Hello! My name is Charlotte and I created Card & Gift Blog. Like most people, I've had a varied background: research, copywriting, marketing, and a varied selection of jobs in the greetings card and gift industry. These days I spend my time running an online directory / marketing service called Piccadilly Lane and this here blog. I help designers, makers, publishers and independent retailers spread the word about their products and brands. Using new-fangled technology, blogging and social media I help people get their designs in front of a global audience. For a closer look at my professional life, work experience and specialities take a look at my Linked In profile. For the Story Behind Card & Gift Blog read on ...
Once upon a time, 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 - cakes, sweets and champagne - that's all of your major food groups. I worked there for over six years in total and went through a whole heap of jobs from processing the orders and helping customers; to analysing product sales and juggling suppliers. Over the years, working in the industry I'd met tonnes of people: retailers, suppliers, buyers, artists and fellow publishers. I'd also begun to realise that my favourite time of year was when we had new products ready to launch. We'd get to put a show together 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 with the realisation that 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. 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. 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 needed a little help getting their products noticed, what could be better than a blog? Free publicity that the whole world could easily access. I also thought about my friends in their shops and boutiques; there were buyers using the web more and more to search out new designers that they could go and check out at the shows. Once again a blog that could showcase lots of different designers and products seemed like a perfect fit; a 'one stop shop' for fabulous card and gift products.
So with little steps Card & Gift Blog was launched into the world of blogging. The online world has introduced me to so many brilliant websites, and so many talented designers all over the world. After three years, 730 + blog posts, and 170,000+ visitors, I don't think I've featured even 1% of what is on offer yet. So, with a cup of tea nearby, and my trusty laptop on charge I continue the search for the best greeting cards and gifts.
Ok, the story doesn't quite end there though. In 2011 I started to dream of what else I could do. The blog was offering short term publicity but could I find a way to show off the designers and brands I loved on a long-term basis? I thought, doodled, and hashed things out with friends and family, and soon a plan formed. To create a virtual shopping street, so good it couldn't possibly exist in the real world; a directory filled with the best card and gift designers. Its name is Piccadilly Lane and it opened to the public on 20th February 2013. You can find out more about the site here ... take me to Piccadilly Lane information!
Well, that's brought you up to date. There are a few thoughts and ideas being mulled over (with a cup of tea and biscuit) but it's not quite the time to share them just yet. The blog will hopefully grow - please spread the word *hint hint* and I will constantly try to improve it in every way I can think. If you have any ideas please feel free to email me.