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Be proud

Lorraine Donnelly, co-founder and director of gay and lesbian publisher Pride To Be, discusses the recent landmark law change allowing same-sex couples to marry, and what this means for card retailers and the greetings industry as a whole.

ON MARCH 29, 2014, gay and lesbian couples in England and Wales made history after a deeply fought-for and sought after bill made it legal for them to marry. Previously, same-sex unions were

restricted to civil partnerships and card retailers throughout the UK have delivered a range of cards catering for these celebrations. However, with the advent of same-sex marriages, comes the demand for cards which refl ect the marriage of two men or two women, and at present, this remains largely unmet. Pride To Be was founded based on our prediction, and

unwavering belief, that same-sex marriage would one day become a reality and, of course, now that day has arrived, it’s critical for the card industry to respond quickly and effectively. Unsurprisingly,

same-sex couples, and the friends and families who attend their weddings, desire as much card variety as for any heterosexual couple, however, as a sector, I feel we’re largely failing to deliver. With an estimated fi ve to seven per cent of Brits identifi ed as gay, lesbian or bisexual, that’s 3.6million people so the same-sex market represents a burgeoning and lucrative opportunity for card retailers who are positioned to capitalise upon it. Never before has there been such a need for same-sex card ranges, and this is not reserved only for wedding cards – the knock-on celebrations this new law will create, such as anniversaries, means retailers must think in broader terms about the ranges they stock.

As an industry, we know the most successful card retailers are typically those that cater for all types of occasion. With the rise in the number of same-sex weddings thanks to this long-awaited landmark ruling, shops which fail to provide a range to meet this new demand risk driving customers into the arms of the more forward-thinking retailer. As designers and producers of same-sex greeting cards for the trade, including a range specifi cally created for gay and lesbian weddings, we’re already seeing demand in our products grow day-by-day.

And, as a gay couple ourselves, the cards we design come, not only from the heart, but from a position of

understanding, meaning our market knowledge is unique to Pride To Be. Perhaps this is what is driving increased demand in our products, particularly among those card

retailers who are thinking innovatively,

reacting to trends and listening to the market and their customers to

ensure they are staying ahead of their competition.

As a publisher, though perhaps more

importantly, a buyer of same-sex greeting cards, I think 2014 represents the perfect time for retailers to consider their approach to catering for the gay and lesbian market. In order to increase revenue and deliver a

strong competitive knock-out offering, retailers should maximise the same-sex opportunity to ensure customer demand is met so they remain front of mind for buyers within an increasingly crowded market place.

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