Robin's Process

My brainstorming process...

I'll first say that I think of card ideas anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes I'm on the train and use my phone to jot down an idea or sometimes I grab a sticky note at work so I won't forget. Sometimes I'll even text Carmelle and just say "Remind me!" 

Holidays are different though because I know we have a deadline we're working against. The brainstorming has to be a bit more streamlined. For Valentine's Day, I started with a word cloud. It looked like this...

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Junky, I know. By putting words that remind me of Valentine's Day in a "cloud", I begin to think of word associations and that's when the fun begins. With the "Thirst" card my thoughts went something like this...

  1. If you love someone you would do anything for them
  2. Hmm, but does that make you desperate if you're out here doing ANYTHING?
  3. Love shouldn't make you look desperate and thirsty 
  4. The thirst is real out here 
  5. My thirst is real for you

And voila! I flipped what's usually an insult (looking thirsty) into a compliment (show someone you really care about them). 

I of course let Carmelle run wild with ways to bring the words to life, but I also offer suggestions because it's only natural that something pop into my head. I envisioned the ingredient label on a drink to illustrate the card. I thought we'd put things like "Total Love 90, Sugar 80g, YOU 100g). Basically, I was doing the most. *Carmelle to the rescue*. Read on to see how the card came to life!

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In honor of #smallbizsat coming up this Saturday, November 25th, we decided to highlight 3 of our favorite small businesses.  Where do you shop small? We’d love to hear who you support!

1. Brooklyn Tea    

We’re giving you the tea on...tea! Brooklyn Tea seeks to create an authentic and accessible escape for its customers through luxurious teas. The teas are of the highest quality, organic and fair trade whenever available. We were introduced to one of Brooklyn Tea’s cofounders through a mutual friend who told us Jamila was an Atlanta native who moved to New York and started a business (sound familiar?) We can’t wait to see Jamila and her cofounder, Ali Wright, flourish.

 Photo: From @brooklyntea Instagram

Photo: From @brooklyntea Instagram

2. Emily Ellison Studio   

Emily Ellison takes flower power to a new level. This New York City trained floral and event designer has done it all from weddings to private events to commercial installations. She is one of our favorite small business owners because she brings grace, beauty, and inspiration to all of her projects. And plus, who doesn’t love flowers?!

 Photo: From @Emily_Ellison Instagram

Photo: From @Emily_Ellison Instagram

3.  Me-Charis Handmade Dolls

Diversity and creativity mean so much to us, which is why we value the work Darnae is doing at Me-Charis. Darnae creates handmade dolls with various complexions and shows girls everywhere that they belong. We believe that all children should see themselves in the world and feel empowered and proud of who they are. Thank you Darnae for your authentic work and for reinforcing the idea that everyone should be represented.

 Photo: From @Mecharisdolls Instagram

Photo: From @Mecharisdolls Instagram

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We love celebrating birthdays at Neighborly, and now it's time to celebrate our own. We can't believe we've been in business for one year! It seems like just yesterday we were sitting in Carmelle's Harlem apartment, dreaming of our next big idea. Carmelle talked about films, advertising campaigns, and art direction. I was babbling on about a children's book, about writing a novel, and about corporate communications. And then I mentioned a greeting card line. I mentioned it the way most uncertain people mention ideas, by laughing. I mean sure I could do the writing, but I had no idea how to run a business, and then of course, I'd need a designer... 

"I'll do it with you," Carmelle said. 
"Really?"
"Sure, send me your ideas. You'll do the writing and I'll do the illustrations."

And from there, Neighborly Paper was born. I got to writing and Carmelle got to designing. We started with The Happier Than series and today have over 40 designs in 16 categories. 

It has been an absolute joy bringing our ideas to life and we thank you for supporting us through this journey. From purchasing cards to sharing kind words, and everything in between, you have made it all worth it.  

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 "My favorite part about this job is hearing from customers. It's a special feeling to know something we created has such a positive impact on someone's day."

-Robin Beck, Co-founder + Writer

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"My favorite part about this job is running a business. I love new experiences and this has been so fulfilling. Every day I learn something new!"

- Carmelle Kendall, Co-founder + Illustrator

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While there have been countless people who have helped us on this journey, we want to recognize a few individuals who have been integral to our growth. Thank you.

  Katrina Pinn, Store Owner    Katrina owns  NiLu , a gift shop with so many unique creations. We had our first pop up shop at NiLu and Katrina carries our cards now! Her Harlem-based store is located at  191 Malcolm X Boulevard .

Katrina Pinn, Store Owner

Katrina owns NiLu, a gift shop with so many unique creations. We had our first pop up shop at NiLu and Katrina carries our cards now! Her Harlem-based store is located at 191 Malcolm X Boulevard.

  Meg Kendall, Accountant    Meg, an accountant at Cavanaugh & Co., has helped Neighborly keep its finances in check. Thank you Meg for guiding us through taxes and more!

Meg Kendall, Accountant

Meg, an accountant at Cavanaugh & Co., has helped Neighborly keep its finances in check. Thank you Meg for guiding us through taxes and more!

  Chris Dedeaux, Carpenter    We've heard so many compliments about our display table and it's all thanks to Chris Dedeaux, builder extraordinaire. His shop,  TwoX4s  ,  is located in Fayetteville, GA. Indoor or outdoor, commercial or residential, TwoX4s offer a wide variety of carpentry and woodworking services.

Chris Dedeaux, Carpenter

We've heard so many compliments about our display table and it's all thanks to Chris Dedeaux, builder extraordinaire. His shop, TwoX4s, is located in Fayetteville, GA. Indoor or outdoor, commercial or residential, TwoX4s offer a wide variety of carpentry and woodworking services.

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5 Questions for Cheryl Kendall aka Carmelle’s Mama
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1. What is your favorite thing about being a mother? My favorite thing about being a mother is watching my daughters grow into loving, caring, successful, strong women who make me more and more proud of them every day. 

2. What did you admire most about your mother? I most admired my mother for her strength, determination, and love of family. She not only survived adversity, but she excelled and achieved many significant things in her life. And she always emphasized that family should be first. 

3. How are you spending Mother’s Day this year? I am not sure how I am spending Mother's Day this year, but as long as I get to rest, relax, not have any commitments, and be surrounded by the love of family...I will be a very happy mom. 

4. Which Neighborly Mother’s Day card is your favorite? The coral Mother's Day card. I love the colors.   

*Can be purchased here!

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5. Do you have any advice for me running this business?  Be prepared to always work hard and make it a priority.  The sacrifices you make for the investment in your business will pay off.  The love and enjoyment of what you do will be reflected in your work.

As told to Carmelle Kendall on May 3,2017

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5 Questions for Shyril Beck aka Robin’s Mama

1. What is your favorite thing about being a mother? That I am honoring my mother by trying to emulate her. I want to be to you and Kim what she was (and still is) to me. 

2. What did you admire most about your mother? Her spirit, wit, and her generosity to her family. She was an absolutely perfect mother.

3. How are you spending Mother’s Day this year? With my daughters in D.C. It’s become our tradition. 

4. Which Neighborly Mother’s Day card is your favorite? Thanks for showering me with love (Hint hint)  Buy card here

5. Do you have any advice for me running this business? Always be fair and kind. 

As told to Robin Beck on April 18,2017

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