The story of how Card & Gift Network came to be.
Hi there! My name is Charlotte and I created this website. Here’s the story…
Back in the days of 2009, I was working for a card and gift publisher; a lovely, independent firm that created greeting cards, stationery and gift products.
It was a great place to work, our office was within the obligatory ‘stone-throwing’ distance of a sweet shop (ye olde variety), a bakery and a champagne bar; yep – sweets, cakes and champagne – that’s all of your major food groups right there.
When 2009 hit I had worked there for over six years. In that time I’d been through a whole heap of jobs, from processing the orders and helping customers to analysing product sales and juggling suppliers. By the end I was the Stock Control Manager of a multi-million pound business. My main focus was on products but I also got my first taste of websites, overseeing the creation of our company website.
Over the years working in the industry I met tonnes of people: retailers, suppliers, buyers, artists and fellow publishers. One of my favourite times of year was when we had new products ready to launch. We’d get to visit an exhibition and show off all the new, shiny, glittered and foiled designs. We’d also get a sneaky look at what everyone else in the industry had been developing.
I’m sure you’ll remember that it was in 2009 when all of the credit crunch stuff was starting to hit. The high street and small independents were struggling; it affected a lot of our customers and in turn, it affected us. The result for our company was a need to scale back. Myself and the two lovely ladies I worked with were made redundant. It was a very sad time as I knew I’d no longer be spending my days working with some of my closest friends.
However, in true ‘glass half-full’ fashion I was also a little bit excited about the possibilities of what would come next. My first decision was to return to a role I’d had before my days in the world of cards and gifts and work as a freelance copywriter. Before all the greetings cards, this had revolved around news agencies and sports like Hockey, Rugby and Formula 1; a tad different from the gift industry.
In 2009 however it was all about websites; marketing, social media and most importantly blogging. I loved the idea of blogging, lots of folks all over the world, showing off their lives, opinions, likes and dislikes. The more I thought about it the more it seemed like the perfect medium for the card and gift world. Greetings & giftware companies could use the online world to grow their businesses in ways they could never manage in the real world.
Over the years I’d got to know thousands of companies, big and small putting out tens of thousands of products, several times a year. With that many products from thousands of talented designers, there would always be lots to blog about. Thinking a little closer to home, I knew lots of friends starting out in the industry that had amazing products that only a privileged few knew about.
A blog that could showcase lots of different designers and products seemed like a brilliant way to help card & gift seekers; a ‘one-stop-shop’ for fabulous card and gift products. So with little steps I resolved to create Card & Gift Blog; not the most imaginative name I admit, more of a… “does what it says on the tin.”
Since 2009 a lot has happened. In 10 years I’ve featured thousands of products from across the world.
There’s been well over 1,400 blog posts and more than 3 million visitors but I know there are still thousands of businesses I’ve not yet been able to share with you.
At the start of the year, I was determined to get even more new publishers and makers featured on the site. Life, however, got in the way and I was forced to take a break from the site. For 6 months I wasn’t able to blog, but I was able to plan. During the downtime, I spent a long time thinking about how I could improve the site.
Thinking about the reason I started this website back in 2009 I realised that my core desire was to help greetings and giftware businesses to use the online world to grow; to find their fans, make more sales and prosper.
While the blog can help this in a small way I started to think that the site could make a bigger impact by educating card & gift businesses.
My 10 years of working online had taught me tonnes about digital marketing and eCommerce and when I spoke to publishers, designers and makers I realised that there was a lot of info card and gift companies were missing.
So now as I return back to a new & improved website (other life stuff firmly put back in its place) I’m starting a new phase for Card & Gift Network, offering online courses and workshops, which will give greetings and giftware companies all the knowledge they need to grow their business online.