#5: Now Is Not the Time to Be Silent

I can’t take credit for the phrase, “Paper peeps are the best peeps,”* but this check-in with my dear friend Karla Ebrahimi reminded me of its inherent truth. Karla is the face behind Sky of Blue Cards, a Menlo Park, California, house of stationery offering an exquisite array of letterpress cards as well as the magnificent LetterBox subscription box.

Watching the increasing intensity with which Karla responded first to the California wildfires in 2018, then COVID-19 starting this past Spring, and now Black Lives Matter, has not only been inspiring, her journey mirrors how stationers (and indeed makers of all stripes) have gotten progressively smarter and more strategic about partnering with charities and devoting a portion of sales (if not ALL sales) to them. This is especially tricky for white makers wanting to support the Black community while also not wanting to upstage Black voices.

Karla’s experiences in 2018 with cause-related merchandise led her to carefully consider which three charities she chose for her Reach Out & Write Someone campaign, which extends through the end of the month. 20% of all online sales will benefit World Central Kitchen, Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation and Artist Relief Fund.

Then, as Karla puts it, “revolution broke out.” Wanting to honor George Floyd and his words, Karla returned to her much-loved medium of painting and did just that: shared his words for us all to experience for ourselves. I find her piece below both hard to look at and hard to look away from.

But when Karla shared her work in her Instagram feed June 1, just four days after announcing the Reach Out & Write initiative, although her number of followers decreased, the response wasn’t entirely negative. Soon Karla realized she was connecting with her audience on an entirely new level.

Last Words
Karla Ebrahimi

Thus empowered, Karla designed her Black Lives Matter collection of letterpress cards, mugs and stickers (currently in production) — and is donating ALL proceeds to the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. That response has also been very positive so far, she told me.

“I have been getting DMs and texts asking to pre-order items, as well as interest in purchasing stickers or mugs in bulk for sports teams and other groups. This makes me feel so good — spreading the word about this important movement,” she observed. “That’s all super positive feedback, which to me dwarfs the people who were offended enough to take the time to unfollow me.” 

Thank you Karla for joining me in The Paper Fold for such a candid chat about such a sensitive subject— and helping set the stage for the conversations that need to occur in every last corner of American life.

*that honor belongs to one Erika Firm

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