My trip to the Kansas City, Missouri home of Hallmark was brief but packed with information. It’s a beautiful city and I wish I had been able to do more exploring there.Â Our day started bright and early with a trip to the Hallmark Visitor’s Center.Â We learned about founder Joyce C. Hall, who came to Kansas City for business college. He had been helping his older brothers run a bookstore that also sold postcards, and he continued selling postcards by mail-order.Â His brother joined him in 1911 and by 1915, they began producing greeting cards in envelopes.
The name “Hallmark” came from both a play on the name Hall and the word for quality. According to a google search I did, a place called Goldsmith’s Hall marked gold and silver coins with a mark meaning high quality. Thus, the coins got a “Hall Mark”.Â A Hallmark product means high quality!
A few interesting tidbits I jotted down in my notebook-
- in 1928, Hallmark introduced “Greetaphone” cards, which I learned were a paper card with an actual gramophone disc attached. The recipient played the record and heard a message. I would have never guessed that people were getting recorded cards that long ago!
- The wrapping paper sold by Hallmark began as the pretty patterned liner paper that went inside envelopes.
- In 1939 a Hallmark artist designed a Mother’s Day card showing a wagon full of purple pansies. The design proved so popular that it is still used, for cards for all occasions.
- Hallmark cards are made in over 30 languages and sold in over 100 countries.
- Hallmark bought Crayola in 1984. The Hallmark Crown Center complex includes CrayolaLand, which sells EVERY CRAYOLA PRODUCT MADE. And no, I did NOT have time to shop there which made me very sad.
- Hallmark card commercials, even when not in English, can bring me to tears.Â Trust me, I wasn’t the only person on this trip who cried-some more than once *cough*Casey*cough*Â
Every person we met at Hallmark was as thrilled to meet us as we were to meet them. We met writers, graphic designers, and editors, and I’ll tell you this-Â from what we saw, Hallmark is a wonderful place for creative people to work. And, they are progressive. Hallmark pays attention to trends, listens to consumers, thinks of new ways to express sentiments in cards and in other products.
I’ll be honest, I don’t buy a lot of greeting cards, which is something we all talked about there. Why don’t people send more cards? Have we forgotten the art of handwriting and giving our friends and loved ones something tangible to hold and look at?Â Do we want e-cards and Facebook pokes to replace the joy of finding a birthday CARD in our mailbox?Â It’s certainly something I’m thinking about a lot more since going to Hallmark.
I also asked right up front, with all the choices in cards, why should I specifically pick a Hallmark card? Aren’t they more expensive? The answer is NO. Hallmark’s value cards are only 99 cents, and yet the same work and care goes into coming up with the perfect design and written text for each one. And now that I have met some of the people behind the cards, you bet I’m more likely to choose a Hallmark card.
It was also terrific to spend the day with these awesome bloggers and meet their adorable kids!:
Left to right in back: Amanda from Mommy Mandy, Kristin from An Ordinary Life, Natalie fromÂ Red Sox Mommy, Trisha from Sweet ‘n’ Sassy Girls, Jenn from Mommy Needs Coffee, Michelle from Gotcha Baby, Janice from 5 Minutes for Mom, Gabrielle from Design Mom, Tanya from Mommy Goggles.
A big thank you goes to Jon Gray from Fleishman-Hillard for not only organizing the trip but also putting up with my endless cell phone calls on my way to KC, with my flight being delayed, the plane not showing up, a new flight, and then minor hotel problems. He was professional and friendly and helpful through the whole thing. Thanks also to Mandy from F-H, and Deirdre, Eileen, and Tara from Hallmark.Â I had a wonderful time!