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Peterborough stationery brand creates new cards for pandemic

  • Dear Hancock, a stationery brand in Peterborough, has created new greeting cards to reflect the current times of the coronavirus pandemic, including ‘A Horrible Novel’. Courtesy photo

  • Dear Hancock, a stationery brand in Peterborough, has created new greeting cards to reflect the current times of the coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy photo—

  • ‘Wake Me When it’s Over’ greeting card by Dear Hancock, a stationery brand in Peterborough. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/15/2020 4:19:16 PM

In almost an instant, Wendy Mason and Earnest Merritt saw their stationery brand come to a halt.

A lot of their business centered around wholesale to 4,000 stores around the world, but with almost all of their retailers closing their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic and essential business declarations, the Dear Hancock owners saw such a drop in their business they had to furlough all six of their employees. One shipment, canceled in mid transit, included a sale of 8,000 cards.

“It was just such a shock to see that happen,” Mason said. “We were totally panicked.” And that wasn’t the only order.

But faced with an unforeseen and unpredictable challenge, the two illustrators with masters degrees in fine arts, decided to use their creative talents and the pandemic to create a new line of greeting cards – one that brings a little light hearted humor to such an uncertain time.

It started with “A Horrible Novel”, featuring a bunny wearing latex gloves reading a novel with a cover picture of the coronavirus and text that reads “This Novel is Horrible but We’ll get Through it”.

Then there was “Hang in There” with the bunny, known as the Hancock Bunny, hanging in macrame, and “Wake Me when it’s Over”. “Rooting for You” and “Home Hare Cuts” showcase the effects of people not being able to go to the salon.

“Right now, people are needing to connect and cards are really good for that,” Mason said.

But the newest creation that Mason likes the best was the sign turned card that simply says “We Appreciate You” with three bunnies dressed as FedEx, UPS and US Postal Service workers. As a business owner that depends on shipping and has seen first hand how those workers are doing their best to continue on, it was an important message to deliver.

“There are a lot of people to thank that are making this all happen,” Mason said.

When Mason put it on Instagram, she captioned it in part “a distanced way to say thank you as we don’t know what we would do without them.”

It’s hard not to have the typical interactions with the people they see all the time, so Mason thought it would be a nice way to let them all know how much they’re appreciated.

And in line with thinking of others, Mason and Merritt sent more than 100 cards to the residents of Scott-Farrar to let them know there are people out there that care.

So far, Mason said the cards have been a big seller and they have seen some of the retailers come back – at least those have been pivoting to online sales.

“Everyone is kind of scrambling,” Mason said. “And everyone is just trying to make it work.”

Mason said the cards have gotten a good reaction thus far with a lot of interest and she thinks it’s because people need to see the current state of the world in a different light.

“A little humor helps,” Mason said. “People need relief from what’s going on.”

She sees almost a responsibility to document – in Dear Hancock’s own way – what is going on around them.

“What we’re good at is making things,” Mason said.

The cards are illustrated by Mason and Merritt using a combination of pencil sketches and gouache painting.

They’ve been in business for 10 years, the first of nine of which were spent in Los Angeles, before moving to Peterborough about a year ago. Mason grew up in the area, mostly in Francestown and Antrim, and graduated from the Dublin School. When they thought about moving, New Hampshire was high in the list.

And Mason is optimistic.

“I think we can turn it around,” she said. “We just need to be really focused.”

For more information or to purchase one of the cards, visit www.dearhancock.com or www.instagram.com/dearhancock.

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