10 Things Greeting Card Shop Owners Won't Tell You

Reader s Digest Magazine

1. Valentine's Day is one of my most profitable times, after Mother's Day and Christmas.
I just don't like the fact that $3 is all you're prepared to spend on a card for your beloved.

2. You can buy an anti-Valentine's card with a message like "Love stinks", but I'd advise against it. People like a dash of realism along with romance, but which would you rather read - "You rock" or "You'll do"?

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3. Your fireplace, cubicle and fridge are my lifeline.
I don't see you switching to e-cards any time soon. Only 14% of you sent e-greetings last year - and of those, only five in 100 were willing to pay. People like cards they can display.

4. There's always something to celebrate.
You can congratulate your pals on their divorce, or successful IVF, even your kids on losing their braces. And when it comes to achievement, nothing's too obscure. I can offer you cards praising your prowess in fashion, martial arts and dieting.

5. I have a top shelf, too.
It's where I keep the cards unsuitable for family viewing. More than two million are bought each year. I sometimes hide them inside "modesty sleeves" marked 18, so staff won't sell them to children.

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6. Birthday-card sales are rising. - 92% of you buy them. Four out of ten buy for Mother's Day, but you're getting Scrooge-like at Christmas, because one in ten have stopped sending cards then.

7. There's a reason for all those teddy bears.
We call it "emotion marketing" because that's what cards are about. True, the rhymes can be icky, but your cliché may be my heartfelt sentiment.

8. Women buy 85% of all cards, but not 85% of the time.
The statistics are skewed because women are in charge of buying them at Christmas.

9. You can buy cards everywhere,because one in six retailers sells them. But it's more difficult to tempt you into stores now there's so much choice online.

10. Anyone can sell handmade cards,or set up a small publishing business. But do the math. At $3.50 a card, you'll have to sell 10,000 to turn over $35,000.

SOURCES: The Greeting Cards Association and Mantle

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