When you think of greeting cards you think of 'Happy Birthday', 'Get Well Soon' or 'Thinking of You'. But sometimes you just need a card that says something more, something real.
"I'm coming up with ideas based on thinking about what I would want to say to the people in my life," said Katie Davis, owner of Sad Shop. "I'm lucky to find these very specific statements I'm making to the people I love also resonate with other people."
Turns out, they really resonate. People can't get enough of the Seattle-based card company.
"I named my company Sad Shop because I'm not afraid of emotions and I think the combination of the words 'sad' and 'shop' are a cool combo of honesty and cuteness," explained Katie.
Sad Shop cards have been shared by celebs like Zooey Deschanel and Lauren Conrad, and featured in publications like Vogue and Cosmopolitan. Not bad, considering Katie came up with her first designs back in 2012 on a whim.
"I started Sad Shop when I was a freelance designer here in Seattle. I made a few cards I thought were funny and I showed them to my sister, who said I should put them up on Etsy," said Katie. "I was expecting nothing, but a few weeks later something like 60,000 people had shared one of my cards on social media. My shop sold out and there were tears because I didn't know how to ship things yet. So, it was a bit of a fiasco, but an exciting one and it grew from there."
Sad Shop may have grown, but Katie remains committed to keeping it local. All her cards are printed at a Seattle print shop on 100% recycled paper. Katie splits her time between her apartment, where she packs and ships orders, and a Thinkspace on South Lake Union where she designs new cards, released twice per year.
"I have a lot to say. That's why I have a lot of greeting cards. I think the one that's my favorite right now is 'the world is a mess but I'm glad you're in it'," said Katie.
Of course I had to know if there was a secret to writing the perfect card. After a little prodding, Katie agreed to spill the beans.
"My secret to writing the perfect card is thinking about my actual connection with another human being, thinking about what words I would like to say to them and then distilling a big feeling into as few words as I can," she explained.
Simple statements, yet somehow they seem to perfectly sum up life. That's why now, you can find Sad Shop cards around the world and, of course, at shops throughout Seattle, like Phinney Books.
"They're just funny. People pick them up and they laugh," said Tom Nissley, owner of Phinney Books. "I think what they love is they keep being funny. They've been the bestselling cards in our history and every season we see the new stuff and I'm like 'Katie, you're still funny'."
They may be hilarious but behind the humor there's something more, a whole lot of heart. For Katie, one of the most gratifying things about making greeting cards, is knowing her creations are going to people during some of the most important moment in their lives.
"It means a lot to me to be a part of that. What I hope they feel is what they're truly feeling. I hope that my cards allow people to express how they really feel and to not be afraid to feel."