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“We Heard Your Ovary Has Cancer!” That’ll Be $2.99 — Plus Tax
It takes a snarky sense of humor to be Karen Kogan Rosenzweig. Lucky for her, wit seems to have been inherited. “We make fun of everything, even when it’s inappropriate,” she said of her family’s propensity to mock adversity. “That’s how we get through hard times. We say it like it is.”
That knack came in handy when, in October 2008, Rosenzweig’s sister, Debbie Lyda, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Throughout that ordeal, Rosenzweig would spend nights in her sister’s hospital room, where the two would construct funny verses, taunting the cancer, and always ending them with the phrase, “That’s all.”
“My sister and I started using ‘That’s all’ after everything we said,” Rosenzweig recalled on her website, thatsallgreetings.com.
“For some reason, under the stress of her situation, we found this to be really funny. An odd thing to laugh about, but funny.”
Rosenzweig told her sister she might just start a greeting card company someday. When she lost her job as an attorney three months later, that’s just what Rosenzweig did. Greeting cards from That’s All LLC, were available in stores two months later.
“When I learned that I had been laid off, I thought, ‘This is a blessing. Now I get to do what I want to do,’” she said.
Rosenzweig, who has an undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and her law degree from the University of Detroit, had been practicing criminal and insurance law for 18 years. She said she never really considered working in anything other than the law until the idea for a home-based business took hold.
She says she knew that a passion for writing wouldn’t be enough to successfully launch a company, however, given her lack of business acumen. She began to educate herself and turned to others for guidance. “I was lucky to have friends and family who wanted me to succeed,” she said.
Rosenzweig got advice from a friend who owned a stationery company in Los Angeles. A cousin, an attorney in Florida, advised her on copyright and trademark law. She also hired a business adviser from California who had been in the greeting card business for 35 years. Her husband helped her with the books.
Armed with new knowledge, a cadre of experts and an investment from her father, she was able to launch her greeting card business, which she runs out of the West Bloomfield home she shares with husband, Marc, and sons, Jacob, 17, and Sammy, 14.
The sardonic greeting cards, consisting of phrases most people might think of but would be hesitant to say, have seemingly made sarcasm socially sweet. A portion of each sale goes to help fight ovarian cancer.
Word of mouth quickly helped land the cards in stores. Andrea Graef, owner of This & That, on East Liberty in Ann Arbor, said she started with one rack of Rosenzweig’s cards and quickly added more.
“I can hear people laughing when they read them. They are a lot of fun,” she said. “I also like that they are made in Michigan, printed locally and give back to the community.”
Mark Klar, owner of Warren Drugs at 14 Mile Road and Middlebelt in Farmington Hills, is another fan. “Hallmark isn’t for everybody,” he says. “Her cards are funny and creative, and they sell. She’s always coming up with new different designs,” said Klar, who puts in a weekly order.
Rosenzweig’s sister is now in remission, and — unlike the cancer — the idea she helped to spark continues to grow. Currently, Rosenzweig is working on revamping the company website and other “new, fun and cool things.” She said she’s thrilled with her success. “I love it every single day. I wouldn’t call it work.”