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Twardzik still drawn to card making

Make no mistake, this is not your grandmother’s Hallmark Store.

And for Nicole Twardzik, she’s perfectly fine with that.

With the motto of “Welcome to the place where sweet and sweary meet,” Cards o’ Glee, which opened its doors two years ago, is the fulfillment of a childhood hobby that Twardzik has now turned into a business.

“During the pandemic I was a school counselor (in Henderson) and like many, I was in a bit of a funk,” she said. “I always had a longing to own my own business and I’ve been making cards since I was a little girl. I took a business course online during the pandemic and then started selling my cards online.”

Through that course she has met many other female business owners and thought about how she could not only sell her own products but many of theirs as well. Having lived in Boulder City for many years, she looked around and realized that aside from the chain stores, there wasn’t anywhere that sold cards or novelty items she described “cheeky or sassy.”

Within her small shop are items from nearly 90 different women-owned businesses. In some cases, the products are on consignment but with most, Twardzik buys them for resale.

When she decided to go from an online store to an actual storefront, which is located at 501 Nevada Way Ste. 1, she knew exactly who to call to assist in building shelves and tables – her dad.

“I haven’t lived in the same state as my parents for 20 years, so I thought this would be an awesome daddy/daughter project,” she said. “But I was very nervous when opening the business because I had not yet quit my day job. I didn’t have a day off for months on end. I worked during the week and afterwards I’d come here and help my dad at the shop. In the beginning I was only open on weekends.”

Once she made the decision to quit her day job and focus on the store, things began to take off.

“I was getting close to 40, had saved a lot of money, and knew I wanted to do something big whether it was to teach abroad or take a year off and travel,” she said. “Then I decided to take a year off (from being an educator) and dedicate myself to the shop. I felt the town needed something funky and new.”

In high school, Twardzik would make her own greeting cards for friends if they were going through a break-up, were stressed about an upcoming test or her favorite, the time her friend’s dad accidently ran over her friend’s foot in the driveway.

“I would just find silly things to commemorate,” said the Chicago native. “My friends kept telling me, as we approached 40, that I should sell my cards, which made everyone laugh back then. My goal was to sell at least one of my cards to a stranger, who was not a family member or friend, by the time I was 40. Now, I’ve sold to thousands of strangers.”

Twardzik makes all of her cards within her store using a computer and printer. She describes her cards as heartfelt with a bit of risqué or colorful language thrown in for good measure. Some are more on the traditional side but the rest are fun and whimsical. And even more, Twardzik comes up with the design and verbiage.

“The drawing and design are the hardest part for me. I have an art minor but I’m not that great at drawing. My cards sell because of what they say, not what they look like,” she said, laughing.

Having been in education for many years, this provides her an outlet she didn’t have while in her former profession.

“Some of my best customers are former students. They always crack up when the see the cards and many have said, ‘We had a feeling you had a potty mouth,’” she said, noting that birthday and thank-you cards are her most popular. “I still have awesome ideas all the time but the problem is, finding time to make them now that I have a business.”

As for the name of the store, it too, harkens back to her younger days. When she was 7, she came up with Nicky T’s Cards o’ Glee.

“It does sound Irish and while I’m a redhead, I’m not Irish,” she said. “I tell people I’m 200% Polish since both my parents were born in Poland. The name just flowed well. That’s what I called it as a kid and what I wrote on the back of every card I made. I liked the word glee. I want people to come in here, be silly and laugh and let their guard down.”

In order to keep one foot in the education realm, Twardzik once a month offers different classes in which she teaches or finds another female business owner/expert to do so. They have included making ornaments, earrings, succulent planters and gift wrapping.

“Making connections is the best part of what I do,” she said. “After opening the business I’ve met some of the coolest people in town who I had never met. Meeting all these other creative people has been wonderful.”

Ron Eland is editor of the Boulder City Review. He can be reached at reland@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523.

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