RBG’s Favorite Birthday Card

So, originally I had planned a Thinking of You Week post for today. I already had it half-way written in the back of my head. I was going to start by saying how great it would be if over the next several days, every last person feeling isolated would receive a card from someone who was thinking of them. Imagine all the good mojo circulating about!

Once again, the USPS is putting a “thinking of you’ stamp on first class envelopes as they them through meters all month. That doesn’t come to life without a lot of work behind the scenes, in this case from staffers and volunteers at The Greeting Card Association (GCA), and especially Nicky Burton at Calypso Cards. This has been her passion project for years, and now is an especially great time to reach out to someone faraway today.

Anyway, you know what they say about the best laid plans … mine dramatically upended last Friday evening during online Rosh Hashanah services, when I saw an alert that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. Then I really wanted to do a post about her instead — maybe reminiscing about how wonderful it was to go to markets a few summers back and see her distinctively bespeckled face everywhere? —  but I didn’t have anything new with her likeness on it. I was starting to go back to my Thinking of You post until yesterday afternoon, when I happened to get an email from Janie Velencia of The Card Bureau in response to my confirming receipt of some materials she submitted to Stationery Trends:

“If you’re looking for a story, a piece on RBG’s impact on stationery right now would be interesting,” she wrote. “We’re getting more orders than we ever have. More than any trade show. Everyone seems to be buying up everything RBG right now, both retailers and wholesalers. A normal day for us might be 50-60 website retail orders, and we were getting 400 a day for a couple of days.”

I wasn’t surprised at the sales — who would not want the above image, available as a button, magnet or bottle opener in their life right now? — but I was absolutely floored by this IG link Janie sent along. As a bit of exposition, 2016 found Janie covering the elections as a journalist for the Huffington Post and needing a creative outlet for her resulting stress, which was how The Card Bureau was born.

The RBG cards and related product were in Janie’s first release. Above you can see the fabulous Card Bureau booth at National Stationery Show in 2019. That’s Janie at the far left, artist Alyssa Stanzione at far right, and Devon Wilson, Alyssa’s girl-friend and all-around Card Bureau trade show assistant, between RBG and Alyssa.

At any rate, the RBG merchandise sold slowly at first, Janie wrote. “I was just selling them to a couple of bookstores in DC. She wasn’t quite as popular back then and not many people or stores outside of DC even know who she was. So hard to believe today. I decided to make the cards with her because I felt like there was such a void of powerful female women to look up to who were anchors of truth and justice at the time.  She made me feel good during a bleak period. And once her cards started selling well, it made me realize that other people were perhaps feeling a bit starved for female role models too and I could use stationery as a platform to elevate powerful important women.” 

Not too long after that, this happened:

I love that now Janie is sending 1/2 of sales from her RBG wares to the ACLU Women’s Rights Project she co-founded. Here are just a few examples of her RBG merchandise.

I know these are not for sale, however!

Janie specifically asked that I don’t solely feature her RBG merchandise in this post, so I’m featuring some picks from other favorite paper peeps. A lot is out of stock, however the wonderful Speak the Ruth tote is ready to buy at Seltzer.

And, The Found has some great finds, including this mug, in stock as well!

Thank you so much Janie for letting me share this. Meanwhile, I think I need to burn one of these to get me through the next six weeks. Get yours while they’re still available!