Two brothers-in-law with more than one trick up their sleeves have launched a crowdfunded playing card company specialising in high quality cards for magicians.
Local Advocate Andrew Pinel and his brother-in-law, Ryszard Blaszczyk, will be launching their first deck, which he describes as "lighter than air, as smooth as Cloud 9", this summer - and are already planning their next trick.
Ryszard (21), who is in his final year of studies, has always been into magic and cardistry, which is the art of card flourishing, performing acrobatics with cards in your hands.
Video: Ryszard has always been into magic and cardistry.
“Magic was always my biggest passion. I started to perform when I was just a little kid. Now I’m 21, I carry at least one deck with me everywhere I go. I can’t imagine myself leaving house without them,” he said.
After teaching himself some tricks and learning more and more every day, he told Andrew two years ago that his dream was to make his own cards to which his brother-in-law replied: “Why not?”
The pair then set up a Jersey company and got to work on designs, with the help of one of Ryszard’s friends, a graphic designer.
They eventually came up with 40 to 50 ideas for their cards, with unique faces for all the court cards.
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Pictured: The first deck, Cloud 9, is a cartoon-styled deck, featuring clouds and balloons.
“It’s completely different and exciting, it’s been good fun,” Andrew said. “It’s good as a lawyer to be involved in something different. I had never been involved in production and design."
Earlier this year, the duo was finally ready to go public with their cards. Although Ryszard had a lot of connections with buyers – mostly people aged 14 to 55 – they needed an extra push and turned to Kickstarter, a global crowdfunding platform focused on creativity and merchandising.
“Lots of people go to Kickstarter to raise money,” Andrew explained. “We were happy to fund it but we needed to get the name out there and Kickstarter is great for that.
"The initial reaction was fantastic. We were looking to raise about £1,000 and we raised nearly £4,000, with the first £1,000 coming in the first day.”
Pictured: Andrew has also been learning tricks.
Being on the platform also helped Andrew and Ryszard connect with card enthusiasts around the world. The Advocate says the pair was also touched to see the community spirit among members of the cardistry industry.
“People are really willing to help and support you, because they are all trying to do the same thing. They are all trying to produce something that they proud of.”
Among the first orders for 'Different Decks' is that of an international magician, who will hopefully promote the cards with one of their tricks and help the business gain more exposure.
The pair will also be attending conferences at Heathrow and Blackpool later this year to connect with even more magicians and promote 'Different Decks' to them.
Pictured: All court cards have unique faces.
The decks will be produced by the “legendary” Kentucky-based 'United States Playing Cards Company' - described by Andrew as “the number one for cards."
The pair had very precise specifications for their cards, which will be made on a crushed Bee casino stock - “perfect for magicians, cardists and players.”
“The huge advantage of the stock is that they last for a long time no matter how rough you are with them,” Ryszard said.
“The feel of the cards was the easiest part,” Andrew explained. “As a magician, Ryszard knows exactly how the cards should be. They will have a linen finish that creates bubbles which makes the moves smoother. The thinness will be extra crushed so that the cards are light and easy to do tricks with"
Pictured: “As a magician, Ryszard knows exactly how the cards should be," Andrew said.
Different Decks’ first deck, Cloud 9, is a cartoon-style deck, featuring clouds and balloons.
"I was walking down the beach with my sister's lovely labradors and I stopped to lay on the sand for a while, chill a little..." Ryszard said. "So I started thinking about the design. I looked up and what I saw was just a blue sky.
"It was perfection - only two beautiful clouds, pure and white drifting away... It was almost like a painting, I thought, 'Damn, that's it, we got it!'
"Now when you see our cards, it's easy to feel that way. Imagine laying on the beach... feeling warm sand between your feet and dreaming. This is pure perfection. This is Cloud 9."
Pictured: Ryszard got the idea for the design of the first deck while walking on the beach.
The first deck should be sent out at the beginning of July, but the pair already has a few more in the pipelines.
They hope to produce four to six decks a year, each counting 5,000 to 10,000 sets. While the first decks will be produced and distributed in the US, Andrew and Ryszard also hope to distribute in Europe in the future.
“The next deck will be more ornate and marked with hidden numbering,” Andrew said. “This is hopefully the first deck of many.”
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