago

    Beautiful designs Cindy! Super great article describing you and your art! Congrats on the feature!

  • slacolla

    Sue LaColla said 316 days ago

    When it comes to reaching out to someone, the impact is much greater when you send or receive one of these beautiful works of art and love. Anyone could shoot off a quick email or text but Cynla cards are gorgeous, heartfelt and very good quality! Showing you care....really care!

  • babsfsu

    Barbara Gable from CrazyLovely said 316 days ago

    The cards are lovely! I love the whimsy. Congratulations on the new baby

  • lucindamakowsky

    Lucinda Makowsky said 316 days ago

    I love giving people Cynla cards because it's not just a card it's a work of art. I agree that the people I give them to feel more connected and special because the card is so beautiful and one of kind.

  • tlpjenpierce1

    Jennifer and Gary Pierce from LoftAtticEarth said 316 days ago

    Your cards make me feel happy! The colors and curves and messages are healing! Thanks for sharing your talent with the world. Blessings to your family as your business grows.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 316 days ago

    Beautifully designed! Beautifully created!

  • PlexisArt

    Eleni from PlexisArt said 316 days ago

    Beautiful shop !!! Congrats on the feature....

  • erinf115

    erinf115 from HarpandThistle said 316 days ago

    So proud of you Cindy! Hudson Valley Represent!!! :D

  • dayslonggone

    Gwynne Collins from DaysLongGone said 316 days ago

    Love your art! Your cards are beautiful! Congratulations on the feature!

  • suzannerorick

    Suzanne Rorick from SRorickArt said 316 days ago

    Congrats on the feature Cindy! I love your whimsical and colourful designs. I can relate to your comment about how drawing helps with anxiety and relaxation. I'm an artist as well and watercolor painting is my outlet. The many moons calendar looks awesome!

  • davidemoretti

    Davide Moretti from SensyArt said 316 days ago

    Sono veramente belli! Realizzi un ottimo prodotto. Mi piace molto.

  • olga11223

    Olga from LinenAndTailor said 316 days ago

    Congrats on the feature! Lovely designs!

  • JewelrybyDorothy

    Dorothy from JewelrybyDorothy said 316 days ago

    Love your work! Congrats on the feature!

  • infinitlit

    Farideh Nouri from FlairPaintings said 315 days ago

    very cute and creative!!! congratulations on the feature :)

  • haelleah

    haelleah said 315 days ago

    Congratulations on the feature! I love how woodsy your featured cards feel - I can picture all of the trees and leaves you must be looking out on! Your holiday cards are amazing! Can't wait to use more this season!

  • BelkaUA

    Olesya Bagriy from BelkaUA said 315 days ago

    Beautiful shop!!! Congratulations on the feature!

  • marggieh1

    marggie hennessy from LoveFreeStyle said 315 days ago

    Love Cylna's designs, very unique and original! Great feature, love reading about other artists!

  • bedouin

    Nicole from Crackerjackarma said 315 days ago

    So sweet and relatable ~ Beautiful inside and out !

  • cynla

    Cindy LaColla from cynla said 315 days ago

    Thank you thank you for all of the beautiful comments on my art! Hearing these kind words keeps me creating and inspires me. I really appreciate all of the support and love! ♥

  • ArabellaReason

    ArabellaReason from ArabellaReason said 315 days ago

    Congratulations on your new baby and the shop feature! I enjoyed reading about you and your story. The illustrations are wonderful! Wishing you continued success!

  • kalacolla

    kalacolla said 315 days ago

    What a beautiful feature Cynla!! Congratulations and high hopes for your best selling season yet!

  • TreasuredMemoryLane

    TreasuredMemoryLane from TreasuredMemoryLane said 315 days ago

    Beautiful work of art! Congratulations on the feature!

  • lilithdelicious

    Saba from satorstudio said 315 days ago

    Congratulations, Cindy ;) Your drawings are super cute!

  • JewelMeShop

    Georgia from JewelMeShop said 315 days ago

    I love your holiday cards! Congrats on the feature!

  • ButterflyFeetShop

    Sherri from ButterflyFeetDigital said 315 days ago

    Lovely work, congrats on the feature!

  • jacobswoodentoys

    Tim and Brigita Cornwell from jacobswoodentoys said 314 days ago

    Such beautiful designs! Lovely shop. All the best of success to you.

  • TropicalGarden

    TropicalGarden from TropicalGarden said 314 days ago

    Beautiful work! Congratulations on the feature!

  • Etrennes

    Etrennes from Etrennes said 314 days ago

    You are so talented! Beautiful designs and combination of colours...Wishing you all the best for continued success!!!

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 314 days ago

    I just love your product...Your designs are so much fun and truly amazing! Thanks for sharing your talents!

  • MUSTWEAR

    Book Clutches Store from BookClutchStore said 314 days ago

    Very interesting post :) I like such illustrations , it's a really good job! Greetings from Latvia & take care :)

  • jeanniepelletier

    Jeannie from heartfeltwhimsy said 314 days ago

    I just looked at your shop location and realized you are in the same town as me! Your work is beautiful and such fun. Best wishes for continued success!

  • CosmoBeets

    Sharron Boren from TheMedicineShack said 314 days ago

    Congratulations!

  • woody2673

    Suzanne Wood from SueSewsStudio said 314 days ago

    Love your cards - they are great!

  • jacknjilldesigns

    Patti Jacob from envisionandCREATE said 314 days ago

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your beautiful designs! And I adore the camping birthday card! Truly amazing work and detail! Congratulations on the feature and best wishes with continued success and joy in what you do!!

  • MadisonStreetBeauty

    MadisonStreetBeauty from MadisonStreetBeauty said 314 days ago

    Beautiful cards :) Congrats!

  • rachbing

    Rachel Bingaman from BingArt said 314 days ago

    Oh my goodness, your cards are just fantastic! Congrats on a well deserved feature :)

  • leightonsjoren

    Leighton Sjoren from LastStitchLeather said 314 days ago

    I want to be more successful with Etsy, but I'm not sure where to find resources that will help me succeed. Can anyone point me in the direction of some resources that you would consider invaluable for beginning Etsy makers?

  • reggiereg78

    Regina Dueño from ReginaDueno said 312 days ago

    Cindy, the artist for Cynla, is a creative inspiration. Her designs are wonderful! Cynla's paper goods are the perfect gift. They really add beauty to your day.

  • teerasakborkam

    Teerasak Borkam from TribalAndHarem said 312 days ago

    Perfect card สุดยอด

  • DelilahsAttic

    Madeleine Keller from ThoseGoodVibrations said 312 days ago

    wow your illustrations are so adorable and heartwarming! congrats on the feature!

  • rellyh

    Relly from RelsFindsNapaValley said 311 days ago

    Hi Cindy, you have beautiful artwork... I just became a fan of yours. Congratulations shop Cynla!

  • deardearArt

    deardear from deardearArt said 310 days ago

    great shop

  • ButterflyGhost

    Elly Lazaro from ButterflyGhost said 310 days ago

    Lovely cards. Beautiful work : )

  • Kashuen

    Kashuen Collectibles from Kashuen said 309 days ago

    I totally agree that it is so hard to find a right card for men. I always have to draw or make card myself for my husband. I wish I know a little bit more about the printing process of card. It is a beautiful shop.

  • axenic

    Robert LaColla from rtlacolla said 308 days ago

    Congrats Cindy on the great feature! I know what Cynla means to you and this reflects you and your process so well. As your husband, I'm happy to take credit for the whiskey card creation but like all of your cards, you bring something unique of your own and that's what makes Cynla cards special. I'm so blessed to be a part of your life.

  • psoglavka

    PSOGLAVKA KLARA from PSOGLAVKA said 307 days ago

    Congrats!Beautiful cards=)

  • emaxtees

    emaxtees from EmaxTees said 305 days ago

    Keep up the good work, its nice to see so much beauty ;)

  • klok1975

    klok1975 said 305 days ago

    I love the fun, playfulness and whimsy of Cynla's creations. They're heartfelt, colorful and filled with love! Cynla's detail and creativity never cease to amaze and surprise me. I love supporting a fellow New Yorker and her beautiful, creative work.

  • domenictripodi

    Domenic Tripodi said 305 days ago

    Great story! I've been exclusively using Cindy's cards for about 2 years now and I always get compliments on them. People are always asking where I got them from. Congratulations on the featured story and your continued success.

  • alysonowen

    Alyson Brown from AlysonReneeNYC said 305 days ago

    Beautiful work Cindy! The artistry & impeccable details are fascinating. Congratulations on your success!

  • lamusekalliope

    lamusekalliope from LaMuseKalliope said 304 days ago

    What beautiful illustrations! They really stuck my happy chord. Congrats!

  • enchantragirl

    Angela Colombo from AngieColomboJewelry said 304 days ago

    Great feature! I love handmade cards and I am looking forward to placing my first order with Cynla. I love her artwork and inspiration, so thank you for featuring this artist!

  • ugyang

    Eugenia Yang from Moobury said 304 days ago

    Congrats! Such beautiful cards!! Your story is an inspiration. <3

  • vjk317

    Valerie Knecht from NaughtyBirdDesigns said 304 days ago

    Loved reading about you and your work. Congratulations! Your cards are wonderful. Wishing you much success!!

  • sweetolivejewelry

    Amy Madden from sweetolivejewelry said 304 days ago

    Congrats, Cindy! Love your moon calendars!

  • sandrine20

    Sandrine B. from SandrineBjewelry said 303 days ago

    Such a great write up about your cards and moon calendar!!! They are so beautiful!! Congratulations!!

  • yukishop

    yukishop from yukishop said 299 days ago

    Congratulation on your etsy feature. So many people made nice comments. I am impressed and so proud of you. keep up your beautiful work !!

  • DivineOrders

    DivineOrders from DivineOrders said 298 days ago

    GLORIOUS! Congrats on the feature. Thank you Cindy for sharing your artistic journey, positive energy, and lovely designs with us. - Peace.

  • ali1342880

    ali1342880 said 295 days ago

    So nice to see you get the recognition you deserve! I love buying my Christmas cards from you each year; I can always find the perfect ones.

  • bobbywhite189

    Bobby White said 293 days ago

    Congrats Cindy! Beautiful site and designs! Its tough to actually use the cards because I'd rather keep them for myself :) Love the calendar too! February is my favorite, I might just keep that up all year :)

  • hitchins

    hitchins said 275 days ago

    I ordered cards from cynla they are beautiful I will order more for all occasions

  • LadyLyBoutique

    Lady Ly from LadyLyBoutique said 230 days ago

    This artist is very talented.

  • SallysVintageKitchen

    Sally from SallysVintageKitchen said 215 days ago

    Beautiful cards! Congratulations on the feature.

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