In Robyn Palmer’s ‘93 experience, simple things can go a long way. It doesn’t take much, she explains, to help make someone’s day. In fact, all it takes is communicating a few, thoughtful words. Telling someone, for example:
“I believe in you.”
While sweet sentiments won’t necessarily make miracles happen, they can make a crucial difference in the life of someone who is struggling, providing just enough encouragement for them to soldier on and confront obstacles. Sometimes, Palmer says, people just need to be reminded that they are loved and important.
And when it’s not enough to share supportive words over the phone or by text, Palmer suggests sending a greeting card.
“When you receive a card instead of an e-mail or e-card, you can hold it, you can see it, and nine times out of ten, you don’t get rid of it as quickly,” says Palmer, who lives in Charlotte.
Last year Palmer created her own business, Robyn Y Palmer Designs, to sell greeting cards, stationery and other products meant to inspire. Her merchandise features her own artwork, all of which is designed to “speak to a woman’s spirit.”
Much of Palmer’s artwork features black women, partly to address a dearth of greeting cards and stationery featuring women of color.
“I am so in love with creating and providing designs celebrating women—especially black women,” says Palmer, who earned an English degree at the College. “I realized it was my calling. I got so frustrated not finding pretty cards and stationery that was representative of all the beautifully amazing women of color I knew.”
And while black clients are indeed grateful that Palmer has filled this niche, Palmer reports that she’s found business success with people of all ages, colors and sexes. Customers respond positively, she says, to the fact that all her products’ artwork is original and begun by hand before being digitized. Palmer often uses pen, pencil or colored markers for her designs, sometimes accenting them with feathers, glitter and other objects.
No matter what the art looks like, its purpose is to help build people’s self-esteem. It’s a mission Palmer takes quite seriously, as evidenced by her participation in the mentoring organization Big Brothers Big Sisters.
And while she’s had successful careers in real estate and marketing since graduating from the College, she’s hopeful that her own design business will continue to blossom. She plans to start selling her products on Etsy soon, and has expanded her product line to include t-shirts, coasters and home décor.
“I do it all,” Palmer says.