EITHER / OR with Jess Astrella

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This past May, Paper Epiphanies collaborated with artist Jess Astrella to produce ten beautiful cards. Enter the #JROCROxPE collection. These cards are united by the women contained within, each holding a sign encapsulating a moment. Some of these cards are vulnerable, others silly, but all offer the relatable, heartfelt content that we strive to produce. In order to introduce #JROCROxPE, we wanted to share a bit about the genius behind this line. Thus, we asked the fabulous Jessica Astrella some Either/Or questions with some amusing results!

But first a little about Jess…

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Jess has lived in a variety of places from New York to Texas. Her business, J.RoCro stems from her maiden name Jessica Rose Crowell, which changed after she married her ‘darling’ husband. Today, she is back in Portland with a new puppy, and a baby on the way, producing art and building her business. Jessica’s work is a special brand of product. A mix between lettering and drawings using gouache, calligraphy ink, pencils and pens, her work captures the world in a way only she can achieve. Her work ranges from images of pets, to maps, houses, and even Beyonce. We love Jess’s unique style and her accompanying vibrant personality, which come together to create the sincere cards that make up #JROCROxPE. Go to her website to learn more about Jess and her work!

East Coast or West Coast?

Lived on both, but West is best

Red Wine or White Wine?

Please, mix ‘em together. I don’t care if rosé is out  - it’s drinkable and I’m here for it. Throw some Lacroix in it while we’re at it.

Salty or Sweet? 

I’m eating a Frosty right now, so…. sweet. Very sweet.

Black + White or Color?

Black and white (except when it comes to thinking!)

Flats or heels?

I was strictly a heels-girl in my NY days but I’m 27 weeks pregnant right now and think I’ve fully converted to a flats lady. I don’t know how I feel about this.

Eating out or Eating in?

We just renovated our house and put in a new kitchen so not only do I like to use it, but, eating out is for rich people. So, in! With friends over of course.

Beach or Mountains?


Reading or TV?

Reading will always be my deepest love, but TV is a cunning mistress.

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee. Iced, unsweetened, with a splash of coconut milk.

Online Shopping or Real Life Shopping?

Real life! 

Rock-n-Roll or Country?
I never would have said country before, but, I’d do anything for Kacey Musgraves so… welcome to the yee-yee club, me.

Wonder Women #GGxPE: Alice Walker

In honor of our collab with the fabulous Gia Graham, Paper Epiphanies will be highlighting the 6 amazing women depicted in these cards during the entire month of February in a new series we call Wonder Women #GGxPE. In this series we aim to show you a side to these notable women that you might not have seen before by presenting, first, the brief biography found on the back of every #GGxPE card and, second, 10 fun facts about their careers, activism and lives. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do!


Alice Walker and Her 10 Fun Facts

Alice Walker (1944- ) is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “The Color Purple” and a self-proclaimed ‘womanist’, a term coined by Walker to help broaden the women’s movement to include women of color and appreciate their traditional, cultural and creative roles.

1. Walker was one of 8 children born to sharecropper parents in Georgia.

2. Walker is permanently blind in her right eye after being shot by one of her brother’s BB guns as a child and not receiving immediate medical treatment.

3. Walker graduated valedictorian in her high school and went on to attend first Spelman College, then Sarah Lawrence College, both with full scholarships.

4. Walker’s first collection of poetry, Once, which is filled with suicidal thoughts, emerged from the emotional trauma she suffered due to the abortion she went through her senior year of college.

5. Walker was the editor of Ms. Magazine and by publishing an article “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston” in 1975, revived interest in Hurston’s writings.

6. Walker published several novels, in addition to articles, poems, short stories and essays.

7. Walker was also an activist who participated in the 1963 March on Washington as well as going to jail due to crossing the police line during an anti-war rally at the White House in 2003.

8. Walker’s The Color Purple was just made into a film starring Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg

9. in 1994, Walker legally added “Tallulah Kate” to her name in 1994 in honor of her mother and paternal grandmother.

10. Walker’s spirituality has been characterized as ‘unoppressive womanist perspective’, and she is inspired spiritually by those such as Zora Neale Hurston.

Wonder Women #GGxPE: Lucille Clifton

In honor of our collab with the fabulous Gia Graham, Paper Epiphanies will be highlighting the 6 amazing women depicted in these cards during the entire month of February in a new series we call Wonder Women #GGxPE. In this series we aim to show you a side to these notable women that you might not have seen before by presenting, first, the brief biography found on the back of every #GGxPE card and, second, 10 fun facts about their careers, activism and lives. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do!

Lucille Clifton and Her 10 Fun Facts

Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) was an author, educator and Poet Laureate of Maryland. Clifton’s poem “Homage To My Hips” celebrated the African-American female body as a source of power, sexuality, pride, and freedom.

1. Girls in Clinton’s family were born with an extra finger on each hand— a genetic trait known as polydactyly. Clinton’s two extra fingers were amputated when she was young but her two “ghost fingers” remained a theme in her writing.

2. Clinton’s mother was also a poet, though worked as a launderer.

3. Clinton’s parents passed an appreciation of books and reading to their children, even though neither was formally educated.

4. Clinton first entered Howard University early, at only 16 years old, as a drama major. She then transferred to Fredonia State Teachers College three years later, where she began to develop her acting a poetry.

5. Clinton’s first poetry book Good Times (1969) won The New York Times’ Ten Best Books of the Year.

6. Clifton was the author of more than sixteen children’s book intended specifically for African-American children.

7. Clifton was the first author to have two books of poetry nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

8. Clinton touches on many intense subjects in her poems including oppression, death, molestation and racism, as well as pride in her ancestry and the black female body.

9. Clinton was influenced spiritually by many religions and religious figures, including Jesus, the black God Kali and many other African goddesses and Native American beliefs.

10. Clinton was a mother of 6 and often was inspired by her family and children in her work.

Wonder Women #GGxPE: Maya Angelou

In honor of our collab with the fabulous Gia Graham, Paper Epiphanies will be highlighting the 6 amazing women depicted in these cards during the entire month of February in a new series we call Wonder Women #GGxPE. In this series we aim to show you a side to these notable women that you might not have seen before by presenting, first, the brief biography found on the back of every #GGxPE card and, second, 10 fun facts about their careers, activism and lives. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do!

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was an author, actress, dancer, poet, civil rights activist— and Oprah’s friend. Angelou made literary history when her memoir “I know why the caged bird sings” became the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman.

1. Angelou was originally born Marguerite, which became Maya when her older brother started calling her ‘My’ or ‘Mya sister’.

2. At the age of 16, Angelou became the first black, female cable car conductor in San Fransisco. This lead to a lifetime award she received much later in 2014 from the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials at a session titled “Women Who Move the Nation”.

3. Angelou toured around Europe with a troop performing the opera Porgy and Bess and in each of the countries she visited, she made an effort to learn its language, soon becoming proficient in several languages.

4. Angelou met and became good friends with Malcolm X during the years she spent in Ghana, where she was active in the African-American expatriate community.

5. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on Angelou’s 40th birthday, and while she was devastated, it was also in this year that Angelou’s creative genius really began to emerge.

6. Angelou’s Georgia, Georgia (1972) was the first screenplay written by a black woman.

7. Angelou participated in a lecture circuit starting in the 1990s and continuing almost until her death in 2014 in her own customized tour bus.

8. Angelou read her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the presidential inauguration of Bill Clinton, making her the first person, since Robert Frost in 1961 to read a poem recitation at a presidential inauguration.

9. Angelou self-proclaimed her image as “the people’s poet”.

10. When Angelou died, she was in the process of writing another autobiography: what would have been her eighth.

Wonder Women #GGxPE: Zora Neale Hurston

In honor of our collab with the fabulous Gia Graham, Paper Epiphanies will be highlighting the 6 amazing women depicted in these cards during the entire month of February in a new series we call Wonder Women #GGxPE. In this series we aim to show you a side to these notable women that you might not have seen before by presenting, first, the brief biography found on the back of every #GGxPE card and, second, 10 fun facts about their careers, activism and lives. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do!


Zora Neale Hurston and Her 10 Fun Facts

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960), best known for her acclaimed novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, was an author, an anthropologist and a fixture in the thriving art scene during the Harlem Renaissance.

1. Hurston was raised in Eatonville, Florida, one of the first all-black towns in the US.

2. In a career that spanned 30+ years, Hurston authored and published seven books—including an autobiography, several short stories, plays and essays.

3. In 1917, Hurston pretended she was ten years younger than she actually was so she could enter public high school, and never added those years back— always saying she was ten years younger than her actual age for the rest of her life.

4. Hurston went to Howard college for her undergraduate education, making a mark on the university by, for example, co-founding the university’s newspaper.

5. She won a scholarship to finish her undergraduate education at Barnard College of Columbia University, making her the sole black student to attend at that time.

6. Hurston was married three times, two of them lasting less than a year.

7. Hurston made several trips around the Caribbean and the American South, conducting Anthropological studies, which she would then use later to inspire and inform her writing.

8. Hurston never made much money from her work and, following her death, remained in an unmarked grave from lack of funds for a headstone until 1973 when Alice Walker found her grave and gave her a simple headstone herself.

9. In 1927, Hurston was captivated by a the story of Kossola, the last surviver of the last trans-Atlantic slave trip. At the time, she couldn’t find someone to publish her nonfiction account of his story, but this past year, the book has finally been released: Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo”.

10. To all that met her, Hurston was a vibrant, bright personality, who would captivate most anyone she met.

Wonder Women #GGxPE: Harriet Tubman

In honor of our collab with the fabulous Gia Graham, Paper Epiphanies will be highlighting the 6 amazing women depicted in these cards during the entire month of February in a new series we call Wonder Women #GGxPE. In this series we aim to show you a side to these notable women that you might not have seen before by presenting, first, the brief biography found on the back of every #GGxPE card and, second, 10 fun facts about their careers, activism and lives. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do!


Harriet Tubman and Her 10 Fun Facts

Our next Wonder Woman is Harriet Tubman (1820-1913), an activist and a true freedom fighter. ‘Conductor’ for the Underground Railroad, Civil War spy and the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war. Harriet was a badass.

1. Tubman was born Araminta “Minty” Ross, changing her name after her marriage to John Tubman.

2. Tubman was one of nine children and spent her entire life fighting to keep her family together.

3. Tubman was sometimes referred to as Moses by those she guided in the Underground Railroad and, as a result, the song ‘Go Down Moses’ became a symbol of freedom and the fight against slavery throughout the Civil War.

4. Suffering multiple serious head wounds during her youth, Tubman was struck by visions, seizures and fainting episodes for the rest of her life, which she described as visions from God.

5. Tubman rescued around 70 slaves in thirteen separate expeditions.

6. Tubman’s second husband was 22 years younger than her and they married in 1869, adopting their child, Gertie, in 1874.

7. Despite Tubman’s outstanding service toward her country and others, she remained in poverty for most of her life, due to irregular and unfair pension following the Civil War.

8. Tubman treated Civil War soldiers as a nurse using her knowledge of herbal medicines.

9. Towards the end of her life, Tubman spent her remaining days in the home for the elderly that she had herself created several years earlier.

10. The US government is in the process of considering moving Andrew Jackson’s face from the front of the twenty dollar bill to the rear in 2020 and instead replacing it with Tubman’s face to honor her efforts posthumously. This process is being fought against by some, who claim that this is not an important enough issue to be debated at the moment.

Wonder Women #GGxPE: Sojourner Truth

In honor of our collab with the fabulous Gia Graham, Paper Epiphanies will be highlighting the 6 amazing women depicted in these cards during the entire month of February in a new series we call Wonder Women #GGxPE. In this series we aim to show you a side to these notable women that you might not have seen before by presenting, first, the brief biography found on the back of every #GGxPE card and, second, 10 fun facts about their careers, activism and lives. We hope you appreciate them as much as we do!


Sojourner Truth and Her 10 Fun Facts

First up is the inspiring Sojourner Truth (1797-1883). Born into slavery, Truth escaped to freedom with her infant daughter in 1826 then became an abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Considered a radical, she sought political equality for all women.

We have already done a Woman of the Week post on this blog about this amazing lady, so for a more detailed account of her life, check the post out.

1. Truth was originally born Isabella Baumfree but changed her name in 1843 when she also became a devout Methodist.

2. Truth was one of the first black women to win against a white man in a court of law.

3. The original documentation of Truth’s most famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman”, contained no mention of these words, but instead a recording by Frances Gage twelve years after her speech was the first to quote the actual words, “Ain’t I a woman?”, which it did four times. In fact, the whole recording by Gage contained speech patterns characteristic of Southern slaves, when Truth was actually enslaved in New York and likely did not speak as such. There were many more inconsistencies in Gage’s report as well. Regardless, Gage’s version of Truth’s speech is the most famous version.

4. Truth was a mother of 5 children.

5. Truth met Abraham Lincoln in 1864, just a year before his assassination.

6. Truth’s first language was Dutch.

7. Truth’s son, Peter, for whose freedom she had fought for and won in court, disappeared several years later after taking a job on a whaling ship.

8. Truth helped recruit soldiers for the Union Army during the Civil War.

9. Truth could not write but managed to publish her memoir, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave, all the same by dictating to her friend Olive Gilbert.

10. Truth was not only an advocate for women and fought against slavery, but she was one of the first to do this in one fell swoop: equality and freedom for all slaves, including women.

EITHER / OR with Gia Graham


This February, Paper Epiphanies is releasing six cards very close to our hearts in a collab with the lovely Gia Graham. Together we chose to highlight 6 powerful African American women in history who fought for both their rights and the rights of others in our new GIA GRAHAM x Paper Epiphanies line (GGxPE). With a combination of Gia’s stunning designs on our letterpress cards, we have produced a product that we feel truly encapsulates the history and impact of these wonder women. We thought the best way to introduce this new collab was to share our appreciation of the fabulous Gia with you in another installment of Either/ Or.

To start, however, a little bit about Gia…

Born and raised in Barbados, Gia moved to the United States to attend school in Georgia. After getting her bachelors in 1999 in Graphic Design, Gia moved first to Chicago, then back to Atlanta, working with various companies as a designer. In 2005, Gia left the corporate world to co-found a custom invitation design company, where she had the opportunity to infuse her creativity to its full extent into her work. After leaving this company and starting a new brand focusing specifically on custom wedding invitations, Gia shifted her focus towards the larger stationery world, launching greeting cards and gift products that were sold at over 250 stores around the world. Today, following the birth of her second son, Gia has left wholesale and moved on to freelance design in stationery, textile, gift and homeware products. Which is where we found her! Gia aims to combine the “opposing cultural aesthetics” of the island world where she grew up and the urban world in which she lives now, resulting “in modern design enlivened with lush florals, foliage and a keen eye for color”. In our collab, Gia’s unique background and experience come together to make a truly special line of cards where you can see her style shine. Check out GGxPE and check out Gia!

Kids or Dogs?

Kids... although some days I would legit trade my kids for a Labradoodle.

Ice cream or French fries?

FRIES. Carbohydrates are my love language. 

Flats or heels?


Beach or Mountains?


Reading or TV?


Coffee or Tea?


Flowers or Foliage?

ACK! Don't make me choose! 

Night in or night out?

Night in

Shooting the Shit With Our Retailers: Episode 3


Kicking off 2019 with another installment of our blog series: Shooting the Shit With Our Retailers. If you have read our previous posts in the series, you know we just LOVE our retailers! This time around we have asked the lovely ladies, Heather and Dani, from Rock Paper Scissors to answer some enlightening questions. Their answers spotlight their incredible business and most importantly, who they are as inspiring and creative people! Check it out!


Rock Paper Scissors

Rocks Paper Scissors in Charlottesville, Virginia has been the go-to place for all stationery needs since its debut in 2002. But the store has really taken on a new magical glow since its revamp in 2010 when Heather and Dani entered the picture. After buying the store, these amazing ladies kept its previous charm while also adding their own brand of style. Today, Rock Paper Scissors is known both for the quality of its paper products and the unique and authentic brands that it carries. It is also know for the “Wall of Inspiration”, displaying a wide variety of the custom paper orders: the brainchildren of Heather and Dani. Learn a little more about these two awesome humans…

How did you name your store? 

Dani: Bought it, no choice.

Heather: We rock paper scissor'ed for it! Jk - we bought the store from the previous owner and kept the name, so there was no deciding.

What if you HAD to sleep with a celebrity who would it be? 

Dani: Easy. THOR during the day and Chris Hemsworth at night. Yes, they are the same person.

Heather: I feel like I'm dating myself with this answer: Brad Pitt. That would have been my answer, like, 20 years ago... I may need to rethink it! 

What is your favorite Paper Epiphanies card? 

Dani: "Self Care” (Collaboration with Chelsea Leiken) because when you go through cancer and currently PTSD from cancer, this is a GREAT reminder. My favorite cards during my treatment were encouragement cards like these! and then these too: "Curse, Laugh, Get piss ass drunk, Grief" and "Sending you Breast Wishes".

Heather: "I breastfed easily and the weight just fell off - said a liar" might have to be it. But "the only thing you need validated is your parking" is a pretty close second!

If your life was a song what would it be and why? 

Dani: Can't think of a happy life theme song, but my "cancer fighting" and "post cancer anxiety life moment" song is "Fire Away" by Chris Stapleton. I know it's a break up song about a bad relationship, but it, like, puts freakin' (I guess I can say fuckin' with Paper Epiphanies), courage and motivation in my soul. I saw him right before he exploded which was during my treatments. The song is this back and forth dance with a "bad thing for you." You can't seem to get rid of it, but it gives you strength that you never realized you had. Plus the whole "I've never been here before" stanza speaks to me about how much breast cancer has effected my family in the past and will in the future (freakin' genetics!). Stones (tumor), Razor (surgery), Cry to my grave (PTSD). Crazy how when a song OR a CARD is presented to someone at a certain time they can derive different meanings from it that can be so therapeutic and encouraging.

Heather: Tough act to follow - I don't think i have just one theme song; but anything upbeat that makes me want to dance will do!

What is one goal of yours for the next year? 

Dani: The constant search for happiness and purpose. And do more work that inspires me. And to perfect making a quiche (for reals just said this to myself this morning). 

Heather: Ugh, I'm not a good goal planner.... in general, it's to live in the present and spend less time on social media. Life is happening to us now and we're all seemingly on our phones trying to be vicariously somewhere else.

If you had to wear the same outfit everyday, what would it be? 

Dani: COMFORT, CLASSY & NEUTRAL. Slip on sneakers, yoga pants or skinny jeans and a loose long shirt, all in neutral colors, probably gray. 

Heather: Sneakers, yoga pants, workout top (not necessarily to work out, of course, it's just comfy!)

What is the most special card or note you ever received? 

Dani: When I was going through breast cancer treatment 3 years ago, I decided to freeze my eggs before chemo. I was writing this blog to keep friends and family updated, but the blog ended up being passed around to a lot of people for inspiration. {on the blog} I wrote, "should I celebrate my egg retrieval date every year?" and lamented how there wasn't a card for that… it should say something like "Happy egg retrieval day! May your eggs stay healthy and frozen so your genes won't go extinct." So the very next day, Dec 15th, I walked in for the surgery to have my eggs retrieved. The nurse prepping me, whom I had NEVER SEEN BEFORE, gave me a handwritten card with THOSE EXACT WORDS. A friend who is also a nurse had sent her my blog the day before and said if you happen to run into this chick take care of her! It was the most rewarding moment to receive {a card} from a complete stranger. I definitely felt safe, secure and hopeful going into that surgery. Not just hopeful for my eggs that they took out. BUT FOR MANKIND and for the future of those eggs to be surrounded by the kindness and community that a simple little note did. 

Heather: Tough act to follow, again! I think I'd have to say that it's not any single card that I've received that has been special; but the act of writing letters, starting at a very young age, that has essentially shaped my life in a way I never could have foreseen and what ultimately led to me running a greeting card store. It started with letters to and from my grandmother, who lived in another state; then after spending my summers with her in Wisconsin from 4th- 11th grade, having pen pals that I wrote to regularly - I guess that's what gave me the bug!

PE's 18 Favorites of 2018

It is that time of year. You know the one. A time for sentimental pondering and enthusiastic resolution making. Mingling with family, while simultaneously trying to avoid an emotional breakdown. Binge drinking and eating. Yes, that one.

Well, this year, we at Paper Epiphanies thought to accompany your well-deserved, third glass of wine this evening with some light reading material. Basically, a brain-dump of our own nostalgic thoughts and small reminders of why we started this company in the first place. Happy New Year’s Eve friends!

Paper Epiphanies Favorites of 2018 for your viewing pleasure! In no particular order…

1.     CHELSEA LEIFKEN - our collab with Chelsea was too much fun! Resulting in a hilarious, badass collection that will be our shelves for years to come. This collaboration inspired us to continue with our goals of supporting, empowering AND WORKING with women that we love!

2.     BLUSH PINK - we are pretty picky about our limited color palette around here, but we added a soft, elegant new envelope as a complement to our other favorites. We couldn’t love it more!

3.     LAS VEGAS MARKET - this year was our first time showing at the Las Vegas Market. We had a blast and added many new stores from different states to our retail family.

4.     NEW EMPLOYEES – we added new members to our team this year, including LIZ our fabulous packaging and fulfillment coordinator.

5.     FORBES, ABC, FOX - we were basically famous this year. Check out just a few of the fabulous news and media features from 2018! We are so grateful to the community and journalists who made these features possible!

o   Forbes

o   NBC - The 4th Trimester

o   ABC - Cards with an Edge to Empower Women

6.     4TH TRIMESTER - In May, we launched what has quickly become one of our most popular collections. The 4th Trimester: Cards for Moms! These honest and authentic cards were a wonderful reflection of our Founder’s journey as a first time mother!

7.     SPRAY PAINT - we’re basically taggers after successfully spraying a mural on our own wall behind our printing press.

8.     MARY TYLER MOORE - Speaking of presses. Our beloved Heidelberg Windmill affectionally named MTM, for obvious reasons, celebrate her one-year anniversary with us. Although, she’s technically almost 60 in press years.

9.     SPEAKER VIBES - Our Founder and CEO, Victoria Venturi had the honor of giving a 45-minute keynote address at the 2018 Greeting Card Association Convention in Cleveland this September! She also spoke at the Rose City Summit in Portland, Oregon with fabulous women such as Tarana Burke of the #metoo movement.

10.  INTERNS - for the first time, we officially started working with some fabulous (young AF) Reed college students to help bring a youthful, Gen Y spirit to the mix. For example, many college students these days have never seen WAYNE’S WORLD or SAVED BY THE BELL. What the actual fuck? That being said, they have taught us a few things. Our current intern, Naomi has been awesome at keeping our blog FRESH!

11.  WATER COOLER - our team wanted to add this one to the list. We finally stopped buying bulk water bottles and got a real-life office water cooler. Now we can lessen our environmental footprint AND gossip tritely around said cooler.

12.  NYC - we went rogue and hosted a buyer’s event at the YOtel with many of our other favorite brands. The event was a resounding success and has helped us think outside the box about future events.

13.  NEW REPS - we continued to grow our wholesale sales rep family by adding a new Pacific Northwest Group - The Gellert Collection!

14.  TAPE TAPE BABY - we finally got new packaging supplies. They are sexy. That is all.

15.  GIRL UP SUMMIT- we had the honor to attend the Investor Collective at the Girl Up Summit in Washington D.C. this past July. The amazing event inspired us immensely and reminded us to work even harder to donate more time, money and resources to those who need it most.

16.  POP UPS! - we hosted quite a few awesome pop up shops this year. From partnering with awesome retailers like Ecru Modern Stationer to partying at The Bar Method. We hosted events with The Junior League of Portland and had open studio days. The best part - SEEING YOU! We have lots of exciting stuff coming on the retail side in 2019 so stay tuned!

17.  THE UNKNOWN - over the course of 2018, we had many exciting meetings, planning sessions and big ideas. Some of those meetings went nowhere, others went to amazing places. Some people we are still waiting hear back from and others have already decided to help us grow. The point is - you have to take risks. Calculated risks. You have to own your brand and put yourself out there. If you don’t, you will always wonder ‘what if’.

18.  LOVE NOTES - Throughout the year, we often receive messages or hear stories about how our cards impacted others. Made them laugh, got them through a hard time or a breakup. This year was especially moving, as many of the notes received came from new mothers. We received a truly unbelievable amount of emails and DMs, heard stories told to our retail partners and more. Below we shared just one, but we thank you. Today and always. Thank you for inviting us into your homes, your relationships and your lives with our cards. You inspire us to keep writing.

Signing off for 2018.


Paper Epiphanies


Shooting the Shit With Our Retailers: Episode 2!

Welcome to the second round of Shooting the Shit With Our Retailers. Here at Paper Epiphanies we treasure our retailers the way we treasure our Corgis (ok, maybe not that much- sorry Twinkie!) and know that without them, we wouldn’t be nearly as successful as we are today. Not only do we love our retailers for the amazing work they do, but also for who they are as people! This series is a fun way for us to share them with you! We’ve asked two of our favorite retailers to answer a variety of questions, some silly, some serious, and presented them for your viewing pleasure below:



Ecru Modern Stationer

Our first spotlighted retailer is LeAnn from Ecru Modern Stationer. This Portland-based boss lady opened her first shop in 2006 in the Pearl District after 10+ years of working in stationery. This store was born from LeAnn’s love of the greeting card: for her, it encapsulates the relationship between people, celebrated through their shared special moments in life. Today, there are three Ecru Modern Stationer stores around Portland, all offering a fantastic selection of stationery products and of course, Paper Epiphanies! Look no further for all your Portland paper needs!

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Our next spotlighted retailer is Alex, owner of Folio. Based in Larkspur, California, Alex created Folio to share her love of the timelessness of stationery. Appreciating how the action of pen-to-paper transcends modernity and technology to provide a genuine communication between people, Alex built her store in this image to provide amazing stationery products for all those who share her passion. Be sure to stop by or check her out online!

And now for the main attraction…

How did you name your store?

Ecru: I was looking for a name that related to paper but didn’t say paper...I had already been working in the paper world for 11 years and ecru was a classic color of stationery and is derived from the color of unbleached linen. My vision for the shop was keep the classic but do it with a very modern twist. Plus, Ecru looked good in a logo using the typewriter font that I liked......

Folio: I inherited the name- but I like it- so that’s good!

What if you HAD to sleep with a celebrity who would it be?

Ecru: Brad Pitt circa Legends of the Fall....

Folio: Cary Grant- I know he’s dead- but I don’t care- if I must choose a living celebrity, I would choose Robert Redford (40 years ago) or Brad Pitt (present age).

What is your favorite Paper Epiphanies card?

Ecru: ‘Gorgeously Human’ (collab with Chelsea Leifken). It is a sentiment I strive to remind myself every day.

Folio: “He was a prick” or “give anything to take off my bra right now”

If your life was a song what would it be and why?

Ecru: “Keep your head up” by Andy Grammar. In retail I think you must have an upbeat and positive attitude. Being a single proprietor, with three stores, it can be difficult to keep this prospective. I consistently remind myself to keep my head up and this helps me keep things moving forward!

Folio: “Once, Twice, Three Times. A Lady” Lionel Ritchie (no idea why that came to me first)- it was that or “Brick House” (kidding)

What is one goal of yours for the next year?

Ecru: My biggest goal is to spend more time working on the big picture! Delegate the minutia to free up my time.

Folio: More time off.

If you had to wear the same outfit every day, what would it be?

Ecru: Easy, a relaxed white T, skinny jeans and one of my comfy pairs of boots.

Folio: Jeans, boots, t-shirt, cardigan (I kind of do).

What is the most special card or note you ever received?

Ecru: The latest card or note from my husband. He writes me the sweetest notes and I save them all, as each one is a treasure to me.

Folio: Anything from my mom or pop (both in heaven).

Paper Epiphanies is blushing this season


As if you weren’t still recovering from our walloping 60+ card release last May, we’ve got more coming at you! This past October, Paper Epiphanies released 18 new cards touching on everything from love to empowerment— enough to cover all your winter needs from the Holidays to Valentines Day. While the full selection of new cards is killer, we wanted to highlight a special addition to our envelope family contained within these new releases:

The new Blush Pink envelope

This subtle pale pink is the perfect addition to our collection. While our neon pink and green speak loud and proud, our cross-hatched and splattered patterns are works of art in and of themselves and our metallic silver, chrome and peacock are statements of their own, blush pink presents a new level of class and sass. Not to mention the fact that these envelopes were custom made for our brand on the thick, high quality paper Paper Epiphanies always pairs with our greeting cards. These one-of-a-kind envelopes are unique to us!

The blush pink envelope is just one of the many projects Paper Epiphanies has in the works— stayed tuned for more exciting developments this winter!

EITHER | OR with Chelsea Leifken


In May, Paper Epiphanies released a collaboration with one of the most badass females around. Chelsea and Victoria worked together to create a line that embodied all of Chelsea's vibes. The result? 8 authentic, heartfelt and, best of all, hilarious cards in the CHELSEA LEIFKEN x Paper Epiphanies line. #CLxPE This week, Chelsea kicks off our new EITHER | OR series -- to the amusement of all involved.

First, a bit about Chelsea:

Queen of the font, Chelsea is best known for her inspiring and relatable expressions, which make anyone who sees them smile. After graduating from FIDM LA, Chelsea faced several of life's inevitable but heart-wrenching waves, struggling to find herself and her message. Despite all of life's curveballs, or perhaps because of them, Chelsea is now the guru of mastering that which mastered her before. In addition to owning her own namesake collection based in LA, as well as working with several non-profit organizations and collaborators, this bosslady is on a self-titled, global movement of self love in which she shares her art around the world. Chelsea embarks on this mission with the biggest smile and infectious positive attitude a person can have, only one of the reasons we love her, in addition to her creativity and badass, yet hilarious personality. Check out her Either/Or questions below, along with her website and our CHELSEA LEIFKEN x Paper Epiphanies collab to see this amazing woman in action!


Meditation or Sex?


Crystals or Incense?


Tattoos or Piercings?


East Coast or West Coast?


Blue or Pink?


Coffee or Tea?


Writing or Drawing?

Writing, duh

Shooting the shit with our retailers!

At Paper Epiphanies, our lifeblood is wholesale. Our retail partners around the globe tell our story and share our cards with their customers everyday. We love our retailers and are so grateful for their support! We are long overdue at spotlighting some of our favorites, so we decided to start a fun little series called "Shooting the Shit with our Retailers". For the first edition, we've asked three of our retailers a few questions-- some sillier than others-- and if these answers don't cause you to spit out your coffee (based on a true story), they'll at least reveal a fact or two that you don't already know. So settle in and check it out... 

This week's spotlighted retailers are a special brand of AWESOME.



First up, Kristina, owner of Calliope, the brand behind, not one, but two stationery store locations in Somerville and Natick Massachusetts. This pink-haired boss lady started making invitations, cards and coasters back in 2007 and selling them at local markets. By 2014, Kristina was selling her work at craft shows, as well as online, all while maintaining a 9-5 job as an administrative assistant. In June 2016, Kristina opened her first stationery store (and we were there from the beginning!!) and the rest, as they say, is history!



Papél New York

Next, we have Raegan, the badass owner of Papél New York, based in Brooklyn. This paperie is like a chic mom 'n pop store, meaning that while buying stylish, family-targeted paper products, you're likely to run into Raegan herself, Francesca, her daughter and/or Parker, her poodle. Raegan used to work in corporate retail for 8 years before deciding to become her own boss and opening her store in 2009. Be sure to look her up!



Alair Seattle

Last but not least, Shandon, owner of the fabulous Alair Seattle from (you guessed it) Seattle, Washingston. Shandon used to work primarily in breweries all around the US until she decided to settle in Seattle and open Alair in January of 2017. This luxury goods boutique is not only special for its local, community atmosphere, but also for the spunk and creativity that Shandon projects  at every turn.


As if you weren't hooked already, the answers that these three fantastic ladies gave in the questions below will surely sway you...


How did you name your store?

Kristina: Calliope is Greek grandmother (my Yia-Yia) and it’s also my middle name. After a couple name changes over the course of my business life, this felt right and I haven’t wanted to change it since.

Raegan: The idea was to combine my home town of NYC with the concept of a stationery store without actually using the word paperie. Having taken 8+ years of Spanish, it made sense to use the Spanish word for paper to complete the task.  Enter Papel New York.

Shandon: I totally had a different name all lined up and when I went to do the LLC, it was taken.  So I texted with a bunch of my friends and we decided in about 3 minutes. Alair means "happy or cheerful" and it seemed to work fine, plus I liked the way the A looked in the font.  I can't even remember what the original name was now and it was pretty unorganized and not thought out well- like the rest of my life. I love the name though so it worked!

What if you HAD to sleep with a celebrity who would it be?

Kristina: Jeff Goldblum circa Independence Day (The movie. Not, like, from a specific day…)

Raegan: Well, gosh, if I HAD to, I would say Hugh Jackman.  I suppose he could throw me around a bit and I would be okay with that.

Shandon: Jon Stewart.  Obvs.

What is your favorite Paper Epiphanies card?

Kristina: Actually it’s a Christmas card! I love the one that says “Colored Christmas lights? You’re dead to me.” I died. Colored lights are SO. TACKY.

Raegan: “I'm so glad we finally slept together.” - enough said. and yes, I have dropped that little nugget in the mail myself.

Shandon: Happy Birthday.  Consider this your blow job.  Because as Tori says, "Sometimes the truth hurts"

If your life was a song what would it be and why?

Kristina: Is there a song that goes, “I wanna eat carbs whenever I want and not get fat”? That one.

Raegan: Oh that’s a tough one.  Of recent, I’ve been drawn to “River” by Leon Bridges.  It resonates with me; the strength, pain, clarity, and triumph.  Second song would be “Freak Me” by Silk. It just makes good sense.

Shandon: Too Young To Fall In Love by Motley Crue.  Because it's a long story.

What is one goal of yours for the next year?

Kristina: I just got a hot foil stamper with the intention of stamping pencils with funny things and movie quotes and maybe making cards or notebooks. Making that a success is a huge goal. I am just excited to start making things again.

Raegan: To finally sign my divorce papers!

Shandon:  To hit our goal numbers:  They are really modest and JUST cover the bills with no extras.  I've been open two years and we aren't there yet, but in the next year I want to grow enough that I'm not in a complete money panic constantly.

If you were to get a tattoo what would be it and where?

Kristina:  Probably a half sleeve with a stationery or letter-writing theme. Fuckin’ badass.

Raegan: Meh…I’m not really into tattoos.  I was born with a killer birthmark on my back, so I feel like that was G-d’s way of giving me a tramp stamp, without the tramp.

Shandon: I have a lot of tattoos.  I'm slowly working on a full sleeve of woodland animals but because of the aforementioned money issue (along with time... because small business owner....) it'll be a work in progress for a while.

What is the most special card you ever received?

Kristina: I’ve gotten a LOT, but when I was still just an online store, everyone knew I wanted to open a brick and mortar someday, and I had a customer once send me a note just saying she believed in me, to keep at it, and that she couldn’t wait to spend all her money when I did. I still have it, of course.

Raegan: Without a doubt, the handmade cards I receive from my two amazing little ones.  Simply put, they ROCK.

Shandon:   I received a lot over the past two years that are still on my fridge, around my house, taped to mirrors.... I love cards so much and the people that send them.  It takes a few minutes to write some encouraging words, and then they inspire me daily for years to come. During the hard moments, it’s amazing to look around and remember that everyone is rooting for you.


Check out these fabulous ladies on their websites and social media! We’re sure you’ll love them just as much as we do!

Woman of the Week: Sojourner Truth

This week Paper Epiphanies is highlighting an outstanding mother as our Woman of the Week in honor of our recent release of “The 4th Trimester” line. Sojourner Truth, originally Isabella Baumfree, was born a slave in New York in 1797. She spent the first thirty years of her life being bought and sold buy one New York plantation owner after another, experiencing a range of treatment including daily beatings until 1826 when she finally escaped from her last owner, John Dumont. During her enslavement, Sojourner had five children--only four of which survived childbirth. When she finally escaped, New York was on the cusp of emancipating its slaves, a process which had started in 1799, and Sojourner was only able to bring her youngest, infant daughter with her because the others were required to remain slaves until in their twenties. Sojourner and her daughter were taken in by a couple, who paid Dumont for her services but kept her and her child in their house until the official New York emancipation.

Then, in 1828, Dumont sold one of Sojourner’s sons, Peter, illegally to another owner. Sojourner took Dumont to court and was able to take her son back after months of proceedings, making history as one of the first black women to win in court against a white man (you go mamma!).  At this time as well, Sojourner began her religious journey, becoming a devout Christian and befriending others involved in the religious community. Around this time, Sojourner was accused of the murder of one of her employers and, after being acquitted she was forced to serve time for murder.

In 1849, Sojourner reentered society and became a Methodist, changing her name and saying, “The Spirit calls me and I must go.” She then began to start touring around, preaching the spread of abolition and of women’s rights. During her promotion efforts she not only met and interacted with several other activists, such as Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, but she also gave several important speeches on women and black rights. Perhaps the most famous of these speeches was one gave at the 1851 Ohio Women’s Rights Convention where she demanded equal rights for women and blacks, a daring and powerful speech, not only because of its radical message, but also because Sojourner was both of those oppressed minorities herself. During the civil war Sojourner also worked to recruit black soldiers for the Union and after the war tried (without success) to get land grants from the government for previous slaves.

Sojourner is remembered for being an amazing activist, fighting to bring about rights for blacks and women when everything was working against her. As both a mother and an activist, Sojourner stands out as being an amazing candidate for Paper Epiphanies’ Woman of the Week.

Woman of the Week: Madam C J Walker

This week we have the pleasure of celebrating the success and advancements of Madam C J Walker as our Woman of the Week. Born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 on a plantation in Louisiana, she was the first of her family to be born into freedom just a few years after the Emancipation Proclamation. At 7 years old Sarah was orphaned and at 10 years old she moved to Mississippi to begin working as a domestic. At 14 years old, Sarah had her first of three marriages, the first of which gave her a daughter, Lelia, and the last of which gave her name, Madam C J Walker (Charles Joseph Walker).

As you can imagine, Sarah’s life was far from easy, but she was determined to make a life for herself and her daughter. In 1888, after moving to Missouri to live with three of her brothers, Sarah began working as  a laundress, making a very small wage (less than a dollar a day), but was engaged in her community, singing and being involved at her church. Sarah suffered, as many black women did at the time, hair loss and dandruff due to a variety of skin disorders originating from lack of access to good cleaning and diet. At first Sarah learned haircare from her brothers, who were barbers, but then she began selling hair-care products for the Poro Company, owned by the African-American Annie Turnbo Malone. From there, Sarah was able to start her own business for hair-care: initially selling door to door, then branching out to a beauty parlor in Pittsburgh, and, after closing that, opening an office and beauty salon in Harlem in 1913.

Earlier, in 1910,  Sarah set up her headquarters of the Madam C J Walker Manufacturing Company in Indianapolis, which later grew to be a factory, hair salon, beauty school to train her sales agents and a laboratory to develop new product. Sarah trained her sales agents in the “Walker System” of haircare and at the peak of its success, Sarah’s company employed several thousand women and had trained almost 20,000. The company grew to be well know around the states and in several caribbean and central american countries. Sarah added to her community by encouraging other black women to build their businesses and become financially independent as well as creating the National Beauty Culturists and Benevolent Association of Madam C J Walker Agents, a conference believed to have been one of the first national women entrepreneur gatherings. Sarah also was a philanthropist and donated to establish a branch of the YMCA in Indianapolis’s black community, to establish scholarship funds and to various other organizations. Sarah was involved politically as well and was part of various organizations fighting for African American rights as well as delivering several lectures towards the advancement of black rights.

Dying in 1919, Walker was considered the wealthiest African American woman in the US and is viewed today as one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of her time as well as one of the most successful African American business owners ever. As female entrepreneurs ourselves, we can say Madam C J Walker is GOALS and well deserving of our Woman of the Week.

Woman of the Week: Rita Levi-Montalcini

This week Paper Epiphanies is honoring the fabulous Rita Levi-Montalcini, a truly badass female who let neither the threat of danger, nor the restrictions of her sex stop her from doing what she wanted. Born in 1909 in Italy to a Jewish family, Rita decided to enter medicine after seeing a close family friend die of stomach cancer. She attended the University of Turin Medical School, much to the initial chagrin of her father, who was afraid a higher education would take away from Rita’s future ability to be a wife and mother (which we say good riddance to if it means giving up her aspirations). Rita remained at the university, studying the nervous system, past graduation but was eventually stopped due to Mussolini’s barring of Jews holding academic or professional careers in 1938. Not being able to work at the university anymore, Rita resourcefully set up a lab in her bedroom where she studied the nervous system in chick embryos (Oh, the classic perform-world-changing-scientific-research-in-your-bedroom phase; we all have one of those…). In 1943, when Germany invaded Italy, Rita and her family fled South to Florence and, with the help of some non-Jewish friends, disguised themselves and went into hiding. In the small living space she shared with her family, Rita set up another lab in the corner, not letting her forced situation hold her back.

Following the Holocaust, Rita was able to duplicate the experiments she had performed at her home laboratories, resulting in her receiving a research associate position at Washington University in St. Louis, which she held for the next 30 years. In this position, Rita performed research in which she discovered the existence of growth factors, or the causes of cell growth, most particularly nerve cell growth. For this research she and her fellow researcher Stanley Cohen won the nobel prize in 1986. Rita also headed several important organizations including the Research Center of Neurobiology in Rome, the European Brain Research Institute (an organization which she founded) and the Institute of Cell Biology of the Italian National Council of Research in Rome. As if Rita wasn’t already decorated enough, she even had a political career, where she became a Senator for Life (2001) in Italy and received many prestigious awards across her lengthy 103 years on this earth (the oldest Nobel Prize winner yet). Her ingenious research, a lot of it performed in high-danger (and rather sketchy if you ask us) conditions, make Rita a hugely influential figure on history and biology. Intelligent and brave, Rita is beyond worthy of being recognized as this week’s Woman of the Week.

Woman of the Week: Tarana Burke

This week Paper Epiphanies is celebrating the incredibly inspiring Tarana Burke, founder of the “Me Too” movement and fellow panel-member at the Rose City Women’s Summit May 11th (come stop by!). Born in the Bronx, Tarana started her activism young: at age 14 she joined the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement, an organization aimed at supporting and promoting young, community leaders. This trend of activism continued into university, at which Tarana earned the title of  ‘campus organizer’ after protesting the campus’s antiquated celebration of the Confederacy.

Following graduation, Tarana continued working at the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement in Selma, Alabama, all the while noticing that women needed different treatment from men. This observation lead to Tarana’s first solo organization “Just Be,” which targeted young black women, aged 12-18, aiming to help them enter adulthood with a good sense of self-worth and a hefty self-esteem. Throughout her experiences in “Just Be,” Tarana noticed the extreme amount of sexual violence stories that women approached her with. Well-acquainted with sexual abuse herself, Tarana felt she didn’t have the right words to say to them that she, too, had experienced sexual violence and they were not alone. From this idea arose the “Me Too” movement: started in 2006 and designed to draw attention to the overwhelming amount of sexual assaults and violence experienced by women.

In 2017 the movement took off in earnest and once it sparked, “Me too” became a roaring forest fire, catching from phone to phone, twitter account to twitter account. The hashtag, #metoo, went viral and soon many women in Hollywood and beyond took up the trend. Time named Tarana, among other female activists known as the “silence breakers,” as the Time Person of the Year. In addition, at the 2018 Golden Globes, Tarana and many other female activists were in attendance, accompanying several celebrities, all wearing black to highlight solidarity for women. Tarana is one of our favorite people and the definition of what it means to make a change and a difference. Today she continues her incredible work and we are honored and delighted to be on the Rose City Summit panel with her May 11th!

Check out the event: https://rosesummit.org/

Woman of the Week: Katsuko Saruhashi


Paper Epiphanies’ Woman of the Week this week is one badass woman who showed the world who’s boss. She not only contributed valuable scientific research to the world, but also made huge strides for women in her native country of Japan. Born in 1920 in Tokyo, Katsuko Saruhashi graduated from the Imperial Women’s College of Science in 1943. She then began working in the Geochemical Laboratory of the Meteorological Research Institute, eventually becoming its executive director in 1979.

In 1950, Saruhashi started studying carbon dioxide levels in seawater; a topic viewed as unimportant at the time, but which lead to the significant discovery of the mass spread of radiation. In 1954 the US conducted several nuclear tests  in the Pacific Ocean in what is called Operation Castle and which led to the mysterious illness of several Japanese fishermen who were downwind from the tests. CO₂ research was so undervalued Saruhashi had to create her own methods of measuring the gas (still the standard way to conduct this research today), but her results unveiled radioactivity as a serious pollutant due to infect the entire Pacific Ocean by 1969 if nuclear tests continued. Saruhashi’s research had a serious impact on nuclear testing regulations in the US and the world.

As if her resume wasn’t bulky enough, Saruhashi was also the first woman to earn her doctorate in Chemistry, the first woman elected to the Science Council of Japan and the first woman to win the Miyake Prize for Geochemistry. In addition to saving our oceans and pioneering the field of chemistry for women, Saruhashi contributed a huge amount to empowering women in Japan and around the world. She created the Society of Japanese Women Scientists and the Saruhashi Prize, which is awarded once a year to a female scientist who is a role model for other female scientists.

Geochemist; Genius; GIRL: Saruhashi died at 87 years old in 2007 from pneumonia but continues to impact the world and women with her incredible research and powerful achievements.

Woman of the Week: Tarn!


This week Paper Epiphanies is recognizing our very own Studio Manager, Tarn, as the Woman of the Week. Coming to us almost a year ago, Tarn’s sunny personality and positive energy keep the orders and the smiles rolling.

We love Tarn for so many reasons and we think everyone else should love her too, so here’s an inside look at one of our favorite ladies:

Growing up in Anchorage, Alaska, Tarn moved to NYC when she was 19 to study fashion at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). A few years ago she came to Portland and found us-- a “fun” startup that was “a change from fashion but still related in a way”-- love at first sight for all parties involved! She still misses the energy of NYC, though, and her favorite card in our line is ‘Why do you live so far away’ because a lot of her good friends don’t live in Portland.

When Tarn isn’t partying it up with us at the studio (her favorite thing to do, we assume), she enjoys hiking and skiing and generally being in nature. If the call of the wild isn’t strong enough, the sexy beckoning of the Bachelor is, among other bad reality TV shows. Tarn also loves traveling and if she could be anywhere in the world she’d be in Japan (bring us with you, Tarn!). Although she has warmed up to cats, Tarn is a dog person, and ideally would have a smaller dog, “After being around Twinkie (the Paper Epiphanies mascot), corgis are definitely in the consideration.” When asked who her biggest female role model is, Tarn recognizes the people who matter most, “I have a lot of strong women in my family.” Thanks Tarn for being a BIG part of our paper family!