Wednesday, May 26, 2010

InspireNotes Lends a Daily Boost

Michele Abrams wants to inject a little positivity into your day. That’s the idea behind her company InspireNotes, an online retailer specializing in notepads, pens and journals adorned with bite-sized, original quotables covering a variety of subjects, from life and love to energy, health and career. A few weeks back, I profiled Michele’s philanthropic music event production company, Cjazz. As with Cjazz, InspireNotes donates a sizable chunk of its proceeds to Seattle’s renowned Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. That gifting reflects the ethos of self-empowerment behind InspireNotes, as well as the circumstances that shaped it.

The business grew out of Michele’s own need for inspiration during a particularly challenging period in her life. As she recalls, “Two years ago, I worked in a very high-profile marketing position for one of the world’s biggest accounting firms, but I was unable to really be my authentic self in that environment. I knew that I wanted to try something new in my career and leverage my experience to launch my own business.” Having recently lost her mother to cancer, she found her life shadowed by grief. “Through the grieving process, I found myself putting positive messaging everywhere around my home, in my office, placing them strategically where I could see them throughout the day. It physically made me feel better, and I thought, you know, maybe I can make a difference for others.”

That revelation led her to reflect on the variety of arenas for potential motivation. “We all go through different things in our lifetime. Loss is certainly one, but you know, people struggle with health and wellness, with dieting, love, career changes. So I began to write themes that resonate with where people are at in their lives, and so InpireNotes was born.”

With the concept in place, Michele turned her attention to the nuts and bolts of the products. “I began researching all the things you need to know about manufacturing. I decided to make notepads, pens and journals our flagship products because they are the most frequently used in the home and at the office.”

Through the product development phase, Michele fine-tuned the principles and practices of her new business. “It took me about a year to research how to manufacture a notepad. I had to interview multiple printers. I really wanted to support our local community, so I kept my manufacturing local.” Living among the redwoods of Washington state, she had long valued environmentally friendly business practices. “I wanted to use sustainable materials for my printing practices, so I was very particular about choosing the right printing partner. InspireNotes prints onto forest-certified recycled papers with soy-based inks. We believe in being as kind to the earth as we can. And we are happy to spend a little more to ensure that our footprint is as soft as it can be.”

Since launching in late 2008, InspireNotes has grown into a joyful, thriving business. The company sells its products directly through their own website, and also partners with leading online retailer Amazon, selling and shipping InspireNotes products.

Additionally, InspireNotes designs custom products for business customers. Explains Abrams, “For instance, one of our clients is the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. We use their beautiful logo and brand as artwork, and they choose the InspireNotes content that exudes their property’s unique flair or that highlights their mission and values, and we print that content onto their notepads.”

But the heart of the product remains its positive messaging. “One of things that I feel very privileged to do is remind people to turn their thoughts to the positive. We hear it all the time from our customers that, wow, you made such a difference in my day and moved me in the right direction. For me, that makes it all worthwhile.”

Check out InspreNotes on Facebook!

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