Jacquie Lawson: the multi-million pound greeting

by Paul Curzon, Queen Mary University of London

(from the cs4fn women are here special issue)

There is real money to be made out there in the virtual world – if you are willing to put in the effort to develop appropriate skills.

You don’t have to be young or a geek either. At the age of 62, grandmother Jacquie Lawson turned a hobby into a multi-million pound business. She is a trained illustrator having originally studied art at St Martins School of Art in London. She bought her first computer in 1998. Despite struggling at the start she taught herself to draw computer animations using Macromedia Flash.

Just for fun she made an animated Christmas e-card and sent it to friends. Her skill as an illustrator combined with her artistic flair meant that suddenly she was inundated with people wanting them from around the world – a wonderful example of viral marketing.

“The Internet is such a fantastic medium.
It ought to be better.”

She set up a business, launched the http://www.jacquielawson.com e-card website and is now the market leader – with double the visitors of its nearest rival. As Jacquie says about the Internet: “It’s such a fantastic medium. It ought to be better”.

She believes there is a lot of rubbish on the Internet – which means there is scope for skilled, creative people to make a difference by focusing on detail in what they do. Quality can stand out.

So develop the basic skills, have a great idea, throw in some business savvy…but most of all do it for fun, if you want to end up with a successful business.


Be inspired by Jacquie Lawson. Make your own computer greeting card for some special occasion (whether Valentine’s day, a birthday, Mothers day or Fathers Day…). It might be a still drawing or an animation. Perhaps it could even be a program. Use a technology you are familiar with, or learn one you haven’t used before for the occasion – Scratch perhaps or a drawing program. Learning new skills can be very rewarding and sometimes can lead to new opportunities.

More on …

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EPSRC supports this blog through research grant EP/W033615/1. 

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