Kendall Embrescia of Squirt & Skootch
Meet Kendall Embrescia, founder of Squirt & Skootch, a funky, loving and hip social expressions company that writes, illustrates, designs, produces and distributes environmentally friendly and fun paper greeting cards. The company’s signature line of cards combines simple hand-drawn reproductions of original artwork with funny, edgy and provocative verse. Squirt & Skootch employs three people and one contractor.
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
It makes perfect sense that I would wind up starting a greeting card company. For most of my life, people have been awed, embarrassed, humored, comforted, confused, enlightened or blind-sided by the things that regularly come from my pie hole.
While I’ve always had my own language, I got my start in communications as an undergrad double-majoring in communications and radio, television and film with double minors in marketing and journalism. While spanking the academic side of the collegiate world, I hosted a radio show, wrote radio spots for Clear Channel
and studied with the renowned improvisational theatre conservatory, Second City
After graduating from University of Michigan
, I headed to Hollywood where I worked in on some well-respected projects in television and film.
I studied Spanish in Buenos Aires, performing arts in Italy and traveled some of the developed and to-be-developed world. Among my travels and residence in other countries, one thing that repeatedly revealed itself to me was the universal thread of messages -- exchanging them by mail or with a note -- these special, funny and joyful expressions of sentiment shared and communicated with others in many different parts of the world.
Upon my arrival back to the states, I moved back to Cleveland and began Squirt & Skootch in 2010. Since the inception of Squirt & Skootch, I have grown to equally love the business side of things as much as the creative.
Does anyone ever get offended by the messages in your cards?
I've heard of only a couple stories where people may have been offended. I think it's the surprise of the card that probably offended these people because their expectation may have been different from the cover art on the outside of the card. The cover art doesn't express what the message might be inside the card and that can offset someone’s expectation or shock them. It's all in good fun, from a place of love. Our cards are edgy, sassy, naughty, nice, sweet and fun -- all with good intention. Not raunchy, offensive or mean.
How do you come up with the ideas for your cards?
We are creatively turned on by people! They inspire us all the time -- strangers, situations, relationships, friends and family. Life is full of crazy times. There's lots of love, fun, embarrassment, hardships and celebration. The opportunity to express and share that with someone you care for deeply, or perhaps only enjoy them on a part-time basis or are just getting acquainted with is sublime and prime.
How is Squirt & Skootch an eco-friendly company?
We care about our planet and the quality of life for her inhabitants. With this in mind, we purposefully create and produce greeting cards following an environmentally friendly process, minimizing our carbon footprint. The Squirt and Skootch line is printed and produced using solar-powered energy sources, recycled paper materials and earth-pleasing inks. Let’s face it, receiving a card in the mail, or finding one on your pillow, desk or car seat, is just plain exciting. You don’t get that same sense of excitement when you click open an email. It's just not there. From an environmental standpoint, producing paper greeting cards doesn’t have to be a wasteful activity.
What is your favorite or best-selling card and why?
There are a number of cards from the collection that tie for best-seller. Yet, one that consistently holds a high performance is a birthday card. On the cover is a party hat and on the inside it reads, "It's hard to believe you're still alive considering all the stupid sh*t you do. Happy birthday wild thing."
I think this resonates with everyone. We've all got a wild child and the spectrum for where that wildness is ginormous. That said, we all can think of someone to give that card to. While a two-year-old is not the first receiver you'd think of, we've gotten letters from people saying that's just one of the people they've given this card to. It's all about love, friendship and wavelength.
Interview by Karin Connelly