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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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Be mine

February 6, 2013
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'Tis the month for love - and love is big business! Valentine's Day will find many of you buying cards, flowers and planning romantic dinners.  According to a survey by creditdonkey.com, men will spend more than women. Guys are expected to spend an average of $84.39. Ladies are expected to spend an average of $48.13.

Here's a breakdown of what we plan to give for Valentine's Day, and what we hope to receive: 

 

  • 65 percent plan to give dinner; only 49 percent want to receive dinner
  • 38 percent plan to give chocolates; only 30 percent want to receive chocolates
  • 37 percent plan to give flowers; only 20 percent want to receive flowers
  • 8 percent plan to give gift cards; 15 percent want to receive gift cards
  • 7 percent plan to give electronics; 20 percent want to receive electronics
  • 5 percent plan to give travel; 9 percent want to receive travel

We'll exchange millions of cards this year. For many of us, Valentine's Day brings back fond (or not so fond) memories of trading Valentines with our friends at school. Remember those little cards we used to give and the time we spent making our Valentines boxes to collect cards? Exchanging Valentines is a tradition that began long before any of us gave and received Valentines. The earliest surviving Valentine was reportedly written by the imprisoned Charles, Duke of Orleans, in 1415. While confined in the Tower of London, the young Duke reportedly passed his time by penning romantic verses for his wife in France. Many of the Duke's 'Valentines' can be seen today among the royal papers in the British Museum. 

Let's talk about candy. One of my favorite business stories is that of candy hearts. According to necco.com, 'Daniel Chase created the first conversation hearts in 1866 by devising a machine that would press food dye letters onto the candy lozenges made famous by his brother and NECCO founder Oliver Chase.' I can't imagine he knew how impactful that invention would be! Today the company produces 100,000 hearts each day, selling 8 billion each year - selling out in six weeks! In fact, the little hearts beat out chocolate as the best-selling Valentine's Day candy.

Many of the original sayings on the hearts are still used today: 'Be Mine,' 'Be True,' 'Kiss Me.' To keep the candy 'relevant,' new sayings have been added. The old-school 'call me' became 'email me' and now 'text me' or 'tweet me.' Although the sayings on the hearts have been adapted to keep up with the times, the recipe remains the same. Sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, gums, coloring and flavoring make up the sweet notes. What a great example of a business that has withstood the test of time!

Whatever your recipe is for Valentine's Day, I wish you a happy one!

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