Earth-friendly Stationery: The Bower Studio brings awareness to endangered species
The Bower Studio is a minority- and LGBTQ-owned stationery company based in Easthampton, MA. Below, the team shares some details on their business and the importance of supporting local.
Describe your business
The Bower Studio, founded in 2011 by artists Isa Wang and Vincent Frano, specializes in plantable seed cards and illustrated prints. Their creations are sustainably handmade by utilizing environmentally responsible materials. Each item features original artwork by the founders, and a portion of every sale is donated to environmental organizations.
What makes your business unique?
The Bower Studio’s commitment to sustainable business practices goes beyond using environmentally responsible materials; their design choices are consciously made to highlight flora and fauna from North America and beyond. Many products feature imperiled or threatened species, such as in their Animal and Plant Companion Card Set. Presenting each plant and animal with their scientific name is a small step towards increasing their visibility. Beyond illustrative design choices, The Bower Studio’s cards are printed on 100% post-consumer, handmade paper embedded with wildflower seeds. This means greeting card recipients can plant their card instead of tossing it in the trash or recycling, helping to reduce landfill waste. Their cards are also suitable for a wide range of occasions, from holidays and weddings to birthday greetings or sympathy messages.
Why is it important to support businesses like yours?
When you purchase The Bower Studio’s creations, you’re helping them to grow and provide for their local and broader community of humans and non-humans alike. By supporting The Bower Studio, you will be sustaining an Asian-owned and queer-owned and operated business. Their studio is a safe and equitable workplace for marginalized persons and provides a supportive environment for every team member. You’ll also be supporting organizations dedicated to stewarding biodiversity and imperiled species. Ten percent of their sales are donated to ecological non-profits such as The Pollinator Partnership, United Plant Savers, Center for Biological Diversity, and more.
What does your business look like?
While The Bower Studio used to operate a brick-and-mortar gift shop, COVID-19 has shifted their business towards a primarily online presence. Currently, wholesale is their primary focus, supplying cards and gifts to over 700 retail locations throughout the US, Canada, and the UK. The Bower Studio also sells directly to customers via their website and Etsy store. They offer plastic-free shipping for all orders and always use repurposed or reused materials for packaging. The Bower Studio plans to attend local, in-person events again as it becomes safer to do so.
Do you want to say anything to your customers or guests?
We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for our many wonderful customers across the globe. So many of you have reached out to us to share your stories; of Mother’s Day surprises, sympathies for departed friends, wedding wishes, and connecting with old friends. These stories are why we do what we do. We put our hearts into our work and the products we create because we know how much it means to receive something made with care.
How has your business changed or adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had been running a brick-and-mortar gift shop and herbal apothecary. After five years of having a public-facing business, we made the difficult decision to permanently close our doors to the public. While far from ideal, this has allowed us to put far more energy into our handcrafted wares. Since closing our gift shop, we’ve been able to expand our wholesale business, which has also meant we’ve been able to hire more team members. Going forward, we plan to continue focusing on wholesale but would like to participate in local in-person events as it becomes safer to do so.