Did you know that Aug. 1 is both National Girlfriends Day and National Sisters Day? What better moment to reconnect with the friends that we’ve lost touch with during the last year and a half — and to celebrate the ones who helped us get through it?
We’re spotlighting nine companies with stylish cards that celebrate and inspire sisterhood, family and community. All but a new offering from Hallmark’s Mahogany team of sister creators are Black-owned. Plus, we asked C.K. Alexander Jean, heart-centered writing coach, greeting card creator and editor at the Weddings section of The New York Times for her tips.
PitPat & Dot.
Great for: Holiday, birthday and friendship cards
Unique offerings: Cards for Friendsgiving, Curvy Birthday-Pants, and Merry Christmas-Fro
Creator: Rashell “Shell” Matthews Inspiration: Matthews’ beloved grandmother Dorothy, known to friends and relatives as “Dot,” never failed to make occasions special. She channeled her style, attention to detail and affection into gatherings, always commemorated with a card. After Dot’s homegoing in 2019, Matthews studied graphics, materials and techniques. She selected paper that would beautifully memorialize her grandmother’s knack for bringing folks closer and making them feel loved.
Touches we like: Customizable options; beautiful illustrations of a diverse array of Black women
Where to find: PitPatDot.com, etsy.com
Tough Skin, Soft Heart
Great for: Greeting cards, stickers, books, mugs and stationery
Unique offerings: Girl Code, Pivot and Process Pain cards
Creator: Shannon Cohen
Inspiration: The Detroit native believes that every “difference maker” has two sides — the tough outer shell and the softer inside.
Touches we like: Personalization options; handcrafted designs
Where to find: ShannonCohen.com, select independent retailers and Meijer stores
Great for: Baby shower, baby arrival, inspiration
Unique offerings: Nontraditional new-mother cards
Creator: Nicole “Cole” Hawthorne
Inspiration: Hawthorne’s 4-year-old daughter, Jayla. The artist identifies as Afro-Latina and says her cards are meant to portray women as we are in real life, not as often depicted in mass-market greeting cards. “I like to highlight subtle colors and wonderful diversity in a minimalist way. My hope is to impart that vibe one card at a time,” Hawthorne says.
Touches we like: Beautiful abstract images of women in diverse skin tones
Where to find: JaylasHeirlooms.com
Uplifted & Empowered
Great for: Inspiration, encouragement
Unique offerings: Collection for racial resilience and pride
Creators: Hallmark’s Mahogany team
Inspiration: After the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, “we talked about what a collection of cards centered on racial empowerment could offer Black communities that other cards couldn’t or hadn’t. We considered what perspectives, messages and visual depictions were important for Black people to see and have right now,” editorial director Dierdra “Dee” Zollar says.
Touches we like: Powerful messages; vibrant images of diversity
Where to find: Where Hallmark cards are sold
Great for: Thank you, birthday, wedding, holiday, survivors and just because
Unique offerings: “Love” line offers a wide array of options. The ability to shop by “community.”
Creator: Asha Banks
Inspiration: Amplifying artists, experiences and cultures of diverse communities. “I knew the frustration that I felt when shopping for cards. So many people felt unseen. I decided to serve more moments and more people. The response from indie card companies, artists and customers has been overwhelming,” Banks says.
Touches we like: Cards reflecting Black, Latinx, South Asian, LGBTQ+ and other communities; orders mailed by next business day
Where to find: Cheernotes.com
CRWND Illustrations by KDS
Great for: Cards, stickers, planners, totes, art collection
Unique offerings: “Be Still” and “Lifting You Up, King” cards
Creator: Keliah Smith
Inspiration: Smith always loved drawing, but after a long break, it was in a moment of darkness in her life that she came back to it. This source of stillness and healing allowed her to find her voice and empower other women with poems she personally writes. “All of my cards are designed, hand-cut and crafted by me,” Smith says.
Touches we like: Art that incorporates uplifting, stylized type messages
Where to find: Crwndbykds.com
Great for: birthday cards, coasters, mugs and sketchbooks
Unique offerings: The Royalty Collection; a children’s book; cards featuring gay and lesbian couples
Creator: Leanne Armstrong
Inspiration: “I wanted to create pieces that celebrated portraits of people from the African diaspora like the kings and queens we are.”
Touches we like: Cards that are hand-finished with gems.
Where to find: etsy.com
Nicola Lespeare Greeting Cards
Great for: Birthdays, holidays
Unique offerings: “Paradise Queens” celebration cards, free printable birthday calendar
Creator: Nicola Lespeare
Inspiration: London-based Lespeare searched in vain for a birthday greeting for her sister, so she decided to illustrate one. “My sister was so excited to receive a memorable card that reflected her deep skin tone and beautiful Afro hair. Seeing her eyes light up with joy made me want to re-create the same uplifting experience for other people,” she says.
Touches we like: A hand-glittered crown illustration; a satin bow appliqué on a sketched party dress
Where to find: NicolaLespeare.com
Great for: Greeting cards, stickers, gift wrap, mugs, wall art
Unique offerings: Yoga cards featuring Black women
Creator: Tanyia Lewis
Inspiration: Based in the UK, Lewis says she created some things she wished had existed when she was growing up. “The comments that touch me the most are when happy customers mention that a recipient has felt catered for or that ‘she looks like me,’” Lewis says.
Touches we like: Cards with 3D “fur” embellishments
Where to find: etsy.com
Take Note: Pro Tips From a Writing Coach
C.K. Alexander Jean recommends opening your note with a term of endearment that will make the recipient feel great. Consider “Hello Beautiful,” “Hey Queen” or “Dear Wonder Woman.” Depending on the occasion, you might also:
- List qualities, talents, skills or abilities that you admire in her
- Celebrate an accomplishment or positive step she’s taking
- Share how she’s contributed to your growth, well-being or happiness
- Support her through a challenge. Try, “You are a rock star. Keep going!”