Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Joanna Alberti
Getting in from an evening out with friends, a little tipsy, a lot emotional -- we've all been there. Most of us have regretted in the morning what we did or said the night before. But not Joanna Alberti. Such a night unintentionally turned Alberti from stylish young lady into one very successful stylish young lady.

That night the 25-year-old used her insomnia to design Sophie, a fictional, whimsical character who became the face of philoSophie's , a national greeting-card and clothing business. Sophie isn't real, but what she stands for is: "Wear pumps. Take taxis"; "A strong cup of coffee and confidence can get you through the morning"; "Keep your nails painted and your hand raised."

Sophie's musings are splashed across tank tops and fine stationery that Alberti's company creates by hand. The "Sex and the City"-esque mantras speak to real women. Alberti's contagious honesty, not to mention playful wit, makes her a fierce phenom in today's highly competitive design world -- that is nothing to regret.

Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview
philoSophie's cards seem to encourage consumerism ("shop 'til the cards won't swipe") and traditional gender roles ("all I need in life, I carry in a cute handbag"). How are these cards supposed to empower women? Shouldn't women be empowered by achieving goals--making partner, climbing a mountain, learning a language--rather than buying what TV tells them to buy (e.g. shoes, jewelry)? I just don't see how these cards are different from anything else on the market, despite what CNN would have us believe, and I feel like they're actually condescending to women. Maybe I care about more than shopping and how big my engagement ring is. Maybe I'm an environmental activist, an athlete, a CEO, a mother of 5 -- I wish philoSophie's cards would address those realities instead of the stereotypes created--and perpetuated--by these rather boring cards.
I'm not quite sure how wearing pumps, taking cabs and getting manicures counts as "contagious honesty." Seems more like she's exhorting traditional gender roles and a bigger carbon footprint. Not to mention being super boring. Way to go, Ann Taylor shopper! Hope you land a banker husband so you never have to take public transit with the unwashed masses.
I have seen these sophie cards around and I think they are a nice alternative to your steriotypical greeting card. They are ment to have a portray some humor and more you smile when you read it thinking about the given situation. I think these other comments may be accurate in a different genre, but this is a cartoon greeting cards, have some and its great to have some fun with them.
well, i think these cards are cute. they're not supposed to be taken too seriously, just make someone smile. which they made me do. and she's so young! i say congrats and good work.
I like this series a lot because it highlights young people. In Alberti's case, what you really have to look at is that she is only 25 and she's already got it going on. It's a cute set of cards whose content is subjective, but they're being sold nationwide. She should definitely be interesting to interview - I'm curious about how she got there. You never really hear about what it really takes to get to where Alberti is right now except for "a lot of dedication." Cmon, give us some guidance to follow.
I really enjoyed the interview and am very interested in the Sophie product. As a female in my 20s, I can definitely relate to the clever lines & "PhiloSophies." Alberti has found a fun way to empower women by encouraging us to be ourselves.
Ugh... as others have said, Alberti's cards just encourage vapid consumerism. What's uplifting about these cards? Nothing. Just more "Sex and the City"-style nonsense urging women to base their lives around shoes, fashion and men.

With the exception of Haley Kilpatrick, who's actually done something noteworthy, the rest of these "Young People Who Rock" haven't done anything noteworthy. I challenge Ms. Lapin to highlight more people like Haley - people who actually make a difference instead of design inane greeting cards and find waiting in line at Starbucks to be a nuisance. Otherwise, these young people just confirm what most of the older generation already thinks - that we're a generation of brand name-obsessing, status-grubbing, text-messaging robots. Report on something real and the respect will follow.
This comment is basically in response to "Jamie" who wrote on May 18th and others who have a lot of negative things to say... I don't think any of your faces have appeared on CNN. Alberti is a phenomenon who went from scribbling in notebooks to selling her cards country-wide in a matter of a few years. Not everyone has to like their content, but don't downgrade her success as a successful business owner at the ripe age of 25. I'm so proud of women like her. Unlike many of us who settle for your average desk job and shoot out a few kids, she is doing something different and is working her rear end off. And besides, the "sex and the city" type messsges are very popular - obvioulsy you heard of the show?... I think a few people were also addicted to it. Shame on you for saying such negatve things. i'd like to hear what you were doing at 25. And don't say "I had 3 kids"..doesn't take a genius to procreate.
I'm sorry Lisa, but Jamie's comment was accurate and insightful. As the rest of the comments show, some people get it and others don't. These comments are a perfect representation of the current state of our entire country.

There are those that see and understand what is really going on, and those that do not. The people who do not understand always respond by attacking those who wish to speak the truth and try to help them. Too many people have been brainwashed by our modern "society" and are dangerously resistant to change.

You ask what we were doing at 25, with the implication that we are in some way inferior if we were making less money or were less successful in business. Wake up! There is more in this world than money and the job you have. A 25 year old who is studying philosopy or sociology will probably end up doing much more good in this world than Sophie and her cards will ever manage.
Well, I do agree that people should be able to speak their minds. It boggles my brain, however, that all people have to say are negative comments... Wake up is right! The fact that people are wasting their negative energy on a subject like this is absurd. There are so many awful things going on in today's world and people just turn their heads. But when there is a short story on CNN about a young lady that is persuing her dreams, people actually have the energy to say awful things about this poor girl. I don't care for a lot of things/products out there, but I don't have time to attack people. It seems to me that if someone actually takes the time to post something nasty about this young lady that jealousy is the root cause.

Who even cares about the "Sophie" character and what she has to say. It is all tongue and cheek anyway. I was just so shocked that everyone that said something negative was a woman. Isn't it time we be proud of one another for our fellow womans' accomplishments? Whether it be a young woman's new business or someone studying... oh I don't know...sociology - we should support them. It's still a man's world, unfortunatly. We should stop being so caddy and applaud people like Alberti that are positive role models to young business students.

On another note, you insinuated that my last comment had something to do with money. On the contrary, I mentioned no such thing. I did mention "success", however. If you think money and success go hand in hand, how sad for you.

Success can be many things, but success for Alberti is her flourishing business. For some it may be doing well in school. Whatever. I am proud there are yound people out there that are actually doing something positive. I'm sickened by young girls looking up to the coccaine-using Lindsay Lohan's and baldy rehab bound Britney Spears types of the world.

I'm done with all of this. I just think anyone that is so negative ought to be ashamed. Use your energy for better things rather than attacking someone like her. You don't have to like her work or products. I just think you should get a grip on reality on things that are worth being negative and passionate about.
Wow, quite a bit of commentary started by my entry... certainly wasn't intended to be so inflammatory. "Sex and the City" may be a popular show, but what is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular. I guarantee there are just as many women out there who reject the show's message as there are women who embrace it. It's good for a chuckle, sure, but I wouldn't emulate those women any more than I would emulate Linsday Lohan or Britney Spears.

My point wasn't that Ms. Alberti has done anything wrong - I just hoped a segment titled "Young People Who Rock" would strive to highlight people who have truly made a difference in society. Ms. Alberti's cards might be cute and sassy, but do they measure up against something like Haley Kilpatrick's Girl Talk or Food From the Hood or Jessica Kizorek's documentaries? Definitely not.

I'm much more impressed by the latest three people that Ms. Lapin has chosen to profile. I hope she continues to move her program in that direction.
I think the point is getting lost here -- it is not that Ms. Alberti isn't industrious for starting a business at her age (although I would even argue that 25 isn't that young anymore to be doing incredible things), but rather the point is that her business encourages a lot of the aspects of our society that make others dislike us and us dislike ourselves.

I am 26, worked hard in college to get my degree in Engineering and just graduated from law school. I feel that tag lines such as "Wear Pumps. Take Taxis" are exactly what causes people to look at me and say, "YOU are an engineer and a lawyer?? You aren't just another spoiled, consumeristic, vapid young American girl with no substance??" Sadly, such products lead people to believe that our generation is not capable of doing anything significant but buy fake Louis Vuitton bags in order to appear to be something we are not.

I think it's much more important to celebrate and recognize people that help lift up humanity and give society integrity, rather than to encourage young people to continue down their current path of imagined entitlement and brattiness.
I hardly see how Joanna Alberti can be considered a "Young Person Who Rocks". If she is supposed to be representative of our society, then God help us all! Her idea for "philoSophie" came from a drunken evening and you're going to praise her for this?! What kind of message is that passing along to our young children? I have a 15 year old who is already so overwhelmed with the "fame virus" that she is failing in her first year of high school...because our media glorifies people like Joanna Alberti. Too many of our young people today believe that they don't have to work to become a person of merit...all they have to do is become famous for reasons that don't contribute to making a difference in anyone's life but their own. It seems that it's all about fame. I would much rather see my children grow up to be hard-working good people than become a rich, shallow, vapid excuse for a human like so many people who are in the headlines each day for all the wrong reasons. Sorry..."philoSophie" would not have appealed to me in my youth and I don't wish any of my offspring to contribute to this woman's portfolio.
Same old stereotypical bs in my book. No thanks.
i would never wear one of her shirts, because that just isn't my style. however... i respect that she has made a splash at a young age.

i am more appalled at "lisa's" comments. quoting:

"i'd like to hear what you were doing at 25. And don't say "I had 3 kids"..doesn't take a genius to procreate."

how offensive is that? ok... at 25 i was a married college graduate with a job. then i CHOSE to stay home and raise a family. no, it doesn't take a genius to procreate. but it takes an amazing woman to stay home and be committed to raising good kids in this day and age. our job is harder than anything you can imagine doing.

so, i applaud ms. alberti's accomplishments. but don't belittle mine just because your definition of success is so narrow.
Lisa, the negative comments are not just from women, and they are from people who actually want to change things for the better.

Some people just don't see what is wrong with Alberti's message, and others don't see what is wrong with featuring her here.

We are trying to point it out to you, to Nicole Lapin, and hopefully to some younger people who will be reading this.

You see Lisa, you have a vote that counts just as much as mine. The younger people reading this will have a vote someday as well. It has become increasingly clear recently that many people are not cpable of voting in their own best interests.

So here we are, making "negative" comments that could, in fact, be seen as positive. This forum asks for feedback, and so some of us are taking this opportunity to provide the feedback we feel is most appropriate.
I think the point is that women are empowered by doing whatever they want, be it wearing pumps and getting their java or something else. I love her designs, I think they're great!
ABOUT THIS BLOG

Young People Who Rock is a weekly interview series focused on people under 30 -- from CEOs to entertainers to athletes to community and political leaders -- who are doing remarkable things. CNN Anchor Nicole Lapin introduces them here, then interviews them Fridays on CNN.com Live. Log on in the 3 p.m. ET hour to catch the interviews.
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