Growing up in Harrisburg, Asha Banks would make her own greeting cards for friends’ and family’s birthdays and holidays.
She looked up and down the aisles of cards at stores, but she always struggled to find ones that represented her and the Black community.
Even as large greeting card companies rolled out card collections targeting diverse demographics, Banks said that she and her friends didn’t feel accurately represented.
“I wasn’t finding anything that resonated with me,” she said. “I was inspired to create CheerNotes initially out of frustration.”
Banks started CheerNotes in December 2019. Her company focuses on creating greeting cards reflective of communities that are often overlooked by mainstream corporations.
On the website, shoppers can find cards specifically catered to African American, Latinx, South Asian and LGBTQ+ communities.
It’s all about representation, Banks said.
She recalled one person reaching out because their friend’s sobriety anniversary came and went, and they hadn’t found a card with the words to express their congratulations.
“Those are the moments we are trying to stop from happening,” she said.
In response, CheerNotes will debut their “Sober Living” cards.
Banks said that she is constantly talking with members of different ethnic and cultural communities to see what they would like their cards to say.
“We are co-creating with their specific community,” she said.
CheerNotes’ makes some of its own cards, but also sources many of them from 22 artists across the country.
But besides the artists and the occasional intern, Banks is primarily a one-woman show.
She hasn’t always been an entrepreneur, but her creative side has always been just below the surface.
Before founding CheerNotes, Banks worked as a chemical engineer at a manufacturing plant. Her love for business and creating was confined to her free time.
She decided to get her master’s degree in entrepreneurship and marketing and soon after, started CheerNotes.
While starting a company just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit hasn’t been easy, Banks considers herself lucky that CheerNotes is doing well and sales are good. She said it especially helped that the company was already exclusively online.
As the holiday season is in full swing, CheerNotes has Christmas and Hanukkah cards for sale and Banks assures, there’s something for everyone to identify with.
“People can count on our cards being made with their community in mind,” she said.
For more information or to shop from CheerNotes, visit https://cheernotes.com/.
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