Growth is good

1214 DragonfliesWhen it comes to product development, I was taught a great lesson by a former PR client ~ the brilliant branding guru Bill O’Connor of Source/Inc back in Chicago. “To create breakthrough products and packaging,” he said, “Look at all the products on the shelves and try to see what’s NOT there.” Our Meanings of Life line began that way about five years ago. I’ve always felt the power of symbols, and found that many other people feel likewise. Here, again, we were addressing the need for relevant and intelligent cards, fun and interesting little anthropological stuff. We began with shoes, ladybugs and dragonflies, and have covered more than 100 icons to date. Meanings of Life has given us the pleasure of hearing people say, “I never imagined I’d learn something from a card!”

So, here we are, with 600 designs, all Made in America using all-natural and recycled materials. Cardthartic is now carried by roughly 2,500 Retail Partners, and it’s because not all those Retail Partners can carry all 600 designs that we sell them online. It’s also why you’ll not find 2,500 stores listed in our Store Locator — we want to send you only to the stores that have a substantial selection there for you. As much as I shop online ~ when it comes to cards and gifts ~ I love nothing more than walking into one of our Retail Partner stores, seeing all the fabulous products they’ve sourced and their ingenious merchandising. Honestly, seeing what they’ve created really fills me up! We also admire the tireless way our wise independent Reps provide service and counsel to these store owners and buyers, as if those stores were their own. Our Director of Customer Care Reet Rawdin says it all the time, “It’s not companies doing business with other companies; it’s people doing business with other people. And we do love our people!”

It astounds me that only three percent of all US women-owned businesses ever generate more than $1 million in annual sales. And that we are proudly and gratefully among them. Looking back, I can’t believe how naive I was starting out, thinking, “How hard can making better cards be?” Now I know the answer is: “Very!” Back at the beginning, I clearly had no idea that creating a good, strong card entails putting people’s innermost emotions into words. Oh, and figuring out how to say Happy Birthday 1001 different ways. As our CEO Ana Behm wrote in a Thanksgiving email: “I feel blessed to be making a small difference in the world, doing work that I love, with wonderful people I enjoy.” Me too. For this, and so much more, I thank my Dad.

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