Rachael Novak stands in front of a single-door closet, its 3-by-4-foot space has an assortment of white cubes concealing envelopes, ribbons, stamps and tissue paper, a pile of her electric-coral "Lake Erie Love" tanks on the floor. "It's such a mess," laughs the 28-year-old illustrator behind Shore Society, a hand-drawn collection of nautical-inspired prints, tea towels, apparel and more. From inside her Lakewood home, Novak does everything from doodle on a Wacom tablet to package orders with patterned washi tape. "It's the little extra things that count, right?" she says. BEST SELLER: Novak's first Shore Society print, created in 2011, reflects her lifelong adoration for Lake Erie. Sketched in letters reminiscent of driftwood, an anchor swaying from its "O," Novak's "Lake Erie Love" was instantly lauded by friends and family. But when she pressed the design onto a shirt ($28), even strangers couldn't get enough. Now, she starts each season with a new hue, reordering shirts as necessary. "They never sit around long," she says. HELPING HANDS: Novak's fiance, Jim, built the table upon which the designer screen-prints her illustrations. But her most constant work companion might be Cooper, a 1-year-old wheaten terrier who can't bear to be without his mother. "He's like our mascot," Novak says. "Maybe he needs a bandana." SIGN LANGUAGE: She also offers custom prints including subway-inspired black-and-white street name signs, in which customers select the local routes they'd like listed. COAST TO COAST: With her offerings available at Native Cleveland, seasonal markets such as Made in the 216, and online through Etsy, Novak has been surprised by the line's reach. "Next thing you know you are shipping things to Canada," she says, "because you forget that Lake Erie has Canada on the other side."
12:00 AM EST
July 22, 2014