Halifax Paper Hearts is a greeting card company that believes in fairy tales & snail mail... and they believe in cultivating closeness through the written expression of love, celebration, encouragement & grace. Though perhaps best known for their adorable greeting cards, Halifax Paper Hearts also designs a selection of home decor and gift items (like the sweet lobster pins in our Summer Box!).
We spoke with Owner and Designer, Stefanie MacDonald, to learn more about her heart-led business.
What inspired you to start your business? Our journey began on a trip to Calgary, Alberta to celebrate the wedding of two women we love dearly. In recognition of their very special day, we wanted to give them a simple, quirky, contemporary note card. After visiting a few large department stores (we did not have time to hunt for lovely boutiques that afternoon), we were only able to find cards featuring champagne glasses, wedding cakes, and “bride & groom” illustrations on them. Our first design, “Let’s Grow Old Together” was inspired by this love story; a special card to celebrate the sacred experience of growing old together.
As I followed my business where it wanted to go, my heart nudged me to quit my corporate dream job, hire my besties, and create and share our collections of heart-made goodies with the world.
Tell us about your 4-year-old self My 4-year-old self was very girly, opinionated, and not shy at all. I had a room full of unicorns and rainbows, and had a mind of my own. I refused to wear pants or shorts, and would only wear dresses or skirts because I was convinced that pants were only for boys. I also got very upset when I had to wear my hair in a bun, because I was sure that people would think I was a boy. I was told often that I was “bold”, ”mouthy” and “bossy” by the adults in my life. Looking back, I really don’t think I was rude or obnoxious, but I think I just felt like being honest most of the time, and didn’t want to sit in the corner in ribbons and curls smiling quietly. I didn’t have many inhibitions about sharing what I thought with people at that time. We have many home videos of me as “reporter Stefanie”, reporting live from our living room, and kitchen, and really anywhere else my mom would follow me – narrating our lives moment by moment.
What do you know now, that you wish you knew when you started your business? What I know now, is that there is no rule book, road map, check list, or 10 step guide to success in business, and that you need to learn to trust yourself in order to move forward. My business has pushed me to new levels of vulnerability, self-sacrifice, and personal success – but has also tested my limits in ways that I didn’t think possible. Starting and growing a business truly is a roller coaster of events, emotions and outcomes. The highs are higher than I have ever felt, but the unfortunately, that also means that the lows are lower.
No level of productivity, number of checkmarks on your to-do list, or volume of sales will ever replace the fullness you feel when you’re focused on the things you value most. I’m 3 years into my business now, and I have refocused my energy completely after learning this lesson the hard way. I am now focused on doing work that makes me feel great, but I have also redefined what success means to me. I don’t hustle anymore. I don’t rush. I don’t sacrifice my personal needs for the needs of my business anymore. Success to me now means so much more than a career driven search for external validation. I know now that my health, relationships, how I spend my time, and maintaining a sense of validation from within - all contribute to having a fuller heart, a sense of purpose, and a happier life.