Greetings from East Sac
Kim Farrens of Ruby Dot Designs isn’t trying to push the stationery envelope, she just really wants to bring back the handwritten letter.
Writer John Donne once said, "More than kisses, letters mingle souls." Those are words that Kim Farrens, creator of Ruby Dot Designs, lives by. With a true passion for the written word and knack for design, the East Sacramentan started her stationery company in the spring of 2010 after friends and family encouraged her to turn her hobby into a small business. Today, Ruby Dot Designs’ clean and contemporary aesthetic is making sending mail more fun, with its colorful cruiser bike cards being one of the most popular styles. (The “Keep Calm and Drink Wine” cards are quite the crowd-pleasers, too.)
A true epistolary advocate, Farrens is such a big fan of sending notes, she’s even been known to mail her husband a “hello” note—to their own house. “Pen to paper is permanent,” she says. “It means so much more that you’ve taken the time to put your thoughts down than just sending an email.” Plus, she adds, “It not only makes the person who receives it feel good, it also makes the person who sends it feel good, too.”
Here are even more noteworthy things about Kim Farrens and Ruby Dot Designs.
There’s more behind the Ruby Dot name than you might think.
Yes, Farren’s oldest daughter’s name is Ruby, and her mother was a longtime lover and collector of the gems. But she actually chose the name based on the precious stone’s symbolism. “I discovered that in some cultures, when you give rubies to someone, you give love and friendship to them. I thought that was really great, so I came up with the concept of putting a symbolic ruby on the back of every card,” says Farren. Hence the name Ruby Dot—and the ruby-hued dot you find integrated in the brand’s logo. “When you give a card to someone, they get that ruby, too.” Precious, right?
Custom orders are her specialty.
“Personalization is big right now,” Farrens says. “Everyone wants to see their names on things.” That’s why nearly 90 percent of the orders she receives are custom requests. Of course, simple monograms are always popular, but she also designs personalized cards with signature graphics—like a “flying V” guitar for a music-loving restaurateur, a girly skateboard for an 11-year-old tomboy, and a Chihuahua for a dog lover. Her clients have also ordered custom packs of cards to pass out as bridal shower favors and boxed sets personalized for their kids’ teachers.
She does it all by hand at home.
When she’s busy—which is becoming more often than not—Farrens can clock 40 hours a week in her studio (formerly known as the dining room) designing and assembling orders. She cuts her own cardstock, trims each piece by hand to ensure everything is uniform and flush, and creases every card individually with a boning knife. It’s certainly time-intensive, but she has a process that works. In fact, last holiday season, she produced over 1,800 cards. That’s a feat worth writing home about.