Spreading optimism, cheer with Happy Just Happy

 In Business

Area illustrator Loo McNulty is launching a new brand, Happy Just Happy.
The product line is a vehicle for McNulty’s signature illustrations and messages of encouragement and affection.
The root goal is to spread optimism, cheer and joy, especially after “such a crappy couple of years,” she said, laughing.
The illustrations are seeped in nostalgia and feature toys, food and animal characters reminiscent of her happy, charmed childhood in Toronto as the youngest of six children, and Saturday morning cartoons, bike rides and games.
“A big part of our mandate and mission is this idea of making people feel good, the whole idea of encouragement and friendship and love,” said McNulty.
“We pride ourselves on having cards that are kind of quirky and a bit outside the box,” she said.
Following a career in publishing, McNulty focussed on graphic design, working as a freelancer for various publications. She said her illustration work was more of a hobby and a side business, until about four years ago. That’s when she became a students of surface pattern design, which is the repeating pattern that is used to make wallpaper and textiles, for example.
She said she just had this burning desire to launch what would become the Happy Just Happy brand. McNulty said the name is inspired by a drawing that was done by her son, who was in kindergarten at the time, and the caption he added to describe himself was, I’m Happy Just Happy. She loved it so much that she framed the drawing, and the title really stuck with her.
She said part of the desire to launch the brand was fuelled by the pandemic.
“I could see the effect it was having on my own children and my friends’ kids, just this sense of social isolation and anxiety. Everyone was feeling it,” said McNulty.
During that time, McNulty said she was posting her quirky, whimsical illustrations to social media and was getting some really positive feedback from people who were grateful for a little joyful moment.
“That really compels me to continue to draw,” she said. “That’s a huge motivator for me, to have the ability to make people feel good, even if it’s for 30 seconds.”
McNulty said her passion for health and happiness is also inspired by her own journey of recovery, being more than three years sober.
She said her path to recovery coincides with her decision to branch out on her own and illustrate full-time.
“With that comes clarity of thought and the ability to take care of yourself, feel well and be well,” said McNulty.
In that vein, she said she is happy to be aligned with jack.org, a Canadian charity that aims to train and empower youth leaders to identify and dismantle barriers to positive mental health in their communities.
Ten per cent of all proceeds are donated to jack.org to support its efforts to create engaging mental health education and resources for young people.
Happy Just Happy products – including individual cards and bundles, stickers, totes and more – are appearing in retail stores, and online at happyjusthappy.com. McNulty will be holding a launch event on Sunday, Dec. 5, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., at The Newsstand in Creemore, located at 3 Caroline St. W.

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