Card publishers and retailers are showing an unfaltering commitment to spread the love in these ongoing very difficult times, providing wonderful examples of the generosity of spirit in our industry and the power and importance of greeting cards.
The GCA’s brand new Thinking of You website (www.thinkingofyouweek.cards/) is being populated by the day with so many of these great stories.
Heidi and Dominic Early, co-owners of Earlybird Designs, the card publishing and retail business has launched #connectwithcards campaign which has kicked off with the Early family delivering free cards (ready stamped) to all the residents in the two neighbouring streets of their home in Canterbury, Kent.
“We wanted to do something positive for our neighbourhood and get our children doing something that they would remember as having had a positive impact,” explains Heidi Early. The first stage of the campaign saw Heidi and Dominic’s 13 year old son Oliver package up 72 of the publisher’s mini rainbow cards, put a stamp on each envelope and then their 11 year old daughter Amelia’s hand delivered them with a note to all the neighbours on their two local streets.
“The note explained that this was a card for them to send to someone they wanted to connect with during lockdown offering that we could take it to the post box too if that was an issue,” explains Heidi. The response to this selfless activity has been overwhelming. “Wow, I am soooo pleased we did it,” adds Heidi. “I have had so many text message and phone calls thanking us, from people
I’ve never even met. People have been really keen to tell us who they are sending the card to: the local hospital, grandparents, a friend in Uruguay, another going to Belgium, a grandson, a friend looking after someone. Someone even popped a postcard in our door thanking us for such a kind gesture. It has completely warmed my heart and connected us with so many local people.”
As she points out: “It proves once again how important cards are to us and our mental wellbeing.”
Thinking of You, but not just for a week!
This is just one of the many ‘feelgood’ stories that are and will be featured on the new consumer-facing Thinking of You Week website which went live at the start of this week. While the official Week falls in September (21-27), the idea is that it will be a hub of good news stories and imagery all year round.
Creating the new Thinking of You Week website has been a real collaboration between GCA Council members, Raj Arora, md of Davora, Karen Wilson, co-owner of Paper Salad and the GCA’s ceo Amanda Fergusson, with the content provided by members. Built by card publisher Davora’s sister business, Nettl of Stockport, the livery and design of the toolkit was provided by Paper Salad. “We all agreed it was important that the site shows how greeting cards can play a vital role in the current coronavirus situation, much as they did during the war, I guess. Greeting cards are a beautiful way to demonstrate human connection, particularly in this time of social distancing – they are truly social media!” commented Raj.
The site has been designed to provide support to publishers, retailers and schools on how to get involved with Thinking of You Week, but also to share examples of the industry contributing to society through cards as well as a gallery of relevant designs.
Among the lovely examples of the industry paying it forward are…
Emma Bryan Designs
Illustrator Emma Bryan, has just made her Softly Spoken range of greeting cards available to the public to download for free on her website. The Surbiton-based greeting card publisher launched the Softly Spoken range back in January before the pandemic hit, as the collection features messages of positivity and support, they have become even more poignant since the government asked everyone to stay inside.
“Coming from an industry where connecting is our key purpose, I started to think about the ways the public will stay in touch with loved ones during an extended period of lock-down. As customers can’t get into retailers to find my cards at the moment I decided to offer them for free on my website.”
Emma’s designs can be downloaded without signup and used as an insert in an email or printed out and posted. Consumers can also purchase a real card with free P&P which Emma will write on the purchaser’s behalf and send.
“The key message at the moment is to stay at home but that doesn’t have to mean stop connecting. I wish that the government had chosen to called it Physical Distancing, rather than Social Distancing – social is going to be more important than ever!” says Emma.
The talents of the two co-founders of Lanther Black, Jack Parker and Dominque Miranda go way beyond greeting card publishing as the last few months has seen them return to their film making skills to bring joy in these troubling times.
The latest masterpiece, in which they both star and voice, covers the trials and tribulations of the ‘stay at home’ life for couples. The film, entitled Pairsolation: A guide to isolation for couples is hosted on YouTube.
Click the video below to see Lanther Black’s latest ‘blockbuster’.
Out of the Box Designs
Jenny Baker, owner of Out of the Box Designs has put her greeting card talents to good use by joining the Cofight-19 Campaign#FightTheFear which brings together creative ideas to provide practical support, comfort, inspiration and hope in this global health crisis. Jenny has created free postcard templates for children to colour and send to their friends, neighbours or family. The postcard templates, together with more about the initiative are available from a blog post on the publisher’s website download the postcards here.
The publisher has also added stamps to its site so that any member of the public ordering cards can also order stamps. Plus, for every four cards they order, an additional free card will also be sent.
Anyone who has stories to share for the Thinking of You site, should contact Amanda Fergusson on firstname.lastname@example.org.