We are proud of our strong company culture rooted in collaboration and innovation. This special series highlights the creativity of our employees on and off the clock.
Hollie Neal Morgan. Senior Communications Manager. Artist and Calligrapher.
Dallas-native Hollie has been immersed in creativity her whole life, from music to writing to art. During the day, Hollie—a copywriter by trade—manages a small team of designers and copywriters who create global communications and branded campaigns on behalf of Fossil Group and the Fossil Foundation.
By night, Hollie creates hand-lettered art pieces, from greeting cards to large-format wall hangings. We asked Hollie a few questions to get to know her and her Creative Class business a little better.
What is your Creative Class business?
I create, market and sell handmade greeting cards to specialty shops along the south and west coasts.
How did you get started?
I owe the full success of the business to Judy Barnes—my aunt, friend and mentor. She pioneered this handmade greeting card venture in 1980 with 30 of her artful designs that instantly took off. Over the 30+ years of running her business, she refined her assortment and identified the top markets for handmade luxury cards.
I stepped into the picture a little over a year ago, when she was looking to retire for personal reasons and possibly sell her collection to a commercial enterprise. She struggled with the thought of one day having to compromise on the creative vision behind the line. Around this time, we happened to hop on the phone and have the simultaneous epiphany that our handwriting styles and creative visions have always been uncannily similar. The rest is history.
What do you do at Fossil and what makes your job unique?
I’m a copywriter and Senior Communications Manager. I write and oversee the creative for Fossil Foundation, Fossil Group and internal company projects. My job is unique in that it offers the most fun I can imagine having at work. It’s the perfect blend of writing, strategizing and exchanging ideas—and it’s rewarding to see projects through from initial concept to final execution. A recent example of our work is fossilfoundation.org—our team had a total blast bringing this story to life on the web.
How does your Creative Class skill set align with what you do for your day job?
During the day, I enjoy flexing my creative muscles on writing and strategy projects. Then, it’s nice to come home and create visual art and design—at midnight. I have a two-year-old daughter, an eleven-year-old stepdaughter and a baby on the way…I prioritize these guys until bedtime, then I jump into card-making and design in my late-night hours.
For those inspired by your Creative Class persona, what are some tips you could give them to start their own?
Like in anything, practice and iteration are key. The more you make, the better you get.
Perfection has something to do with learning to accept the right amount of imperfection. I relearn this with every single card I make—they all have their slight variations which are inevitable with handmade products. Sometimes I have to make myself embrace this uniqueness, rather than redoing each piece to perfectly and exactly replicate the one I made before.
And one more…when in doubt, simplify. Your design, your process, your communication. Simplicity is always the answer.
What is your dream of where this could go, and do you have plans to expand?
I want to do some branding work to give this collection a digital presence. Right now, the cards are only sold at select stores and cannot be found online.
I have many ideas for new designs and products. I’m letting those percolate while I raise my young family and build my business. Right now I’m spending 100% of my energy making each card beautiful. I want to be known for quality and reliability—there’s time for everything else later.
Coffee or tea?
This is like asking me to pick my favorite child. They each bring something absolutely necessary into this world and into my life. I can’t live without that first cup of French press coffee in the morning, kindly made and delivered to me by my husband Chris (he’s the best). And I can’t live without the green tea I drink in the afternoon as I find my writing zen.
What’s the last book you read?
Speak, Memory, by Vladimir Nabokov. As a writer, artist and thinker, he is a huge source of inspiration to me.
The signature on your art starts with an L. What does that mean?
It’s my penname, Lira. Many, many years ago, my aunt Judy created an abstract painting and the word “Lira” emerged from the organized chaos. She adopted this as her professional penname and used it in all of her cards, and now she’s passed it on to me. It’s like a precious family sword that embodies the greatest power—I use it with utmost care and responsibility.
Hollie’s cards can be found at the following locations. Stop by if you’re in the area!
Avant Card (San Francisco, CA)
Avant Card (Berkeley, CA)
Colorado Co-Op (Colorado Springs, CO)
Nuvo (Dallas, TX)
sloan/hall (Houston, TX)
sloan/hall (San Antonio, TX)
Stanley Korshak (Dallas, TX)