Gay greeting cards bring pink pound to high street shops

When Emma Wells embarked on what she thought would be a brief shopping trip to buy a blessing card for a lesbian couple, she did not realise how difficult it would prove to be.

After scouring the high street, she and a friend, Mimi Broit, realised that there were no mainstream stationers or gift shops that stocked greeting cards for gay couples.

As two gay women who had spent a lifetime receiving cards with amendments made to the front or words changed from "boyfriend" to "girlfriend", they decided to launch the country's first range of gay greeting cards on the high street.

Despite having no experience in the business, Ms Wells, 32, a police officer, and Ms Broit, 45, a plumber, turned their livingrooms into makeshift offices and used their savings to commission models and a photographer for the project.

This month, their Pink Pendulum collection of stylish, black and white photographic images has been introduced by the retailer Clinton Cards in 30 stores nationwide, to celebrate anything from commitment ceremonies and "coming-out parties" to weddings, birthdays, Valentine's Days and togetherness.

Thirty images in the range feature sultry, Audrey Hepburn-style models as well as boyish women with lipstick marks and tiaras, and also tailored images for gay men, with champagne bottles, top hats and bow ties. There is a sexier range available on the internet with scantily dressed women dressed as goddesses with strategically positioned togas and feature boas.

Initial reports from Clinton indicate the cards are a success and the couple have now been inspired to create a third range and to design Christmas cards for gay couples, family members or friends.

"I have had personal experience of not being able to find a card for someone who is gay and I have had to change the wording of cards that I've bought for friends so that they make sense," said Ms Wells.

"I have had cards given to me with words crossed out at the front, which makes for a messy collection of cards."

The women, who both have full-time careers, had not planned on setting up a business together but were desperate to find a decent wedding-style card for their mutual friend.

"When I was going to my friend's gay blessing last year, I trotted off to the high street to by a card for them but couldn't find an adequate one. I couldn't believe it. I met up with Mimi for breakfast and we were discussing how outrageous it was and then we thought to create our own," said Ms Wells.

Ms Broit said feedback from the gay community had been overwhelming. "Everyone we have spoken to has been very thankful to us because there just wasn't anything on the high street for the gay community. I think everyone just accepted things as they were but we couldn't believe there was nothing available for us," she said.

Ms Broit, who has run her own plumbing company for 18 years, created a business plan while Ms Wells, who had made cards for her friends as a hobby, became the art director and commissioned photo shoots. She said the images were inspired by 1950s Hollywood glamour and cabarets.

"They are stylish and subtle - we have put two lipstick kisses on the girls' cards and two bow ties for boys - and the wording is carefully chosen," Ms Wells added.

Mike Bugler, managing director of Clinton Cards, said the cards would be on trial for six weeks in stores in London, Manchester, Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff.

"We help people to celebrate milestone events in their lives and greeting cards are a reflection of the society we live in," he said. "We had picked up on the fact that people wanted same-sex cards but this company came to us and said it was a huge opportunity and that about one in eight pounds is in the pink-pound market."

Clinton Cards announced earlier this month that its range would widen to include greetings which cater for 21st-century lifestyles and changing family relations, with cards thanking child minders and lollipop attendants as well as greetings for parents on their wedding day or step-parents on their birthday.

In December this year, the civil partnership registration scheme, allowing commitment ceremonies for same sex partnerships, becomes law.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Research Executive - Quantitative/Qualitative

£27000 - £31000 Per Annum Excellent Benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

ETL Developer / Consultant

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Primary supply teachers required in Stowmarket

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week