Our Story: How Tiny and Snail Saved Us

HELLO THERE! WE ARE SO HAPPY YOU FOUND US!

As kids we competed against each other to see who could make the best art, and we hung it proudly on the pantry doors.


Being a first-born, productive worker bee, Grace’s door was normally filled top to bottom with work, while I was a bit more self-conscious of my art, and my door was sparse but my drawings carefully executed.

Grace and Leah are sisters and hugging. Leah is in a wheelchair. They are surrounded by art.

At a certain point, my love for art took off and I ended up going to college to study oil painting.


But after graduating, I realized that illustration, animals, and tiny houses were more my thing:

Me with my charcoal reproduction (of a Italian Renaissance painting of the Assumption)
Me working on my "Tiny Studio" that I designed and built by myself

Grace was moving North-South every six months with her husband (who is a golf instructor) and so she started an Etsy store selling individually hand painted cards. Unfortunately, because of the repetitive nature of hand producing cards, she wound up dealing with a wrist stress injury. 


Obviously it’s way more fun to create things with a teammate (and who better than a sibling?!) so in the Spring of 2016, I suggested that we work together to spread joy into the world. 


It was a perfect idea: I was filled with creativity and a passion for illustration and web design—but let’s be honest, finances and deadlines are not my forte. On the flip side, Grace is a fastidious record keeper and driven to have “best practices.” Unfortunately, her wrists suffer from carpel tunnel. She was running  a custom stationery shop on Etsy, where she sold individually handmade greeting cards. Her work was crippling her wrists. One day we were having a sisterly chat, it dawned on me that we should work together. 


“Let me be your hands, Grace! (And you can be my brain!)”  

We launched our new greeting card company in 2017 with 13 beautiful cards — our "Signature Collection."


We were on our way to making dreams come true! 


But the road hasn’t been easy. As a startup company, we had to supplement our income with other jobs. I loved construction and found a job working for Habitat for Humanity, while I hustled at night and on weekends to work on T & S. 


Habitat for Humanity was a tough job! My days were spent hauling gravel in 90 degree weather, tying rebar, doing LOTS of drywall mudding. My favorite part was working with volunteer and home-owner women, teaching them construction skills. It was a strenuous job, but fulfilling. 


Everything was going well until it all changed on August 14, 2018. We were putting up rafters on a house and the forklift tipped over, crushing me underneath. In an instant, I was fighting for my life. If it hadn't been for a former Marine who was on site and quickly jumped down to tie his belt around my leg as a tourniquet, I wouldn't have lasted ten minutes. 

Leah is happily working on a Habitat fro Humanity Construction site, days before her accident
The tele handler that fell on Leah. She took this photo the morning of the accident.
Leah is lying unconscious in a hospital bed in the ICU.

Nobody was sure that I was going to make it. There were times that I felt myself drawn to an inky blackness, and I somehow knew that if I went there, I wouldn't be in pain anymore. 


One of the thoughts that kept me Earth-side was, "Grace can't run Tiny and Snail by herself!" And every time I felt that inky blackness, someone I loved would come hold my hand. I knew I couldn't leave. 


A few days post accident, my vision was double, and I couldn't do anything but lay in the hospital bed. Grace brought in my computer and said, "Leah, we HAVE to put up a shop notice to let people know we can't ship right now!" Incredibly, I was able to tell her exactly the steps to take to do that. What a boost to my confidence that was! 


The force of the telehandler falling on me caused my T4/T5 vertebrae to burst, which severed my spinal cord and paralyzed me from the chest down. The first question I asked by finger spelling into Grace's hand was:  “Can I still draw?” Miraculously, the answer was "yes."


I can still draw and paint. This company of ours has become more important to us than ever as its growth will mean that I might be able to sustain myself as a full-time artist. (We still aren't there yet! 😅 ) Tiny and Snail became a life-raft for us in the weeks and years after my accident. 


We are truly sisters: both opinionated, but pretty much on the same page aesthetically. We butt heads occasionally, but in the end we know we are so much stronger as a team. As far as our art goes,


Our motto is: 


keep going until it either makes you laugh out loud or ache with beauty. 

a photo of our "New Unknowns" card
Tiny and Snail​​

Illustrating unicorns, dogs, and flowers brings us so much joy. We want to help you package that joy and send it to make someone else’s mailbox a whole lot happier. 


We are obsessed with using the magical invention of the Postal Service to infuse love into people’s days. In an age of technology, snail mail isn’t just a novelty—it’s powerful:


Seeing someone’s handwriting is such an intimate, beautiful thing these days.

 

  • Being able to cherish their words. 


  • Being able to set a card on your desk and bring a smile to your face every time you see it. 
A photo of our Blank Daffodil card
Tiny and Snail​​

We believe that technology will never be as gosh-darn magical as a paper card.

Thanks for following our journey. Your support means the WORLD to us!

4 comments

  • This was of those FB ads that turns out magical!! I have found a very few through FB but I am so thankful it was you! Now to check out the Etsy store!!

    Cindy
  • I have pancreatic cancer. I need something to leave for my husband, adult kids, grandkids and loved ones. Can you help?

    Teresa Hartley
  • I am in tears reading your story. I use to make handmade cards to send to friends. However, my arthritis is so severe I can hardly hold a pen.

    I think God has put you together for this journey. I have very poor health and my faith in God is why I am still here.

    I shop at Etsy all the time. So now I will add you to shop from. I love your creativity!

    Nancy Nickle
  • I am so sorry that horrible accident left you unable to walk, etc.. Your art is quite beautiful… and your messages. LIFE
    May Almighty God Bless you two and be with you as you grow 🦋
    Dianne. I am a new wife whose husband is in Heaven🦋

    Dianne Hedrick

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