January 11, 2018
Emily McDowell Studio, Sisters of Los Angeles join Knock Knock to become Who’s There Group
Venice Beach gift company and book publisher Knock Knock announced the acquisition of Emily McDowell Studio (EMS) and Sisters of Los Angeles (SoLA), fellow Southern California women-owned companies. Knock Knock will run the trifecta under the new banner of the Who’s There Group. On Jan. 9, the companies broke the exciting news at the AmericasMart Atlanta gift show, where they each debuted their Spring 2018 collections.
Jen Bilik, Knock Knock CEO and founder, underscored the three companies’ excitement: “We love what we’ve been doing at Knock Knock for the past fifteen years and have been delighted to watch Emily McDowell and Sara Stein forge equally distinctive brands, compatible yet complementary to the Knock Knock sensibility. I couldn’t be more thrilled to explore the new categories, voices, and non-suit-and-tie synergies that this trio inspires.”
EMS founder Emily McDowell characterizes her work as “greeting cards for the relationships we really have.” She launched her company in 2013 with a single hand-illustrated greeting card on Etsy — the “Awkward Dating” card — which quickly drew viral attention online, selling 1,700 in one week. Emily has since expanded her offerings into other categories to showcase her illustration and writing, including tote bags and mugs. In 2015, Emily’s success doubled overnight with her launch of Empathy Cards. The line, designed to help people provide support at difficult times, was immediately featured in 300 major media outlets and in November 2017 partnered with Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B foundation.
Emily McDowell noted, “I want to do so much more creatively, and the best way to support those efforts is to partner with some of the smartest people I know and take advantage of their expertise and infrastructure. The Knock Knock team is the absolute best at what they do, and we share a common vision, work ethic, and sense of humor.”
Sara Stein founded Sisters of Los Angeles in 2012 with the ambition to celebrate the Los Angeles she loves. The initial collection focused on Los Angeles-specific product with an insider twist, naming beaches, canyons, and freeways on mementos beloved by both residents and visitors alike. Soon non-Angelenos began requesting commemorations of their own hometowns, on products including glassware, candles, and accessories, and SoLA’s unique mode of “spreading happiness, sunshine, and city pride from coast to coast” took root.
Sara has been excited to join the Who’s There Group “not only for Knock Knock’s wealth of proven experience but also for our shared passion for making people laugh and feel good. I can’t wait to be part of a bigger collective and watch Sisters become all that I know it was meant to be.”
The Who’s There Group brands will showcase at NY NOW from Feb. 4-7 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, where they will give away exclusive, limited-edition keepsakes to celebrate their union. Find Knock Knock at booth 7404, Emily McDowell Studio at booth 7212, and Sisters of Los Angeles at booth 7837.
The three women-led brands will also salute their merger with a Planned Parenthood fundraiser at the Los Angeles Women’s March on Jan. 20, providing a pop-up breakfast for hundreds of marchers who will then walk as a group — wearing a surprise commemorative accessory.
For more information about the Who’s There Group, including blog posts by the founders, go to the individual companies’ websites or to the central thewhostheregroup.com.