Veronica Marché Miller’s season’s greetings and warm wishes just went national. The Fashion Design graduate student designed an original line of illustrated fashion holiday cards and accessories that have been selling out at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods locations across the country.
A fashion illustrator, designer and writer, Miller launched her hand-drawn card collection “Fabulous Brown Girls” in 2011 when she noticed a lack of stylish and girly greeting cards for women of color.
“All the women around me love buying and sending greeting cards, but there aren't many that depict happy, fashionable women of color — which is a shame because we're everywhere,” she said.
In order to create the cards that she wanted to see, Miller says she started an endeavor to give friends and family Christmas cards that were fun, stylish and reflective of their diversity. But she didn’t stop there. After she received her first commission to design thank-you cards for a friend who wanted to thank her sponsors in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, she uploaded her work to RedBubble, an online portfolio and e-commerce website artists can use to sell and show off their artwork. She designed two lines of holiday cards, bridal cards and “glamour greetings” depicting beautiful shoes and women outfitted in gorgeous gowns.
Everything changed when she unexpectedly received an email from T.J. Maxx announcing the company was interested in her work. After checking to make sure it wasn’t a hoax, she worked with T.J. Maxx to create new designs to be manufactured into cards and bags. Her cards, which had never even appeared in a store anywhere, would now be sold across the country. Her “girls” would also appear on gift bags and wine bags for the first time.
“[T.J. Maxx] enjoyed the cards I'd already put out, but they had ideas for a few others, so it was great to be able to create new illustrations for them,” she said.
Miller’s T.J. Maxx line combines two original designs with two brand new designs that feature glitter, garlands, decorating and red bows. She used the skills she learned in fashion design classes to find inspiration from magazine tears, runway shows and trendy hair blogs and incorporate them in her work. Still, she says her biggest inspiration is the “happy, joyful women” who have inspired her and for whom she creates her cards.
Miller’s interests in fashion, beauty, ethnicity and culture don’t end with her card collection. When she isn’t running a custom illustration service, she writes commentary and opinion pieces for xoJane.com, a female-oriented online magazine, and The Grio, an African-American news site.
Miller had a career in journalism before entering Drexel’s graduate student program, though she always loved drawing and fashion design. For the success of her “girls,” she credits a fashion illustration professor she says was instrumental in “re-igniting my love for drawing and illustration.” Other members of the faculty have also supported her work, just like the family and friends for whom she originally started the project.
“The boxes of the [T.J. Maxx] cards I have are going to my mom and other relatives, because they're really excited about sending them out to friends,” she said.
More of Miller’s designs and prints can be found at her website.