Dean Morris Cards was started by Dean way back in 1999, but that is not where it really began. In the years before he used to make handmade cards for family or customising birthday cards, Christmas cards, even the odd valentine card.
Dean studied Fine Art at Wolverhampton University and upon graduating he wasn't sure what to do as a career. When on a trip to London in a fancy arts store he saw lots of handmade paper on sale, and he thought he could use some of them to make some cards to sell.
And that is where it all started, he had no real business plan or strategy - just some paper, a couple of tubes of glue, plenty of sequins and an idea. With a bit of luck, some help from a local artist's foundation and some guidance and support from The Princes Trust that idea snowballed. First into a part-time business as Dean Morris Cards in 1999, and then a few years later a full time career!
Almost all of the cards and gifts are Dean's design and come from his appreciation of retro and own sense of humour. Working to keep the brand quite unique he just designs what makes him and his friends laugh, and it seems others appreciate his idea of what makes a funny greetings card.
The Dean Morris Card's brand is now one of the industry's best-known humour card companies, helped by the Daily Mail's determination to demonise Dean and his unique brand of mixing retro designs with rude phrases.
While he may no longer be working from a bedroom filled with fumes as he sticks sequins and glitter onto his cards it is still just Dean. He said in a recent interview "When people ring and realise it's actually me answering the phone it's quite funny, they think they'll have to fight their way through a stream of people to talk to me. As a publisher, I'm a lot bigger than some people think but I'm a lot smaller than other people think - despite the Daily Mail saying my cards pollute the High Street!"
Trade shows have always been a big part of the Dean Morris Cards calendar, attending his very first one back in 1999 with some help from The Princes Trust shared with other artists and publishers. Then in 2000 a small 2m x 2m stand in Earls Court introduced shops like But Is It Art from Reading to his unique style of rude family photo cards. And they still continue to be good customers today 16 years on.
In these early days the cards were all handmade, photo's, sequins, tinsel all glued to cards by hand. This style of card helped get into some big well known stores such as Selfridges in London and the Paperchase flagship store on Tottenham Court Road, London.
Handmade greetings cards are hard work, and of course you get some funny looks when buying 20 tubes of UHU glue at a time! So everything went printed, concentrating on smutty humour.
Smut, filth and swearing does sell cards, but as an agent said to a customer at the Top Drawer trade show the once "It's not all fuck and bugger". In 2010 the world went crazy for the World War 2 poster Keep Calm and Carry On.
Dean was the first publishers to offer greetings cards based on this iconic poster, with assistance from Barter Books the artwork was taken directly from a detailed scan of the original WWII poster they found. The printers could hardly keep up with demand for the card, outselling the bestselling cards nearly ten to one.
Dean then used the striking design to develop his own variations of the poster, including the very popular "Shut Up and Deal With It" design.
Along with the everyday birthday cards, Christmas cards are huge sellers for Dean. Taking something as wholesome and innocent as Christmas and making a card about too much wanking from it.
For those who follow Dean's Instagram or Twitter accounts will know of his love of travel and flying. And this has help inspire a range of cabin crew birthday cards. And it turns out Crew love them, once whilst on a Virgin Atlantic flight a member of crew asked "Excuse me, you aren't by any chance the Dean Morris of Dean Morris Cards are you?" Turns out they had a stash of emergency birthday cards in their crew bag, as well as a keyring.