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How Life Unfolds

The Art of Designing (and Writing) Greeting Cards With Hello!Lucky

A Q&A With Hello!Lucky Co-founders, Eunice and Sabrina Moyle
Hello!Lucky is a letterpress greeting card brand that has been producing creative, fun and quirky designs since 2013. We sat down with co-founders and sisters Eunice & Sabrina Moyle to get their thoughts on what it’s like working in the greeting card industry and how you can make the next card you give someone all the more meaningful.  

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourselves and how Hello!Lucky came to be.

We’re two sisters, Eunice and Sabrina Moyle. We founded Hello!Lucky in 2003 as a way to combine our love for great design and letterpress printing with our desire to bring creativity and personal connection to as broad an audience as possible. Well-designed, beautifully crafted, light-hearted cards seemed like the perfect way to do that. We grew up in Asia as the only daughters of a U.S. Foreign Service Officer. At the time, many of the countries we lived in (Taiwan, Malaysia, Libya, China) were very much developing nations so we witnessed a huge range of human experiences and cultural and aesthetic influences. In many ways, the Hello!Lucky brand and sensibility is a reflection of our deep understanding of human nature, an Asian affinity for luck, our own silly sense of humor (our dad is the master of the pun, the faux pas, and the bad joke — it still baffles us that he was ever a diplomat!), and a desire to bring joy and peace to the world, one card at a time.  

Q: What made you decide to get into the greeting card industry?

In some ways, we stumbled into it.  Eunice took a letterpress printing class at the San Francisco Center for the Book and fell in love with the medium. There is something incredibly beautiful, authentic and tactile about letterpress — there is no substitute that we know of in the world of printing.  At the same time, she was thankfully laid off from her job as a web designer and saw cards as an inexpensive way to get into the world of print. In the meantime, Sabrina had just graduated from Stanford Business School and saw an opportunity to help her amazingly talented sister fulfill her potential, and jumped in to help write a business plan. Sabrina has a love for creativity and human development, so greeting cards were a perfect fit.  

Q: A lot of people struggle with what exactly to write to someone in a card, especially thank you or sympathy cards. Do you have any general tips for writing a heartfelt card/note?

Start by picturing the person and remembering what you admire, love, or appreciate about them. Don’t try to think of something clever and take enough time for reflection to go beyond superficial platitudes. Almost every card is an opportunity to express thanks so it helps to answer the question — “I am grateful to have this person in my life because…” That can remind you of fun experiences you’ve had together, shared jokes, etc. The go with your heart, and go with the flow.  

Q: Are there fun, unconventional reasons for people to send cards (outside of birthdays, Christmas, etc.)? What are some of your favorites?

Divorce congratulations cards are much needed - we all can relate to the fact that it’s such a relief to be out of a relationship that isn’t working, no matter who initiated the parting. It helps to show solidarity with how much the process of divorce sucks! We also love empathy cards like the fabulous ones Emily McDowell created for cancer survivors that get to the heart of what someone with cancer really wants to hear (and doesn’t want to hear!) with humor, wit and grace. Great cards are all about elevating the moment, whether it’s a time of celebration or a time of loss.  

Q: Since you began Hello!Lucky, how has the greeting card industry changed or evolved? What do you think will change in the next five (or even ten) years in the industry?

We started Hello!Lucky in 2003, just as social media was being born. At the time, we were worried that cards would disappear. What we’ve found is the opposite: people have more networks and connections now than ever, and so have a strong need to send cards in order to deepen and affirm their connections, particularly on special occasions. In the next five years, I think we’ll see the greeting card industry grow and strengthen even more. We’re seeing strong movement among millennials and our generation to go back to the written word in response to the saturation of technology and its tendency to bring out superficial interactions, social anxiety, and pretension. At the same time, more and more people are waking up to the need to fulfill their human potential through self-realization and a balance of Eastern and Western thought in health and wellness. All of this is leading to a more accurate understanding of the meaning of life: that it is not about material possessions, status, celebrity, race, class, and the like. It is about authentic relationships, compassion, and love and about each of us discovering and answering our own calling. Greeting cards are part of this in that they provide a practice to deepen and strengthen relationships, to share love and give thanks, and they represent a tangible, shared experience between two people.  

Q: What are some of the greatest challenges in your business? Greatest rewards?

The greatest challenge has to be designing holiday and Christmas cards! We literally have to start designing them right after the holidays, just as we’re burning out on all the holly jolly Christmas jingles! The greatest rewards are seeing a design and concept come together, and getting positive affirmation from our customers on social media and via our sales.  

Q: Describe the overall process of designing a greeting card for your brand. What is a “typical” day like for you?

A typical design day involves brainstorming and sketching concepts, and then throwing about 80% of them away as Eunice works through turning them into finished card designs! Luckily she works quickly and is able to make sense of Sabrina’s sketches! Alex Bronstad, who we call the third member of our tripod, joins us in concepting and art direction throughout the process. She possesses a killer sense of humor and eye for trend, plus she’s a decade younger than us so helps us keep in touch with our audience!  Although we’re both young at heart, so it’s not too tough at the end of the day to stay on top of trends and memes!  

Q: E-cards and other forms of digital correspondence have surpassed traditional handwritten communication. Why do you think it’s important for people to still send handwritten correspondence and cards?

A letter or card is tangible evidence of a shared experience and relationship. It has a deeper meaning signified by the fact that the person took the time to slow down and write. It also bears the personal touch of the sender. As a practice, letter-writing is more creative and meditative than sending an e-card. It’s an opportunity for reflection, contemplation and expression that is much needed in such a fast-paced world.