Inspiration can come from the least expected places.
A greeting card company in D.C. is tapping a unique source for its workforce: people who have experienced homelessness. The online business not only gives these people an outlet to spread hopeful messages, but it also provides a potential source of income.
Reed Sandridge formed Second Story Cards in 2016, Southwest News Service (SWNS) reports. He says he was inspired to help homeless people not just recover, but also to connect with others.
“At their core, people who are experiencing homelessness are thirsty for connection with people and that’s what we do with greeting cards,” he told the news outlet. “We found it’s extremely healing and rewarding for them to be able to give back and help others.”
The card creators receive 15% of the sale price from each card sold, giving them a direct stake in the success of their work. The cards include messages ranging from silly — “I love you more than cheese” — to heartfelt and bold, like the one with a message reading “You will get through this s---.”
Another card simply shows a bear wanting a hug, which was inspired by its creator’s experiences on the street, where they say they just wanted a hug.
“What I need is people who are able to be open and honest about their feelings as they pertain to life because that’s what cards are," Sandridge said. "When the pandemic hit it closed down virtually all of that, and we basically lost 90% of our sales overnight.”
“It’s beautiful to see that transformation from the relationship being based solely on them getting the money to them having pride in what they do,” he explained. “The best thing you could ever see is to take a cardmaker into a store where their card is on the shelf, and the delight they have.”