Roots from Ireland and a passion to connect with the world has inspired Ann Peterson to sell cards and other works of original photography through local business Mundo Images for the past 10 years. She has worked in the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica and Panama, along with other parts of Central America, and she has lived in various parts of Europe. With degrees in Studio Art and Spanish, Peterson’s experiences through her upbringing and her young adult years has shaped her into the worldly person and business owner she is today. The name Mundo Images is derived from Spanish [mundo, meaning world] and most of the photographic work is from Italy, France, Spain, Cuba, and of course Ireland, with a strong commitment to the environment.
From the green clover as their logo, to the specific section for Irish Gifts, this business is evidently close to the heart of its owner’s ancestry. The company creates cards with all sorts of quotes and photos “Quotographs”, along with barnwood trays, Ireland mosaics, and photos of Ireland.
Mundo Images wholesales their cards across 40 states in the U.S. and in Canada, as well as selling their products online. But their home is the Tri-Main Center at 2495 Main Street in Buffalo, NY. Usually open Tuesday thru Friday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., workers stay open until 8 pm on the fourth Friday of every month for a reception with wine and cheese. This year, on September 9, the business will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary. The highlight of the event will be an exhibit of photographs from a recent visit to Ireland and Germany, along with some older favorites.
With every photograph there is a story, just as there is a story behind every business, both which usually boil down to passion. Peterson grew up with a passion for photography and was encouraged by her mother to follow this calling. In 2005, they took a trip to Ireland, where Peterson grew up, and used the photos from the trip to begin a line of greeting cards which would ultimately be the start of her business. Peterson’s mother passed away from cancer a year later. Although Peterson says she was devastated and lost, she persisted to develop her business in honor of her mother, which launched at the National Stationery Show in NYC in 2007.
Peterson’s mother-in-law retired from her job in insurance and helped to bring innovative ideas to the table, to grow the business. She joined on their first trip to the Ireland Trade Show in New Jersey, and has created a strong relationship with the customers ever since. “She has come with me to countless Irish trade shows in Chicago and New Jersey, and NY Gift and National Stationery Shows. Our buyers have come to know her and often call her by the nickname, ‘MamaNina,’” Peterson said.
Mundo Images is grateful to have ‘MamaNina’ because of how hard-working and passionate she is about the business. She is constantly working the production end, the technical end, traveling to trade shows, writing press releases and giving fresh ideas, as well as honest feedback for improvements. She’s the rock of Mundo Images when Peterson is facing hardship and needs encouragement. “It hasn’t always been easy – we’ve gotten lost driving on the back roads of Ireland in the rain, run out of gas on the NJ Turnpike, had a flat tire coming home from New York City, had our tent collapse from high winds at an art show in Rochester, and at our Allentown gallery – we had a fire and a flood, which forced us to run the business from home for three months,” Peterson said.
Peterson tells ‘MamaNina’ that she can quit whenever she truly wants to enjoy retirement, but her response is always that she loves what she does. “Recently – she texted me, ‘I am so grateful and blessed to have you as a daughter-in-law and to have such a wonderful way to stay active and engaged.’ But I know I’m the lucky one,” Peterson said.