26 November 2020

The next instalment of our Exporter Spotlight blog series is here! And this time, it’s all about Notes & Queries. You can read our previous Exporter Spotlight post here.

Say hello to Notes & Queries!


Our fantastic friends in the USA, Notes & Queries, import and distribute greeting cards, gift packaging, and stationery from more than 25 publishers internationally. Since 1980, Notes & Queries Inc. has been dedicated to providing their trade customers with the most innovative designs, which is why we are delighted to have worked with them for many years.

We asked our friends at Notes & Queries to tell us a bit about how they got started. Here’s their impressive story: “Notes & Queries was started 40 years ago by Alan Harnik, known affectionately as ‘Big Al’ to our customers and friends. The company was conceived in Madagascar, and then nurtured from a small pushcart in Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston in the late 1970s! At that time, Alan was selling handmade cards and crafts from Madagascar and American handmade greeting card artists. Over the course of Notes & Queries’ 40-year history, the company grew from a pushcart to a basement apartment, to an old airplane factory with no heat, to a 12,000 square foot warehouse in Baltimore.” To give you some visual insight, here’s a photo of that beloved pushcart in the ‘70s!

A small pushcart in Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston in the late 1970s
The beginnings of Notes & Queries!

Notes & Queries went on to say that “even now, Alan, along with co-owner and daughter Vanessa, shares the same passion for the business he had 40 years ago. For anyone who has met ‘Big Al’, you know there is no one in this industry with more enthusiasm about a great card than Alan... and enthusiasm is contagious!” We agree!

We also wanted to find out a how they find working with The Art File, and how the exporter-publisher relationship is viewed from their perspective. There’s a lot of experience to delve into here, as we’ve been working together for over 18 years! Notes & Queries said “we value the trading relationship with The Art File for the diversity of collections that they provide us with.”

Big Al from Notes & Queries and Ged from The Art File!

Notes & Queries went on to tell us they have a lot of favourites when it comes to The Art File products, but one of them has to be our Sara Miller London range,  “which has been a long standing favourite since we launched it years ago. We even took this collection in two different formats; one with some added inside text and one as produced by The Art File.” When we asked what it was about this collection that they loved, they said “it’s both the colour palette and the drawings themselves”. But there’s a difference between having a personal favourite, and that favourite selling well – isn’t there? Notes & Queries said “one of our best-selling designs ever was Sara Miller London’s Asian inspired sympathy card which we put additional inside text into, and which we have reprinted several times.” Another of their favourites is “the exciting male-targeted Vertigo range. ‘Sophistication’ describes this collection perfectly.” 

Notes & Queries' HQ

Next, we wanted to know more about the amazing stockists who take The Art File product with Notes & Queries. They said “The Art File has always done well in bookstores; Powell’s in Oregon and Copperfield’s in Northern California are just two of the many that have carried The Art File’s collections.”

They then divulged some really exciting news, which we’re announcing here for the first time: “Notes & Queries is proud to share the news that we are now stocking The Art File in Barnes and Noble, and this month will launch many of The Art File’s cards into their new shops.” Thank you for sharing this incredible news! 

Powell's, Oregon


We’re grateful to have such a brilliant relationship with Notes & Queries, and it's clear that they have a real passion for offering only the highest quality and best-selling products and designs. It’s wonderful to see our products being so expertly shared on the other side of the Atlantic!

As always, if you have any questions about our new products, or anything else, please send an email to sales@theartfile.com and we’ll be happy to help. To keep up to date via our social media platforms through these links - FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn – or just search ‘The Art File’. Make sure you follow Notes & Queries on Twitter and Instagram too!