Our Story

At Em & Friends, we want you to feel truly seen, heard, and connected to the people you love—including yourself!—in good times, nutty 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: the messy and beautiful, tricky and wonderful, and a whole bunch of everything else in between. We believe in celebrating our imperfections, showing up with loving honesty, and laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time.


We may be best-known for our Empathy Cards, a more honest and supportive alternative to traditional, platitude-filled sympathy and get-well messages. Life’s toughest times are when we need connection the most, but the cruel irony is that most of us simply don’t know what to say. We specialize in removing the agony of the blank page, and helping folks find words of support that sound like something they’d actually write.


Originally founded in 2012 by writer and illustrator Emily McDowell, we joined forces in 2018 with the kindred spirits at Knock Knock, uniting as two sister brands under one kickass umbrella, and evolving our work into a collaborative team creation. In 2019, we added “Friends” to our name and our products, adding artists and authors like Lisa Congdon and Elizabeth Gilbert. And, in 2022, along with Knock Knock, we joined the Union Square & Co. family. But no matter how we evolve, our goal remains: to help people feel more connected and less alone.




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