Creative Couples- theBird+theBeard

img_0804Crafty couple Jessica and Karl Schaefer, aka theBird+theBeard, are based out of Pittsburgh and have been together for 8 years but have only been working  in their handmade business for 4 years.  In 2013, they launched their line of chemistry-themed geeky greeting cards based on the Periodic Table of the Elements that feature sayings from classy and traditional to sassy and youthful. They’ve  expanded their academic themes to include BASIC computer programming, binary code, and math equations.
We asked Jess and Karl more about how their creative journey started together, how they play off one another and crafty projects they are most proud of….

– How long have you been together.

 Jess: Almost 8 years, we’ll be married for 5 years this May.

– How did you meet?

Karl: We met at a mutual friend’s birthday party.  I was trying to talk with Jess all night, but we couldn’t really connect.  A few weeks later our friend invited Jess out for drinks and arranged for me to arrive a few minutes later. Our friend quickly bailed to go on a date, leaving Jess and I on our own date.
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– What roles do you each play in the company?

Jess: Our roles are constantly evolving. I started off managing all designs and production, with Karl handling logistics, shipping, and any issues that arose.  As the business grew, Karl became more involved with designing cards – and for a long while he was the sole creative force behind theBird+theBeard, as my time was filled with production, marketing, and customer service. We’ve since fallen into a nice groove, with the design work more evenly distributed, as well as the more tedious tasks of sleeving cards and filing taxes.

– How do you build off each other’s strength’s?
Karl: We compliment each other well. We are able to be critical of one another’s work in a constructive way, without friction.
Jess: Karl can see the bigger picture. I might get caught up with a tiny design detail that halts the creative process, or a custom request might really be stressing me out, and Karl can help me step outside of the issue for clarity so I can keep moving forward.

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– Name one thing you really like about your partner, in life or in work.
Karl: I like that Jess has the bravery to pursue her dreams and the courage to be her own woman.
Jess: I like the way Karl takes care of me. In life, he does the both the little things like washing the dishes, and the big things, like fixing the shower when (OMG!) the water won’t shut off. In work, it’s all the little things, like finding the best food to eat at a craft show and bringing me coffee!

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– Do you a crafty project that you are most proud of?
Jess: I remember the night we conceived our greeting cards was (the day we celebrated) my birthday. After drinking a good amount of wine, I went to bed and Karl later woke me up to tell me you could spell BaCK ThAt AsS UP with the Periodic Table.
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