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BUSINESS New cards celebrate infidelity



Published: Sat, June 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



A line of greeting cards is made for those in clandestine love affairs.

By KIMBERLY DURNAN

KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

DALLAS -- A new line of greeting cards could help fan the flames of infidelity.

The Secret Lover Collection, created by Cathy Gallagher of Bethesda, Md., is made for those involved in an illicit affair, a niche she considers long ignored.

The collection, which will be available in June, speaks to the uniqueness of such relationships, giving lovers the opportunity to recognize holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, apologies, hookups and breakups.

One holiday card reads, "As we each celebrate with our families, I will be thinking of you." Another card laments: "I used to look forward to the weekends, but since we met, they seem like an eternity."

"These are for people who are in love affairs," said Gallagher, who finds inspiration in movies, songs and people she knows. "These are not sex cards. Those have been done."

Common experience

Gallagher said she got the idea when she and her husband were discussing someone they knew who was having an affair.

"By the time we reach our mid-30s we come into contact with someone who has had an affair," she said. "I researched it and found it was an untapped market. There were relationship cards but nothing about this kind of relationship."

Using discreet labeling to protect clandestine cupids, the cards will be sold online and in boutiques, but likely not in mainstream grocery stores and card shops.

Barbara Miller, a spokeswoman for the Greeting Card Association, said she has seen many niches evolve in the industry, like cards made specifically for the gay community, some even more expressly for the gay black community.

However, the market for greeting cards celebrating forbidden flings has been untapped until now, she said.

"Mrs. Gallagher saw this niche and proceeded to fill it," she said. "It's one of those things. We will have to wait and see what kind of response she gets."

Out in the open

The cards drew some buzz at the National Stationery Show a few weeks ago, when Gallagher and about 1,500 other companies exhibited their collections.

"It's new and nobody has ever seen or heard of this before -- a card for people having extramarital affairs," said Lori Robinson, show manager. "It's a taboo subject and has shock value."

The cards reflect an industry trend toward more specialized messages in greeting cards that limit the creativity required of the writer, Robinson said. There are cards for cancer patients or stepmothers, or to recognize the adoption of children or pets.

"It's very targeted," she said. "We didn't see that five or 10 years ago. Manufacturers are trying to cater to people's specific needs."

Hallmark will not be selling a competitor line to the Secret Lovers Collection, spokeswoman Rachel Bolton said.

"We have cards for good friends, for people who can't be together and for divorce," she said. "Hallmark has a lot of cards that express a wide variety of feelings about love, from cool platonic tones to passionate new love. Hallmark does not have cards for lovers in clandestine relationships."




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