Born and raised in the Twin Cities, Deniesha Johnson is a single mother of two, a lover of all things blue, and an artist in the truest sense. With 34 years of art and design background, she has dabbled in painting, drawings, sculpting, interior design, and graphic design. Her love for the craft combined with her career experience in project management led her to become her own CEO as the owner and Creative Director of D. Johnson & Co Greetings in 2020.
How D. Johnson & Co. Greetings Began
Johnson graduated with a degree in business at Florida A&M in 2005. For over 15 years, she has held roles including Sr. IT Project Manager, Jr. IT Project Manager, and Event Planner. During this time, she taught herself graphic design and began designing custom greeting cards and stationery as an added offering to her then wedding planning business.
During the pandemic, Johnson found calm in creating gorgeous handmade stationery. “Over the years, even though I stopped planning events, I continued to make cards and event stationery on special occasions for close family & friends to make them feel special and I quickly learned that it was another great business venture,” she explains.
She also saw a lack in culturally-inclusive offerings and now aims to market to a specific niche — primarily for African Americans and people of color. “At D. Johnson & Co Greetings, our focus is to share creativity and love in handcrafted, custom, one-of-a-kind greeting cards of the finest craftsmanship and artistry quality, made uniquely for you!” Johnson describes. D. Johnson & Co Greetings also offers bespoke event and business stationery that helps tie the event vision together and establish brand identity.
According to Johnson, pulling all of these elements together and seeing clients’ reactions is one of the most rewarding parts of owning a business. “Their joy and excitement of seeing the finished product… the way they light up to see how their vision came to be and then how they frame the items to always remember the moment fills me up.”
And while being your own boss has its flexibility and perks, Johnson says that running a business out of the home can be challenging, especially for larger and last-minute orders. She does say that she enjoys these challenges and loves the feeling of accomplishment when completing a project. Creating her own work hours allows her to spend time with her two daughters, friends, and family. She also likes to spark her creativity in home renovation, decorating, landscaping, and adding her own personal touch to her home.
When searching for inspiration, Johnson looks to Hallmark’s Mahogany line for its imagery and messaging as well as Papyrus for its craftsmanship. As for wedding-specific design, she seeks out the work of wedding planners. “I look at their styled shoots or their real wedding images and gain inspiration. They are really thinking outside of the box and getting creative with the event stationery,” Johnson says. “One planner is Tori Williams of Tori Williams Events in Atlanta, she is also on the show My Celebrity Dream Wedding on VH1.” She goes on to say she finds inspiration all around — stores, walks, talking with family, scrolling through social media, and creative thoughts that pop into her head.
Johnson strives to become a household brand that people seek after. “I hope to one day have a few storefronts and to be accessible in a lot of popular retailers,” Johnson says of her future goals. “But regarding the event or business stationery, I want to be the established brand creating stationery for some of the most elite and luxurious weddings/businesses.” As her business grows, she also hopes to see more inclusion for POC vendors and equal opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community in the overall event industry.
D. Johnson & Co Greetings recently signed a contract with a local community center to design stationery for their upcoming gala and is also working on custom staff appreciation cards for a Head Start Program. One project she is particularly excited about includes family ties. “I’m working with my cousin who is Atlanta, GA’s own celebrity Event Planner VH1 TV star, Tori Williams, on my parent’s third wedding to one another. Their first two weddings were very low-key and inexpensive in scale to the average wedding costs then and now. My goal is to make all of their event stationery as custom and luxurious as possible to coincide with what I anticipate from Tori’s décor design elements.”
Whether you are looking for a custom card for a loved one or want to go all out on gorgeous stationery for your wedding, support a local business and get in touch with D. Johnson & Co Greetings.
Images courtesy of D. Johnson & Co Greetings