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Lifelong friends in Toronto create affirmation cards as side hustle and they keep selling out – blogTO

Two lifelong friends in Toronto have come together to share the affirmation they’ve used throughout their relationship with the world.

It all revolves around a simple two-word phrase:

Listen B*tch.

This is the name of a deck of affirmation cards created by best buds Michelle Osei-Bonsu and Daniela Angelucci.

The pair don’t just have a lifetime of love for each other: they also share a lifelong love of graphic design and business. They met through Business and Media Arts classes at a Brampton high school over a decade ago.

“Huge credit goes to Peter Fujiwara and Diana Prior, two highschool teachers who kindled our entrepreneurial spirits and equipped us with life-long skills in business, graphic design, advertising, and more,” Osei-Bonsu tells blogTO.

They’ve both turned their passions into jobs, with Angelucci now associate creative director at an ad agency and Osei-Bonsu working as an account manager at a tech platform. They’ve become such good friends after all these years that Osei-Bonsu is actually going to be Angelucci’s bridesmaid next spring.

They launced Listen B*tch as a side hustle in November 2021, during what Osei-Bonsu calls “another dreary peak.”

They began exploring self-care tools like affirmation cards as a way to try and stay mentally healthy. Having always wanted to do a project together, this was something that brought together their collective values of self-care, radical authenticity and uplifting people.

“We struggled to find affirmation cards that sounded like us. Affirmations work best when they’re spoken with conviction and we had trouble doing so when the tone and texture of the words we were seeing on popular affirmation cards didn’t reflect how we actually spoke,” says Osei-Bonsu.

“That’s not a knock on other affirmation cards out there. I’m sure many people find them helpful. But we needed affirmations that were more raw and more real so we decided to do it ourselves.”

They started trying to write affirmations in their own specific voices, trying to capture a tone that could not only build confidence, but also cut through the BS to help you get your shit together, if that’s what you’re seeking.

“The words on these cards may sound familiar because they’re the types of words we actually say to our friends and family when we’re uplifting them,” says Osei-Bonsu.

“They’re honest, they’re real, and sometimes they’re a bit crass, but they work. Listen B*tch affirmation cards take those hard-hitting words of love and encouragement and turn them inwards.”

The next step in making the cards a reality was teaming up with another friend and Canadian artist Chi Chi Ogbu for visuals for the cards “that could help instill a sense of calm and clarity.”

Phrases in the deck include “Change is good. Embrace that sh*t,” “Your wildest dreams deserve a chance,” “No one else is dwelling on your mistakes. Move the f*ck on” and “Choose you. Everytime.” There are 50 cards in the deck in total, made of recycled paper.

The cards can be used as mantras during meditative practices, to give yourself a boost when you’re feeling low, or as a morning ritual of shuffling them and drawing one as a message to carry with you during the day.

People have really latched onto the cards, and by this point they’ve sold out three times in the last six months.

“We receive countless messages from people who have used these cards to start and end their days with a jolt of self-love,” says Osei-Bonsu. “Nothing brings us more pride than knowing that these affirmation cards are out there doing real work. For us, that’s the ultimate measure of success.”

They’ve done so well, they’re hoping to branch out to create other wellness products, intended “to arm people, especially women, with the tools they need to authentically nurture their wellbeing.”

The cards can be found at Black Owned Toronto, Good Intentions and Holt Renfrew, as well as on their website and Amazon, and cost $24.99.