BE IT birthday, graduation, driving test, retirement or divorce, TeePee Creations has a fun card for every occasion.

There are cards for cat or dog lovers with humorous greetings to suit, cards for sports buffs - golf, tennis, football, rugby, cricket and cycling - and cards for family and friends: mum, dad, son, daughter, auntie, uncle, stepdad, stepmum and a host of others.

The imaginative cards are the brainchild of Toni Pilling, who runs the online shop - our Telegraph & Argus Trader of the Week - offering digitally illustrated, colourful, on-trend, funny cards and gifts, from her Keighley home.

“I design cards and gifts inspired by my daily life, creating puns or funny phrases to make people giggle,” she says.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Toni with some of her creationsToni with some of her creations

Toni has always been interested in designing and making.

“Since I was young I have always been passionate about creative arts. I chose to study art and product design for my GCSEs and A-levels because I enjoyed these massively and felt I excelled in them,” she says.

Toni grew up in Bolton and went to school at Bolton School Girls’ Division. “My teacher Miss Langley-West who taught me product design was always really supportive of me wanting to pursue a career in design and was a big influence on my creative journey,” she says.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Toni at work in her home studio in KeighleyToni at work in her home studio in Keighley

She went on to study Design for Industry at Northumbria University. “The course incorporates lots of different types of design from service to product and graphics. It was based around ‘design thinking’ and enabled you could go into any design industry after graduating.

Her university work placements led to her concentrating on graphics. One of these placements was at a company called Rethinkthings based in Liverpool. They did something similar to my business, selling illustrations on products such as greeting cards, mugs, and coasters.

“I got to see the inner workings of a small business and was encouraged by the owner to start selling my own designs on a platform called Red Bubble, a print-on-demand service where you upload a design and they place it on several products and sell it for you. I did quite well on there so when I graduated I decided to set up an Etsy shop. I bought a printer and some blank greeting cards, set up some listings and got my first sale a month later.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A lot of thought goes into creating each cardA lot of thought goes into creating each card

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: One of TeePee's Christmas cardsOne of TeePee's Christmas cards

“I carried on creating more listings with more designs. I did this every evening while I worked part-time as a graphic designer. I was determined to make the business my full-time income and two years after starting up I gave up my job and just went for it.”

TeePee Creations comes from Toni’s nickname in high school, TP - her initials.

Toni comes up with all of the designs. “I think I have around 600 so far. Not all of them are on my website at the moment. They slowly get uploaded but I am constantly coming up with new ones so there is always a bit of a backlog.”

She is full of ideas.” Sometimes I will look to Twitter or Instagram for inspiration, to see what topics are trending or look to memes to come up with topical designs.

“If I am looking to create something for a more general-based card or gift around an occasion I will usually start with a theme: for a birthday card about growing old, for example, I will brainstorm things that happen as you get older. Then I will think of how to make them into a funny phrase or pun. I generally come up with puns by looking up rhyming words online or words that sound like a word. I keep writing out phrases until eventually something clicks. Then from that I will start to doodle illustrations that would go alongside it.”

Toni also receives design briefs from companies which license her cards. “They usually have themes which helps when trying to come up with new ideas, so I am not completely starting from scratch.”

The first card she designed was a drawing of a cactus bearing the phrase ‘Thanks for not being a prick’. “It’s been updated several times as my drawing style has developed over the years.

“I add new collections all the time but my all-time most popular one is my Alexa collection. They are simple cards that say things such as “Alexa, send a birthday card to Mum” but I think they just resonate with so many people who use Alexa at home. Anything I create that is very relatable ends up being a big seller. “

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Toni takes her cards to trade shows across the UKToni takes her cards to trade shows across the UK

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Another of Toni's designsAnother of Toni's designs

Toni is busiest around Christmas and Valentine’s Day. “At Christmas I sell more gifts than cards, especially my ceramic baubles. For Valentine’s I sell a lot of cards from my Valentine’s collection.

“I make all the products myself. I have three printers for my greeting cards and two heat presses for my products - a mug press and a flat bed press for things such as coasters and ceramic baubles. I make everything to order.”

Toni also sells in shops too. “My products are in more than 40 shops worldwide. In Yorkshire there’s and The Great Yorkshire Shop in Leeds, Boggle Hole Harrogate and Boggle Hole Northallerton. I list the stockists on my website.”

She loves the freedom of being self-employed. “I also the love creative freedom to design whatever I want.”

Toni hopes to introduce her products into more shops and has been exhibiting at trade shows to promote her wares.

“My dream would be for my products to be taken up by large retailer such as Waterstones or John Lewis.”

If you would like to support my small business you can shop via my website at or follow me on socials such as Instagram and TikTok with @teepeecreations to see more of my story.