Keeping it Real

It was exciting to get a call from a trade editor saying she’d received our press release announcing the launch of PASSAGES. “So, how would you describe your new cards?” the editor asked and I said, “They’re relevant and intelligent,” I said, then heard her giggling on the other end of the line. “What a concept!” she said, and went on to explain that she sadly believed “relevant and intelligent“ did not apply to this $7 billion card industry.

She was so right. In those days you could find mostly sappy, schmaltzy and tacky. Cardthartic’s reason for being was to raise the bar on what people could expect from cards. From personal experience, I knew what was sorely missing in the card marketplace: Depth and authenticity. Again, cards that honored emotions. Starting with those first sincere condolences from friends following the death of my father, our messages nearly always originate as some sort of interaction between my friends, family and me. Deep in our SoulsIt could be a note, an email or text, though more than likely it’s an everyday conversation about life’s joys and challenges. So, when someone comments that, “the sentiments sound so real!” it’s because they are. And, when people tell us, “You say what I would if I could,” we consider it high praise.

I’m often asked, “Which comes first, the message or the art?” and, “It depends.” Sometimes someone says something so inspiring that I go in search of an image. Other times, a great photographer will submit an image so engaging that it begs for a message. Because we always want a great image to have a message that lives up to it, we hold some photos for years until the right words come along. We received so many terrific kid and pet images ~ at the same time we were seeing the exponential growth of the pet industry ~ that we were inspired to create our Little Reminders line nearly a decade ago now. As the card backs say: “By their very being, kids and animals show us how to live freely and love fully. May these Little Reminders inspire us to follow their lead.”

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