Minted 2016 Holiday Challenge Winners Visit San Francisco

Written by Simone Monrad

Every year, the top three winners of one of Minted’s largest challenges of the year, the Holiday Photo Card Challenge, win a two-day trip to visit Minted in San Francisco. On August 14 and 15, we welcomed Susan Moyal, Ann Gardner and Angela Marzuki—the top three winners of Minted’s 2016 Making Spirits Bright Holiday Photo Card Challenge—to our hometown.

It was a typical foggy day in the city, but this didn’t take away from the excitement of finally meeting these very talented women in person. The two-day trip was a whirlwind of activities, including attending a new product development meeting with Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy, a Q&A session with members of the Merchandising and Engineering teams, and a tour of the office. “The Minted office is like nothing I imagined,” said Susan Moyal, the first-place winner in the challenge. “It is amazing to see how many people are working behind the scenes and gain more insight on how the company runs.”

The 2016 Holiday Photo Card Challenge winners in some fun spaces in the San Francisco Minted office, the Printshop, and the Pillow Room. From left: Angela Marzuki, Susan Moyal, and Ann Gardner

During the trip, we got some tips on visiting their home cities (Toronto, Chicago, and Dallas) and gained valuable feedback on their experience as a Minted artist. “I work the best under pressure,” laughed Angela Marzuki. “I’m not one to plan much before challenges are posted. I focus on what I enjoy creating and getting it in before the deadline.” Each artist has been working with Minted for quite some time and we chatted about how Minted has grown over the years and exciting new developments, like our new wedding products and greeting cards. They all agreed that the submission process, especially for Holiday cards, can be overwhelming, but noted that file preparation has become easier and more streamlined. Something we were very happy to hear!


The winning designs of 2016 Making Spirits Bright Holiday Card Challenge, from left: “Christmas Sprigs” by Susan Moyal, “Winter Window” by Ann Gardner, and “Freshly Framed by Angela Marzuki

It was a very busy two days, but a delight to spend time with everyone. In Ann Gardner’s words, “What a great opportunity to get glimpse of ‘a day in the life’ of a Minted employee! Seeing the office space, sitting in on part of a meeting, helping to coordinate fabric choices for products, and spending time with the Artist Relations team really helped me understand a little bit of what happens beyond designing and file prep. Best of all, I got to meet the people behind the Minted emails, and forge new friendships with two very talented designers, Susan and Angela.”

We hope you enjoy our photos from the trip.

Our first day we visited Coit Tower,which has a fabulous vista of the city and went on a private mural tour. Our favorite part was this room of beautiful monochromatic murals.

On our way back to the hotel from Coit Tower, we stopped by the iconic City Lights Bookstore in North Beach and checked out book cover illustrations (of course!).


The following day, the winners had a private breakfast with Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy at The Battery. Mariam chatted her personal experience with the company and asked for input on new products the artists would love to work on. Then, after a tour of the Minted office, we had lunch at Tartine and visited Health Ceramic Studio which was full of fun design and pattern inspiration.  

And we visited another great San Francisco establishment, The San Francisco Center for the Book where we all agreed we should buy a letterpress and set up shop. From left to right: Manager of Community Support Emily Heaton; Community Support Specialist Kelly Hird; Susan Moyal; Ann Gardner; Angela Marzuki; Community Support Specialist Olivia Goree.

We ended the trip with a Community Meetup at the Minted Store.

The highlight was seeing all the new greeting cards on display and each artist picked out some of their favorites to bring home as souvenirs. To quote Angela, “While the sights, culture and energy of the city were amazing to take in, being able to connect and spend time with Susan, Ann and the Minted team was definitely the highlight. I also really enjoyed visiting the Minted Store and seeing the work of the community come to life in such a gorgeously curated space.”

Ending the last night in San Francisco with some fun in the Minted Store photo booth.

About the Author: Simone Monrad works as the Community Engagement Associate on the Artist Relations Team at Minted. She strives to keep the Minted artist community engaged and happy. In her free time she works on her own paintings and illustrations.

Published on August 23, 2017

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