As if it were yesterday, I remember sitting on a big closet floor back in my Chicago apartment, rereading that stack of condolence cards. I'd planned to tuck them away in the box dedicated to such keepsakes but, there I sat, reading and crying and smiling all over again. Instead of placing them in the memory box ~ you know how it goes ~ I started pulling things out! I found scores of cards and notes that my then alive-and-kicking Mother had sent throughout my lifetime. I loved reading gushy letters from long-lost boyfriends, and grinned at the notes
scribbled in cards from crazy college friends. I took in all the great and different ways people had of honoring emotions, and there found the inspiration for our PASSAGES line. For example, there’s the message college roommate Laura Cendejas penned in a birthday card to me around 1990, and we publish to this day: “In a world that is so full of change, I’m thankful one thing is constant: Our friendship.”
Then and there, an exhilarating sense of purpose kicked in. As I culled through the scores of saved sentiments, it was clear that they related to many more people than just me. In the days that followed that night, I was on a roll. PR is primarily writing, and my career had given me the opportunity to launch and promote products for some of the world’s most successful consumer marketers ~ McDonald’s, Miller Brewing, Motorola ~ so how hard could launching a fresh new product in the out-dated card market be?!?
I reached out to a childhood friend who, in the years since we’d gone off to college and lost touch, had become a well-respected landscape photographer with several books to his credit. Then I cold-called photo editors of Travel & Leisure, Connoisseur and Islands magazines; they all kindly introduced me to freelance photographers they published. I then paired the images I’d sourced with 48 initial messages that I’d found in my keepsake box (of course I had tweaked those messages a bit). Cardthartic launched its PASSAGES line.