SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The largest black-owned greeting card company in the world is celebrating 25 years in business.
It started in 1991 with just three Christmas cards, but now it’s a multimillion-dollar corporation that sells cards and gifts around the world.
“We’re simply the black Hallmark of America,” said Gregory Perkins.
He was a local correctional officer when he started making greeting cards from his home.
“I got my cousin who was an artist and we started with 3 cards,” he said.
He said he knew he could do better than what he was seeing in the greeting card market.
“I saw what was issued in the marketplace and it didn’t look like us, it was white cards painted brown and that’s the only thing we could find,” he said.
Those modest beginnings 25 years ago have grown into a corporate office and warehouse spanning 42,000 square feet. African American Expressions i the largest black-owned greeting card company in America.
Now his company offers 150 cards and more than 700 products.
“We do everything from Bible covers to journals figurines to puzzles we have so many product lines I forget sometimes,” he said.
And he always makes sure the products are both timely and on trend.
“The hottest thing for us is our new coloring book we have and adult coloring book called ‘Faith and Fashion,’ and it’s being release in a couple of weeks,” he said.
Faith plays a major role in his everyday life and his business.
“God has gifted me with an eye for art and how to choose art,” he said.
He says it was a hard decision to make when he quit his corrections job and devoted his time to the business, but he’s glad he did.
“Today we’re a multi-million dollar company and we serve everyone from Mom and Pops to Walmart with our product,” he said.
In light of recent racial tensions, Perkins says he doesn’t tackle politics, but stays true to his mission by remaining authentic and always sending out a positive message.
“We’ve always wanted to beautify the African-American community; we love who we are and we want the world to see that and we want see to us,” he said.
Perkins also believes in giving back, with a track record of hiring and training homeless workers. He also bought a building in Downtown Sacramento where he partners with churches to feed the homeless.