Sarah Pattison: The Happy Envelope

Sarah Pattison: The Happy Envelope


Meet Sarah Pattison

“Choose Happy” - a mantra created by Owner + Creative Director, Sarah Pattison - sums up the experience you will have when working with The Happy Envelope, a stationery design company.
Even in the midst of having to temporarily shutter her doors due to COVID19, Sarah is living out this mantra every day as she continues to spread joy and hopefulness in the most creative and intimate of ways. She candidly shared her journey of navigating the “new normal” as a mother and business owner of a non-essential business - although we believe that correspondence companies are indeed very essential these days! - and her goodwill is leaving us filled with a lot more hope!
Read on to learn how she's making the world better through her business.
Sarah was 22-years old when she was laid off from her graphic design position. Having always loved the art of letter writing and the impact of receiving correspondence on a thoughtfully designed piece of paper, she decided that there was no time better to chase her dream of designing stationery! The Happy Envelope was established 17 years ago in 2003 and now offers not only the most beautiful stationery pieces but unique gifts that can be purchased online as well as calligraphy workshops hosted in her 3,000 square foot letterpress studio and stationery storefront in Knoxville, TN. The Happy Envelope works tirelessly to create beautiful products that spread joy and their team embodies the spirit of creativity, positivity, and joy-sharing!
The DLT: What is the Happy Envelope’s Mission?
Sarah Pattison: The Happy Envelope’s mission is to offer peace of mind and a guiding hand through all of life’s occasions. Our job is to not only design and create amazing paper pieces, but to walk alongside our clients as they announce the exciting moments of their lives to their family and favorite people. Many of our clients begin a relationship with us through the creation of custom stationery and then move into wedding invitations, the design of their children’s birth announcements and we watch their family grow through holiday cards. We love that our job allows us to develop real relationships with our clients and share life’s celebrations with them.
The DLT: How have you been able to pivot what you do in this season of COVID to help your brides during this strange and stressful time?
Sarah Pattison: The beginning of the global pause unfortunately coincided with the beginning of wedding season, leaving many brides with no choice other than to alter the date of their wedding. This is a strange and stressful season, and in the midst of the chaos we hope to minimize the stress by offering all of our wedding clients a complimentary ‘change of date’ card, custom designed to pair with their original invitation suite.
The DLT: In a time when genuine human connection seems to be more important than ever, are you seeing more people turn back to the art of letter writing?
Sarah Pattison: Absolutely! Writing a note is an art and a courtesy that creates a lasting human connection. In today’s digital and ‘quick fix’ world, almost nothing means more than knowing that someone took the time to write a letter to you. During this time of social distancing, my girls and I have begun to write so many more letters because there is simply more time to do so and there is nothing quite like the excitement of receiving a letter in return! But let’s be honest - we are still texting our friends daily so sometimes that leaves little new information to write in an actual letter so I have created Quarantine Care Cards. These care cards are set up as a postcard and personalized with a photo of your choosing to include yourself in solitude, with your family, your pet, or really whatever you choose to share along with a fun quip for those quick and happy hellos!
The DLT: As a small business owner and a mother of 3 girls, how have you navigated the mandate to temporarily close your doors to The Happy Envelope and stay home?
Sarah Pattison: I would equate the stages of coming to terms with how Covid19 has formed our new reality to the five stages of depression - grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I find myself in many various stages dependent on the many facets of my life. Some have been easier than others, allowing me to jump right ahead to acceptance. For example, while I was initially in shock and denial that my kids would be out of school all spring, I quickly moved to acceptance and can even say that I’m embracing online school. This time has allowed us to create our own family rhythm: school in the morning and play time in the afternoon - which often includes bike rides, long walks and drawing with chalk on the driveway. I also appreciate an empty calendar, allowing our family to leisurely have dinner together. But some change has required more of a grieving process. Just a month ago we were a busy hive of activity with jobs, employees and customers. Our studio is now eerily quiet while we wait in anxious anticipation for what is next. However, we have not been idle in our waiting! We recently hosted an online gathering called, “Postponed + Prepared: A Live Guide to Your 2020 Wedding, Rescheduled - as a way to connect with our clients and provide free + valuable education to couples now facing this major pivot in their wedding plans. Amidst all of the change, we have been wildly inspired as we have created new ways to intimately connect with our clients.
The DLT: What is your superpower?
Sarah Pattison: Good conversation. Our culture is thirsty for meaningful relationships and I have found that people simply want to know and to be known by others in an authentic way. I love engaging with people and getting to know their story by asking real questions in a non-threatening way while bypassing a lot of the meaningless chit-chat.
The DLT: What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten?
Sarah Pattison: Don’t say yes to everybody. Understand who your market is and go after them. You can’t be everything to everybody. My secret to finding the “good life” has actually been a long process of learning to let go. When your hands are grasped tightly closed, trying to hold on to what you have, it’s impossible to receive new things. Holding your life, goals, dreams, family, business, home, and relationships loosely actually enables those things to be what they are meant to be. You enjoy them more.
The DLT: How do you structure your days? How do you start your days? When does your work day end?
Sarah Pattison: The overall structure of my days have changed quite a bit since the implementation of our “new normal” due to the outbreak of COVID19 but I have worked hard to keep the practice of solitude in my life. I began practicing the art of quiet solitude many years ago. As a mother of three girls - ages 13, 11 & 2 - our household is filled to the brim with activity so it is imperative that I intentionally carve out a quiet space and time each morning before my family wakes. This practice helps me to approach my day in a more mindful way, with eyes open to see what I need to see. I also value the gift of sleep and because I am an early riser, I go to bed at a reasonable hour every night.
The DLT: Who is your role model and why?
Sarah Pattison: It is hard for me to highlight only one of my role models when there are so many! Some ladies and their key virtues that I really admire are: Sarah Blakely of Spanx: Never gave up as a female entrepreneur! Mother Theresa: Poured herself out for others. Marie Curie - winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics: Broke stereotypes and used her mind.
The DLT: Now more than ever, home is so important. How do you define home?
Sarah Pattison: I define home by family, feeling cozy while throwing a bit of chaos in the mix! I am a mother of three girls - two of whom are in middle school and the youngest who is two years old. Even with school and extra curricular activities screeching to a halt due to the global pause - my girls keep our household busy, wild and wonderful! I find my respite at home when toys are put away, the house is tidied and I am snuggled up in my cozy vintage chair by the fire with my people.
The DLT: If you could choose any neighborhood in NYC to call your home, where would it be and why?
Sarah Pattison: I have had a long love affair with New York City. I am drawn to old neighborhoods with classic, antique architecture full of character, so the West Village is dreamy to me! I don’t love open concept: I want to feel snuggled in with my neighbors and within the rooms in my house.
The DLT: What is your must-have for your dream apartment and why?
Sarah Pattison: I’d love a master bedroom with both space and character! I want to close my door at night, read a good book in bed, while feeling fully relaxed and at peace.
Products produced by The Happy Envelope can be purchased on their website.
This series is published by The Jane Advisory.
A long time women's rights activist, Danielle has created "Where She Lives" in order to give everyone access to the authentic journeys and struggles of entrepreneurs that identify as female. Home is often a sanctuary, and we have investigated what our fellow female entrepreneur needs to make their home a salvation from their daily work. We hope this blog both inspires you and brings up new ways of seeing the world and your own journey. To contact us to help with your own home process, or for any other reason, please reach out to us here.

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