As the weather gets colder who doesn’t love a good Hallmark Christmas movie? My wife and I sure do. Ok, I know what you are probably thinking — what guy would spend an evening watching something so sappy when there is a perfectly good football game on another channel?
To be honest, Hallmark means much more than movies and greeting cards to us—it is where we met and fell in love. It all started back in the early ‘90s. I was living in Kansas City and had landed my dream job at Hallmark corporate headquarters. My job was to do consumer research and figure out which products and sentiments customers would want to buy—before we started making them. Then, like in some Hallmark movie, my boss came to me one day and said he had hired a cute girl from Alabama who would be working in our department. To help make her feel welcome I crafted a name plate by hand and put it in her cubicle. When she arrived we became instant friends, eating lunch together, traveling and working side by side, shopping after work at Crown Center mall next to our office, hanging out at the park on the weekends, and line dancing at night. After a year we were secretly dating, often discreetly leaving personalized greeting cards on each other’s desks.
And just like in some Hallmark movie Alicia told me one day that she wanted to move back South, someplace closer to home. I told her I understood but of course I was heartbroken. I didn’t want to lose her. There was this great job that was fun and fulfilling but there was also this girl I had grown to love. One day she told me she had lined up an interview with a company in Atlanta. Alicia is brilliant, outgoing and very likable so I just knew they would hire her. The time had come for me to make a choice. So, one weekend while we were at our favorite park I popped the question, pulled out a ring, she said yes, and we were engaged. I followed her to Atlanta and eight months later we were married at the church she grew up in.
We later started a company we called Heartstrings and another called Initial Outfitters. Both companies make sentimental, personalized gifts. Initial Outfitters is a social selling business where we teach and encourage others to sell our products and work from home. Finding time for vacations isn’t always easy but last year we made our way back to Kansas City. The snow was falling and we found a pretty hotel on The Plaza—a beautiful old outdoor shopping mall near where we used to live. We spent the next couple days retracing that time in our life, had breakfast with our old boss who had introduced us, and, of course, we visited Hallmark. This fall you can find us at night sitting side by side in our recliners, watching Hallmark movies with a big mug of hot tea. Alicia will typically bundle herself up in one of our monogrammed fleece throws. And now our daughter has caught the movie bug and often watches with us. It’s becoming a family tradition.