In the early months at Clementine I was a total sucker for “hello” cards. Letterpress print an animal saying “hello” or “hi” and I was sold. I mean, give-me-some-box sets, sold. I was certain that everyone would buy them because they were a sweet, quick way to let someone know you’re thinking of them. But they didn’t sell. I was stumped. – Emily of Clementine
Anne & Leo ~ Banquet, Neon Heart ~ For Anne’s parents who took care of her kids so that she and her husband could get away for the first time in years.
Meanwhile stationery flew off the shelves. Customers who came in to buy a birthday card wound their way to the counter with a thick stack of cards, always telling me they couldn’t resist and would find a time to use it. We would joke about stocking a stationery drawer, like a mini-bunker, to avoid emergency trips to the drug store. My card lines doubled, then tripled. I found a soft spot for “just because” cards and for the stories customers told about where each card was headed.
Caroline ~ Pearl & Marmalade, Snarky Cat ~ Just a good card to keep in reserves for the right occasion.
I can’t say specifically why hello cards sell slowly (were you wondering if I still order them? Of course I do!). What I’ve learned is that sending a “just because” card is a simple act done with great care. It’s more than a hello. It makes you vow to stop texting so much. It can reconnect you to someone in a heartbeat and make you feel implausibly good. And who doesn’t like that?
Sarah – May Day Studio, You Are My Sunshine ~ for a friend who sent a package that arrived on her door after a very tough day caring for her mom // Eliza & babe ~ May Day Studio, You Turn My Grey Skies Blue ~ for a friend who often sends thoughtful things, who works long and hard and deserves to have her day brightened.
It’s always fun to hear people chuckle from across the store, or pull friends in through the door because they see a card in the window that they must have.
Felix ~ Iron Curtain Press, You!!!Me ~ a just because I love you, for his girlfriend living several cities away.
I buy a lot of stationery from Valentine’s Day collections long after the holiday, because love is a “just because” sentiment I can never get enough of. And customers agree. I also really like the burgeoning lines of celebration and encouragement cards (yippees, yahoos, hoorays to be braves, weather it together, with comfort) that focus on the exclamation of excitement or compassion, rather than a specific event. These give customers the opportunity to insert their own applause and celebrate for any reason. Or share comfort for rough patches that may not be so easy to define.
Shawna – Screech Owl, Aim High ~ For a friend trying to find the career that’s right for her. To remind her that she’s fabulous, to keep her spirits and confidence high! / Sarah ~ E. Frances Paper, Peace Comfort Strength ~ just a note to brighten her mom’s spirits.
Susan ~ Printerette, Strawberry Jam ~ just a bit of housewarming sweetness for a good friend who just moved in with her boyfriend.
I order “just because” cards in bushels. Cards that don’t always have a category in vendors’ catalogs, now out-sell almost every other occasion. Yet I realized I wasn’t sending them. This is the shop owner’s lament: It’s hard to use your own inventory, especially if it’s the last card left and it’s a favorite. At the beginning of this month, Clementine’s 3rd birthday, I decided it was high time I got over that and start sending more cards. Here are my first four, to very different people who impact very different parts of my life, but who I’m so thankful for:
Scout’s Honor Co, East Coast Girls Are Hip ~ for my oldest hippest friend, Sophie, who I’ve known since I was a baby, now pregnant with her first baby (yippee!) // Banquet, Sometimes Life Gives You Lemons, for Anna, a vendor I’ve connected with about the trials of mothering and small-business owning, after her unexpected trip to the hospital (she’s ok!) which delayed outgoing orders (lemons!) but I hope gave her some time to lie down and daydream // Banquet, You Are My Favorite, to Paul, the fabulous marketing director at Sweet Paul, who has often gone out of his way to do thoughtful things for my little business // Albertine Press, Venice Letterpress Library, to the wife of my favorite art teacher, who passed away last year. He made an indelible mark on my life (including sneaking me on to a trip to Italy for upperclassman). It took me too long to send, but I cried while I wrote it, and when I sent it I really vowed: Less texts. Less email. More cards.
“Just because” cards are the Thanksgiving of cards. Through humor or kindness or love, they give us a moment to just be thankful that the person we’re sending them to exists. They are a hello, with some serious oomph.
Do send “just because” cards? Have you received them? I’d love to hear your stories.