What started 25 years ago initially as a means of paying for the next batch of materials to enable enthusiastic nature photographer Scott Morrish to develop his stunning images has evolved into Glebe Cottage/The Eco-Friendly Card Company, a trailblazing greeting card, calendar and stationery business that has eco-credentials as well as a commitment to the independent retailer right at its core.
As part of its 25th anniversary celebrations, the Devon-based publisher is to commit to a series of different charity projects.
As Sue Morrish, who co-owns Glebe Cottage with her photographer husband Scott, explains: “With this being the 25th anniversary since we started the company we wanted to mark it by giving something back to society by supporting a different charity project every month for a year.”
Sue and Scott are kicking off this ‘anniversary programme of giving’ by supporting Toilet Twinning, a water and sanitation charity that aims to ‘flush away poverty, one toilet at a time’.
The Glebe Cottage twinned toilet is located in a village in Malawi, South East Africa. Sounds unusual yes, but then Glebe Cottage has never followed the normal path.
However, it was the ‘call of nature’ of a different kind that is the very reason the publishing company exists, and why a commitment to having the utmost environmental credentials has been part of its DNA since its inception.
Having graduating from art college, Scott set his heart on becoming the UK’s answer to Ansel Adams, striding out over the moors and into the wilderness of Devon to take photographs and then developing them in the garden shed of Glebe Cottage where he lived with his parents.
It was when he got to know ‘the girl next door’ (Sue’s parents moved there and she came home in her university holidays) that things started to take off, both romantically and businesswise.
“Scott would make a few cards featuring his photographs, which he could sell to pay for the materials to enable him to develop his next batch of photographs,” explained Sue.
To begin with, as a tiny publishing company, Sue admits to feeling “rather powerless to be able to make a real difference, but by working with suppliers, investigating possibilities and remaining steadfast in our ethos we started to make progress”.
Indeed, Glebe Cottage was the first DTR card publisher to have its own FSC certification (even today most publishers use their printers’ FSC accreditation), it started wrapping its cards in compostable bags (then made from potato starch) way back in 2006, and has been clearly explaining its eco-credentials on the backs of its cards before the majority of publishers had even thought about doing it.
While Sue and Scott are still to firm up on all the charity projects to fund this year, in addition to the Toilet Twinning, Glebe Cottage has already committed to supporting Verity Orme to do the February Five in aid of mental health charity Mind next February.
Explaining more, Verity says: “I have been fundraising for Mind, the mental health charity, for over ten years undertaking a number of endurance sport challenges. I have discovered that exercise is a good tool for managing my own, sometimes poor, mental health. My February Five challenge combines raising money for Mind with encouraging other people to get active at a gloomy time of year in the hope that it will bolster their mental health.”
Glebe Cottage (now also known at The Eco-Friendly Card Company) will be celebrating its 25th anniversary at Autumn Fair (September 2-5), Hall 4 Stand 44.
A full article appears in the September edition of Progressive Greetings (click to pages 94-95).
Top: A young Sue Morrish in Scott’s bedroom in Glebe Cottage in the very early days of the publishing company.