The Pat Ramsey birthday card.
A Derry man has used his time in lockdown wisely to set-up his own personalised card business with a unique local twist.
He noticed that for special occasions people in the city rush out to buy a personalised cake from Doherty’s Bakery and thought why not also give them a special memento they can hold on to forever.
Christopher Ferry is a Derry man with over 10 years’ experience in the design industry.
He has won various awards in that time for graphic design and social media management through his work with local businesses.
Being on furlough at the moment and confined to his home during lockdown, he felt there was no time like the present to kickstart his own business, aptly named Ferry Clever.
It allows people to personalise cards or buy those with famous Derry faces for every occasion.
A host of Maiden City icons appear on cards such as John Hume, Nadine Coyle, Micky Doherty (below), Pat Ramsey and places such as Free Derry Corner, the City Walls and, of course, The Ice Wharf.
Most of them are accompanied by local sayings, for example the common phrase ‘I love you to the moon and back’ is given a local spin to read, ‘I love you to the Bog and back’, with a sketch of the Bogside as the backdrop.
It is not just cards but personalised images that can be framed, with a Liverpool-themed design currently proving popular after they were crowned Premier League champions.
Families can customise an image of them standing outside the Shankly Gates where it says ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
The business has been built at home but Christopher’s ambition is to eventually open a shop in the city centre where the tagline will be ‘make it personal’.
Working as a DJ he has established relationships with numerous bars and businesses in the town.
“Years and years ago they seen me doing the designs for my own posters, this was back when social media was starting to explode, and they asked me if I fancied doing posters for them.
“I’d do everything from menus printed in their premises, posters, social media campaigns, to online videos – the lot.
“But now I want to go full pelt at it and open my own business.”
Recently he was in the town looking for a Father’s Day card and couldn’t find any he liked.
He said: “I thought it would be great if you could just go on to some place and they could make the card for you.
“So I thought, you know what, I’m going to try this as well.”
He started off selling on the website Etsy and sales have been rising, ‘people are just buying the cards flat to the mat at the minute’, he added.
As someone who is social media savvy, he has been keeping an eye on trends and designing cards accordingly.
During lockdown the charity work of local celebrity Micky Doherty was well publicised which is why his image was selected to grace one of the cards.
The ultimate ambition for Christopher is to be the ‘go-to person’ whenever a special occasion comes up.
“In Derry, and all over the world, it’s always going to be someone’s birthday, it’s always going to be Christmas, it’s always going to be Father’s Day so I just want them thinking of me for a card.”
Micky Doherty said he loved the cards.
“I'm totally honoured,” he said.
“Like someone wants a birthday card with my face on it," he laughed.
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