The pack of cards that may just be your next marriage counselor
The very beginning of a relationship is always the best part—true love, pure bliss, those butterflies fluttering about your stomach. But then comes a baby (or two) and reality really starts to kick in.
Ellie Lowe’s story is so relatable. Her two toddlers were communicating superbly but she and her husband were not. Coming from a family background where marriage breakdowns were common set off alarm bells.
So, Ellie set up a rare date night and came armed with a deeply contemplated list of questions to help break the ice with her partner Shawn.
That night led to a revival in her marriage and a successful online business designing and selling conversation starters (love cards) which are helping relationships in Australia and all around the world.
I talked with Ellie about the super personal beginnings of her business and where she sees it going.
Sendle’s small biz quiz
Name, title, and location
Ellie Lowe, Founder | Sydney, Australia
How would you describe your business in a nutshell?
I create content, resources and products to empower and equip young couples with the tools they need to build a lifelong, fulfilling, deeply intimate marriage. Also some art and design thrown in the mix!
And what about in just three words?
Cultivating intimate connection.
When did you get started? Do you have a particular origin story or were you always going to start an online business?
The idea for my first product, The Connect Deck, was birthed after the arrival of our second son in 2019. We found, with two kids under two, that our quality time was getting harder to come by.
And when we did find the time, we still felt disconnected (also exhausted, drained and no idea how to bounce back!)
One date night, I decided to write down five or six good, deep questions to ask one another over dinner. The conversations that came from those simple questions, such as “what qualities do we want to see in our kids?” or “what aspects of your parents do you see in yourself?” were incredible.
We hadn’t talked about things this deeply in years and it changed everything for us.
I immediately thought that this simple idea could turn into something so valuable for so many couples.
And so the dreaming and scheming began.
What did you do before you launched your small business?
I was a full time mum to our two boys.
Before that, I was a freelance photographer doing a lot of children's portraiture. I have also always had a passion for writing, traveling and telling stories.
I worked in marketing for a little while, did some social media influencing of my own, while running a blog. I have always loved creating and designing in many shapes and forms.
There are so many relationship self help books out there for couples, so why did you choose to sell conversation starters ?
Because I knew I wasn’t alone in trying to find a deep and meaningful connection with my partner. I have a burning desire to see divorce rates plummet. My family has seen too much separation.
The heartache of it all has fueled me to fight for families to remain whole. Starting with my own marriage, and then the rest of our generation!
It’s overwhelming at times, but one small step leads to the next. This is the first of many steps to come.
What do you hope your conversation starters will ultimately achieve for the customers who buy them?
The cards are designed to gently guide you into important and intimate conversations that will deepen your connection and understanding of one another.
You’ll find yourself learning not only new things about your partner, but also yourself.
I hope they will make the hard conversations that little bit easier, but also create space for fun and laughter as you reminisce on special memories and dream together for the future.
What sets you apart from other companies selling the same thing?
This is an extremely personal journey and vision for me.
Not only have I experienced the strain and disappointment of feeling disconnected emotionally to my husband, but I’ve also seen too many marriages break down in my world.
I know that my heart for this is obvious in how I operate as a business.
The decks themselves have been carefully crafted. I spent almost 12 months creating this product and countless hours burying myself in research to ensure that I would create something with evidence based value.
Knowing what conversations most couples find difficulty having, and making a way for those conversations to be far less daunting, is something I am so proud of.
What’s a good starting point for couples who aren’t communicating or connecting?
Something I talk about a lot, is reminding yourselves you’re on the same team.
It’s so easy to slip into the mentality that we’re fighting against our spouse when problems arise, but we need to change that into ‘we’re fighting against this problem together.’
Approaching communication from this standpoint means you no longer see each other as the problem, but as your partner.
Communicating from a place of genuine love is key. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves why we love them, and that’s okay.
The main reason The Connect Deck is such a brilliant tool for healthy communication is because it acts as a third party. You know these questions aren’t hemmed with ulterior motives, because you didn’t come up with them! I did ;)
It becomes a safe space where guards come down, and no one needs to waste energy ‘reading between the lines’. You can simply enjoy getting to know more of one another.
So what are your favorite small businesses out there? The ones you always go back to.
I could honestly go on for a long time answering this question. I have SO many friends starting or running some truly incredible businesses.
But I’m going to just talk about a company who I have been inspired by for a very long time and that is Thankyou.
They are constantly pushing against what is ‘impossible’. They turn business upside down and run after ridiculous goals. All the while fighting to end poverty.
Reading their book ‘Chapter One: You Have The Power To Change Stuff’ taught me a lot.
What does sustainability mean to you and how does it play out in your business?
It means a future for my kids!
I am currently in the process of tracking down the most sustainable packaging I can source for my product.
I have been using completely recyclable materials but plan on using more biodegradable materials as well.
There are always ways we can do better, and I will continually research and build on that in my business.
Do you plan to grow your business online?
I definitely have big plans to grow.
It’s just me right now, with some help from my husband and occasionally a contracted freelancer if I’m very busy!
But my dream is to have an amazing team one day, running events, and all sorts of things.
What advice do you have for someone who is contemplating starting a small business or side hustle from scratch?
Don’t have all your ducks in a row (you never will).
If you have an idea, just roll with it. Do what you can. Keep taking small steps.
Also, get people around you who are a few steps ahead of you and also a LOT of steps ahead of you. You need to be kept accountable and you need people supporting you who truly ‘get it’.
How did you discover Sendle?
Through a friend who runs her own incredible small business (sceen'ry) and uses Sendle.
She recommended it to me, and I’ve been really impressed.
Photos courtesy: Ellie Lowe