This month’s Meet the Maker is a beloved card making organization, Good Paper. As a Fair Trade, high-quality card making organization, they provide employment opportunities in disadvantaged communities. Check out our interview with them below to learn more about their mission, their card making techniques, and how they are changing the lives of so many.
What is the mission of Good Paper?
Our mission is to restore the human spirit. We promote work opportunities in disadvantaged communities where the market has failed to create sustainable employment for our people.
How did Good Paper get started?
In 2008, our founder, Jimmy Quach, was looking for ways to create economic opportunity for disadvantaged communities. These individuals had gotten through elementary school at best, but Jimmy realized that they were quite skilled at making intricate handicrafts. He looked for a handicraft that would use this skill and connect them to the U.S. market, something that would provide a steady stream of employment and income. Greeting cards turned out to be a perfect fit! Americans love greeting cards and deeply appreciate artisan hand-craftsmanship.
How has this company changed the lives of women around the world?
A stable, fair-trade wage offered by Good Paper enabled our cardmakers to leave immense hardship and provided a way to feed their families, send their children to school, and save for the future. By learning a craft and creating high-quality cards, cardmakers have rediscovered their strength and dignity. They proudly sign the back of every card they create.
What goes into the card making process?
Each card starts with handmade paper. Recycled paper and all-natural plant fiber are pulped, hand-pulled as individual sheets of paper, and then dried. We have over thirty different paper colors that can go into our handcrafted cards. From there, the cardmakers assemble and sign all their cards.
What is the inspiration behind Good Paper’s card designs?
We have designers in the U.S. who design our cards. Our process begins with quirky and punny brainstorming sessions at our San Francisco main office. We invite our funny friends and brainstorm topics and good (and bad) puns over lunch. We call them “yes” sessions because no joke is too bad to throw out…just yet. From there, designers select which concepts they want to turn into cards and have a blast doing so. We find inspiration from popular culture, puns from everyday conversations and jokes, people and relationships, other illustrators and designers, and collaborating with our Good Paper team.
How many countries are Good Paper cards sold in?
How many cardmakers work for Good Paper?
We have a total of 161 cardmakers in the Philippines and Rwanda. The cardmakers have developed a remarkable community, grounded in strong friendships with fellow cardmakers. We have seen many of our cardmakers reach important milestones such as marriage, graduation, and having children.
Is everything done by hand?
Each sheet of paper goes through a hand-made papermaking process. Recycled paper and plant fiber are pulped, put into molds, then dried. Each card is individually hand-assembled by cutting and gluing all the pieces onto the cards.
How does your social mission set you apart?
We know that people love shopping for and discovering great greeting cards, so we work hard to deliver that. In addition, we provide an opportunity with every card purchased to create a much-needed job and forward good in this world!
To view the full collection of Good Paper cards at Paper Source, click here.