Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Call for Assvice!

I graduated from college at a not-so-good-if-you-actually-wanted-a-job time. I kind of knew it would be like that, so it wasn't a huge step to move in with my parents for a while. They had just moved 600 miles from where I was raised and were now about an hour away from where I'd been living. In an attempt to make a little money, I decided to try to start making greeting and notecards out of these little angel characters that I doodled. I had a teacher in high school suggest it and laughed him off (while continuing to draw in the margins of my college notebooks as well). This was also not a huge stretch for me. I'm (obsessively) crafty and was always the kid on the corner with a lemonade/Kleenex flower/yarn doll/pet rock stand. I'm pretty sure that I never made $5 total in the years that I tried to sell crap to the neighborhood, but somehow that never discouraged me.

So back to the cards. My parents were ultra-supportive and helped me dive a little deeper into it. I actually trademarked a logo and booked myself at a few craft fairs. It has been kind of hit and miss from there. (Sometime I'll have to go into my craft fair soapbox...) I did eventually get a job, moved out, got married, etc, but have kept it going. I honestly do enjoy it. My husband is the best supporter ever. I have a website, but it isn't always up-to-date or cool (but I do have a friend who is doing it for free, so the complaints kind of have to end there.)

And now. I'm looking at trying my hand at not working in an office after this baby is born. I have a lot of reasons, but one is definitely that I don't feel like anything I do at work really matters. And it doesn't, that's just a fact. But I can make people happy with the cards, so I figure maybe I'll try concentrating on that some more.

Here's where you come in. I need some suggestions, opinions, and assvice. Mel has brought it up before and I've been a part of discussions about it. So let's revisit, shall we? How do we feel about cards specifically designed for the infertile? Pregnancy loss, Hopeful Wishes, Congratulations on _______, etc, etc... My husband and I talked about it last night. We had a difficult time handling people in the aftermath of our miscarriage. He said that he would have liked to receive one that said, "You don't want to talk about it. We won't make you. We love you." That's what he wanted to hear.

What would you like to hear? What about pictures? I do a lot of custom stuff, and that would certainly work well in this case, but should I look into a Special Collection? And how can I make it mean something? Should I put a blurb about the pomegranate string? Include one? Is this something you would be interested in?

Please deposit any thoughts- comment here or email me ( Tell me what other people think, too. If I'm going to try this, I want to do it justice.

If you want to get an idea of what I'm talking about, my website is Most of the designs there are based on requests that I've gotten along the way. For the record, though, I did give you fair warning as to it's up-to-dateness...yes, I realize that aside from what the snowman on the front page says, Christmas really isn't just around the corner.


Heather said...

First, the stuff you already have on your site is absolutely adorable! Can you please put a link to it on your webpage??

Second, I would love to see cute, fat, little baby angels for people getting their BFP...and I'm not sure for people getting their BFN? Maybe just an adult angel with an inspirational message or saying "I care" or "I'm sorry"?

I think this is a great idea...

aah0424 said...

Great idea! I think your stuff is really cute. I'm not really sure what I would want to see, I'll have to give it some thought.

The Town Criers said...

First and foremost, these are adorable! And they're well-made and sweet. And I would gladly order truckloads of them :-)

I think there is a big void in the Hallmark market for cards relating to infertility or loss that are not religious or "spiritual" in nature. The few that I've seen have been shmaltzy. It's the thought that counts, but you also want the card to match the person. And I'm not really the rainbow-and-dove type :-) Either to give or receive. So I definitely think you should make these cards because there is a need for them.

I would start by marketing to RE clinics and your local RESOLVE chapter. It would mean the world if they sent out a card to a patient after their first failed cycle. They wouldn't need to do it every time, but the treatment I received at my RE clinic not only made me stay month after month, but it made me refer many people to my doctor as well. He would call me before a procedure and wish me luck. And it meant the world to me. Receiving a card in the mail that just expressed sympathy would make for a different infertility experience.

I don't think there are cards out there about DI or DE or surrogacy. Cards that express to the reader how the sender knows that they're going through something emotionally difficult. Cards that celebrate all forms of adoption--not just babies, but older kids as well. And we all know there aren't cards for IVF or IUI. There are one-size-fits-all cards for pregnancy loss, but pregnancy loss is not one-size-fits-all. It's molar pregnancy and ectopic and miscarriage and late term loss. We need cards that can comfort a person after a medical termination.

I would branch out and do cards both with the angel theme and an average person (same character--no wings) theme. Some people associate angels with Christianity and others associate angels with death. I would keep the angels, but also add a wing-less line for people who aren't comfortable with the angel imagery.

I just think this is a great idea and it could really take off. Many people would put links for you on their blog--especially if there was an IF and pg loss line. And I think a stirrup queen is the best person in the world to create this line.

ms. c said...

Your work is great, Mandolyn!
From someone in a very similar business, trust me: doing this work will be truckloads more gratifying than your current work seems to be. My only caution is that it may take more time than you think... I have built my home business into a full time job (which I LOVE), but I worried about my workload when (yes, please, when!) I get pregnant. The upswing is that you can take on as much or as little work as you want.
In terms of ideas, I'm totally with Mel-she's one smart cookie. Marketing them at your RE is a great way to start your IF line. I know so many of us would love to receive such cards. I also agree with Mel about trying something without the wings... I LOVE the designs, but I'm not certain I would purchase or like to receive something with angels, but I would be thrilled with receiving a card drwan by you in this style!
Wow! This is so exciting... I wish you the best of luck!

mandolyn said...

Thanks, thanks, thanks! I'll work on some stuff and keep you all up to date with details!

Dianne/Flutter said...

Thanks for the visit :).

Wow you are seriously talented - I love your artwork! I love the cards - will keep you in mind for a project I have. (Meaning me writing thank you notes to friends who have gotten it right :).)

About your question.
"I'm here, when you are ready."

or after a much along awaited BFP

"About effing time!" :)