Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Pink Tomato Paperie and Me

Just over two years ago, I was living in Wooster, Ohio for a visiting professor position at the College of Wooster.  I was living downtown in a gorgeous studio over the local steakhouse.  On Saturday mornings, Amish farmers on their way to market would wake me with their horses on Market Street.  The college was a fine place to work and I truly enjoyed every day I spent there.  It was a relaxing, healing sojourn after the brutality of grad school.  It felt like a balm on my soul.   I explored the town a tiny bit at a time so it could continue to unfold for me during my short time there.

About a month or so before I moved there, I became engaged to my longtime beau, Mike, who is now my husband.  One afternoon, as I was exploring, I finally went into the Pink Tomato, a paperie and invitation shop (with its own Aroma Lab!).  I was looking for a stamp to use on wedding envelopes.  What I found was inspiration for my future.

That day before I left, I had ditched my plans to buy wedding invitations online and had designed my invitations with the professional help of Christy Hoffman, who was very pregnant with her handsome son Dane, who was born a few weeks later.  The invitations were just gorgeous. Before I left Wooster, they had also designed my save-the-dates, my table numbers, and my wedding programs, and had even printed my annual Christmas cards.

Wedding Program and Invite. (Photo by Love Me Do Photography)

My wedding invitation (Photo by Jessica Marie Boehman)

I remember when Christy saw my Christmas card, she said, partially in jest (I think!) that I should sell my stuff at her store.  I didn't really think so much about it until a few days later, when, during grading final exams, I decided to go and show them a portfolio.  I felt frantic with excitement for the next few days.  I had come to Wooster to teach art history and I had loved every second of it.  How could I be so lucky that this little town could give me the two things I loved the best?  It was a town full of blessings and it was the best place for me to be at that junction in my life.   Over the following months, I made a few designs for the Pink Tomato to use exclusively on wedding invites and other print cards.   About a year later, we would find a working relationship that suited us both better, and it came organically as I designed tattoos for Christy and her husband.

After I moved to New York, I was feeling restless and a bit out of myself. I hadn't yet started my jobs.  It was early summer and I teach college, so I had a few months.  I started conceiving the idea of an online shop.  I didn't know that NYC would provide the inspiration for me.  After we moved into our new apartment and I saw the Delacorte Clock at the Central Park Zoo, I knew which way I wanted to take the shop.  But it was during the rigor and exhaustion of teaching at three schools that I became desperate to find myself again.  That semester, my shop was born on the Staten Island Ferry.  It came to fruition in January 2011.

It pleases me so much that the beautiful ladies who sparked my imagination now play such an important part in my shop.  They print my beautiful cards and even sell them in their new shop on 221 Beall Avenue in Wooster.  Though I have left Wooster behind, my art is still there, and that makes me so happy.  Thanks for everything, Christy and Jodi!  I hope now you understand how you've changed my life.

My cards at the Pink Tomato Paperie in Wooster, Ohio

My Halloween Cards at the Pink Tomato Paperie in Wooster, Ohio

Penguin with Drum and the Brementown Musicians at the Pink Tomato Paperie in Wooster, Ohio

The Pink Tomato Paperie in Wooster, Ohio


  1. I can't believe of all days today, when I feel blessed and the stars are lined up perfectly somehow, and that I should share with my friends so they can be encouraged even if things don't work out well right now in our lives, that you posted your story of how you began your shop! I am so glad I met you :D

  2. How very sweet, Jessica! Your cards should be in shops across NYC....they are amazing and so are you! :-)

  3. Deb, I am very glad we're friends, now, too! Just think of what we will do together with our shops! I am so excited.

    Christy, thanks! I hope you liked the post. It felt very good to write it tonight after a day of teaching.

  4. Dear Jessica,

    I just saw your cards at The Pink Tomato and they are just lovely! I bought one of the Hans My Hedgehog cards just for me. Christy directed me to your website and after seeing this post I wanted to say that I admire all your lovingly drawn little characters! I am also enjoying looking at the other blogs that you follow. I am just beginning to work towards being an illustrator myself and I thank you for the inspiration!


  5. Dear Allison,

    That's so great to hear! How nice that Hans can provide inspiration to more than just me :) Thanks for brightening my day.

    I'd love to see your work!

  6. Dear Jessica,

    I would love that! I am going to try to start a blog with some of my work and I will send the link. I so appreciate your thoughts! I am in the process of gathering and creating, so it will be a few weeks until I feel confident in what I can post. I was an Art History major at Miami University of Ohio, and then I took an alternative route as a paralegal at a large law firm for over six years. I took some classes at night in graphic design while I was working, but I am still trying to get my groove back!

    Thank you again!


    P.S. The Pink Tomato has just done my wedding thank you post-cards and they are so cute, of course! :)

  7. I am an art historian by day! That's so great to hear. A good friend of mine teaches that subject at your Alma Mater.

  8. It is such a small world! I am still close with one of my professors, Linnea Hedrick. I finally created a blog with some of my work that I thought that I would share. I hope that all is well!


  9. looks great! Keep up the good work!