One local entrepreneur proves there’s still heart in crafting the perfect note

Wellington resident Janeen Capizola has always been a creative person. A dancer her entire life, she studied and taught ballet,  modern, and jazz, and thanks to her dad, crafted latch hooks and crocheted during breaks from high school and college. In the 80s, she collected stationery and bought paper by the pound in different colors, along with funky pencils, which she never sharpened or used.

After obtaining a degree in political science and marrying her high school sweetheart, she moved to Buffalo, New York, and started a family. Although Janeen crafted with her two young daughters, it wasn’t until she got pregnant with her third child that she got back into paper crafting. “I thought, ‘I’ve been in this crafting mood; let me make her birth announcements,” she says. That’s when Janeen discovered her love for rubber stamping and coloring. “Everything was in pastels because I wasn’t sure if I was having a boy or a girl. I loved making the envelopes and the announcements,” she says.

When her youngest child was about two, Janeen got back into paper crafting and loaded up on various supplies. However, she had no time to pursue it with three little kids and multiple moves to La Paz, Bolivia; Wellington, Florida; Milan, Italy; and finally, back to Wellington. Fast forward to 2018, when her youngest was getting ready to graduate high school. “I thought, ‘I want to make her graduation cards,’” Janeen explains. “I started looking online for inspiration and realized how much things had changed. The techniques and tools had improved so much; it made it easy to do good work.”

Although she perceived herself as not knowing what she was doing, the graduation card came out nice, inspiring Janeen to make thank you cards for her daughter’s high school teachers. Proud of her work, she posted it on Facebook, where people who knew her from various realms of life did not know about her love of papercrafts. At first, they couldn’t believe she had made the cards, but when Janeen assured them she did, they encouraged her to sell them. “I thought, ‘Really? Who does cards anymore? I don’t even send greeting cards; I do emails and texts,” she recalls.

Encouraged by the reaction of her Facebook friends, Janeen ordered a bunch of products and new tools and taught herself how to make the cards she liked—the more serious, elegant, and beautiful cards.

Next, she built an Etsy store. “Etsy makes it so easy for the small business owner of a hobby business, which is what this is,” Janeen says. “You start with the basic cards, learn how to photograph them using your iPhone, and then upload them. I thought I would put about ten cards up there to get started. One of the cards I had made was a military card, part of my Hero Collection. That was the first card that sold on my Etsy store, which made me think my niche would be with the military cards. I like to thank the military, and I love to make cards for veterans. I used to make Christmas cards to give to active-duty soldiers on the battlefield.”

Janeen made more military cards. Then, since her husband is in law enforcement, she created a police card, followed by a firefighter card. “Little by little, I grew this into what I call the Hero Collection. My Christmas cards are popular, but I really love making the Hero Collection. When you read some of the reviews people publish, it moves you to tears.” Janeen recalls people buying military cards when 13 soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. “Somebody bought one of my cards to send to one of the families and wrote a review about the beauty of the card and why she bought it. I was bawling. I shared it with my family, and they were bawling. If I could sum up why I do this, it’s the fact that someone would buy a card for a person they don’t know, just to tell them, ‘I am thinking of you.’ ‘I am here with you.’ People always write me little notes to tell me how much they love the police card or order cards for the paramedics, police, and 911 operators who saved their lives. I love hearing it.”

Inspired by her customers, Janeen plans to focus more on 911 cards. “I get a lot of requests for 911 operators. People like to send them cards after mass casualty events. So, I want to create a line of them. I used to send my Hero Firefighter cards to Cal Fire during wildfire season. One time, a customer in Arizona ordered 450 handmade police cards to thank the police officers in her little county.”

Janeen points out that nothing is done on the computer. “Everything is literally hand-stamped. I cut out the dyes. It’s glue; it’s coloring, it’s water-coloring. And it’s all relaxing. I love it. I love the crafting and the creating aspect of it.”

Most of her designs are mined from her imagination. “For every one that turns out beautiful, I typically go through five that I absolutely hated and had to trash the whole design. It can take weeks. Other times, I just kind of grab things and start putting them together, and it turns out to be one of the most beautiful cards I have ever made.”

Despite her obvious talent, Janeen was shocked by how many people buy a significant amount of cards and how many repeat customers she has attracted through her Etsy store. “I never thought in a million years my card business would take off.”

For residents of Palm Beach County who love handmade cards, you can purchase from Janeen directly by visiting local markets, where she will be setting up booths. “People run-up to my booth at the local markets and ask me where my birthday, thank you, and sympathy cards are. I’ve realized I need to up my own game and send cards because there’s a teeny tiny shift away from impersonal emails and texts for Christmas, and especially Valentine’s Day this year.”

Janeen offers something for everyone, from thank you and sympathy cards to birthday and holiday cards to blank note cards. In addition to the Hero Collection, she also created the Most Requested Card pack (based on customer feedback to a survey) and packs for masculine birthdays, feminine birthdays, teenage birthdays, and coworker birthdays.

Thanks to her beautiful handmade cards and her fast turnaround time of two to three days, she has earned multiple five-star reviews on Etsy. “Even if it’s an order for 100 cards, I will get it done,” she promises.

To view Janeen’s entire card collection and place an order, visit her Etsy store, JCapCards: https://www.etsy.com/shop/jcapcards

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