Reflective essay

I am really interested in creative industry, and hope to be a creative entrepreneur in three years. For achieving this goal, there are eight skills I need to improve in terms of design thinking & human Centred Design, determining feasibility, business plan development, new product prototyping, marketing & communication channels, branding, finance & prising and presentation skill.

Design Thinking & Human Centred Design

In the beginning of the module, we had a workshop with Eewei Chen, the host of this course. He introduced us how to create a realistic business ideas.  In workshop we talked about “lean start-up” which makes us to discover how to cooperate with others to strengthen consumer experiences in a public space with digital and physical experiences. Eewei also mentioned that “Lean Startups use validated learning, scientific experimentation, and iterative releases to deliver products and services that accurately meet customer needs with the minimum of initial funding.” To me, funding is one of the barriers when starting up a business. Observation, data-collecting and experiences would be helpful for finding the insight of consumer in order to decrease cost initially. In addition, a expert person, Philip (2010) states in The Financial Times by saying ” Thinking lean is about constantly measuring all you do, and being able to change quickly as fresh evidence emerges”. The idea of “lean” processes not only focuses on minimizing initial funding, but provides flexibility to meet customer needs by applying new methods as well as reviews the process constantly. During the period of workshop, we tried to innovate a museum for increasing the visits. The employments of some skills such as teamwork, brainstorming and shaping a persona to launch a business model from ideas to have a pitching. It was my first time to have collaboration with people from different countries as well as produced a pitching in such a limited time. I gained the knowledge of applying design ideas to solve problems.

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Human centred design is crucial to business ideas for obtaining the primary research data. Simon, B. and Petrelli, D. (2011) agree that discussions with the group of potential users which benefits to have further understanding of needs and values of customers. To know their needs, we interviewed the student in campus directly. It provided good chances to communicate with the target audience we want. After that, we produced a prototype to explain our idea which is based on the requirements of the target audience. I understand that any business ideas should begin with the problems of people. Approaching people for finding their insight is an important step for a project.

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Determining feasibility

With brainstorming, we can create hundreds of crazy ideas. However, only few ideas are suitable and feasible to a project. The best ideas are always the most useful to people rather than the most creative ones (Nicholas, W. K., Paul, B. P. and YunHee H., 2011). It needs a lot of information to observe the trend to judge an idea is valuable or not. In October, 2013, we visited the Frieze Art Fair in London. I examined artworks in a business view. Also, I heard the talks between buyers and sellers to develop the penetration of tastes of people nowadays. Design is different from art which equip with more practical functions. For the business project, I am required to accurately pick the most valuable ideas and put them into practice.

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Business plan development

Business plan is the main topic of this module.  We applied the theorise learned in class to real business. At first, we narrowed down the ideas and found the most feasible and innovative one; shaping the persona of target audience by describing personality as well as life and the issue she has. For solving the character’s problem, we created the features of our product by brainstorming.  After that, through data-collecting to find the lacuna in the market and decided the position of our product. Finally, we visualised the idea from sketch to prototype. With the experience of converting ideas to business, I realised that for starting a business, I will need to penetrate the potential demands in public. Additionally, need to turn the concept into tangible things.

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Moreover we were advised to attend some lectures which are outside of class. The most impressive one to me is “How to from your skills and ideas”. In the lecture, the lecturers shared some ideas with audiences for starting up a business such as finding what your passion is and no debt in the beginning. Mark Fischer, a business strategy consultant and Internet entrepreneur mentions that   “When you’re living in poverty, every day you have to question how you are going to add value to the company on that day.” In order to ensure the business can move on instead of struggling with financial problem, I should estimate the risk of every investment and never having loans when starting-up the business.

New product prototyping

A prototype allows people can experience products physically, which specifies the ideas as well as assists the entrepreneurs to describe their concepts. The main difficulties of product prototyping are the high cost and unavailability of materials. Except making a shoe with the exist material in hand, we learned the skill of using recycling of woods from other students to create models in 3D workshop. Schneider, E.L. et al. (2014) say that applying recyclable resources to build prototypes extends materials lifetime, in addition, decreases the cost. The more techniques we own, the less cost we spend.

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Furthermore in the process of producing the clutch of our brand: le petit sac. We visited many designers in London for creating the perfect product. Communications with the designers improve the knowledge of stitching, fabric and employment of many materials. At first, we tried to do the prototype by ourselves which can fully display our concept. Afterwards we tended to refine our product and  looked for professional tailors to generate a better one. However, obliviously the skills of tailors did not satisfy our needs. We finally cooperated with a professional designer to finalize the smart evening clutch. We spent a lot of money to revise and test our product during the process.  According to experiences, I realize that for producing the products much efficiently. If we have sufficient time, it is helpful to have keep trying in order to make an accurate mock-up by ourselves, as well as, do more researches about the labour before taking money from own pocket.

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Marketing & Communication channels

As time goes by, the marketing strategies need to keep innovating for following the trend. In Catherine’s lecture, she talked about post-modern marketing which concludes many topics such as tribe, consumer experiences, co-creation and engagement. A tribe is group which gathered by people with strong emotion. They tend to share ideas and create a link between them. The other part of this topic was mainly about the changing of consumer behaviour. Nowadays consumers are more like active participants. Catherine stated that “customer involvement is the primary objective and the sale is a by-product of this relationship.” They are more engage in the products/services and sometimes co-create the ideas with the company. Smith, T. (2007) also mentions the new trend of consumption in the journal by saying “post-modern consumer is negotiated in the subjective, contextual pragmatism of practical application.”

In addition, Catherine also introduced the communication channels: the trend and the stage of communication strategy. The new trend is showing the product by flagship shops, fair and the popup phenomenon. As well as, she talked about how to launch them. For instance, identify target audience, choice of communication tools and collecting feedback. Jonathan, A. (2014 ) from The times claims that appropriate communication channels can discover exist and potential clients. In the lecture, I knew that the importance of crowd-sourcing to a business project. And co-creation may be the most efficient way to get creative ideas. On the other side, the choices of media channels should be based on the attributes of the products which can maximize efficiency of approaching target audiences.

Branding

There was an activity to improve the knowledge about branding by observing the operations of other brands in terms of cognition, emotion and physic.  Then we went to down town in Kingston to collect primary research. For building there brand image, companies deliver the cognition via design, price and location.  Customer service and visual stuff bring the feelings to audience. For example, when I went in the store of Hollister, the staff’s styles coincide with brand’s atmosphere: sexy and sporty. Moreover the physical things such as decorations and items in store create the personality of brand.  Besides we also had a case study of virgin airline which is a innovative marketing example for branding. They make the routine things  become more interesting. Owing to that, customers are willing to pay attention to them. There is a similar concept on another website called The Fun Theory states that “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better” (The Fun Theory, 2009). It is imperative to observe similar brands to analyse their branding, moreover, try to improve the brand to be more attractive by making the audiences laugh.

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Finance & pricing

The financial things are always a nightmare to me. When we launched the business in this module, I got a new title: finance director. All the team mates worked together for setting a suitable price by analysing the market. For example, pinpoint the target audience; track the competitors’ price and the cost of our product. Afterwards there was an introduction to finance director which I learned many professional words in accounting. It is crucial to clarify the finance report and make it head to profitable business with a proper price. Price your products correctly is not increase the selling but flourish your business (Wasserman, E. ,2010). I understand that for my own business, it is necessary to price appropriately as well as make the bills clear to create a stable foundation for the business.

Presentation skill

Last but not the least, presentation skill is the most direct way to deliver the concept to clients and investors. During the semester, we had many opportunities to present our ideas such as a pitching in Wolff Olins and competitions in Dragon’s Den style. There were many challenges we need to overcome in these presentations: limited time, critical questions and high stressful atmosphere. It is imperative to draw attention of the audiences by vivid speaking and visualise the concept. To ensure the audiences can figure out the whole concept in a short time; to agree with your ideas and then to persuade them to invest in your business. Marshall, L. (2007) also consent to the importance of presentation by saying that presentation is the process of sales, an efficient speaker always leads to profit. Therefore I know that in order to have an efficient pitching, the first thing is to simplify the idea, in addition, using charts and pictures instead of words to describe the product.

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Conclusion 

To sum up, Design business covers most of the skills we need to start-up our business and allowes us to put the theories into business. The latest trends and concepts were absorbed in class as well as the tutors also motivated us to have penetration about the creative industry. Additionally, we gained many valuable experiences during the business process. With the learning in this module, I gradually realise the goal I want to achieve in my career life: To be a creative entrepreneur.

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Bibliography

Jonathan, A. (2014) ‘TV or Twitter — brand image is key: A strong reputation is paramount, so why don’t more law firms market themselves, asks Jonathan Ames’, The times, Jan 30 p.55.

Johnson, E. (2012) ‘How To: Launch a Startup with No Debt’, SUCCESS Magazine, Available at: http://www.success.com/article/how-to-launch-a-startup-with-no-debt (Accessed: 22 April 2014).

Marshall, L. (2007) ‘ Businesspeople — Management ; Sales Presentations — Management’, CRM Magazine, 11(4), p.15

Nicholas, W. K., Paul, B. P. and YunHee H. (2011) ‘Building on the ideas of others: An examination of the idea combination process’, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(3), pp.554-561.

Philip, D. B. (2010) ‘Lean startup thinking that works for allThe Financial Times, 16 October, p.14.

Schneider, E.L., Oliveira, C.T., Brito, R.M. and Malfatti, C.F. (2014) ‘Classification of discarded NiMH and LiIon batteries and reuse of the cells still inoperational conditions in prototypes’, Journal of Power Sources, 262, pp. 1-9.

Simon, B. and Petrelli, D.  (2011) ‘ Remembering today tomorrow: Exploring the humancentred design of digital ’, International Journal of Human – Computer Studies69(5), pp.324-337.

Smith, T. (2007) ‘The existential consumption paradox: an exploration of meaning in marketing’, The Marketing Review, 7(4), pp.325-341.

The Fun Theory (2009) Thefuntheory.com. Available at: http://www.thefuntheory.com/ (Accessed: 23 April 2014).

Wasserman, E. (2010) Inc.com. Available at: http://www.inc.com/guides/price-your-products.html (Accessed: 23 April 2014).

Fun Fun and Fun

An excellent design is to make things better for people and… FUN! 🙂

Funny stuff always catches people’s eye as well as makes people to spend their time on them. Let me introduce you an interesting marketing campaign of Ford motors company:

In crowded city, drivers constantly try to find a parking space, by all means, fit into a free one. They take it as a opportunity to promote their new technology Active Park Assist, which can help drivers park their cars easily. So they create a huge pinball arcade over a free parking space…

© Ford Motors Company

On the other hand, how about make things much better? Another car company, Volkswagen, which encourages people to design innovative ideas to change people’s behaviour for the better environment by holding a competition: Fun theory award. They believe that the easiest way to make people willing to change their behaviour is making them as simple as fun. Here are some great projects in this campaign:

Bottle Bank Arcade

Less glass is recycled in Germany because there is on any money in return. Can we change this attitude by making audiences smile rather than giving them physical awards?

© www.thefuntheory.com

The Speed Camera Lottery

How can we get more people to follow the speed limit on the road? A tiny gamble game sounds like a good idea.

© www.thefuntheory.com

The World’s Deepest Bin

Some people never know how to correctly throw litter into the bin (People in London even don’t know how to deal with gum litter… ). This project provides a interesting point which increases interactions people and bins.

© www.thefuntheory.com

People are stubborn and lazy. It is hard to change people’s behaviour since the violation will be fined (how many times you were yelled at by mom because of the same mistakes…). However, it doesn’t mean that those things are unchangeable. For exceptional results, you may try to provoke their interests, to make them smile, and then things are become more acceptable. 🙂

 

 

Your Teammate Kay

 

A picture is worth a thousand words -Anonymous

I used to show my feelings via pictures instead of words. To me, photos compared  with words are easier to me to deliver my ideas and deep thought, in addition, I take photos to track my life. Although I was a visual design student, I am not good at drawing. Because of that I like to cooperate with people who have design skills. “Your teammate Kay” may be the first co-creation artwork. This project is mainly about a collection of images which related to me. These images co-created by people who have collaborated with me. Each of the participant is asked to pick one piece of a picture, imitate the shape in the piece and explain why it is related to me. With the final outcome, I can discover a new recognition of me.

Process

1. I pick one of my portrait and divide it into 25 pieces with numbers in order.

Kay portrait number

2. Brief to the interviewers and explain the concept.

3. Ask the interviewers to pick one piece from 1 to 25.

4. Interviewers have to imitate the shape in the piece they chosen and explain the concept

5. Collect all the pieces from interviewers and convert a new picture.

Finding

During the process, many interesting things happened. For example, friends with graphic design background focus on using point, line and plane to make up the layout (as four pictures below), a friend as a copywriter in Taiwan explains the concept in poetic Chinese which is really hard to me to translate into English and my flatmate who has artistic personality describes his concept by this sentence: it just follows my instinct. Those interviews spend me a lot of time to make them under control.

Outcome

After keeping disturbing my friends in person or via Internet for this artwork. Many misunderstandings and negotiations occur in the process. Finally, there are three characteristics of me which are summarized from friends’ concepts: mysterious, childish and interesting, which sound like a funny character in animation. As well as my friends and I co-create a amazing artwork with colourful pattern, incredible items and surprising concept. 🙂

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Final dragon’s den

On twenty-seventh March, we had final dragon’s den to compete with all the young enterprise teams in Kingston university which is a nervous and exciting event to the MACErs. All the MACErs had kept practising for the final battle.

But, I got a serious headache on that day…

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Yes, I dressed up a suit, but feeling really ill! (maybe it just showed how nervous I was… )

Afterwards, the dragon’s den began…

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le petit sac was the forth team on that day. After hundreds of practices, we did good in the pitching. There are something we learned  from this. For example, we need to react appropriately when others challenge the product and some revises should be done in the future which are better stitching and making the clutch more easier to transform to a fancy bag. When the tough task finished… we feel so relaxed. 🙂

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After the final DRAGON’S DEN, Kingston university picked ten teams to have another 2 minutes pitching to all the judges and other participants. And the MACErs got three tickets to attend the second round: HERO, Helping hand and… le petit sac! Of course we have prepared for the second round:

le petit sac in Kingston university

It was a fresh experience to had another really quick pitching in a short time. I think one task in this pitching is just to show our USP (unique selling point); the other one is… to make the audiences LAUGH 🙂 (it is usually my main job). One idea is enough to the audiences who already had a tiring day. In addition, presenting in a humorous way dose not mean you should like a joker. On the contrary,  you should looks serious and confident (I already tried my best and hope the outcome is good enough). By observing other teams, I found that as a young entrepreneur, flexibility in choosing your clothes and the style of presentation is crucial. For example, le petit sac is a luxurious brand. We dressed up with the red handkerchief to match our product (we apply red to all of the images in branding) as well as another team is selling the book for kids. Colourful wear and vivid pitching style is suitable to the product for children. Dressing formally is no longer the only option. 🙂

 

 

 

Heading to London!

Thursday 3 April 2014. Celebrate Enterprise

It is  an annual event in Kingston university to celebrate success and achievement in entrepreneurship and enterprise. Also, Best Young Enterprise Teams 2014 would be announced in this ceremony.

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Ruby McGregor Smith, the CEO of  MITIE, shared her experiences and ideas with the new entrepreneurs for encouraging them to create new businesses. However, there was filled with nervous atmosphere in the ceremony (Or they felt dizzy). All the young entrepreneurs expected to know who the winner is…  

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Finally… le petit sac MADE IT !!!

 

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We won two awards:

  • Best Young Enterprise Team 2014– lepetit shares this award with Bookworm. We are the two teams which will represent Kingston university to final Young Enterprise competition in May in Canary Wharf (on the other word, we won’t have the Easter holiday…).  
  • Dragons Den £3,000 Seed Money 2014- It means we have money to develop our business, refine the product and expect to take back our investments ( It is really a big money for us).

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I learn many skills during the process such as turning ideas into business, communications between team mates from different countries and making excellent presentation. There is no fashion designer in our team, owing to this, we make efforts on refining the smart clutch by communicating with the designers. It spent us a lot of time and money to find the appropriate supports especially in a foreign country. Secondary, we come from three different countries as well as endure the pressures from learning and life. In the process, we worked seriously, also, had serious arguments between us. But we dealt with them with a mature attitude. Moreover, Judy, the manager in le petit sac, she is a great presenter who shows me how to make persuasive and attractive pitching.

Now, we have new task-Heading to London for winning the final young enterprise award. It is stressful but exciting to see the best young entrepreneurs in the UK. We will have full supports from Kingston university. With their assistances and non-stop training, it is optimistic to have a great outcome!

GO! le petit sac 🙂

Bye-bye Easter holiday and keep working on… 🙂

 

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Look the bright side of the darkness

I love ironic humour, especially sensitive issues about the public. To me, there is nothing can’t be discussed. I’m glad to know taboos are challenged since it might be harmful. But, why not in a humorous way? American adult animated sitcom may provides the solutions by making slight jokes to these issues. There are some animated sitcoms such as The Simpsons and South Park.

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©20th Century Fox Film Corp.

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©southpark.wikia.com

I’d like to introduce Ugly Americans!

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©Ugly Americans

Story

The story of this animation bases on fictional New York City, which is inhabited by human, monster and other creators.  A man named Mark Lily, a social worker, who is employed at the Social Services Division of the Integration. This organisation specialises in the integration of the species which live in NYC.  

Main characters 

Mark Lilly- An innocent guy (but nearly stupid). He makes an effort to his job for solving the problems between the species such as koala man, fish man and robot in his department. However, he always messes up them. He lives with a zombie called Randall as well as has a complicated relationship with his immediate superior: Callie. By the way, Mark has a obsession of eggs… A LOT OF EGGS….

Mark

©Devin Clark

Randall Skeffington- Mark’s room mate, who became a zombie because of pursuing a lady. He frequently loses his body part and looks for replacements; also, Randall is extremely horny but his penis has its own mind (sometimes it would runaway from Randall’s trouser). He always uses Mark’s stuffs without permission.

Randall

©Devin Clark

Callie Maggotbone-A HOT succubus. A half demon/half human daughter of devil and a human mother. She is Mark’s immediate superior  and… moody girlfriend. She hates Mark for being so sensitive and soft, but she love it when he talk about how harsh and violent she is. Her devil father asks her to marriage to the another demon: Twayne Boneraper; because of that it can lead to the end of the world. However, she still deeply loves Mark. Additionally … the most exciting thing to her is torturing his boyfriend…

callie

©Devin Clark

Twayne Boneraper- the Director of New York’s Department of Integration. He comes from a prestigious family and super rich. But he is a Momma’s boy who is often shown to be a child at heart. A sissy demon may be the best definition of him. 

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©www.bubbleblabber.com

Leonard Powers- Mark’s colleague, a frustrate wizard. He is an alcoholic who always throws the files out of the window and extremely replies on Mark to cover his job. He knows magical tricks which brings many troubles to him and… his friends. 

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©Devin Clark

Francis Grimes-the head of Department of Integration’s Law Enforcement Division. He has not sympathy to the new immigrants to NYC resulted from the species had left him physical scars. Violence is the way he used to apply to solve the problem. 

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©www.channel5.com

The character who I love most !!!

Doug- a very timid humanoid KOALA; some people call him “Koala man”. He never talks, has no penis (I don’t know why…), and usually seen in the background. Always be bullied by other classmates. Doug is a sentimental guy and extremely cute who always over-enjoys his own imagination. In fact, he was a dangerous killer before. Sometimes he shows his assassin skills when provoked by someone. Moreover, he gets lost easily and  his dream is to fly. 🙂

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©Devin Clark

There are still a lot of species in this animation such as fish man, great brain, Martin (a two head worm), etc. It is absolutely necessary to check them out!

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©uglyamericans.wikia.com

UGLY AMERICANS is a comedy with a stitch-busting dark humour. I am strongly suggests everyone who loves dark humour like me must to watch this cartoon. HOWEVER!!! there is no more episode because of the finance problem. They said that there may have another series via Internet (finger cross). Their news are still updating on the Facebook and you may visit the author of Ugly Americans (Devin Clark) via tumblr. See you in New York !

🙂  Ugly Americans on Facebook

🙂  Devin Clark’s tumblr

 

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The best job & The toughest job

“Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.”

Katherine Whitehorn

This might be the best job we are looking for…

©Tourism Australia

🙂 Attend festivals and fancy events like a VIP. (Live like a star)
🙂 Enjoy cuisines and beautiful scenes. (Like your weekend)
🙂 Relaxed working environment. (No partitions and… boss)
🙂 Travel the outback and have new adventures. (Instead of visiting new clients)
🙂 Take pictures to show lifestyle and work with famous designers. (People love to show their amazing taste…)

And the most important is… the HIGH salary 🙂 🙂 🙂 (Last but not least)

Of course, we all know these vacancies were created for promoting travel in Australia; another tricks made by advertising agency. This campaign not only works, but becomes an annual event to anyone who fancy working for the dream job. Therefore I  found a creative applicant: Elisa Detrez. She provides a great way to show her passion and creativity for getting the job. It is hard to refuse such a cute and vivid girl to be your partner.

©Elisa Detrez

On the other hand…

How about a vacancy like these requirements below:

• Standing up almost all the time
• Constantly exerting yourself
• Working from 135 to unlimited hours per week
• Degrees in medicine, finance and culinary arts necessary
• No vacations
• The work load goes up on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and other holidays
• No time to sleep
• Salary = $0

It sounds insane…

BUT the most crazy thing is 24 people inquired (Okay, some of them might be invited by the advertising agency…). Now let’s see how crazy they are…

 ©American Greetings

The title “World Toughest Job” attract people to watch this clip on YouTube. It owns 6,022,605 views so far. The producer creates a scenario by interviewing general people via webcam which really happens in our daily life. People easily have sympathy with the common life experiences. In the end of this video, the answer is revealed, it is astonished and really touched. Doubtlessly, to be a mom may be the toughest task in the world by contributing her life (Also, it may not easy to be a dad who is tortured by his wife…).

This campaign is spread quickly with word-of-mouth marketing via social media platforms. However, the content is comparably crucial. The agency produced a thankful atmosphere to remind the crowd to show their gratefulness when the mother’s day comes. A card (By hand-writing is better)should be the most easiest way to deliver your love. I am not sure that they had increased revenues for the client (American Greetings) or not. But, they truly bring gratefulness to the society.