2020 taught us the importance of speaking words of love and appreciation to the people we hold dear—both verbally and in prose. It taught us that tomorrow isn't promised and forced us to reprioritize. It was during that year, June, to be exact, that Savannah Stephens decided that it was time to fulfill her lifelong dream of launching her business, Kindred Paper Co., a stationary company that encourages the "exchange of joy, empathy, appreciation, friendship, and love" through greeting cards.

The season that the self-taught graphic designer and confessed hoarder of greeting cards decided to launch her business couldn't have been more inconvenient. On top of the worsening pandemic, Stephens admits she was going through a series of changes in her personal life.

"I was actually going through a separation in my marriage, learning how to be a single mom overnight," the entrepreneur tells EBONY. "I was homeschooling, teaching my 2-year-old, and trying to get her ready for potty training." Nonetheless, she persisted. "It had been something that I had been putting off for so long," Stephens shares, noting that she first began dabbling in the field by designing birthday invitations for her daughters and eventually, family and friends. "I decided that I couldn't put it off any longer. It's never going to be the perfect time to begin living the life you've always wanted to live," she adds.

Despite the timing being off in some ways, it was ideal in others. Learning to be together while apart during the height of the pandemic created a need for thoughtful brands like Kindred. "I was like this is the perfect time when we actually need to be doing more of reaching out to each other and connecting, checking on each other, and making sure that our loved ones know that we love them," says Stephens. 

"Sometimes the card is the only earmark you have for a particular event," explains Stephens. "I'm still able to pull out greeting cards that my grandparents gave me and they're no longer here, just seeing their handwriting is moving."

However, as Black women, we don't see much of ourselves reflected in the greeting card aisles of local supermarkets and drug stores. "There's a lack of representation and diversity," says Stephens, "and the ones from the bigger brands that tried to represent for the culture, they don't actually say things like how I talk to my family friends."

When conceptualizing cards, the mom of two explains that it's important to represent the full spectrum of Black women and not just one personality type.

"My cards are targeted towards Black women and using that special language that we all share; but at the same time, they are not just speaking for one type of Black women," she clarifies. "I wanted to created something to represent something for the dynamic, multi-faceted people that we are. We're not monoliths."

To learn more about Kindred Paper Co., visit ourkindredpaper.com