Fan-made merch can be found in any sort of fandom, be it related to music, TV shows, or video games. This type of merch is usually created by fan artists, who turn their designs into merchandise to share with those who want to express their interest in their favorite hobby. This merchandise can come in various shapes and sizes, such as clothing, stickers, key chains, and art prints. The diverse range of designs can serve as a creative outlet for fan artists, allowing them to explore different art styles and mediums while sharing their passion with their fandom.
In K-pop, photocards are the most common type of merchandise. As official merch, it’s an album inclusion of a selfie that was specifically taken for the album. In contrast, as fan-made merch, the photocard contains one of the fan’s favorite pictures posted by their idol. Additionally, fan-made photocards can also be custom designs, like flovermail!
While browsing through Twitter, we saw this fan project by Marty. His designs, as well as the amount of time and effort he has been allotting to this project is truly amazing. Learn a little more about flovermail through this short interview.
What inspired you to start flovermail?
Marty: Over the new year I had begun writing a short story about fromis_9 as a way to keep creativity flowing while I was bedridden with COVID-19. Part of that story was that fromis_9 released an album titled Love In Spring, in which the concept is a love letter to flovers. I thought it would be fun to actually design the album/packaging contents as if it were real, and after all the positive feedback I got from Twitter, I decided to make some samples. At the time, my wife had been receiving a lot of BTS Armymail and had been working on her own to send out. She suggested that I do a “flovermail” for my Twitter followers, and the rest is history.
Have you done something similar in the past?
Marty: This would be my very first time doing something like this. I had been playing around with turning my edits into photocards for a while now, but nothing like what I’ve done with flovermail.
Is the concept of Armymail the same? People would design stuff for fun then send them out to other fans? It’s our first time hearing about it.
Marty: flovermail is essentially Armymail but for flovers. People get to be creative in their own way with these types of mail and its contents and designs will vary from person to person. With flovermail, my idea was to replicate the feeling of getting an album and the collectible aspect of it. I had created two full sets of photocards to match my two album version designs and then created additional rarer photocards and items that would randomly be put inside flovers’ mail to build more anticipation. The base mail comes with my postcard design and a photocard of the receiver’s bias. After that, I customize it at random, person to person.
We’ve seen the prints you’ve made on your Twitter. Do you do something similar for a living?
Marty: I studied Graphic Design back in New Zealand, where I’m from, and have been working in a variety of creative fields since then, but currently, I work as a Project Manager for a sign fabrication shop in New York. There’s definitely a lot of design involved in what I do, but the Vinyl prints/illuminated signs I make for my job can sometimes end up being the entire size of a building in the city, compared to a photocard that’s handheld. flovermail, however, is definitely a project that helps alleviate the stress that comes with my job.
Do you think other flovers would be inspired to do their own flovermail after you mail out yours?
Marty: That’s the hope for any project like this, that it will spark more flovers to participate and be creative in their own way. We aren’t as big of a fandom “yet” compared to some others out there, but I’ve seen enough creativity throughout Twitter to know that flovers are more than capable of creating beauty. It doesn’t have to look like what I’ve done, the beautiful thing about flovermail is that it can be a unique expression from person to person. The main purpose is to connect with people. There’s also something to be said about the handmade vs the mass-produced, and I think with flovermail there’s an amazing opportunity for flover to really make something special to fill in those gaps between comebacks, helping strengthen flover as a whole by continuing to add excitement within the fandom.