Hallmark Cards

Hallmark Cards
Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Type Private
Industry Greeting cards, Specialty Retail
Founded 1910
Founder(s) Joyce C. Hall
Headquarters 2501 McGee Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64108
Key people Donald J. Hall Jr., Chairman
David E. Hall, President and CEO
Products Greeting cards, gift wrap, party goods, giftware, stationery, electronic greetings, Keepsake Ornaments
Revenue increase $4.4 billion (2007)
Employees 16,000
Website http://www.hallmark.com

Hallmark Cards is a privately owned American company based in Kansas City, Missouri. Founded in 1910 by Joyce C. Hall, Hallmark is the largest manufacturer of greeting cards in the United States. In 1985, the company was awarded the National Medal of Arts.[1]



Joyce C. Hall, founder of Hallmark Cards.

Joyce Clyde Hall became captivated by a salesman who stopped by his family's store in 1906 in Norfolk, NE. Driven by the postcard craze of 1903, Hall decided to venture from retail of various products to wholesale of postcards. He moved his business to a larger market of Kansas City. As time went on, Hall became more convinced that greeting cards would become more prominent than postcards. Greeting cards, according to J.C. Hall, represented class, promised discretion and "they were more than a form of communication--they were a social custom.”

By 1915, the company was known as Hall Brothers and sold Valentine's Day and Christmas cards. In 1917, Hall and his brother Rollie "invented" modern wrapping paper when they ran out of traditional colored tissue paper. In 1922, the company expanded throughout the country.[2] The staff grew from 4 to 120 people, and the line increased from holiday cards to include everyday greeting cards.

In 1928, the company adopted the name "Hallmark", after the hallmark symbol used by goldsmiths in London in the 14th century, and began printing the name on the back of every card. In the same year, the company became the first in the greeting card industry to advertise their product nationally. Their first advertisement appeared in Ladies' Home Journal and was written by J.C. Hall himself.[2] In 1931, the Canadian William E. Coutts Company, Ltd., a major card maker, became an affiliate of Hall Brothers, which was Hall Brothers' first international business venture.

In 1944, it adopted its current slogan, "When you care enough to send the very best." It was created by C. E. Goodman, a Hallmark marketing and sales executive, and written on a 3x5 card.[3] The card is on display at the company headquarters. In 1951, Hall sponsored a television program for NBC that gave rise to the Hallmark Hall of Fame, which has won 80 Emmy Awards.[4] Hallmark now has its own cable television channel, the Hallmark Channel which was established in 2001. For a period of about 15 years, Hallmark owned a stake in the Spanish language network Univision.

In 1954, the company name was changed from Hall Brothers to Hallmark. In 1958, William E. Coutts Company, Ltd., was acquired by Hallmark; until the 1990s, Hallmark's Canadian branch was known as "Coutts Hallmark".


Worldwide, Hallmark has more than 18,000 full-time employees. About 4,500 Hallmarkers work at the Kansas City headquarters and about 9,900 are associated full-time with the U.S. personal expression business.


The current chairman is Donald J. Hall, and the current president and CEO is Donald J. Hall, Jr.

Creative resources

Hallmark's creative staff consists of around 800 artists, designers, stylists, writers, editors and photographers. Together they generate more than 19,000 new and redesigned greeting cards and related products per year. The company offers more than 48,000 products in its model line at any one time.

Products and services

Hallmark corporate headquarters entrance.
Hallmark corporate offices.
A Hallmark Gold Crown Store in Evansville, Indiana.

Hallmark offers or has offered the following products and services:

Greeting Cards

  • Shoebox, the company's line of humorous cards, evolved from studio cards
  • Maxine, by artist John Wagner
  • hoops&yoyo, by artists Bob Holt and Mike Adair
  • Revilo, by artist Oliver Christianson ("Revilo" is "Oliver" spelled backwards)
  • Forever Friends was purchased in 1994 from English entrepreneur Andrew Brownsword, who for four years subsequently was Chief Executive of Hallmark Europe
  • Tippi Town Bears
  • Hallmark Smilebox, software for creating and sending photo ecards, is offered in partnership with Smilebox, Inc.
  • Hallmark Card Studio, software for creating and printing cards, is offered in partnership with Nova Development
  • Microsoft Greetings Workshop, software for creating and printing cards, was offered in partnership with Microsoft[5]
  • In August 2008, Hallmark added same-sex marriage cards to their product line after California joined Massachusetts as the only U.S. states with legal gay marriage.
  • Image Craft, acquired by the William E. Coutts Company subsidiary of Hallmark Canada in the mid 2000s.
  • Hallmark Greeting Cards, Inc. was the first company to recognize Valentine's Day.

Gift Products

  • Gifts, Greeting Cards & More
  • Hallmark Flowers
  • Keepsake Ornaments
  • Road Rovers - diecast cartoon vehicles


Hallmark manufactures greeting cards, ornaments, and related gift products from the following licensors:

Hallmark School Store

Alvirne High School in Hudson, New Hampshire, operates the only Hallmark school store in the United States. Besides normal food and beverage items, the "Bronco Barn" store also sells Hallmark cards. The store is run by students in Marketing I and Marketing II classes, and is open to students all day and after school.[6]

Subsidiaries and assets

Hallmark owns:

  • Crayola LLC (formerly Binney & Smith): makers of Crayola-brand crayons
  • DaySpring Greeting Cards, is the world's largest Christian greeting card company. It was purchased in 1999 from Cook Publishing and is based in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
  • Hallmark Business Expressions: Formed in 1996, Hallmark Business Expressions is a business-to-business subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc. and is headquartered in Kansas City, MO.[7]
  • Hallmark Channel: cable television network — Hallmark Cards owns the majority of stock in this publicly traded company (Crown Media Holdings);
  • Hallmark Gold Crown: a chain of independently-owned card and gift stores in the United States and Canada.
  • Hallmark Business Connections: Incentives - Reward programs, recognition programs and online gift certificates;
  • Halls, an upscale department store at Kansas City's Country Club Plaza and Crown Center
  • Rainbow Brite: a franchise of children's dolls
  • Shirt Tales: a franchise of cards, featuring animals with shirts that read different messages
  • Sunrise Greetings: Located in Bloomington, IN
  • Zoobilee Zoo: a 1986 TV show, centered a zoo populated by animals with artistic tastes

In addition, Hallmark Cards is the property manager of the Crown Center commercial complex, adjacent to its headquarters, and the owner of lithographer Litho-Krome Co.


In 2006, Hallmark donated its extensive collection of photographs by prominent photographers including Todd Webb to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.[8]

Hallmark Music

In the Philippines, singer Richard Tan sang a song about Hallmark Cards, entitled "No One Throws Away Memories". The song was featured in a commercial of the product in the 70s.

In the mid-1980s, the company started its music division, issuing compilation albums by a number of popular artists. In 2004, Hallmark entered into a licensing agreement with Somerset Entertainment to produce Hallmark Music CD's.

Former subsidiaries

  • Hallmark Entertainment: a producer of television shows and mini-series. Halmi Jr. and Halmi Sr. acquired the company in 2006 and was absorbed into RHI Entertainment;
  • Univision: Hallmark owned Spanish-language broadcaster Univision from 1986 to 1992[9]

Hallmark photographic collection

The Hallmark Photographic Collection was donated to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

Legal problems

On September 6, 2007, Paris Hilton filed an injunction lawsuit against Hallmark Cards Inc. in U.S. District Court over the unlawful use of her picture and catchphrase "That's hot" on a greeting card. The card is titled "Paris's First Day as a Waitress" with a photo of Hilton's face on a cartoon of a waitress serving a plate of food, with a Hilton's dialogue bubble, "Don't touch that, it's hot." (which had a registered trademark on February 13, 2007). Hilton's attorney Brent Blakely said that the infringement damages would be based on profits from the $2.49 greeting cards. Julie O'Dell said that Hallmark used the card as parody, protected under fair use law.[10]

Neil Armstrong sued Hallmark Cards in 1994 after they used his name and a recording of his quote, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" in a Christmas ornament without permission. The lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money which Armstrong donated to Purdue University. The case caused Armstrong and NASA to be more careful about the usage of astronaut names, photographs and recordings, and to whom he has granted permission. For non-profit and government public-service announcements, he will usually give permission.[11]

See also

External links


  1. ^ Lifetime Honors - National Medal of Arts
  2. ^ a b "Early Innovation 1910s - 30s". Hallmark Corporate. http://corporate.hallmark.com/history/Early-Innovation-1910s-30s. Retrieved June 08, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Corporate Information: Brand Legacy". http://corporate.hallmark.com/history/brand-legacy. 
  4. ^ "Corporate Information: Hallmark Hall of Fame History". http://corporate.hallmark.com/Company/Hallmark-Hall-Of-Fame. 
  5. ^ "Microsoft and Hallmark Connections Team Up to Offer Microsoft Greetings Workshop". Microsoft. 11 September 1996. http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1996/sept96/greetpr.mspx. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "Alvirne High School students have the opportunity to operate the only Hallmark high school store in the United States."
  7. ^ Carol Krol (16 October 2006). "Marketers find opportunities for better targeting ROI". btobonline.com. http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061016/FREE/610160701. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  8. ^ KATHRYN SHATTUCK (February 18, 2006). "For a Dear Museum: Love, Hallmark". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9506E6DA103EF93BA25751C0A9609C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  9. ^ "?". http://pressroom.hallmark.com/subsidiary_fact_sheet.html. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Paris Hilton Sues Over Hallmark Card". The Smoking Gun. September 7, 2007. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/celebrity/paris-hilton-sues-over-hallmark-card. Retrieved December 12, 2008. 
  11. ^ Hansen, James R. (2005). First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong. Simon & Schuster. pp. 628. ISBN 0-743-25751-0. 

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