Hi, I am Geoff and I started Your Year Cards & Gifts from my home in Hertfordshire. I was given a collection of British coins, mainly from the 20th century, and was looking at a way to market them when I realised that the coins would carry “added value” if they were to form part of a birthday card.
I had a day job in IT, as well as a professional photography qualification, so I tried to find some time to create some retro designs, largely using my library of images, which of course I was freely able to use and alter. If I didn’t have an image I needed I would occasionally take some new photos, for example, of the many Art Deco buildings around the City of London which I have used in many of my card designs. Or, as my father was a keen holiday photographer, I would even use some of his images, with his permission of course!
In 2013 I made my first coin card – a 1923 birthday card for my (now sadly passed) Mother’s 90th birthday! I sold the card on eBay and sales grew slowly but steadily, as I changed my card designs to make them more easy to produce and “assemble” the card and coin. I added additional birthday years, a few each month, and it took me until April 2018 to complete the range of birthday years all the way through from 1915 until 1998. As I have decided that anything less than 20 years would not be considered nostalgic, 2019 will see the arrival of the 1999 card and so forth.
I also sold the cards as a version that did not include a coin. Whilst still holding all the “Your Year” information, just without the time and materials for the added coin feature, these could sell for less and were much easier to dispatch following order.
After printing my first cards on my home inkjet printer, I researched and tried a few external printers, before I settled on one that I still use. Their print quality is excellent and their processes conform to the latest quality management and environmental and sustainability standards including certification by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), an international organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests, at the printer’s sites to demonstrate commitment to the environment. This means that the paper used for greeting cards is FSC approved.
I decided that I would include as much information as I could on the card about Your Year. This has involved doing a considerable amount of research, including the selection of appropriate items of information that would appeal to a broad British audience and be suitable for a birthday card – i.e. it should be up-beat! Whilst there are the of course online “encyclopaedia” resources, I found I had to corroborate different sources to obtain the final version of information to include in Your Year cards.
I expanded the collection with anniversary cards quite early on and focused on the later years for these. Although cards for golden anniversaries always sell well, I am still having occasional sales of birthday cards for 103 year olds – may they celebrate many more birthdays in good health!
In August 2016 I started selling my cards on Amazon UK and I added a “Framed Gift set” to provide a version of the birthday and anniversary cards that would be a permanent display feature. Future products planned for the range include further frame based products, mugs, placemats and coasters
The final episode in the story to date is that I reached that point in my day job career that I was given the opportunity to concentrate on the things I am passionate about – and so I moved to running the business full time.