Connie Fledderjohann. photo by River Wilder.
Long time photographer and Mendocino County resident Connie Fledderjohann is wrapping up a second year in the business of creating “Happiness Cards,” a line of simple cards with photos of nature on one side and quotes aimed at cheering you up on the other.
She works from Fort Bragg and has cards available in a couple of stores on the coast but mainly she’s an online business and got help from West Company to figure out the business side of things.
Fledderjohann’s operating assumption is “You can increase your happiness by making others happy.”
She came up with the concept mainly because she was eager to share her photography.
“I love photography and want to share my photos. Mendocino County has many wonderful photographers, lots of them my friends,” she explained. “But the more of us there are trying to sell our work in conventional ways the harder it becomes for each of us to make a living. In addition, I wanted a product that most anyone could afford. I began by giving away little cards with a flower photo on one side and an inspiring quotation on the other. I handed them out to friends and strangers. In return I always got a smile and ‘thank you’ and sometimes tears or a hug. And I always came away feeling happier. When my friends asked for their own cards to give away it became a business.”
And Fledderjohann says selling the cards makes her happy too.
“I treasure the many comments I’ve received from customers who relate the positive experiences they’ve had giving out Happiness Cards. I estimate that there are over 60,000 cards in circulation right now adding to the happiness of both giver and receiver.”
An example of the quotes on her cards is: “‘To play the wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable.’ – Beethoven.” This one comes on the back of a photo of a red-edged white begonia.
Fledderjohann works alone – and loves living so close to the Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg where she finds inspiration all the time – but gets help filling orders from a friend and neighbor when things are extra busy.
She takes inspiration from nature but also from role models “like Georgia O’Keeffe who kept creating late into life.” Why? “I’m almost 85,” she says.
Find Fledderjohann’s cards at www.happinesscards.net