I have been referring to you as my Palmy Forever Friends, because I will never forget the impact of your support and generosity. I planned to have a major 1-year anniversary celebration, but ended up in an extended period of reflection and gratitude. In August, I took a much-needed trip to gather Palmy pictures, explore potential gift shops for my greetings, and to enjoy time with family. As I was soaking in the sun, I did not know I would end up on another tropical trip the following month in September, for a family emergency. In mid-September I trekked home to Jamaica (in this midst of a pandemic and hurricane season) to plan and participate in memorials for my beloved Granddad. As I descended the ramp in Norman Manley airport, I was reminded of the spirit I wanted to evoke through my greeting cards. Armed with meticulously packed hand luggage, I also did not realize how powerful it would be to share my greeting cards with my Grandmother.
As mentioned in my "About" page, I was inspired to create this brand by my Grandmother Elaine who always sent cards to her 15+ children and grandchildren that were scattered across the African Diaspora. While people awaited toys and gadgets, every January I looked forward to receiving a hand-picked card from my Grandmother. Though I mainly visited Jamaica for the loss of her husband of 59+ years, and my Granddad, I extended my trip to celebrate her birthday. As I confirmed my trip I realized that despite all of the cards she sent me, I have never had the opportunity to celebrate her birthday in person. I truly wished I could have treated her to more, and that her birthday was not surrounded by such loss, but it was really special to hand her a card that featured my art, and was crafted from my love. I gave my Grandmother the "Happy Purrrrthday" Greeting that was inspired by my friend's gentle cat. I also gave her a selection of greetings, that showed the progression in my design skills over the past year. I also gifted Palmy Greetings to my other relatives in the house - Father's Day cards for my Uncles; Mother's Day card for my intelligent Aunt; and the newly designed "You Brightened My Day" card for my cousin whose favorite color is blue! One of the most touching cards was given to my grandmother's home health aide, a mother of 10, who embraced me - and the family - as her own bringing care, laughs, and nourishment during a time when we were all coming to understand the weight of my Granddad's loss. I did not travel to Jamaica to promote my business, but my experience sharing the greetings truly fulfilled my goal of honoring my Grandmother's love and care as expressed through cards, fellowship, and creativity.
I also believe that the Jamaica trip was an excellent opportunity for me to reflect on all of the amazing people I connected with, and events I participated in with Palmy Greetings. With your (my PFFs) support, it was a year of business that paired challenges with empowering realizations.
On the site I sold 20+ different greeting card designs and featured small Black and LGBTQ+ -owned businesses' products as Palmy Gifts. These businesses included Southern Elegance and Double Denim Dude. I also fulfilled orders for business owners of ShopTierOne , CharShe Beauty Supply, and Shop Love at First Try to name a few. I also designed 4 custom cards for Business (Aces Braces), Holiday, Celebratory, and even Bridal occasions and fulfilled a variety of personalized orders.
Despite the social distancing measures Palmy Greetings was a vendor at a variety of festivals and artisan craft events in the Ypsilanti and Detroit metro-area. As "outside" becomes safer, Palmy Greetings looks forward to expanding so international customers can enjoy these in-person, and online events. At the turn of 2021, I started a virtual activity to bring people together to create art. These events, called Palmy Paint 'n See's were hosted for birthdays, and even my Smith College Reunion. On one of the events, I hosted 40+ people, and shipped 20+ Palmy Packages with paint supplies and party favors for attendees. You can learn more about these creative events and opportunities by looking for the Palmy Paint 'n See and Custom Greetings products in the Palmy Gifts section of the store.
During the 2020 Holiday season and in Summer 2021, I also faced my fears of cyber bullies, and participated in Instagram Live interviews. I felt comforted by the networks that hosted these events: SipShopEat and TrapxArt respectively because they have introduced me to some of my favorite, Black-owned brands. I carry my membership in these supportive networks into the next year, hoping that it brings me closer to creatives, and stationary-lovers that can benefit from sending a Palmy Greeting. Conversely, I also hoped that when I took a chance, I was introducing some of my supporters like you to artist collectives and entrepreneurs who use their gifts to make the world a better place.
Of all the things I achieved this year, I am most honored that you shared my art. Palmy Greetings feature my original art works, and even some of my own phrases in the greeting card design. They are professionally printed by a woman-owned company, but when you receive a Palmy Package and send it, ultimately you are circulating my art (!). I dreamed of sharing my art, but I never saw myself preparing for gallery visits - I always wanted my art to be shared to help people. I have shared my art in the form of a mural in the past (and hopefully the future), but there is nothing like connecting with someone who had a story about how my art/Palmy Greetings were used to express and sometimes celebrate, a relationship. According to your stories you shared these greetings with long-lost relatives, sufferers of grief, high-achieving grandchildren, patient partners, and other people you consider your loved ones. As someone who has enjoyed seeing my early art masterpieces displayed on my family's refrigerators personally, it was a major step selling this art commercially. Driven by the strain of the pandemic, and ultimately my gratitude for the numerous people who have sent me greetings, I would have been happy to know that Palmy Greetings brought a smile to someone.
As you know, PG received a much more generous response. I would like to end this post, and virtual celebration, with a sincere "Thank You" for supporting my art and incorporating Palmy Greetings into your traditions. As we enter a new year of business, with a brand new site - thanks to some fabulous Palmy Pictures from Florida and Jamaica - I hope you continue to "Keep it PG".