One of the world’s most successful creators of contemporary greetings cards and stationery, British designer Caroline Gardner, has become a member of Red magazine’s Red Panel, which offers advice and insights from inspirational business women to readers.
After setting out on her route to stardom in the greetings world with a range of six cards designed for a friend, Chelsea College of Art graduate Caroline has since branched out further into homewares and sees her products sold around the world.
15 years after launching her eponymous business Caroline is John Lewis’ second largest card supplier and it is estimated that everyone in the UK has either bought or received one of her distinctive floral, polka dot or cupcake designs.
Her Red Panel advice for someone wanting to start a career in greetings cards is: ‘If your idea is original and you have lots of stamina and perseverance, crack on, if you are very lucky it will pay off.’
She says she finds inspiration “all over the place,” that she loves “designing houses and furniture” and enjoys “all sorts of blogs and publications around the subject, so I think I get quite a lot of ideas through that. I try never to look at other cards. If someone has already done it, it loses all excitement for me. I try to do things other people haven’t done yet. I once designed a range, and just after it had gone off to the printers, I noticed, in a shop window, something very similar, so I felt compelled to pull the whole range and I designed something else, very quickly, to take its place”.
Speaking of the all important networking that now plays such a vital role in marketing and promotions, she comments: “I think Twitter and Facebook have a place in all modern business, and getting help managing them is probably a good idea. It certainly gets your name out there and if you are lucky and people pick up on it, can really help with viral marketing.