I love getting cards in the mail. It’s a little bit of a lost art, one that I’m sad to see go. I understand the ease and time efficiency of electronic invitations and I support the movement of wasting less and using less paper, and all that, but when you open that big mailbox and there’s a hand addressed card in there, it’s almost like Christmas. In fact, maybe that is one of the reasons that Christmas is such an awesome time of the year for us. We are always excited to get the mail to see who has sent us a card that day.
I think that receiving one of Jenna’s hand-made cards in the mail would just totally make my day! There is so much love and thought and creativity going into each one, that the inscription on the inside is just the icing on the cake! Meet Jenna and check out her cool paper goods!
Please introduce yourself.
Hi there! I’m Jenna Puente, owner, designer, maker etc. behind my paper goods company Paper Wilderness. I grew up in Chula Vista, which is in very south San Diego County, and moved to Long Beach 10 years ago to attend CSULB. I fell in love with the city while getting my degree and have been a Long Beach local ever since.
What do you make or do?
I design, illustrate, hand letter, print, and package paper goods out of my apartment in Long Beach, with a focus on greeting cards but also including postcards, calendars, notebooks, and prints. I’ve been drawing my whole life and got into the habit of making my own cards for friends and family for all their special occasions. They always loved them, so I finally decided to see what the rest of the world thought about my illustrations and often punny sense of humor.
Every piece begins as a watercolor painting with hand-lettered type because that connection and handmade quality between paint, pen, and paper is so satisfying! Then I clean it up, print, cut, fold, and package. You get the idea…the whole process is done by yours truly.
Other than paper goods, I have been known to paint a few pet and baby portraits around the holidays, they make the best gifts. Oh and I also occasionally make hand painted wooden brooches and ornaments. I can’t stop painting…
Where can we find your creations?
You can keep up to date on the latest Paper Wilderness news and products on our website (www.paperwilderness.com), our Facebook (www.facebook.com/paperwilderness), and especially Instagram (@thepaperwilderness), which always has great sneak peeks and surprises. The entire card line is available in our Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/PaperWilderness), and select card designs and products are available at brick-and-mortar boutiques, check the website for a shop near you.
I participate in many craft shows like Renegade Craft Fair, Unique LA, and Patchwork (of course) so check our various forms of social media and come say hello at the next event, I’d love to meet you!
When you’re not making things, what do you do?
When I’m not making things (which is very rare), I like to unwind by riding my bike, trying new coffee places, watching Netflix with the boyfriend, and hanging out with my house bunny Lou Lou, she is seriously the cutest thing ever.
Where do you find inspiration?
Wildlife and animals are huge inspirations for me and therefore make up 99% of my subject matter. It’s just incredible how colorful, expressive, and unique they all naturally are. I will literally never run out of fun, interesting animals to draw because just when you think you’ve seen them all, here comes a capybara (one of my favorites, look it up)! They also pair perfectly with cheesy puns and/or sassy one-liners.
What’s on the horizon for you and what you do?
This upcoming year I’m looking to gain more wholesalers, especially out-of-state, to make the Paper Wilderness line more available throughout the country. I’ve also been considering and researching doing a few craft shows out-of-state to help with my first goal, and for some fun traveling adventures. As always, new cards and products come out on a regular basis so stay tuned!
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
An irrational fear of failure was the reason I procrastinated on starting my company and something I still struggle with, so my advice to creatives as much as to myself would be to just go for it! Even if something doesn’t work out the way you thought it would, it’s never a complete failure. And half the time, we’re all just winging it anyway so don’t be intimidated!