Creative writing: Crawford plays his cards write

Crawford Johnston with his creative writing cards. Photo: David Lowndes/Peterborough ET (METP-11-11-11DL313)
Crawford Johnston with his creative writing cards. Photo: David Lowndes/Peterborough ET (METP-11-11-11DL313)
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Faste rising entrepreneur Crawford Johnson has set up an office in the Land of the Dragon – at the tender age of 14.

Oundle School pupil Crawford (14) has seen demand from all over the world for his Creative Writing Magic Money Cards business, which launched in July.

He set it up to help children improve their English writing skills after growing bored of reading grammar textbooks while still in primary school – a feeling many youngsters know all too well.

For the last two years Crawford has developed the business and after being inundated with orders from all over the world, has now opened a sales office in Hong Kong.

Crawford said: “I always thought it was a good idea and would be successful, but it has grown a lot faster than I thought it would.

“The core audience is in Britain, we have orders from China, Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, Germany, France and the Netherlands.

“Everyone who has used the cards has said it has helped them with their writing. It’s not only for children, adults can benefit too.”

The demand abroad has led to long-time family friend and Hong Kong ex-patriate Clive Hunter helping to oversee the continued expansion into the Chinese market.

From his office in Hong Kong, Clive is able to act as a representative for the business and sound out more potential clients.

Crawford added: “Overseas markets are very interesting. I found myself asking a lot of questions about Hong Kong and learned about the potential in China and Taiwan.”

From a little closer to home, Crawford is running the business from his family home in Eye.

He added: “We have weekly meetings where I update my dad on how things are going.

“My dad has helped me a lot with the business, which I came up with the idea for when I was reading rules on grammar in a really boring book.

“I thought it would be easier for me to remember things if I wrote them on little bits of paper and had them around me while I revised.

“It really helped me and I thought if it can help me, it can help anyone.”

The assistance it gives to grown-ups was demonstrated when Crawford recently spoke at the Peterborough Rotary Club, and challenged members to describe their surroundings.

He then whipped out the Creative Writing Magic Money Cards and showed them how the tools could help them paint a more verbose and insightful description of the room by integrating sights, smells and sounds to their language.

Crawford added: “I think the cards are really helpful, and that has been the main driving force behind it.

“The fact they are such a good tool means there is a large market out there, and the business is going really well.”

Crawford is coy about how much money he has made and he still has not decided what he wants to do for a living, but hasn’t ruled out a career in either business or writing.

How the cards work

The Creative Writing Magic Money Cards are aimed at helping nine to 15-year-olds with their writing abilities – but can benefit people of any age or academic level.

They are the brainchild of city schoolboy Crawford Johnston.

The collection of 55 prompts help people unlock the best devices they can use to make their writing more colourful.

They are colour-coded into separate sections, to help the user quickly identify help when they need assistance with a metaphor rather than a verb.