When Creighton University alumna Emily Belden's friend got married in San Francisco, she wanted to congratulate him the old-school way: with a greeting card.
The only problem? Her friend was gay. She couldn't find a greeting card that was geared toward same-sex couples or even one that fit the couple's personalities.
“I was like, forget it, I'm just going to make my own,” she said.
One card turned into 10. And those 10 turned into an online business. Within the first week, 500 cards were sold.
Now a month old, the eCommerce site, which she named Happy Happy Gay Gay, has several cards available for sale with gay milestone themes: coming out, getting married, having a child. Belden, a former advertising copywriter-turned-author who now lives in Chicago, writes and designs the cards.
Customers purchase a card for $5 online and are prompted to print it or send it as an e-card to the recipient. That allows customers to get as creative as they want with the card, Belden said, because they can print the cards on high quality paper or simply send them in an email.
Belden donates roughly $1 from each card to The Trevor Project, a non-profit that provides crisis and suicide prevention for young gay and transgender people.
Belden, 27, graduated from Creighton in 2008 and lived in Omaha for two years post-graduation working for local advertising agencies.
She hopes eventually to get her cards into stores in neighborhoods that are home to many gay people, like the Boystown neighborhood in Chicago.
“That was my only next step,” Belden said. “Then I realized there's really no limit to it.”
At some point she said, maybe “this will be my full-time thing.”
“I just figured it shouldn't be that hard. I shouldn't have to drive 45 minutes to some obscure boutique to get a card. I'm (probably) not the only one who ... has this problem.”