In 1977, she took her portfolio to some well-known publishing houses in New York, hoping to get work illustrating children's books. She received a "mild reception" and a suggestion from one art director that she try her hand illustrating greeting cards. It wasn't what she'd hoped for, as she'd already illustrated several hand-drawn lines of cards for local shops, but Mary took the advice and quickly found that the single-frame illustrations for greeting cards were ideal for her style and sense of humor.
Once Mary focused her talent on greeting cards, success came quickly. As her card line grew in size and popularity, it drew attention from other companies anxious to license her artwork on a wide range of products including calendars, T-shirts, mugs, gift books, rubber stamps, ceramic figurines, fabric and a list that's grown to include nearly 6,500 products over the years, with more than $1 billion in lifetime retail sales. Mary was also editor-in-chief of the award-winning creative lifestyle magazine, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion for 11 years.
Mary Engelbreit & Company continues to add new licensees and product categories. Nearly 30 years after that first trip to New York, Mary fulfilled her dream of illustrating children's books, and is now one of a select few artists with three New York Times children's best sellers. She is now returning to where she started with her own line of products—It's an ever-growing line of blank cards, boxed cards, coloring books, with new items being added all the time. It's all available for purchase at her online store along with her many other licensed products. Her own line of products is also available wholesale to independent shops everywhere.
"I plan to drop dead at my art table. I can't explain to you the pleasure and true happiness I get from drawing! I'm just so glad other people like it, too!"