In 2002, Jen Bilik took a break from her job as a freelance book editor with plans to create an illustrated memoir about her life in high school. A late greeting card she sent out that listed her excuses for not doing so prior to the holidays would put her on a different path, however. Encouraged by her friends who loved her “January card”, Bilik started a stationery and gift business, which she named Knock Knock.
Knock Knock isn’t your ordinary product design brand, though. With a belief that “humor makes everything better”, the Venice, California-based company creates paper and gift products that are packed with wit and panache. In other words, if you’re looking for something cutesy, you won’t find it at Knock Knock.
Irreverent products such as the How to Traumatize Your Children guide book, Deal With This stamp, Slang Flashcards set, and Things You Must Do to Make Me Happy checklist pad are just some of the company’s bestsellers. And if you visit the Knock Knock website, you’ll even see a category dedicated to gifts for annoying people.
And yet, Bilik and her staff don’t just make products that induce laughs. Rather, they also strive to incorporate organization, functionality, and aesthetics into their designs.
In the past, Bilik researched and conceived most of Knock Knock’s products herself, a responsibility which she carried out for five years. These days, she lets her team help her out in those departments (though she still comes up with ideas all the time), so she can focus on non-paper products, such as the new Clump-o-Lump line of mix and match toys. Currently, Knock Knock employs a total of 25 people and puts out close to 300 products every year, both for its signature line as well as for retailers such as Target, Urban Outfitters, and Costco.