I first met the very lively and super-sweet Susan Birnbaum, creative director for greeting cards at Design Design, the first time I judged the LOUIE Awards some years back. At that time, the two-day judging was held in Washington, D.C., and several of us bonded to become friends for life over the course of it — I clearly remember traipsing with Susan and several other judges through the snow to the Ford’s Theatre at one point.
Since then, every time my path crosses Susan’s, it’s always a treat. That happened most recently at the most recent National Stationery Show (NSS) — where I learned about a brand-new holiday Susan invented: Thank You Thursday, which just happens to be occurring all day today.
Our roving Stationery Trends reporter Mindy Lockard interviewed Susan at NSS about this holiday on the #KENROcam. Want to learn more? Take it away, ladies!
Here is the release form Susan mentions in the video. Design Design wants to hear the stories of those who have gotten involved in their effort to encourage the writing of any and all thank you notes, handmade, store bought or otherwise, and is hoping to hear from a big cross section of people of all ages and from all walks of life. You can print out the form and mail it in; I filled it out online, saved it and emailed it to Susan at Susan.Birnbaum@designdesign.us.
Susan was also kind enough to take TPC’s five questions.
1. SS: How did you get into this crazy business?
SB: I was working freelance and saw an ad in the paper from a greeting card company. It turned out to be Marcel Schurman. I got the job and instantly fell in love with both the industry and the potential in each and every caption. To this day, I love it all just as much.
2. SS: Are there any design or lifestyle trends you are finding yourself particularly intrigued with these days?
SB: Passionate about travel, I am drawn to the current trend of exploration. From hot air balloons and retro planes to references to the deepest parts of the ocean, the destinations are further flung than the four corners of the globe. I love the sense of adventure behind this trend, as well as the optimism. Fueled by curiosity, it captivates the imagination.
3. SS: What letter, card or invitation first comes to mind as the best you’ve ever received?
SB: Anything that is sincere, from the heart. Most recently I loved receiving an unexpected thank you note from Steve Doyal, president of the GCA (Greeting Card Association) in response to Thank You Thursday. You can see it on our Facebook page. Wonderfully worded and so supportive, it meant a lot to me. I would also like to give a shout out to my niece. She enjoys making her own cards, and they always feel heartfelt.
4. SS: What are your three favorite paper lines apart from Design Design?
SB: There are so many! I love this industry and love the voices the smaller lines and niche lines offer. They round out our industry in wonderful ways. I was thrilled to see the resurgence of creativity at the recent NSS. So I have a hard time with this question; it’s like asking my favorite restaurant. I must admit I am drawn to Rifle Paper Co. and (am) happy to see many others are too.
5. SS: Is there anything you do personally to keep letter-writing, card-sending and invitation using alive?
SB: Yes, I am totally passionate about Thank You Thursday. Just make sure the notes are written by hand (no texts, tweets, emails … nothing digital). If possible mention Thank You Thursday (in your note) to spread the word. Since we launched in March we have had wonderful responses from 125 middle school students, over 100 grade school students, an audio engineer at NBC Sports, retired nurses, a bee keeper, the Head Designer for William Sonoma Home, and people from Canada and UK as well.
On that note, surely you have someone you can jot a quick note of thanks to today. I know I’ve got a ton to get out, so I’m going to get at least one done today.