Flickering Storm’s pop culture-themed creations give back to communities in need

Sisters Bernice and Brianna Mau turn their pandemic hobbies into a popular Etsy shop

Flickering Storm sells embroidered goods, stickers, and prints. Photo courtesy of @flickering.storm via Instagram

By: Carter Hemion, Staff Writer

SFU student Bernice Mau and alum Brianna Mau created Etsy shop Flickering Storm almost one year ago. The sisters embraced art when the COVID-19 pandemic started, with Bernice designing prints and stickers and Brianna taking on embroidery. 

Brianna said she and her sister initially started the business “out of our love for Taylor Swift.” The sisters’ art was mostly inspired by Swift’s lyrics, tours, and music videos. Now, the business has expanded to include art based on other parts of pop culture they enjoy, like Olivia Rodrigo, Gilmore Girls, and more. 

Bernice grew up doing art and taking art classes in school, but she started taking it more seriously in 2020. Quarantine provided her a chance to get more into digital drawing. “It’s just a lot of fun because there’s just so many different things that you can do with it; there’s endless possibilities,” she said. 

This transformed into her part of the business: creating stickers and art prints. The design process can take Bernice anywhere from days to weeks to develop. From there, she said, “Once I can clearly see it in my mind, I can normally draw it out pretty fast.” 

Staking out the embroidery side of Flickering Storm is Brianna. She had been interested in the craft for some time. Inspired by friends, she took the leap in Summer 2020 and taught herself. She said embroidery is “a way for me to express some of my artsy side.” Her designs are often inspired by trips to fabric stores and browsing different patterns.

Embroidery usually takes between one to three sessions of work for Brianna to complete. She begins by choosing a font for quotes, and if there is a more complicated design aspect, she gets Bernice to create it digitally. Brianna then traces it onto her fabric and starts embroidering. 

The intention of the business was less for a personal profit than to use their hobbies to help others. Brianna said, “I personally really believe in redistributing funds as much as possible.” 

Flickering Storm donates half of their profits monthly and Brianna explained part of the reason to donate funds was starting the business during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There is so much need in the world, and so many things were exacerbated by COVID.” 

For the month of July, donations will go to the Black & Indigenous Self-Care and Healing Fund, Braided Warriors, and giniw collective.

Flickering Storm is offering a 15% off discount code on their Etsy shop for readers of The Peak. The code FSTHEPEAK15 is available until August 31, 2021.