Tuesday, June 17, 2008

They're Up! They're Out There! Wahoo!!

I see that some of you have already scoped out your local Hallmark source and found some of our finalists' (or your own) cards there on the shelves. How fun! What was it like for you? Weird? Normal? Wonderful? We'd love to hear.

My mom got to experience something a bit like this, years ago, and the joy she felt continues to inspire my work on this whole greeting card competition project.

Want the story? Read on if you're curious...


Back when I worked on Fresh Ink (the "square cards"), we liked to use "homegrown" photos on our card covers now and then. For various reasons, we often turned to the old photo albums of the writers and artists in our group.

Anyway, a picture of mom, in black-and-white as a seven-year-old Minnesotan, standing in the snow, all bundled up, outside of the family car, holding her Ginny suitcase and just looking ready for anything... became a "Miss You" card. (With her permission, of course.)

She thought it was really neat that her photo was picked from the random assortment of family pictures, but it didn't really hit her how cool it all was until she actually got to see it in the store (or send it to her friends).

It was at my little brother's college bookstore when my unsuspecting mom was browsing the Fresh Ink collection and did a double-take. There she was! In all her seven-year-old glory! She hadn't known it was out yet and was completely shocked when she saw it.

She grabbed one of the cards and probably some of the card shoppers near her, she was so excited. When she went up to the counter to purchase one, she said the check-out clerk treated her like a celebrity. And that everyone in the store was wowed by the whole thing.

I keep that card up by my computer at work. It makes me smile every time I see it.

I sincerely hope that some of you have as happy of an experience as my mom (and I) did. :)

37 comments:

kmbrco said...

I have had some great experiences. Even before the cards came out. I asked at a few local stores if they were going to carry the cards. They were so excited to know I was a finalist. When I called one of them to see if the cards were in yet, they asked me, without even knowing my name, are you the lady with the "Squirrel" card? How wild is that?!

Hallmark cards are so revered. Apparently, according to some of the Hallmark clerks, creating a "Shoebox" card is a big deal.
I definitely agree.

The first time I saw it on the shelf was so exciting. I turned to the next customer in the aisle and said "Excuse me. I don't mean to bother you...but...this is me!"
And I showed her the card. She thought it was the coolest thing, too.

I'm enjoying this ride.
Thank you, Hallmark!

poeticfisherman said...

Judgy,

I'm not one of the finalists, just someone looking forward to the next contest. Reading your story, however, made me think of a similar moment I had, roughly five years ago, with my writing.

When I published my first book of poetry, it was a no-brainer for me to dedicate the book to my sixth grade teacher. She had been the one who proved to my heart that reading could be enjoyable.

Once the books were released, I sent her a signed copy of the book and then, a few other copies were sent to my small Midwestern county's libraries.

One day, soon after the books were in the library's stock, Mrs. Needham was in the village library, returning some books she had borrowed. She glanced over to the reading area and saw one of the community's citizens reading my book. When Mrs. Needham walked past the woman, the lady paused (since she knew my teacher) and said, "Sharon, did you know this book is dedicated to you?"

Mrs. Needham left the library and immediately came home to e-mail me in regards to what had happened. That, in itself, was special for me. Often, in small communities, wonderful people who make a difference go unnoticed; I felt so proud having been able to give my sixth grade teacher credit on a larger scale.

I'm glad that Hallmark is giving everyone an outlet and opportunity, through these contests and I cannot wait until the end of the month for details in regards to the next challenge!

Silvio said...

I have to drive 30 minutes to even see the cards (?)! I know I can get them online, but still. Would have been nice to see them in person.

There's one Hallmark that is about 10 minutes away from where I live --and you didn't send it there! Too bad--it's always a hoppin' store, and after I talked to them yesterday, they were going to do a whole front window display for my baby to get votes for a "hometown" dog.

That Hallmark is right in the middle of a college town (Clemson), and there are always so many people in there, from students to parents.

Call your marketing demographic team and demand they send my Mojo to his [very close to] hometown Hallmark! Raise the roof!

I did see the other contest cards there. Looks like some of them were moving.

Not mad--not fussing at you--no disrespect intended, but just a little disappointing, especially when I understood (or misunderstood, I guess--ha) the initial discussions about where th cards would be sold. I thought it would be Hallmarks all over the US. My bad.

hypnobee said...

Monday was the day, it finally had arrived, the day my card was going to be on sale. I was going to be able to walk into a store and see something I created on sale for all to see and buy. How great!

I drove to the Hallmark store in the mall on my lunch break to see if they had my card on display. There was just an empty wall from where the Father’s Day cards had been.

On Tuesday I could barely wait for lunch to come. I drove down to the Mall again. The empty wall from the day before had been filled in again with cards, but most were from the next isle over which was now being filled with plush animals. I did a quick run up and down the isles to see if I go see any of the cards. No Luck.

I asked the clerk if they had got the Your Funny*ness or Your Pets cards. There were still a couple of cards areas yet to be filled in so all hope was not lost. She said she hadn’t heard of those lines but said it’s probably due to the fact that they pre-order their Summer cards so far in advance. The clerk was nice enough to call Hallmark to see if the cards would be coming at a later date (as some things do in Canada) but she was informed that they were only going to be on sale in the United States.

I was crushed. So much for my dream of loitering in a Hallmark waiting for someone to pick up my card so I could tell them that I made it.

I figured if I had to, I could order them online. Hardly the same joy as seeing them on a rack, but as I keyed in my mailing address there was no Ontario or any province for that matter to select. Hallmark.com doesn’t ship to Canada.

Denied again.

Shari said...

Hi:

I believe the finalists were to get10 copies of their own card sent to them. Can you provide a timeline as to when we can expect those? Thanks!

kmbrco said...

Hey Hypnobee...if you like, I can send you some pics of the cards in a display that I've seen. And, if you wish, I'd be happy to mail you a card or two. I went back and looked at the rules, it does state cards would be sold only in the U.S. Bummer.

I was in a Hallmark Corporate store today and the display looked great - more special than some of the others I've seen. But I wasn't allowed to photograph the display. Bummer.

The good news is people are buying the cards!

I second Shari's motion...when are our 10-packs coming?

hypnobee said...

Kmbrco, I went back through all the documentation. I could of swore it said that they were going to be sold all over North America, but I didn't see anything other than US. Oh well.

Thanks for the offer of sending cards but I'll just wait for my 10 pack to come. If you do take some pictures maybe you can put them up some place like flickr and post a link.

I hope to travel to the States sometime in August so maybe I'll be able to see them (if they're not all sold out! HAHAHA!!)

KC.TBone said...

Few quick and dirty answers to some of your questions...

First, on the 10-card packs... they will be in the mail very soon! We finally got all of the cards in - wanted to send a special collectible with them, so that's why there's been a delay, but we think you'll enjoy your very own PID with you name printed on it. (A PID in the card biz is a "pocket identifier" - fancy word, huh? It's basically the little card thingy behind the card that says "Birthday" or "Just for Fun"). Obviously for these cards we got to do something special by putting your names and your hometowns on them so we wanted you to have this special item with your card packs. So again, sorry for the delay, but we'll get them out as quickly as we can get all of the packages assembled and addressed so hopefully they'll be in your hot little hands at the end of next week.

On the Canada question... your friends down south are checking into Canada distribution for ya so stay tuned on that one!

On the fact that not all stores carry the card line you're looking for... for the most part, each store orders in the product that they want to feature in their stores, so each store carries a different mix of cards. We added the fancy store locator feature to our site to try to help you find a store near you, and we'll be adding more stores to it later in the week and early next week so be sure to check back as there may be a Walgreen's, CVS, Kroger, Wal-Mart, etc. that's near you that has the cards.

Hope that helps!! Keep the stories and questions coming (just know if it takes us a bit to reply it's because we're working on the next round of card-making fun)!!

kmbrco said...

Hi again. I will post some of the display pics I've taken on my flickr account. I'll post the link once it is done.

kmbrco said...

Here's a couple photos of one of the Your Funny*ness displays in the rack. They haven't been exactly the same in each store. I will post more later. But here's a link to the photos on my Flickr pages.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kmbrco/2591389167/in/photostream/

hypnobee said...

Kmbrco, excellent pics. Thanks for sharing.

KC.TBone said...

Canada Update!

Here's what I found out from our friends up North...

Sounds like programs usually materialize first in the US and then get rolled-out to Canada shortly afterwards.

So, the good news... the 18 Funny*ness finalist designs are being produced for sale in Canada. (The trick is Canada laws and Canada pricing I guess - have to reprint unique inventory which is taking a little longer - but also cool as a collectible international version if ya ask me)

Hallmark Canada plans to start shipping the cards to stores on 7/21 so it should be up shortly after that.

So, few more weeks to await the Canadian debut, but great news that it's on the way!

judgy judgerson said...

Glad some of you have been able to see and enjoy your cards. Sorry about the troubles others of you are having finding/seeing your cards as close to home as you'd like. Hopefully, as KCT-Bone said, you'll be able to use the store locator to find a place close by (silvio) and that they'll be in your country soon (hypnobee)!

Thanks for sharing, kmbrco. Very fun. And you, too, poeticfisherman. It is a wonderful feeling to know that you have made someone smile and feel thanked like that. Excellent.

OK, everybody. Keep us posted on your adventures out there. :)

hypnobee said...

Awesome news! Though our dollar is at/or near par we insist on pay more for everything. So there's usually two prices on the back. That and they like to put French on everything for some reason.

Thanks for the great news!

I'll be sure to check out the store locater next week.

funnyfinalist said...

I used the store locator, and NONE of the stores it brought up in my area are carrying the "Your Funnyness" cards. They have "Your Pets" but not "Your Funnyness." One store said they *might* come in later, one store said they *wouldn't* get them, and another said they weren't sure. Is there any way for me to find out whether any of my local stores will carry my card? Thank you!

hypnobee said...

Oh wait that's 7/21 not 6/21. Bah! Foiled again!

Sandideer said...

Wanna know how to break the ice in the lunchroom at your brand new job? Put an "I am a Finalist" poster on the employee's bulletin board....WOW


Everybody in the plant knows me now!! Thanks Hallmark!Hopefully they will go in and vote!! I am slipping in the ranks...my voting public is thinning really bad!

By the way ..I absolutely LOVE my new job.!


When I want to put myself in a holiday mood I will look at family pictures.from those celebrations...and remember all the good times that were...!I have a collection of cards I have kept too for inspiration...!
Sights, sounds and smells ....get your imagination flowing!

Lisa said...

I haven't gotten into a store yet to see the cards in person, but someone from the local Hallmark store was nice enough to call me to let me know they had my card. She was very excited and wanted to know if they should order more for me.

When the finalists were first announced some months ago, the local paper ran an article about me and my sheltie, Penny. Penny's photo made it on the front page above the name of the newspaper.

It is fun being a celebrity!

Susie said...

HI Everyone,

Just so you ALL could know. Walgreens has the Hallmark your pets cards as well. My friend found mine and bought it. So maybe you might not have to go so far, just go your neighborhood Walgreens . I am sure you all have one close by. Happy Voting and Happy Buying our cards.

kwla said...

Hello fellow finalists! I've posted a few more, all-inclusive, Your Funny*ness display images on my Flickr.com page. Search under kmbrco.

I've also added the link to the contest page so people can check it out.

kmbrco said...

Hello fellow finalists! I've posted a few more, all-inclusive, Your Funny*ness display images on my Flickr.com page. Search under kmbrco.

I've also added the link to the contest page so people can check it out.

kmbrco said...

Sorry, I posted under the wrong account (kwla). I can't seem to keep them straight...

Sandideer said...

The Gold Crown store near me in Medford Wisconsin took one of my cards and set up a display with it on a table near the door with the finalist posters.It is the first thing people see when they walk in!
As I find each store the cards are sold in I am introducing myself to the store managers and asking then to do a little "extra" with the display.
I am having such a great time with this...and from the sounds of it everyone else too!
I would like to get a Canadian version of the my card...Hypnobee..can you send me one of my cards when you get to see your for the first time?? and I will send you one of yours!

hypnobee said...

Sure thing Sandideer!

Jackie said...

Hey everyone, I hope you're still enjoying the glitz and glam of the contest! I haven't visited the blog in a while! I recently went to the closest Gold Crown Store and picked up my very own card. It was so awesome to see everybodys card there. It wasn't too long before the store closed, so nobody was there except for the two ladies working there, so I shared my joy with them! I was treated like a celebrity too!!! They grabbed a card off the shelf, had me autograph it, and then one lady ran to get her camera from her purse so she could take a picture of me. She was so upset when she realized she didn't have it with her that she asked me to come back later! And I can't wait to get my box of cards! I'll be forgetting birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries on purpose just so I can send people my card to say, "Whoops, I had a brain fart!"

kmbrco said...

Jackie - I'll have to pick up a few of your "brain fart" cards for
myself. Definitely fits the bill on occasion! Congrats on your celebrity status!

poeticfisherman said...

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for being off the blog for a few days, but my Dad passed away, unexpectedly, on Sunday. The last few days have been difficult and busy.

I wanted to let all of the Funny*ness and Pet card finalists know, however, that the cards have not yet made it "everywhere."

I made a special point of strolling down the Hallmark aisle in my hometown's Kroger store (I live in Galveston County, Texas), and there were no displays for either contest there, as of yet.

I haven't had time to get to our Gold Crown store, yet, though I'm sure I will be soon to buy thank-yous for the support in our time of grief. Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up some of your cards there, while bereavement thank you shopping.

kmbrco said...

Dear Poeticfisherman,

Sincere condolences.

Kimberly

funnyfinalist said...

(((poeticfisherman)))

So very sorry for your loss.

poeticfisherman said...

Thanks to those who have offered condolences. I'm taking it one day at a time and have finally found the strength to write/design again, after a long week of lessened inspiration. That's what Dad would have wanted.

I went to our local Wal-Mart store for groceries today and noticed that the Hallmark aisle there had the Your Pets contest cards. The Funny*ness cards were not there, but I thought for the Pets finalists, I'd let you know that you're proudly displayed down this way, now.

Wordy McGee said...

poeticfisherman,

From everyone on the team, we're thinking of you and we're so sorry to hear about your dad.

Know you're on our minds.

-The your Greeting Card Competition team

Wordy McGee said...

In an attempt to clear up any card-locating confusion, here are a few bits of info you may want to know:

*If you checked the stores for your cards before Tuesday (June 24), you may want to use the store locator and try again. Things should now be up-to-date with the locator and the stores (fingers crossed).

*yourPets cards are available in Gold Crown stores
AND in lots of other stores

*yourFunny*ness cards are offered exclusively at
Gold Crown stores.

That should do it. Hope that helps a bit (Tell us if it doesn't).

poeticfisherman said...

Thanks, Wordy.

The outpouring of support I've received from so many people is a tremendous help and a tremendous dose of inspiration.

kmbrco said...

A friend of mine found a random selection of my Your Funny*ness card at a local Walgreens. But the rest of the cards, nor the display were there. Are they being sold separately somehow, or was that just a fluke?

Wordy McGee said...

Yes, the cards at Walgreens are a fluke. That's why there's no signage or anything to indicate that Walgreens carries the yourFunny*ness cards. While a few cards may trickle into non-Gold Crown stores, it's definitely the exception, not the rule. Sorry for the confusion.

funnyfinalist said...

If I may, a question about the percentages:

Ive noticed recently that there seems to be no "movement." I know that I've solicited a few more votes in the past week, but I'm not seeing any real percentage changes. I understand the semantics -- I know that my few extra votes a day aren't going to amount to much change in my ranking as long as everyone else is increasing their daily vote quotient as well. But still...seems something would change even by a 100th of a percentage point every now and then. I notice the sales rankings aren't changing either. Anyone?

kmbrco said...

Like funnyfinalist, I'd like to know more about the numbers. Actual vote counts would be nice. At least we could see that our votes our increasing (or not).

It would be nice to know the actual sales quantities, too.

Oh, and one more thing (we're such demanding finalists, aren't we?) - is it possible to get number updates more than once a day. Perhaps with a finalist log-in?
My husband says that I'm obsessed.
I'm not disagreeing with him. But I still want to check...