Cardies gear up for Thinking Of You Week

Host of activities by retailers and publishers to kick off sending all those paper hugs

 

Address books at the ready – who are you sending a card to for Thinking Of You Week as it kicks off on Monday?

The greeting card industry is gearing up for the annual Send A Card Deliver A Smile love fest initiative instigated by the GCA, that runs over 18-24 September, with publishers and retailers of all sizes joining in the action across the country to create a personal connection and sense of well-being.

Above: New York state of mind for Austin & Co
Above: New York state of mind for Austin & Co

Actually, Austin & Co is taking things global with its bespoke New York card specially designed for the Malvern indie by Dandelion Stationery founder Jo Wilson, as owner Sean Austin is off to the Big Apple midweek.

“Given the volume of cards we sell in Malvern, every week is Thinking Of You Week,” Sean said, “but we still want to mark this special week in the greeting card calendar so we’re handing out a bespoke greeting card.

“The plan is for the recipient of the card to use the free card that’s enclosed to do the same. For example, to send it on to someone they haven’t seen for a while, someone they miss, or just because.”

Above: Chirpy and Heyyy Cards are helping Breast Cancer Now
Above: Chirpy and Heyyy Cards are helping Breast Cancer Now

It’s all about charity for Heyyy Cards where owners Dan and Yvette Clarkson are teaming up with indie retailer Jo McBeath at Chirpy in Chapel Allerton for an event next Saturday, 23 September, offering a personalised printing service of their latest Two Finger Salute Henries-finalist collection featuring American Sign Language (ASL), alongside a raffle, cake sale and fun activities.

“Cards are the backbone of Chirpy,” Jo said, “and our customers love the great ranges we always have in stock. Heyyy’s cards have been a great addition to Chirpy and we particularly love the Two Finger Salute range.

“As I previously had breast cancer myself, every year we raise money for the Breast Cancer Now charity so this seemed the perfect opportunity to link the two. We’re so grateful to some wonderful local artists, makers and businesses who have donated some great prizes and hope to raise lots of money.”

Yvette added: “We first met Jo at this year’s PG Live, where she complimented our new sign language cards. When she asked if we’d be willing to offer a personalised service on this range for TOYW we thought this was a brilliant idea.

“Sending cards is such a personal and creative way to show loved ones that you’re thinking of them and being able to donate proceeds of the card sales to such a valued charity makes the event even more rewarding.

“We will be giving customers the opportunity to order a card with the name of a loved one or friend in ASL, in a choice of four colours, printed on the day in store. What better way to show someone you’re thinking of them!”

Above: Danilo has discounts ready for online customers
Above: Danilo has discounts ready for online customers

Meanwhile Danilo is offering a special 20% discount on all cards sold through its website throughout the week, while Danilo Loyalty members will receive 25% discount, and the licensed greetings and calendar publisher also has social media posts and dedicated emailers planned.

Pencil Me In is also helping charity with its range of TOYW cards donated by six of the independent publishers stocked by owner Sarah Holmes at the Elgin shop, who has also designed some herself, and all profits from both online and in-store sales of the collection will go to the Tiny Changes mental health charity in Scotland.

Above & top: St James’ pupils with (from left) teacher Neil Carruthers, Stripey Cats’ Jonathan Crosby and head Andrew Beattie
Above & top: St James’ pupils with (from left) teacher Neil Carruthers, Stripey Cats’ Jonathan Crosby and head Andrew Beattie

Jonathan Crosby has gone back to his roots as the Stripey Cats co-owner has hooked up with his old school, Whitehaven St James’ Juniors to donate a supply of cards for the pupils to write and send to friends and family.

His childhood pals Neil Carruthers and Andrew Beattie are now both on staff at the school where kindness and respect are key values, and Jonathan said: “It’s quite a special thing to return to the classroom and engage with the children and witness their enthusiasm for card sending.”

Head teacher Andrew added: “Seeing the children exchange messages is a lovely thing, and shows the power of a handwritten note as opposed to an email or text. Many are keen to write a positive message to a family member, footy coach and even the lady who volunteers to clean the streets round the school.

“Also, it’s great for our children to hear a former pupil’s story as a successful entrepreneur and we want to thank Jonathan for engaging with us.”

For Neil, the “amazing idea” is a “positive boost” for the pupils, and he said: “We all get so used to sending messages digitally these days that you sometimes forget how much more meaningful and thoughtful a written note or card can be, especially when unexpected. It’s all about spreading those positive vibes!”

Above: Surprise paper hugs from Ginger Betty
Above: Surprise paper hugs from Ginger Betty

Small publisher Ginger Betty has been spreading the love all month, with all wholesale carriage-paid orders receiving a free pack of thinking of you cards and one of keepsakes.

Founder Tracey Colliston explained: “We have lots of cards to show someone you’re thinking of them. There doesn’t need to be a special occasion to send a card, receiving one feels special in itself especially when it’s unexpected – a surprise paper hug!”

Above: All Raspberry Blossom customers get a special card to send and they were popular in the special GCA section at Top Drawer, where the GCA’s Amanda Fergusson (left) and Adriana Lovesy are pictured
Above: All Raspberry Blossom customers get a special card to send and they were popular in the special GCA section at Top Drawer, where the GCA’s Amanda Fergusson (left) and Adriana Lovesy are pictured

The lovely card Raspberry Blossom designed for TOYW is being placed with every order until next Sunday, along with a ready-stamped envelope, as creative Rebecca Green said: “For our customers to spread a little more love and send a card on us.”

And 500 of the cards, printed by Graphite Creative with envelopes donated by Enveco, were also available at Top Drawer A/W earlier this week where visitors and exhibitors stepped up write it to someone then popped it in the special postbox created by packaging experts N Smith, and all the cards have now been sent with postage covered by show organiser Clarion Events.

Above: Paper Salad is one of the publishers featured in Red Card’s window
Above: Paper Salad is one of the publishers featured in Red Card’s window

CardzoneScribblerSainsbury’sCard Factory, Tesco, and Asda are also signed up for TOYW 2023, while Royal Mail is supporting the event again with a with a special postmark which will be printed on all mail stamped and posted during the week with the message “Send A Card, Deliver A Smile for Thinking Of You Week”.

At Earlybird there are of plenty of colourful cards in its Stoke Newington shop front, and there’s a wonderful themed window display at Red Card in Petworth, supported by card publishers including Paper Salad, and owner Sally Matson has been posting on social media: “When was the last time you sent a card just because? Just because you miss someone, or someone did something lovely for you, or that special person made you laugh, or you haven’t told your partner you love them lately, or because someone is lonely?

Above: Earlybird has gone for a colourful display of relevant cards
Above: Earlybird has gone for a colourful display of relevant cards

“Remember the joy of opening a card? That feeling of knowing someone cares. Honestly, you can change someone’s day with a card. This is not about money, this is about spreading joy and showing you care. Make a card, buy a card, find a pack of notelets in the drawer and send a few – take five minutes to deliver a smile.”

Above: Lovely Labradors feature in Cardies’ TOYW window, and Orberry’s up for delivery duties
Above: Lovely Labradors feature in Cardies’ TOYW window, and Orberry’s up for delivery duties

Over in Stevenage Cardies owner Jo Sorrell has included her lovely Labradors in the window design reminding customers it’s Thinking Of You Week, and she’s also auctioning off chief meeter and greeter Orberry’s services as a delivery dog!

“He will drop your card off – accompanied by the hooman – in person,” Jo explained on her Facebook post, saying bids can be placed by direct message on the platform and the highest bid wins. The address must be in the town, and all funds raised will be donated to the Garden House Hospice.

There’s a special selection of Lucilla Lavender cards at Stationery Supplies in Marple, where £2 from each sale will be donated to the town’s dementia drop-in centre, and owner Sarah Laker has also teamed up with supplier Pilot Pen UK to give a free pen to every customer who buys one of the designs.

Above: Sarah Laker has free pens for customers of Stationery Supplies TOYW selection
Above: Sarah Laker has free pens for customers of Stationery Supplies TOYW selection

Sarah explained: “There’s something really rather lovely about sending someone a card. Whether it be for a celebration of life, birthday, anniversary, birth or death, or maybe just because to say that you’re thinking of them or that you love them, or for so many other reasons.

“And it can be done for less than the price of a takeaway coffee including a card and a second-class stamp – to anywhere in the UK!”

There is still time to get involved with lots of ideas and downloadable assets available on the TOYW website.

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