Friday, 28 March 2008

Fair Trade greeting cards from the Green Mountains

Fair Trade Greeting Cards - USA

"(NECN: Burlington, Vermont) - The secret of success, for one greeting card company, lies in the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Himalayan mountains of India. The company is called 'Hope For Women,' and its aim is to pair disadvantaged artisan women with marketing opportunities.

NECN's Anya Huneke has the story.

15-years-ago, Evan Goldsmith took a trip that would change not only his life, but the lives of women halfway across the world. He lived and worked in the Himalayas of India, and ended up meeting a group of artisans crafting hand-made greeting cards.

Evan: "I kept sending the cards home, and people loved them."

The problem was, the women had no access to a market for their products. As a result, they were making very little money for their hard work. Evan returned to the U.S. with a plan. He started an organization in Burlington, Vermont, called "Hope for Women," to provide the women with a marketing resource.

A year and a half ago, with the help of his father, a New York businessman, he brought the fair trade, environmentally-friendly cards to the retail market. The rest, as they say, is history.

As of now, all the cards being sold come from India, but soon, they'll come from El Salvador, too. Hope for Women has just signed on with an artisan group there, so come July, the cards will be sold in stores as well.

Evan: "Right now, we're in over 500 stores across 47 states..."

Including natural foods giant 'Wholefoods.' Scribbles, a stationary store in Burlington, is another retailer. It took little time to convince manager Jane Jarecki that this was a viable product.

JareckI: "The fact that they're local, fair trade, and beautiful for the amount they cost, keeps them flying off the shelf."

50 women in India are behind the 20,000 cards created each month. The cards are crafted using paper made from recycled cotton rags, vegetable-based ink, and pressed flowers, and are packaged in compostable plastic.

Evan: "We're trying to be as complete a package as possible, so there are very few reasons for someone to say, 'no - you're not meeting certain criteria.'

David: "This is a real marketing niche. Being as green and as fair trade as you can be - is becoming something that's going to have a lot of legs."

Amber: "The greatest thing of all - you're doing something where you're making the world a better place."

Better, for sure, for these women, Evan says; many of whom were barely making minimum wage...

Evan: "The ability to make 5-7 times that per day - translates to the ability to put a child in school or get medical security."

Continued... Source (with video)

The UK has long since supported and enjoyed the mutual benefits of Fair Trade Greeting Cards. Shared Earth have supported the work of Salay Handmade Paper Industries who have produced beautiful handmade cards since 1987.

Salay Handmade Paper Industries

available from: Shared Earth

Why don't Cool Cards sell these beautiful cards?
Well... We did at one time! The Cool Cards website was once part of our Fair Trade gift shop. Sadly, our shop closed but Cool Cards lived on and did sell Salay cards. One drawback of the Internet is that it is very difficult to convey the fine detail, beauty and quality of these handmade cards on-line. Our card ranges change over time depending on customer choices. We are continually on the hunt for Fair Trade, environmentally friendly cards and wide open to suggestions!

Learn more about Fair Trade:
Fairtrade Foundation
Wiki: Fair trade
Oxfam: Make Trade Fair
British Association for Fair Trade Shops

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Positive Ageing Greeting Cards

Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional...

By 2050 around 50% of the UK population will be over the age of 50.

Might it be that a more positive view of ageing is not only effective in reducing negative stereotypes of ageing but can bring about positive health and social benefits?

We have come to recognise discrimination in respect of race, gender, sexuality, religion and disability - older age has yet to receive the same acknowledgement.

The greeting card industry has a role to play and is, sadly, all too often seen to reinforce negative stereotypical views of older age.

“Seniors are often invisible in our society, which is very sad. I don’t think it’s going to stay that way once the baby boomers get older. They are going to become very prevalent in society. They are going to be out there advocating for their rights and the rights of seniors, and as they become more noticeable and out there in society, you’re going to start seeing some changes.”
Applied Social Psychology student Shannon Ellis.

"Age is mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter"
(Mark Twain)

Our collection shows that it doesn't always have to be that way...
Cool Cards : Positive Ageing Greeting Cards
Cool Cards Blog:
Greeting Cards betray attitudes toward elderly

Google : Positive Ageing

"A 97-year-old man from Dorset is believed to have become Britain's oldest skydiver after jumping out of a plane at 10,000ft (3,048m).

George Moyse, who will celebrate his 98th birthday on Wednesday, landed safely on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

Mr Moyse, of Bournemouth, who was strapped to an instructor, carried out a freefall for the first 5,000ft (1,524m) at nearly 120mph (193kmh).

He is raising money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Mr Moyse was joined by his 43-year-old grandson, Edward Brewer, who also completed a tandem jump in aid of the Royal Air Force Association.

After the jump Mr Moyse said: "It was lovely, I really enjoyed it, I wasn't frightened at all.

"It was the first time but it won't be the last."

Mr Moyse said that he was an outgoing person who put his old age and agility down to luck.

"I do not sit around, I get about, I go for a walk every day and I do my own cooking, washing, ironing, everything," he said. "I have just been lucky to be so agile."

Earlier, Mr Brewer, of Petersfield, Hampshire, said: "This is all my grandfather's idea; he has supported the RNLI all his life so they were the obvious beneficiaries when he decided he really wanted to do the jump."

In 2008, RNLI lifeguards in the south west responded to about 8,400 incidents on the beach, helping nearly 10,000 people and saving 39 lives.

The charity operates more than 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 100 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK"

Source: BBC News - with video

Monday, 10 March 2008

Greeting Cards to Exceed US$27 Billion by 2010

Global Market for Greeting Cards to Exceed US$27 Billion by 2010, According to a New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

"Greeting cards industry, worldwide, is expected to witness significant growth in the future. Major factors fueling the growth include increasing aging population, which represents a heavier card-giving segment and innovative trends such as the customization of cards by mass retailers to suit specific markets. Global market for greeting cards is projected to exceed US$27.6 billion in value and 25.8 billion units in volume by 2010.

San Jose, CA (PRWEB) March 5, 2008 -- High levels of innovation, and product development characterize the greeting cards market. Low entry barriers associated with the cards industry has additionally unleashed a torrent of new product innovations, keeping card publishers on the run. Another distinct trend worthwhile to note, is the move towards reorganization in the market, as players reorient strategies and realign their businesses to better reflect the changing competitive dynamics, and remain viable and competitive in the maturing market.

The fleeting landscape of greeting cards is fraught with the capriciously changing consumer values, ideas, shifting demographics, and changing technology. The toughest challenge confronting market participants is the need to maintain sharp focus amid perpetual change.

The US and Europe, which jointly hold onto more than three-quarters of the global greeting cards market are vying for the top spot. Volume Sales in the United States, the largest market for greeting cards are estimated at 9 billion units in 2007. Asia-Pacific represents the third-largest greeting cards market globally, with estimated value and volume shares of 12.51% and 11.45% respectively in 2007. The region is also expected to emerge as the fastest-growing regional market during the period, 2000-2010, registering a compounded annual growth rate of 6.21% in terms of value and 6.16% in terms of volume. Worldwide sales of Christmas/New Year Cards are projected to exceed 7.68 billion units by 2009".

Source: PRWeb