The hilarious and frank Buddy Fernandez cards are one of our bestselling ranges but we wanted to know more. We caught up with the Buddy Fernandez team to find out what inspires these entertaining cards.
Can you state your full name and job title?
WV - Wes Venn, Chief Crayon Operator.
LR - Lee Rowlett, Regional Head of Caffeine.
SC – Sarah Champion, Chief Whip.
How long have you been at Buddy Fernandez and how did you come to the company?
WV - "A year. Lee needed someone with the ability to talk crap to strangers: a voila! I love strangers, I’m like an ugly puppy!"
LR - "Wes is being modest, he’s not a bad looking puppy. Maybe like a labradoodle or something of that ilk. Yeah, we kicked off properly at Spring Fair last year, after a few months putting the range together and selling individually on Etsy."
SC – "See above.'"
Tell us how Buddy Fernandez came about?
WV - "Desperation to have cards that didn’t say ‘I wovvee wove you’ on Valentine’s Day. We’re more like, ’You know what, nobody else will let me see their bum, that’s why I love you’."
LR - "Exactly. That’s just more honest. There’s too much crap spoken all the time, Buddy is about stripping it back and saying it like it is. As long as it’s funny."
SC – "Lee and a friend had an idea for a card company many moons ago, ‘Upset Pigeon’ sadly both the moon and pigeons have since been monopolised in the greetings card industry so Buddy Fernandez was born."
How big is the Buddy Fernandez team?
WV - "Massive, because we steal anything our mates say that makes us chuckle. We stick it on a card then never pay them, and only we’re allowed on our Christmas do."
LR - "Officially there’s the three of us. Aside from coming up with some of our bestselling cards, Sarah’s also there to keep us in check. Otherwise there’s a good chance we’d be asked to leave the country."
What is a typical day like at Buddy Fernandez?
WV - "Wake up, do stuff, go to bed."
LR - "Well we have 10 minutes of quiet reflection at 9am, before we hold hands and share the challenges we face during the day ahead. Then we have a little cry and start drinking tequila from plastic cups. Not really, there’s mainly a lot of order sorting, emailing, chatting with printers and picking out canoes."
SC – "Then we all end up in the pub. We’re the current quiz team champions at The Boogaloo in Highgate (free plug, can we have some beer please?) and we’re VERY proud of that."
Do you have a favourite card or favourite range?
WV - "It depends where we are, at the big card shows ‘All the other cards were s**t’ makes me smile."
LR - "I will always have a soft spot for ‘Literally the first card I saw’, because it was our very first card."
SC – "I f**king love you."
Where does the inspiration for the different cards come from?
WV - "Dave Carlsberg, Nigel Carling and Steve Hoegaarden have been major influences.
LR - "Proust, Dylan Thomas, Shakespeare, and a guy I met in the doorway of Curry’s PC World, Big Nev. Actually, it’s all from the great man himself, Buddy Fernandez. He’s the wind beneath our wings. We just do all the work then send him cheques."
SC – "I worked in a stationery shop when I was a teen and a really sweet old lady came in asking if we had any cards ‘from the dog...’ We didn’t and I hated disappointing her. Buddy does and it’s a great seller."
Which is the most popular Buddy Fernandez card?
WV - "‘Literally the first card I saw’ is always popular, I think because it’s the first in the catalogue, lazy."
LR - "As Sarah never lets us forget, her ‘I left it too late for Moonpig’ is right up there, along with ‘Literally the first card I saw’. But the first ten in the catalogue are all bestsellers. Lazy indeed."
SC – "By this time next year the cards from the dog and cat will be up there you mark my words."
Do you have a favourite national day i.e Valentine’s, Christmas, Halloween?
WV - "I like National Talk Like a Pirate Day! But there be no cards for that, aarrgghhh, so no doubloons be coming arrrre way for that there day. Pirate cards next year though, boom, we will be ‘chest’ deep in gold before you can say 'shiver my timber'."
LR - "Probably Christmas, because of the food. Now I’m hungry."
SC – "I just googled ‘best national days’ and while it’s not a day there is a ‘red squirrel week’ that’s now my favourite."
If you could invent a new national day, what would it be?
WV - "National Buddy Cards Day, followed by Go and Buy a Yacht Day."
LR - "I’ve always liked the idea of Naked Thursdays. Although in reality, I think that could be pretty horrific."
SC – "Cocktail Fridays."
If you could send a greetings card to anyone in the world, who would it be and what would it say?
WV - "Some old teachers, I think I owe them a ‘Sorry for being a dick’ card."
What has been the biggest challenge for Buddy Fernandez so far?
WV - "Not spending the profits on canoes. That sounds like a joke but Lee has a vision of paddling to some islands off the coast of Scotland. I’ve convinced him that we might die, it’s still under review. If you see us on the news, it was his idea."
LR - "Saving up enough for that canoe. And that paddle is happening Wes. There’s a good chance you’ll see us on the news. Apart from that, the challenges keep coming really, because we’re learning as we go. The hardest thing is working out how to take it forward without losing what we love about it. And keeping coming up with new ideas, although that’s actually the fun bit too."
SC – "Getting the boys out of the pub."
What has been a highlight in the company so far?
WV - "Without sounding like a spoon, every day is a highlight. Creating something, and a brand you believe in, then seeing people like it, get it, and smile when they experience it makes you really proud (I sounded like a spoon didn’t I, I hate me)."
LR - "Yeah, you do sound like a spoon. But I totally agree."
SC – "SPOON!"
What is the best piece of career advice you have ever been given?
WV - "It’s only work, it’s not life or death."
LR - "Don’t work with Wesley ‘I won’t die for this company’ Venn, he just doesn’t care enough. Seriously, the best thing I heard was ‘Do something you love, work hard, and the rest will take care of itself’. I haven’t always heeded that advice, but it’s spot on."
SC – "I’ve always loved Bob Dylan’s take on things, 'A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.'"
What is in the future for Buddy Fernandez?
LR - "We’ve got a new range launching at Spring Fair at the NEC, with more to come in the summer. We’re also going to be hawking some wares out in North America soon too, so it will be cool to see how that goes. Bagsy running the LA office from the Malibu beach house/office!"
SC – "I’m all about defending our pub quiz champion status at The Boogaloo."
Can you describe the company in one sentence?
WV - "I cant believe we earn money for this stuff."
LR - "We make silly little cards that hopefully make people chuckle."
SC – "Honest greeting cards that say it like it is."