NY NOW Podcast

The Paper Plane Cocktail Hour: The Perfect Pitch

May 13, 2021 NY NOW Season 1 Episode 38
NY NOW Podcast
The Paper Plane Cocktail Hour: The Perfect Pitch
Show Notes Transcript

The lack of racial diversity in the stationery community came into clear focus last summer. So, on July 16th 2020, The Greeting Card Association (GCA) attempted to begin to change that by hosting its first ever *Noted Pitch Program for Black-Owned Companies and Makers. No one knew it at that time, but that event planted the seeds for Black Joy Paper, a diverse and visionary greeting card collective. Now, nearly one year later, we talk with one of its founders, Greta Heida, and two of her Pitch Program discoveries, Tiffany McGraw of Paper Rehab and Lauren-Ashley Barnes of Pineapple Sundays Design Studio.

GUESTS:
Greta Heida- Founder and Co-Owner of AIR CO / IG blackjoypaper   
Tiffany McGraw- Founder of Paper Rehab / IG paperrehab   
Lauren-Ashley Barnes- Founder & Creative Director of Pineapple Sundays Design Studio / IG pineapple.Sundays   

MODERATOR:
Amy Loewenberg- Relations Manager at NY NOW & Sarah Schwartz- Editor of Stationery Trends and The Paper Nerd    

RESOURCES   
| NY NOW Podcast Page: 
https://nynow.com/podcast   

| NY NOW Email Subscription: 
https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/147c19d133dc472cbc83778bcaec0402   

| NY NOW Digital Market: 
https://nynowdigitalmarket.com   

| NY NOW : 
https://nynow.com  

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

Hi, everyone and welcome to the paper plane cocktail hour. I'm one of your hosts Amy lowenberg relations and partnership development manager in New York. Now, I treasure the relationships I've established and I relish in the new ones I make every day sharing information and introducing our amazing community of retailers, buyers, artists and makers through my spotlight podcast at New York now and my store tours on Instagram,

Sarah Schwartz:

and I am your host sagt you may know me as the founding editor and editor in chief of stationary trends magazine, from my site, the paper nerd or possibly my other podcasts, the paper fold. I've been covering the stationery and gift industry since 1998. But never did I imagine that I'd one day be covering the market here in the virtual space.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

Right. So throughout 2021 will be raising our glasses alongside our pencils as we share stories, compare notes and celebrate three of our all time favorite topics, stationery connections and cocktails, to Sears.

Sarah Schwartz:

So grab your cocktails and take a listen. But before we get to our guests, we want to talk for a moment about stationery and spring. Traditionally, May was the ideal time for card and gift shops to buy dated and holiday merchandise for the coming winter holidays. And then the new year and all the calendars and planners that that brings. Right, right. And this may marks the third edition of the greeting have noted the greeting card Expo. The event was truly created by the community for the community by the greeting card Association. So it really developed organically, mostly by industry volunteers.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

That's right. And the first noted show was born in 2019 and was held in the Brooklyn Expo Center. And they brought over 150 publishers, designers and makers to share their latest products with their retailer community. I was there and I know you were as well, Sarah. Yep. For 2020 noted they were supposed to be in San Francisco. But like so much that year it was canceled. And the GCA reacted as we all did and created a virtual show.

Sarah Schwartz:

It was pretty amazing how they pulled a virtual that together when they were really still a novelty.

Amy Loewenberg:

Absolutely.

Sarah Schwartz:

So a part of noted has always been the pitch program. Essentially, it's a chance for exhibitors to pitch their product as well as their brands and visions to various industry professionals. The panel may include sales reps, major retailers and more exclusive venues looking for new lines, you literally get four minutes to throw your pitch, and three minutes of feedback and q&a time. The time limit is very strictly enforced as I actually got to see when I sat in on some of the virtual ones that noted last year. It's really interesting to see the makers in action. Yeah, I was able to see that one as well. It was so compelling to hear the designer speak of their businesses. They were so passionate. And so apparently last summer after noted 2020 had come and gone the GCA decided to have another pitch program, right? Yeah, it was the first time I can ever recall something like this happening. So as Black Lives Matter, protests shook America to its core. The industry also took a good long look in the mirror and decided some action was an order. So noted a focus on diversity took place July 16. During this hastily assembled pitch program, nine makers of color were picked at random with all entry fees waived to pitch to a pretty impressive panel. I help drum up applicants and let makers of color know that this existed and actually interviewed three of the makers who were ultimately selected for a podcast episode of the paper fold to help spread the word and let other retailers and reps sit in as well.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

And I know that we can continue to see the pitch program during the noted shows. And the next one is scheduled for May 20 and 21st. So Sarah, and I thought it'd be interesting to take a look back over this past year and see what developed for some of the pitch ease as a direct result of the pitch program.

Sarah Schwartz:

That's right. So we're gonna hear from two of three of the pitch program makers. We'll be talking to them in a moment. But first, why don't you tell us a bit more about our first guest, who was actually a listener to the pitches last July? Sure.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

Our first guest is Greta Heida, the founder and co owner of AIR CO, which stands for artists in residence. It's a boutique size sales agency based in Northern California, which was created to aid artists in bringing their products to the wholesale marketplace. Many years later, airco is still creating the bridge between makers and retailers using its knowledge, experience and relationships to facilitate unique retail opportunities. And what was wonderful is that she listened to their product presentations, and Greta knew that she could help the artists be seen by a wider audience.

Sarah Schwartz:

So following the pitch panel with a few phone calls and zoom meetings and the assistance of a publisher Balian shelf in Seattle, Washington, black joy paper was born. As Greta puts it, black joy paper was created as a collective to amplify the voices of six talented black artists, and to add diversity and inclusion in an industry that has lacked that presence in past years.

Amy Loewenberg:

So let's dive in. Here we go. Right out, welcome to the paper playing cocktail hour. Cheers,

Greta Heida:

cheers. Thanks for having me.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

We're so glad you're here, we're gonna jump right in the noted pitch program not only highlighted nine PLC greeting card brands, but that it also sparked the creation of black joy paper out of necessity. So tell us about this past year, bringing his company black joy paper to life, like just share, like what stags you had and how you work through them. And we're just really interested to hear the process.

Greta Heida:

Okay, great. Oh, well, I have for a long time felt like something was missing in our industry. And I want it to be part of the solution. So when George white invited me to be part of the pitch program for diverse makers, I jumped at the chance. And what really happened was, while I was watching these talented young artists make their presentations, I had a grand vision, I literally could see where they could go next in a bigger way. And I wanted to help make that happen with 35 plus years behind me, in our industry, I have a lot of connections, I know a lot of people and I just knew that I could put something together for them. And that passion. And that vision is what I brought to the artists. And so honestly, beginning this was easy. Once the pitch was finished, I sent an email to each artist who had presented, describing in detail what I wanted to accomplish. This included not only the creation of the new ground, but how this would be sold and marketed out. And I quickly followed the email pitch, because at this point, I'm pitching them. Right. Right, your new idea? Yeah, with setting appointments to just talk, and let them get to know me and share a little bit more about myself. And why I want to do this, your audience can't see this. But I'm a white middle aged woman. And I was literally making connections with these beautifully talented artists. And I wanted to be out them too. I wanted to connect with them. I wanted to amplify their voices. So six amazing artists were intrigued and excited by what I had to offer. And together we created black joint paper. That sounds

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

incredible. And thank you what what kind of responses have you been receiving? And and what can we expect to see?

Greta Heida:

There a positive, I immediately engaged the partnership with a publisher, Bailey and shoaf out of Seattle, Washington, you probably know Glenn and Tom. And the beauty of that relationship. I've known them for years is they were as excited as I was. So they also worked very hard on creating these partnerships with the artists now and as far as snags, you know, I thought about that. Back to your other question. There were very few snags and setting us up and that our passion and our vision rolled into our conversations with key retailers. So I was really in the position of having conversations with these large retailers who were anxious to get started, who were excited to do something different in their marketplace and probably

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

seeing the void as well and wanting to help change that.

Greta Heida:

Exactly.

Amy Loewenberg:

That incredible increase.

Sarah Schwartz:

So that's a really good bridge into my first question ready, you had previously mentioned to me that over the years, you've received multiple requests from for product for minority driven products from these businesses. So you were able to sort of put black joy paper together with their desires in mind. What were they asking for specifically? And how do you accommodate them through this range?

Greta Heida:

That was an organic process. And what I quickly learned, was, even though I had created, or when I say created, it really was a group effort, I felt like I started the ball rolling, I don't feel like the Creator, I feel like the producer of the line. And that's an important distinction, because I don't own black joy paper, the artists do they own the trademark. And I want to be really clear about that. Because it's important that they own their work, the publisher doesn't own it, I don't own it, they do. So I'm beginning the process of creating the line, I really just wanted to amplify their voices, and have them create, not something that maybe my buyers had expressed to me because a lot of them did, but to create something that was an amplification of what they were already doing. So it wasn't gearing them into just representational work. For instance, two of my artists aren't graphic artists, and their work is very bold. It's very graphically beautiful. It's not necessarily representational. So it's more about giving a platform to black owned businesses, instead of creating a black art line. And that's an important distinction. And I had to educate a few buyers around that back to your question, they may have had an idea about, oh, we want to have black faces and artwork. It's not necessarily about that, of course, we want to be inclusive, of course, we want to include all people. But it was about giving a platform to the black artists, however, they presented their work. So there was a little bit of micro conversations around that. So it wasn't like that became a big deal. But because my conversations with the buyers were so organic, to some degree, it was educational, I have a big history in half of my family is black. So I have some experience around that. So I have an understanding that there are people that want to help, but until they really immerse themselves in black activism, and one of my artists calls every day activism, that's everyday awareness, that is being aware in your daily life of how you how your words are perceived, how you affect people, and how you create those partnerships from that. So as much as my buyers had a certain vision, I helped reform that a little bit, you know, without trying to be, hey, you have to do it this way. Obviously, they have their needs and their desires to

Sarah Schwartz:

they're working with certain constraints. And exactly right. I, you know, the abstract idea, oh, wouldn't it be nice to have some black ranges in here versus what actually goes into, you know, bringing that to life and creating a and, you know, sort of honoring each artists voice as you, you know, present something cohesive, you know, that's a little more difficult than it was the first year on the process.

Amy Loewenberg:

And yeah, and I mean, at first sight, if I could jump into I mean, you said you know, that you were having important micro conversations, very important micro conversations to start the conversation going, or a buyer who is perhaps not picking up on that very important point that you shared is it's not just bringing a certain color of a face into a greeting card wall. It's the actual work of a variety of people so that we can, you know, create a more filled voice and presentation for greeting

Greta Heida:

You got it. Yeah, exactly Amy.

Amy Loewenberg:

Yeah. Fantastic.

Sarah Schwartz:

But you had also mentioned to me gretta about how greeting cards are such an ideal, quick way, you know, quick way for a mass merchandiser to do this, like greeting cards are so uniquely suited to this challenge. That many, you know, retailers, big and small are feeling right now, right? Well, if

Greta Heida:

you think about it, greeting cards and stationery, for that matter, are a snapshot of current culture. So what you can see quickly because printing greeting cards is fairly fast. I have a company who literally will turn around a cultural phenomenon into a greeting card within two weeks. Though, that's a really fast turnaround, you can definitely pick up on a trend and show that in your work within a month, you can print cards pretty quickly. It's amazing. Right,

Sarah Schwartz:

right. Like the Bernie mittens, you know, that's out within a week

Greta Heida:

Exactly.

Sarah Schwartz:

Like people were getting stickers and cards that quickly. Sorry, right. Well, that brings us to our last question for you. That definitely relates to what we were just talking about, has this past year had any impact on the way you see stationary?

Greta Heida:

Well, I was explaining to Amy, before we started that I live in the Bay Area. So I live in a bubble, where it's very diverse here, there's a move, there's been a movement for many years towards more diversity, both in the gay community, but definitely including Hispanic, including people of all color. And so because this is the industry I work in, I see that there is so much more that can be done. The kind of on everyone's part, not just key account retailers, but makers. publishers are definitely independent retailers. One of my artists has a phrase that's about normalizing the inclusion. And instead of thinking, Oh, we want to bring in black makers, they should become partners, they should become a resource. And all stationery publishers should start to see the true talents of so many incredible artists out there, no matter their color, and normalize that process. You know, the day that we can stop talking about all of this is the day that we have true inclusion, we're a long ways off from that. But because cards are such a snapshot on, we couldn't make significant changes just in how the average consumers see the world by bringing different imagery to the shelf. And then our ultimate person who buys that, who is buying it for the beauty of the work, sees that, um, there's a subtlety that happens and thinking more inclusively and having a broader view of our immediate world. And I think stationary can do that. So more and more, I think we can make a significant impact. And to be a little bit more aware and vigilant about the needs of everybody walking in.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

Absolutely. I mean, and continuing to have those conversations and continuing to bring awareness and continuing to foster the ability for the consumer to purchase. And I agree, I agree so much greeting cards, if you think about it, it's a small little marketing snapshot. And we all are attracted to certain designs and graphics and words and you know, and, you know, to be able to have more options, right to send the messages that we want to send to somebody can only help amplify and broaden what you're working on. So, you know, I applaud you. And Sarah and I are so excited because we're going to be talking to two of the lines that are in lactide paper and we can't wait.

Greta Heida:

Fantastic.

Sarah Schwartz:

Well, we cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your busy schedule. I know you've got a million things going on. To connect with us and share more about this range. It's really exciting. And it's it was really, it was really cool. A little selfishly, just to have a front row seat to see it come to life from last summer to now.

Greta Heida:

It's been an enjoyable process. I thought I've been personally enriched by it.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

Well, this has been an enjoyable conversation and we are all enriched by it. So thank you so much for sharing this detail with you. We know that we will be talking to you and hearing more of you your lines black joy paper, and of course there and I are always available for anything you need. Thank you so much for joining us. Greta.

Greta Heida:

Thank you.

Sarah Schwartz:

Thank you. Cheers. Cheers.

Amy Loewenberg:

I love hearing about new business growth. Sarah, why don't you introduce our next guest?

Sarah Schwartz:

Sure, Tiffany. McGraw Hill is the owner of paper rehab, this Detroit stationery brand believes that its paper goods have the power to help heal, restore and cultivate the relationships in our lives. Through the use of art inverse. Tiffany hopes that her brand will not only make it easier to provide support, but also inspire conversations that will help erase mental health stigmas, especially in the African American community. Let's get this party started.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

So hi, Tiffany, thank you for joining Sarah and I today.

Tiffany McGraw:

Hi, thank you for having me.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

Oh, my gosh, you're so welcome. Sarah is going to start and she's gonna jump right in. So Sarah, the floor is yours.

Sarah Schwartz:

All right. Well, hi, Tiffany.

Tiffany McGraw:

Hi.

Sarah Schwartz:

So good to see you again. For the savvy, it's, it's crazy to me that I that I interviewed you just under a year ago, before you did the pitch program for my podcasts, the paper fold. So looking back on it, looking back on where you were then and where you are now, how did the pitch program kind of alter how you see the industry and your place in it? Well, I

Tiffany McGraw:

mean, I just opened up so many doors, and I saw people within our industry make a conscious effort to be inclusive, make sure people are being seen. And that all started with like GCA, with George white, and john smith. And also, it just led them to produce a product like Katie Hans, and also stationary trends, you know, that article climate change, it literally embody the title and body what was going on, you know, when it came to black makers. Also, from that was gretta, and Bailey and shelf, like Retta saw a vision for what we were doing. And she just pulled it together. And it was amazing to see, like a group of talented artists come together and create a whole product, which is black joy paper to put out in the world. And her intentions was to amplify black voices. And I feel like that's being done right now. So it feels amazing.

Sarah Schwartz:

It's really nice. And it seems like it happened so fast, like you meant, like, it really seems like it just played out so quickly. Like you mentioned that article climate change. And I worked really hard on it. But I almost forgot about it, because I feel like I done like 3000. But it was it was it seems to have been a special moment in time. And I'm glad that you know, I'm just so glad we're growing from it and great.

Tiffany McGraw:

And also retailers. I mean, retailers seem like they're more conscious about making sure black makers are in their stores, which is important, because it's not that you just want to throw it in there, they understand that people want to go into their store and see that, oh, there's a black maker, or you have black makers, or you have cars with, you know, African Americans on them. Like, I think it's important for representation. And I think retailers are starting to see that which is amazing.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

But definitely agree in all of my travels. And my stores. Definitely far more prominent, which is really a beautiful thing to see. You know, the GCA pitch program was wonderful. And we're so glad at New York now to be partners with them. So, you know, hope to see you in the aisles of New York. Now at some point, it is like really easy to see your talent and your love of art. You're welcome looking through your line, your images are gorgeous. Your verbiage is so poignant. But your card sentiments don't just cover like birthday and baby, you have an important focus on mental well being. And you're, you're essentially normalizing mental health care and helping to remove the stigma surrounding it, especially among women of color. So we still have a long way to go. But in your past decade plus, do you think that the paper gift industry is getting better at making the space for everyone and everything? Absolutely, um,

Tiffany McGraw:

you know, sometimes you feel like something might be a trend, or everybody's just doing something to like, you know, for the moment, but just the fact that GCA started up again with a pitch and they added on to it. And I think that's important, and so good to see. And it's held that they're planning for next year as well. So, just seeing that keeps the momentum going. And that's where leadership and industry comes from. It's like, you know, when people respect the, the leadership, you know, they have an influence and responsibility to make sure everybody's included, and I think they're doing that. So

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

yeah, well, I mean, I think you're doing that too. What do you think that we could do that might be a little better.

Tiffany McGraw:

just making sure that for everybody is included, making sure we're all conscious of each other. You know, like conscious of though everybody exists in the same industry and making sure it buddies highlight it. And I think that's so essential and so important going forward. And I think people are working towards that, which is amazing.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

100%. And again, I want to say your card line is gorgeous and and the sentiments you know, like, take time to heal, and I will fit with you, and you got this, you know that that is all support that we all need. So just really supportive, beautiful messages. What is next for paper rehab,

Tiffany McGraw:

black, joy paper is coming out soon. And I'm excited about that. It's a great collection of amazing artists. But I think we'll add a little joy to people's lives and add something special. So also, I'm working with some mental health organizations as well. I'm working on a few projects. So I'm looking forward to that comments for Oh, wow, I

Amy Loewenberg:

can't wait to hear about that. Can we just see things? That's really amazing.

Sarah Schwartz:

And we always end by asking if the past year has had any impact on how you see stationery, I think it's clear that it's definitely impacted you and your rage. I'm just curious. You mentioned a little bit about your new work. How has How do you think this experience has shaped what you're creating now,

Tiffany McGraw:

from working with black and white paper, it makes me want to create more work, this book is on joy and like stem, you know, and eliciting more joy among, you know, African American women, especially. So I think but going forward, like, I've started like pocket notebooks which encourage mindfulness, you know, like, getting away from the negativity of like, what's going on around you, and just really taking a moment to, you know, connect with yourself and just find inner peace. So that's what I've been working on lately. Oh,

Sarah Schwartz:

I can't wait to see them. And that that is that is like a very, very logical evolution, I think, for your brand. So I think I can't wait to see I think it's going to be really interesting.

Tiffany McGraw:

Thank you.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

Yeah, ditto. I mean, just to say and to mimic another one of your your card sentiments is is you too are hard not to love. So keep doing what you're doing. We just wish you the greatest success and we're going to be watching you and we are here to cheer you on and support and to give you any insight or resources, anything we can do. We are paper rehab and Tiffany fan. So thank you so much for joining us today.

Tiffany McGraw:

Thank you for having me.

Sarah Schwartz:

Thank you, Tiffany. Cheers. Cheers. That was so much fun catching up with Tiffany. Amy, why don't you tell us about our final guests. Laura and Ashley Barnes.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

Absolutely. Lauren Ashley Barnes is the founder and creative director behind pineapple sundays design studio. I love that name. She's a multi passionate illustrator, designer and colorist who creates greeting cards and gift ware with a purpose. It's pretty cool for such a young brand have its own range and to be a part of a collective. So be sure to check out the graphic, colorful aesthetic of pineapple sundays once you get a look at Black joy paper.

Sarah Schwartz:

Absolutely. Her range is exquisite, colorful, bold, vibrant. It's a lot of fun. But before I wax eloquent anymore on it, let's just bring her on.

Amy Loewenberg:

Let's do it.

Sarah Schwartz:

Welcome Lauren. Ashley, we're so happy that you came by.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

Hey, thank you so much, Sara. Thank you, Amy.

Sarah Schwartz:

Well, welcome. I'm just going to get right into it to take Amy's phrase. Yeah, jump right in. jump right in. Lauren Ashley, I interviewed you just under a year ago for my podcast, the paper fold just before you did the pitch program like the week before. Now looking back on it looking back on the pitch program and the past, you know, year or so, how did that excuse experiences change how you see the industry and your place in it?

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

Well, first and foremost, I want to say this is like a full circle moment because you told me about the Noda pitch program like that's how I found out about it and I was like I didn't have any cars design so I like rushed and did my first greeting car line in like two weeks just applied so they know what a pitch program and I got in and it all started with you telling me about the program and so now coming towards the end of it and we're talking again it's just like a full circle That's so crazy.

Sarah Schwartz:

I I vaguely you know when I think of last summer it is such a blur and I know that I know when I learned about the pitch program I reached out to you but I I didn't like everything happens So quickly, and I threw together that episode. And it was, there were so many moving parts, I sort of forgot. I'm so glad I so glad I did that and meet. So, so. So now I mean, do you think the experience of having been a part of black joy paper? Is it shaping your new work, I mean, when you were getting ready to do the pitch program, you were like, I'm just finishing up my card. So like, I'm wondering, like, what you're taking from this experience, and putting into your own range

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

isn't that so much shaping me, but it's bringing my creativity out more. Because what Glen joy paper we have inside messages and designs, which is completely different from, you know, the wholesale stationery world where mostly the inside of our greeting cards are blank. So that's just like more thought that I get to put into my things trying to come up with inside messages that really relate to the art, and then doing additional art for the inside of the card. So it's completely different from what I'm doing with pineapple sundaes with my own company,

Sarah Schwartz:

right, I mean, it's got color printing inside, they use your rainbow. For the for the logo. It is it is sort of a more articulated approach to greeting cards with with the inside Greetings, I am starting to see more of them for a long time they went away. And it's interesting to see how they're building those in. But I can see with your rate with your range. With that it almost like an angry greeting card with journals and bookmarks. Like it kind of makes a little more sense in that format, I

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

think Yeah, yeah,

Amy Loewenberg:

I really enjoy your work.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

So thank you so much, you are very welcome. I just recently became familiar with you. And I love the story of your entire process to where you are now. It's It's wonderful. So you know, I'm also I'm aware that you already had experience designing product for your day job at about face designs. So I know that you know that words are very powerful. And tell me about your approach to your own work and how it's different. Well, I get to do whatever I wanted to do. And the only person that tells me no is myself. My ideas and creativity is just endless. And I can do it how I want to do it, I can choose the colors and a saying like those are, it's just my favorite part of the process. And with my day job, I'm really involved in every different aspect of developing a product from concept to completion, to researching trends, and you know, picking out material swatches, designing the packaging, and just really even envisioning the finished product before we even start designing it. Like I that's just how I approach designing anything. And I really use that when I'm designing for pineapple sundaes, when I'm designing my gift where and for my stationery, I always start with that. But with me I focus on especially for the cards, how I want to feel and the emotion I want to convey. And emotion, I want the end customer to feel. And I put that into my work. And it also helps me choose the colors and the things that I say that there's a reason and a meaning behind every single thing that I do. And every little aspect that I put into my cards and my products, there's a reason for that. And a lot of people get those emotions when they're reading it or when they see the product like they get what I'm putting into it. So that's like really what it's all about. That's how I approach it. Well, I mean, I can definitely see you know, your your site does not have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of items. It's it's a very detailed offering. And so I can completely understand and agree with what you're saying because the essence of Lauren Ashley kind of comes out in the offering that you present. So congratulations on that. And just you know, I know I said You're welcome. But congratulations again because it's kind of a crazy, archaic world greeting card. Yeah, finding your way in it and making your presence known is something to be applauded. You know, you also you like I looked at your mission statement and you know, you want to create quality products with a purpose and self care in mind. And then You know, basically your cost marketer, and every purchase helps to support organizations and programs that empower women and people of color. And I think and I applaud you for that, too. Tell us what organizations you're supporting. Yes. So last year, and this year, my main focus has been on the lovely foundation they provide, through free therapy sessions for women of color, which I think is very important is important to help women heal in a positive way, so that they can live their best life and have a good experience. And I feel like that, you know, that'll pass on to anybody else that they come into interaction with. And that's kind of like what my products are about. It's about self care. It's about you know, enjoying those small moments with your loved ones. Because those are, like, the most important things are those small, little moments or exchanges that you have with people. And it's just all about that, that connection. So it kind of really goes along with my personal values and with my company value. So yeah, nice choices. Really nice choices there. And I always end our conversations with this question, which we're going to pass on to you as well. Has this past year had any impact on the way you see stationery? That's a good question. I see it as more than just a card that's given to somebody, it's a chance for someone to make a statement, it's a chance to support somebody is a chance to have more meaning beyond what the actual card is, is a chance to, like inspire somebody to take action, or you know, to, you know, make better choices. It's just it has such a bigger impact all in that little card. And I definitely learned that from my mom, because she used to give me cards all the time. And I still have those stacks of cards with her little notes. And I'm in her hand writing. And I think that's what I see in the stationery world. expecially these past couple of years.

Sarah Schwartz:

Well said

Amy Loewenberg:

very well.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

Oh my gosh, this has been really enjoyable. Lauren Ashley, we just really want to thank you for spending a few minutes of your time with us and sharing with our listeners the story of who you are and how kind of Monday's came around. And I guess we just want to say thank you. And we want to say Sarah,

Sarah Schwartz:

cheers.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

Cheers.

Sarah Schwartz:

Well, that was fine. Yeah. Thank you again to Greta Lauren, Ashley and Tiffany for joining us for chat and cocktails. I hope you all register for noted. Get your registration started at greeting card.org. I've been sponsoring and judging the noted at noted awards, and we will be announcing the winners Wednesday, May 19. At 5pm Eastern Standard Time, don't miss out. We had so many design gems submitted this year, it has been really inspiring to be a part of it.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

It's been so neat to learn about the backstory and the development of such an important and necessary element of the paper industry. In fact, when I was talking with Vanessa raftopoulos of awesome Brooklyn, who happened to be a judge on the pitch program panel, she shared with me that she actually picked up three lines from the pitch program and that kaleida dope was one of the lines and now is actually one of those cards is one of her best selling cards.

Sarah Schwartz:

I am not a bit surprised Kaleidoscope is an awesome range they are. And it looks like Vanessa is going to be on the pitch panel this year as well. There are four in all. Meanwhile, there's another important event for us happening a little later in the month on May 26.

Amy Loewenberg:

That's right.

Lauren-Ashley Barnes:

According to my other friend Wikipedia. National paper airplane day is an unofficial observance celebrated on May 26. Each year in the United States to commemorate the simple aeronautical toy paper airplane Day celebrations typically includes social gatherings at which participants create and fly paper airplanes. So it's not just a delicious cocktail.

Sarah Schwartz:

No, it's not. And it has us written all over it. I mean, who says you can throw a fabulous paper airplane Day party and have some cocktails. Meanwhile, I know we have something up our sleeves for that. We believe Yep, we do. Meanwhile, don't forget to post Instagram pics of your favorite paper plane using the hashtags. The paper plane podcast and hashtag paper plane cocktail hour. Amy, where can our listeners find you in the meantime?

Amy Loewenberg:

Oh you guys know you can connect with me on Instagram at Amy at ny n o w LinkedIn or email me at work. I always want to highlight our amazing community on my spotlight podcasts and feature on my Instagram Star Tours. I'm always available to help connect you to new and needed resources and answer any of your New York now market or digital market questions. And Sarah, why don't you share how we can connect with you.

Sarah Schwartz:

Probably the best place to connect with me is at the paper nerd comm you can see more fabulous stationery coverage, check out my podcast, my other podcast the paper fold and access stationary trends, the industry's award winning design driven trade quarterly as well. It's always a pleasure to learn more about makers and spotlight their work, whether it is in a publication, a blog or podcast forum. If you want to connect, I'd love to hear from you. And please don't hesitate to reach out to either of us with comments questions, feedback suggestions for guests, or just to say hi and introduce yourself. Cheers