Starting a Greeting Card Line? Here’s Your Bible

By Carolyn Edlund

Receiving a package in the mail this week with a copy of “Pushing the Envelope” inside by Rob Fortier and Meryl Hooker was a real highlight. Meryl is a rockstar legend in the sales rep business (she wrote a guest blog for Artsy Shark recently) and Rob is the creator and owner of Paper Words, which manufacturers greeting cards and personalized stationery.  I knew they had great credentials, but I wanted to see for myself what all the hype was about with their new book.

Having been a card rep myself (and curiously, a direct competitor of Meryl’s in the MidAtlantic), and also having been a self-employed artist with a production jewelry line for twenty years, wholesaling and hiring my own reps, I felt that I had enough experience to evaluate how complete this book is for the new entrepreneur. And guess what folks – I actually learned a thing or two myself!

“Pushing the Envelope” is written in plain English and takes the aspiring greeting card entrepreneur through the whole landscape of setting up shop, and getting ready to have their line exposed to a huge new audience through hiring sales reps. It talks about the challenges and rewards that go along with this important business decision, including:

  • How to find and hire sales reps
  • Pros and cons of working with reps
  • Creating business systems ready to sell to the wholesale market
  • Goal-setting, commissions and making a profit
  • What to expect at trade shows
  • Your company’s online presence
  • Industry standards and terms – even a useful glossary
  • Growing your business

Even with all this helpful information, it will still take guts, persistence and a passion for cards to make it in this business. That involves a lot of hard work on your part.  If you have great ideas, and a willingness to make your business work, stop the presses and invest in this book. It will teach you things no matter what your level – rank beginner to those pros already in the business.

“Pushing the Envelope” can be purchased at  I highly recommend it to my readers, and ask them to pass it on to others who can benefit as well.


  1. Hi there. Great article and very helpful information. I just wanted to let you know “Pushing the Envelope” is now only available on and Barnes & Noble. Center Aisle Group is no longer an active company. I look forward to reading the book! Thanks again.


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