Being My Own Boss


Words and images by Chelsea Oliver

Everything about June 11, 2003, and the few days following it, is still a vivid memory. The day my grandma, Marion Martin, died is, to this day, surreal to me. And while I don't remember much about the days surrounding the death of my paternal grandma, Patricia Oliver, it doesn't make it any easier that I only got to have her until I was three.

My company is named after and inspired by these two strong and beautiful women. Since I began to really want to create a greeting card line after Gram (Marion) passed away, her name is first and since I thought it best to use a softer name second, I used Claire, which is Patricia's middle name. I like to think that this greeting card line is the perfect blend of heart and sass, which both of these women had in their personalities and which they, quite obviously, passed on to me as well.

While I know they probably would not approve some of the cards I create (swearing and inappropriate jokes aside) I know they would at least be proud that I'm making this little dream of mine come true.

Although I didn't get serious about the thought of creating Marion Claire Stationery until the summer of 2003, I have always created cards for my friends and family. When my parents brought home our first computer, I remember spending hours on it creating cards in a program that I think was called Print Maker. There were a lot of clever (for a seven year old) phrases and Disney characters all over my cards.

Since then, I hope my clever phrases and designs have improved, but my desire to create has never changed. The desire to keep snail mail alive has never let up either. I am the friend who mails a birthday card every year, never misses an opportunity to send a random encouragement note and who spends hours in the stationery aisle of any store. It doesn't take much to make someone's day and sending a card with a little hand-written note is the easiest way to do it. So, I want to help you do that in your life as well.

Like I said, I realized I wanted to make this line a little over a decade ago. After Gram died, there was an outpouring of support and love from our family and friends, but all I wanted was for one person to just tell me the truth. The flowery cards and poems about savoring life weren't cutting it for my angsty teenage heart. I want this line to give it to you straight. Death is hard and frankly, for those of us it leaves behind, it sucks. Missing a loved one is awful, heartbreak in general is awful, and that's where the heart of these cards comes in. However, if you're anything like me or the women who have inspired this company, the sass is in everything else.

Hopefully, my products will bring a smile to your face and your heart. I want them to help you build memories, cherish and celebrate milestones and remember that life is a beautiful mess and we all need each other to make it worth the journey.

BusinessSarah HartleyComment