Pear Tree Greetings Review: Custom Photo Cards and Invitations
|Go to Pear Tree Greetings|
|Very nice quality, unique designs at a great price, only downsides are a smaller selection and slightly limited design tool|
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Based in North Mankato, Minnesota, Pear Tree Greetings offers stylish cards for a wide range of events and occasions. With a lower price tag than most of the other sites we reviewed, we were curious to see if they could compete with the high quality cards we got elsewhere.
Shopping and Selection
Pear Tree specializes in unusually shaped and sized cards, including round cards, die-cut shapes, accordion-fold cards, and self-mail cards that fold up to form their own envelopes. The site stocks cards in a variety of styles, including cards with and without photos. Pear Tree's inventory covers a wide range of events and holidays, including New Year's, Hanukkah, Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, new babies, graduation and birthday parties. The wedding stationery section includes everything from save the date cards to full invitation suites, and offers coordinating thank you notes, reception cards, stickers and address labels for many designs.
Pear Tree's selection is not one of the largest we've seen, but it's well organized, with general categories in tabs across the top of the page and more detailed categories and filtering tools down the side. These tools let shoppers narrow their results down by a wide range of qualities including color, format, number of photos, orientation, size and shape.
Pear Tree marks their most unique cards with a Golden Pear icon. This designation sets apart cards with particularly unusual designs, shapes and features. The company also identifies a few cards that let you pick your own colors for text and design elements from a palette of 70 color options.
The Pear Tree design tool is simple to use, but not particularly flexible. You can add photos by uploading them or connecting to Facebook. You then drag and drop pictures into your design, dragging to reposition them or using a slider to zoom in and out. The system does a pretty good job of making your pictures available every time you design a card, and the interface is intuitive.
This design tool's limitations appear when it comes to editing design elements and text. You can change the text for a few specific fields on each card, but not every field. You also can't move text fields or design elements unless you request a custom card modification. When we asked a customer service representative about adjusting a design to work better with our picture, she told us there might be a charge for the change, depending on how difficult it was for the designer to execute.
Users can change the color of almost any editable text field, and some cards allow customers to change the color of backgrounds, design elements, and other card fields. These cards are marked on the site with a color wheel icon.
Once a design is complete, you can save it to your account with a single click. You can then come back later to edit it further, order cards, or choose between a number of designs you've customized.
Pear Tree does not offer proofs of their cards, though you can order a free sample pack by calling customer support if you'd like to see a example of their card stock. The order minimum is 8 cards, so you must order at least that many if you'd like to see a physical copy of your customized card before you place a larger order.
Pear Tree offers free economy shipping for orders of $100 or more, and flat rate shipping for smaller orders or faster delivery. For complicated die-cut shapes or orders of 300 pieces or more add one extra day to the predicted shipping times below. If your card requires assembly, you can have Pear Tree do this for you for an additional 50 cents per card. If you choose this assembly service, add one day to your shipping prediction.
Using the Economy shipping option, our cards arrived via UPS four business days after we placed the order. Inside the small cardboard box, we found another, smaller box made of light cardboard. Inside the interior box were our cards, shrinkwrapped together to protect them, and the envelopes. It seemed like perhaps excessive packaging for sending a small order of cards, particularly since the other providers we tested almost all used reinforced envelopes for small orders, but it did get the cards to us undamaged.
Like Paper Culture, Pear Tree prints all its cards on one, 100% recycled card stock. The company will send a free paper sample upon request.
We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of Pear Tree's card stock, given that at 100lb, it's a lighter weight paper than most of the other cards in our test orders. We found it comparable to the cards from most services we reviewed, and even a bit heavier than one or two. With a soft, matte finish, it provided a good surface for both pictures and text.
We were very happy with the printing quality on our Pear Tree test cards. Photos, texts and graphics all looked good, and the design we'd chosen looked just as good in person as it had on the screen. Our card was printed on both sides with a warm, beige background, leaving a subtle white Pear Tree logo visible on the back.
All Pear Tree Greetings cards are printed using digital offset presses, which offers vibrant, flat printing at low cost on a variety of card shapes, sizes and designs.
Pear Tree offers customer support over the phone, via live web chat, and via email. Phone support is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST. Web chat is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. EST and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST. Pear Tree replies to customer service emails within 48 hours.
When we contacted customer support via web chat, the representative was very helpful, pulling up the exact card we were working on to see what our issue was and even sending us a transcript by email after we logged off so we'd have something to refer to if we needed to remember her advice.
Pear Tree really earns its spot as our favorite provider for bargain cards with the lowest prices we saw anywhere for orders of 24 or 104 cards, and the cheapest price for a maximum discount of any of our 4 and 5 star sites. You also earn that discount at 192 cards, which is a fairly small number for maximum discounts on custom cards. Pear Tree balances these low prices with a high quality product and an attractive, if somewhat limited, selection of designs, so you don't need to compromise much to get a great deal.
Pear Tree's more complicated, paper-intensive cards do cost somewhat more than the basic flat 5 by 7 inch cards we ordered for our test, but for what you get, they're still a great deal.
You'll notice the numbers on this chart are a little different than those in the charts of most of the other photo card sites we review. This is because Pear Tree only offers cards in increments of 8, with a minimum of 8 cards per order. Discounts for buying in bulk top out with an order of 192 cards, though you can order as many as 1000 if you'd like.
This chart contains pricing information for the least expensive 5 by 7 inch flat card printed on card stock from this site. Different sizes and options may have different pricing. Click here for more information about how we compared prices.
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