As The GCC Gift Market Loses Global Giant Hallmark, This Female Entrepreneur Has Created An Instant Solution For Misplaced Artists To Sell Their Wares, And Consumers To Stay Connected

  • Kelly Heffey’s gift card company welcomes creatives to join its online marketplace and earn commission to generate vital income as the sector struggles
  • Habeebee Designs allows international customers to design their own unique cards at affordable rates, which can be delivered direct to the recipient within the same day
  • The wider platform launches in perfect time for Valentine’s Day, to meet the increased consumer demand to send more meaningful gift products to loved ones in testing times

UAE: The region’s independent artists and creative business owners have shared in a sense of panic over the recent shock closure of Hallmark Cards, as part of parent company Gulf Greetings overnight demise, which has prompted Kelly Heffey to quickly bridge the gap for her heavily affected fellow small businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Known best for her premium pop-up card company, Abra Cards, Kelly has adapted her latest platform Habeebee Designs to fulfil the Middle East business’s now urgent need for a trusted, risk-free gifting marketplace. And in perfect time for Valentine’s Day, Kelly is delighted to be able to unite artists and designers with the increased demand she has seen from customers to create bespoke, heartfelt products to send to loved ones they are currently unable to share occasions with.

“Small businesses need support to continue operating, now more than ever,” explains Kelly. “The sudden closure of Hallmark means some vendors will forego stock and not be in a position to reprint their entire inventory, and will already be out of thousands if not millions of dirhams.”

“I quickly realised I could shoulder some of that burden and put them back on their feet by offering Habeebee Designs as a collective marketplace for artists to showcase their work, and get paid if it’s selected by our customers to be turned into a greeting card or gift.”

There is no fee for an artist or designer to list their work at, which currently offers customers hundreds of images to select and adapt into their own unique product, with cards starting from AED 25. Kelly and her team are taking care of the complete order process, from creation to production to free delivery within the UAE, which will arrive with the recipient the next day, with same day and outside UAE delivery available at a nominal charge.

Habeebee Designs also arranges the required licensing to ensure all designs meet the required criteria in terms of quality, specification and copyright, removing the time-draining administration and approval process that often stops creatives from being able to earn from their art, and providing an end-to-end solution for the large number currently struggling in the sector.


But are people still buying cards and gifts in the digital age? Now more than ever according to Kelly, who has seen a spike in sales and a far more concerned client across both Abra Cards and Habeebee Designs, as the world continues to live alongside COVID-19.

“Sending a greeting card or gift provides a feeling that can’t be matched by technology,” says Kelly. “We run our lives and businesses digitally, so when we receive an unexpected physical gift, it reminds us of an emotion that so many have forgotten.”

“The demand for digital products is always rising as things continue to evolve. However particularly in the Middle East people still prefer a tangible product to feel, touch and hold on to. By teaming up with local designers and offering a personalisation service, we are looking to bridge the gap which allows our customers to reconnect, express their feelings and strengthen relationships with a loved one, friend, colleague or client.”

About Abra Cards and Habeebee Designs:

Abra Cards was launched by British entrepreneur and passionate creator Kelly Heffey in 2017 and is the UAE’s leading 3D pop-up greeting card company. As one of the first Middle East businesses to turn paper engineering into a miniature art form, Abra Cards produces awe-inspiring greeting cards that evoke emotion in both sender and recipient, and has been contracted by corporate clients including Warner Bros, Bahrain International Circuit, sculptor Richard Orlinski, as well as a long list of royals, governments and luxury brands.

Habeebee Designs was born mid global pandemic in May 2020, as a sister company to Abra Cards, and in response to a surge in demand for fast, innovative, high quality and non-traditional greeting cards and gifts. Customers can choose from hundreds of existing images, add their message and quickly create a card for any occasion imaginable via, or they can upload photos and text to shape their own via the site.