Keeping the Greeting Card Tradition Alive

Do you ever miss getting a real greeting card in the mail?
Do you have fun choosing a card for someone?

When I started drawing Niki Owl, the tradition to wish people well, thank them and celebrate their birthday was to send greeting cards via regular “snail mail” as my mother likes to call it. Things have changed a lot since then, especially with technology and environmental consciousness.

Where does the greeting card tradition come from?

The greeting card tradition itself dates back to the ancient Chinese (who shared messages of good will to celebrate the New Year) and the Egyptians (who used paper scrolls to transmit their greetings). By the early 15th Century, people in Europe were exchanging handmade greeting cards, and the Germans started printing New Year’s cards from woodcuts.

So the tradition itself go back a long way, as does the use of “technology” for larger scale printing.

A PERSONAL GREETING CARD TRADITION IS BORN…

I loved receiving greeting cards in the mail when I was a “wee sprocket”. They usually came from family members in the US and the UK, for birthdays, Christmas and perhaps some other celebrations. I was elated when my dad would come home from the post office and hand me a letter with MY name on it. I felt special. I felt recognised. Someone outside of my close environment was thinking of me, had made the time to pick a card I would enjoy, and included a personal message. Just for me. It was wonderful. I loved the thoughtfulness. As a family, our tradition was to buy UNICEF greeting cards at Christmas to send out to our family and friends (which also meant part of what we paid for them went to a good cause).

I injected this same spirit into Niki Owl cards when I started making them as a teenager. I was delighted to gift a piece of my creativity to somebody, knowing that the design itself often reflected something unique about them and the things that made them happy. Those were my first incursions in using my creativity to inspire and uplift.

How often do you get cards like that these days?
And how often do you send them?

“The secret to living is giving.”- Tony Robbins

As technology and the internet began to permeate our lives though, sending online greeting cards became the norm for many people.

When I built the first Niki Owl website (circa 1999) – guided purely by a book on HTML and some very basic online forums – I had wanted to develop an online greeting card section. I saw the benefit of giving people the chance to not only buy my physical handmade greeting cards, but also email them if they chose to. But my programming skills didn’t stretch that far, and other sites at the time didn’t offer customisation for independent artists. Then life led me in a different direction for a while until I returned to my true passion of writing and developing Niki Owl. By then, the internet had changed significantly.

I still love making, sending and receiving cards, although I’ll admit I fell off the path of sending them for a bit. We get so busy “doing” other things that we put off making that call or sending that card to thank someone or remind them of how special they are to us.

Yet the tradition of sending cards is still huge for many people, and the beauty is that technology has come a long way, so we have lots of options now. There’s really no excuse not to take a few minutes to send a card and nourish our relationships with people, whether they’re personal or professional connections.

So, what if you could marry new technology with tradition, and send the same card design in print and online? And with the same ease of selection and detailed thought for the person you’re sending it to?

After researching ways to bring back the greeting card idea for Niki Owl, I discovered Paperless Post and how easy their platform is to use, so I decided this would be the perfect way to integrate this tradition again into my life. 

It also gave me the idea that I may not have to “build” a greeting card platform, but rather team up with another company that does this exceptionally well, and that’s what I’m finding with Paperless Post.

I’m enjoying new inspiration through the experience of sending online greeting cards to friends, clients and colleagues through Paperless Post. It’s got my creativity fired up too.

If you’re looking to send cards – online and/or printed – you’ll find a great selection of birthday cards, invitations, thank you notes and other occasions. You can upload your own designs, or choose from a classy, elegant and inspiring selection of designs. Their attention to detail and aesthetics will inspire you.

For now, I’ll be using Paperless Post to send both printed and online greeting cards to clients, colleagues and friends, and I’ll see how else this develops. Who knows? Maybe Niki Owl will become one of their featured designs. Everything starts with a dream, right?

Keep dreaming your dreams into life, and tell people how much you appreciate them,

Karin

This post was published in partnership with Paperless Post, because I love what they’re up to.

How To Create Everything You Want

+ An Invitation to Imagine

This week marks the beginning of school for most kids around the world. And for a lot of adults, it also means “going back to reality” of work.

School was where many of us dreamed up our life’s vision.

We spent hours there with other kids, surrounded by some form of creativity, and someone to guide us through it. We played with clay, made potato stamps, created macaroni art, plastered our painted handprints everywhere we could…

School is also where many kids stopped being kids and became “grown ups” with high levels of seriousness attached. Many carried the structure of school into their work life WITHOUT the playfulness they experienced at school.

WHO ever said we had to let go of that playful wonder???

There’s plenty of study, research and metrics on the level of stress and anxiety adults feel at work, and the impact this has on physical health, productivity and plain mental sanity… right down to the financial impact it has on a company (factoring in sick leave, healthcare costs, staff turnover, morale, etc.). But this post is not about money, it IS about what you can do to change this for YOU and the people you spend most of your time with.

You may or may not have kids (or be the best Aunt or Uncle), and you may have just returned to “work” after your vacation – whether that’s working at a fancy office, in a cubicle, or whatever your regular workspace is. And with all the emotions attached to productivity and performance that often get in the way of your flow, joy and inspiration.

Meanwhile, the kids are excited about school because they get to hang out with their friends and favorite teachers again. They get to learn new things, and enjoy some form of creativity. As a parent, you work hard for them to get this experience and eventually get them through college. But what about YOUR fun and creativity?

If you’ve ever spent time trawling the shops with kids tugging at your sleeve wanting to pick out new school bags, pens, pencils, notebooks – you’ll notice they always go for something bright and colorful. They’re excited about the new stuff, and it’s not so much the material aspect – it’s what they get to CREATE with it that’s the real fun.

Do you still buy yourself new pens, notebooks and office materials with the same excitement and wonder as when you were picking them out as a kid? Or did a pen just become something you sign checks and NDA’s with? An automatic response to the “demands” of work and business?

Seriously. Whilst the young ones are picking out bright colors, you may have picked out a plain notebook for yourself, and a mega box of pens so you don’t have to buy any more for the next 6 months. It was probably automatic. And dull. But the pens were a good bargain.

But that’s not the life you dreamed of as a kid, is it? You didn’t dream of bills and hamster-wheel repetitiveness and wonder why you’re doing it at all… did you?

If you’re feeling like there’s something missing in your life, then I have something that will help you.

You see, I love helping people feel good and do good, but was fed up seeing so many adults get distracted from their dreams and question what they’re doing with their lives, so I created the Niki Owl coloring book to help them get in touch with their inner kid, activate their imagination and act on what’s already in their hearts waiting to be realized.

You may not have picked up a coloring pencil in years, or you may already have other coloring books purely to relax with.

This is not just any coloring book for adults though. It’s for the kid in YOU. With this book, you get to color for fun AND purpose. It’s designed to help you move your life forward, in a fun and creative way. You get to imbue your day to day with inspiration, activating those dreams and hopes you may have put aside for who knows how long, because that’s what’s tugging at your sleeve now.

People who have already used the Niki Owl coloring book are experiencing better focus at work in high-paced environments, positive shifts in attitude, and it’s even improving their sales (who knew?!).

This has inspired me to create an online masterclass to guide you through making the best use of the coloring book for your dreams and personal goals. There are 2 dates to choose from: September 29 and September 30.

It’s $15 to attend and your registration fee includes a copy of the book that I will mail to you, plus a series of emails before and after the workshop to help you set some action steps in place as you move through the coloring book.

Details & Registration

If you already have the coloring book – you’re automatically registered “on the house”. Simply pick your Masterclass date and email me through the form on the registration page so I can set you up to receive the right notifications.

It’s going to be fun, and I’m looking forward to having you at the Masterclass. And please share this with anyone you feel could use an extra dose of inspiration and creativity in their lives.

To your creative spirit,
Karin