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Becoming Dotty About Braille

Hayley Kellard combined an entrepreneurial spirit and her talent with a brailler to build Dotty About Braille, a braille greeting card business

Owner of Dotty About Braille Hayley Kellard, a white woman with long, blonde hair wearing glasses, sits at a red Perkins Brailler working on a card

I’m Hayley and I was born with a rare genetic eye condition known as Wagner Syndrome. It’s so rare that most doctors are unfamiliar with it. Several members of my family are blind and nearly all of them had failed retinal detachment surgery in the 80’s and 90’s, although some did lose their sight to glaucoma.

Fortunately, when I experienced a detached retina in 1994, the doctors recognized a different approach was needed and my surgery was a success.

Although I can’t legally drive, have little peripheral vision, and can’t see in the dark, I do consider myself to be very lucky: my eyesight is stable, and I haven’t had any further retina detachments since I was 9.

Turning 40 and changing course

On my 40th birthday earlier this year, I felt a strong sense of melancholy. Despite being happily married, I felt like life wasn’t going how I wanted it to. I had been self-employed for over four years and had made the difficult decision to close that business in late 2022. New business ventures weren’t taking off and I was struggling.

I wanted to work – I love working – but due to having a condition called POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), I’m unable to work a “regular job.” Then somebody told me that more businesses were offering home-based jobs now, something I didn’t even realize was an option as I simply hadn’t looked at job vacancies for a long time!

I began my online job search and came across a job with the RNIB. Part time – check! Working at home – check! Knowledge of braille – erm, half check?

A crash course in braille

I had previously learned the braille alphabet at school but hadn’t done much with it since. So, I decided to start teaching myself all over again.

I had a month until the job with the RNIB closed, and I wasn’t doing anything else, so I spent my days teaching myself braille. I used an app called Braille Academy, along with self-made flashcards and reference guides that I printed at home.

By the time I was offered an interview with the RNIB six weeks later, I was confident with grade 2 (contracted) braille.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job – but that didn’t matter, because it set me on this path.

Making braille into a business

I realized I had a passion for braille. I really enjoyed learning it and, being a typical entrepreneur, I wanted to try and think of how I could turn this into a business.

My mum kindly gifted me her Perkins Brailler, which had belonged to my uncle who’d passed away in 2022. And I started thinking of ideas.

I quickly came up with the idea of braille greetings cards. I’d always known the options were limited, having bought them for my mum in the past, and they were often quite expensive, so I wanted to change that.

I wanted to offer a diverse range that included a wide variety of sentiments, special occasions, and life events. I wanted to offer lots of different colors – because, contrary to what many sighted people think, lots of blind people do have a favorite color.

And most importantly, I wanted to price the cards in line with what sighted people would pay for a handmade greeting card.

Dotty About Braille

I can’t quite remember when I came up with the name Dotty About Braille. I think it came from my mum saying something like, “You’re mad about braille!” because I would phone her 10 times a day to ask her questions.

I launched my business online in May – and the response has been amazing! To date, I’ve received over 170 orders, with 128 of them being for the braille cards. I also sell individual braille labels and letters, either on plain paper or clear adhesive to stick inside a greeting card, or on a wedding invitation for example.

What’s really surprised me is the global response I’ve had – I’ve sold to 10 different countries all over the world, and I’ve typed braille in German, Dutch and French!

I have a Christmas range ready to launch in September and I’m excited to see where this business goes.

Here are a few samples of my work:

A greeting card made of brown kraft paper with the words "Congratulations on your engagement" in braille on the front
Braille greeting card: “Congratulations on your engagement” brailled on brown Kraft paper
A braille Christmas card on red stock with "Merry Christmas" brailled on the front
Braille Christmas card: “Merry Christmas” brailled on red stock with a white envelope

About the author

Hayley Kellard is a small business owner in the UK. To learn more about Dotty About Braille, visit her website, You can also connect with Hayley across social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Threads.

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