Happenstance Creations is an illustrative stationary and home goods business, based out of Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Owner, Susan Krien, applies her whimsical artwork to stationary and tableware and also creates beautiful custom invitations for any special occasion. Our customers love the way her simple and colorful illustrations celebrate the beauty and nature of New Jersey.
Q: Tell us about how you started your company.
I started Happenstance Creations as a creative endeavor after spending many years in the Insurance Systems field. I truly loved my work as a business consultant but chose to take some time off when my children came along. It was while my time home with them, that my creative juices started flowing again. Making party invitations and thank you cards for my children tapped into a childhood passion of mine. I have fond memories of gathering crayons, colored paper and scissors to create cards for the holidays. I have always been a note and letter writer through my summers away at camp and college years. So in the spirit of happenstance, one weekend I randomly read in the newspapers about 2 separate women who started their own greeting card businesses. A light bulb went off and Happenstance Creations was formed!
Q: What inspired you to start making your products?
I have always loved cards and stationery. I am one that saves pretty cards and have framed a few myself. A favorite lunch time break for me, while I was working in New York City, was to wander into a card shop and read greeting cards. It provided a little comic relief, but it reinforced to me even more just how powerful sending and receiving a physical card is. So note cards became the foundation of Happenstance.
I love art and creating art so I decided to illustrate a portfolio of designs using pen, pencils and pastels. My designs , when perched on beautiful paper, are meant to enhance the message inside. I selected my signature paper,a paper that has a slight texture, a texture that adds depth and warmth to the art. I then mastered the “art” of bringing my designs to print.
As happenstance would have it…one day someone mentioned that they could see my art on tea towels. MMM I never thought of that. With the assistance of a business associate who knew this process very well, I started to offer a new product line. That has since expanded to flour sack napkins, cotton kitchen towels and linen beverage coaster napkins. The opportunity to bring art into the home seemed like a natural expansion for me. I love to cook and gather friends and family in my home, and I know there are many who share that passion.
I choose images that are all around me and a part of everyday life. My desire is to have my perspective expressed through my art and products, bring joy to the world, the home and into personal connections. I am always looking around me to find that next thing that grabs me and puts a smile on my face.
Q: Explain Happenstance Creations in 5 words.
Warm. Organic. Niceties. Purposeful. Simple.
Q: What is your favorite thing about living in New Jersey?
Oh that’s hard! I have several favorites. There are so many beautiful communities in New Jersey and opportunities to enjoy a plethora of activities! Being a lover of music-I love having access to so many live music venues such as PNC art center, Jazz in Madison and the annual balloon festival, to name a few. I am also a native New Yorker who grew up close to the beach so-being able to head down the Garden State Parkway to visit the many beautiful shore communities is amazing. In addition, the beautiful parks….Farm stands ….Bike trails and proximity to New York City all make New Jersey a wonderful state to live and raise children.
Q: What is next for Happenstance Creations?
I have several new products that I am very excited about including a new branding stationery product for entrepreneurs, a new towel option and a new holiday offering I am working on.
I pride myself on always listening to customers and being open to new ideas!