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  • Writer's pictureBeth

Pretty Good Cards: Origins

Welcome to Pretty Good Cards! Every superhero has an origin story. Turns out, every random chick from the Midwest who starts her own line of unique greeting cards does, too. Here’s mine.

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Adjunct Professors

I started Pretty Good Cards in the summer of 2020. As my old econ professor at the University of Illinois always said, “The best time to start a small business is during a pandemic when you’re stuck at home with your four-year-old 24/7.”

I’m kidding. She never said that. Or maybe she did. I don’t know; I dropped Econ 101 before the mid-term. No thanks.

"And that's why you need to stop laughing every time I say 'trickle-down.'"

My background is in writing, editing and education. I spent the bulk of my professional life teaching college English and tutoring students who struggle with written communication; developmental writing is my jam.

When my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I moved in together, I realized that I was either planning lessons or grading student essays 24/7 — and I was doing it for less than minimum wage!

And that, kids, is why you should never become an adjunct.

Something had to give, and that’s when I gave up teaching and turned to freelance writing and editing. Shortly thereafter, my boyfriend and I got married in a ceremony officiated by my then-11-year-old stepson. Then we left Chicago for Northwest Indiana, buying a house that turned out to be an undercover fixer-upper. Then we had a kid, and I decided to stay home with him full-time, wrapping part-time writing and editing projects around full-time parenting. When the pandemic started, I became a Pre-K home-school teacher, too.

It was, and is, a lot.

Wives, Don’t Let Your Husbands Pick Out Sympathy Cards

Holed up at home during the pandemic, if I needed to send well wishes for a birthday or a graduation, or send condolences for a loss, I had three options:

  1. Turn to Etsy and online boutiques for unique greeting cards.

  2. Trust my husband to pick out the appropriate card that conveyed just the right sentiment using just the right level of irreverence all wrapped up in just the right look.

  3. Kick it old-school with some bad-ass carrier pigeons.

Nine times out of ten, I chose buying funny greeting cards online — turns out pigeons can be divas — often spending way too much time trying to find a card that matched what I wanted to say and how. And after that ninth time I thought, “What if I try designing my own unique cards?”

"Dammit, Marcus, I told you never to make eye contact with me.

Pretty Good Cards Is Born

After trial and error and research — all of which continues to this day — I had a few designs ready to go. I put them up on Etsy. And then I waited. And I waited. And I — well, you get it.

And then a week or two later, I had my first sale!

Things kind of became a blur after that. Pretty Good Cards has grown faster than I could ever imagine, and I’m learning new things every damn day. I’m making mistakes. I’m tracking down resources. I’m growing even more grateful for kind people.

Most importantly — to me anyway — I’ve giving myself a reason to draw again. Self-care, suckers! (Real talk: I hate that word.) I grew up doing two things: playing basketball and drawing. While I probably can’t drive to your friend’s house and teach them how to nail a pair of free throws, I may have a funny greeting card or two that you can send to brighten their day, say what you can’t or make them ask “Who the hell makes cards with Rupert from Survivor on them?!”

I do! And stickers, too!

If you’re interested in purchasing some unique greeting cards, you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve purchased some Pretty Good Cards in the past, thank you. Whether retail or wholesale, a portion of all Pretty Good Cards’ sales is donated to the Maggie Daley Center for Women’s Cancer Care in honor of my late mom, Pam, a.k.a. the original PGC. She passed away just before Christmas 2020, a few months into Pretty Good Cards' existence. Being able to draw, surprise people with a laugh, and pay tribute to her every day is an incredible gift.

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