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‘Dark and Twisty’ greeting cards see company win $10K

Some “creative overflow” for a Campbell River small business has turned into a win at a local angel investor competition.

Graphic design company Sister Sister, owned by sisters Emily Sayward and Liv Kosub, was one of nine businesses to win at last week’s Nexstream Tech Competition.

Sayward says their line of unique greeting cards called “Dark and Twisty” deal with difficult subjects like depression.

“We created these cards as this response to what we found of this toxic positivity of ‘everything will be okay’ and ‘everything happens for a reason’ and we just didn’t want to hear those kinds of things,” Sayward said in an interview with Vista Radio.

Sister Sister started as a graphic design company but Sayward says they wanted to branch out and create something that “spoke to what we were thinking about” based on their vision and ideas instead of a client’s vision.

“There’s nothing that a card can say that will make it better. But sometimes people just want to hear that acknowledgment that you’re going through a really hard time and so that’s what we tried to do…be brutally honest in our cards and people have been responding really well to it,” she said.

The “Dark and Twisty” is a set of eight cards and Sayward says the $10,000 they won will go a “really long way” to expand their product line and pay themselves. They also have another line called “Everyday” of 13 cards that deal with birthdays and other events in a “cheeky” way.

Sayward says the competition was a “great experience” and helped with networking and “opened up some things” for their business plus helped with getting an “outside perspective.”

She says the competition was so steep and they were “absolutely shocked” when five winners in the community stream were announced, when normally there would be one, given the caliber of entries.

And what’s it like working with your sibling in a small business? Sayward says it could go either way but…

“It’s absolute perfection. My sister is my best friend and we always say we’re the same person. We obviously are different, we have our different interests and strengths, but we just communicate and work together seamlessly and there is literally nobody else in the world that I would rather work with.”

Cards from Sister Sister are currently available in eight locations, including French Creek Collective and West Coast Wildflowers in Campbell River.

The other winners in the NexStream 3.0 Community Stream were:

  • Fergus Bagley, ByteDeck
  • Lovena Harvey, Gathering Place Trading
  • Rob MacNeill, U4EO
  • Sharon Karsten, Walk with Me

The winners in the mainstream Campbell River Area Angel Group (CRAAG) competition were:

  • Fabian de la Fuente, Solaires – sustainable resource management
  • Stephanie Willerth, Axolotl Biosciences – health and emergency prepardness
  • Stephen Parslow, salonMonster – wildcard
  • Tamir Barzilai, Honeycomb AI – food security
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