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The Meaning of a Greeting Card

I recently did a show that I will refer to as….”interesting.” It’s the first show I did that left me feeling a little uneasy, like maybe one too many awkward moments in a day. One has stuck with me more than the others. So much so that I wanted to touch on it here.

It always starts with laughter. Laughter and a compliment. “This would be perfect for so-and-so!” “Omg that is so true!” Then comes the “Can I take a photo of this to send to my friend?”

Maybe they didn’t mean it as a burn, but to me, that’s a burn.

Not wanting to upset the customer, I said “sure.” Then I thought about the text that would go out. A shitty picture of a card in a cellophane sleeve. Yuck.

I immediately asked myself why the eff I allowed it. To satisfy someone who opted out of spending $4 in support of a handmade business to send out a text for immediate free gratification?

What if the woman had bought the card? What if she took the time to write a hand-written message inside, address it, stamp it, and send it?

What if the recipient opened her mail box to see a surprise card from her friend, just because?

You see where I’m going with this?

I get that this is where society is headed. Why take the time to send an actual card when you can write on Facebook walls from your phone? To me, the answer is obvious. Because it means more.

And also, in case there is ever any confusion in the future, Julie Ann Art does not make e-cards. ;]

Join the discussion 20 Comments

  • This happens to me all the time at shows! They’re like OMG that’s funny! Or haha I need this, but who would I send it to! I usually offer deals at shows, since there’s no extra packaging time or shipping required, and still I get it! It’s rough, but keep your head up, I’d be happy to get a card in my mailbox from your line!

  • Jess says:

    Cards are one of my favorite things to give and to receive! There are few things sweeter than handwritten words delivered through the mail. That lady totally missed a lovely opportunity to bless someone in a very simple, but very real way!

  • Soli's Ant says:

    Hi Julie Ann! I love that you touched on this. I was at a craft show recently when someone was taking tons of pictures of my product and telling me over & over how much she loved it, but then didn’t purchase. It made me wonder -why did she take all those pictures, and what is she planning to do with them!? And just like your customer, I’m sure she didn’t have bad intentions, but it was a burn, and I was also upset at myself for allowing it. (maybe we should have a cute sign, “No Pictures Please!” So, anyway- I know how you feel! And, you are 100% right!

  • Thank you for this post. I probably would have bought the card, but it’s a good reminder to honour the hard work of small businesses. Which reminds me, I so need to place an order in your shop!

  • Lauren says:

    Oh no!! That is a complete burn. I hope I have never have done this to a handmade business owner! But I know I would never do that in the future!!

  • Eura L says:

    Please don’t take it like that. Shows can be overwhelming, and for all you know that person wanted to see and shop for the future but had no flowing cash and kept it for FUTURE PURCHASE. I work in a brick & mortar and that is the place where browsing and texting photos constantly occur. We look at it as a wish list (you have a site they can buy from), or getting approval opinions (so many people NEED those). You read the energy, and maybe it was exactly what you thought…but MAYBE not. Maybe a future purchase. They probably passed that around and are now browsing your site. You never know. 🙂

  • by BUN says:

    As someone who is about to open up an online shop of paper goods (and maybe do shows in the future), I’m glad you brought this up. I totally agree with you that a physical card in the mail is more meaningful, and that maybe taking a photo was a tad out of line since she didn’t wind up buying something in the moment (I know I probably wouldn’t have taken a photo). But at that same time…I agree with Eura L above! Almost like – exposure is exposure…and its usually a good thing. Like Eura said, she could have texted that very photo to other potential customers or is browsing your shop because she’s STILL thinking about that fabulous card she took a photo of…

  • Franchesca says:

    A recent show I attended had many vendors who put “no taking pictures of merchandise”. You might put that in your booth next go around in your own way with words:)

  • gina says:

    oh how annoying! I feel your pain…I get the “I am going to take a picture of this so I can make it at home.” I just want to tell them to f*ck off :).

  • thunderpeep says:

    yeah, that’s a pretty common thing it seems. At least they asked, a lot of times I just see people taking pics, and it’s even more awkward to stop them mid picture. But even worse, I had a friend who got asked by the vendor beside her, if she could teach her how to make her candles so she could start making them too. Gosh!

  • Casey says:

    I don’t sell greeting cards, but have people that take photos of my items in my booth, too. It uuuuusually doesn’t bother me too much as long as people ask. There’s one tote that has a typography print that a lot of people find cute/funny. At the last show I did, there was a guy standing off to the side, discreetly snapping a photo of the tote with his phone. He didn’t even bother to walk into my booth or say hi or interact with me in any way. It kind of pissed me off, honestly! Just seemed sneaky. And weird. And I don’t think he was in my target market 😉

  • gah, that is so awkward and so wrong. some people just don’t think. 🙁

  • ElleSee says:

    You make a good point, JA! I know that I take photos at shows that I go to, but I like to share them on my blog and on Instagram or Twitter to give exposure to the shops that have caught my eye. I have bought items from them in the past and really like them and want to share them with others. There may be people out there that do have the intention of recreating what you have made, but that will always be an issue. I like what Eura L said, too, about it going on a wishlist for a later purchase.

    In the end, it is your shop and you can do what you want with it. If you feel uncomfortable about people snapping photos during shows then just ask them politely not to, or put out a sign — I’m sure you’ve already got something really clever stewing in your mind.

  • Ugh, that would’ve frustrated me too! I love sending/receiving mail, I would definitely prefer someone buy it and send it to me instead of texting me a photo! I hope she ends up buying things from your store, now that she’s discovered your awesomeness!

  • BCshutterbug says:

    I am with you. One of my cousins and I exchange address recently because we both love getting Christmas cards and understand the joy and fun of receiving something that you can feel. And that aside, the whole point of going to a show like that is go buy your friends/family or yourself unique gifts that are not mass marketed to the world. But not all the young ‘uns (I am turning into a cranky ol’ broad) understand the concept.

  • Love it! Love you! I am so on board with you with this one. I’ve been thinking of starting to sell my greetings cards too (I usually just edit and print them as needed fro friends & family…but extra cash never hurts and you’ve been inspiring me) anyway, so I know what you mean by it just means more. Because it does and that’s why I will probably be able to keep the US Postal Service in business single-handedly, because I love love love sending cards. Happy Holidays, dear!



    Your totally right! Everyone needs to get on board or else we will just get bills through the post and no fun stuff yuk!

  • Che says:

    I recently did my first market and YOH. it is TOUGH! I think it’s so hard when you put out something that is so close to your heart and when people don’t realise all the love, effort and time that has gone into producing it. But you have such amazing products and a strong community of people who love and support you and what you do! 🙂

  • lydiajoy says:

    Love receiving a handwritten letter (and sending them). And I love your work! xx

  • Erin says:

    I’ve used a bunch of your cards (and just purchased 10 more!) for all sorts of occasions and have received countless compliments on them. You put into cards exactly what people want to say but don’t have the balls/artistic skills to do so themselves. Keep it up…I can’t wait to see what other hilarious things you come up with 🙂 who doesn’t like receiving a handwritten card? that’s just crazy!

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