meet: anna blandford of able and game
able and game is a very fun card company created by wife-and-husband team anna & gareth. based in melbourne, australia, they are making everyone smile with their witty cards and other charming products, like tea towels and tote bags. take a peak at how they started able and game and fall in love with their work!
what is your background?
i loved art and design in my final two years of high school and focused on that as the main area of my study, with maths and english thrown in. i spent a year abroad in belgium as an exchange student and by chance ended up at a high school that focused on art. when i returned to australia i spent three years working on a fine art degree, focusing on painting, drawing and public art. i did some travel, worked some crappy jobs, then did a diploma of education and spent three years teaching art and design. during this time i started a business making screenprinted bags, badges and other things. i stopped doing that in 2009 when i started able and game with my husband, gareth.
how did able & game get started?
in 2007 i quit my teaching job to focus on my now defunct design label. 2008 was a hard year, the business didn’t really thrive and i lost focus. however i came up with the name able and game, a combination of my initials and my husbands with the plan to start a greeting card business with him. i think the thing that drove me was the name. it is so hard to come up with a good name, but i really liked it! gareth wasn’t so keen on starting a business with me, he thought i was disorganized, lacked focus and didn’t do the things i told him to do. all true, but six years later he has learnt to put up with it, i guess.
how did you develop your style?
it has changed over the years, but it is still fundamentally about dorky people. coming up with card ideas still drives me, i am always listening into conversations and then thinking how can that become a card?
what inspires you?
people, i want to know everything about them. the more mundane the better.
what are you most looking forward to this year and into next?
working more! this year has been a slow year on the work front due to creating a small human. but next year he will go to day care for a couple of days and i’m looking forward to having more time to work on the business. we often joke that able and game is our first born and our actual first born child is the second born.
what advice would you give to makers who are just getting started?
just start. often you think you need to get a lot of stuff sorted, but that stuff can be sorted out when you have started and you learn as you go. also, seek out friends and family’s opinions, but try and get honest feedback. sure it is nice to hear your stuff is amazing, but it is also good to hear honest feedback, it might hurt a bit, but in the long run it will help your business more than you will know.