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How a bike trip inspired this Miamian to create eye-popping greeting cards

This post has been updated.

After being priced out of her home near the Design District in 2015, Julie Brumlik, the founder of Open Card Now, didn’t know what was next.

She’d already been a chef, a typographer, a graphic designer, and an artist. So she flew to Asia, biked from Tibet down to Vietnam and stumbled into her new passion project: creating 3D pop-up cards.

After spending months learning how to make the intricate cards, she returned to Miami and found an affordable place in Buena Vista, just north of her previous home.

Her new spot is also her home studio, where she’s created more than 300 unique designs and printed thousands of cards. And in addition to her online store, she’s had them placed everywhere from mom-and-pop shops to the Perez Art Museum gift shop.

Now, let’s tell you a little more about Julie and some of her favorite spots.

TELL US ABOUT OPEN CARD NOW IN ONE SENTENCE.  “It’s almost like doing a portrait even though it’s not a picture of the person, but it’s a picture of some part of their life they want to capture.”

HOW IT GOT STARTED. Back in 2015, Julie spontaneously bought a one-way flight to Asia so she could bike through the continent and find inspiration.

She eventually arrived in in Vietnam just as the annual Lifestyle Vietnam craft and gift fair was taking place in Saigon. That’s where she saw pop-up cards for the first time. She was immediately hooked on the idea of learning to make them.

“I asked around and I found someone who knew someone in Hanoi and I went to Hanoi and I took lessons to learn how to make them. Doesn’t everyone?”

She made it back to Miami in 2016 and started with nine designs. She got good feedback on those, so she decided to make the business her full-time job.

HER FAVORITE DESIGN: Whatever card she’s just finished making.

Each new design is a lengthy labor of love that can take months.  She’s very serious about accuracy. When she made a card including a marlin, she had a fisherman  review it to make sure she put the right amount of stripes on the body.

ON HOW THE DESIGN DISTRICT HAS CHANGED THE NEIGHBORHOOD: She thinks the new buildings and garages are unique and beautiful, and noted that if shopping at Gucci and Balenciaga isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of free stuff to check out, like the public art and the free shows at the Palm Court.

But she calls the development a “mixed blessing.”

“I feel like I was complicit in some ways because I just thought it was so beautiful but it also affected me and then I had to leave. Artists always are the first to bring an area alive and then they’re among the first to get pushed out when the place catches on.”

She said almost all of her neighbors had to move out and a lot of old, beautiful houses have been demolished.

SOME OF HER FAVORITE MIAMI SPOTS:

🍞Sullivan Street Bakery

🐟Seven Seas Restaurant & Fish Market

🛍️Upper Buena Vista Shops

HER LIFE ADVICE FOR OTHER MIAMIANS:  “I suggest that everyone, when they get to their late 60s, should take off on a bicycle and go travel the world for a couple years.”

Wanna check out Julie’s cards? You can find more info and see her unique designs by visiting her website. You can also find her cards in stores like Babalu, The Honey Tree and Glottman.