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Andover Townsman Article
- by Andrea Gregory

A childhood hobby has turned into a new career for Dianne DeLucia, who has created a greeting card company called Little Brown Cat.

When she was 5, DeLucia began taking her first snapshots. Photography grew into a lifelong hobby. Now, after a career in the biotech industry, she has found a creative outlet through her work with Little Brown Cat. DeLucia operates the business from her home.

DeLucia makes photo greeting cards. She says her company is off to a strong start, having sold more than 1,500 cards in its first year.

photo courtesy The Andover Townsman and Tim Jean
The name of her company is a tribute to her two feline companions of more than a decade. The actual little brown cat, Grendel, recently died. But she says the company logo is a spitting image of another cat, Killian, that is still purring by her side.

Cat lovers find the pictures of her four-legged friends adorable, she says. The cards of her cats remain among her company's top sellers. People just love the Grendel face, and they love (the cards with) Killian sleeping, she says. They are my special buddies.

At least twice each week, DeLucia seeks out new images to add to her greeting card collection. But she does not have to travel far from home. Most of her photographs are of nature scenes such as butterflies landing on flowers or squirrels running through her backyard.

My backyard is my laboratory, practically. I dont have to go far for some of these, she says.

Her cards are all blank inside, allowing them to be suitable for a variety of occasions.

There is a place still for the hand-written note, and sometimes people just like a beautiful note, she says.

DeLucia has snapped pictures of local churches and other Andover landmarks for her cards. She says people attach their own sentimental value to certain places in town, and that her cards can be the perfect way to express treasured memories. She says if a couple gets married in an Andover church, one of her cards could make great thank-you notes or a fitting anniversary card.

She also takes custom photographs to make personal cards. She says the cards she has created for bar or bat mitzvahs, weddings and other special events can become keepsakes from an important day.

People still want to keep in touch, and I think sharing photographs with family and loved ones is important, she says.

Soon after starting Little Brown Cat, DeLucia began working with nonprofit organizations. She has a collection of cards illustrating the work of Challenge Unlimited, a therapeutic program for disabled people at Ironstone Farm in Andover. She has taken many photographs of the horses the people ride there. Some of her greeting cards are for sale at Ironstone Farm. She says a portion of the proceeds goes toward the program. DeLucia has also made personalized cards of children riding horses for several of their families.

Although her greeting cards capture local images, DeLucia is hoping to expand her clientele by using the Internet. Her Web site went live this week. She says she is hoping that people everywhere will want to mail Andover images to their friends and family.

My intent was to make people smile by looking at the world in whimsical ways. And I'm hoping Little Brown Cat will always do that, says DeLucia. It's just gratifying for me to capture a moment that will make people smile for years.

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