Products of Change


Wed 17 May 2023 | by Rob Hutchins

A Bare Cards rebrand pushes the envelope to stem 'untraceable waste'

A UK greetings card start-up is on a mission to educate and engage customers on the industry’s issues with single-use waste by launching its rebranded concept under the name Bare Cards – Naked and Free. First introduced to publishers in 2021 when it operated as Envelopd, the team believes the rebrand will better tell the story behind the greeting cards sector’s tussle with the ‘untraceable waste’ generated by envelopes and cello-wraps while highlighting the benefits of its envelope-free design. It’s reported that while the dependence on single-use materials in the greetings industry is on the wane, 35% of retailers are still requesting their cards arrive in cello-wrap. Consider that in 2021, approximately 708 million cards were sold in the UK, and it sheds some light on the scale of the issue that the team at Bare Cards - Derren and Ceri Seal - are looking to solve. "Bare Cards’ mission is to educate publishers, retailers, and consumers to the fact there is a way to reduce waste in the Greetings Card industry by incorporating the envelope and greetings card into one entity using a patented design," Derren tells Products of Change. "We are ever-expanding our knowledge about the damage excess waste is doing to our planet, and it’s fair to say the amount of cello-wrap being used to keep cards with their envelopes and in good condition is reducing. However, when you hear that approximately 708 million cards were sold in the UK and learn of estimates that around 35% or retailers are still requesting cello-wrap – you want things to move a bit faster." Beyond the physical waste of materials that throwaway envelopes and cello-wrap promotes, there's another - more hidden - cost to the perpetuated use of envelopes, and that's the value that comes at a cost to publishers obligated to replace missing or stolen envelopes at retail. "There are so many different sized cards now days, each requiring a compatible envelope. Retailers frequently express their frustration over envelopes becoming separated from their cards, while the cost of replacing them is ultimately met by the publishers," continues Derren. "Bare Cards tackles all these issues of waste in the industry."

Bare Cards' patented concept sees the greetings card's envelope incorporated into the card's design.
Reaction so far, Derren admits, has been mixed. What's evident is that the issues being dealt with around waste in the UK's Greetings Card industry are not concerns immediately apparent to the public. Consumers are therefore not aware of the need to constantly replenish stores with missing envelopes, or the vast number of stores still requiring cards be cello-wrapped. "Cards have always come with envelopes, so it is about educating people that there is a more sustainable alternative and the ecological benefits to this," says Derren. "The biggest barrier to sales so far has been the consumer understanding of this concept. It’s why we have rebranded the company name from Envelopd to Bare Cards – Naked and Free, to quickly convey that we are an envelope-free greetings card and we have good reason for being so." The ultimate aim for the team would be to strike up a partnership with a publisher which recognises the benefits of the concept wit ha view to apply the design to their own ranges. However, Derren remains mindful of the scepticism with which some have approached the design concept. "There has been some scepticism, especially as changes to the print process would incur some upfront costs – but I’d suggest that perhaps these responses aren’t seeing the wider implications when it comes to waste," he challenges. More information on the Bare Cards concept can be found online where the team have created a poem to help engage and educate consumers on the benefits of going envelope-free.