When faced with a project challenge of having to raise £1,000 to fund a school trip to Iceland, 14 year old Adie Matson turned her hand to cards – not playing poker, but setting up her own greeting card publishing business. And it’s paying off.
Mind you, her connections to the industry are pretty close to home, as her mum is Sally Matson, is owner of award-winning greeting card retail store, Red Card in Petworth.
Having decided to set up a greeting card publishing company (featuring her own artwork of animals and birds), Adie accepted that she would benefit on a steer on what is involved in putting a professional range together. Adie is grateful of the “helpful and supportive” advice she received from card publisher Jo Wilson, founder of Dandelion Stationery last summer when she in the formative stage of her publishing business.
With the first range of cards now published under the Red Turtle Cards brand, Adie’s sales and marketing programme has kicked off – and following a ‘pop up stall’ at a recent parents’ evening event at her school, plus being available from Red Cards’ shop, she has already sold out of the hare card design. The plan now is to expand her retail stockists.
* Adie shares some of the growing pains and gains of setting up Red Turtle Cards:
What have you enjoyed the most about setting up your card company?
“What I have enjoyed most is drawing the animals. But the thing I find most exciting is when the cards arrive from being printed and I get to put them in their cellophane packets. I also loved setting up my stand to sell my cards at school.”
What aspect have you found the most difficult?
“Figuring out what I want to draw, when they need to be drawn by and having to re-draw/abandon a drawing I’ve started if they are not good enough.”
Why is your company so-called?
“I chose the name because my Mum’s shop is called Red Card and I wanted my company to be linked with it. But there is a story behind the turtle part. My old maths teacher would tell us to draw “a mushroom called Colin” or “a turtle called Alan” if we had finished a piece of work before anyone else had. So I drew a tortoise instead of a turtle and I liked the simple drawing and thought it would be a good logo.”
What is your view of greeting cards generally?
“My Mum occasionally takes me to trade shows where I get to see all the different card ranges. I love cards with art on them because you see really original styles that are beautiful and you wouldn’t get them in art galleries or find them on the Internet.
I have met Ilona Drew [of I Drew This] – her art cards are my favourite.”
Could the card industry do anything better to engage with the next generation (you and your friends!) and encourage card sending?
“This is a difficult question. Most young people only use cards that their parents get for them to send. I do still love receiving cards from friends and I know people my age prefer getting funny cards.”
* PGBuzz put one of the indutsry’s fiercest critics, Red Cards’ Sally Matson in the spotlight for her views on the emerging publisher’s inaugural card range.
What are your first impressions of the Red Turtle Cards?
“I think the presentation is very professional – I like the blurb on the reverse, the logo and the Kraft envelopes. I think the trade price of £1 per card is in line with current pricing across the board.”
What do make of the animal subject matter?
“Red Card sells a huge amount of cards with animal images on them, and I think Adie has chosen her subjects well. Her best sales reflect what I have already found as a card retailer – hares, foxes and owls are best sellers. To increase the range, I am pleased to hear that Adie is now looking at seasonal images, rabbits and baby animals for Spring and Easter, and traditional robins and deer for Christmas, and I think this will work well.”
* Adie can be contacted via her Instagram @redturtlecards