Dye-ing For More
Lisa Aihara on Creativity, Birthdays and the Power of Not Giving a F**K
On the eve of her 30th birthday, Lisa Aihara wasn’t expecting to receive any cards. Instead, she was getting ready to send cards out - hundreds of them - as she put the finishing touches on everything for the launch of her very own greeting card business.
It all started one year prior, when she made her first card for a coworker’s birthday, to her coworker’s pure delight. Or maybe it started in college, when she fell in love with telling stories as a literature major. Or maybe it started as a child, when she never stopped drawing, doodling and crafting, and even started to learn Photoshop at the age of 10.
Lisa believes it was a lifelong journey that brought her to this point. Regardless of when it started exactly, her greeting card business Fiber & Dye officially launched on her 30th birthday, August 13, 2016. But it hasn’t been all daisies and sunshine.
The biggest challenge to launching her card line—or at least the most obvious one—was her job. Her full-time, demanding, 9-5 (plus some) digital marketing career. But let’s be upfront. This isn’t one of those stories where the hero quits her boring, meaningless day job to follow her dreams. Lisa likes her job, and she worked damn hard to get where she is. When it came to following her dream, though, the time commitment was daunting, as it had been for several of her previous projects that didn’t get as far as Fiber & Dye.
“I always thought that I wouldn’t have time to do this. I have a graveyard full of business and blog ideas that never happened in the past decade because of that very excuse... But I’ve learned that time isn’t something you have, it’s something you make, and if you want it badly enough, you’re going to make the time for it.”
The other main challenge was far less apparent, though certainly no less real: the idea of comparison. The competition out there in the world is intimidating, especially when it comes to creativity, and for a long time Lisa was crippled by it. But using her 30th birthday as a catalyst to go for it, she adopted a new attitude that she can best describe as ‘IDGAF.’
“It doesn’t matter if there are other people who are better because there always will be, but there’s still room for me. I can sit at that table.”
It was that attitude that really opened the door for Lisa. Screw expectations, screw the norm, screw the competition. She had a vision and a mission, and she was going to see them come to life. It’s this vision that drew us to Lisa. Her entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to bringing her creativity to life is something that we at LUNA admire and respect.
And she’s not just making normal greeting cards, after all. Every card that Lisa designs has a specific person in mind.. She creates cards that are more fun to read aloud than they are to just read in your head. Oh, and she writes cards that swear… a lot.
“I think - with what’s out there now - you either have to choose a really pretty card or a more simple and fun card. But I wanted to make sure my cards reflected me. I knew that there were people out there who are like me and who want to say things like ‘holy shit you’re getting married!’ but still want pretty flowers behind it.”
Lisa will be the first to tell you, she isn’t special. Those who know her best might disagree, but Lisa is just a regular person, and that’s what she wants anyone thinking about following their dream to know. No, it won’t be easy. Yes, you can do it, and you’ll be so glad you did.
“If there’s one person out there you’ll be able to touch with what you create, then that’s the only reason you need to keep creating.”
Amid all the craziness that is running a card design business after hours out of her home, she considers it the best thing she’s ever done. Her husband and roommates don’t quite feel the same way about what it’s done to the dining table, but they’re more than supportive, and the coffee table has never seen so much love.
On whether Lisa will ever quit the 9-5… well, she’s not quite sure. She has a career that she loves, a passion project she loves and a life that she loves. And for anyone who thinks there’s not enough time for all that—frankly, she DGAF.