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A century of gift wrap innovations.

KANSAS CITY -- This year Hallmark Cards Inc. is celebrating the 100th anniversary of gift wrap.

Hallmark is credited with inventing decorative gift wrap back in 1917. Right before the holidays 100 years ago, the company's retail store, Halls--then on the fashionable Petticoat Lane in Kansas City--ran out of the traditional red, green, white and holly tissue sheets that customers used the wrap gifts. Unable to obtain more, Hallmark founder J.C. Hall's older brother Rollie Hall, scoured Hallmark's nearby manufacturing plant for anything that could be used as an alternative. He spotted a stack of brightly colored and highly stylized decorative envelope liners recently imported from France. Priced at 10 cents a sheet, these liners quickly sold out. The following year, the brothers ordered even more envelope liners, priced them at 25 cents for three sheets and sold out again. Soon after, gift wrap became the first product Hallmark made that was a departure from greeting cards.

"Over the course of the last 100 years, Hallmark has continued to innovate in this category, both in product and in marketing. Hallmark introduced Hall Sheen ribbon, a ribbon that sticks to itself and gift wrap when moistened, in the 1930s," notes Hallmark historian Samantha Bradbeer. She notes that the company also began advertising gift wrap around the same time period. In the 1950s, Hallmark began using ribbon reels that allowed ribbon to be easily dispensed from spools inside a cardboard window box. In the 1960s, Hallmark promoted its gift wrap line by sending dozens of women, all affectionately known as Kaye King, around the country to give gift wrap demonstrations in stores, on television and to women's groups and conventions.

"During the second half of the 20th century, Hallmark continued to introduce new products such as yarn ties, pom-pom bows and jumbo plastic gift bags for large items. In 1987, gift bags--paper bags with handles--found a place on store shelves and were an instant hit, and they remain a hit today. According to Hallmark research and sales history, gift bags have been the No. 1 way consumers choose to present gifts since 2002," Bradbeer states.

"This year Hallmark introduced its latest innovation --the card pocket. This thin sleeve inside the gift bag allows the giver to tuck in a greeting card so it doesn't get lost in the tissue paper in the bag. As Hallmark continues to invent new ways to wrap gifts, one thing remains the same--Hallmark's artistry in design and quality of product ensures everyone can easily wrap a beautiful gift," adds Hallmark vice president and general manager of chain drug Amy McAnarney.

Caption: Hallmark is cited as the inventor of wrapping paper in 1917.

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Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Nov 6, 2017
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