Card Factory Moves Towards Better Representation Of Diversity In Its Card Selection

Card Factory, the UK’s largest greeting card retailer has committed to improving its representation of diversity within its greeting card selection.

Jo Bennett, studio director of the Wakefield-based greeting card retailer, underlined the retail business’ commitment on this front during a recent GCA Diversity in the Greeting Card Industry meeting. (https://www.pgbuzz.net/gca-meeting-brought-publishers-and-retailers-together-to-discuss-diversity-in-the-industry-and-initiate-progress-on-this-front/)

Above: Jo Bennett, studio director for Card Factory on the recent Zoom meeting at which she stated the intention to initiate change in Card Factory’s card selection on the diversity front.
Above: Jo Bennett, studio director for Card Factory on the recent Zoom meeting at which she stated the intention to initiate change in Card Factory’s card selection on the diversity front.

As a GCA member, having heard about the meeting, Jo was keen to participate on Card Factory’s behalf, especially as it coincided with the company’s internal discussions about how best to address its current paucity of greeting card designs which cater for the BAME community.

“We have 1,000 stores and have over 10,000 people working in them,” relayed Jo at the meeting. “We have had a lot more people coming forward, our work colleagues as well as customers, saying that we do not have cards to represent black and ethnic minorities. This is something we are very keen to address,” Jo added.

Giving her assurance that this is something “we will action,” Jo cited the example of how the retailer has upped its game over the last few years in catering for LGBTQ community by including greeting cards which recognise these card sending needs.

Above: The last couple of years has seen Card Factory expand its selection of designs for the LBGTQ community.
Above: The last couple of years has seen Card Factory expand its selection of designs for the LBGTQ community.

With Card Factory’s online side becoming more active, Jo highlighted this channel as one strand that could easily lend itself to making diverse designs available to all, inviting the many black-owned card publishing businesses attending the meeting to make contact with Card Factory.

On Card Factory’s instore representation of diverse cards, Jo explained that the “commercial side” as well as the logistics of running 1,000 stores presented challenges, but not insurmountable ones, highlighting how the retailer’s selection is tailored to the socio demographics of the stores’ location, by accommodating regional differences on the captioning front, for example.

Above: Weddings is one area where it is most likely to feature figurative illustrations. Card Factory recognises it needs to include more skin tones.
Above: Weddings is one area where it is most likely to feature figurative illustrations. Card Factory recognises it needs to include more skin tones.

While recognising how a decision to initially create a display feature instore of diverse cards (something that is logistically easier for Card Factory to execute than integrating designs into the planned displays) could be misconstrued  as ‘tokenism’, Jo also stressed the point that this would be a way of “advertising” to customers that the cards were in stock.

“I think we have to start somewhere,” says Jo. “It would signal a ‘look they’re here’, after which we could then look at integrating in certain designs into the main displays.” As she stressed: “We are very glad to be part of this discussion and play our part in making real change.”

Above: Jo Bennett (top row, second right) joined publishers, other retailer representatives at the GCA instigated meeting about diversity in the sector.
Above: Jo Bennett (top row, second right) joined publishers, other retailer representatives at the GCA instigated meeting about diversity in the sector.

Top: Card Factory employs 10,000 people. The comments from its staff as well as customers have reinforced the management’s decision to improve the diversity on its cards.

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