MARQUETTE – Sometimes it’s hard to find a greeting card that expresses the perfect sentiment. It can be challenging enough for joyous occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and falling in love, but what if it’s a case of falling out of love and breaking up with someone?

Angela Kipling, a graphic communications major at Northern Michigan University, recently unveiled a line of cards called “Let’s Just Be Friends.” It is produced by Kipling’s company, Graphic Issues, and inspired by her own experience when an ex-boyfriend opted out of their relationship.

“When [the breakup] happened, I’d wished that I had something to send him,” she said. “Not something mean – just something to say how I was feeling.”

Kipling originally designed the cards for the NMU Senior Art Exhibit. Strong encouragement from friends and family convinced her to market them commercially.

The front of one card reads, “When relationships end, forgiveness is something everyone must learn.” The inside continues: “I’m still learning.” Another begins with, “You promised to be true. You promised to be kind. You promised to be faithful. You promised to be mine.” Inside it reads, “You promised to never break my heart, but it’s too late for your promises, now there is only my promise to say good-bye.”

Angela’s sister Nichole’s favorite has “I Love You” splashed all over the front, with the inside saying, “Words don’t mean a thing if you don’t mean them.”

The cards are available at five locations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – in the Ishpeming area and in Kipling’s hometown of Newberry. Amy Hodgins is owner of the Rock Barn Warehouse, one of the stores carrying the “Let’s Just Be Friends” line. She said that people are really responding to them because of their “clever graphic design and very witty, clever lines.”

The first batch of cards was financed with the help of Kurt Kipling, AngelaÂ’s father.

“I put the money up front, but she had to do all the work,” he said. “She had to work with it every step of the way. It’s been a valuable experience for her. It’s good that she had some landmines to work around.”

Angela said that it has been a challenge to start and run her own business. She hopes that after she graduates in December she can devote more time to the cards. Eventually, Kipling said that she may wish to sell her ideas to a larger greeting card company which could mass produce the cards more affordably.

“[Running a business] is not as easy as it sounds,” Kipling said.

The cards have received a lot of support, including a ringing endorsement from a surprising source.

“I think it’s great,” said Nathaniel Little, Kipling’s ex-boyfriend (yes, that one).

Little said he and Kipling still talk a lot and he is very happy for her. He attended the art show with her for the debut of the cards. While Kipling admits that “it was kind of satisfaction to see him read them,” Little said that his initial reaction was, “Wow.” He added, “I thought that if one person feels that way, there must be more people out there who feel the same way.”

"For more information, contact Kipling at akipling@nmu.edu"

Prepared By
Matt Schneider