Celebrations will be afoot at Autumn Fair as The Eco-friendly Card Co (Glebe Cottage) celebrates its 30th anniversary.
The publisher was established back in 1993 by Scott Morrish, who was looking for a way of funding a new darkroom in his garden shed, nestled in the garden of the original ‘Glebe Cottage’. Scott was shortly joined in the business by Susanna, who would drive around Devon’s narrow lanes visiting independent retailers to sell their blossoming range of greeting cards. This passion for independent retail remains to this day with the publisher choosing not to supply high-street chains or take part in brokerage.
It was in the early nineties that the eco-publisher’s first environmental commitment was born, a choice to only use recycled envelopes for cards, against a background where the idea of being ‘green was often seen as a bit left-field.
“It was pretty hard to find suppliers to work with then,’’ recalls director Susanna Morrish. “So much has changed in that respect over the past 30 years – just think when we first started out we had to use pay-phones to contact the office, orders that came in by fax were ‘very modern’ and you always needed to have a good stack of change to pay for parking. I think we even had a range of small floral cards that were 29p!”
The company has a whole host of ‘firsts’ under its belt, from being the first DTR (direct-to-retail) publisher to become FSC certified, to the first to use compostable bags for cards all the way back in 2006.
From winning leading eco-awards and scooping the trophy for best bespoke calendars at the Callies, to publishing the Christmas cards for HRH the Prince of Wales, there’s certainly been a lot of highlights over the past three decades, but it’s not any of these milestones that the publisher is most proud of. “The thing I value the most from over the past three decades is our relationships with our independent retail customers, many of whom have been with us from the start,’’ says Susanna. “It’s their support that’s enabled us to thrive over the past 30 years, and I’m really looking forward to catching up with customers old and new at the Autumn Fair.’’