Ashley Campbell is a stickler for thank you notes.
“When I was growing up, if a relative sent a gift and didn’t receive a written thank you, everyone in the family heard about it,” laughs Ashley.
She watched her perfectionist daughter struggle with the cute kids’ stationery Ashley had on hand at home. Dear Grandma and Grandpa ran off the page with the traditional note cards. “Kids in kindergarten and early primary grades typically have larger handwriting,” says Ashley. They need more space, a wider page.
Beginning writers, or printers since cursive isn’t taught in many schools nowadays, also need elementary lines. Remember those from first-grade lessons? The writing paper with a solid line at the top and bottom of the writing row and a dotted line between. Using these coral and blue lines as guides, primary students learn to write their spelling words.
After years of folding and trimming her kids’ artwork and attaching it to lined paper, Ashley knew exactly what stationery for little folks should look like.
But it didn’t exist.
She searched bookstores, Amazon, Etsy. Ashley found plenty of cards with bunnies and airplanes and flowers. But no notepaper with bigger pages or the elementary guidelines to make sitting down and writing those notes an easier task for kids.
“I want to make my own stationery, and here’s what I need,” Ashley said to a local printer. Besides the lines and width, she wanted USA-made paper sized to mail with a single stamp.
A year later, Coral and Blue (remember the colors of the lines?) launched.
Her patented design is perfect for small hands to dash off a note and drawing to grandparents and aunts and uncles. Ashley’s cards feature silhouettes of boys and girls at desks with pops of color on top – gum ball machines, sailboats, tulips, goldfish bowls, American flags. She sketches the ideas, and a graphic designer brings them to life for her. “I think the classic silhouettes work well for any ethnicity or skin color,” she says.
“Kids today are given a lot and given it quickly,” says the upstate New York mom and snowboard instructor. When Ashley sits down with her young son and daughter and discusses what they’re thankful for and why they’re appreciative, she believes it makes a difference. “Even if they write the note in three minutes, I think the gratitude sinks in a little more when we talk about it first,” she says.
Andrea Hussong, a Psychology professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, agrees. In her Raising Grateful Children study, Andrea’s team researched how parents instill gratitude in children via a four-part process.
It’s helpful if mom or dad encourages kids to 1) NOTICE who gave them the birthday gift—the one they unwrapped in the middle of party mayhem. Help them 2) THINK about why they received the present. Did the young boy open a pool toy because the giver knew he loved to swim? How does the child 3) FEEL about the gift? Is she excited to take the scooter to the park or wear the fuzzy pink sweater this winter?
And then, what does the child want to 4) DO to show how they feel about their new present?
With her kid-friendly stationery, Ashley’s made the fourth step easy for parents. After her kids write thank you notes, they are proud of their creation. And Ashley notices “they complain a bit less—for a few days anyway.”
Tags: Ashley Campbell, business, children's stationery, Coral and Blue, gratitude, happiness
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