This week I had an “aha moment!" and I'd like to share it with you...
Love Jac had been a dream of mine for years before I turned it into a reality. The summer after our daughter was born I wrote our mission statement. It had two parts. I believed whole-heartedly in both.
Part One: “We create unique, handmade cards that say exactly what you’re thinking...” The cards being sold in stores never said what I wanted them to say. They were either super cheesy or too cutesy. I wanted to give people a better option…cards that were clever, funny, and encouraging. I started by making the cards I needed and the cards I wanted to receive. I was over the moon when other people loved them as much as I did. To exaggerate slightly (but not really), I truly thought that the stationery industry needed me. I had to make these cards because no one else was making them and it was important they were available to the masses.
Left: Placing 2nd in Brooklyn's PowerUp Competition in 2011.
Right: Posing with my cards in one of our first brick & mortar stores: Print Icon!
Bottom: At The Brooklyn Flea with my best friend Lindsay and our babies when they were itty bitty.
But here’s the thing…there are so many cool, unique cards out there. Take one look around The Javits Center during The National Stationery Show and you will be overwhelmed with how many amazing card designers there are. My biggest takeaway from our debut at the show last year was that we are one of thousands. I couldn’t help but wonder how we were supposed to compete with all of these talented people. Anyone who is anyone in the greeting card business exhibits at the show. You’ve got the big guys – Hallmark & American Greetings! You’ve got the well-established companies like Borealis Press, which has been one of my personal favorites for years. Then you have the “newbies” that hit it big like Emily McDowell & Anna Rifle Bond whose success stories are just incredible. And then there are the rest of us – hundreds of us. We all love designing cards and believe in making them accessible to the masses. Last year we were in the #fresh section so most of our neighbors were debuting as well. And they all have great cards! If I thought about it too much the whole thing would become completely overwhelming.
With one of my fellow Brooklyn makers - the extremely talent Ursula Jaroszewicz of Pepper Press.
Luckily, this is the stationery industry and there’s one thing I can tell you for sure about the people who make greeting cards their business. EVERYONE IS NICE!! I experienced this in 2007 when I first walked the show as a guest and met Mollie Green of La Familia Green. At that point I hadn’t even started my line and she was so kind and generous with her knowledge. Now, having 3 years under my belt, I can easily say that everyone I have come in contact with has been friendly. No one is out to get you. No one wants to see you fail. We are all here because we want to spread a little love in this world. We want to make someone’s day better – and paper is our medium!!
Getting to meet Emily Blistein, the owner of Clementine a shop in Vermont, just re-confirmed how nice "paper people" are...oh and added another reason I love Instgram! (that's how we connected)
This year’s National Stationery show is less than 75 days away! When I saw the image on NSS’s Instagram feed my heart stopped for a moment and the panic started to fill my body. Then something just clicked. Chalk it up to just getting over a cold in this freezing New York City weather or all the business podcasts I’ve been listening to lately, but suddenly the second part of my mission statement came into focus and my nerves subsided.
Part Two: “…helping you stay connected with your friends the old fashioned way.” This part is and will always be my heart and soul. I love hearing why people connect with our cards…the stories customers have shared with us at craft fairs, the emails we’ve received from people who were sent a Love Jac card from a friend, and the wonderful comments on Instagram. We don’t have to compete with anyone to accomplish this. We don’t have to be in 100 stores. We just need to find the customers who connect with our cards.
And right now we are doing just that. The first part of our mission statement is still true. We make unique cards by hand. Yes, we make them during Conroy's nap times, late at night, and on weekends. Yes, we hire a sitter when we get a big order so that we can deliver on time. We do craft shows, sell online, and are in over 10 brick-and-mortar stores. We are small, but we love it.
If you follow us on Instagram you know that the majority of my time is spent with my kids and that’s exactly how I prefer it. We explore New York City, cherish our friendships and play dates, and laugh often. We are busy, but that’s how we like it. We get as much out of life as we possibly can. And the entire time somewhere in the back of my head, I’m creating cards and coming up with new ideas.
We are excited to see how Love Jac grows! Soon Georgia and Conroy will both be in school and we’ll take this company to a new level. But for now - for this year's show - we are doing our research. We know who our customer is. We know what cards are their favorites. Now we are singling out the stores where they shop. If you receive a pre-show mailer from us, know it’s for a reason. Instead of a mass mailing, we are keeping it specific and personal.
So as the time ticks down to this year’s National Stationery Show, we are going to enjoy this whole process. Nerves and anxiety are feelings of the past. We are enrolled in Katie Hunt’s Tradeshow Bootcamp Webinar Series and can’t wait to meet even more wonderful people. We have an incredible amount of support from friends, family, and a great group of fellow Brooklynite makers. We are adding several new designs that have been in the back of my mind for a while now and even a line of ink-able stamps.
It’s a really exciting time for Love Jac! We want to thank everyone in our life that has helped to make it so! And, of course, our customers who have ordered and reordered. Your support means the world to us and we are so happy that we are able to help you stay connected to your friends the old fashioned way! We look forward to continuing to do so! Let the countdown to the National Stationery Show continue.