Native New Yorker and longtime Queens resident Jacklyn “Jackie” Monk is an award-winning leader and managing editor, known for guiding some of the most prestigious publications to literary greatness. She has followed her passions and founded Junebug Ink, a stationery brand. Junebug Ink is unique as it is part of a small group of books and stationery lines focusing on African-American life.
Junebug Ink is extra special as it is truly one of a kind. The line celebrates contemporary life with a rich tapestry that inspires African-American culture and traditions. Led by this seasoned editor’s passion for storytelling, the line of cards seeks to encapsulate the essence of diverse experiences, making them accessible to all. The guiding principle is simple: if the cards resonate with you, they are meant for you. We sat down to chat with Jackie about living in Queens, starting a business, and Junebug ink.
How long have you lived in Queens, and what do you love about living here?
My husband and I have lived in Jackson Heights for over 15 years. I also graduated from Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood and City University of New York at York College in Jamaica. I love how diverse Queens is — no place beats us. It’s a fantastic mashup of cultures! For decades, I’ve told everyone — from family and friends to colleagues and corporate CEOs — “if you want to see the future, come to Queens!” I’m also a lifelong Met fan.
Can you share the inspiration behind starting Junebug Ink Stationery?
I have always been a believer in the power of the written word and a huge fan of high-quality greeting cards and stationery. However, over the past few years, I have not been satisfied with what I’ve seen for sale. I finally got tired of settling for cards that missed the mark. In April 2022, I created Junebug Ink. The company is named after my late sister June, who was a major inspiration and introduced me to arts and culture. At Junebug Ink, we pair the finest cardmaking materials with top-of-the-line craftsmanship. We offer beautiful letterpress cards and gorgeous digital print designs.
What role do diversity and representation play in the design and marketing of Junebug Ink?
The goal of Junebug Ink is to celebrate modern life and uplift African American culture and traditions. But you don’t have to be Black to give or receive our cards. If our cards speak to you, they’re for you! For instance, our bestselling “Black-Eyed Peas, Collard Greens and Corn Bread” card is a shoutout to the traditional meal many African Americans prepare on New Year’s Day. We customarily eat these foods in hope that the incoming year will be a prosperous one. What makes the Junebug Ink card extra special is that it contains a delicious and healthy soul-food recipe for collard greens that can be enjoyed by anyone. Our Thanksgiving, Christmas and Get Well Soon cards also contain delicious, easy-to-make, soul-food recipes and our customers love them.
How do you source materials for your stationery products?
I find inspiration for my cards just about everywhere. I hear ideas in songs, see them in art work, get them while reading, listening to podcasts, and traveling. I try to stay conscious of my surroundings and what my family and friends are experiencing at all times. For the most part, what life events I’m being impacted by is not much different from everyone else. I believe we’re all connected.
What advice would you give your Queens community, predominantly minority women, on starting a business?
Listen to your gut. Do your homework. Be committed (this is not easy). Step out on faith.
Where do you see Junebug Ink in the next few years?
My goal is to expand the selection of cards currently offered and increase sales on my website: junebugink.com. I also want to get Junebug Ink carried in more retail stores (especially in NYC and Queens) and museum shops.