FACETIME- Card tricks: Wimberger's job pushes the envelope
Louisa Wimberger's Belmont home is stuffed to the studs with scraps of paper that other folks might banish to the rubbish bin. But then, other folks probably have far more mundane jobs. Two years ago, Wimberger left her teaching job at Monticello High School to make her new living: designing customized greeting cards.
She sells the pithily-worded, simply-illustrated greetings in several area shops and on her website, weehah.com. Wimberger also has cards in stores in New England and is working on a couple of Seattle locations. Katie Montgomery of Feast, an upscale food shop on West Main Street, says they've been pretty popular.
"We started with the Halloween cards," says Montgomery, "and we knew it was a hit because one customer said 'I've never even thought to send Halloween cards, but these are so cute that I just need to find an excuse to send them."
Wimberger still remembers how she got hooked. It was Seattle, 1995. "I was in this amazing paper store, and they had all these rubber stamps," she says. "I bought one, and I remember putting it on everything I could think to put it on until I was just sick of that stamp."
Now, Wimberger's shelves are stacked with other stamps as well as with boxes of cardstock in an array of colors, many of which have outlandish names like "Crouton" and "Okra." (Wimberger is quick to point out the flaw in this naming system: croutons vary in color.)
Like a great card, her favorite supplier, the Paper Source, seems to know how to push her buttons. "When they release a new color, it's like Christmas to me. It's just about as exciting as it gets in the cardstock world," she says.
"And it makes other people happy too," she continues. "I'm not alone in this, although I do think I'm a bit of a color freak," she continues. "You can imagine how I am when I'm looking at paint chips."
The road to the finished product is also paved with flowers, markers, and every 11-year-old girl's favorite drug: glitter. "It's often really hard for me to make a card without any."
Wimberger, who turns 38 next week, has maintained her involvement with education thanks to a part-time position at University Montessori School, where she serves as assistant director.
"As much as I wanted to take a leap full-time into the card word, I realized that I would also miss being in a school community," she says. "When you're teaching at a school, it's almost hyper social, and I loved that."
Last one to art class is a crumbly crouton.
PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO