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Meet Annika Sarin and Jennifer Ramella of Me You Paper in Brookline

Today we’d like to introduce you to Annika Sarin and Jennifer Ramella.

Annika and Jennifer, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It started 25 years ago when we were roommates at Boston University. We connected on many levels, including a love for art, design, and writing. We each kept journals, and felt comfortable sharing their contents with each other early into our friendship. Throughout college and the years after, we would send each other cards and letters whenever we weren’t in the same city or country.

After BU, Annika moved to New York City for art school and worked as a graphic designer for many years before returning home to Boston to raise her family. Jen worked in digital, print, and e-commerce marketing in Boston across various industries including travel, entertainment, and fashion.

Back in the same city we met up at a cafe in Brookline. With two small children, Annika was looking for a creative outlet with meaning and flexibility. We decided to merge our talents and loves to start a stationery business. It would be something close to our hearts that would reflect our stories and the things that we care about.

Me You Paper believes in the power of representation and inclusion. Our designs aspire to use empathy, not generalizations, to illuminate the bond that connects us all. We hope to inspire and encourage people to connect with one another, and themselves, through writing. To fill the space between by sending love from Me to You.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We have encountered our share of obstacles big and small. Whether it’s figuring out shipping costs, who will host our email server, or finding envelopes that close properly, it is a constant learning process. We have had to educate ourselves on all the materials we use and find ways to use the most eco-friendly products while giving customers the level of quality that is important to us. Sometimes it seems like just when we think we have it figured out, something goes wrong, or we discover something isn’t working as well as we had thought. For example, we had no idea how complicated eco-friendly packaging would be. Once our first round of cards, stationery, and journals were all printed we had to figure out the best way to present and protect our products. After several weeks of research trying to find bio-degradable plastic, we learned that despite claims, it doesn’t really exist to the extent that we had hoped for as of yet. So we had to re-think the best packaging for our customers, future stores, and the environment. We were just a few weeks from launch but we all put our time and energy into getting it done and made it work in the nick of time. Finding partners and suppliers that we trust has really helped.

Me You Paper – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Me You Paper is a collection of greeting cards, journals, stationery, and gifts that are created to inspire and encourage people to connect with one another, and themselves, through writing. We believe in the power of representation and aspire to create inclusive representation in our greeting cards by using empathy and not generalizations. There is a clear lack of mainstream greeting cards depicting interracial couples and families, and we hope to change this. By getting to the essence of life’s moments in our designs, we expose the common emotions and feelings we all experience at these times. Every detail in our illustrations is thoughtful and deliberate; from varying skin tones amongst couples and family members, to flowers in a young boy’s hair. We want to be mindful of the manner in which so many of us actually live and experience life together.

We also strive to source local, and to print, package, and ship our products in the most earth-friendly ways we can.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Our families and friends have been incredibly supportive of Me You Paper, but they know and love us. When we sell our products at Markets like SoWa and The Central Flea we get to see and hear stranger’s reactions to our designs.

We did our first market this past May at The Central Flea Market. We were selling our new Mother’s Day cards and a woman came over to check them out. Her face lit up and she said, “You have cards with interracial families! I love this card. I am going to tell all my friends, they are all in interracial families too.” The card she had gotten so excited about is a drawing based on a picture of Annika’s cousin and his mother surrounded by a field of daisies near their family home in Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh. She bought the card and later connected with us about purchasing an Art Print of the same card. The fact that an illustration of a personal family moment touched her in the way we had hoped when creating it was a very proud moment.

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