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Supporting black businesses: Cards for us, by us

ON THE CARDS: Fashion illustrator Nicola Lespeare, has created a set of Christmas cards after finding there was none that properly reflected her ethnicity

NICOLA LESPEARE, a Nottingham- based fashion illustrator, has launched a new luxury range Christmas card collection in celebration of black women.

The designs feature illustrations of black women with natural hair in a variety of Christmas inspired set-ups available just in time for the festive season.

Lespeare, a fashion design graduate, ventured into greeting cards last year when she struggled to find an ethnically-representative birthday card for her sister. It was a situation that motivated Lespeare.

She said: "I felt really disappointed and frustrated that I couldn't find a birthday card of a girl with an afro to give to my sister. It's always puzzled me that there aren't any such cards available in high street stores, given that black people celebrate birthdays and other occasions too!

"I chose to do something about it and designed my own card. The business idea grew from there. I knew that there were people who experienced the same frustration so it’s great to now be in a position where I can add more diversity in the greetings card industry and help celebrate black women in the process.”

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In addition to her Christmas card collection, Lespeare has also launched a social media campaign to support black-owned businesses this Christmas. The #3gifts challenge campaign encourages the black community to purchase three gifts from black-owned businesses this Christmas in order to raise awareness of and support and sustain black-owned businesses.

Explaining why her passion led her to start the business, she said: "For many years, black women have felt pressured to conform to a certain 'ideal' in society, with many advertising and media outlets at the forefront of pushing that notion that natural or afro hair is unkempt, unprofessional or unattractive."

You can find out more about the #3giftschallenge and purchase Nicola’s cards from her website:

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