This month we’re excited to introduce Ashkahn – a quirky new card brand.
Ashkahn (pronounced ‘ash-con’) is the studio & company of artist, designer, illustrator, art director, director, stationery prince and all-round bon vivant, Ashkahn Shahparnia.
Based in downtown LA, Ashkahn infuses his range of cards, gift tags and mini letter-pressed cards with his quirky sense of design. The result is a cheeky, fun and risqué card range like no other!
We have a chat to him about the brand and how it all began…
What inspired you to start your business?
Falling in love with the medium that is the greeting card. Working on mastering the art of communication and the need to spread love, celebration and hope among the world.
What has been your biggest business achievement or favourite moment to date?
Showing at the National Stationery Show in New York for the first time and selling out!
What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?
DO IT YOURSELF. Like the great Samuel Beckett once said, “Fail, fail again, fail better.” I never forgot that.
As the brand is now a few years old, do you still hold the same responsibilities as you did when you created it, or has this evolved?
I’m not on the phones and email all day long trying to sell my work. I’m fortunate to have other amazing people handle that now but I still ask to be informed on any orders coming through and the matter at hand. It opens time for me to be creative which is the most important thing of all.
Can you tell us a business (or life) lesson you have learnt since starting your brand?
Do what makes you happy. I know that sounds so cheesy and cliche but it’s 100% true. Like, when you wake up in the morning, what is it that you want to spend your time on, go to bed, then wake up the next day and do it all over again? That’s it!
Do you have a favourite collection (and why this one)?
My favourite collections are always the most recent ones because they pertain to the current moment of my feelings. I still love everything else from past collections, but it was all created in a different time of my life that I sometimes do not connect to anymore.
Do you hear from your customers? What sort of people are they and what appeals to them about the Ashkahn the brand?
I am lucky to have the best fans. They always email me and communicate with me via Instagram. I’ve even been blessed to have some of my customers come up to me in public to say hello. That makes me the happiest. Believe it or not, the “Ashkahn customer” runs the gamut. It’s everyone from a kid in high school falling in love for the first time to a grandma celebrating her 50th anniversary.
What other designers or brands do you admire?
Rifle Paper Co., Egg Press, Yellow Owl Workshop and Sugar Paper to name a few.
What is the one stationery item you couldn’t live without?
What is next for Ashkahn? Is there something exciting on the horizon?
Speaking of a notepad, I’m working on my first one! It’s a dream come true to introduce this product to the collection! It’s been years in the making and I can’t wait to share it with the world.