Of all my goals, perhaps the most challenging is ensuring that my daughter reaches adulthood as a fellow lover and avid user of stationery. She’s quite the correspondent while at camp, but the rest of the year, not so much. Furthermore — and I’m a bit ashamed to admit this — as a family, we often do that horrible, last-minute scramble to find and fill out a card, often practically as we’re walking out the door.
So that is why I think Paper Balloon, a Chicago-based subscription service, is so brilliant. It was founded by entrepreneur Becky Butler to simplify the process of sending handwritten greeting cards after she had a similar experience as me.
“I’ve always enjoyed sending greetings to my nieces and nephews, but when I remember (mostly I forget), I end up frustrated by the amount of time I spend finding a card and stamp,” she told me. “I thought there needed to be a simpler way to send greetings, without losing the personal touch of handwritten cards. I couldn’t find any subscriptions that focus on seasonal cards, and none that focus specifically on sending cards to children. I also remember how exciting it was as a kid to receive mail addressed to me — I love passing this joy onto the next generation, especially when everything today is so digital.”Because it can be a challenge to buy and send cards with enough time before each occasion, Paper Balloon takes care of that part for you. By providing you with the cards and stamps at the right time, all that’s left is adding your own personal touch.
Designed with children aged 3-12 in mind, these jubilant cards are replete with bells and whistles. Becky carefully selects designers from around the globe to create cards bursting with color and whimsy. “I want designs that are simplistic and happy — designs that delight both children and adults,” she told me.The designs are then gorgeously letterpressed and foiled on thick, tree-free cotton paper by a Chicago print shop. They arrive in your mailbox accompanied by temporary tattoos and sticker closures, with even pre-stamped envelopes available. While they can foster connections between children and faraway relatives and friends, they’re also great for the little ones in your life — think out-of-town nieces and nephews. But what is really cool about this service is that it is not created with the one-size-fits-all model: the cards your receive are tailored to your needs and calendar. That way, your life is simpler as you nurture (and remember) your important connections. Shipments come quarterly, but you tailor the quantity from three on up. You’ll get them just prior to each occasion selected, utterly simplifying that most trying of mom tasks. If your stash is running low or you need a few thank-yous, as a subscriber you can visit the card shop for free shipping.
Becky plans to expand her offerings to offer more everyday cards such as thank-yous and get-wells, all the while maintaining a focus on child recipients. “Customers have the ability to review and swap out cards prior to each subscription shipment, so I’d like to expand our collection to give customers the best variety possible.”
Your cards arrive in a decorative box, encircled with a belly band and personal note. Mine are so adorable, rest assured only my favorite nieces and nephews will be getting one. You can start elevating your own status here!