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The Case for Age Positivity in Greeting Cards

Posted by Jan Golden on

This pitch was delivered by Jan Golden of Age-Friendly Vibes at the Noted Expo on April 27th in San Francisco, CA.

A version of this pitch was recorded at the venue.

TRANSCRIPT

Introduction

Hi, my name is Jan, and I’m the founder of Age-Friendly Vibes and a pro-age advocate. That means I’m advocating for all of you. Because as you know, we’re all aging.

Unfortunately, in our youth-obsessed culture, we need more advocates for aging.
The idea that getting old is something to dread is rooted deep in American culture.

You see it reinforced in advertising, on the internet, and unfortunately when celebrating birthdays.

This pitting of young vs. old and old vs. young is called ageism, which is prejudice based on age.

Ageism impacts our ability to stay employed, and our physical and mental health, so much so that when ageism gets internalized, it can impact our life span by up to 8 years.  

Ageist Cards are Prevalent

It’s heart-warming to see the greeting card industry step up to support people of color, women’s rights, and the LGBTQ community.
What’s not so heartwarming is the number of greeting cards that ‘poke fun’ at getting older.

I used to chuckle at many of them too, but that all changed when I participated in an anti-ageist birthday card contest sponsored by Changing the Narrative, the same contest Janine Vanderburg presented at last year's virtual Noted.

I was astounded by the number of cards loudly declaring you’re now old, or the worst, caricatures of older people with sagging body parts, inspired by Maxine, paired with sarcastic quips about how awful it is to be old.

But life gets better as we age!

Here’s a quick story about these ageist cards.

I was recently shopping with a friend when we walked into a boutique that had amazing gifts. When we got to the card section, front and center was a card with a brightly colored caricature of an old woman that read; I thought I was having a hot-flash, but I realized it was just my boob falling into my coffee.

We both shook our heads. She walked out. She’s a breast cancer survivor.
It made me wonder if the boutique owner was aware of the strong, negative reaction to that ageist card.

What Makes Age-Friendly Vibes Unique

I believe a greeting card is a powerful exchange of a sentiment from one person to another. My goal is to make sure it’s an age-positive one.

My designs are unique. When celebrating birthdays, I don’t ignore the elephant in the room; getting older, I address it in clever, inspiring, and thought-provoking ways.

These are the types of cards I’d like to give or receive; that counter the ageist messages we see every day.

My top selling cards include:

  • I love how you’re glowing older,
  • Another year brings new adventures,
  • and this Noted at Noted finalist: Congratulations on your retirement; you’re going to love your new boss.

These are a few examples of age-positive sentiments that are missing on the shelf and that resonate with the over-50 cohort that contributes $8 trillion to the economy each year.

Ready to Deliver

In the past year, I’ve identified top-selling cards, grown my email list, and built a highly engaged audience on Instagram keeps me motivated and full of fresh ideas.

As I set my sights on wholesale, I quickly realized the greeting card industry is large and complex. That’s when I discovered Proof to Proof Product, where I got up to speed on industry standards and continue to learn daily from the fantastic Paper Camp community.

Back in Denver, I’m ready to fulfill orders.

  • I’m fully stocked with 55 greeting card SKUs, digitally printed locally in Denver.
  • I have an additional 25 SKUs that feature pro-age sentiments on buttons and stickers that became an instant success.
  • I’ve sourced reliable suppliers and implemented systems so I’m ready to fulfill and ship orders quickly, inside or outside of the Faire wholesale platform.

I’m doing all of this with a big smile on my face! This business checks all of the boxes for me.

The best part is seeing the reaction to the age-positive sentiments I put out there in the world. Knowing that I may have a small part in celebrating, instead of dreading, a birthday is heart-warming.

Conclusion

Thank you so much for your time.

I’d like to encourage you to join me and become a pro-age advocate. Advocate not only for your loved ones as they celebrate birthdays but as you expand your product lines this season.   

The best place to start is by carrying a line of unique and age-positive designs from Age-Friendly Vibes.

My name is Jan, and I’d love to answer any questions you have about my line and the cause behind it.