At only 12 years old, Grace Bonita is making sure all of her T’s are crossed and her I’s are dotted as the owner of a just-launched, hand-lettered notecard business she named “Lettered by Grace.” That’s because perfectly designed greeting cards are now her own calling card.
Grace has designed several greeting cards embellished with calligraphy and neat lettering combined with whimsical motifs and illustrations. Each card sells for $5, and with the help of her mom, Melly Bonita, she has set up a website and Facebook page to take orders. She debuted her line at Wilton’s Street Fair and Sidewalk Sale on Saturday.
This all grew out of her interest and passion for art and lettering. She even taught herself how to write in script in 2nd grade.
“I’ve always loved handwriting. I’ve always wanted my handwriting to be good, I didn’t like messy handwriting. In writing [at school], my stories would always be in all different, crazy fonts, which was really interesting to me,” Grace says.
She has done her homework to perfect her technique.
“I would always go on the Internet or YouTube and search up ‘how to draw…a face, how to draw…an animal,’ all different things. One day I found this thing called hand-lettering. I started watching videos about how to do it and I began to do it at home. It’s really fun, so I decided I should make cards for my friends like that, for their birthday, for Valentine’s Day, for Christmas. They were like, ‘Grace you should sell these, they’re really good!'”
Encouraged, she found even more inspiration on a vacation earlier this summer in Cape Cod where she saw artists selling their artwork at Hyannis Harbor Shanties.
“I would watch them work and I decided that this was something I would really want to do. It sparked a fire in me–I decided I wanted to share my art with the world too,” Grace explains.
The cards she has created have whimsical designs and inspiring messages to say, ‘Happy Birthday!’ or ‘Thank You,’ and they are all meant to inspire others.
“My hope is that my customers will buy my cards and be inspired to write a happy note to a friend. I love receiving mail and so will they. As my favorite card says, ‘Throw Kindness Around Like it’s Confetti!'”
One card Grace designed has an even higher purpose, however. She has designed a card meant to benefit her Middlebrook Middle School classmate Issy Kwei. Along with all of Wilton, Grace learned recently that Issy had emergency surgery to remove a tumor on her spine and will undergo months of rehabilitation and recovery–and incur several hundred thousands of dollars of medical costs.
“I wanted to do something and raise money, because I thought, ‘If I was Issy, I would want to know other people were supporting me through this, that I wasn’t alone through this crazy process.’ It’s obviously life-changing. So I came up with the idea to make a certain card for Issy. I knew that she loved cats so I knew cats had to be a part of the card I was going to design. All of the proceeds from this card would go to Issy. At first I was like, ‘Could $5 really make a difference in what they’re paying?’ Then I thought it absolutely could, because if enough people buy it, then $5 could really add up. And even if it’s a just a little bit of money, it can definitely help the Kwei family. So it was designed just for her,” Grace says.
She put a lot of thought into making it just right for Issy, calling it ‘Feline Purrfect’ to reflect Issy’s love of cats with an adorable play on words. And not only will the proceeds benefit the Kwei family, but Grace hopes people who buy the card will send it to Issy to keep her friend’s spirits high.
“If we could just flood her hospital room with all these different cards it will really, really help her, and it may even help her recover even faster,” Grace says.
To order cards from Lettered by Grace, visit her website. To send cards or notes to Issy Kwei, her address is:
Isabella Kwei, Pediatric
c/o Hospital for Special Care
2150 Corbin Ave.
New Britain, CT 06053