Nicky Burton, managing director of US card publisher and distributor Calypso, shares her views on the US greeting card market and, as an executive committee member of the US Greeting Card Association has been involved in the plans to launch the UK-initiative in the States this year.
Calypso is a publisher and distributor for a number of notable greeting card publishers, including ArtPress, Jessica Hogarth, Lagom, Liz & Pip, Lola Designs, Louise Tiler, Megan Claire, Rosie Made a Thing, Sooshichacha, Winged Hat, plus licences designs from Mia Hague and Rocket68.
How would you sum up last year?: “2017 was a difficult year in many ways on this side of the Atlantic. The political climate has led to much uncertainty and caution among many, although on the upside, others have resolved to be stronger in face of this upheaval. Natural disasters have also played a major role with terrible hurricanes affecting Florida and Texas, and wildfires devastating parts of California and Oregon, and of course these have had quite an impact on local retailers. 2017 has made it clear that connecting with people is more important than ever.”
What are your expectations of 2018?: “This year will see the introduction of Thinking of You Week in the US, which we are very excited about!
I love the idea of encouraging people to connect through sending cards. We all know the joy of finding a hand written card or letter in the mail and in these days of electronic communication we can become very isolated. A card can really make someone’s day. In addition, I think it is important to communicate to the general public and retailers that the card business is thriving and blossoming with incredible creativity. Thinking of You Week can help get this message across.
It is still in the early stages of planning, but we hope many publishers and retailers will want to get involved, and the events of the last year suggest the US consumer will welcome the initiative. Here at Calypso we believe our efforts facilitate this by giving voice and style to everyone’s desire to connect.”
How is the American greeting card market faring?: “Chain stores are struggling in the face of online shopping, however more independent stores are opening and independent bookstores are thriving and on an upward trend compared to a few years ago.
On the design front, letterpress is still popular, as are text-based designs, although fonts are trending away from the cursive. On finishes, foil continues to be a major trend while on the format front, smaller publishers are very much inclined towards the smaller (4 1/4” x 6 1/16” format.
The US greeting card market continues to be strong, with many retailers reporting that greeting cards keep them in business. This is more evidence that people are looking for connections out in the world instead of solely using social media.”