Ep 78. Mary McQueen, CEO of Hand and Beak gets creative with her love bird, Luigi, making unique greeting cards
Self-taught artist Mary McQueen was very happy to become an entrepreneur in 2012 following a successful pitch on Season 7 of CBC Dragons’ Den, a deal with David Chilton, and an invitation to launch Hand and Beak–a highly unique line of specialty greeting cards– through Hallmark Canada.Hallmark president commented that while Mary’s story contributed greatly to the positive decision, it was the high level of stand-alone artistry and execution that cemented the invitation. Today, Mary works in her preferred mode–independent self-publisher who sells primarily online but also through an eclectic and growing selection of boutiques. Mary will be seeking distribution in the UK when she exhibits at the International Greeting Card show in London, May 2016.
Back-story: Mary’s pet, Luigi the Lovebird, is passionate about shredding paper into perfect strips, using his beak like a sewing machine needle and dedicating hours every week to his ongoing nesting project. Luigi only shreds vet-approved paper. When Mary recognized that Luigi’s precision technique was “elevated” (many lovebirds shred paper but most mangle the paper) she got the idea to use this “avian artisan’s” awesome shredding as the raw material for fun, realistic and figurative collages, presenting the work as “cross-species folk art, made by hand and beak”. Mary and Luigi’s dual species collaborations are featured on greeting cards, wall decor, art prints and sold as originals to private collectors.