Art as a Healing Force for Recovery

To support the recovery community, artist Dena Leibowitz designed a line of greeting cards. Here’s her strategy for approaching a niche market.


Collage by Dena Leibowitz, available as a greeting card. Read her story at


What do people care about most? Themselves. As a creative entrepreneur, when your message resonates emotionally with people who are your prospective customers, you have an excellent opportunity to draw them in and make a sale. The more meaningful your work is to your audience, the stronger the connection you can make.

Dena Leibowitz used personal experiences to create a line of collage cards that addresses a deeply emotional part of her customers’ lives. She helps them express hope, concern and support for people in recovery. I asked her how she got started with the concept.

“The year prior to opening my business, I was in a treatment center for addiction and grief,” she says. “During this time I was reconnected with my love for making collages while having art therapy. The ability to express my emotions and thoughts through images was a pathway to help myself in my recovery.”


Collage by Dena Leibowitz, available as a greeting card. Read her story at


When she decided to create collages for sale, she started with the intention of sharing her story with the world, as inspiration. She recalls, “My own recovery process conceived the birth of my business. Each one of my collages is a page from my recovery story. When I have a challenging or uplifting emotion, I sit with the feeling and determine how it is being expressed in my body. I then describe my experience of the emotion through images,” she says. “This is my creative process and it is both fascinating and truly healing for me. It’s an unbelievable thrill to be able to give back a piece of me to the public with the intentions to be of service.”

When the idea behind a creative product is part of a personal story that rings true, it adds value. Potential buyers will relate, especially when it is perceived that the artist is authentic.


Collage by Dena Leibowitz, available as a greeting card. Read her story at


Leibowitz describes her thinking about the initial audience she wanted to reach. “My work has always been to support the journey of those who are in recovery from drugs and alcohol. Either a card for themselves or to be given to their family and friends. It’s a way of sharing emotions that may not have been so easy to express through dialogue.”

Recovery is a word used loosely that can be applied to anyone who is on a healing path. Leibowitz has found her cards can be used to help comfort a grieving loved one, support a friend who has lost a job, or uplift during a time of illness.

“They can be used to inspire a positive outlook to your day,” she continues. “They can be a reminder to the person with the emotion that is represented in the collage that they are not alone, that you are with them. My cards can be an affirmation to a person to keep going on their path.”

Tapping into those emotional needs of customers has been affirming to Leibowitz as well. She states, “I put my intention and expression into each piece. However, I’ve found that each viewer has interpreted my cards in an exclusive way. This is the beauty of art and of what I am offering.”


Collage by Dena Leibowitz, available as a greeting card. See her work at


She is currently marketing her line of recovery cards, primarily in the wholesale marketplace. I asked her how she has gained traction in her niche, and she shared these strategies:

  1. My company website displays my complete collection with a detailed description of who I am and the back story of each card. I am selling wholesale only at this time.
  2. I use Facebook ads quite often on my business page to direct customers to my website. It has served to be a way of broadening my exposure.
  3. I also have an Etsy shop with a handful of my greetings cards for retail purchases.
  4. I send direct marketing mailers to treatment centers throughout the country and internationally, as well as to bookstores that carry recovery reading material.
  5. I approach my local bookstore markets by way of walk-ins, focusing on the stores that cater to the audiences in recovery from drugs and alcohol.
  6. Word of mouth has spread the word about my greeting cards. These sales have been very rewarding and full of surprises.


Have you used personal experience to connect with a niche market for your own work?


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  1. Rachel Rubin says

    I am deeply moved & inspired by this process of healing. Recovery is such a personal experience yet it’s so dependent on sharing with others. You become mindful of your specific needs in fighting addiction but at the same time you become strong by helping someone else cope, listen, and heal. The people you meet become a pseudo family and actually might be the 1st time you learn that it is possible and very rewarding to create a “family” without dysfunction….. Well as close to that as possible. When you see these cards you can easily connect with the art and they truly sing out a persons name that could really use thoughtful emotion conveyed through creativity & compassion.

  2. Cathie Morgan says

    This is lovely. True life is about these recovery emotions. Is there a link to get me to the sight?

  3. Beautiful and wonderful. It’s so important for those recovering and those on the road to recovery to know that there is someone who can relate – and to know it’s not “just them” going through/who has gone through something. It’s so encouraging to see someone who has, in essence, made it to the other side. Thank you for sharing your true and raw emotion through your art.

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