Crane & Co.’s Historian, Peter Hopkins, Talks Social Cards

by Mindy Lockard on October 28, 2009

I met Peter Hopkins at the National Stationery show in 2007. Peter is the historian for a company that I greatly admire, Crane & Co.   Since graduating from high school, when I received my first beautiful box of Crane & Co. stationery, I have looked to this company as a pillar in the gracious living world. Peter, has been kind enough to invite me over to his blog, the Crane Insider, to share my gracious living work and I’m honored to host him here today and to have him share his knowledge of calling cards with you.

I dedicate this post to those bright University students that I have had the pleasure of working with. As I’ve shared, having a calling card on hand is one of the first tools to keep in your networking arsenal! Enjoy…


By Peter Hopkins
Historian, Crane & Co., Inc.

I’m a big fan of little papers – folded notes, correspondence cards, place cards – you name it. And there’s one little paper that is taking the market by storm: Social Cards.


Social cards, originally known as calling cards, have been around for a long time. They were a staple of Victorian society, with very strict rules for their use. Here are some beauties from that era.

Calling cards hung around in the 20th century in certain spots around the country, and Crane always had a few samples in their stationery albums. That was until about seven or eight years ago, when we began seeing somewhat of a resurgence as more and more of these little pieces of paper made their way though Crane’s engraving facility.

Long story short: Crane started displaying more samples, more orders came in, more samples, more orders. Today, calling cards represent the fastest-growing sector of personalized stationery at Crane, accounting for fully half of the top 20 top-selling items.

So who’s buying these pretty little pieces of paper? Although demand seems to be broadening all the time, here are some notable sectors.

Twenty-somethings. Think about it. These youngsters are mobile. Many move from place to place, job to job. They don’t have a land line. You can’t find them in a phone book. They have cell phones and e-mail addresses. They print all their appropriate contact information on their cards and hand them out when “social networking,” aka seeking interesting members of the opposite sex. Let’s think about this for a moment. Nobody smokes anymore, so there aren’t any matches hanging around to write your number on. Your next best option is that soggy cocktail napkin under your beer. Now that’s a really classy presentation! That’s why calling cards have become so popular among this set. Personal branding!

Social cards are a symbol of a certain adult status. They announce: “Here I am. I have arrived!”

And speaking of personal branding, imagine going in for that first all-important job interview and handing your prospective boss Your Card.

Others embracing the social card phenomenon are young couples with kids. Social cards are perfect to hand out for play dates, car pooling for soccer games and for babysitters.

Retirees. These folks have worked all their lives, and have had business cards all their lives. Now they have a social life and have the same need to hand over their contact information for tennis games, golf matches, cocktails on the deck; whatever those lucky folks do with all their free time…

Note from Mindy: If you have any specific questions about cards we want to know! Please, drop a note in the comment section and let us know how we can help you get started!

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Crane & Co.’s Historian, Peter Hopkins, Talks Social Cards | 888 Phone Cards
10.29.09 at 12:45 am

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

sarah 10.29.09 at 8:27 am

What do you suggest cards look like for a college senior who will be interviewing for jobs in the winter/spring? Should they be plain? Can they showcase our personal style with graphics/imagery?

admin 10.29.09 at 11:34 am

Great question. And it’s good we’re having this little talk before you hand over that first card. In this instance, you’re presenting yourself live and on paper to the person you hope will be signing your paychecks. It’s best to stick with the basics. Present your name and contact information. By presenting your card, you’ve already showcased your personal style in a way few others will. From that first interview through the rest of your life you will be looking for ways to differentiate yourself from the competition; to be remembered in a positive light. This is one way to get it done. The second means of differentiation is to send the interviewer(s) handwritten thank-you notes. If you don’t get the job, it won’t be because you didn’t have the necessary social skills.

If you want to strut your stuff a bit in social networking situations, order half your cards printed on a colored paper stock, or embellish them with a rubber stamp graphic. Have some fun. After all, you’re young!

Best, Peter

Leslie 10.29.09 at 1:05 pm

Mindy, calling cards are a great topic. My dad (my childhood hero) passed away when I was very young and a few years ago his desk from his home and a hope chest that he made were shipped to me. Inside were a few mementos, including his calling card. I cherish having it. So my point is, you just never know where those might end up and how important they can really be. 🙂

admin 10.29.09 at 8:05 pm

Leslie, I would love to see the card. I have a thing for calling cards. Thanks for sharing his story.

Sarah Lilly 10.30.09 at 11:35 am

Thank you Peter,

I really appreciate your insights on calling cards. It is nice to have these burning questions finally answered. I will most definitely pass this valuable information on to my classmates!


Dawn 10.30.09 at 12:55 pm

Hi Mindy. I really enjoy reading your blog! Just wanted to let you know that the link to the Victorian calling cards is broken. It puts an extra “http” in the address. 🙂

Mindy Lockard 10.30.09 at 2:45 pm

Thank you so much Dawn for bringing this to my attention! I believe it’s fixed now. Happy Halloween to you.

Muffy Martini 11.03.09 at 8:28 am

This post is interesting as well as enjoyable! I LOVED seeing and reading about those old Victorian cards. I have carried around calling cards for years, even though I have a job.

I don’t want friends and acquaintances contacting me on my work line or work email and I also don’t wish to be defined by what I do. Calling cards are the perfect solution. My own card is on white cardstock with a small pink bow and my name, phone number, and email address printed in green. Simple, while still reflecting my personality.

Lovely post!

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