‘Send love and plant change’ is the ethos behind 1 Tree Cards, which has just taken to the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter in readiness for launching with five collections at PG Live next month (June 5 and 6).
Only a few days into its crowdfunding pitch (via an engaging video hosted on YouTube) and the publisher, which is championing inclusivity as well as environmental and social wellbeing through its cards, was almost a third of the way to its target.
Becky Kijama, who has co-founded the company with her wife Michiko, is a natural narrator to the well made video, highlighting the benefits of sending cards in this technological world as well as 1 Tree Cards’ USPs.
As Becky says on the video (watch below), greeting cards “are full of kind words that give us warm and fuzzy feelings that make us feel special, which is wonderful. But what if our words could do more than that?” before going on to explain how for each card purchased, 1 Tree Cards will plant a tree via the Eden Reforestation Project, helping not only the environment, but societies overseas in Nepal, Madacasgar, Haiti and Ethiopia. Each card, printed using 100% recycled board, printed using vegetable-based ink, also includes ‘a seed token’ (a paper disk containing plant seeds), which can be planted to help boost the bee population.
“When you buy a 1 Tree Card you are not only connecting with someone you know; you are connecting with the planet as a whole and turning your kind words into positive action,” says Becky eloquently on the video. “We’re taking an everyday product, the humble greeting card and using it as a vehicle for change,” she adds.
Part of the publisher’s remit is to also celebrate diversity in society, to promote a more positive and progressive world.
The prompt for the publisher’s Same Love collection was from personal experience when Becky and Michiko found it difficult to find cards that truly represent the LGBT community. “One of the comments that comes up regularly is that the same sex women’s cards seem to always feature very feminine women, such as women in dresses with long hair which is not always representative of our community,” says Becky. “Another comment we got a lot was that lots of LGBT+ cards seem to be very text-oriented with the only LGBT+ options being Mr&Mr and Mrs&Mrs. Apart from the lack of options, pronouns can be a controversial issue. While there are lots of married women who do opt for Mrs, there are also lots, myself and my wife included, who stay as Ms and won’t choose the ‘married’ version.”
Becky also highlighted how there is a still a paucity of card designs that caters for people of colour. She feels that one way of having better representation on societal diversity on the card racks would be for publishers to work more closely with the communities to whom they are trying to appeal with their cards.
“We believe it would really move things forward if publishers who hire artists, hired members of the LGBT+ community,” suggests Becky. “My wife and I are both mixed race and feel that people of colour are also under-represented, with most cards featuring only white characters. It would be great if publishers sought advice from people within certain communities to see how they can be more inclusive when designing cards.”