Cool Businesses

Lobird cards revive the lost art of letter writing

It’s a strange irony that as even as our world goes digital, people still love to receive hand-written notes. And nothing makes a note more special than a beautiful, personalized card from Lobird, a local stationery company whose products have delighted recipients for over 10 years.

Handpainted designed inspired by nature and more

Laurie Rohrbach creating original designs for Lobird

Started by artist Laurie Rohrbach, Lobird‘s unique cards feature tiny watercolor paintings that she creates by hand, often at her kitchen table. “Images inspire me wherever I go, and I pick up ideas traveling and being in nature,” Laurie said. “When you paint, you see things in a certain way, and I take these ideas and put them into my cards.”

An inherited love of art and correspondence

With a degree in public health, Laurie did not set out to become an artist or small business owner, but the interest in writing notes and creativity is in her genes. “My mom died when I was little, and I grew up up surrounded by her paintings. I also treasured a collection of her handwritten letters that my Dad saved for me.”

Laurie developed her love of watercolors during a year-long trip to Spain with her son and husband. When she returned to Palo Alto, she started doing invitations and cards for friends in her free time. As demand grew organically and rapidly, Laurie decided to form a company to sell to sell her cards online, calling it Lobird (the name comes from her family nickname).

A thriving business expands organically

Today, Lobird offers a range of items including personalized cards, gift tags, calendars and more, and sells directly to consumers as well as through a wholesale website. Lobird products are available in stores across the country and she has licensed images to large retailers including Pottery Barn. “I never planned to start a business and it’s been a big learning curve, but I love it,” Laurie said.

With her son now in college, Laurie and her husband recently relocated to Santa Cruz from Palo Alto, where she’s finding new ideas for Lobird. “I am interested in surface design and may expand eventually into table linens, textiles and even wallpaper,” Laurie said.

Beautiful details make Lobird products special

Customers love Lobird products

A glance at the testimonials on the Lobird website shows why people become converts to the power of a handwritten note once they purchase her stationery.  As one customer said, “I recently received my first order of Lobird note cards, and I am absolutely in love with them!… I find myself looking for excuses to send notes to people now, and will reserve the plain stuff for only the most formal of circumstances. Thank you for brightening my world with your wonderful designs!”

To make a difference write a note, not an email

And while it is tempting to ditch paper for electronic communication, there is also increasing evidence that handwritten notes have their own power and impact. In his now famous commencement speech from 2017, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said, “The last bit of advice I’ll give you is very simple, but I think it could make a big difference in your life. Once a week, you should write a note to someone. Not an email. A note on a piece of paper. It will take you exactly 10 minutes…Put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and send it.”

And wouldn’t these notes be even better on a special card created by a local artist, like those from Lobird? Laurie’s beautiful designs continue to inspire us to get out a pen and drop a note- a real one- in the mailbox as often as we can.

Lobird is named after Laurie’s family nickname 

How to buy Lobird products and learn more

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all photos courtesy of Laurie Rohrbach

 

About the author

Victoria Thorp

Victoria Thorp

Victoria is the founder and editor of Palo Alto Pulse and has lived in Palo Alto since 2007. Victoria's diverse professional background includes working as the editor of GreatSchools.org , as a senior writer for KIPP and Teach for America, and as a radio producer for City Visions on KALW (91.7FM San Francisco). She is a graduate of Leadership Palo Alto and a member of the Palo Alto Partners in Education Advisory Board.

She has a BA in English from Tufts University and Masters in Education and Secondary Teaching Credential in English from UCLA.