July 11, 1985|By Lisanne Renner of The Sentinel Staff
People mentioned annulment delicately, if at all, a decade ago. These days, greeting cards aboveboard bless the event. ”Congratulations on your divorce,” says a agenda that pictures a artificial helpmate and benedict aloft a bells cake, the benedict upside down, his arch plunked in icing.
Gay? Talking about that was around anathema a decade ago. Attitudes accept afflicted abundant so that today, lovers can go to arcade malls and buy a altogether agenda that says, ”Hip Hip Hooray! I’m animated you’re gay!”
Working women, already accustomed as a alluring new brand of admiration woman, now ache through cards with such contemptuous sentiments as ”Congratulations. . . . you’ve aloof been adopted one of the ten best-stressed women in America.” Another greeting cards accept emerged during the accomplished 10 years to animadversion on amusing change with an angle that’s witty, irreverent, avant garde, intimate, annoying and alike raunchy.
The old standards — aureate cards with doughy verses and flat cards with artless amusement — ”were either bathetic or they were banal or they didn’t accept annihilation to do with the accuracy that we were living, or with our personalities or the things we capital to express,” said Perri Ardman, a co-founder of the Maine Line Co. The five-year-old company, based in Rockport, Maine, grossed $1 actor aftermost year by carrying ”the complicated attitudes of women” through another cards.
These cards ambition markets never afore addressed on a ample scale. Working women, gays, singles and blacks all accept absolute agenda curve adherent to them, and they don’t charge a birthday, holiday, ceremony or afterlife as an break to accelerate a card. (There are anarchistic cards for accepted holidays, such as the Christmas agenda that pictures a adult Santa advancing bottomward the chimney.)
Greeting cards accounted for bisected the claimed mail beatific aftermost year, and another cards are the fastest-growing articulation of that $3.5-billion-a- year industry. Another cards are adequate an estimated 25 percent advance amount compared with the all-embracing market’s 5 percent. Paper Moon, Recycled Paper Products, California Dreamers, Maine Line and added cipher companies annual for about 10 percent of the 7 billion cards bought annually.
Bold designs and abandoned letters are the trademarks of these cards. Cards that are bare on the central are pieces of pop art outside. Some bodies anatomy them.
Cards with letters accede a advanced array of ”occasions.” They ambition discipline for a diet or backbone for a marathon. They action accord on the afterlife of a cat, congratulations on a new car and condolences to a alone lover (”It doesn’t pay to breach your beard out over a man. . . . The aing one will be harder to acquisition back you’re bald”).
In an era back annulment and remarriage accept angry the ancestors timberline into a forest, there are cards that apprehend ”To My Dad and His Wife” and ”To My Added Mother.”
With the Vietnam War and the Watergate aspersion as contempo history, it’s accept to blow fun at patriotism. The Statue of Liberty poses in a bathing clothing on one card. Another appearance Ronald Reagan’s face on a postcard, which doubles as a affectation with a nose-shaped cutout. Reagan’s mug is a big agent at the Infinite Mushroom change boutique in Orlando.
In Florida, alone adults are accustomed to giggle, chortle and bloom by the racks of risque cards. Shops that backpack amative curve such as Rockshots, Exposed Cards and T.N.T. Designs column signs admonishing amateur not to peek, and abundance owners and advisers accept been arrested for affairs ”obscene” cards to teen-agers.
Cards accept become a anatomy of self-expression, as are clothes and decor. ”Cards acclimated to be called with the almsman in mind,” said Rachel Bolton, backer for Hallmark Cards. ”More and added now, the agenda is actuality called to reflect the sender’s personality.”
The archetypal agenda client is a woman amid 32 and 50 years old, but the admirers for another cards includes added men and a younger, bigger educated, beneath acceptable and added catholic cantankerous area of customers, according to American Demographics magazine.
Alternative-card buyers additionally can allow to absorb about a dollar on a card. ”For agenda freaks, a $50, $60, $70 auction is not unusual,” said Nancy Noyes, allotment buyer of Infinite Mushroom.
Recycled Paper Products Inc. became the aboriginal alternative-card aggregation in 1971, back two Amherst College fraternity brothers capital to alpha a business afore branch for alum school. Sales are accepted to ability $90 actor this year. Founders Michael Keiser and Phillip Freidmann never agitated to go to alum school.
Recycled Paper cards bent on because they ”matched a change in lifestyles,” said Mary Tobin, the company’s business carnality president. ”I anticipate it hit appropriate back the women’s movement was starting, back the gay movement was advancing out and back there were all these added movements starting. The greeting agenda business is a amusing announcement industry, and we were at the appropriate abode at the appropriate time.”
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