Not just for Mother's Day: Greeting cards rake in big profits

May 12, 2017

The National Retail Federation estimates that 78 percent of Americans will buy a card for Mother's Day. Greeting cards are no joke. It's a roughly $6 billion to $7 billion a year industry, which is good news for card makers like Rosanna Kvernmo.

Kvernmo runs Iron Curtain Press, a small print shop, as well as a stationery and office supply store called Shorthand in North-East Los Angeles. It's a small, airy space with every office item imaginable, organized by color. On either side of the shop there is a wall stocked with a mix of greeting cards from small boutique presses, as well as Kvernmo's own creations.

We went to the back of the shop, where Kvernmo and her team have two printing presses.

Doing business this way seems incredibly old-fashioned, but it's working. The press has been in business for nearly nine years, and since the storefront opened a little over a year ago, business has been booming. The store now makes up half of Kvernmo's revenue.

Even though most of our lives are lived digitally, she said, "sending a note feels so much more meaningful than a text." She'll have to rely on that sentiment to keep her store growing.

"I'm not afraid, I think there's plenty of room to grow ... it's so fun to be part of this industry," Kvernmo said.