Have you ever been into a store where you felt like everything was just so…you? Not just the products…but the displays and the service and colors and the vibe and every single other detail feels like it was created so you would fall in love. That’s the reaction a small but mighty team is hoping to get with the Hallmark Signature Store, a one-of-a-kind boutique that opened in November in Santa Monica. We made a bit of a fuss over the launch—with a Friendsgiving brunch and guests like Hallmark Channel stars Danica McKellar and Dean Cain—so we caught up with some coworkers to see how it went.
ANGEL F., VISUAL MERCHANDISING CREATIVE STRATEGIST: Signature was having so much success our leaders started challenging us to push beyond our imaginations. Right now we have really beautiful displays in stores. If we really had no fences, what would we do?
ANGELA E., SIGNATURE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Our Signature cards always exist in the context of other card lines and products. We wondered what would happen if Signature cards were the star. How would we go from a card line to a lifestyle brand? What would you have and not have…what works with our consumers’ lives?
ANGEL: At first we said, “let’s just play around with ideas.” Then it was “let’s put some renderings together,” then “let’s mock it up in a lab.” It became bigger and bigger until it was a store.
ANGELA: The Signature Store is, first and foremost, a paper store: cards, gift wrap, stationery, desk sets. The process of developing the assortment all started with the cards and our Signature cards aesthetic.
AMBER G., LETTERING ARTIST: The focus of the Signature Store opening was on sending cards—and on people in your life and relationships you want to think about. I was at the card sending station. People would choose a card and I’d hand-letter the address.
AMBER: It was cool to watch them light up talking about who they were sending their cards to. People loved seeing the name of their loved ones spelled out. Signature cards have such high quality paper and rich processes, and then there’s a personal, crafted finishing touch.
SARAH: It’s the whole experience.
ANGEL: When we were creating the Signature Store, we had an opportunity to think outside of our normal card display and present everything in a new way. Lighting, music, how many products were on display—we thought through all those experiential touch points.
ANGELA: And storytelling!
ANGEL: Yes! And storytelling and photography…we handpicked all those elements.
DANIELLE M., PHOTO STUDIO ART DIRECTOR: It was fulfilling to be there and see everything wrapped up in a package in one store. It does feel very elevated and inspirational. Everything is so well curated and detail oriented—it inspires the creative spirit.
DANIELLE: I brought one of our stylists, Bethany, who both styles and photographs. Our task was to photograph the event, get beauty shots and video of the store, and to document the opening and showcase it for everyone back in Kansas City. Plus we were going out and about and capturing the Santa Monica vibe, because the Signature team is designing specific product just for that store.
ANGELA: We want it to feel like a local store, so getting authentic local product that works for both tourists and locals is important. Our gifts partners worked closely with Sisters of Los Angeles to source fun local gift products, and our Signature team created four custom California card designs to sit alongside them—and those are some of our best sellers. We’ll be expanding the local product even more this summer.
ANGEL: This was a really positive experience—and the first of its kind. So many different areas of Hallmark worked together to bring it to life.
ANGELA: It was super cross-functional. We planned it together, but everyone also owns their area expertise and respects each other.
DANIELLE: It gave me an opportunity to work closely with people from different areas—all the key teams that helped bring this store to life. It’s cool to work hard together with people you haven’t worked with before.
SARAH: Everyone pitched in on everything. Stuffing gift bags, putting furniture together…it was a good bonding experience.
SARAH: It was a one of a kind experience.
DANIELLE: Being there and hearing the buzz…we got to interact with influencers, partners, Danica McKellar and Dean Cain from the Hallmark Channel.
SARAH: I was really proud to work on the social media side—just head down, running around and sweating and doing Instagram stories and trying to capture it all.
ANGELA: It was great to see people interacting with our cards, stationery, wrap and gifts. They’d walk in and say, “Oh, this is Hallmark?” And “This feels like me,” which is what we’d hoped.
ANGEL: A couple was walking by and saw the tagline on the window: “Distinctly Hallmark. Distinctly you.” They stopped and just looked delighted—like, “Wow!”
SARAH: It’s a different view into what we do—an elevated store experience. And our fans are excited for us.
ANGELA: It’s a new version of Hallmark. And being there for the opening was really fun—a great way to kick off this unique chapter in the Signature story.
Photography by Danielle Mousley and Bethany Hughes.