This Stationery Company Is Using Greeting Cards to Start Hard Conversations
When Ali O’Grady lost her father to cancer in 2011, the then 22-year-old — understandably — found herself with a lot of questions.
“What could I have said or done to better support my dad in his journey with cancer?” she reflects now.
Over the years, O’Grady’s personal network has been touched by addiction, causing her to wrestle with more hard questions: “How can I continue to support people I love with addiction — even when I’m angry, hurt, or clearly just don’t understand? How can I show up for people I love who are grieving in ways that are honest, but still productive?”
Inspired by these experiences, O’Grady has found purpose in cultivating empathy in her own life… and — through her stationery company Thoughtful Human, which launched in October 2017 — helping other people support loved ones during a challenging time. All cards are printed on biodegradable eco-paper made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials (O’Grady has also always been passionate about sustainability) and, being made out of “plantable seed paper,” they can even be planted to grow seven different types of wildflowers! Their messages are unique too.
“I think there’s a huge opportunity to use the [stationery] space to shift from impersonal, holiday-based greetings to tools to start real, meaningful, and consistent conversations,” O’Grady tells us.
Rather than “Happy Birthday!’ and “Season’s Greetings!” messages, Thoughtful Human cards are printed with direct, honest, often darkly funny verbiage. A card meant to address depression, for example, says “Hey! Keep your head up. Or don’t. Whatever feels right.” Another one, designed to send to a grieving loved one, says “Something really sad happened on this day and we don’t really talk about it a lot anymore, but I remember and I’m still really sorry.” Sentiments like this, according to O’Grady, create opportunities for us to start more meaningful conversations with the people we care about most.
“There is a lot of power in a written note and the time and thought it took to get it into your hands,” she says. “People value that. Unlike a text buried in a thread of thousands of others, it’s something to hold on to, revisit, and remember.”
We’ve all found ourselves in the tough spot of knowing that a friend or family member is struggling through a seemingly unbearable situation, wanting to say or do the right thing and having no idea of how to go about it. Talking about the sad stuff IRL can be awkward and uncomfortable and, as O’Grady says, a text message is easy to lose. A physical expression of your care and concern — one that doesn’t sugarcoat the circumstances they’re going through — can be the best way to show that you’re there for them.
Thoughtful Human products are available online as individual cards or in bundles that can help you offer support to someone over a longer period of time through a series of messages, and several multi-card packs and support series are also available on Target.com. And while O’Grady notes that she’s gotten her fair share of pushback from people who believe that snail mail is so not cool, she’s confident that Thoughtful Human’s cards can start important conversations and make a big impact.
“If you’ve ever been in one of those really dark, low moments yourself, you remember that one person who noticed and showed up,” she says. “The smallest act of kindness in a moment of crisis can be quite profound.”
What’s the most meaningful card you’ve ever received? Tweet us @BritandCo!
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(Photos via Thoughtful Human)
Pocket doors are so delightful in and of themselves. They appear when you need them, get tucked away when you don't, and make it easy to define rooms while keeping an open floor plan. Add to the pocket door a joyful patterned wallpaper surprise, and you will be sent right into fits of visual jubilation! Or something ;) Today we're sharing two simple and impactful pocket door makeovers that zhuzh up your space in a jiffy.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and proud owner of several pocket doors! When I moved into my first real grown-up house a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate wallpaper so reached out to our friends at Chasing Paper to see how we might collaborate. It felt like a total lightbulb moment when I realized I could create a surprise pop of pattern on a couple sets of pocket doors.
Not only is it a whimsical way to bring color into a space, but the doors double as picture-perfect backdrops for all your SFH (selfies from home, obvs).
A few pro tips about install:
- Removable wallpaper is miraculously forgiving! You can take it on and off multiple times without it losing integrity (or mucking up your surface).
- I ordered this adhesive wallpaper installation kit with a squeegee and xacto knife and it worked super well. I also recommend a sharp pair of scissors for cutting longer lines.
- This is a two-person job! Get a friend, put on a playlist, and get ready to bond.
- Wild, organic patterns like Tally are great because it's challenging to spot any imperfections in pattern alignment; keep pattern choice in mind if you've got a lot of corners to match up. More geometric patterns and larger shapes leave less room for error (but are awesome in their own right!).
BATHROOM POCKET DOORS
In our primary bathroom, we chose the wallpaper pattern Tally, designed by Kelly Ventura, in White and Navy. In our space, the navy reads as a soft black, which is perfect for the space. It's easy to combine an ever-rotating collection of linens with the Tally pattern.
I love how the white trim becomes the perfect frame around this pocket door piece of art.
My favorite moment in this space is the fact that you actually get a third pop of pattern thanks to our serendipitously placed mirror!
And yes, this one works pretty darn well as a backdrop too ;)
LIVING ROOM DOUBLE DOORS
This set of doors is definitely a focal point of our home. It separates our living room from our primary bedroom which opens onto our backyard. The doors are pretty much always open, but when they're closed we wanted to evoke a fun, nature-inspired vibe. With that in mind, we selected the Lines and Moons pattern by Thimblepress in Green and Brown.
Earth mama vibes up in here! I love how the shapes and colors echo the ferns you see through the windows and the acorn wood details throughout the house.
Love this pattern moment, and xacto-ing out the door handle is def on the oddly satisfying DIY list.
For a pattern lover like me, I love that now I have this instant photo backdrop!
Thanks to Chasing Paper for providing these rolls of pure pattern amazingness. Head to chasingpaper.com to find our own favorites and start adding patterns to your home!
(Wallpaper wingwoman: Kayla Haykin; Photography: Kurt Andre)