George Jacobs has always had a difficult relationship with his thirty-three year-old daughter Martha. The conflict started when Martha was nine and her father scolded her in front of her entire class for spilling juice on herself before a dance recital, and escalated three years later when George left Martha's mother for a woman he met online, moved several states away to start a new family, and ceased supporting Martha financially.
"I have hated or was petrified of my dad for all of my teens and most of my twenties," said Martha candidly. "During that time we hardly saw each other and would speak infrequently. There was even a period of about six years where we completely lost touch," said the married graphic designer who herself is a mother of two. "Around the time I had my second child, however, my dad started to reach out to me more frequently. Today, we have a distant yet cordial relationship, something I'm quite proud of."
Martha's complicated relationship with her father made shopping for Father's Day cards a difficult task. "Even though I still have love for the man because he is technically my father, I also very much resent him. I was having a difficult time finding a card that expressed both feelings," said Martha.
And thus, a new business was born.
Martha began selling greeting cards for bad fathers online and at local markets, and soon found she could not keep up with demand.
"I was blown away by the response," said Martha, who sold out of her 1000 card run during her first Father's Day season. "I had no idea there were so many people who loved but also sort of hated their father. I thought it was just me."
Martha's business has grabbed the attention of greeting card giant Hallmark, who began selling Martha's cards in their stores in March. "They have been an absolute hit," said Hallmark's V.P. of sales Evelyn Bolton who also has a less-than-stellar relationship with her father Joel. "Our stores cannot keep up with the demand."
The Plantain sat with George Jacobs to see what he thought of his daughter's success. "I'm so proud of her. She takes after me, you know. She has my drive," said Mr. Jacobs, to which his daughter scoffed and muttered "of course he is going to make this about him" under her breath.