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Washington Voices

For Spokane Valley designer, it’s in the cards

Thu., Sept. 10, 2009

It’s a bit ironic that Tanya Goodall Smith connected with Russ Haan on Twitter – the social media network that lets users send short electronic messages about what they are doing out into the world. After all, Smith makes greeting cards by hand for her Spokane Valley home-based business Wimzie Prints, and Haan was in the middle of launching a campaign to get people to hand-write cards to one another.

“I just found him on Twitter. He promotes greeting cards and that’s how I found out about his mission,” said Smith, who sells her greeting cards mostly from the Web site

Hann is the man behind last week’s Hope is in the Cards campaign, which aimed to get people to write a letter or send a card instead of just shooting off an e-mail or a Tweet.

“His idea is that sending all these little messages of hope would literally lift the nation’s spirits,” said Smith. “With all the depression and financial crisis that’s going on, he wanted people to send a little bit of hope instead.”

Smith said her Web site had a 500 percent increase in traffic last week, but she’s not certain how much her sales increased. She even gave away a free stamp with every card shoppers picked up.

“Our goal is to gladden hearts and inspire smiles, so Hope is in the Cards seemed like a great match,” Smith said.

Haan writes on the Hope is in the Cards Web site, that the premise behind his idea is very simple: “What if every American sent just one letter or card of support to another American? What would happen? What would it do to our collective national spirit if the word HOPE was written on the back of every envelope?”

The impact of a campaign like that is obviously difficult to measure.

“You know you go get your mail and what is in it? Bills and junk mail and advertising,” Smith said. “It’s so nice when there’s a card in there. I love it when I get a card, it makes my day.”

Smith is a graphic designer who studied at L.A.’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise, also known as the place where the TV show Project Runway is filmed. Her cards are bright and simple, featuring short messages, and drawings of ladybugs, flowers and fashion – like a high heeled pump.

“I’ve always loved making greeting cards, even when I was very little,” Smith said, adding that she once won a greeting card competition at her dad’s place of work. “That was so exciting. I wasn’t very old, but my drawing went on all the cards and greetings that went out that holiday season.”

So she was hooked. Wimzie Prints makes environmentally friendly cards, using recycled paper and printing and processing businesses that are local.

“I really try to do this in a very responsible way,” said Smith. “Using other local businesses makes someone else smile here, and that’s what I’m all about.”

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