Emily McDowell of @emilyonlife

A decade ago, Emily McDowell of Emily McDowell Studio sparked a greeting card revolution and evolution with the release of her Empathy Collection. Her card reading, “There is no good card for this” was both an acknowledgment that the market didn’t reflect real life, and a challenge to makers to begin doing just that.

Emily’s impact on the greeting card medium with her empathy cards was such that I featured some of her early designs in a trends presentation I created for the Greeting Card Association’s last annual workshop & retreat.

Emily’s self-named stationery brand would eventually become Em & Friends; in 2022 it was acquired by Union Square Publishing, the publishing arm of Barnes & Noble. While she currently serves in a part-time consulting role, she is no longer an employee or part of its leadership.

A few recent Em & Friends releases
Em & Friends has several menopause cards + a menopause tracker journal, a collaboration with actress Naomi Watts

Since @emilyonlife is currently on sabbatical from many of her endeavors, I am beyond grateful that she sat down with me to reflect on the art of disruption; the importance of timing; writing, rewriting and then rewriting again — as well as the dimensions and ultimate limitations of success. This interview was so compelling, I had to stretch it over two episodes!

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