This is a story about how two women developed an original approach to starting a business by including positive cultural components that helped overcome the problem of limited funding. One of these components is the magic of elevating simple trust to the level of real friendship. The second is generous sharing of time, assets, and talents. The third? Daring to bring an enterprise to life by choosing communicating from the heart as an operating principle.
Handcrafted greeting cards and exquisite art works for personal gifts and interior decoration manifest the individual and common vision of Sarah Takahashi and Viktoria Vidali. These women are venturing into a new dimension that deepens the art of greeting and gift giving by providing a distinctive alternative to cookie cutter card and gift clichés. Years ago, handwritten letters required not only time and fine penmanship, but thoughtful content and words of sincere affection; the same held true for gifts, which were mostly fashioned at home. Today, refining greetings and gift giving to an art requires no less. The act of giving should come from the heart and emanate—with memorable visual power and eloquence—recognition and honor of the loved one’s human value.
The New Woman
Hope for a bright future lies in the power and creative endeavors of the New Woman. What defines the New Woman? Her awareness of the need for more love and beauty in our world. New Women are rising with ever greater influence to transform this dark age of fear and insecurity into an era of peace, environmental renewal, and social justice. Therefore, it is not surprising that their businesses often have higher goals than commercial success alone. The New Woman is determined to dispel the illusion that ‘might makes right’ because she knows, and history verifies, that every empire fell when deceit and greed replaced truth and charity.
Sarah, a young New Woman, has shared her passion for design and crafts by giving handmade cards to friends and relatives since childhood, and spontaneously decided: Why not widen the circle?
Sarah states, “One of the reasons I love Greetings With Heart is that it combines the beauty and sweetness of creation with the intensity and good sense of enterprise. This combo comes through in our website as well as in our meetings and how we treat each other. We often have breakfast at Viktoria’s lovely mountain home. We gather around a big round table, gab about what’s going on in our lives, and when the dishes are cleared, exchange ideas and brainstorm. It is a comforting approach because we truly act as a team.
The process of starting ‘Greetings With Heart’ was as relaxed and fun as I imagine starting a business can be. As partners, we have fostered a strong bond with one another by maintaining open lines of communication. Success for us is more than having a profitable business; it’s having fun.”
Viktoria, a New Woman with a camera, gives us her picture. She says, “In my reading I came upon an intriguing and bold statement, which at first glance seemed too good to be true: ‘Do something you love and it will bear fruit.’ Now, there are two essential ingredients to this recipe. The first is to find something you really love to do, and the second is the active verb ‘do,’ which requires a commitment to keep moving forward.
We spent several months designing and refining our collections, securing the best and most reliable suppliers, discussing quality, size, pricing, packaging, shipping, deciding which nonprofits we wanted to support, and in the process grew to appreciate just how many details have to be fine-tuned before a product can be placed on the market and how important it is to project a cohesive business philosophy.
I saw symbolism in all this, even in our amusing mistakes or my silly episode, which was at the time not so funny. One afternoon I crawled in ice plant on a plateau overlooking the beach to take a close-up picture of a wildflower. Within hours, I broke out with a terrible rash. The culprit? Poison oak, lying hidden beneath the ground cover. That went down in GWH history as Viktoria’s Secret Photo-op! Now that we all have the first ingredient, we look forward to testing the recipe to see what kind of delightful fruit we will bear!”
In summary, the essence of what this team of entrepreneurial New Women has learned is that getting your feet wet is all it takes before stepping fully into the water and swimming. Or, as the ancients have said: The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. One thing is certain: courage and team spirit go a long way in making life the grand adventure it was meant to be.
By Viktoria Vidali with Sarah Takahashi of greetingswithheart.com
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