Hi there! I’m super excited to start September off with a bang & something a little different. Today, I’m featuring Groundswell Greetings, a small Philly business which specializes in unique, inclusive & bada** cards for every occasion. Even more awesome is that all their cards are created by local artists & illustrators. I chatted with Ali Moore, founder of Groundswell Greetings, to learn more about her mission & passion for playful, culturally relevant cards. Read her interview below!
Tell me a little bit about Groundswell Greetings & your mission.
Ali: Launched in 2017, Groundswell Greetings sells artful, playful, and culturally relevant greeting cards. Our mission is to provide a diverse base of customers with affordable, convenient, and meaningful alternatives to the often overstated and underwhelming cards found in typical card aisles. You can buy our cards online (free shipping!) as well as in some local stationery and gift stores, florists, and bakeries.
Groundswell Greetings is powered by a growing team of more than 30 local artists (lovingly called TeamGG), and takes great pride in creating and printing 100% recycled cards in our hometown of Philadelphia, PA. We care about building a community in support of the arts and women in business (TeamGG is made up of nearly all women and 80% of card-buyers are women.)
How did you know you wanted to start your own business?
Ali: Last year I graduated with my MBA from Temple’s Fox School of Business and have always had entrepreneurial interests. I like making decisions and building enthusiasm around big ideas. I worked at Comcast doing user experience research before deciding to focus full-time on launching Groundswell Greetings in January 2017.
Why greeting cards?
Ali: Greeting cards made sense to me because they require little capital to get started and yet make up an $8 billion annual industry in the U.S. As a frequent card buyer who is usually disappointed by the mass market options, I’ve always enjoyed seeking out independent boutiques, both in-store and online, where I can find higher quality cards with more personality. While it’s a competitive market, I felt like I could differentiate our brand with savvy e-commerce features and unique designs that represent a more diverse, modern audience.
You work with a lot of local, Philly artists. What’s it like collaborating with them?
Ali: All of the current TeamGG artists work in the greater Philadelphia region. One of the reasons I love this city is its abundance of artistic talent and the cooperative, collaborative work ethic among our creative communities. Some of TeamGG are full-time artists, some are art teachers, some are moms, some are students – it’s an eclectic group of aesthetic styles but they are all awesome collaborators. If you search for the hashtag #meetteamGG on Instagram, you can learn more about them. After I tell each artist what type of card I need, I tend to give them a lot of creative freedom because they do their job a lot better than I would. The business model is commission-based, so artists receive a percentage royalty on each card sold which I think makes us feel more like we’re all in this together.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of running your business?
Ali: The most rewarding parts of the job are collaborating with the artists and seeing how much customers love the cards when I do in-person events. Even if people don’t end up buying anything, it’s fun to see them identify with a design or mention how much so-and-so would love it. That’s the essence of why hand-written cards mean so much more than a Facebook like or text. It’s a physical expression of big feelings.
What are some of your personal favorite cards? (Although I’m sure it’s hard to pick!)
Ali: I think some of our most unique cards are the portraits of iconic women in the arts by Loveis Wise, and our Philly-themed holiday cards by Kate Otte and Meredith Jensen are perfectly quirky. Our best-selling birthday cards are “Party Llama” and “Birthday Queen,” which I think speak to the fact that our customer base loves something a little different and fun. Maria Beddia’s bright but minimalist Mother’s Day cards are some of my favorites, as are The Golden Hen’s sweet chicken designs. Honestly though, every designer on the team brings a special twist to the brand identity. It really is a team effort!
Any final thoughts?
Ali: Besides the fresh designs, some of the coolest aspects of Groundswell Greetings are its online convenience features:
- When you add a card to your shopping cart, you can choose different envelope linings and even pay to pre-stamp the envelope.
- A lot of customers have told me that they love the ability to pay with Amazon rather than fumbling to find their credit card.
- In the ‘My Account’ section of the website, you can find a refer-a-friend link that will get you $5 free (which you earn for each new referral) when he/she makes their first online purchase.
- You can also schedule your friends’ and family’s birthdays and other important events into the card reminder calendar, which will trigger emails a few weeks before to nudge you that it’s time to shop for their card(s).
- Lastly, we just introduced ClubGG which saves you 20% on all cards. Members also get a free birthday card and holiday card grab bag in December just for signing up, so it’s a pretty great deal if you send multiple cards per year. Sign up here.
Follow Groundswell Greetings on Instagram @groundswellgreetings for regular updates about our company and products!
Ali was kind enough to gift me some of her amazing cards & I absolutely love them. Each card is beautifully illustrated and colorful, on thick recycled paper. As a lover of handwritten notes, I’m so excited to send these cards to my friends & family!
For more information on Groundswell Greetings, check out their website here & Instagram here. Local artists looking to work with GG, email firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, thank you for supporting the brands who support Ampersand! &.