Friday, February 15, 2008

A Passion for Cards

I just got off the phone with a reporter from the New York Times Sunday Business section. She was exploring the impact Sandra Boynton has had on the greeting card industry, and was interested in my perspective on how the industry has changed over the years, where it is today and what the National Stationery Show means to the greeting card business. I had a lot to say!

I talked about the Show and its history – did you know the first Show was at the Hotel New Yorker in private suites? It then moved to the New York Coliseum formerly on Columbus Circle and remained there for at least 35 years. Javits has been its home since. The Show was started for the “carriage” trade – department stores primarily – to do business with greeting card companies. Norcross was among the early greeting card exhibitors, as was Gibson Greetings, Hallmark and American Greetings.

In any event, in reflecting on the last 20 years and Boynton’s impact, I commented that she fueled the alternative card movement. In the early 80’s hundreds of new card company companies entered the industry. These companies didn’t deliver traditional seasonal/occasion cards; they presented cards that talked candidly, tenderly, humorously, acerbically about the day to day “non-occasions” in our lives. Companies like Nobleworks, Paper Moon, Palm Press, Colors By Design, and Avanti were among the early leaders – in addition to, of course, Recycled Paper Products which published Sandra Boynton for 30+ years…

The industry has continued to grow, thrive and prosper – even in our “techy” age where thumbs and index fingers do the communicating. Cards help people communicate in the most personal way. And all reports for the industry are favorable; there is actually a backlash to the impersonalization of our social culture. Cards are the perfect antidote to this, and if we end up in a longish economic slump, cards serve an even greater purpose as gift and sentiment in one!

Do you send a lot of cards? What is your favorite kind of mail to receive? Leave us a comment to let us know! Personally, I love the “happy mail” – anything hand-addressed with a pretty stamp.

Have a great long weekend,



  1. I just absolutely love your blog. As a stationery designer, I have learned quite alot from reading your posts. I will be attending the Stationery Show in NY this year, although not exhibiting (haven't found the courage to do so yet) I love to go see what's new each year.

  2. I love to send and receive "just because" mail...the kind that has no particular purpose (such as a birthday or holiday) except to say hi and let someone know you are thinking about them. It's always a pleasant surprise to find those unexpected handwritten notes in your daily pile of bills and junk mail.


  3. I love to give and receive cards, usually my own, but if I find other stationery I find beautiful I will buy it and stash it away for special occasions. I usually send a hand written note for a thank you for a wedding, dinner party or lunch and sometimes just to say hi. I know how nice it is to receive something handwritten in the mail. I will pass the habit onto my own children as my mum did for me.

    Love reading your blog, all the way from Australia. I aim to get to the show one day in the future!