Jessica Huie Adds Diversity To The International Greeting Card Industry With Colorblind Cards
Jessica Huie said her company doesn’t “just sell birthday cards.” It also influences a Black and mixed-race audience that was “previously overlooked by the greeting card industry.”
Huie’s multi-racial greeting cards and gifts company, Colorblind Cards, was created in 2007 to bring an ethnic presence to the United Kingdom’s greeting card market. The idea for the business began when Huie found herself looking for a greeting card image that reflected the look of her brown-skinned, seven-year-old daughter. Shocked that she couldn’t find a single ethnic card in London, Huie said her only recourse was to create cards that gave “children of color a sense of self, love, and pride in their identity.”
And she did just that.
Huie has created cards, and gifts featuring children and families of color, becoming the first greeting card company to supply mainstream greeting card retailers in the UK with cards that celebrates ethnic diversity. Her merchandise can be found in hundreds of supermarkets across the UK and can also be purchased from locations in South Africa, Barbados, and Bermuda, as well as online at ColorblindCards.com. Huie has now set her sights across the pond, and will be adding locations within the U.S.
While she continues to win awards such as the Daily Mail’s “Enterprising Young Brits,” and found herself on an enterprise round table with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Huie vows to continue spreading her message of unity until “children and adults alike don’t have to aspire to anyone or anything – but who they are.”
MadameNoire: What’s the most important thing your business does?
Jessica Huie: I think Colorblind Cards fills a gap in the market with greeting cards which feature people of color. I remember, years ago, I was looking for a card for my daughter. She had this beautiful afro hair and she said that the boys were complaining because they couldn’t see the blackboard and she wanted to have long straight hair. I wanted to find a greeting card with a princess with brown skin to cheer her up. But I found nothing. There were no people of color featured anywhere – no Asian, Black, Latino – nothing. It was 2007 and this concerned me on a social level. And on a commercial level it seemed like a missed opportunity and a value that wasn’t being recognized.
London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and none of the shops represented the society in which we live in. So I decided if no one else was going to bring people of color to greeting cards, then I would do it. Now we call ourselves a multi-cultural company, catering to all colors and creeds. We started with Black heritage and we create greeting cards and gifts and everything is personalized. When you look at the website you can change text, names and we sell everything from baby cups, to clocks, to journals to kid’s bags. It’s a way to claim a sense of identity so children and adults alike don’t have to aspire to anyone or anything – but who they are.
MN: How long have you been in business?
JH: Colorblind Cards has been in business since 2007 but I have a PR firm as well – JH Public Relations – which I began in 2008. The agency provides public relations services to celebrities, entrepreneurs, and high profile brands.
MN: What did you do before? Or are you juggling multiple careers?
Huie: My life has always been a struggle. I started as a teenage mom. And my daughter changed my life. Before her I had no sense of purpose. I was a lost teenager but she gave me a reason to live. I went back to college and got my degree in journalism. I did internships and then opportunities began to present themselves. I enjoyed an exciting career in media and public relations. I worked with Simon Cowell, and one of my first interviews was with Mariah Carey at age 20. I also represented Kelly Rowland on the UK front.
Today, I run my own PR agency, I left the agency I was working at previously when I began Colorblind Cards in 2007. I wanted to open my own agency because I wanted to be in control of the clients, and work with people that would really inspire the wider community. So I now do that as well.