I am sitting alone in my studio today reflecting on a busy week in which I have made some lovely connections across the greeting card industry. As well as meeting wonderful people, I have walked 60,000+ steps, helped to raise money and awareness for Motor Neurone Disease Association, marched at Pride London and investigated a new avenue for printing my products. Much of this has been made possible through the Greeting Card Association who work to promote card sending and support their member publishers.
Perhaps you saw on my Instagram feed that I was training for an epic sponsored walk, and on Thursday 29th June, I set off at 5.30am to travel into London to walk 25 miles with industry colleagues in aid of Motor Neurone Disease. The walk was organised by Cardgains, coordinated by Miles from House of Cards Ltd, and undertaken in memory of David Hicks, a colleague who died last year. I didn't know anyone well, but by the end we had bonded over our shared experience. We set off at 8am at quite a pace, and I fell into step with a diverse group all connected by greeting cards, from creatives to agents to production. We shared our blisters, aches, and personal stories, laughed a lot, saw some parts of London that I've never been to and arrived back at base for a well-earned drink not long after 3pm. That evening we shared a meal and a few glasses before exhaustion sent us home to bed, having raised over £40,000.
Two days later, I was back in London connecting with a different group of greeting card colleagues at Pride London, to march on behalf of the Greeting Card Association with the message to "Send a card with pride." I don't think any of us knew how our group would be received by those lining the route, but love was all around and the crowd couldn't get enough of the 10,000 free cards that we were handing out. It was another unique way to experience the capitol, dancing in the streets and handing out paper joy. The smiles told their own story.
Mid week, I headed up to Thame to visit Windles, a litho print company. It was fascinating to watch my design go from screen to aluminium plate to paper inside their impressive factory and explore the possibilities. I left buzzing with ideas, having met another lovely set of friendly people ready to answer questions and share their expertise with smaller publishers.
It is one of the unique anomalies of the greeting card industry that we are a diverse mix of large corporate businesses and small independent artists, all producing designs for greeting cards, technically in competition, yet we are all saying something slightly different, so no one minds sharing what they know. This is just one of the things that I love about being an independent greeting card designer.
Today I am alone again in my studio reflecting on my amazing week. Yesterday, the Retas awards took place in London to celebrate the wonderful shops who sell cards like mine to the public. I know that it would have been a room full of fun, warmth and love, like other events that I have attended. These emotions are an extension of the sentiments that we put into our card designs and send out into the world. Our cards are about connections and the greeting card industry certainly practices what it preaches.
Peace and love,