Made In Our Hometown: PhiloSophie's
Updated: Friday, September 20 2013, 01:54 PM EDT
Spencerport, N.Y. - In a sea of greeting cards, all colors and styles, certain ones stand out at Parkleigh in Rochester
"For the about two years we didn't have her product in the store we would constantly get requests," said Parkleigh Manager Chris Ihle. "And so we are so happy to have her back."
Joanna Alberti is the businesswoman in demand. She is the creator of the character Sophie on which the stationary line PhiloSophie's is built.
You might also see the line in Target and Wegmans (printed by Recycled Paper Greetings and Leanin Tree).
Alberti's home base is her shop in Spencerport.
"In high school I loved to illustrate but I just didn't think I would be able to have a career in it," Alberti told us.
It might be the only thing the 1999 Gates-Chili grad has been wrong about. In 2005 she was named by "Business Week" readers as a top 5 entrepreneur under age 25. Ever modest, Alberti says the honor was premature and has been plugging away ever since.
She gained famous clients like Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. Alberti has made his family's Christmas cards for a few years.
Alberti was working at an ad agency in Boston when friends suggested she do more with her inspirational quotes and the character she created to live them out. She moved back to Rochester to focus on it full time.
"I never in a million years thought I would draw this character in so many occupations or themes or occasions," Alberti smiled and said.
Sophie can live out Alberti's original quotes or be personalized,
"Sophie is a character that can be any woman and so when people tell me their story or want something especially made, I just take that look of Sophie and transform it into you or your best friend."
That personalization side of the business has taken off. From save-the-date cards to wedding invitations to baby announcements, many clients come to Alberti for the many phases of their lives.
"I am basically illustrating their whole life story or their love story and to me that's really meaningful because I am so passionate about my concept."
Good day, bad day and every occasion in between, Alberti does all the illustrations she creates and puts Sophie into. She has help from time to time from a graphic designer.
She's gearing up now for holiday card season. "I live and breathe this brand so for me I love what I do," Alberti says.
PhiloSophie's is in the running in the online Martha Stewart's American Made competition that ends Sunday.
To vote or learn more, go to PhiloSophie's Facebook page or we have a link to PhiloSphie's website on the "Find it" tab at 13wham.com.