Greeting Cards Roar Back Into Style in Socially Distanced U.S.
Company has seen 1,200% increase in card sales during pandemic
*Portfolio company of TriArtisan Capital Partners, the predecessor to TriArtisan that was founded by Rohit Manocha and Gerald Cromack in 2002.
With coronavirus quarantines putting limits on personal interactions, people are increasingly turning to a lost art to connect with loved ones: sending cards.
Paper Source Inc.’s greeting-card sales have soared by 1,200% since social distancing measures went into effect in March, said Chief Executive Officer Winnie Park. That includes higher demand for sympathy, friendship and “thank you” cards, as well as a 10-fold increase in Mother’s Day sales.
“One of the great silver linings out of this is the time for people to slow down and go back to the basics,” Park said in an interview. For Paper Source, that has meant 150,000 cards shipped. “We’ve seen explosive growth during this period.”
The company was able to meet the sharp spike in demand in part by leaning on its network of small, independent suppliers, which were able to ramp up. And its network of card-makers was able to quickly produce designs for the quarantine era, like distanced sympathy, safety and health-care heroes.
The renewed interest in old-fashioned paper cards comes as quarantined Americans also embrace video calls and other ways to keep in touch with the ones they can’t spend time with in-person. It’s giving stationery companies a much-needed boost, as the industry had faced pressure from changing consumer tastes even before the pandemic forced a retail shutdown.
Greeting-card chain Papyrus shuttered all of its locations in January amid slumping sales. Paper Source acquired 30 Papyrus locations in March after the company filed for bankruptcy.
While Paper Source is facing challenges at the brick-and-mortar level due to lockdowns, Park said she’s optimistic as summer approaches and some stores reopen. After all, graduation season and Father’s Day aren’t far off.