Back in the ancient world when the Chinese or Greeks exchanged drawings with notes to express feelings, it was more than just a scroll. One may call them the first iteration of the greeting cards. Fast forward to the 1400s when handmade greeting cards were sold and exchanged on Valentine’s day. This one ‘day’ may have been the gamechanger in the greeting card industry. From then till date, it has grown to become a million-dollar industry – something even Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank USA also invested in.
The legacy of the greeting card business can be traced to the ‘Hall Brothers’ – Joyce Clyde Hall and his older brothers, William and Rollie. They began the Norfolk Post Card Company in 1901. What began as a postcard company that sold cards out of their bookstore in Nebraska USA, went on to become the largest manufacturer of greeting cards in the USA. Their most popular item was ‘Christmas letters’. They are even said to have invented the ‘wrapping paper’.
This company soon rebranded itself to “Hallmark” with a crown logo. In 1980, Hallmark Cards acquired Valentine & Sons of Dundee, Scotland, one of the world’s oldest publishers of picture postcards. They grew their business by various licensing agreements using popular characters from Disney, Dr Suess, Start Trek, The Simpsons & even Marvel comics, including many others.
Even though times have continually changed, the greeting card ignites a sense of nostalgia and that extra special feeling of receiving. That’s why when Kevin O’Leary saw LovePop’s pitch on Shark Tank, it was a no-brainer investment for his bouquet of companies. The only differentiator of LovePop Inc. is that they have been able to secure a patent on “Pop-up greeting card with tab support of a laser-cut, slice-form pop-up element”. This critical IP asset is a major value addition to the company. This not only makes these cards unique but also the process proprietary in nature. Today, LovePop Inc. is valued at over $ 20 million and growing.
Who could have imagined, that a humble piece of folded, illustrated paper, could generate a whole new category in a business? And that too a business that sustains through centuries and survives wars, pandemics & helps people celebrate the occasions in their lives.