Shopping Cart

Our Story

Hi, friend! We’re so glad you’re here.

At Em & Friends, we want you to feel truly seen, heard, and connected to the people you love—including yourself!—in good times, crazy times, and really freaking hard times. (Especially those times.) We make cards and products for the relationships people really have and the lives we really lead: relationships and lives that are messy and beautiful, tricky and wonderful, and a whole bunch of everything else in between.

After a cancer diagnosis, our founder, Emily McDowell, learned that sometimes people drift away simply because they don’t know what to say. She also learned that there wasn’t a huge supply of greeting cards available that spoke authentically to complex or nontraditional life experiences. So in 2012 she started writing and illustrating her own cards, reflecting her real, complicated life—like Valentines for people who are kinda ambiguously dating, Mother’s Day cards for people who aren’t technically your mom, and cards for seriously ill people who might find “get well” messages awkward at best.

In 2018, we joined forces with the kindred spirits at Knock Knock—another female-founded company—uniting as two sister brands under one kickass umbrella. In 2019, we added "Friends" to our product collections—outside creative collaborators, including amazing artists and authors like Lisa Congdon and Elizabeth GilbertAnd in 2022, along with Knock Knock, we joined the Union Square & Co family, and Emily McDowell transitioned into an outside consulting role with us. But no matter how we evolve, our goal will always be the same: to help people feel more connected and less alone*.

We love you!
Team Em & Friends

*Except, possibly, in a nice hot bath at the end of a long week… with the door locked… and maybe some cake?


This is our manifesto. Join us in committing to be a better-than-average human.