13 Things Your Card Store Won’t Tell You on Valentine’s Day

Yes, you can buy greeting cards practically anywhere these days. You can even craft your own Valentines, but could you make it a business? Probably not.

from Reader's Digest (UK) | February 2011

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.

Beware the "funny" Valentine.

You can buy an anti-Valentine's card with a message like "Love sucks", 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"?

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.

There's always something to celebrate.

You can congratulate your pals on their divorce, gay wedding 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.

I have a top shelf, too.

It's where I keep the raunchy 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.

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.

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.

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.

Fart jokes are best-sellers.

There's an insatiable appetite for toilet humor, and companies from Hallmark to Zazzle (which features 193 unsavory designs) know it.

We're multicultural.

There are cards for Eid, Diwali and Hanukkah, but we're not multiracial. You won't find many cards featuring ethnic minorities, which can be a problem when it comes to weddings or births.

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.

I sell cards for ages up to 100,

and for diamond anniversaries, too (they're not always on show). In England, you'll get a card from the Queen then, though you'll have to wait five more years for the next.

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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