“At 23 and 29, we got married expecting to live happily ever after, but life took an unexpected turn and we split up. I (Jocelyn) followed my work to Vancouver, San Francisco and eventually New York, while Roland remained in Toronto. We always stayed connected but nothing ever quite lined up properly so we settled for occasional check-ins to see how the other was doing in life. Other marriages happened, children were born, and life moved on.”
Jocelyn Kirouac, NSS exhibitor and co-owner of Ümlaut Brooklyn (pictured with husband and co-owner, Roland Kirouac)
Like so many of our fellow stationery designers, we both trained and worked in other fields before starting our company, Ümlaut Brooklyn. Jocelyn studied Theatre before having a successful career as a creative and writer in advertising and television. In his early years, Roland was a professional dancer and choreographer, before moving on to working in retail design, visual merchandising and as a product consultant and buyer in the greeting card industry.
However, our back-story is even better.
We first met in our hometown of Toronto, Canada when we were 14 and 19 years old. At 23 and 29, we got married expecting to live happily ever after, but life took an unexpected turn and we split up. I (Jocelyn) followed my work to Vancouver, San Francisco and eventually New York, while Roland remained in Toronto. We always stayed connected but nothing ever quite lined up properly so we settled for occasional check-ins to see how the other was doing in life. Other marriages happened, children were born, and life moved on.
Now imagine yourself 20 something years in the future and life offering you the ultimate do-over. In 2013 the impossible happened and 26 years after we first married, we got remarried and settled in to life in Brooklyn NY.
One day at Brooklyn ARTery, a gift shop that Jocelyn is co-owner of, we had an inspired moment. The ARTery sells masses of greeting cards and we felt there was a look we wanted that we knew would sell, but couldn’t find. So we decided it was time we started our own line of cards. With Roland’s 10-year background in the greeting card industry to guide us, we began that year with a line of 20 cards. Our line has now grown to over 175 designs as well as bottle bags and magnets. We work together every day and never stop thanking our lucky stars.
When we sent out our first wholesale marketing blast to a huge list of potential customers our first order came from a store in…. Toronto! It felt as if we’d come full circle.
From our start in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn we now wholesale to stores all across the US and Canada. We love to visit our customers whenever we can, it will never stop being a thrill to see our products in their stores, and to meet the amazing retailers who carry our work.
And that’s how Umlaut Brooklyn Greeting Cards was born – designed and printed in Brooklyn NY. Retro & Vintage inspired. Outrageously Funny, Hip & Bold. Sometimes irreverent, sometimes naughty, always nice.
Ümlaut Brooklyn’s tag line: “Aiding and abetting real communication” is also our mantra. Nothing makes our day like finding an incredible image and turning it into something that will become a message of love, silliness, sentiment, or an insult between two people.
This year we’ve been developing new lines of journals and gift bags that we will debut at NSS 2017. Come and see us – we have cards for every occasion, and a few that you might not have thought of yet.
Oh, and by the way: an umlaut is those 2 little dots above a vowel that make it a long vowel. Named by Jacob Grimm, of the Brothers Grimm. For some reason we’ve always been a little öbsessed by them.