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Hazelmade, Kent

Designer Susan Hazel Rich’s line features beautiful and colorful items ranging from greeting cards to tote bags to tea towels.

Susan Hazel Rich’s early designs lived in a shoebox — cards printed in black and white and shaded in with colored pencils. Rich, a designer for several companies and then a self-employed graphic designer, wanted to try something new. So, she spent a year buying her business mentor lunch in exchange for advice about how to launch her stationery and gift line that is now sold in more than 300 stores across the United States. 

“The first cards I made were awful, and I look back at them, and I want to delete those pictures,” says Rich, who founded her Hazelmade line in 2014. “But I don’t … I love that I took that risk.”

Rich sells her bold and beautiful designs on notepads, tote bags, zip pouches, greeting cards, art prints, mini notes and her bestseller: hand-wrapped and -labeled tea towels. All of her designs — dogwood, lemon, ivy and aster patterns are a few of her subjects — go through an extensive process to ensure accurate color, softness and washing and drying success. 

“There’s a design challenge of just getting them to work and pop and sing and feel aesthetically pleasing with two to three colors,” Rich explains. “It’s difficult, but it’s fun.”

New patterns are inspired by small moments at home, the farmers market and the berry patch — celebrating things that connect us.

“I make gifts, and I make cards, and I make ways for you to reach out and say, ‘I miss you,’ ‘I’m sorry,’ ‘happy birthday,’ ” Rich says. “Most of my work doesn’t remain in your hands. You selected it because you’re going to pass it on, and that is a really fun process to be a part of.”    

For more information, visit shophazelmade.com

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