Many of us have been glued to the television and internet, getting snippets of the horror that has befallen Japan. Only two weeks in, and it is shocking to see news coverage shifting to Libya and Wisconsin, while the country of Japan faces an overwhelming restart on virtually every front, with even more dire survival conditions remaining for hundreds of thousands of citizens.
This isn’t the first tragedy triggering our compassion; however, Japan is very special to Paper Source – It is a treasured part of our heritage.
Sue Lindstrom, the founder of Paper Source, traveled to Japan almost 30 years ago to learn the craft of paper making, only to return entranced and committed to opening a store that would showcase the artistry. Over the decades, we have developed relationships with Japanese companies and small artisan workshops, in order to bring a full range of paper techniques and styles to enthusiasts across the United States.
Most of the workshops that create our papers have not been destroyed, but no Japanese citizen or business has been unaffected by the recent tragedy. We are currently working with several partners to see when shipping can resume, so that we are able to continue presenting their beautiful works of art, and they are able to sustain their livelihoods.
For the next six weeks, Paper Source will also donate 10% of Japanese paper sales to the American Red Cross Japan Relief Program, to help the many victims in Japan. While this contribution makes only a small dent in the endeavor ahead, it is an important signal of support to the many Japanese partners we have, furthering our founder’s hope to inspire people to discover the beauty and technique of Japanese papers.
Frame them, wrap with them, bind a book, make a card or sash an invitation. Whatever you do, the luminous beauty of these decorative papers will elevate your project. And, hopefully, help elevate the spirit of Japan, as everyone works through this most difficult time.
–Sally, Paper Source CEO
PS colors: papaya & pool
Latest fave: 2011 Paper Source Academic Grid Wall Calendar
Thanks for your announcement Sally! I’ve been so busy lately that I had forgotten all the beautiful Japanese papers I have bought from Paper Source. I’ve used some and have saved some because they are so amazing I haven’t wanted to touch them. I unroll them every now and then and sigh! Now they will have an extra special meaning! After reading your announcement I went to the Red Cross site and made a donation. Thanks for the push to get it done!
While I appreciate that Paper Source has a special kinship with Japan, one that hopefully we all do after the horror and trauma that’s hit the country this past month, I also will say that Libya, too, is on the verge of a virtual restart. Libya too, is experiencing tremendous trauma and grief, as well as fear and the unknown. A civil war deserves our attention as much as an earthquake and its aftermath. Shame on Paper Source to suggest that it’s embarrassing that our news coverage cover something besides Japan. For my friends and family in Libya, as well as throughout the middle east, I care about what’s happening there, as much as I care about what’s happening in Japan.
I am so sorry for the implications of my statement about Libya in the context of Japan. Shame on me. I truly apologize and would like to modify my comment because I too care what is happening in Libya, and mentioned it more to note how the “news cycle” moves from one event to the next.
Please accept my sincere apology.
– Sally Pofcher
I have a problem with businesses that are trying to benefit off the Japan disaster…buy a product and they will donate a small percentage of their proceeds. Just donate a percentage of your profits or a fixed sum, if you truly care. As you mentioned, none of your paper producers were directly impacted by the earthquake and tsunami, so it’s not like Paper Source is supporting the livelihood of those affected in the various prefectures.
I appreciate your feedback. It is important to note that while none of our mills were directly impacted by the earthquake or tsunami, our partners are struggling to stay in business, with so many employees having relatives who were impacted, or having their source of materials affected.
I respect your decision to not participate, and I am cognizant of the fact efforts like this risk sounding self-serving. But the reality is that we are a small company and this will end up being a large donation that will come directly out of our bottom line (one that I steward knowing we cannot afford everything we are interested in doing). Since so many of our employees feel a connection to Japan and these papers, it just felt like a good way to both share and serve. I am sincerely sorry if this offended you.
– Sally Pofcher
Thanks Sally for the humility to apologize and the changes you made. I know it’s not common to take heat for something that’s written on a paper boutique’s website, so I appreciate your willingness to respond with grace! And ps, I love Paper Source so much and am grateful that businesses like you do care about what’s happening in the world. Even though I won’t find myself buying any Japanese papers right now, I think it’s a creative way to give back to a country that does mean something to your business, however indirectly.
As a regular PS shopper and a Japanese national whose family members were directly affected by this tragedy, I am extremely offended and have a MAJOR PROBLEM with Ms. Rebecca Chan’s thoughtless comment. Ms. Chan claims to have firsthand knowledge of how the money from American Red Cross is distributed to those affected by the disaster. I can tell you, Ms. Chan, that American Red Cross working DIRECTLY WITH Japanese Red Cross, who has many staff members are in various shelters throughout affected prefectures to assist. In addition, Ms. Chan, do you know that Red Cross operates a hospital in the disaster stricken area? To run these things, it cost money and I think it is noble of Paper Source to help out in a situation like this. By your argument, you are also saying TBS (a Japanese TV station) should not broadcast earthquake news to Japanese expatriates because it collects ad revenue or Nisshin (a noodle company) should not donate a portion of their revenue along with ramen noodles because they make profit. Please, when you accuse someone or an organization of indecent act, get your facts straight.