Near-death experience inspires Monroe stationery store

 

Her lungs collapsed and her heart stopped for 19 minutes during the birth of her son, and when she came to, everything changed.

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Sabrina Autera of Fairfield said her near-death experience with amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) inspired her to find Christianity, refocus her life on her family and start her company, the Joyful Noise Paper Company.

Women who have AFE have a 20% survival rate. It is a rare, but life threatening condition that occurs when amniotic fluid or fetal material enter the mother’s blood stream.

Autera said she was a Buddhist before she had her son, and that the embolism turned her life upside down.

“That whole situation changed everything,” she said. “It was different after that.”

After AFE, Autera said she turned to Christianity and decided to dedicate her time to her three children. But she struggled with survivor’s guilt, wondering why she lived when most women who suffer from AFE die.

“It was like OK God, what do you have for me?’ After that it became, clear that I’m meant to raise my children because I almost didn’t,” she said.

At the time Autera said she took a step back from working as a makeup artist and was plagued by the feeling that she needed to be doing something more, asking herself “what can I change” and “what can I do differently.”

Autera’s desire to have a purpose outside of her family life led her to create Joyful Noise Paper Company.

“It planted a seed that there has to be more,” Autera said.

After AFE she said that she began working with calligraphy and card making as a form of release.

“I started making cards and I thought, What a way for me to share with the world [and] it became my way of giving back.”

Autera’s stationery store will be opening on Route 25 in Monroe on Oct. 18.

The mission

“I have loved stationery my entire life,” Autera said.

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She said she started making her own cards because whenever she would look for cards with scripture they were usually “cheesy or hokey.” This search led her to create the Joyful Noise brand modern greeting cards that feature a scripture verse on the back.

Autera was a makeup artist before creating her store and she said she doesn’t have a graphic design background and she thinks her experience as a makeup artist taught her how to work with colors.

Autera said she actually named the store partially for the biblical verse, joyful noise, and partially for herself because joy is her middle name, creating a name that blended herself with her faith.

Autera said she thinks cards can express more than a text or email and that she hopes others will start sending more cards in the mail.

Autera said she recognizes that society is focused on digital communication but that she’s trying to change that.

“I do think that people still give people birthday cards and I still think people give people thank-you cards,” she said. “I don’t think those things are obsolete.”

She said sending a card is “spreading kindness and spreading love.”

She also said she wants people to feel good when they come to her store.

“I just want it to be a place where you just feel joy, you just feel happy,” Autera said.

The business

Autera originally launched her online version of the Joyful Noise Paper Company in December 2015 selling her store-brand cards.

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“When we decided to go brick and mortar in the spring, we decided that we would still have our brand of Joyful Noise greeting cards and that we would also expand to carrying all types of cards from many brands,” she said.

Autera works with two Fairfield-based artists, Sarah Purdy and Hannah Guinta, to create the cards.

Now that Autera has a storefront, she said, she will be selling “all things paper,” including greeting cards, social stationery, custom wedding invitations, planners, journals, notebooks, calligraphy supplies, art supplies, and “Etsy, Pinterest, funky” knickknacks.

In addition to selling calligraphy supplies, Autera said, the store will offer calligraphy classes and handwriting classes for children.

“I know handwriting has been taken out of many schools, so we’re going to try and bring that back,” Autera said.  

For more information about Joyful Noise Paper Company, go to www.joyfulnoisepaperco.com.

About author
TinaMarie Craven is the Arts & Leisure editor. She previously worked as the editor of the Monroe Courier and the Lewisboro Ledger. She graduated from Ithaca College with a BA in Journalism and Politics in 2015.

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