We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Gregoire and Jim Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer Gregoire, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
From the start, we knew we had to make it a priority to design greeting cards that are genuine, sincere, and most importantly – unique. I think the fact that I hand-paint every illustration gives our line a distinct voice that helps us stand out. Our aim is to make people smile with our cards. And we want to be memorable enough that they’ll think of us every time they need a card for someone special. Overall, we strive to be a little different and I think that has helped us along the way.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Art has always played a big role in my life, from childhood to now. I’ve always loved drawing and painting, and am lucky to have had parents who encouraged my interests. After graduating from the undergrad art program at UCLA, I found work in one creative field after another – including an internship at a small textile company and a five year stint as a project manager in high end residential interior design. But then in 2014, I began to play around with the idea of starting a greeting card company and was more than pleasantly surprised when my oldest brother Jim 1.) took me seriously and 2.) decided he’d like to embark on this adventure together.
Getting to where we are today definitely had its challenges. We had to figure things out quickly and learn many things on the spot. Everything we did for our business was our first time doing it – manufacturing greeting cards, working with professional printers and sales reps, building a website… the list goes on! We had to take chances and make mistakes to grow.
But luckily, we had enough momentum from the beginning to give us the push we needed to keep going. We were getting good responses from our initial buyers. We were steadily honing our line, seeing what people liked and didn’t like, and made sure to consider these observations as we created every new release. I’m so grateful for the steady growth we’ve experienced over the years, and we continue to nurture our business in the ways that we know how.
First and foremost, we’re siblings and part of a very tight-knit family (which includes our parents, our middle brother, spouses and kids). We actually like hanging out with each other and have worked well together over the years – we balance each other out! We’ll text and talk about Yeppie Paper all day, then meet up with our parents and kids for family dinner at night. I can’t imagine running this business with anybody else.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
With two young kids at home, I definitely don’t get out as much as I used to. Plus I’m a serious homebody. But these are some of the tried and true places I’ve frequented over the years.
The coastline: Take a drive on the PCH to Malibu. Order the grilled shrimp plate or fish and chips at Malibu Seafood and then drive further up the mountains to take in the views.
Beach day: Drive up to Oxnard State Beach Park, which is a little bit of a trek out of LA but definitely worth it. There are sand dunes to explore and it’s never been crowded every time we’ve gone. When we’re up there, we like to get lunch from Carnitas del Rey – authentic carnitas, tortillas, rice and salsa.
Hiking: We love taking our kids and our dog to two hiking spots – Frog Creek in Palos Verdes and Franklin Canyon, which is north of Beverly Hills. The trails are easy and great for exploring, looking at turtles, ducks, finding cool plants and sitting in the shade for a snack.
Shopping: Abbot Kinney in Venice – Check out Burro, which has been carrying our cards for years, eat lunch at Gjelina and get ice cream at Salt & Straw. The Platform in Culver City – Get coffee at Blue Bottle and eat dinner on the rooftop at Margot.
Downtown Culver City: We love the transformation that the downtown area has gone through. Our favorite shop is Lundeen’s, which picked up our line way early on! Citizen Public Market is a fun food hall that I recently tried with friends and the fried chicken from Go Go Bird did not disappoint.
Koreatown: Definitely need to get pastries and iced coffee from Paris Baguette and then feast at Parks BBQ till you can’t move!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We wouldn’t be here without the help of our sales reps and all the shops that carry our line. We still get giddy thinking about our cards sitting on the shelves of so many amazing stores all across the country.
Also, we like to say that we are a tiny, two-person operation – the literal epitome of a “small business”. However, we can’t function without the tremendous support and help we get from our parents! After retirement, they sold the house we grew up in and moved closer to us (and their grandkids) in Los Angeles. They help us package our cards. Without them, our inventory shelves would be near empty, it would take forever to fulfill and ship out orders, and we would not have any time left to do all the other things required to keep our business alive! Thank you, Mom & Dad!