JORDAN CARRUTHERS

In January 2018, Jordan Carruthers spotted a business opportunity when he realized that nobody was selling ‘greeting cards that actually represent our culture’. He got to work designing cards ‘for the mandem’, launching Hood Greetings in February 2018, just in time for Valentine’s Day. However, he soon met a key issue: men buy greeting cards far less than women. ‘I stuck with the ethos to represent a culture that tends to be missing from greeting cards and tailored it to women a little more,’ he says. From there, it was all trial and error: ‘If you compare the cards from when I started with the ones that come out now, it's just night and day.’

People can relate to the cards, and it’s about getting them in front of the right people in a way that feels authentic.

Hood Greetings cards are bright and eye-catching, with short, funny phrases that represent black urban youth like Jordan. On one, a tin of Vaseline is surrounded by words reading, ‘My life ‘My life would be dry without you.’ Another reads, ‘Happy birthday to the waviest yout.’ That snappy format format made Instagram the perfect place to reach customers: ‘It’s a visual platform that can show off the cards properly,’ he says, adding that he loves helping people share and celebrate moments – however important or humdrum – in people's lives.

When we chat to Jordan, who’s based in Birmingham, UK, he’s in his first week of working on Hood Greetings full-time after quitting his job in engineering at Jaguar Land Rover. It’s a quiet period for greeting cards, as the business is so seasonal: ‘The whole year is condensed into a few months. We've got Christmas, which is obviously massive, then Valentine's Day, which is another huge spike, Mother’s Day in March then Father's Day in June,’ he says. Between then and November, it’s pretty dry, making it the perfect time to focus on the future.

Jordan grew Hood Greetings in his bedroom alongside his job, finding that the pandemic gave him more time to focus on making it a real business. It’s grown quickly after a slow first year when he only took £300 and saw every order as a surprise. He stuck with it, saying that he ‘believed in the vision’, and the next year his takings jumped to £3,000. He focused on pushing the cards on Instagram and, in the third year, 2020, he made £55,000 and was finally in a place to quit his job. ‘I was like: I am onto something!’ he says.

Instagram helps Jordan connect with his customers directly through his posts, adverts and comments. ‘You can build a community and understand what’s going on in people’s lives by following the people that are engaging with the brand,’ he says.

That focus on customer service is key: ‘I try to make everything personal. I really do care about our customers and the service that they get. That’s the ethos of the business,’ he says.

Jordan has also launched an initiative called Hood Love, giving customers the choice of a few causes relevant to his company and then donating 5% of every card sold. ‘It’s a win-win for everyone because it gives them the platform to tell their story, and they get a donation out of it, too,’ he says. The initiative is important to Jordan, ensuring that Hood Greetings gives back: ‘I really care about our community, and I want to take care of them and our customers. They’re one and the same.’

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