My Ultimate Guide to US Greeting Card Companies
In one of my past articles, My Ultimate Guide to Canadian Greeting Card Companies, I had a blast writing about my favourite Canadian card publishers, ranging from Audities' Cards in Quebec to Regal Home & Gifts in Mississauga and Yellow Bird Paper Greetings in British Columbia. I also thoroughly enjoyed writing about my favourite UK companies across three articles in the recent past, too, in My Top 50 UK Greeting Card Publishers - Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 - including London's Deadpan Cards, Canterbury's Noel Tatt and The Great British Card Company, which is based in Gloucester. What I may have failed to mention at the time is that are so many other greeting card companies outside of Canada and the UK that I love as well, and for this article, I wanted to delve into my favourites that are based in the US.
As you'd probably expect, what with the US having the monopoly on the greeting card business, and especially with having the most successful ones like Hallmark and American Greetings, there is an awful lot to choose between, but these are simply the ones with their own websites that I find to be my favourites - the businesses that I go to when I want a particular style of greeting card or ones that I know to have a great range of high-quality cards on offer online.
When it comes to my favourites, both small, independent retailers (including Etsy sellers) and huge corporations feature, and I am equally attracted to both kinds and everything else in-between.
A selection of what the US has to offer
I am delighted to bring to you my following list of favourite US card publishers. I have spent many enjoyable hours perusing what they have to offer and I hope you have just as much fun surfing their websites too.
American Greetings, Cleveland, Ohio
Since being founded as a one-horse-cart operation way back in 1906, American Greetings has led the way with the creation and manufacture of many innovative social expression products, including cards, gift wrap, party goods and more recently with digital greetings. Its major brands of American Greetings, Carlton Cards, Papyrus and Recycled Paper Greetings can be found both online and in retail outlets all over the world, with something for every occasion, and often feature beloved characters like the Care Bears, Holly Hobbie and Strawberry Shortcake. What you may not know is that American Greetings are FSC-certified, something close to our hearts at Northern Cards too. There are so many cards to choose from at American Greetings, for every occasion, that you can even find one to give to your favourite vegetarian...
Animal Charm Designs, Woodstock, Georgia
Animal Charm Designs is a greeting card and gift company that's mainly all about animals and nature-inspired designs and they are simply adorable. From lovely patterned domestic pets to abstract wild beasts and pretty flowers and even cards featuring keyboard keys ('I Could Really Use a Backspace Right Now' is the perfect apology card), they're all beautifully designed.
Bergen Place, New Jersey
Bergen Place is named after the first street that designer Jane and her husband lived on together in Red Bank, New Jersey. With 'weird cards for nice people', there are ones available for all kinds of occasions, including celebrating sobriety, ones that are inspired by Friends and Golden Girls and a fierce female collection where you can let your bestie know that she's a badass. Love these designs!
Black Lamb Studio, Miami, Florida
Miami-based design studio Black Lamb Studio puts their focus on gorgeous patterns, illustration, typography, product design and stationery and they excel at everything they do. Inspired by nature, daily life and travelling, founder and designer Isabel Serna uses various tools such as gouache, Posca paint markers and ink and even her Wacom tablet to create stunning, colourful designs, many of which feature on her line of cards. My favourite is the simple albeit effective hand-drawn and hand-lettered Oopsie Daisy card.
Emily McDowell & Friends, Los Angeles, California
Emily McDowell captured our imaginations and our hearts after launching her own line of cards, which often say what other cards won't. Cancer survivor Emily formed her own studio in 2013 but expanded its name to Emily McDowell & Friends earlier this year, to reflect her partnerships with others. The empathy cards are a real breath of fresh air, helping people to find the right words for a sad occasion, often with humour but always with truth.
Food for Thoughts Cards, Morristown, New Jersey
When Connie Charney, the founder of Food for Thoughts Cards, commuted from New Jersey to Penn Station each week for twelve years, each time she took with her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to give to a homeless person. Now with every greeting card sold by Food for Thoughts Cards, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is donated to an organization that feeds the hungry. As the site says, "We believe that sending a greeting card and fighting hunger can go hand-in-hand. A stamp. A sandwich. A smile." Not only are their cards brilliantly designed (they are all in the shape of a sandwich), they help people in need. What's not to love?
Frankie & Claude, Camas, Washington
With all kinds of gorgeous goods on sale, including drinkware, personalized award ribbons and even fancy matches in jars, Frankie & Claude have an amazing selection but their charming cards are what attracted me to them in the first place. Sam Bearbower is the founder and creative director behind this stationery and lifestyle brand and her full-colour F. Scott Fitzgerald quote card is a clear favourite - and you can even choose a pink envelope rather than a white one. It's the little things that count!
Fresh Out of Ink, Dallas, Texas
Fresh Out of Ink are Katy and Albert, a husband-and-wife team who founded their paper and gift company in 2016, though they have been selling on Etsy since 2012. Many of their cards are quirky, humorous and colourful, and the foil collection is lovely. While most of the cards are simply words without pictures, which are all really striking, my favourite is this hand-sketched winner.
Hallmark Cards, Kansas City, Missouri
As I'm sure you already know, Hallmark has a long history, going right back to 1910. This industry stalwart has been a favourite of mine for many years and I even wrote about 10 of the Most Iconic Hallmark Cards in recent times, where I featured various greeting cards of theirs, including ones from the 1920s and 1930s. Today, Hallmark publishes cards in over thirty languages and distributes them in over a hundred countries. Need I say more?
Heartstrings Card Company, Boulder, Colorado
Heartstrings Card Company has been going since the early eighties, and since then artist Kristin has designed hundreds of greeting cards that are sold across the US and around the world. Combining pen and watercolour designs with wordplay, Kristin creates fantastic whimsical cartoon cards for all kinds of occasions. Note that while you can buy the cards on her website, they are sold in sets of ten.
Hello Small World, Amarillo, Texas
Hello Small World is run by husband-and-wife team Jon and Reese, who design their own line of cards as well as art prints, bags, calendars, mugs and much more from their indie greeting card and illustration studio in Amarillo. Their colourful cards are cute, funny and trendy, featuring hand-lettered fonts and original illustrations of adorable characters. Since opening their Etsy shop in 2011, Hello Small World has become a featured shop there and has expanded to other markets too.
Huckleberry Letterpress Co, Little Falls, New York
As is often found these days, as you can see from just this article, Huckleberry Letterpress Co. was created by a husband-and-wife team - Emily and Justin Reynolds. They focus on creating vintage letterpress-printed greeting cards and stationery, as well as foil-stamped pencils and printed goods, with many distinct and gorgeous products that are often funny and sometimes sarcastic, but are all well-crafted. As they say, "We have cards for your sweet grandmother, or your best friend that swears like a sailor." You can buy their amazing cards on Etsy, where they also feature goods from regular contributors who create beautiful designs exclusively for them.
Leanin' Tree, Boulder, Colorado
Leanin' Tree is a family-owned, 'Made-in-America' business that's been thriving since 1949, when they started off by selling western-themed Christmas cards to farmers and ranchers. Now offering thousands of cards that are all created, produced and shipped from their facility in Boulder, Leanin' Tree has something for everyone and they even do free greeting card manufacturing tours if you're in the area!
Lovepop, Boston, Massachusetts
In my article, My Top Picks for Amazon Greeting Cards, my number one choice was a Lovepop Game of Thrones card - an official HBO collaboration. Since being founded in 2014 by best friends and naval architects Wombi Rose and John Wise, this greeting card company has gone from strength to strength creating laser-cut pieces of kirigami art that are actually designed on ship-building software. Their story is as fascinating as their cards.
Moonpig, Mahwah, New Jersey
If you're into card personalization, whether with your own words or photos, Moonpig is pretty hard to beat. Since arriving on the scene in the UK in 2000, this online greeting card company has sold millions of cards and branched out to include the US market. I like them as they use cardstock that's nice and thick, they have a birthday reminder service and they often offer discounts, not to mention that customers can personalize so many different kinds of occasions.
One Canoe Two, Fulton, Missouri
One Canoe Two (also known as 1Canoe2) is an illustration company which produces an array of cards, stationery and gifts that have been featured by national retailers Anthropologie and Paper Source and many independent boutiques. I find their hand-painted cards to be mesmerizing, full of dreamy colours. They still sell on Etsy, having been listed on there since 2008, but you'll find their wares in many more places these days.
Rifle Paper Co, Winter Park, Florida
Founded and owned by Nathan and Anna Bond, a husband and wife team, Rifle Paper Co. is a stationery and lifestyle brand which has some beautiful products including greeting cards. With lots more on sale, including journals, calendars, wallpaper and even shoes, Rifle Paper Co. have some lovely gift items but it's their amazing, high-quality cards that draw me in, as they are simply stunning.
Saltwater and Feathers, Carpinteria, California
Saltwater and Feathers is a paper goods company founded by German-born Caroline Winneguth, featuring hand illustrated and sustainably printed greeting cards. Caroline also sells her work on Etsy. The artwork is stunning and the wording complements each design perfectly, so I find these lovely cards a real treat for someone special in your life.
The Mincing Mockingbird, Los Angeles, California
Founders of The Mincing Mockingbird, Kim Bagwill and Matt Adrian, are married artists/writers/designers who have been creating fun and fascinating cards and other products since 2008. For a unique occasion card, especially one guaranteed to get a good laugh, look no further, but they also sell some incredible artwork - particularly their bird paintings.
The Paper Hatchet, Arnold, Maryland
Interestingly, The Paper Hatchet was created by Don Kingston 'when one guy wanted to send a note to another guy but didn't want a card with kittens on it'. From a baseball-themed card ('you really knocked it out of the park') to one featuring a grenade ('wanted to throw something your way'), there's something for every man in your life with The Paper Hatchet!
As a disclaimer, I should say that this is by no means an exhaustive list of US card businesses and they are simply my favourite ones. Moreover, this list only includes US card sellers who have a website.
I truly hope you take as much pleasure as I have wandering through these wonderful websites. I know you will find more than one special card you’ll want to send someone as an expression of caring or celebration.