May 2015 was the year my desire to create greeting cards came to fruition. I loved shopping at my local stationery store and was always thinking about ideas for greeting cards. I frequently shopped at the store and would spend an outrageous amount of money on cards, notebooks, pencils, and other writing items. As I became better acquainted with the owner of the shop, I talked to her about my desire to create my own line of cards. After a couple of years of shopping and eventually working with the owner on a couple of projects, I began working at the shop—I was so excited! Now I'd finally get to design my own cards. A little over four years later, I still had not designed a single greeting card.
In May 2015, the week of Mother’s Day, the owner went out of town for a conference. As she was about to leave, we sold the last of the Mothers Day cards. It was Wednesday. If I’ve learned anything over the last several years, I’ve learned people put off buying a card until the very last day. (In fact, that's why we designed our greeting card subscription box—so you'll never be without the perfect card). Back to the stationery shop: It was only Wednesday and we did not have a single Mother’s Day card, and the owner was heading out of town! I did the only thing I could think to do—I decided, it was now or never, I had to design a Mother’s Day card.
In spite of all of my ideas for greeting cards, I had no idea where to start! Suddenly, I wasn’t clever or funny or sweet—I was stuck. I thought about my own mom. She is very traditional and wouldn’t like anything funny or sassy. My mom loves carnations so I started looking through all of the digital assets I had been collecting over the years of creating stationery and invitations—I found an antique carnation. I have settled on the term digital decoupage to describe a method I sometimes use to create greeting cards combining a found image like these flowers with a clever saying. As I said, I was stuck and my mom is a traditionalist, so I settled on the carnation and “Happy Mother’s Day.”
I reached back to childhood and my true self—a little sweet and a lot of sass. I recall one time as a child when my mom said she was going to smack the snot out of me, I drew her a comic. The first scene showed me handing her a tissue. In the second box, she asks me what it is for. In the third, I say for the mess she is going to make when she smacks the snot out of me. Not very clever, but the point was the saying—the parental threats. I created my first snarky Mother’s Day card: “Mom, Thanks for bringing me into the world and never actually taking me out of it.” It was a hit! In the years to follow as we started Lost Art and began showing the cards at our local farmers market, this would become our best-seller overall. Nearly everyone who stopped at the market booth commented on how their mom had said the same thing to them.
I got to work and created a series, Universal Mom Threats.
- Mom Thanks for Not Actually Skinning Me Alive
- Mom, Thanks for Not Actually Smacking Me into Next Week
- Mom, Thanks for Not Actually Jerking a Not in My Tail
- Mom, Thanks for Never Actually Giving Me a Lump of Coal
I was surprised by how many people agreed that their mothers (and sometimes their dads) had said the same exact things. In fact, customers would often start to reminisce about their own parents' funny threats, many of which ended up in this collection.
Many card companies find their voice and they stick with that. As I was operating our small booth at the local’s farmer market, I had to function more like a store and so now I create lots of cards for Mother’s Day, some are snarky, some are sweet, some are sweetly snarky. Whatever your personality, we're pretty sure you'll find the perfect message in our "mom" category. Were my mom’s threats your mom’s threats? If we missed one, let us know in the comments. We just might have your parents' funny saying available to buy the next time you're looking for a card for mom.