GCA Podcast – David Greaves, Emotional Rescue

Jun 22, 2023 | Podcasts and Webinars

GCA podcasts – capturing greeting card history to inspire the industry of the future

Talking Cards with Industry Leaders, the Greeting Card Association’s podcast series, is a look at key greeting card designers, publishers and individuals whose passion, drive and talent has influenced and shaped the history of our industry.

It is hoped that listening to those who have made a major contribution to our industry talk about their journey, and advice they’d give their younger self, will help and inspire the next generation of our wonderful industry.

GCA Meets – David Greaves of Emotional Rescue

David Greaves, co-owner of Emotional Rescue, left school at 16, and went on to become one of the most inspirational leaders in our industry.

At the GCA’s 2021 Conference, in his home town of Manchester, David shared a very personal and inspiring insight into his career. His speech, A Fortunate Opportunity, included a brutally honest and frank snapshot of his business life and childhood. David’s passionate speech can be summed up with the two classic clichés of, “Rags to riches” and “In the face of adversity” inspired and stayed with all who heard it.  

In May 2023 David Greaves spoke to GCA CEO Amanda Fergusson about his career and the importance of seizing those key moments in life. In this podcast David also reflects on the massive growth in the card industry in early 1990’s, sharing his insight into the card industry and his thoughts about risk, the importance of good marketing and “product, product, product”.


  • 1976. At age 16, David becomes a store manager for NSS Newsagents (NSS was a national multiple with 200 hundred stores).
  • 1981.  David moves south to NSS’s head office as a Buyer and also runs the store opening programme.
  • 1983. Tony Spooner sets up Emotional Rescue. “Those rude cards at the back of the shop!”
  • 1986. David becomes the Buying Controller at Cavendish and Castle. (Over 100 stores, including 80 specialist card outlets trading as Supercards and Castles).
  • 1987. David moves to Taiwan to become the Merchandise Controller for Watson’s the Chemist. (Watsons trade across Asia in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and mainland China)
  • 1990.  Emotional Rescue’s turnover reaches £1 million!
  • 1991.  At age 30, David buys shares in Emotional Rescue and joins the business as MD (Tony Spooner enrols at Bristol Old Vic and begins his acting career).
  • 1992. ‘The Odd Squad’ range is launched, and the Clintons account is opened. “Jeff’s Banana had ‘really’ turned bad!”
  • 1995.  Jennie Rutter joins Emo.  The ‘On the Ceiling’ range is launched! Over 150 million cards sold to date…
  • 1996.  Toni Creswell joins Emo.
  • 1998. Elaine Gibson joins Emo.  The Virtual Safari range is launched.
  • 2005. Emotional Rescue’s sales reach £10 Million!! Customers include Asda, Athena, Birthdays, Clintons, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco WH Smith and Woolworths.
  • 2010. David sets up a property business, becoming a developer and landlord. GPR and GPD now have over 80 tenants across Cheltenham.
  • 2014. David sells his ER shares to his fellow directors and leaves ER to concentrate on his property business. Subsequently, Martin Nevin buys the business.
  • 2019. David and Brett Smith buy Emotional Rescue.
  • 2020. Emo and Paper Salad collaborate on six new ranges across Humour and Sentiment to much acclaim. Is it Friday Yet? and Mine’s a Pint takes the market by storm!
  • 2022. Jennie Rutter joins the Emo board and in association with Words and Wishes, Emo deal directly with the independent trade again!

Emotional Rescue

Emotional Rescue are one of the most successful humorous greeting card publishers in the UK, supplying a larger humour card offer across birthday, captions and seasonal designs to independent stores, high street multiples, grocers and also on-line retailers.

David shares his top tips and looks at what separates Emotional Rescue from competitors. Talking about outsourcing, the importance of keeping things simple & concentrating on what’s important for your business, relationships and good product! He also speaking about the importance of enjoying work and the joys of influencing people!

The Social Media announcement that David was back at ER David with business partner and ER MD Brett Smith (R) and GCA CEO Amanda Fergusson (L)

Further Information

Visit the Emotional Rescue website to see more fab ER designs

Click this link for more podcasts and webinars

See our Meet the Member series for more insight into GCA members’ businesses.

Listen to the podcast

Available on Spotify, Amazon Music and other platforms. Just search for “Talking Cards with Industry Leaders“.

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