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Norra Cards in 2020 – Recap

A challenging year

2020 has been a confusing and challenging year. Period. Nevertheless, I really hope that the past 12 months also brought many highlights, new discoveries and beautiful moments to all of you.

nature forest trees fog

For me, the past year offered many highs – graduating from a second Master’s program, getting engaged and buying a house in Sweden. Unavoidably it also offered some lows – saying goodbye to friends moving back to their home countries, trying to keep up with self-isolation, the difficulties of getting employed, missing my family and friends in the Netherlands.

Luckily, one project has kept me happily busy during the last months of 2020 – Norra Cards!

Norra Cards – how it started

The idea for Norra Cards started in September, while my boyfriend and I were travelling through the beautiful landscapes of Northern Sweden. Passing so many (!) trees leads to reflection, I guess. During this trip I decided to take the plunge and start my own business, combining my passions for sustainability, painting postcards and getting out into nature. What better way to combine these passions than to create sustainable postcards inspired by Nordic nature?

On our way from one hiking destination to another I already started contacting potential suppliers. I also brainstormed with my boyfriend about potential names for the business and I thought about the designs to create. Pretty soon I determined that the first collection should also include Christmas cards. Just because that would be a great way to kick-off this project!

But wait – this also meant that I had to develop the idea, start a business and have a ready-to-sell product within…… two months after I arrived back from my hiking trip.

Well, challenge accepted!
shallow focus photo of paint brushes

Keep rolling on…

And from then I embarked on a rollercoaster, dear friends.

  • From contacting the first store without having one design finished…..
  • …..to ordering the first batch of cards on Veezel© paper without seeing a sample beforehand.
  • From creating a webshop from scratch, one day before it is supposed to open…..
  • …..to being temporarily sold out when most people are interested in buying them.
  • From feeling extremely excited and energized…..
  • …..to feeling insecure about the product I designed and developed.

But I made it!

Looking back I feel very satisfied, proud and happy that I decided to hop on this rollercoaster even though it felt like quite an impossible planning at the time. The Christmas cards have been selling better than I could imagine and the feedback I received so far has been heart-warming as well. I am really really looking forward to creating new designs (in fact, I almost finished one already!) and improving and expanding Norra Cards.

I love the cards. Although they are on grass paper it is super easy to see what you’ve written. The drawing of the animal is amazingly filigree and the overall card is of high quality.

– Customer feedback

Thank you

>> A BIG THANKS << to all of you who have supported me and who sent the Norra Cards Christmas collection to their family, friends and colleagues. That really means a lot. I also want to thank Drukkerij Holland BV for their great cooperation and for creating such a beautiful paper product.

For now, I wish everyone a bright, inspiring 2021! And don’t forget to send a sustainable postcard to your beloved ones, every now and then 😉

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From roadside grass to…. Norra card!

Norra cards are sustainable greeting cards printed on Veezel©. Veezel© is paper made from recycled wood fibre and grass fibre through a sustainable and circular process. Curious how that works? Continue reading!

The paper industry has a resource intensive nature. This is why it is important to find more sustainable ways of producing paper. And that is exactly why in 2018, two Dutch companies (“Drukkerij Holland” and “Decaprint”) joined forces. The companies shared the ambition to develop an environment-friendly alternative for paper products. By the end of 2019 Veezel© is a fact!

I stumbled across this paper product when I was searching for a sustainable paper alternative to create sustainable greeting cards. For me, Veezel© stood out because the developers also focus on local sourcing and circular solutions in their strategy to create a sustainable product. In a circular economy, resources are continually used and nothing goes to waste.

The environmental benefits of Veezel© are:

  • Natural waste (the grass on the roadsides) becomes a new resource.
  • Roadside grass absorbs CO2. When this grass would end up in a compost pile, it would release the CO2 with its decay. When the grass is used to produce paper instead, the grass holds on to the CO2.
  • In Veezel©, only a small proportion of virgin paper is needed. Veezel© is mainly made out of recycled paper and roadside grass.
  • The paper is locally produced and processed. The roadside grass and recycled paper come from the Netherlands. The small amount of virgin grass comes from Belgium, its neighbouring country. The paper mill is in the same area as where the roadside grass is mowed. This saves a lot of transport (and CO2 emissions) in the production process!

But sustainable paper from roadside grass, how?!

  • Roadside grass provides an excellent habitat for bees and other insects, as it often includes a variety of flowers. The roadside grass is mowed every Spring and Autumn in the Netherlands. The grass is dried, made into hay bales and prepared for transport.

  • The grass is transported to the paper mill. There it is chopped into grass fibre until it has the right size.

  • The grass fibre is added to the (recycled) paper pulp. The combination goes through a large filter and is made into paper.

  • The quality of the paper is assessed. If the quality meets the standards, the last stages of the process are finalized. The end result? Giant sheets of sustainable paper!

Read more about Veezel© paper on this website (only in Dutch).