J.C. Hall was born in 1891 in Nebraska. He had a tough early start to life. His parents divorced and his father died when he was seven. When J.C. was eight, J.C. became a door-to-door salesman of perfumes for what would become Avon products.
When J.C. was 14, he and his brothers bought picture postcards to sell to stores. At first, the postcards were a tough sell. Eventually, sales were sufficient that they could open a store in Kansas City. The store had done well, but three years after its opening a fire destroyed the store and all of its merchandise.
As fate would have it, the fire became the turning point in J.C.’s life. He bought a printing press and began printing his own cards. The Hallmark brand of cards became synonymous with caring, kindness, and thoughtfulness. The cards became a symbol of hope.
J.C. was never content to just sell cards. In 1951, he sponsored a TV show: Amahl and the Night Visitors. At the time, TV had limited original programming. J.C. saw the need for additional ways to promote the Hallmark image through feel-good productions.
J.C. retired from active management of the company in 1966 but remained chairman of the Board of Directors. He still approved every greeting card. He also created the Hall Family Foundation to improve the quality of life for those who call Kansas City their home.
The company that J.C. Hall created was built on the belief in hope. Some may find that old-fashioned today. There are those who might attack a hope for a more sustainable society, one that values all people, or one where caring is a valued trait. Thankfully those who continue to share J.C.’s values are still in the majority.
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“Producing a first class product that is a real need is a much stronger motivation for success than getting rich.” – J.C. Hall