When Daniel Malen and his husband Aaron got eight identical greeting cards on their wedding day, they weren’t entirely surprised.
The double-bowtie greeting card pictured below has long been a go-to for guests heading to same-sex weddings. That’s because there are very limited alternatives out there as far as LGBTQ-inclusive greeting cards are concerned, with the likes of Hallmark and Carlton Cards only offering a handful of options.
As co-founder of Toronto’s first cold-pressed juice company, Malen knows a thing or two about spotting an opportunity. He promptly set about launching the Mark It Proud line of LGBTQ-inclusive greeting cards, enlisting the services of artist friend Mark Uhre.
The project is currently in the midst of a strong Kickstarter campaign that will wind down on July 3, the day of Toronto’s annual Pride Parade.
The collection doesn’t merely comprise wedding cards, but also includes cards that help you celebrate a birthday, Valentine’s Day, open relationship anniversary and coming out of the closet.
Each card features Uhre’s gorgeous illustrations on the cover, with plenty of real estate on the inside for you to jot down a personal message. There are currently 13 cards, although more will be added in the coming months.
Malen views the greeting card as a simple but powerful tool in the mission to promote tolerance and acceptance of LGBTQ people and lifestyles. “One of the founding principles of Mark It Proud is inclusion, and we genuinely would like to include as many people and event types as possible,” he says.
The cards will be available for sale on the Mark It Proud website, with 10% of proceeds going to various LGBTQ-focused charities. But the dream is to eventually see the cards on sale at the Hallmarks and Indigos of this world.
“We love the idea of young people being able to walk down a greeting card aisle and see cards for them,” Malen says. “We truly believe that visibility is the driving force behind acceptance of the LGBTQ community.”
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