On the up · 14 February 2018

Tinder inspired this Scottish entrepreneur to launch her greeting card venture

Sharon Caddie launched Text From A Friend in 2015
With Valentine’s Day upon us, Business Advice met one unconventional Glasgow-based greeting card company that found nothing said I love you? quite like a swipe right.

Text From A Friend is an independent greeting card business that sells anti-social? media for all occasions, featuring humorous phrases not for the easily offended.

Its top seller is a Valentine’s Day card proclaiming Im glad I swiped right for you. However, the Tinder-inspired card is one of company owner Sharon Caddie’s tamer creations.

Profanity is no stranger in her collection, with other popular Text From A Friend cards including messages like ‘sending you a ray of f****** sunshine? and ‘s*** you’re getting old, printed in (contrastingly) soft rose gold foil.

In two years, the greeting card business has seen impressive growth, with more than 4, 000 cards purchased and sales increasing by 230 per cent annually.

Text From A Friend sells products via online platforms Etsy and Not on the High Street, as well as 15 independent retailers across Scotland and its own website.

Caddie’s Tinder-inspired best seller
Staying true to her background as a qualified designer from the Glasgow School of Art, Caddie hand-makes each greeting card.

Despite her growing list of orders, the entrepreneur still hand-draws all her text designs, then uses a traditional technique with a hot foil press to print the finished products.

Business Advice spoke to Caddie as she prepared to expand her brand into the wedding market, developing ideas for a range of wedding and engagement cards.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

Im Sharon Caddie, an art director, and my business is Text From A Friend which produces sometimes anti-social? media in the form of luxury greeting cards and prints.

(2) How long have you been around for?

I founded the business in November 2016 as a side hustle to fulfil a little creative idea I had in the hope that I could manage it in my spare time.
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(3) Where did the idea for your business come from

I began to scribble funny textmessagesfrom friends, take photos of them and post them on social media never naming anyone and I would just writeunderneath Text From A Friend.

People began to ask for them to be turned into cards, and that’s when I thought I would do a small range to start with but make them quite luxurious, with posh paper and foil. Being an art director, I have a massive love of paper, so they had to be exceptional quality and something that I would buy myself.

(4) What was key in terms of getting started

Being brave enough to do it and to test the waters, not to mention deciding on the paper stock and foil colours and paying for everything from my own pocket.

I didnt go all out and spend loads as I wasnt sure of what reactions would be like, or which phrases would be popular. Now Im in control, as I hand printeverythingmyself.

(5) Any major setbacks along the way

No major setbacks yet. Ive let the business grow organically to a certain extent, but last year I decided to push things a little bit more and invest in my own traditional hot foil press.

(6) Describe your marketing technique. What strategies have you used

Social media has been a key factor in gaining sales, especially Instagram. There’s a large friendly community on there of like-minded people all doing it for themselves.


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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