We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Walker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I never had plans to become an entrepreneur. 52 days after our wedding, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I spent months working in a local stationery shop to help cover medical bills (my career had to be put on hold to create space to care for him), and I developed a love for greeting cards. We were sent dozens of beautiful support cards from friends and family, but they all felt quite heavy and serious. My husband and I always use laughter as “medicine” during tough times, and the idea of a lighter, even funny, cancer support card was appealing. I couldn’t find any on the market and knew I had something I could offer the cancer community through this niche. I bounced ideas off my husband, went to the University of Google to learn how to start an online shop, and taught myself to design and produce cards. It was a steep learning curve, but ultimately provided a creative outlet, but also a revenue stream that supports my family.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I love that I serve an audience in a way they haven’t been previously served. I believe that humor can be a wonderful gateway to real connection. It can be difficult to find the words to send to someone going through cancer, and often the fear of saying the wrong thing leads to saying nothing at all. Humor is an approachable starting point, and once you’ve made the initial connection, it is easier to stay connected moving forward. My favorite thing about my cards is that they provide the words when you don’t know what to say and are also crafted by someone who has been there. I know what phrases feel right and what feels off. I believe my cards are a success because of their uniqueness, approachability, and authentic heart.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Astoria, NY. Our neighborhood is known for its extreme diversity which lends itself to unlimited dining varieties! I would pick a different food genre every night: Vietnamese followed by a beer at one of our many local breweries, Greek followed by wine in the park, etc. We would eat our way through the borough!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family! I didn’t have the funds to hire advisors or mentors at the beginning, so I pulled together all of the knowledge of those already in my life. My sister is a financial analyst and she helped me with bookkeeping. My aunt is an accountant and she helped me prepare for taxes. My dad is a lawyer and he helped me set my business up the right way. My mom is a very creative person in general and she was a constant sounding board for my ideas.