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Independently audited, ABC circulation of 6,093

April 2017 Issue 07 Volume 18

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Writing and paper products have never been so popular with consumers, and are a major sales opportunity for gift and lifestyle retailers. Don’t miss this two day stationery extravaganza... 1000s of products...100s of the biggest and newest brands from around the world, all in one place... top designers... new ideas... keynote presentations... great networking... there’s nothing else like it.


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People, Exhibition, Licensing, Supplier and General, it’s all here and there’s more online at


A selection of this month’s latest products and services releases.

On The Line

Chris Fox and Helen Pallen give their online insights for publishers and retailers.

On The Shop Front

Guest columinist Leona Janson-Smith has got good at shouting on social media.

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49 62 60 63

John Ryan

Talk Of The Town

Greetings retailers tell it like it is.

Four Corners

East, south, north west, this quartet of retailers know their business the best.

Retail Advice

Henri Davis looks at some of the latest trends and new products.

It’s All About Sales

Ian Bradley looks at what’s in a name, while Rachel Williams gets write down to it.

Meet The Newbies

Focussing on industry newcomers.

Window On The World

Our regular look at the face retailers present to the public.

Why is 100 the magic number for new retailers?


the team


Indie retailers are so helpful.



Giftwrap, Bags & Accessories


Party Products

Company Profile


British Craft Trade Fair Preview

London Stationery Show Preview


Cute Cards

Why do we want to wrap our gifts?

Give your desk some Mustard love. Writing matters with this trade fair.


Advertisement Manager Simon Davis 01442 289940 (direct)

Group Advertisement Manager Ryan Horwood Group Editor Mirella Anstey Publisher Mark Naish Production Director Paul Naish Managing Director Malcolm Naish

Cover Story

UK Greetings go back to nature with wrap.

Editor Tracey Bearton

Company Profile

Instawrap have got this giftwrap lark licked. Get down and party with this selection.

Circulation Manager Robert Thomas

Keep in touch - follow us: @greetingstoday

It’s all about the UK in Harrogate this month. greetingstodaymag

Animal antics make the grade in this genre.

Go to our website – – for all the up-to-date news and new product information plus our Facebook page carries more photographs from shows and events.


WE HAVE a special hotspot this month as we have a free gift for Greetings Today readers in the shape of a sample of Instawrap’s revolutionary new lick-and-stick giftwrap. Test it out for yourselves to see how easy wrapping any gift becomes with this recentlylaunched product – and it even has bow templates on the reverse so you can really make the present stand out with personalised finishing touches. To find out more, turn to page 43 where you can read all about the Instawrap story, with more product info in the Giftwrap, Bags & Accesories feature starting on page 20. @greetingstoday


Lema Publishing Ltd

1 Church Gates, Wilderness, Berkhamsted, Herts HP4 2UB

Telephone: 01442 289930

At the heart of retail Greetings Today is independently audited with an ABC circulation of 6,093 (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016) Subscription per annum: UK £60 (free for people in the greetings industry), Europe £80, ROTW £100 A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation 3


leader Editor Tracey Bearton


● Cartoons by James Whitworth T: 07872 013943 –

ARTY! It’s all about partying here at Greetings Today this month as we have a brand-new feature on exactly that subject.

There may be a few reading this who are wondering why a greetings card trade mag would be interested in party products – but I guesstimate there are far more of our 6,000-plus subscribers who know exactly what it’s all about. The party and balloon side of things is a fantastic complement to greetings, and even gifts, thoughh, interestingly, not without some controversy, as you can find out by turning the the feature on page 44. Also in Talk Of The Town on page 32 retailers explain how important they have found balloons and partyware to their business as everyone tries to offer their customers the best service Talking of service, I have to praise my local independent card shop for helping me out just recently. I’d ordered a special 60th birthday card online for my hubby’s brother’s big party – I won’t say who from because it didn’t arrive on time even though I gave it a week. So, slightly panicking on the Saturday morning of the bash, I went into town to find a replacement card and small gift (we weren’t being mean, he’d told everyone he didn’t want anything and doesn’t drink so even a bottle of something tasty was out of the question). Having browsed the selection at The Card Shop in Leighton Buzzard, I picked the Down Memory Lane born in 1957 design from Cherry Orchard with matching mug, in the male version of course. While paying I started nattering to the shop assistant and asked after Paul, the owner, who we’ve featured in the mag a few times, and he then came back in to the store. I explained about the card that hadn’t arrived and how pleased I was to find this replacement, when his assistant mentioned that she was also going to a 60th party the same night, and we

compared notes to establish it wasn’t the same one but that her previous customer was going to my brother-in-law’s do – and, worse, had bought the same card! Ooh, what to do? Well, I didn’t want to give the same card, so we had a jolly good look on the shelves and swapped it for the Simon Elvin version of the year you were born as I do rather like that sort of thing. I kept the mug because it was a nice gift and we reasoned that the birthday boy would have a matching card and present, it just wouldn’t be from the same giver – which, thankfully, was Cherry Orchard’s attitude when I confessed my card-swapping sin! So, my local independent card shop saved my bacon when t’internet shopping let me down, and then again by being nice chatty folk who know what’s going on in the area so there aren’t too many doubles on the card front at a party. Actually, that must be a nightmare when there’s a big birthday in a smallish town or area because there are only so many of each age cards a shop can stock. ● On a completely different subject, for all you golfers out there, don’t forget our annual Greetings Today Golf Classic which this year has been moved to avoid clashing with PG Live. Taking place for the 13th year running, the event is organised by Malcolm Naish, MD of GT’s owners Lema Publishing, and he’s still happy for teams to enter. This year’s venue is Puckrup Hall near Tewksbury, Glos, where for the princely sum of £100 per person, you get coffee and bacon rolls on arrival; nine-hole morning Texas Scramble; ham, egg and chips for lunch; 18-hole individual and team Stableford competitions, plus nearest the pin and longest drive, all followed by a threecourse presentation dinner with some excellent trophies to be had. A good time is had by all, whatever the weather, so if you’d like to join Malcolm, and GT’s advertising manager Simon Davis on the golf course, email @greetingstoday

Send your views and submissions for the magazine to: Tel: 01442 289930

Want to appear in ? MAY FEATURES: EXTRA FEATURE: HOME FRAGRANCE & CANDLES Pulse Preview (May 14-16) Licensing Expo Preview (May 21-23) NSS & Surtex Preview (May 21-23) Retro, Vintage & Nostalgia Cards Gifts For Card Shops MAY COPY DATE – APRIL 7

JUNE FEATURES: PG Live Preview (June 6-7) Children’s Cards & Wrap Hand-Finished Cards JUNE COPY DATE – MAY 5

JULY FEATURES: Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival Preview (July 16-19) Plush Toys & Gifts JULY COPY DATE – JUNE 14



TV star saves historic PO

EXCITING plans are in place for the reopening of a historic post office after TV presenter Laura Hamilton stepped in to rescue the business after featuring it on her show. Laura, from Channel 4’s A Place In The Sun, and her husband Alex Goward will be reopening Lord Roberts On The Green in Upper Woodcote Village, Surrey, on April 10 after renovating and extending it. They will be offering newspaper deliveries and greetings cards along with a range of convenience products, post office services, deli and tearoom, plus an online shop where you can order a cream tea by post – Laura has chosen her greetings ranges and is looking forward to gauging the reaction from customers. Set in a conservation area known as Purley's Webb Estate, Laura helped previous owners Mike and Jill Marsh move abroad when they retired after successfully running the business for 19 years. The Lord Roberts was a former temperance inn originally opened by William Webb in 1907 and named after Field Marshal Frederick Roberts, whom Mr Webb greatly admired Rather than seeing it left empty, Laura and Alex decided to step in to preserve this important community asset and bought the property from Mr Webb's grandson Ken and his wife Carol. It now has a new conservatory and seating areas to provide a post office and convenience store with a deli and tea room selling artisan produce, and Laura plans to be hands-on in the shop whenever her busy filming schedule allows.

Move prompts price cut PACKING cards in a dining room resembling a warehouse is about to become a thing of the past for I Like Birds’ Stuart Cox and Alison Blair as they’re moving production to The Imaging Centre – and they’ll be cutting their prices in to the bargain! "After three years of using our dining room table for nothing other than packing cards,” Stuart said, “numerous paper cuts, a wrist that’s gone increasingly clickety through a card-folding-RSI injury (yes, really!) and a house taken over by greetings cards, envelopes and cellophane we've finally decided to switch production of our main line. “We should really have listened to our peers who've been telling us from the outset that they're the go-to people for greetings card fulfillment but the crunch came after Scotland’s Trade Fair in January. “So we're making the switch and The Imaging Centre couldn't have been more helpful in making the transition as pain-free as possible. They'll be doing all the printing, creasing, folding, inserting and sealing for us, with huge time saving and scaleability benefits to us and at a price that makes it a total no-brainer. “We'll be relaunching our card range at some point over the next few weeks – the mini-card we used to include with every card will be retired and, best of all, we're going to buck the trend of ever-increasing prices and reduce the trade price of our cards.

T: 07581 282820 T: 01622 871449


Clintons have ‘new lease of life’ says VP

FOLLOWING the “false” claims that Clintons were planning to axe 120 stores, the card and gift specialists have told Retail Week they are “here to stay”. On their website on March the trade magazine released a video interview with Tim Fairs, Clintons Vice-President of Marketing and Ecommerce, at their flagship Bluewater store in which he said Clintons are well positioned to take on their rivals in the sector, including Card Factory and Paperchase. Tim (pictured) told Retail Week: “We turn over £200million and we serve 36million customers over the course of the year. There’s a definite need for Clintons on the High Street. “We’ve overhauled the card range, the price point, the gifting range and all aspects of the store environment. The brand now has a new lease of life.” After being bought out of administration by UK Greetings owners American Greetings in 2012, new CEO Dominique Schurman – who also runs Jolie Papier here in the UK – set about transforming the 393-strong store estate and rolling out the new red and blue signage. The closure rumours emerged in the Sunday Telegraph in February, claiming the shops still to be modernised could be closed as part of a strategic review, but American Greetings’ response the following day was that the stories were “false”.

Two partners cut the mustard TWO new partners will be cutting the mustard for National Stationery Week as they join the biggest consumer campaign to get Britain writing again. Mustard and Stabilo have joined Maped Helix, Write Size, Manuscript and Edding on the list of brands partnering for the annual event, running from April 24-30. Signing up to be a part of the event will see all the partners have exclusive access to some of the UK’s most influential journalists and bloggers and featuring heavily across National Stationery Week’s multiple online platforms. Reuben Utudjian, international sales manager for 2017 Gift Of The Year finalists Mustard, said: “Our ongoing quest to get the nation to brighten up and love their desk will be boosted by becoming a part of National Stationery Week.” The partners will help support the aims of National Stationery Week and World Stationery Day – held on the Wednesday, also the second day of London Stationery Show – which includes getting people all over the world writing by hand as well as celebrating their favourite stationery, and for everyone to send more letters and cards. Meanwhile, nine-year-old Toby Little is hoping National Stationery Week will help him complete his four-year project to receive a letter from every country in the world. Having started sending his handwritten letters across the globe at the age of just five, Toby is now only 29 responses away from his goal and needs contacts to write to in a list countries available from Dan Shorthouse on 01902 587001 or dan@ @greetingstoday

inthenews newsinbrief

Laura’s up to meet Louie

LAURA Darrington is keeping everything crossed for her trip to New York in May as she takes on the Americans in the finals of the Louie Awards.She is one of only four British publishers picked as finalists in the 60-category annual competition that’s been run by the US Greeting Card Association since 1988 – her village design is one of three up for the Christmas/Seasonal General $4 & Below title. UK-based Ohh Deer have made it through in two categories, while Purpose & Worth Etc and Dear To Me Studio are also finalists.

Store to reopen after fire

RETAILER Mike Beeston is breathing a sigh of relief after being told his Ringwood Celebrations greetings and gift store can reopen in the summer – more than six months after a suspicious blaze ravaged the shop. Mike said nearby stores and the community have been incredibly supportive since the blaze forced the shop closure a month before Christmas which cost him around a third of his annual income. Insurers have now said they will be able to reopen in late July-early August.

Sun power is great tail

SOLAR innovation has been taken on board by American Greetings for their latest card collection featuring adorable animals with their wagging tails powered by light.There’s a solar cell on each card in the brand-new Happy Tails collection from the publishers who own UK Greetings, which collects power from natural sunlight or any well-lit area to keep the tails wagging with no batteries required.

Vacuuming up the relatives

UPMARKET greetings card publishers Dyson Design have been at pains over the years to explain they’re not related to Dyson the vacuum manufacturers – but it turns out they may well be! DNA research into family names reveals Dysons have made some of the most faithful partners over the past 800 years and the majority of the 11,000 Dysons now living in Britain hail from the same ancestor, a female cattle rustler from West Yorkshire. Owner Helen Dyson, pictured, said: “We’re always asked about the name at trade shows and get regular calls to our offices about carrying out repairs – we even had the Independent newspaper call asking to arrange an interview with James Dyson.”

Very useful prize

PICKING up a Useful Book has just earned Judy Lumley a very useful prize – in the shape of 100 unique notebooks that she can sell for up to £1,000. The competition on Enveco’s Spring Fair saw Useful Books handed out where the first page was for recipients to fill in their contact details and tick the boxes to create their unique notebook, then hand in. From 100 samples sent out, Judy’s name came out of the draw for the top prize of a full supply.

Slump blamed on storm

STORM Doris has been blamed for UK High Streets enduring their worst February since 2009 as consumers begin to feel the squeeze amid rising inflation, according to a new survey. Like-for-like sales at UK High Street stores fell 2.2 per cent, according to BDO’s monthly tracker survey, which was the third month in a row of negative growth. The global accountancy and business advisory firm said Storm Doris, where winds of up to 95mph caused chaos on the roads and rail networks, was a chief cause of the slump.


GCA’s dragons hold their fire FIRE-breathing was kept to a minimum at the first Speed Dating With Dragons session where the Greeting Card Association gave more than 50 publishers the chance for one-to-one sessions with buyers. In fact, the most common comment as publishers left the Den at London’s Business Design Centre was how nice and not scary the retailers proved to be – and that the 10-minute slots simply flew past. “I loved it!” Mia Hague, of Mia Hague Illustration, said, “I saw Catherine from Belly Button and she was lovely, she seemed interested. It was really fun but my legs were shaking so much I had to lift up my case of samples so it looked normal!” Sarah Thompson, of Sarah Lovell Art, added: “I saw Belly Button too and she was very nice – it wasn’t scary at all. It was a great exercise in understanding what they want to see,” and Flicker Wings’ Sue Coleman admitted: “It was over very quickly! I’ve been practising all week and timing myself to ensure I could pitch in 10 minutes. I saw Paul from Cardzone and he was a very nice man.” The February 28 event sold out within six hours, with Clintons head buyer Nicola Miller and Emma Cove, Cardzone owner Paul Taylor, and (pictured top middle)

Scribbler MD John Procter and buyer Eliot James from the multiples. MD Miles Robinson and Lisa Gilbert from House Of Cards (pictured top left), Frosts Garden Centres head buyer Alexis Hayward and Karen Verrall were there for the small chains with Belly Button buyer Catherine Laycock, and for the independents Calliope Gifts owners Andy Adamson (pictured top right) and Philip Downer, ForgetMe-Not Stubbington owner Louise Helyer-Prydderch and Nicole Walker joined Little Paperie owner Lucy Stocka and Heidi Richards, owner Nicola Dean from The Riverside Bookshop, and Unit 7 Manchester’s Andrea Pinder. The publishers were split into two groups with one meeting the dragons while the others attended the sales and strategy workshop with GCA President Ged Mace, and the Agent Q&A sessions with Joanne McFarlane and Jo Bannister. The choice of which “victim” to drag to the dragons’ lair was up to the retailers and Calliope’s Philip said: “It’s a really good opportunity for us because we’ve already noticed that there are only a couple of publishers who we already deal with.” There are more photos on the Greetings Today Facebook page.

Card shops come with warning

RUDE cards are back on the news agenda with Greeting Card Association CEO Sharon Little appearing on three radio stations following the latest BBC story. Following the February row about Paperchase pulling cards from display after a Mumsnet user complained, BBC News reported on March 14 that card shops have started carrying parental guidance signs in their windows – with the broadcaster even carrying their own “warning: some readers may find the images below offensive” on the website story. Scribbler have a PG sticker in the window of all their 35 stores across the UK, as do fashion and life-style chain Joy, to warn people before they even enter the shop, and both keep offensive cards on thee top shelves, above child height. Scribbler’s Eliot James told the BBC there’s a huge demand for such cards: “Customers love it, it's normally the ruder end of humour which are the bestsellers,” and the offending greetings are not, he said, limited to a certain demographic or age group, “It's really quite widespread,” he added. The Daily Telegraph followed up the story and Scribbler founder John Procter told them: “These cards are available in shops all over the country. The signs are just to give people fair warning. We wouldn't want people to come in and be shocked. It's just being courteous.” Sharon said: “Personally I love rude humour on cards and I know they’re really popular,” and she told the BBC there is a “huge demand” for rude cards, before appearing on BBC Radio Scotland, Radio 5 Live Drive and BBC Radio WM yesterday talking on the subject. But the video clip she filmed with presenter Tony Livesey for the BBC London News website – which can be seen below – wasn't aired in the end, with Sharon joking on Facebook: "It looks like we were too rude for BBC London!"

Hallmark are a Superbrand! A PUBLIC vote has seen Hallmark make the list of UK Consumer Superbrands for the second year running – with quality, reliability and distinction the main criteria. The results of the latest annual survey, which has been identifying the UK’s leading brands since 1995, have just been released and show Hallmark are one of the qualifying superbrands identified by the 2,500 British adults who assessed just over 1,500 brands. British Airways topped the Consumer Superbrands list, with Lego second, and coming in 19th overall having won the Retail: Entertainment & Gift category in which Hallmark feature. Stephen Cheliotis, CEO of list managers The Centre For Brand Analysis and

Chairman of the Consumer Superbrands Council, said: “This perceived reliability, coupled with quality and distinction, are the factors the public considered when voting.” Alison Kildunne, Head of Brand and Marketing at Hallmark UK, added: “Being voted a UK Superbrand for the second year running is a massive achievement for us and recognises the work we have been doing to reinvigorate our brand and make it timely and relevant to modern-day card shoppers. “This award means our efforts have been recognised and is especially pleasing given the credentials consumers marked us on were reliability, distinctiveness and trustworthiness.” @greetingstoday

licensingnews Birds fly high with first licensees THE SECRET is finally out – BrownTrout Publishers have been announced as the first licensees for the I Like Birds brand, putting the distinctive designs on a 2018 calendar. Jane Evans, founder and MD of global licensing group JELC, exclusive licensing agents worldwide for the innovative and stylish birdthemed cards and gifts brand I Like Birds, struck the deal recently. Although the announcement had been kept under wraps until early March, BrownTrout launched their range of 2018 calendars at Spring Fair for the UK market using the unique and beautiful bird-themed designs produced by the extraordinary artistic talents of I Like Birds cofounder Stuart Cox. The calendars and organisers can be ordered now and will be available from major retailers and online at in the autumn. Stuart said: “We started out with a great idea and modest resources, but were always convinced that I Like Birds had the originality and commercial potential to build on the existing market. We’re thrilled that BrownTrout and JELC feel the same way and are delighted to be working with them.” Jane added: “A major deal with a market-leading calendar publishing company that has a reputation for innovation and quality is a great way to build on the popularity of I Like Birds for a UK-wide market. “lt brings this wonderful, original and very well-received design brand to a larger stage, on which I am convinced it will shine.”

T: 01225 819030 T: 0117 317 1880 T: 07581 282820

Famous Five join Danilo

AS THE public appetite for The Famous Five continues thanks to Quercus’ bestselling Enid Blyton For Grown-Ups series, Bulldog Licensing have expanded the licensing range, with Danilo on board for greetings cards. Bulldog have lined up a full programme for The Famous Five to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the first book, with stationery, greetings, gift and food products all hitting the shelves. The success of the Enid Blyton For Grown-Ups series demonstrates the enduring popularity of The Famous Five brand, which Enid Blyton Entertainment initially licensed to Quercus last year. The tongue-in-cheek books have dominated the non-fiction charts since launching in November – Five On Brexit Island was the bestselling book in the UK in the week before Christmas 2016 and remains in the top 10, while the latest addition, Five Forget Mother's Day, launched on February 23 and is now second in the non-fiction book charts. Bulldog represent the entire Enid Blyton brand and will shortly be looking to expand across the Secret Seven and other titles in the estate.

T: 020 8325 5455 T: 01992 702900

No product is safe from Robot Wars! THE success of the revamped Robot Wars on BBC2 has led to the announcement of a consumer products licensing programme with publishing, stationery and greetings among the key categories. The hit TV show sees teams of amateur robot makers put their creations into battle and the first phase of the licensing programme will see a master toy licensee develop themed playsets. Brand extension and strategy agency Licensing Link have announced a partnership with Passion Distribution for the programme.



* @greetingstoday 9

peoplenews Danilo’s Chris hands over to Brett DANILO’S long-serving sales chief Chris James has announced his retirement and he will be spending the time until June 30 helping the new man Brett Smith to effect a smooth handover. The company’s founder and Chairman Laurence Prince has asked Chris (pictured top) to stay on the Danilo board as a full director following the ending of his 18-year tenure. Chris said: “I have loved being part of the fantastic team at Danilo. Laurence is a truly unique entrepreneur, inspirational, unconventional, uncompromisingly loyal to everyone that works for him and I am delighted to call him a friend. We’ve certainly had some fun together!” Brett (pictured bottom) joined as the new head of the sales team on March 13, and Chris said: “I have had my eye on Brett for years because he has worked in so many facets of the industry.” Brett spent 20 years with Clinton Cards, leaving as a Director, followed by three years working with Is It Art and joins Danilo from Pioneer Europe.

T: 01992 702900

Sad goodbye to Kev MADDY Moos have announced that co-owner Kevin Nolan died on March 18 following a year-long battle with cancer. Known as Kev, he ran the shop in Totton, Hants, with his wife Karen, who opened it following a career as a merchandiser for a leading UK publishers. The announcement came via the Facebook page where the post signed by Karen, Scott, Hayleigh and the Maddy Moos crew said: “It's with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce a loving husband, fantastic dad, brother, son, friend and awesome boss (not forgetting a cracking golfer), Kev, unfortunately passed away late Saturday night. “Although our hearts our broken, we are glad he is no longer suffering. Kev was such a big character and we will all miss him so very much. What a pleasure it was for Kev to have known all of you over the years.”

Fiona’s fancy move QUEEN of fantastic footwear Fiona Douglass-Gibson has a spring in her step as she’ll be taking over as Director Of Sales at Cherry Orchard from April 13. Renowned for her flamboyant foot fashion – like these flamingos from Irregular Choice – Fiona is hot-footing it over from Saffron Walden-based Nigel Quiney to join Jackie Collins’ team in Tewkesbury.

T: 01684 295500



Springboard expands HIGH demand has seen the PG Live organisers add extra space to the sold-out show floor in the Springboard section for the 2017 event on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 6-7. The 30-strong extension of new publishers and artists takes exhibitor numbers in the ever-popular Springboard section to more than 160 at the UK’s only specialist show for the greetings industry which is held at the Business Design Centre in London, and has free lunch and hot drinks for visitors. “For the third year running, demand for space in the Springboard section of PG Live has outstripped supply,” said Warren Lomax, joint show director, “we're

so excited to be adding even more fantastic publishers to our portfolio.” Registration is now open for the event which boasts a total of 280-plus publishers, artists and designers from around the globe.

T: 01635 297070

BLE programme will enhance CVs THE free Retail Mentoring Programme at Brand Licensing Europe has received official accreditation from the Continuing Professional Development certification service so participants can use it to enhance their CVs. The eight-month programme is now open for applications for 2017 and saw delegate numbers double last year with 61 retailers participating, including Argos, Asda, Halfords and Claire’s Accessories. For this year's free programme – understood to be worth £499 per delegate – the organisers are looking to welcome retailers from a range of categories including apparel, gift, gaming, health & beauty, food, homeware, stationery and toys. Now CPD accredited, the term used to describe the conscious and proactive learning activities professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. Retailers can apply to be part of the programme via the website. Run as part of BLE, which is organised by UBM and takes place over October 10-12 this year at London’s Olympia, the scheme is the only one of its kind in the UK. It is sponsored by the international Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) to give buying and merchandising professionals a deeper understanding of the licensing industry.

Register for big summer show REGISTRATION is open for the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival, which returns to Harrogate this summer, over Sunday to Wednesday, July 16-19. Organisers Clarion Events are busy setting up a brand spanking new website to show off all the glories of the big, sociable summer show, which offers more reasons to visit than ever before – Buy, Learn, Network. Registering in advance is free and will save visitors the £20 entrance fee on the door.

Tomcat’s American adventure TAKING Tomcat stateside was a great American adventure for publishers Lynne and Merv Thomas as they were the only greetings card exhibitors at the first Source British event in Los Angeles. “It was a complete contrast to a UK trade show,” Lynne said, “The exhibition space is light, airy and has fantastic views across LA. Everybody is friendly, polite and very helpful.” Admittedly footfall wasn’t great at the two-day event over March 13-14 at the California Market Center where the Britishthemed boutique tradeshow from organisers Upper Street Events was co-located with LA Fashion Market. Lynne added: “We ended the show on a positive note having made contact with the LA-based Department Of International Trade, a lovely bunch of fellow exhibitors and a nice lady with a shop in Los Feliz. “Time will tell if any follow-on happens but the consensus was that the show may have a better reception in somewhere like Beverley Hills where the Britishness could be better exploited. “It’s all been a learning curve but one that we enjoyed and we’re pleased to have been among the Source British founding members Lynne embarked on this first overseas venture after reading about the fair in the Greetings Today email newsflash having just received financial compensation for breaking her wrist when she was tripped while setting up for a UK trade show. They redesigned nearly all their cat offering to suit the American market where square cards are unpopular, and decided to combine the show with a road trip holiday along the Pacific Coast Highway from Monteray to San Diego.

T: 020 7688 6853 T: 01243 837300 @greetingstoday


Kelly takes over at NSS

KELLY Bristol has taken over the running of the National Stationery Show in New York following Patti Stracher’s announcement that she was stepping down as show director and vice-president after almost 25 years. With nearly two decades of show experience to bring to the role and extensive industry knowledge, Kelly has been NSS Group Sales Director for 18 years, and more recently also with Surtex, and transitioned into the role by working alongside Patti. “This was a difficult decision,” said Patti. “I love the industry and the National Stationery Show! It will be in excellent hands under Kelly’s direction. She brings great skill, creativity and passion to the position, and I know her flair will be immediately recognisable this year.” Christopher McCabe, executive vicepresident of show organisers Emerald Expositions, added: “Transition is often hard. This time, though, we’re so fortunate that Patti and Kelly have worked side-by-side, walking the floor of this show for years, ensuring a transition that will be as close to seamless as possible.” The National Stationery Show will be held on May 21-24, 2017 at the Jacob K Javits Convention Center in New York, alongside Surtex, the marketplace for buying and licensing artwork, prints and patterns, which finishes a day earlier.

supplier news

Offset invest in £2.6m press CHANGES in demand have led to Offset Print & Packaging investing heavily in a new six-colour machine while getting rid of their B2 press. The greetings card and carton printers have signed for the £2.6million KBA Rapica 106 with coater which is to be installed in their Aylesford, Kent, premises in June. It is the fourth KBA device bought by the firm and will join Offset’s existing Rapida 142, they have sold their existing seven-colour Rapida 105 and eight-year old B2 five-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 75 to a merchant to make way for the new Rapida 106. Vince Breary, MD of Operations, said: “Our business model has changed slightly, the packaging side is really growing and the B2 offering is reducing so, although we could keep the Heidelberg, it would be pointless with the efficiencies of the new machine – it would sit there and do nothing. "This Rapida 106 made sense as it’s our fourth KBA and so it’s easy for us as we’re used to them. It was cost-effective, it’ll improve speed, reduce waste and reassure customers. It’s perfect for us.” The investment allows the business to offer both B1 and large-format carton production and according to Breary, its specifications

will “comfortably match” the performance of the outgoing presses, enabling extremely fast makereadies and minimal waste." The £9m-turnover company are also about to buy their second Esatec pick-and-pack machine in 18 months with Vince having signed for the circa-£225,000 device last week in France, and installation is expected in April. Vince added: "We’ve invested heavily over the last 10 years. Our ethos is if you don’t invest, you get left behind. We're not scared to try new products and we'll be looking next year as well.” The 45-year-old business was founded by chairman Hugh Jarvis and his father Maurice on an old water works site in Maidstone, and employ 70 people in design, manufacturing, warehousing and account management services.

T: 01622 795000

Quality Bespoke Envelopes! From 5,000 quantity to many millions we can produce excellent quality envelopes for you. Plain, printed, coloured & textured finish. 100% recycled & FSC available. Please call us on 01274 581327 with your enquiry or email us on We will be delighted to help! @greetingstoday 11


● FOLLOWING the success of their new Autumn Collection, Cherry Orchard have extended the collection of designs on to a range of 12 new code 150 birthday relations cards, blending traditional and contemporary styles, from soft pastels to vibrant red and blue hues.

● AN EXCITING new range of 3D lino-cut fold-out London-themed greetings cards can be found at Judy Lumley Print, with red and black colours producing a strong graphical feel. If London merchandise is what your customer is looking for, these will be a fresh new addition to your offer and a perfect memento of a great city to either keep or send. Designs include many iconic images such as horse guards, buses, taxis, Beefeaters, ravens and, of course, pigeons, with the crown jewels including a touch of silver foil so they sparkle just like the real thing. These cards are blank on the reverse for a message, able to be posted flat and are all designed and produced in the UK.

T: 07952 404586

T: 01684 295500

● WE ALL know how tricky it can be to search for the perfect male card, so Rosanna Rossi have created a stunning collection of 24 masculine birthday, relations and age cards which will make searching a whole lot easier. Designed for the dapper man, Rosanna Rossi have teamed a strong, solid colour palette with bold graphics, adorned with fine textural metallic, presented individually cello-wrapped with a complementary grey envelope. The focus is on the striking hot foil and emboss elements creating a statement of sophistication, and with its simple, yet stylish, designs the cards appeals to a variety of ages and tastes.

T: 01386 839531

● CLOUD Nine is one of Wendy Jones-Blackett’s longserving ranges that’s refreshed every year. Customers love the colourful, cheerful and handmade cards with the latest designs going down a storm.

T: 0113 288 8468 www.wendyjones


● MERAKI’S Aries collection uses an eye-catching combination of foils, neon and pastel. This is mixed with super trendy, graphic visual elements and short sassy editorial, to create a young, vibrant and seriously show-stopping range. Six new designs have recently been added, building on Aries recent success and creating even more impact in a range that’s not only bold and contemporary, but the clever mix of embossing, sparkle, shape and strong lines makes it incredibly tactile.

T: 020 7840 2662

● LUCY Ledger studio have launched three new festive ranges for 2017 – Country Christmas, Crochet Christmas and Vintage Christmas. Two ranges are hand finished with beautiful crystals, coloured gems and buttons, while all three collections have been designed in Lucy’s recognisable style using digital layering, hand-painted strokes, tactile materials and vintage ephemera. All cards are 150x150mm, supplied with rustic recycled envelopes and proudly printed and hand finished in the UK.

T: 0114 438 7569 @greetingstoday

A selection of the latest greetings, gift and industry services releases

● APOLLO is brand new from Paperlink, combining blush pinks with copper foils, mustards with blues, dove greys with lilac and turquoises with gold. Essentially, it includes every trendy colour combination under the sun – all with added sparkle. Birthday-related messages and bold inyour-face statements are delivered in style with graphic elements, icons and a confetti effect in places. This range oozes a wonderful celebratory feel and there certainly is something for everyone, male or female, young or old.

T: 020 7582 8244

● RECENTLY-launched new Inspire designs from Leonard Smith are proving really popular with buyers, with the cards coming individually cellowrapped with a sumptuous owl grey envelope. “The Inspire range has a great following and we have enhanced the look and feel of this range with a high gloss spot UV varnish on the image and a subtle embossed Leonard Smith signature,” said MD Issy Smith. “Predominantly a blank range, we have introduced Sympathy designs as the thoughtful photography seems so appropriate for this sentiment.”

● A GREAT new look plus a fresh Lavender Vanilla fragrance have boosted the re-launch of PooPourri, the product that’s already a massive success in the US, and exclusively distributed in the UK and Eire gift channels by Joe Davies. Poo-Pourri is the before-you-go toilet spray of essential oils and other natural compounds that virtually eliminates bathroom odours by creating a protective film on the surface of the water. Keeping bad smells trapped below, Poo-Pourri releases a pleasing, fragrance in the air and is marketed with a wicked sense of humour and its very own distinctive retro brand identity. Initially it may be purchased as a fun, novelty or gag gift, but it really does work and repeat sales into retailers are not to be sniffed at – to date more than 20 million bottles have been sold worldwide.

T: 0161 975 6300

T: 01376 562727

● ADAGIO is a brand new unisex range of a dozen 160x160mm birthday cards from Abacus. Featuring the sweet and naive artwork of artist and illustrator Ag Jatkowska, the cards reflect life at a more leisurely pace with scenes depicting favourite pursuits such as cycling, golf, gardening, walking the dog and even coffee with friends. Printed on art board, the cards feature a plate-sunk de-boss as well as foiled captions and text. All have been left blank inside for the sender’s own message and are accompanied by white cartridge envelopes.

T: 01638 569050 @greetingstoday

● THE TEAM at Cherry Orchard have a spring in their step as they launch 32 brand-new designs in their Spring Collection 2017. With designs based on a number of their bestselling ranges, including Carnival Celebrations, Story Time, Sherbet Fizz and the latest Autumn Collection, the Spring Collection for 2017 offers a totally new range of relations captions. With an assortment of options, ranging from text-based and contemporary styles, to the ever-popular more traditional ones and across a range of price codes, including codes 50, 60 and 75, this is a collection that offers something for all tastes and budgets. The designs are available now to order for delivery by the end of March.

T: 01684 295500 13


The internet is a wonderful tool but can be scary if you don’t know how to make the best use of it. In this series of articles retailer Chris Fox, from Wishes Of Cudworth, and Cherry Orchard Publishing’s Helen Pallen aim to pass on all the online tips and they’ve discovered so far to help independent retailers boost their bricks and mortar business in the digital age.


Sharing is caring ‘

Every E positive comment is passed on with a celebratory ory dance e

● Feature everything – fun shots, customers, reviews and product are all important


NE O OF the best things i about talking to other greetings and gift shop owners is their enthusiasm for what they do, they truly love their shops and every sale, no matter how small, means the world to them.

\When a new gift or card range arrives at Wishes, owner Julia Keeling can’t wait to give me an update on how quickly it starts to sell. Every positive comment is passed on, usually accompanied by a little celebratory dance. At Spring Fair, Julia excitedly spoke for nearly 20 minutes, without taking a breath, to a supplier about window displays, customer service and the success of her new lines – “now that’s passion” was their impressed response to me. And they’re right, Julia is proud of her store and her zest for card shop perfection really shines through. We should carry this enthusiasm on to our social media but I’m often told by other shop owners that they don’t know what to post about. So, from the Wishes archive, here’s a few easy Facebook post ideas, which work for Twitter and Instagram too. 1 Shout out about your new products If you venture into our shop on a Saturday morning you often find Julia and myself setting up our makeshift photography studio on the counter. Most of our product photos are taken on my iPhone with some giftwrap as a backdrop. Failing that, a wallpaper off-cut works just as well. 2 Have you seen our latest window display? A good window display should stop a passer-by in their tracks and draw them into your shop. The same goes on Facebook and our displays always get lovely comments especially around Christmas and Mother’s Day. There’s something reassuringly comforting about seeing a beautiful small shop window display, people will respond in kind with some Facebook love – and why not tell Greetings Today about it too for their Window On The World feature! 3 Run a competition These are a great way to give your page an organic boost. We often time competitions just before a major season like Valentine’s Day to ensure our Facebook posts are shared by customers. Be careful to follow the rules – asking people to like your page and share is ok, telling them they must share your post or tag a friend may break Facebook’s Ts&Cs. And do add “this competition is not endorsed, sponsored or associated in any way with Facebook” to your post. 4 Engage with your local community By integrating your shop with your local community, be it a charity, school or group, then you’ll be placing yourself at the heart of your area. We had some lovely feedback when we teamed up with the Barnsley Shoebox appeal and try

to hhelp Also llook l where h we can to support llocall charities. h i i Al k out for popular regional hash tags like #barnsleyisbrill and #betterbarnsley to engage with your local digital community too. 5 It’s all about you and your staff Your Facebook posts shouldn’t just be product, buy, product, buy, blah! Our customers respond well to pictures of Julia (our sole member of staff apart from myself but I hide in the back when they come in). She is the store, and that’s a big selling point. We’re back to the passion part again. Jools sunbathing outside on her stool last summer was one of our most popular posts, because it caught a snapshot of the real Cudworth and our shop.

6 Screenshot a review We’ve noticed that taking a screen grab of a recent good review and posting it on Facebook will often prompt additional reviews. People often forget or don’t even realise they can leave reviews, so a gentle reminder is helpful. 7 Share a post by a supplier Time is the enemy of many greetings shops. We simply don’t have enough of it. Luckily at Wishes myself and Julia tag-team our duties and body slam problems into submission (I seem to have suddenly gone all WWE). Julia runs the shop in the real world, I run the social media doing all the computery stuff. If you’re pushed for time why not share one of your supplier’s post? As I write this I’ve seen a great Pancake Day post from Mrs Bridges and cute soap giveaway from The Soap Story. Sharing is caring after all. 8 Have a laugh One weekend in the shop I noticed two sweet old ladies giggling at a card. On presenting the card to buy, I was delighted to see it was one of our ruder ones. A funny, rude or even crude card will raise a titter on Twitter and Facebook too. 9 Give customers the spotlight This can be tricky as most of our customers are camera shy and, despite being lovely, very much alive people, they quickly hide like vampires from sunlight if we get out our camera phone. Still, if you’ve a regular customer willing to pose with their latest purchase, it will help promote your shop as friendly and approachable. We also encourage customers to share pics of their purchases on our Facebook page. It’s always great to see our candles in their beautiful new homes. 10 Bring out the cute pets The theory is you should mix up shop-related posts with more random or topical posts. That it shouldn’t be all about you. At Wishes we’re greedy and like the limelight but sometimes do mix it up, especially on a Sunday when we’re closed, with a pet bunny photo or a what-we-do-on-our-day-off (that’s not just pictures of us snoozing). Again, it shows more of your personality and helps build bonds online that can be carried through into your shop. – Chris Fox

Retailer Chris Fox runs Wishes Of Cudworth with partner Julia Keeling and has learned how to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the internet and social media, and Cherry Orchard’s Helen Pallen looks at the issue from a publishers’ viewpoint.

14 @greetingstoday

● Pics and pets – pup portraits are as important as professional shots

Quick Q snaps on our phones are a behind-thescenes look at what we’re up to o

Pass on the good word


T’S A golden ld rule l off b business i to t understand d t d your customers t and d know what they want. So, it’s always interesting to meet with Chris and Julia and read their column to find out what’s working for them in their shop.

So here I am looking at Chris’s point seven, and wondering how to tag-team and body slam and actually is it safe at my age – I haven’t even mastered the dab yet. I’m just going to gloss over it and focus on the bits I know we can do – that is giving busy retailers images and posts they can share. While Chris and Julia get some lovely results from product photos taken on their phones with wrapping paper or wallpaper backgrounds, we’re lucky enough to have a team of talented graphic designers producing our cards giving access to a large archive of hi-res images that we can easily post to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. When we bring out the new mug ranges or stands and spinners, we use the skills and equipment of a professional photographer and can post them too. I’ve mentioned before that for Cardgains buying group retailers, social media is the biggest promotional tool, with a whopping 74 per cent using it to promote their business. If you’re feeling pushed for time and don’t know where to start with your Facebook promotions, turn to your suppliers’ pages on Facebook or Instagram and simply share their images for highquality promotional material. Twice last week customers asked me for certain products they’d like me to post as they were preparing their shop windows and as Chris points out, your virtual page on Facebook should be pushing the same message. Don’t be afraid to approach your suppliers and ask them to do this. The share can be taken a step further by networking with shop local community groups and, as Chris mentioned, using local hashtags like #barnsleyisbrill and #betterbarnsley as these pages have with their own followers will often retweet or share your posts to promote the local High Street. One of our retailers knows the team who run their local community’s Facebook “About” page with more than 9,600 followers and we see our posts being shared there, which is a great boost for our customer’s shop and for our products. Communities are very proud of their independent shops and will, like good suppliers, do all they can to support and promote them. The high quality images are useful to sell products but, when people shop local, they enjoy the personality and character of the shop, the owners and the area too. We like sharing our news or just pictures of pets or cake, and the quick snaps on our smartphones are a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re up to – we’re individuals, not some blank corporate group that won’t really want to know the day-to-day details of your business. We’ll be running competitions and nominating you for awards to help you along. You may have followed the recent controversy of Waterstones bookstores seeming to be masquerading as independent retailers in some High Streets. Chief executive James Daunt defended the policy, saying: “We’re coming into quite sensitive High Streets, ones predominantly with independent retailers on them, and we wish to behave as they do.” Without getting into the politics of this, this statement really does go to show the power of the independents and the changing nature of our High Streets. So if you like something you see next time you’re shopping local, why not take a picture and share it and pass on the good word? – Helen Pallen @greetingstoday 15



Shout about it


ESTERDAY, as I walked past the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, home to the our newest shop, I felt pretty lucky – lucky that we’d had the good fortune to find a site in such a great part of London and lucky that the people in the area really seem to like what we’re doing!

The history of trading runs deep in Greenwich and, while the Cutty Sark may be the only ship left standing, that spirit lives on, helped enormously by the work of Greenwich Hospital, the crown charity that owns and runs the Greenwich Estate which incorporates the town centre we’re now part of. Over the last few years they’ve not only pumped money into improving the look and feel of the area, including a beautiful refit of Greenwich Market, they’ve also spent time curating a selection of shops to bring personality back to their High Street and entice new shoppers from surrounding areas. Creating this sort of appeal isn’t easy and, in most cases, involves a lot of cooperative working but, with the High Street facing all sorts of challenges from increased business rate and price hikes through to the ever-growing appeal of online shopping, it’s more important than ever that we do all we can to promote shopping locally. Research tells us that consumers today want speed, convenience and choice. Online shopping has, without doubt, given them this but one thing it can never replicate is the shopping experience. That thrill of seeing something you want, buying it and leaving with it there and then. So, how do we get more people in our shops, buying our products? By going online of course! I know, I know – we’ve all heard it before and I’d think most of us with a customerfacing business would agree, it sounds like a great idea. Do a bit of social media, increase awareness of our business, increase sales. But, for many of us, the lack k of experience or time to get to grips with it is a real turn off. Personally, even though I’d spent seven years working as a press officer for the Mayor of London before I left to run Postmark with my husband Mark, I was still pretty daunted by the task of putting some life into our social media.

Guest columnist Leona Janson-Smith runs Postmark in London where she and husband Mark have just opened their fourth store.

● Posted – the new store in Greenwich near the Cutty Sark

I didn’t know my regram from my retweet and I felt intimidated by what people might think of what I was posting. Luckily I got some sound advice from the lovely Jamie at Ohh! Deer publishers around this time who said the only way to learn is to actually do it but, once you start, you need to keep it up. Pretty good advice as it turned out and I now enjoy doing t social media. s So, if you’re thinking about it, just do it, but be realistic. There’s no point firing off a hundred tweets in your first week and then saying nothing for months. One or two posts a week across all platforms is better than none at all. Spend some time following people you’re interested

We regularly W get customers who’ve found us through social media

Philip Downer is MD of Calliope Gifts, owner of Front Of Store retail consultancy, an experienced public speaker and the former CEO of Borders bookstores. He writes bi-monthly for Greetings Today with guest retailer columnists taking up their pen in between. T: 01306 889914


in or who are active online and live in your area. Follow your local media, campaign groups like Save Our High Street, anyone from the card and gift industry, your MP, your local Mumsnet but, most important, write about things you like and are interested in. It doesn’t all have to be sell, sell, sell. Let people know what you’re doing, be natural and just get involved. But does it work? For us the answer is yes. We now regularly get customers coming to shops who’ve found us through social media – and that’s the ones who tell us. And it’s also helped us to create a real buzz around some of our instore campaigns, especially Feel Good Friday where we invite people to send a card to anyone in the UK for free once a month, just because, without spending a penny on advertising. Our High Streets are changing. Yes, there are challenges but there are also lots of things to shout about, the amazing array of independent shops, the interesting and eclectic product ranges, the great customer service and so on – if that’s not worth at least a tweet I don’t know what is. – Leona Janson-Smith @greetingstoday

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Back to nature A

FTER an eventful year with the world venturing into the unknown of Brexit, Trump’s election in the US, fake news and the uncertainty of what’s coming next, the artists at UK Greetings are looking to the comfort of the natural world for inspiration.

Alex Forster, Creative Manager for Special Editions & 3D, has been at the forefront of their latest giftwrap and bag designs and said: “It feels we have an uncertain future and people question what’s real or not, so 2017 will see an eagerness to redress skepticism with the comfortable known feel of nature. “Marbling will still be abundant with a shift towards granite and earth textures, and florals are for all ages and standing. “Handmade organic papers will be sought after and consumers will be driven to find one-off pieces of beautifully detailed artworks, finding g human touch.” that warming

The natural world is the inspiration for the giftwrap designers at UK Greetings with customers keen for calming influences at an eventful time in world history.

The latest UKG ranges already feature many of these ideas including comic book capers, glamour, and gorgeous designs gleaned from the Royal Horticultural Society archives, where the team were given the brief to make this amazing artwork appeal to everyone. They’ve worked hard to ensure the collection isn’t just about female florals, and Special Editions & 3D Senior Product Manager Julie Skilleter said: “It’s about the gardener, the budding entomologist and the person who likes a touch of humour! “With this kind of artwork available we are able to pull together an array of colours but equally the range together sits perfect to make a statement boutique.” Naturally, the leading greetings and giftwrappings publishers have catered for all corners of the market as the collections featured here show.

T: 01924 465200


Go back to nature with UKG’s stunning new Royal Horticultural Society giftwrap, which takes inspiration from a unique collection of elegant artworks from the RHS vast archives, which the design team have brought into 2017 with a modern twist and an array of colours. From floral blooms with bursts of colour through nature-inspired illustrative designs to bold botanical prints, the range really does sing all things bright and beautiful! With the largest RHS SKU count this season there is something for everyone in this mixture of rich and soft colour palettes, carefully selected to create a range that is luxurious and on-trend.

18 @greetingstoday



● ©Marve


Some people just need an easy, understated wrapping solution. Bella offers spots and stripes, modern and yet uncomplicated while in beautiful colours and finished to a high standard with uncoated material and touches of Crystallina glitter and complementary ribbon handles. Crisp white backgrounds are used to keep the design simple but classy.


This lovely range is about the simplicity of nature but with the beautiful hand-drawn detail that people trust and crave. Keeping the colours to a minimum carries the artworks’ honesty and true essence. The copper glitter and high specification uncoated stock makes the product glamorous yet understated.


Developed to be unique, Poppy is a statement collection using contrasts of red and navy blue. Hand-painted poppies are finished with touches of silver foil. It’s all about the design and paper quality. Complemented with UKG’s tissue and accessory range there’s everything you need to make your gift look stunning for someone special. www.facebook m/g /gre ree ee etttin ing in gssto tod da ayym ma ag g@ @greetingstoday @g grre eet etin ng gssto tod da ay 19 www.greeting


Accidental industry Wrapping presents makes them look nice and keeps the suspense lasting longer, but what are the ancient links to the modern world that have kept the custom going for centuries and invented a new industry to boot?

● All wrapped up – JC Hall not only founded Hallmark but also paved the way for the giftwrap industry


“For wrap it’s Artebene all the way, we love it. And anything that’s got foil or dots on is selling well. A bit of foil and circles are really popular.” Jo Barber, The Stationery Boutique, Ampthill, Beds “I’m actually reviewing my wrap offer mainly because I’ve got a WHSmiths next door to me so try to do something different. Sheet wrap works well for me as opposed to rolls, and I tend to go for the less obvious companies like Urban Graphic, who are now U Studio, The Art File, Nancy & Betty Studio, and some from Rex International. Wrap is always a funny one because it takes up a lot of space and, outside of Christmas and major occasions, can be a slow mover so I look for something a bit different and unique. At Christmas wrap comes into its own so we go for more major suppliers like Artebene and Clairefontaine.” Sean Austin, Austin & Co, Malvern, Worcs “We try to have a variety of gift papers in stock for all occasions – bright cheery wraps by BGC studios seem to be a winner for us, especially the milestone birthday numbers. With regard to gift bags, a lot of people choose our Giftmaker Collection by IG Design Group (International Greetings) because of their cute prints and designs. They’re good value for money as that extra add-on so people can spend more on a card, gift or put tissue paper inside for the added surprise.” Christine Holmes, Flaunt-it, Welshpool, Powys



VER wondered just why we wrap gifts? Gifts and wrapping are a universal custom with a long history that links the ancient and new worlds.

Whenever a gift is to be given, it’s likely to be wrapped, whether simply in a bag, or going to great lengths to come up with a fancy idea to show the present off – some wrappings are so beautiful and elaborate you don’t want to open them. Like so many things in life, it can be traced back to ancient China and Egypt because for wrap you firstly need paper. Invented in 105AD in China, the process was kept a secret for centuries eventually reaching Egypt by 800AD before spreading to Europe where the first paper mill was started in 1085. Wallpaper was first made in England in 1509 and became the forerunner of wrapping paper, particularly in the Victorian era when making a show of wealth was very important, which they did by giving elaborate and expensive gifts wrapped in heavy wallpaper. The problem was that the paper was thick, stiff and unwieldly – and often tore before the gift could be handed over, revealing the contents to everyone so many people used plain brown paper with ribbons and, by the early 20th century, tissue paper in mainly red, white and green had come into fashion. And that’s where the New World link comes in because it was American ingenuity that came up with the idea of producing special paper just for wrapping – albeit by accident! According to the Hallmark history section of their website, the company’s founder Joyce C Hall had a store

with his brother Rollie in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Before Christmas 1917, the Hall Brothers’ store had sold out of the tissue paper they offered in red, white, green, and a holly pattern for customers to wrap their festive packages so decorative envelope lining papers from France were brought over from the card manufacturing plant and put on top of a showcase, selling at 10 cents a sheet. They sold so quickly the following year the price went up to 25c and they again sold out. In his autobiography When You Care Enough, JC Hall said: “I never saw anything accepted so quickly. We didn’t realise it then but, for all practical purposes, an entire new industry had been born. “In fact, the decorative giftwrapping business was born the day Rollie placed the French envelope linings on top of our showcase. Soon giftwrapping paper became the first product we made that was a departure from greetings cards.” In the 1930s Hallmark introduced Hall Sheen ribbon, tthe shiny kind that sticks to itself when licked like a stamp, to help w wrap gifts, and the invention of w Scotch tape shortly afterwards made the whole process simpler. And if we bring the story right up to date, newcomers Instawrap have taken the concept one step further and invented lick-and-stick wrapping paper a century after the industry proper began. Interestingly, psychological research has been carried out into why we wrap gifts, which suggests that people have a more positive attitude towards a present they’re about to receive if it’s wrapped – just another reason to persuade customers that they really do need to take the beautiful paper or gift bag as well as the card.

Giftwrapping G paper became the first product we made that was a departure from m greetings cards s @greetingstoday

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Our contemporary foils in monochrome and coral are so on trend this Spring

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Licking the competition Lic INSTAWRAP is the exciting new way to wrap your gifts without INSTA need for sticky tape – you simply lick and stick! the ne Launched at Spring Fair, there are currently 12 stunning La designs – Birthday Boy, Birthday Girl, Hide & Seek, Funny Bunny, desig Spec-tacular, Sweet Thing, Harlequins, Retro Funk, Happy Days, Spec Gifts Galore, Moorish, and Dotty Daisy – with more in the pipeline. And to make presents even more beautiful, the back of the An wrap has templates for bows and shapes to cut out as extra decorations. decor Having been especially developed with no taste Instawrap from Ha Wrap Nation is a British invention protected by granted UK and international patent applications, and is classified as toy safe so is intern for everyone to use, including children. fine fo simplifies the whole process of wrapping gifts, you no longer It s waste time dispensing or cutting sticky tape so presents can be wrapped more quickly, and will also look beautiful without the wrap blemish of unsightly tape. blem You can even make sure the greetings card doesn’t get lost Yo attaching it to the wrapped gift with one quick lick – if you’d by att rather not lick, company founders Gary Hoffman and Craig Morfett rathe recommend using a cotton bud and water. recom Made in the UK, Instawrap has been designed with the M environment in mind so, with no plastic take needed and no envir plastic contaminants used in the manufacturing process, it’s plast completely recyclable. com

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Miracles do happen THE Little Miracles range of baby gift bags from Lesser & Pavey has been most successful – licensed from Tracey Russell Cards, the collection was one of the stars of Spring Fair 2017. The artwork is created and hand drawn by Tracey herself and is offered on a range of products including gift bags, waterballs and storage boxes, as well as traditional ceramic breakfast sets, first tooth and first curl trinkets.

T: 01322 279225

22 @greetingstoday


Lick & Stic k Wrappin g Paper

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Wrap Nation has created the world’s first & only lick & stick gift-wrap. The entire surface area of both the decorative and nondecorative sides are coated with a taste free moisture activated glue which can be selectively activated to secure the gift-wrap to itself, without relying on any additional fastenings such as sticky tape.


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time Limited w e windo only fre DU plus FS sticker, paid carriage UK he within t Instawrap® makes wrapping a present easier and faster than ever before, producing a perfect tape-free finish. As a consumer, why wouldn’t you Instawrap®? Instawrap® is completely unique. It is an unparalleled giftwrap offering, that stands out from the competition and sets the standard that cannot be emulated. An industry game changer, invented and manufactured in the UK, zero taste, vegan friendly & safe for children. Instawrap® is 100% recyclable, adopted worldwide Instawrap® can irradiate Gift Wrap waste to landfill. Instawrap® is a British invention protected by granted UK and international patent applications. • 0333 355 1850

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Neon, prosecco and plenty for kids PROSECCO is the order of the day at Glick where the licensed range from Stephanie phanie Dyment was part of the huge January launch of almost 200 new lines. This new licence was one of the highlights, while the It’s All About Me designs ns from Think Of Me have been extremely popular popu in both male and female colourways as they are a great all-round round design covering birthdays as well as most other sending occasions. ccasions. Last but not least new licences is I Drew This which children’s ast of the three ne h is a fun chi ren’s range where the beach unicorn roll wraps have been particularly fantastic. h girls and u rticularly fantast stic. With neon still very much alive and kicking in 2017, Glick also have new additi additions h aliv ions to their Henries award-winning Neon Revolution range. And from Paper Salad there some beautiful new baby and wedding including dding designs, in ncluding a sought-after unisex and baby shower gift bag – and who could resist the new Shero S Bags and Superhero rolls from Paper Salad Juniors? Wendy Jones-Blackett continues to be a star in the Glick range ge and the You’re A Star bag range will be great for the Thank You Teacher and Graduation on season, as well as those people that are just stars in day-to-day life. Spring Fair also saw a brand new launch of six Laura Darrington gton flat wraps and four ranges of her bags. Going back to their heritage, Glick have also seen the long-anticipated anticipated launch of new contemporary foil wraps that are super stylish with th cream, monochrome and coral tones.

T: 01274 012 274 655980 www.g

S Snapped up a l nch ahead off launch

Sure to please everyone REDBACK’S gift wraps are sure to please kids and adults alike, with everything printed on quality 110gsm matt paper and sold in packs of 25. The bright and bold Rough Cuts designs featuring retro robots and rainbow dinosaurs are sure to make any present look awesome. If it’s a laugh you’re after, Redback’s Good Things wrap guarantees a giggle with its outspoken and playful remarks that echo their top-selling card designs.

T: 01803 712 793


M MAJOR British distributors Joe Davies have snapped up East West’s fresh and contemporary gift bag and boxes collection W featuring artwork from Turnowsky. fe One of East West’s most successful launches for springsummer 2017, the sumptuous Turnowsky collection was su showcased for the first time at Paperworld in Frankfurt then sh presented to the UK trade at Spring Fair. pr East West developed a gorgeous collection of luxurious gift bags, gift boxes, glassware, napkins, stationery and ceramics ba under licence from Turnowsky as part of the brand’s extensive global licensing br portfolio. portfolio Featuring a series of unique artworks Featu selected from fro Turnowsky’s comprehensive licensing comprehe portfolio, iincluding key from Silver Moon designs fr 3.0, almost the and Fog 3 range of gift bags and entire ran was snapped up by boxes wa Davies ahead of the Joe Davie o cial trade tra launch.

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Working with the biggest brands THIS is set to be an exciting year for Gemma International, who are launching a number of new licences in the next few months. Well-known in the industry for their licensed cards and gift packaging, Gemma are proud to work with some of the world’s biggest brands such as Peppa Pig, Thomas and Friends, Pokémon, Disney, Marvel, emoji, Trolls and Teletubbies to name but a few. “This year we have added some fantastic new licences to our portfolio with PJ Masks, Care Bears and Miraculous Ladybug coming on board,” said Marketing Executive Louise Ellison. Launched earlier this year, Num Noms and Animal Jam are two of Gemma’s exciting new licences available now with stock for immediate delivery. Num Noms are the sweet scented collectables with numerous cute cupcake themed characters and the brand transfers well on to the range of cards and wrap developed by Gemma. Appealing to girls aged five to nine years, the range of cards includes age and no age favourites as well as relations such as Sister and Niece all with a die-cut and flitter finish, and the gift packaging consists of roll wrap and a two-sheet two-tag pack. Animal Jam is an online gaming community growing at a huge rate, with more than 70million users worldwide and 5.3m in the UK. The cards and gift packaging feature the animal characters from the game, and the cool colours make a nice change from the usual pink themes seen on girls’ products. The range includes age and no age cards plus relations, and in gift packaging there is roll wrap, a two-sheet two-tag pack, birthday pack of wrap, tag and card, and a large gift bag. Disney continues to be a firm favourite with buyers, and this year sees the launch of some great new movies – Gemma are launching product to coincide with both Beauty And The Beast and Cars 3 coming out soon. The Marvel brand has seen an explosion in popularity of late, and Gemma have a great new range of wrap and gift bags for Spiderman.

T: 01264 388400

Make a real statement THEY like to be different at at The Art File so, when it comes to giftwrap and bags, this ethos certainly doesn’t change. Their extensive collection of unique and contemporary bags and wrap is ideal for making gifts that extra little bit more special. With many designs of award-winning wrap, including bestsellers such as Call Me Frank, Wild Berry, and Spring Bees, there are more than enough to make a statement in your retail outlet. The Art File’s gift bags come in five different sizes, allowing the retailer to cater for all their customers’ needs, however big or small. Some of the designs are carried over into stationery, greetings cards, and giftwrap looks to allow retailers to build an exciting and successful brand story – creating that wow factor. Due to significant demand from customers, eight brand-new roll wrap designs were launched in January, which have been going down incredibly well, with pre-merchandised dump bins are also available.

T: 0115 850 7490


Pick the right label THE success of Dandelion Stationery’s giftwrapping labels launched at Christmas has persuaded them to introduce an everyday version. A great accessory to brighten up all presents, there are 24 unique self-adhesive stickers supplied on an A4 sheet with a trade price of £1.15, RRP £2.99.

T: 01332 864990 @greetingstoday


Jonathan Glick

Blossoming beautifully MUSEUMS & Galleries’ wrap collection has really blossomed forth in recent years, with breathtakingly beautiful uncoated papers from their three key design licences backed up by strong designs from a broad range of other sources: Matthew Williamson’s dazzling dress prints look fabulous on giftwrap. The addition of gold foil detailing on half of the range sets it firmly in the contemporary design-led category, and the addition of complementary alternative colourways to best-selling patterns completes the sense of individual fashion and bohemian print-mixing. Launched last year, four of the key brand patterns have matching tissue paper and gift bags, and the range has rapidly expanded. Essential designs from this range are the Peacock Hearts in original pink with new jade colourways, and the strikingly rich and ornate Leopards, a bestselling card now promoted to wrap in response to customer demand. The V&A’s archives are a veritable piggy bank of wondrous designs from across all cultures and periods, and M&G’s curated selection consists of 10 classic, graphic and textile repeats, some of which feature as part of its wider gifting range of gift bags, boxes and tissue paper; others as stand alone gift wraps. While historical, these wraps reference current themes and palettes to offer a timeless mix of patterns with designers ranging from the historical William Kilburn, through the Victorians Morris, Voysey and Owen Jones, and on to mid-20th-century modern floral chintzes and Pat Albeck’s Pineapples. Launching this spring, distinctively British designer Cressida Bell’s unique and defiantly decorative prints make for a bold colour statement on gift wraps. Sitting in a sweet spot between contemporary graphic and historical reference, this newly-licensed range of four giftwraps launches with complementary notebooks, notecards and bookmarks. The rest of M&G’s wide giftwrap range features the pick of bestselling designs across the company’s catalogue, including Alice In Wonderland imagery from the British Library, EH Shepard’s Edward Bear, the Bodleian Library, and numerous individual artists. All M&G’s giftwraps are reasonably priced at SRP £1.75 (trade 73p) for regular giftwrap, and SRP £1.99 (trade 83p) for foiled giftwrap.

T: 0116 230 4197 @greetingstoday

designs by Jonathan Glick

for a brochure please contact

TEL 01780 461 260 27


Delightful drawings GORGEOUS goodie bags from the Winnie The Pooh collection are a lovely part of the Hallmark giftwrap offer. Featuring delightful drawings of the bear with very little brain, the bags are complemented by a flatwrap.

T: 0800 902 0900 (ROI: 01 248 0104)

Sweet 16 new releases GIFT BAGS will be the new product from Jonathan Glick this summer while their new wrap designs include foil and tartan styles. With 16 new designs of giftwrap to be released for the summer, they are also producing tissue paper to complement both the bags and giftwrap. The latest releases have been incorporated into the expanding collection which now numbers more than 60 designs

for all occasions, including new baby, children, weddings, and country images, plus a full range of Christmas wraps. To meet demand for small runs and the quick turnaround of just-in-time stock orders, Jonathan Glick have their own digital printer.

T: 01780 461260

There’s a cake inside!

Brushing up all occasions INSPIRED by living in the moment, the new 2017 wrap collection from Dear To Me Studio is a series of brush strokes for any occasion, grounded in spontaneity and driven by emotive living. Inspired by their Scandinavian heritage, this collection uses cool Colorplan card, matte foiling techniques and punchy color to reflect beauty and elegance in simple forms, resulting, in strong yet subtle design. From note cards and writing paper, to gift tags and wrap, Dear To Me Studio’s mission is to create paper heirlooms for birthdays, anniversaries, thank yous or just because.


REALLY Good have created some new high-quality gift bags printed with a unique design and foil finish from The Bright Side, plus there are four new wraps. Complete with a black carry handle, and coming in four different sizes the bags are the perfect finishing touch to your delightfully thoughtful present – the excitement is too much to bear, there’s a gigantic, multi-layered cake inside, we just know it! The four new wraps were launched by Really Good in January, with bright and cheery colours and The Bright Side’s unique designs and foil finish.

T: 01235 537888

Cheerful and glamorous CHEERFUL wrapping paper by Soul’s Tickle range will complete little one’s birthday celebrations with beautifully-wrapped gifts and presents, while the Always Fabulous range is glamorous for grown-ups. The wonderful designs from Tickle are a must-have for kiddiewinks’ parties with illustrations of cakes and banners that capture the spirit of celebration Soul’s glamorous range of gifts by Always Fabulous is inspired by Victorian engravings, now complementing the range are three beautifully-designed gift bags. Adorned in the fabulous prints used in the giftware, the bags are completed with a lovely coloured ribbon carry handle, for the finishing touch to your fabulous gift.

T: 01235 537816 @greetingstoday



For the 100-store merchants, it might be time for a rethink

A magic number Why is 100 the magic number that new retailers immediately say they’re aiming for? John Ryan looks at the realities of opening new stores in the UK.


NE hundred – as soon as the meter clicks over to three figures it’s new store time.

It ‘s an uncanny fact that, whenever a new retail chain arrives in the UK, the boss is usually asked the perennial question: “How many stores do you intend to open?” At this point, there tends to be a pause and the more conservative among these elevated folk says “north of 50 branches”, or something similar, and tries to leave things at that. More usually, however, the figure is a nice round 100 and the diligent cub reporter shuffl es off feeling relieved that some added value information has been gleaned from the retail horse’s mouth. The reality tends to be rather different. Once the first pilot store has fl ung wide its doors and traded for a month or two, the CEO and team sit down to try and work out whether it’s worth having a roll-out. This may be the moment when the die is cast that will see one store become 10 or, perhaps, 20, and things may look pretty fair as regards reaching the magic 100 is concerned.

It is, however, also pretty likely that by now a few snags have been encountered and something needs to be done about them. There is hardly a retailer in the land who manages to get the range right first time when entering a new market. A little rationalisation and adjustment will be required if the initially curious who came in to take a look around will be encouraged to indulge in some repeat shopping behaviour. From memory, something approaching 100 stores was the figure mentioned around five years ago when Blott first made its appearance in locations such as Guildford where the average shopper can afford something better than a £1 greetings card. This is Paperchase territory and every Paperchase wannabe – and there are quite a lot of them – tends to shoot for the 100-branch target. Blott, as history shows, managed to get close to 20 outlets before it changed hands, was largely renamed and passed into the “100 stores that wasn’t” annals.

John Ryan is Stores Editor at Retail Week where he’s worked for more than a decade covering store design, visual merchandising and what makes things sell in-store. In a previous life he was a retail buyer. T: 07710 429926 twitter: @newstores @greetingstoday

More recently, Aussie stationer and cards retailers Typo hit the headlines as they opened their first store before Christmas, in one of the Westfield malls in London. Nobody could ever accuse the Antipodeans of being backward when it comes to being forward about the capacity of a European market to absorb their world-beating formula – why wouldn’t you want to buy a card from us? The jury is still out on this one and there’s little news as yet about how well it is performing. That said, for the 100-store merchants, might it not be time for a bit of a rethink? There are certainly not more than 100 large cities in the UK and the chances are pretty good a niche Paperchaser will opt for posh towns – predominantly in the south and northern county and cathedral cities – so that number may actually be considerably smaller. In these occasionally-straitened times therefore, it seems reasonable to suppose a sane retail entrepreneur might say “we’ll aim to open no more than 20 stores initially and see how things go”. That way, if only a handful see the light of day, the impression of corporate hubris will be avoided and, at least it you’re Australian, you can hold your head up high and say “we gave it a go, blokes”. Store numbers matter so beware of the overbullish – all too frequently you may see them loitering outside the offices of the receiver a couple of years down the line. 29


Changing the world, one desk at a time


VERY morning it’s here at the same place, waiting for you. During your lifetime, you’ll spend more time with it than with your friends, your kids, or the one you love – in fact, you’ll spend more time with it than your bed. During your childhood, it taught you how to read, how to write, how to count. It has helped you learn about nature and animals, what happened in history, and the world around you! On it, you started some of your most ambitious projects, your boldest ideas, and turned them into your strongest successes. Sometimes, maybe you failed, and then it helped you pick yourself back up. It’s your most dedicated and trusted partner – always here for you, never letting you down. So, what is this loyal object that has shared so much of your life from childhood? The team at Mustard are, in fact, talking about your desk. It’s time to celebrate it, to make it like home, to make it special. Now is the time to love your desk, and work happy.

And who are the company named after a quintessential English condiment? Mustard are a team of designers, trend hunters and number crunchers headquartered in London, with o ces in New York, that bring the perfect combination of design and commercial prowess to your industry. This company are proud to claim that almost seven out of 10 products they sell bring 80 per cent revenue for their retailers who, incidentally, are some of the world’s most respected from Anwterp to Abu Dhabi. Their quest is simple – Mustard want 10 per cent of the space on every desk in the world! And they believe in this movement with evangelical determination – a movement that requires your support for it to happen. So join them, let’s give desks out there some appreciation! Because the more love people give their desks, the more they will love us back and everyone’s day can be just that little bit more special.

T: 020 8810 9002








20/03/2017 11:21


Talk of Nickie Jowett, Balloonarray, Ringwood, Hants

What’s the story behind your store? Four years ago I was working as a civil servant when I discovered (via Facebook!) that my entire department were to be made redundant. I knew I wanted to take this chance to set up my own business but had no idea what I wanted to do. One night my husband was keeping me awake with his snoring so I got up to have a cup of tea and started browsing on the laptop. I came across a balloon and party store for sale and, by the time my husband had woken up, I’d arranged to buy it! I would love to end this story by saying he never dared to snore again but, sadly for me, that’s not the case. As I was being made redundant my employers paid for me to be re-trained as a balloon decorator which was really helpful. Initially I really just purchased the idea and the stock along with a very old-fashioned website. I learned a great deal on the hoof but, having run the business from home for three years I decided to branch out into a little shop exactly 12 months ago. It was definitely a life-changing year for me – I hit 50 and decided to change my life so I hired a personal trainer, lost seven stone, took up running, completed a Tough Mudder event (pictured) and opened a shop. Apart from that it was a pretty quiet year… Currently, which is your top-selling design, publisher or genre? Because I’m primarily a balloon decorator, my top-selling brand is Qualatex balloons. However I do have a small selection of quirky cards and am hoping to expand into giftwrap, gift bags and more cards when I move into larger premises in the near future. Would you consider yourselves a party store that sells cards or a greetings store that sells party products? Currently I’m a balloon and party store. I stock party poppers, confetti cannons, candles, banners and party bag fillers but would like to expand the range a great deal. I’m especially interested in expanding the range of giftwrap options. There aren’t many things that I consider the Americans do better than us but giftwrapping is definitely one of them! Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? Because of the size of my current shop my card range had to be very limited and I looked at countless different ranges before deciding which one to stock. I went for some of the honeycomb range by Pulp Cards because they were cute, quirky and appeal to everyone. I’d be extremely happy to receive one of those for my birthday!

26 2 32 6 ww w ww. w gr g g @greetingstoday

the town


The T he voice e of the people e w who matter, greetings retailers tell it like it is.

Gareth & Kevin, Village Party Shop, Bexley & Albany Park

What’s the story behind your store? We started off as video rental stores at Albany Park in 2003 and started retailing greetings cards in 2009 with a couple of spinners from Original Poster Company. We then evolved into balloons then some party bits and, eventually, gifts. In 2013 we opened our second shop in Bexley Village, 2014 saw us launch our online shop for fancy dress and party products, 2015 saw us doing everything balloon and party with displays and decorating, and we started using Facebook and Twitter to market ourselves. Last year we installed a Creation Express personalised kiosk which is really doing well, and now 2017 saw us finally stop renting DVDs. We now have an app for mobile phone users to view our products!

Currently, which is your top-selling design, publisher or genre? We still sell OPC cards today but our top selling design at Albany Park is Isobel Garden and Memory Lane, and at Bexley Village is Noel Tatt Du Jour and ICG age and relations, and Card Direct Opacity designs are also doing well in both shops. The latest balloon craze is gender-reveal balloons and feather-filled deco bubble balloons. Would you consider yourselves a party store that sells cards or a greetings store that sells party products, and how did you get into doing so? We are equally a gift, greetings card and party store, although cards are approximately 40 per cent of turnover. We advertise that we have everything for a party and are your one-stop party shop.

Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? A card from Creation Express please.

Lucy Eason, George’s Mini Market, Whitstable, Kent

What’s the story behind your store? My grandad was the George of George’s Mini Market and he started trading at 17 High Street in 1970. He persuaded his daughter Diana and her husband Peter Hopkins – my mum and dad – to go into the markets selling the same goods, toiletries and household products. Eventually they bought the business off my grandad and proceeded to expand when the adjoining properties came up for leasing. Firstly it was 15A, then a few years later number 15 – this was to be the card shop! My sister Katie and I were both Saturday girls from the earliest possible age. She went on to become a hairdresser and now has her own salon and I was trained up to be the manager by the time I was 18 – if only I knew then what I know now! With a passion for retail and love of the business my husband Nick and I bought it in 2006. It’s a busy and fun shop where you can always find some exciting stock. My team of staff - that’s myself and Emma dressed as elves on Christmas Eve are all like family and we make working and shopping in George’s a great place. Our card shop has evolved over the years but none more than after the opening of a Card Factory nearby. They were direct competition so we worked hard to compete. We’ve always prided ourselves on offering an extensive range of all cards and titles but also at low prices then, after Clinton Cards stopped trading we started to sell more design-led cards with a higher price. With the help of our loyal customers and my fabulous staff we have developed into the card and gift shop we are today. We’re still committed to providing an extensive range of cards to suit everyone but the cards we offer are different to other retailers, design-led and some damn funny ones too. Currently, which is your top-selling design, publisher or genre? @greetingstoday

The top publishers over the past year are Noel Tatt, closely followed by Pigment Productions. Noel Tatt have an outstanding range called Pizzaz of which continues to thrive in the shop. Pigment provide the humour and are responsible for many customer outbursts of laughter and giggles. These humorous cards are now one of features the shop is well known for. Would you consider yourselves a party store that sells cards or a greetings store that sells party products? Our main focus is on the cards, however, we complement these with a comprehensive selection of party accessories, gifts and also wrapping options. I’ve always loved wrapping presents and, since the interest in ribbon become popular and suppliers started to offer a bigger range, wrapping got more creative! It isn’t just about the paper now it’s coordinating the tag, ribbon and bow too. Which is great for my displays and also for all those add on sales. Giving the customer a visual idea of how it can look works amazingly – especially at Christmas when you can demonstrate a few wrapping themes! We also offer a helium balloon service, banners and decorations of which giant helium numbers are very popular. Glow sticks and whizzy rocket balloons are still our top sellers and top fun too! Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? The card I love and always give to my friends – and some family – is by Paper House, and reads “I’m just a G&T away from bad behaviour”. Or I like anything that references gin! 33

Four corners North, south, east, west, wherever you go, retailers know their business the best. Four shop owners from the corners of the UK give their opinions on this month’s Greetings Today features. rt File

● The A


SOUTH – Paul Jarman, Creased Cards, Brighton, East Sussex

NORTH – Jenny Morrison, Top Drawer, St Andrews, Fife

WE STARTED stocking giftwrap and bags from Glick OK, FULL disclosure – I’ve always a couple of years ago because of their lovely Wendy struggled a bit with my wrap and bags. Jones-Blackett ranges. These still do really well for It’s just not my forte and I’m not just us today, and we love to see the new designs each talking about buying either, I’m the year. There’s something quite special about buying worst at wrapping out of anyone I know. a gift and a beautiful card, with a matching bag to For a small shop like mine, it’s difficult to know finish off the present nicely. Glick introduced a Married quite what I should carry. I only have 20 spots available and I like In and Born In gift bag range last year which soon became ● Instawra p quite a few bits from different suppliers but often can’t make the really popular and a bit of a talking point at our cash desk! minimum order required without being forced to take designs I just In terms of cute cards, the most popular ones for us have to be the don’t think our customers will like. Scruffy Mutts and Magnificent Moggies collections from The Little I also don’t have the space for loads of bags, so they end up on shelves Dog Laughed. For all those dog and cat owners out there, there is a behind the counter and, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last three years, card for everyone and almost every dog and cat available, with plenty it’s that hardly anyone ever looks at or asks for something from there. And does of giggles to be had when you read the story on the back of each card! no one buy bottle bags anymore? I’ve got dozens of the bleeders and they just don’t shift! ● The Litt le ● Glick My bag challenge is still exactly that and I’ll persevere, however on the wrap Dog Laughed front, through one of the agents I deal with, I came across Jonathan Glick and was impressed with their great quality paper, some beautiful print designs – and at a super price. So, that’s at least 10 of my 20 wrap spots taken care of for this year. I’ll also continue to stock Redback and Kiss Me Kwik humour wrap as well as some from The Art File. We always look for innovation and different approaches within product ● The Little ranges at Creased, and I was delighted to come across something special at Dog Laughed Spring Fair this year – Instawrap, fully-gummed wrap so you don’t need any tape at all! I was initially suspicious – someone would have done this before if it could actually work, no? Apparently not, as the stuff works so bloody well even I can wrap with it! Roll on April when it arrives, I think our customers will love it – and all my friends and family will think someone else has been wrapping their pressies!


● Glick


E EAST AST – Caron Naylor, Th The Gift House, Blacker Hall Farm, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

WE’RE almost upon one of our busiest times next to Christmas – dare I say Christmas, arghhhh! I’m finding lots of new and exciting handmade cards, many from Yorkshire, which is the whole ethos at Blacker Hall Farm to support local business where we can. Having The Hepworth Wakefield gallery and The Sculpture Park near by is a real bonus, there are many amazing artists near to us and the venues attract many new creative people to the area. s n esig Button D Mother’s Day and Easter are always a great beginning ● Belly to spring and this year Janie Wilson, Belly Button, Wendy Jones-Blackett, and Bexy Boo are among many great ranges. We have found some really great humour cards, nice ones of course! Never have we been asked for more Mother’s Day cards for Mams, Nans and Grans – Mummy’s 1st Mother’s Day has been a big seller and the larger cards are in demand too. I’m looking forward my favourite show, the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate. It’s almost my home town so I do ● Wen dy Jon love to visit this very well-run show. es-Bla ckett We’re going into more stationery too now as this seems a huge retail area we’ve not yet delved into so The London Stationery Show will be a good one too. We have had notebooks in from Sophie Allport and Belly Button, who produce quality, hard-backed books, vwhich are an ideal gift for anyone, even the guys – it’s not all about iPads!


WEST – Alison Allen, Conway Cards, Garstang, Lancs IT’S THAT time of year again when all the brightlycoloured spring season stock hits the racks and shelves. The beautiful gift bags, giftwrap, and coordinating accessories really brighten the shop up. Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to go to town and spoil mum with a lovely present, beautifully packaged. Ladies love to make gifts look extra-special, and blokes tend to do whatever’s easiest, so a gift bag with matching tissue is their perfect solution! The Glick Pizazz range complements the ever-popular greeting cards from Nigel Quiney Publications, with gorgeous fl oral prints and butterfl ies being the most popular. Their new Neon range is stunning too, with bright designs to suit any occasion – the Father’s Day stock will undoubtedly go out on the racks now and will probably be sold out by June! It’s great to be able to up sell with matching ribbons, bow, tags and tissue paper too!. We often utilise bottle bags to make balloon bouquets too – they’re a great way to hide the ●G Glick Gl Gli lliic ck k balloon weight, and add another dimension to a bunch of balloons! ● Glick ayym ma ag g @g @greetingstoday @ grre ee ettiin ng gsstto od da ay



Plenty of new The bi b big biggest igg gg ggest exhibitor line line-up up to date puts the 2017 London Stationery Show on track for its seventh successful year of growth, and there’s plenty for greetings and gift retailers to discover.


Trend forecasters Scarlet Opus will be back at this year’s London Stationery Show to share their key trend selections for the stationery market for Christmas 2017 and spring-summer 2018. Trend analyst Phil Pond said: “Our selected forecast for the most popular look for Christmas 2017 is our design trend Homeland which has evolved from the spring-summer 2017 trend Analogue Workshop that we identified at last year’s show. “It is rich in earthen colours, a foggy pastel landscape and stunning blues. It also has a handmade and crafted aesthetic making it just about the perfect design trend influence for the stationery sector.” Looking ahead to 2018, the Scarlet Opus team have chosen a trend they have named Urban Planet, which is also evolving from previous seasons. Phil added: “When trends evolve in this way they are a good choice to inspire design teams as it gives them a longer lead-time to get new products from the ideas board to the shop shelf. “Urban Planet has a beautiful metallic colour palette and a very grown-up take on a futuristic space aesthetic. With an architectural influence in its style and a mixing of opposites, intense light and extreme dark, it will appeal strongly to stationery buyers and retailers alike. “It’s time for the retail network to focus on the consumer of the future – in fact, this consumer has been approaching fast for some time but there is little evidence preparatory work is being done.” Phil’s presentation at the show will give more details on each of the trends and describe who this consumer is, why they are unlike any consumer before and how retailers need to change in order to win the loyalty, support and favour of this new breed of customer.


ITH new owners, new initiatives and its biggest line-up to date of leading UK and overseas writing and paper brands and suppliers, the 2017 London Stationery Show is on track for its seventh successful year of growth.

“We know that design-led writing and paper products are a hot category for retailers – the products are on-trend and seen as an affordable luxury,” said new show director Tim Willoughby, COO of Ocean Media. Greetings, gift, craft and lifestyle retailers have a lot to see at this year’s two-day stationery extravaganza, which runs at the Business Design Centre in London across Tuesday and Wednesday, April 25-26, in the middle of National Stationery Week, and with World Stationery Day taking place on the Wednesday too. Tim added: “Gifting and self-gifting is a big part of the stationery market and we are delighted to be working with the Giftware Association, a growing number of whose members such as Museums & Galleries and Two Little Boys already successfully exhibit at the show.” GA CEO Sarah Ward said: “Stationery is a growing part of the gifting market, and we’re delighted to be supporting this initiative. We will be encouraging our members, both on the supply and retail front, to take this opportunity to review their product offers and think about how stationery-led gifts might work for them.” The combination of top brands and suppliers such as Abrams & Chronicle, Flame Tree Publishing, Leuchtturm1917 (celebrating their centenary), Maped Helix, Museums & Galleries, Mustard, Pyramid and Two Little Boys, and new entrants to the UK market from Europe and beyond, make it the ideal event to get a speedy overview of what’s hot and on trend in stationery and discover what consumers will be looking for in the run up to Christmas and into 2018. New initiatives for the 2017 show include the Craft Business Creative Hub and the winners’ display for the first LaunchPad competition, plus there’s the return of the Stationery Awards and a packed seminar programme. As part of the Stationery Awards, the new product showcase is a key reason to visit as it’s situated at the entrance to the show so is an excellent way to review new styles and products from across the sector. A panel of retail judges, led by Henri Davies – independent retail advisor currently working as a buyer for Scribbler, The GA Chairman and Greetings Today columnist – will review and announce the 2017 winners at the end of the first day of the show. @greetingstoday

This year’s judges include Lindsey Kleinlercher, product director at award-winning gift and stationery chain Between the Lines; Mary Wright, co-founder at subscription service Spotlight Stationery; Sarah Turner, trading controller at leading UK stationery retailer WHSmith, and Judy Bendall, head of retail at Blenheim Palace. This year’s product categories are Diaries, Organisers, Calendars, Everyday Writing Instruments, Writing Instruments Over £25 RRP, Novelty Stationery, Social Stationery, Notebooks, Journals, Licensed Stationery, Filing & Storage, Desk Accessories, Gift Packaging & Wrap, and, for the first time, Arts & Crafts. Located right in the heart of the exhibition, the new Craft Business Creative Hub will feature workshops aimed at inspiring retail buyers to add a little theatre to their stores. The London Stationery Show is increasing its seminar programme for 2017 with trend forecaster Phil Pond, of Scarlet Opus, revealing his ideas, and social media advice from Blog On organiser Laura Seaton a ((@BlogOnUK and @TiredmummyofTwo) and Tanya Barrow (@mummybarrow) who have T more than 25,000 followers between them. m In addition, show visitors will be able to find out how the UK High Street is shifting iin terms of shop profiles and performance ffrom independent researcher, analyst and commentator on retail locations Michael c Weedon. W Tim added: “Verdict Retail has predicted that tthe UK stationery market will increase by some £49 million over the next five years. Most of £ this growth will be driven by increased ranges, more design-led products and stationery being given as gifts – the London Stationery Show is the place to stock up! “We were delighted with the response to our first LaunchPad competition and we’re keen to make it a regular part of the London Stationery Show. We want to encourage and support new companies and products to come forward and showcase their ideas.” The 12 LaunchPad winners – Archivia, Berjo Creative, By Mrs Carter, David Hayward Designs, Elmo Paperstories, Foggish, My Pretty Circus, Off lines, Ortiedesign, Spots & Stripes Design, Think Trigg and Treewise – each have display space at the show as part of their prize, and are eligible for the 2017 Stationery Awards. The three judges – Rebecca Saunders from Notonthehighstreet. com, Esmie founder Kim Harrup-Brook, and Sally Newall, editor of the Independent’s product reviews section IndyBest – were looking for product that showed clear thought and execution when it came to brand and offer, offered value commensurate with the retail price and which they thought would be of true interest to the UK stationery industry and the huge number of stationery-loving consumers.

The products are on-trend and seen as an affordable luxury 35

LONDONSTATIONERYSHOWPREVIEW A Gift From The Gods – G124 Abrams & Chronicle Books – M616 Ambar Passsion – M349 Amodex – M720 Antalis – G102 Archivia – GL843 AT Cross – M730 Berjo Creative– GL832 Bestar Wooden – M743 Blake Envelopes – M505 BNB Linenpaper – M748 Bong UK – M320 Bostik – M449 Boxclever Press – M441 BrownTrout Publishers – M621 Bruce Douglas Marketing T/A Ultratape – M640 Buntbox – M610 Busy B – M631 Butterick Company – M735 By Mrs Carter – GL834 C Josef Lamy – M630 Castelli Diaries – M538 Cathedral Products – M415 Cathian Leather Goods – M340 Chamberlain Plastics – G205 Charfl eet Book Bindery – M402 Chase and Wonder – M529 Chee Wah Corporation – M329 Collins Debden – M641 Colman Group – M722 Crystow Painting – M706 David Hayward Design – GL849 DKL Marketing – G221 Dodo Pad – M515 E4MA Design – G121 Eaglemoss – G226 EastWest – M629 Eco-eco Stationery – M650 Edding – M540 Elmo Paperstories – GL844


Enveco – M305 Envelopes – G219 Esposti – M711 Exaclair – M501 Factis SA – M303 Fima Stationery – M343 Flame Tree Publishing – M531 Foggish – GL833 Forever Collectibles – M539 GBA Pen Co – M617 Genie & Co – M405 The Gifted Stationery Co – M327 GMC Distribution – M428 The Grafiosi Origin One – G115 The Great British Notepad Company – G125 The GVA – M548 Hainenko – G203 Hamilton Writing Instruments – G123 Hardie Grant – G100 Hindustan Pencils – G118 Historystore – M325 HK Trading – M740 IF (That company called IF) – M334 Imspired – G231 Intelligent Retail – M321 Jakar International – M620 Jose Borda & CA – M745 Jet Tec International – M725 & M316 JPT Europe – M606 Kemerbergaz Ofis – M648 Kevron Plastics – M346 Khien’s Studio – G117 Kuretake – M738 KW Trade M649 Laura Stoddart – M635 & G104 Le Colour/Levent Ofset – M337 Leuchtturm1917 – M400 Lime Stationery & Art – M421

Lovi – M300 LSM – M406 Luckies Of London – M516 Luxor – M407 M&G UK – M331 Make Create – G108 Manuscript Pen – M315 Maped Helix – M506 Marker – M750 MJB - Design G109 MUM’s Office – M607 Museums & Galleries – M448 Mustard – M416 My Pretty Circus – GL836 Newell Rubbermaid – M429 & M422 Notable Designs – M528 NPW – M420 Nuco International – M701 Off Lines – GL839 Ooly – G103 Opus UK – M749 Ortiedesign – GL838 Padblocks – M537 Paper Republic – M747 Pentel – M507 Petra Boase – G225 Pierre Cardin – G202 The Pilot Pen Co – M728 Polar Pen – G111 Pomegranate Europe – M339 Portico Designs – M615 Postsafe – G200 Premier Stationery – G211 Pukka Pads – M316 Pyramid International – M330 Quarto Publishing Group – M322 Rapesco – M440 Reliable Source – G222

Romeo Maestri & Figli – M742 Root & Seed – G101 Royal Talens – M434 Sadipal Arconvert – M739 Santoro Graphics – M341 SemiKolon – M700 Shachihata – M721 Shark Stationery – G214 Silk Hat Greetings – G212 Sinclairs – M408 Smiltainis – G228 Snopake Brands – M729 Soumkine – M643 Spots and Stripes Design – GL832 Stabilo International – GL906 Staedtler – M541 Stationery & Craft Select – G107 Stone Marketing – M521 StorePAK – GL922 Strawberry Design & Marketing – M350 Studio Pens/Kaweco – M520 Supreme Stationery – M638 Tallon International – GL916 Tesa UK – M605 Tesla Amazing – GL953 Thames & Hudson – M510 Thames Loose Leaf – M324 Think Trigg – GL832 Tiger Stationery – M709 Toscana Carte Pregiate – M731 Treewise Pencils – GL832 Trinity Xtras – M715 Trodat – G112 Turnaround Publisher Services – M618 Two Little Boys – M639 Uni-ball – M710 West Design Products – M530 Weveel – G131 Zebra Pen – M601 Zipit Europe – G122

Penning exciting new launch MUSEUMS & Galleries are particularly looking forward to showing off their exciting new V&A gift ballpoint pens at the London Stationery Show. A brand-new launch for the company, the pens are barrel-printed in full colour with a chrome tip and clip, and feature twist-action and black ink with widely available ink refills. The pens are presented in a quality printed gift box with acetate lid and supplied to trade in units of three with a suggested retail price of £11.99, and M&G have cleverly chosen designs to match their selection of hard-cover journals, creating cross-purchase opportunities. Three designs are existing bestsellers in the V&A journal range, and the other three match or complement the six new V&A grande and deluxe journals. The grande and deluxe journals are a new story for M&G’s hugely successful V&A gift stationery range where they have reinterpreted classic archive patterns in three stylish colour-matched notebook pairs, these add a sophisticated contemporary look to this now large and respected collection. M&G’s grande journals also benefit from Matthew


Williamson’s vibrant contemporary fashion prints – the notebooks’ larger size really allows the gorgeous patterns to sing, and Matthew’s stunning new spring 2017 Jaipur Jem design is making its debut directly on the journals. The Matthew Williamson deluxe journals and deluxe notebook ranges have both doubled in quantity, and M&G has also added to the gift wraps, tissue paper packs, and gift bags. Cressida Bell, a granddaughter of Bloomsbury Group painter Vanessa Bell, will be M&G’s major new gift stationery collection on the LSS stand – her work is known for its vibrant and gloriously decorative qualities and she draws on a uniquely British artistic heritage to forge her own distinctive and inimitable style. The launch features a wide range of stationery products: gift wraps, poster wraps, notelet boxes, a writing set, elasticated journals, slimline notebooks, and bookmarks.

Stand M448 – T: 0116 230 4197 @greetingstoday

Helix.indd 1

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Lucky cats, rainbows and cacti – Mustard have got your desk covered MUSTARD are a proud partner of the London Stationery Show, alongside key figures of the stationery world such as Maped Helix and Stabilo, and they will be presenting their different ranges including Cactus, Space and Lucky Cat, to name but a few. Maneki-Neto is a traditional Japanese figurine, sometimes called Welcoming Cat, Money Cat or Happy Cat – but also Raging Cat! At Mustard, they just like to call it the Lucky Cat and have turned it into a pen pot that will hold your paperclips too. Oh! And there’s the story that the figurine will bring your family luck for a thousand generations too! Then there’s the Space range – what’s better than a Space notebook to examine all sides of the ideas gravitating around your head? Asteroid sticky notes maybe? Mustard’s range of Space stationery might be perfect for discovering new worlds, or writing the future of space travel but it will definitely help you deal with grocery lists and brainstorming while gladly reminding you to call your mum. The Cactus collection offers all you need to organise your ideas and make your desk beautiful – at last cacti you don’t need to water, that won’t prick you !

T: 020 8810 9002

● Space notebook range

● Donut cup warmers ● Rainbow sticky notes


● Cactus pen ● Cactus pen pot @greetingstoday LSS Stand M539 For those who are just a little bit kinky for stationery

T: +44 (0)20 7713 2079

Since the launch of the Couture House in 1987, the Christian Lacroix style has been unique, exuberant, colourful and baroque. Today, Maison Christian Lacroix expresses its dynamism and love for colour via its lifestyle, fashion accessory and menswear collections designed by the brandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Creative Director, Sacha Walckhoff and made in collaboration with several prestigious labels. Combining the excellence of Christian Lacroix with exceptional savoir-faire, the Studioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s talent is conveyed through the realization of these varied and unique lifestyle collections. Galison and Abrams & Chronicle Books are thrilled to present the Christian Lacroix Paris stationery and gift collection of the iconic couture house. Featuring treatments such as embossing, laser cutting and pop-up elements, the line adds a new dimension and high fashion sensibility to our broad range of products.


Your store could look like this WEST Design Products are proud to be returning g to the London Stationery Show, this time with their all-new and exciting theme: “Your store could look like this.” The stand will be offering show visitors the opportunity to see an incredible and eyecatching display from world-renowned art and graphics range of Faber-Castell. Wesg Design will also be showing FSDUs for or or the ever-popular Creativity For Kids and West Design’s already in high demand new lines Grow and Craftivity. Craftivity shows that craft is not just for kids, but for a new generation of young adults who will be inspired to learn a new skillset while igniting their passion for creative expression. Grow will help youngsters step away from the flashing screens and really connect with nature through creativity and care. Children can express their artistic side with these crafts while still learning how to tend to their growing plants. Also being showcased on the West Design stand will be new lines and offers from Marabu, Glue Dots, Copic, West and more!

Stand M530 – T: 01303 297888 g p

High profile fil releases

APRIL has proven to be a busy month in the Pyramid International national calendar with the upco upcoming shows and the releases of some huge profile movies ushering exciting ng in new and e iti ranges. Exhibiting at this year’s London Stationery Show. Pyramid will be showcasing a whole range of exciting new stationery and gift items across their library of incredible licences. These include a premium strap-bound Newt Scamander notebook, a Despicable Me Fluffy notebook inspired by Agnes’ unmistakable cuddly unicorn, along with a Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol2 doormat, and Pyramid will be showing off their latest innovation – a sound-playing Baby Groot notebook. And that’s not to mention ranges for Marvel Comics, Harry Potter, Despicable Me 3, Star Wars and DC Comics. Through their partnership with Lego and IQ Hong Kong, Pyramid are now the UK exclusive distributors of Lego and Lego Batman stationery, and they are excited to be exhibiting both at the Stationery Show. Inspired by the classic iconic brick design, these pieces are of the highest quality, and even click together for an added quirky extra. The range includes A5 journals, erasers, sharpeners, pencil cases, gel pens, marker bens and even a buildable ruler. The power of the Lego brand and the quality of the product will unlock real penitential at retail. As well as preparing for the Stationery Show the team at Pyramid have also been developing and refining their usual plethora of great products for the big movie releases on the horizon. This includes posters, canvases and mugs for the guaranteed smash hit Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol2 and the exquisite Beauty And The Beast. Not to mention ranges for Wonder Woman, Cars 3, Transformers, The Walking Dead, Despicable Me 3, Spider-man Homecoming, Emoji Movie, My Little Pony Movie, and Better Call Saul – which doesn’t even begin to cover everything Pyramid is bringing to the table in 2017!

Stand M330 – T: 0116 284 3645

40 0 ww w ww.greeting gstod od da ay .c co uk u @greetingstoday rre eet etiin ng gsstto od da ay


Out Now

The new V&A Everyday Range

High ffashion h sensibility SINCE the launch of the Couture House in 1987, the Christian Lacroix style has been unique, exuberant, colourful and baroque. Today, Maison Christian Lacroix express their dynamism and love for colour via the lifestyle, fashion accessory and menswear collections designed by the brand’s Creative Director Sacha Walckhoff and made in collaboration with several prestigious labels. Combining the excellence of Christian Lacroix with exceptional savoir-faire, the studio’s talent is conveyed through the realisation of these varied and unique lifestyle collections. Galison and Abrams & Chronicle Books are thrilled to present the Christian Lacroix Paris stationery and gift collection for the iconic couture house. Featuring treatments such as embossing, laser cutting and pop-up elements, the line adds a new dimension and high fashion sensibility to our broad range of products. The Christian Lacroix Paris Spring 2017 collection includes the gorgeous hardcover Curiositès Journal full of uniquely-designed pages and insert surprises, Bagatelle Notebook with gilded edge pages and embossed cover, embossed Paseo Notebooks including the new Mascarade, Outremer, and Blush Ombré styles

T: +4420 7713 2060 @greetingstoday w

The full V&A range is now in stock and ready to order. Please contact your agent or request a brochure. Tel: 01373 462165 41


Retro classics from Oxford to the stars MAPED Helix, go-to-global favourites for all things stationery, will be unveiling a host of exciting new w products at this year’s London Stationery Show. From their fun licensed ranges, such as the new Star Wars collection which replicates a selection n of products from Helix’s original 1977 range, to their exclusive Pringles pencil cases which take inspiration ation from the iconic crisp can, there is something to suit all stationery fans. In addition to the brand’s colourful choice of creative pens, crayons and paint, visitors to the show ow will also be among the first to view the new range of super-washable Color’Peps Superhero paints, which ich give children the power to paint, while giving parents peace of mind that their shirts will stay clean. Gray Richmond, managing director at Maped Helix, said: “This is set to be an exciting year for us s at Maped Helix. Not only are we bringing back some of our retro classics, such as the Oxford Vintage ge range of Mathematical Instruments which has been a firm favourite since 1935, but we will also be introducing a range of innovative and fun new products. We encourage all those visiting the show to o pop by and see our products for themselves.” The Maped Helix team will be on hand on the stand to share their expertise and recommendations. ons.

Stand M506 – T: 01384 286 860 uk

Tell the awkward truth BRAND-new for 2017, 2littleboys have created a range of Awkward Truth mini-notebooks that rail against the positivity that has taken social media and the greetings industry by storm over the past few months. Always ones to buck the trend, Sarah and Sam have written a few of those awkward truths about life and humans not being quite as perfect as we’d like to think. Cynical? Maybe – but they’ve raised many a laugh and, with preChristmas retail sales extremely promising, they’re confident 2017 may just be the year for some fun. Inner pages are 120gsm stock and are lined or plain dependent on title. Available for £1 with a £3.50 RRP, as well as a pre-packed tin of four titles for £4.40, RRP £13.50. For anyone who’s just that little bit kinky for stationery, 2littleboys have created two tins of notebooks that will definitely float your boat – and each book has Stationery Lovers Of The World Unite written on the back as a call to arms. Taking inspiration from famous dialogue in films, each notebook has a distinctive stationery lovers feel that means, if you don’t recognise the quote, it doesn’t matter. Titles include “I see notebooks all the time”, “You’re going to need


a bigger note book”, “You had me at new notebook” and “Nobody puts notebook in the corner”. Each tin contains four individual titles, two with lines, two plain, at £4.50 trade, £13.50 RRP. Following the retail launch of 2littleboys’ newest Mindlessness activity books, this time for adults, they are very happy to report that not only were their stands at the Christmas shows full of people openly laughing, but the books flew from the shelves. Designed as a foil to the wealth of mindful colouring books, the designers think that plain old fun is being neglected for the sake of “self improvement”. Their “Something to keep you happy when everyone else is being really boring” books are to be used with tongue very firmly lodged in cheek while enjoying Cosmo-style questionnaires including “Would you survive a zombie apocalypse?”, crosswords, word searches, fillthe-gaps stories and much more. At £3 trade, £6.99 RRP, they make the perfect gift for teenagers or the young-at-heart to complete alone or, even better, with friends around the kitchen or dinner table

T: 020 8400 3606 @greetingstoday


Giftwrap evolved Any questions? Does Instawrap have any taste? Taste is subjective to an individual, Instawrap has been specially developed with zero taste. Has anyone touched Instawrap before I lick it? No, our paper is manufactured in controlled environments, no bare hands have touched Instawrap and it is delivered heat-sealed in food-grade packaging. Is Instawrap calorie free? The energy you would have to expend licking enough paper to worry about calories, is more than you could consume from the paper itself! Is Instawrap vegan friendly? Yes – and it’s acid-free and gluten-free. Is Instawrap safe? Yes. Instawrap meets BS EN 71-3: 2013 + A1:2014, the safety requirements for children’s toys, and is FDAapproved. What if the present gets wet? The rain would activate the glue in that area, when it subsequently dries, any tack would disappear and its appearance would revert to its original form. The glue absorbs the moisture so the paper has some protection from raindrops unlike most conventional wrapping paper. Can I get a paper cut from Instawrap? It’s as safe as licking an envelope or stamp. Can I wrap a huge present? One of the major advantages of Instawrap is that you can make an unlimited sized sheet – simply stick multiple sheets together. Can I wrap any present with Instawrap? Instawrap will wrap presents of all shapes and sizes. You always have both hands free to wrap your gift, allowing you more control to help create that perfect finish. What about the packaging? Our bespoke plastic packaging is made from a minimum of 70 per cent recycled plastic and is 100 per cent recyclable.

A new concept on wrapping paper, lick-and-stick Instawrap has been an instant hit since its recent launch, with company founders Gary Hoffman and Craig Morfett thrilled at the reception.


CENTURY after wrapping paper was created, the neverending battle with sticky tape is finally over thanks to the invention of lick-it and stick-it giftwrap from Instawrap.

Inventor Gary Hoffman struggled with paper and tape for years – and always approached gifting with trepidation, knowing his badly-wrapped parcels never made the best impression. The frustration led him to dream up Instawrap, the world’s first lick-and-stick wrapping paper and, after meeting business partner Craig Morfett, the pair established their company Wrap Nation 18 months ago to develop the product, launching in time for Spring Fair 2017. “Since its creation in 1917, decorative giftwrap has never really evolved,” Craig said, “true, the format in which we buy it, from sheets and packs to rolls, has changed and multiplied while the designs available to today are endless. “But its functionality has remained the same – you still need sticky tape or ribbon to hold the edges together. “Even for the keen giftwrapper, the task can be fiddly and time consuming, one hand is always busy either fixing the edges together or holding the present, resulting in not quite a 100 per cent-perfect finished product – even with so-called vanishing sticky tape. “And, by removing the need for plastic tape and using no plastic contaminants in the manufacturing, Instawrap is the most recyclable giftwrap on the planet.” The business came about after Craig and his family became neighbours to Gary and his wife Louise in early 2015, and he was soon up to speed on the Instawrap secret. He added: “From Gary sharing the idea with me to its fruition it’s taken about 18 months. We travelled up and down the country, looking at every possible paper, considering all processes of printing and every angle of design. @greetingstoday

“Everything about the product was chosen because it was of the highest standard. The finished product is premium, the paper itself is high grade, even the glue is unique. “People have always chosen gift wrap by design, not functionality or brand. That’s what we’ve changed. “Say you’ve forgotten someone’s birthday. You could pop out at lunch, buy a present, grab a sheet of Instawrap and produce a perfectly-wrapped present in minutes, if that. No sticky tape, no string, nothing.” Launched at Spring Fair, the full range is now available to retail, and it’s great for getting kids crafty too – classified as toy safe and with templates for bows and shapes on the reverse of the giftwrap, it’s fine for children to use. Gary added: “When we realised quite what we were producing so many thoughts ran through ● All wrapped our minds about how up – Craig we got it to market. & Gary with But we came to the Jane Means, conclusion that no inset one would bring it to life with as much attention to detail and love as we could. “We love Instawrap, it’s our baby at the end of the day and, at every step along the way, we have put in the effort to make sure the end result is the very best. “The quality of the paper, the fact that it’s vegan-friendly, 100 per cent recyclable and printed in the UK using modern technology, all of those things wouldn’t have occurred to everyone. Across Wrap Nation, everyone cares, no matter what their role. “It really is a team effort, and we’re thrilled giftwrapping guru Jane Means will be joining us as the face of Instawrap too.” Jane said: “It’s one of the best inventions I’ve ever come across – I’m so proud to be their brand ambassador.” Craig and Gary are now looking forward to life as the men who changed the future of giftwrapping – as they say, the only limitation with Instawrap is your imagination.

Produce a perfectly wrapped present in minutes

T: 0333 355 1850 43


● Party

poopers – buying helium alone isn’t good for retailers

Let’s party! Finding new and constant sale opportunities is important for all independent greetings retailers, and party items really fit the bill as they complement the stores’ card offer.


T’S PARTY time in many gifts and greetings shops across the UK as they take the sector on board for surefire added sales.

And publishers are also in on the action as they add party products to their portfolios to ensure retailers can deal with companies they already know. At Simon Elvin, they consider themselves party and social stationery suppliers having launched a series of themed collections covering party invitations, balloons, wall banners, gift bags, loot bags and badges. And balloons have been part of their offer for almost four years now, growing year on year to be considered a major contender. As Edward Williams, of Simon Elvin, explained, they have taken their themes across gifts too. He said: “Always looking ahead, we see balloons as part of our overall Party and Simply Gift ranges, not just a standalone product. “This gives the independent High Street retailer a selection of themes to carry and keep abreast of the multiple chains.” Gemma International are also well known for their party offer, with invitations, plates, cups, napkins, banners, balloons and loot bags, along with cards and gift packaging to match. And they make sure everyone can have their favourite characters at their bash as they have numerous licences including their latest

collections for Care Bears – celebrating their 35th birthday – Miraculous Ladybug, Animal Jam, and Num Noms. Dandelion Stationery have party invites and thank you cards as part of their postcard selection, while Davora have taken on board the growth in Halloween events and added specific invitations to go with their cards. And Really Good have taken the party principle further with food flags, funky ice and snack buckets, trays and the allimportant corkscrew – for adult events only! Independent retailers are finding balloons and all things party a huge seller – you only have to look at Greetings Today’s regular Talk Of The Town and Window On The World features to see just how many find it an invaluable source of income. Interestingly, it’s one that has a hidden issue between customers and retailers over the helium needed to inflate the balloons. Sally Roberts, of Cardiau Môn Cards & Gifts on Anglesey, north Wales, explained: “I sell party products and helium balloons as it all fits in – helium balloons are becoming more and more popular as they can be used for any occasion. “In the last year I’ve started a personalised helium balloon service, this allows customers to customise their balloons with names or a particular font. It’s extremely popular with my Welsh customers as there aren’t any Welsh party products available otherwise.

We see W balloons as part of our overall Party and Simply Gift Gift s ranges


“I love that I can use my creativity with helium balloons and it’s not only a part of my business but a hobby too. “I have so many loyal customers who keep coming back year after year for balloons for their special occasions and new customers who have seen my work on Facebook or Instagram which is great. “But, on the flip side, I also have a lot of people who call in the shop and ask to have a balloon that they’ve bought elsewhere, inflated with helium and dealing with this can be di cult. “I think people buy the balloons online to save money but, once it arrives, they realise it needs to be inflated so they call on me to have it inflated hoping to only have to pay for the helium – but what people don’t see is that helium is the expensive part. “Not only are the canisters expensive to buy but I also have to pay rent on them. So, I decided we’d inflate the balloons but they have to pay the same price as if they’d bought the balloon from us in the first place. “I hope this would discourage people from buying online in the future and support their local businesses.” And fellow independent Lyndsay NieldSiddall added: “I also have customers calling in with balloons purchased elsewhere but I charge what I would normally charge if the balloon was ours. “People think they’re saving money and don’t realise the balloons are not the expensive part of the procedure and have no idea how expensive helium is to stock. It’s so refreshing to hear another balloon stockist with the same view on the matter.” @greetingstoday



Magical monster themes FOLLOWING on from successful launches in the last couple of years, party and social stationery suppliers Simon Elvin have launched a series of Themed Collections for 2017 covering a range of products such as Party Invites, Foil Balloons, Wall Banners, Gift Bags, Loot Bags and Badges. With their Pink & Blue range and other titles such as Magical Birthday, Male Milestones and My Monster, the themes cover a wide variety of situations from popular juvenile through to ages that also include wine and beer glasses as well as their successful range of matching mugs. The complete collection can be found on Simon Elvin’s other website,, under the “News” tab. Since its introduction in 2013, the Simon Elvin balloon range has grown year on year until it is now considered a major contender within the trade. Edward Williams, of Simon Elvin, said: “We believe the success in based on our love of design, always keeping ahead of the market with distinctive design and styles on a product that, until we entered the market, was considered a rather old fashioned approach to design. “Always looking ahead, we see balloons as part of our overall Party and Simply Gift ranges, not just a standalone product. “You will find designs carried over on to ceramic mugs, glassware and of course its companion product, wall banners as well as social stationery. This gives the independent High Street retailer a selection of themes to carry and keep abreast of the multiple chains.”

T: 01628 526711

46 @greetingstoday


Caring way to put a smile on your face

GEMMA International are working with CPLG to produce a range of party products, cards, and gift packaging for Care Bears. Fondly called the Year Of The Hug, 2017 celebrates the 35th anniversary of Care Bears, and the whole team at Gemma HQ are looking forward to celebrating the nostalgia of this much-loved brand, which has truly stood the test of time. Gemma are delighted to work with Care Bears, the only brand of huggable, loveable bears that teaches children of all ages about sharing their feelings and caring for others. Using the style guide supplied, the product range is everything you would expect with the bears taking centre stage to spread happiness and cheer. Add a sprinkle of rainbows, hearts and stars and they have a bright and colourful range perfect for the target audience of girls aged three to six. The party range includes invitations, plates, cups, napkins, banners, balloons and loot bags, with cards and gift packaging to match. Thalia Clare, Licensing Manager at Gemma International, said: “Cute bears never fail to put a smile on your face, and Care Bears are no exception. It’s a delightful brand with wholesome values that parents are happy to buy for their children, it’s a natural addition to the Gemma licensed portfolio.” Roubina Minassian, Director of International Licensing for Care Bears brand owners American Greetings Entertainment, added: “Care Bears are about sharing, caring and expressing feelings and the new line of party ware from Gemma will help us do just that.”

T: 01264 388400

26th June 2017

CALL 0161

641 0655



OR order on our NEW WEBSITE! @greetingstoday 47


Postcards from the edge THERE are more than 30 designs available in Dandelion Stationery’s collection of six packs of postcards that come with envelopes. Fourteen of the designs are dedicated to party invitations and matching thank you cards, including children’s and adult themes – adult as in grown up, not adult as in rude!

T: 01332 864990

New trick works a treat

HALLOWEEN has always been popular in the UK but, in the last few years, the occasion has reached a new level of popularity. Parties are now all the rage, and kids up and down the country are either inviting others or being invited to enjoy trick-or-treat events. Recognising the trend, Davora have launched a brand-new fivestrong range of Halloween invites with each pack containing six invitations with six envelopes in a clip-strip ready cello wrap. The invitations complement Davora’s existing range of Halloween cards of which there are now 12 in the range. Invitations are a new trick for Davora, and they’re sure they are going to work out a treat!

T: 0161 641 0653

Plenty of sparkle NOTECARDS are a great way to get people to join in the fun and the Party Glitter collection from Dear To Me puts plenty of sparkle into invitations. The set of six luxury notecards feature six designs – Party Hat, Bow Tie, Cocktail Glass, Bow, Envelope and Mask – with a flittered effect, and they are available with either candy pink or dark grey envelopes.

Inject some swanky style REALLY Good are 30 years young this year and, to help celebrate, Deck Chair have created a new range of party gifts. Fun party food flags, funky party buckets and stylish snack trays are just some of the party accessories in this range, which will hopefully inject some swanky style into any occasion, featuring colourful lively patterns topped off with a hint of gold foil. Really Good hope these gifts set your head a spinning with fun party ideas!

T: 01235 537888

48 @greetingstoday



OR THE greetings card industry the trade fair frenzy is over for a while, and there were some fantastic ranges for us to buy to drive our sales this spring.

Card designers must have been very busy at the end of last year working on these great ideas developing trends we saw emerging in 2016 and giving us fresh ideas for 2017 as well. They say dogs are man’s best friend and there were certainly plenty adorning the displays at the shows – in the main they seem to be being used as a vehicle for humour because of their crazy antics or expressions, and there are some very cute ones too. As consumers we seem to be particularly attracted to ranges with stories behind them so Mint’s new A Dog Named Jimmy collection, featuring Jimmy the bull terrier, is perfectly timed. He’s a social media sensation who apparently loves balls, bones and a grey blanket, and is photographed doing silly things. often with humour being added by a line drawing, a human element or a quote it will definitely make you smile (top left). Another dog-inspired range that caught my eye at Top Drawer was the Great British Bark Off, where simple but strong graphic style used by Sweet William on this range of cards and gifts is very on trend (left). There’s definitely a move away from white cards with small graphics or a joke, a lot more natural uncoated board is being used with some really popping colours or with foil giving retailers some really interesting products to move their ranges on. Foil colours and foiling techniques are still dominant but the colour palette has changed with more gold, copper, bronze and a very dark silver being used. Quire’s eye-catching Copper Charm range is a good example, with a high quality natural fibre board and a subtle colour palette finished off with lots of lovely foil detailing (right). Kate Guest has taken a slightly different approach keeping the print black on a natural grey board but then setting this off with fabulous neon envelopes, which would look fantastic on display instore (bottom right). Having said the number of very simple white cards is reducing, I have noticed white is being used as the background for bold stylish designs where strong graphics are used often in black and sometimes an additional colour to give it some real oomph.


Turned out nice again

Now we’re in the calm following the frenzy of trade fairs, Henri Davis has been checking back over the ideas and trends and concluded that there are some fantastic ranges promising a good year despite the Brexit wobbles. Botanika from the Great British Card Company is a good example and the designer explained to me that she was inspired by her love of botanical illustrations, where she’s then used foil to pick out details in each of the blooms framing the illustration so it appears to be growing out of the frame (right). Of course refreshing a successful range can be a really effective way of getting new designs to the market. Platinum has been a fabulous longserving collection for Belly Button Designs. Using a lovely quality white textured board the stylish range was previously embossed with a striking combination of silver and blue foils but they have now extended it with a wonderfully vibrant colour palette and the subtle addition of foil to ensure the designs really stand out (right). Licensing continues to be an important image source for cards, be it accessing well-known collections or picking up on social media trends – I’ve already mentioned Mint’s A Dog Named Jimmy. Museums & Galleries’ Matthew Williamson collection is another licensed range which I think has real presence and is aimed at a very different audience. Launched last year, it gets stronger and stronger as they understand more about what customers want to buy (bottom right). One of the great things about retailing cards is the variety available and James Eilis’ Kapow range shows just how much fun you can have when designing. Comic strip imagery is becoming more popular, combining strong colours,

Henri Davis is an independent retail advisor to businesses in the cards, gifts, stationery and heritage industries, combining 30 years of retail experience with her knowledge of trends and consumer motivation to analyse markets and identify new opportunities. Having worked at Habitat, Next, WH Smith and the National Trust, she now works with many small and medium-sized businesses, including multi-site retailers, national and international manufacturers and suppliers and is currently the first retailer chairman of the Giftware Association. @greetingstoday

simple impactful graphics and words, and Kapow gives retailers a really knock-out take on the publishers’ longserving idea (above). A benefit of the lower value of the pound is that we should have many more foreign visitors here and probably more Brits staycationing too – good news for retailers in popular and much-visited areas. Many publishers are offering product that refl ects local areas with well-known words and sayings or images. Susan Taylor has some very strong designs for locations around the UK. You can see she realises purchasers want these ranges to be upto-date and relevant to the market so she’s combining them with the strong bright colours and kraft envelopes (bottom right). My previous prediction of price increase this year has, unfortunately, come true, but the rises do seem to be modest and shouldn’t cause any major issues for retailers in the first part of the year. Despite this, if the wealth of new designs is anything to go by, it should turn out to be a good one. 21


Dedication’s what you need The British Craft Trade Fair has been dedicated to showcasing the country’s designer-makers for more than four decades and the upcoming 2017 event sees one of the largest greetings and stationery exhibitor lists yet – plus the return of the Greetings Card Award for the second year.


● 1790 Card


ITH 43 years of events under its belt, the British Craft Trade Fair is one of the UK’s oldest shows – and remains the only one dedicated to the country’s designer-makers.

And BCTF is a favourite buying event for retailers, showcasing thousands of new products offering plenty of choice and networking opportunities in a relaxed but professional atmosphere. In the beautiful setting of the Yorkshire Event Centre in the Great Yorkshire Showground at Harrogate, which has just undergone an £11milion revamp with a large foyer (pictured above) for registration and two cafes, the April 2-4 dateline means it’s the perfect time to find the best in new products. More than 430 exhibitors will be showing, and all are ready to supply retailers at trade prices with the greetings and stationery category representing one of

the BCTF’s largest growth sectors in recent years – for 2017 there will be more than 70 exhibitors in this category alone, including 1790 Cards, Scott & Robson, Yoojoo, Perkins & Morley. Following the success of last year’s inaugural greetings card awards, the competition will be returning this time around, with Greetings Today editor Tracey Bearton again among the judges, ably assisted by Greeting Card Association President and The Art File MD Ged Mace, and retailer Caron Naylor, of The Gift House at Blacker Hall Farm near Wakefield. All card exhibitors are in with a chance of emulating last year’s winner, Julie i J li Ashworth’s Yoojoo, as the judges will be checking them all out online before the event to draw a shortlist of who to visit in person on the Monday of the show ready for the presentations in the evening. Originality, commercial viability and wow factor are the criteria and pick out who receives certificates and publicity in Greetings Today as the winner, highly commended and commended – plus the Just Because… award, given just because the judges like them. For the past 25 years the show, which showcases work from exclusively British and Irish makers, has been organised by PSM Ltd, under the personal supervision of Margeret Bunn who is responsible for selecting the exhibitors. Margeret said: ‘I’m really pleased with our greetings card and stationery growth, although not totally surprised considering

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50 @greetingstoday


Greetings & Stationery Exhibitors 1790 Cards – stand 259 Algan Arts – 301 Attic Prints – N3 Barbara Karn – 234 Barley Bay – 122 Beamers – 205 Betty Bay Design – 464 Bridget Wilkinson Art – 222 Carrie–Ann Coupe Handcrafted Products – 124 Catherine Gray Origami – 181 Chau Art – 420 Chris Smith – N55 Curlew Cottage Design – N34 Dawn Maciocia – 74 Dilly And Pink – 294 Dreya Glass – 247 Ellacarte – 185 Emily Stracey – 385 Emma Herdman Artist – N61 Fairies Of Knapwell Wood – 374 Faye Stephens – 123 Felltarn – 393 Flink Design – 233A

Flying Teaspoons – 474 Gdesigns – 321 Grace Rigby Textiles – 182 Heidi Vilkman – 268 Ian Mitchell – 409 Jacqueline May – 224 Jane Crick – 293A Janice Daughters – 215 Japanese Papercraft – 123 Jenny Ulyatt – 272 Jill Ray Landscapes – 106 Jos Haigh – 138 Kate Wrigglesworth – 330 KD Designs – 161 Life & Soul Designs – N21 Lottie Murphy – 103 Louise Scott Art – 351 Lucy Alice Designs – 180 Lucy Gell – 322 Mary’s House Designs – N69 Meha Art & Design – 175 Mint To Be – 249 Molten Wonky by Katie Lynn – 281

the amazing artistic talent that’s in such abundance at the fair. “I’m sure buyers will be delighted with the quality and quantity and we can rival any other trade fair within this sector.’ With demand for British crafts constantly on the rise, and bearing in mind the current political climate and weak sterling, homeproduced goods have become relatively more

Nancy Power Prints – 146 North Doodle Co – N51 Our Funny Family – N14 Paper Lilac – 262 Perkins & Morley – 245 PlumGinger – N18 Robert Keighley Landscape Photographs – 450 Rogers Ink – 164 Sarah Cemmick Lino Cuts – 241 Scott & Robson Designs – 250 Shed On The Fell – N6 Snapdragon Designs – 93 Snowtap – N28 The Steel Rooms – 297 Suzi Thompson Printmaker – 428 Swifty Bell Designs – N12 West Plum Studio – N58 Witchmountain – 423 Wraptious – 99 Yoojoo – 183 You Can Folk It! – 140

● Scott & Robson

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attractive for UK consumers than imported products. Parking is free at the venue and the organisers provide a free courtesy car service from and to Harrogate train station and Leeds-Bradford airport. If you are not already registered as a buyer for the fair, please go to and sign up for your free invitation. @greetingstoday 51


Elevating love of architecture

BELINDA Morris of 1790 Cards is thrilled to be showcasing her new range Elevations for her first time exhibiting at British Craft Trade Fair. The range of eight new designs comes from Belinda’s love of architecture: “I’ve always photographed buildings and interesting architectural features, and decided to have a go at turning some of the images into card designs. “I live in a village with some lovely listed properties, including my own – built in 1790 – and when I’m working, I keep track of time using the church clock so it was an obvious candidate for a card.” The new Elevations range will be on show alongside Belinda’s popular animal, bird and plant designs which are created in her signature colour block style.

Stand 259 – T: 01904 448130

Expanding rapidly for the road

TAKE The High Road is the newest range from Scott & Robson which was previewed at Scotland’s Trade Fair Spring and is now being properly launched at BCTF. Designer Jo Scott said: “Based on orders I’ve been expanding the range rapidly since and will be launching a range of 28 further designs, a mixture of art and everyday occasion cards.” All cards are 150x150mm and come cello-wrapped with a yellow envelope. Jo added: “I’ve extended my All You Need Is Love range inspired by some recent travelling around France, focussing on my love of all things dog and embracing the French way of life!” All cards are printed on textured board from G.F Smith and come cello-wrapped with a kingfisher blue envelope.

Stand 250

52 @greetingstoday


Quirky fishy tales

NEW from Yoojoo, winners of the inaugural BCTF Greeting Card Award 2016, the Tails For Tales range is being launched at this year’s show in April. Following on from the popular Birdies range, Yoojoo now present eight quirky fish characters set against the backdrop of a page from a book. Each fish is completed with a handmade origami tail which transforms into a corner bookmark to use when you dive into your next book.

Stand 183 – T: 01274 621419

Glittering up for added bling

PERKINS & Morley have a plethora of new designs to showcase at BCTF and are very excited to showcase their new Colouring Book range with added bling! Jill Perkins has been covering herself head to toe in glitter just to bring a bit more sparkle into your life for their eight designs in the range – which are also available on coasters and cushions. The cards are blank inside and printed in the UK on recycled board with a brown recycled paper envelope and biodegradable bag.

Stand 245 – T: 01539 564247 / 01626 888069

Translating textiles

BARLEY Bay bring together creativity from the Huttons in the form of bright, fresh and contemporary cards, with the designs currently textile and photography-based. Award-winning textile art is translated into rich and graphic greetings cards, this is complemented by life captured through the camera lens and digital darkroom to breathe new meaning into an image.

Stand 122 – T: 07722 136495 @greetingstoday 53

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Cute tends to mean cuddly so adorable animals are the absolute essence of cuteness and represent the vast majority of cards in the genre.


N ADORABLE chocolate teacup poodle is the star of one of the latest videos to go viral on social media – and the tiny canine is the absolute essence of cuteness.

Recently released by Viral Thread, their 11million-plus Facebook followers just couldn’t get enough of watching the video of the minute pup playing with a human. And the tiny poodle embodies the “aaahhhh” factor that every publisher looks to emulate on their cute designs. Puppies and kittens are the classic subjects for such cards, and many have come up with their own characters such as UK Greetings’ very popular Boofle the snugglesome pup – he’s lovable and cuddly and a best friend to you and me – and their new star Lots Of Woof. Then there are the bears such as Forever Friends from Hallmark and Cherry Orchard’s Tired Ted, not forgetting the classic bear of very little brain, Winnie The Pooh. While fashions come and go, cute is a phenomenon that goes on forever as the 30th anniversary of Forever Friends testifies, with 2017 seeing the release of the refreshed Anniversary Collection. Known as The Home Of The Hug, Forever Friends have been a favourite ever since creator Deborah Jones first sketched them in her little studio in Bath back in 1987, and it was greetings card king Andrew Brownsword who saw their potential, turning them into one of the most popular cute brands for all ages before Hallmark took over the mantle in 2000. And there’s plenty of humour to be had with cute too, Paperlink employ drawings of more lifelike bears in their Pancake collection, to make the range a great male send, which is unusual in the genre.

And for Redback Cards, artist Liz Climo puts her animals into human-style situations to pick up on the absurdities and daft moments that ensue. But it’s not all about hand-drawn characters, there’s plenty in real life that deserves the cute label – we’re back to that tiny poodle again – as photographic collections from Mint and Leonard Smith show, with image manipulation specialists Ardea Picture Library able to make the most of our furred and feathered friends without putting them into any kind of stressful dressing up or other antics. These can be animals

The tiny T poodle embodies the aaahhhh hh factorr


“We’ve noticed this last six months the new cute range Prelude by BGC Studio has been our bestseller. This is due to their modern look, size, pretty finish and price perspective for the customers.” Christine Holmes, Flaunt-it, Welshpool, Powys “Carte Blanche’s Tatty Teddy always goes very well and UK Greetings Boofle is a great seller for us.” Nicky Goodman, Paddock Wood Cards, Paddock Wood, Kent

of almost every persuasion, from sheep, pigs and hedgehogs, through flu y ducklings and naughty squirrels to horses, monkeys and, even, cattle. And real-life animals can help inspire artists to come up with their own cute interpretations as the laughing donkey (pictured) did for new publisher Rebecca Harrison. “Taking inspiration from our beautiful countryside, she said, “this little chap gave me the idea for my latest collection of Cute Contemporary Animal Illustrations – I just think he’s adorable! I have gone for a classic look with an on-trend grey background in order that my illustrations pop.”

“We don’t really do cute, not specific ranges anyway, but we do have Susan O’Hanlon ones with some cute photographic pictures that sell well, especially for Mother’s Day. There’s a golden labrador with puppies waiting outside, and a mummy elephant with a baby which is just beautiful. The little kiddies love them for their mums.” Jo Barber, The Stationery Boutique, Ampthill, Beds

“We stock Me To You cards and gifts as well as Boofle and ICG cute cards, which all do well for us.”

Gareth & Kevin, Village Party Shop, Bexley & Albany Park

Meet the menagerie NOTHING can be cuter than adorable, fluffy animals, and Mint’s Menageries range features a whole host of them. These super-sweet photographic cards feature fuzzy puppies, kittens, guinea pigs and bunnies; the monochrome images highlighted with pops of colour and fun captions in trendy typefaces. The collection contains 10 general birthday designs, plus newly-launched relations and occasions titles, including cousin, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband anniversary and thank you. In a petite 140x140mm size, these sweet cards are a perfect cute send.

T: 0116 230 4197 @greetingstoday 55


Small but perfect What are ewe looking for? ONE OF the trending images at Ardea Picture Library is their heart-shaped ewe which has been very popular for greetings cards and merchandise. The original image was a sheep with heart-shaped pink wool but, due to its popularity, the image is now available in a whole series of seasonal variations including Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day and St Patrick’s Day. You can see just a few of the variations here, though more can be seen on their website along with many other cute pet and animal images created by their digital wizards in the photo studio. They also offer a free bespoke service to tailor their manipulated images to your needs – just tell them if you want a few tweaks to any of the images you see.

IT DOESN’T get much cuter than a teddy bear and Cherry Orchard have lots of lovely cute designs in their new 5x7in range of cards, with open birthday captions and relations and occasions. At price code 45, these pretty foiled cards with a variety of different finishes on white backgrounds are part of a collection from very popular ranges which also include designs taken from Carnival Celebrations, making them perfect for any occasion.

T: 01684 295500

T: 020 8318 1401

Kitten beats Len’s promise LEONARD Smith would probably have said “never work with animals” when he first published his photographs on greetings cards. However, he soon realised that would change after his first card with an adorably cute kitten on, outsold every other design! “Now we would not be without a great selection of cute animals in the Leonard Smith range,” said MD Issy Smith, “the Herdwick sheep is such a well loved breed – here’s one Len photographed when he was in the Lake District recently.”

T: 01376 562727


30 years of cute! THIS year, 2017, the world-famous Forever Friends bears turn 30 years old and to celebrate this milestone Hallmark are launching an all-new 30th Anniversary collection. Combining the much-loved style of the original card illustrations with fresh, vibrant designs, this latest collection gives the brand a bold and contemporary new look.

T: 0800 902 0900 (ROI: 01 248 0104) @greetingstoday


Off the rack and into your heart Foiled by hand THERE are more than 800 designs in the Quicksilver range alone from Wendy Jones-Blackett, with lots of cute animal cards. “They’re all foiled by hand in a Heidelberg press,” Wendy said, “not by me personally, thank goodness!” The cards are 130x130m, and cost 95p trade to retail at £2.50.

T: 0113 288 8468

LOTS Of Woof has been charming card buyers for almost 10 years with his adorable antics and heart-warming edit. Whether he’s taking selfies or bringing flowers, his handcrafted formats have been given an exciting upgrade for 2017! Featuring a fresh colour palette, fun new fonts and bespoke envelopes, the Lots Of Woof range makes those special occasions even more special and it’s even easier to tell your friends and family just how much they mean with his cute conversational sentiment, too. With 26 new designs in various price codes, Lots Of Woof is sure to pop off the rack and into your heart!

T: 01924 465200

Bearing up for male sends

Hitting the sweet spot Cute cards have a way of bringing a little smile to your heart - one of Redback’s best-selling designs of all time is the Glow Worm from Three Bags Full range, this little fella is guaranteed to brighten up your day. Something about these cards’ smaller stature at 125x125mm seems to give them the extra cute factor. The adorable animals featured in The Little World Of Liz are drawn by talented Simpsons animator Liz Climo with delightful dialogues that are cute and engaging, and her humour heartwarming. The range focuses on the everyday problems and moments that animals might face if they interacted with each other the way humans do. Liz said her work is designed to “make you smile, because smiling is fun”, and at Redback they certainly feel the cards hit the sweet spot.

T: 01803 712793 @greetingstoday

FROM bunnies to bears, owls to elephants, and teeny-weeny mice to snuggly sheep – all these super-sweet, hand-drawn characters are featured in Pancake, Paperlink's adorable new collection of age, occasion and relation cards. These lovable cuties are complemented colour-wise by blush pinks, dove greys, blues and coffee creams with foiled accents in golds and bronzes. Pancake is definitely cute with a modern twist, the editorial is childlike and naïve rather than sugary and the bears are actual bears, not teddy bears – this means it makes a great male send too, which is not always the case for this genre. Overall Pancake is a cute range with heaps of personality, originality and charm. It was inspired by the publishers wanting to create something cute, but still uniquely Paperlink – something sweet that had an illustrative storybook feel.

T: 020 7582 8244 57


Hello Blue Eyes

BLUE Eyes is the 20-card collection launched at Spring Fair by Tomcat Cards where it was very well received and generated interest from many UK and overseas buyers. The next step was the launch of 16 of the designs in a gatefold format during founders Lynne and Merv Thomas’ venture to the new two-day Source British show in Los Angeles. And more designs will be added to this cute range as the year goes on.

T: 01243 837300

Chip off the old block CINNAMON Aitch have introduced six new and exciting designs to their Little Packs collection, and these cards are a little chip off the old block – using the gorgeous handmade block-printed imagery from the Woodblock range. Titles include Just A Note, Thank You and blanks, illustrated with a cheerfully cuddly cat or prickly patterned cacti to highlight just two designs from among the adorably cute range. At a diminutive 89x113 mm, these little packs of five cards and envelopes still pack quite a design punch with tons of retro charm. Each pack is cello-wrapped in a custom header bag, £1.17 each, RRP £2.75, and sold in sixes.

Tickle your fancy SOUL’S range by Tickle is a delightfully charming collection decorated with adorable animals and bright and cheery colours. These cards are perfect for children aged one to five with cutesy animals and foil dots on each of the numbers giving these cards a fun look.

T: 0121 7736833

Expressing the adorable

T: 01235 537816

REBECCA Harrison’s collection of Contemporary Cute Animal Illustrations contains 29 individual designs ranging from farm to woodland, safari to Arctic, and each with adorable expressions. Hand sketched, each card is A6 and includes a lovely brown kraft envelope and cellophane wrap. “I like to package them up with twine for that rustic, country feel,” Rebecca said, and special occasion cards such as Mother’s Day are printed on kraft board.

Quirky, positive and unique PLAYFUL and cute designs by Kapelki Art are designed to make you smile. Little bunnies playing the trumpet, sleepy kittens in pretty cradles, tiny mice with big spoons and balloons – all these images are quirky and positive and bring something truly unique to the greetings you send. Great attention is paid to the quality, print and colour of every Kapelki Art card, making them highly collectable keepsakes.

T: 07761 778144

58 @greetingstoday

Product & services directory greetings card publishers & party product suppliers To advertise call Simon Davis on 01442 289930

Abacus Cards Limited t: 01638 569050 e: w:


print services @greetingstoday 59



Paw-trait of an artist GIVE YOUR





01228 560526

HAVING studied art and graphic design, Kathryn Webster now runs Dotty Dog Art and her award-winning canine portraits are regularly exhibited with a number featured on magazine covers and in Dogs Today magazine. “I’m an artist, illustrator and dog lover based in Oxfordshire,” Kathryn said, “where I happily paint watercolour dog portraits and create colourful greetings cards. I live with my husband and two children and I share my little studio with two unruly poodles who are the inspiration behind Dotty Dog Art. “With my background qualifications in art and graphic design I merge painting styles with graphic design techniques, building up shapes and tones to create colourful canine cards that are fresh, vibrant and original. “I’m passionate about art but I haven’t always been an artist, mainly because art wasn’t generally considered a proper job when I was at school! But after a very sad redundancy I made the big leap to set up my own business, Dotty Dog Art where I’m happily proving that Art is a proper job! And one I really love to boot. “My goal is to create beautiful watercolour dog portraits partnered with comical and loving quotes that I’m sure dogs would say, if they could speak! ! My newly-launched range of 15 canine-inspired cards called Canine Contemplations is proving very popular with the most favoured design being a beautiful pug stating ‘I puggin love you’ – all pugs say that, right? “There are over 200 different recognised dog breeds in the UK, as well as many more beautiful cross-breeds – so it’s fair to say I have plenty more to add to the collection, which I’m really looking forward to creating and sharing. T: 07968 121930

Polypropylene & biodegradable bag specialists


Illustrated by business Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hotfoiling also available

T 01206 396209 E envelopes


GLASGOW School Of Art graduate Laura Frame has been working as a freelance illustrator but has now set up Alicorn Cards to give herself a stronger business model. “I began researching the greetings card industry and planning in 2014,” Laura said, “the company launched at Scotland’s Trade Fair Autumn last September which was a lovely show to start with and boosted my confidence. “I’ve exhibited widely in venues such as The Saatchi Gallery in Geneva, The Egg in Brussels and The Lighthouse in Glasgow. I’ve worked as a freelance illustrator and occasionally a graphic designer for many years but wanted to have a stronger business model of my own to rely on.” All cards are at introductory prices until July and there are currently seven ranges, each of 12 designs, with more planned for PG Live in June – Laura has designed four of them, with the other three from artists she commissioned to add diversity to the offer. She added: “There is a focus on artisanal illustration suitable for unisex recipients and all designs are made by hand with minimal digital input at the latter stage of the design process. “This ensures the design-led artwork retains character and individuality and helps build the core values of the brand that Alicorn Cards aim to be – artistic, impactful, and original. “We also use the reverse of cards to good effect, with facts and anecdotes relating to the designs. We have started to sticker the cards’ wraps to make sure the customer is made aware of this and it’s proving a superbly popular selling point.” @greetingstoday

NEW MEMBERS The latest publishers to join the Greeting Card Association include:

Artists’ directory I you are an artist/cartoonist/illustrator/verse writer or image library If and would like to be part of this feature please contact Simon Davis on 01442 289930 / for more details.

Hattie Koops Flat 4, 103 Shooters Hill Road, Blackheath, London, SE3 7HU Katie Maritz hattiekoops/ 07834 039086 Best Of Wishes Christina Williams 0115 960 4041 or 07803 108003 Barley Bay Myra Hutton 01908 583316 or 07722 136495 Forever Funny Anastassia Neislotova 07512 304391 Humour Lounge Cards 23 Quoybanks Crescent, Kirkwall, Scotland, KW15 1EW David Bain 07879 417584 Mia Hague Illustration Mia Hague 07803 781983 THE latest companies to join the GCA as associate members include: Postmark 123 Balham High Road, London, SW12 9AR Mark Janson-Smith

Creatively curated FROM their creative studio in east London, East End Prints are dedicated to finding the very best UK and international art and illustration for their curated collection. With film-inspired, abstracts, the capital of the UK, kids, music and vintage type designs, Helen Edwards and the team have it all and have been at the heart of London’s creative community, supporting emerging artists since 2010. Now they have launched their very first fine art collection featuring more than 120 of their bestselling print designs as greetings cards – and the great response means they’ll be adding a further 100 to the range in September. T: 07985 440385 @greetingstoday 61


IT’S ALL ABOUT SALES LOVE the fact there’s such an array of names for our card and gift shops in the UK, from simple straightforward names to ones that bear no relation to the products sold inside.

There are the common shop names such as Best Wishes, Something Special and anything with card or gift in the title. These shops do exactly what they say on the door and you know what they’ll be selling. I’m seeing more and more clever names too. You know the ones, not a standard shop name but you can work out what they will be selling. There’s Little Paperie in Ashbourne, it’s a small shop, which sells paper-related products, or the Tutbury Present Company, which is in Tutbury and sell cards and gifts that make great presents. In fact quite a few shops use their location within their name. Even more use the owner’s surname as part of the shop name. I see plenty of these including Edmonds, Tylers and Colemans. Combine the owners name with the location and you get shop names like Blandfords of Broadway, Stewarts of Bakewell and Bennetts Irongate. Then there are the more unusual or particularly quirky shop names – it’s these that interest me the most. When I hear them for the first time, I have absolutely no idea what they may be selling or how the name came to be. I come across plenty of these throughout the Midlands and further afield too. Names such as Rhubarb, Lime Blue, Fat Cat or Marmalade Meringue. So I thought it was time to delve a little further into how some of these shop names came to be. One such is Quirky Bird in Oakham. Owner Jane previously worked at another shop in the town, which closed after many successful years when the owners decided to move away. Jane knew there was an opportunity to do something herself so, in April 2014, opened the doors of Quirky Bird. But where did Jane get that name from? It was important the name was fl exible and didn’t tie the shop down to any particular products, she’d been racking her brains bra ins fo fforr a few weeks without coming up with a name she

● Strength – Jill (right) and her Woodlander staff

What’s in a name?

● Jane at Q

was happy with, then she popped into the local supermarket to get a bottle of wine for a friend’s birthday. The wine was called Quirky Bird and immediately Jane thought: “That’s it!” What with the area being well known for birds too – Rutland Water is just a few miles away, it was perfect. So Quirky Bird was born. It’s a great conversation starter with customers too. Plenty of people enter the shop and ask “so who’s the quirky bird then…” Jane describes the shop as “welcoming, affordable and, of course, quirky”. At the moment mugs and gifts with letters on them are selling particularly well along with a regular throughput of cards up to the £3.99 price point. Next on my interesting name list is Woodlander in Ashby De La Zouch who have been customers of mine for more than 10 years. When Jill Hampton opened the shop in 1990 she had a good think about what the name should be.

uirky Bird

She’d bought a jumper at some point from the Outlander brand, which she thought had a nice ring to it. Then Jill remembered studying The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy at school. So the name was chosen. Nothing to do with what the shop would sell. Simply a good, strong name that would easily be remembered. Since the day they opened they’ve sold greetings cards along with Crabtree & Evelyn while other products have come and gone and they have always aimed to stock a wide range of products from kitchen accessories to luxury handbags. Jill says the emphasis has always been to provide quality products with friendly service. They offer a one-stop shop for gifts and are always prepared to go the extra mile in order to keep their customers satisfied. So next time you see an interesting shop name, ponder for a moment how it came about – or just pop in and ask them. – Ian Bradley

Drop me a line… ● Museums & Galleries


ECEIVING a handw handwritten dwriittten card, card postcard or letter is brilliant. There’s something heart-warming about the fact someone has taken the time to actually sit down and write to you.

Only a couple of weeks ago in among the bills, adverts and charity bags I was delighted to find a letter from my friend in America – as soon as I saw the crisp envelope and hand writing I was compelled to open it and read it there and then. After I’d read it and refl ected on the words I was then drawn to the pretty stationery she’d written on and recalled how lovely it was to buy and use. There really is something special about social stationery that makes a beautiful gift and I remembered how much I loved to both receive and buy it before emails, texts and social networks took over. While it’s still nice to hear from people via digital methods and it keeps us communicating and informed in a fast-changing world, it just doesn’t have the same depth or meaning as a written letter. I’m delighted to see that, over the past couple of years, and this year so far in particular, there has been a surge in the demand for stationery packs again, whether it be writing sets or note cards. The choice is vast and there are so many designs to choose from as well. I love the new ranges from Museums & Galleries and their Matthew Williamson collection, his designs are so colourful and luscious and have been described to me by customers as “decadent and opulent”. I also love the more traditional designs of William Morris

have, as well as the new abstract and Lowry that they have ranges from V&A and Cressida Bell. Of course stationery doesn’t stop at writing sets, there’s an array of goodies to choose from, all of which make for a striking display – journals and notebooks are really popular items and are an affordable pick-up for a gift for yourself. I always have a little notebook in my bag, along with the kitchen sink as my husband would say! Another stationery item that’s often under-utilised is the greetings card itself. I’ve been following The Greeting Card Project YouTube videos by Jeremy Corner from Blue Eyed Sun and they really hit home that, even though I work in this industry myself, I often forget to send cards to friends. I seldom think to send a small notelet or card just to let someone I maybe haven’t seen for a while, know I’m thinking of them, but it’s definitely something I’m going to make more of an effort to do. Knowing how pleased I was to receive my personal letter, I think it would be lovely to give someone else that same feeling. After discussing this very subject, and the pleasure we both got from nice stationery, one of my customers in Ormskirk, Lancs, bought a variety of items from the M&G ranges, and when I called in to her shop last week I was immediately drawn to the stand-out display in the corner. The colours and designs were really eye-catching and it made you want to buy. Her customers also loved the products and she was delighted with the response and sales as a result. Bookmarks are another lovely item, which somehow hold a special meaning. I refuse to buy a Kindle or other reading device as I love to choose and hold a real book.

I see a lot of bookshop customers who sell cards and stationery alongside the books, these seem to go hand in hand and, again, I think people enjoy the experience of entering this paper world in technology-driven times. Stationery is here to stay so, if you haven’t considered it before, give it a go – you don’t know what you’re missing! – Rachel Williams

Ian Bradley Neil Anthony(Midland (Reil Agencies, Card Agencies, T: 07766 T: 736254) 07905 and 597498) Alinaand Clark Rachel (T: 07906 Williams 792420) (Reil are Agencies, experienced T: 07561 independent 557898)greetings are experienced industry sales agents greetings independent in the North industry West and salesNorth agents East in of theEngland Midlands respectively. and North Each West.month Each month they share they their shareexperiences their experiences of life on of life theof road. the road.

62 @greetingstoday

Window on the world


Eyes are the windows to the soul, so they say – in retail it’s the other way around as the windows themselves reflect what’s going on inside the store. Here we chat to greetings and gift retailers about how they present this face to the world.

Nicky Goodman, Paddock Wood Cards, Paddock Wood, Kent How often do you change your windows? Probably monthly. We change all the balloon displays and have a little move around of the product. What’s in there now? At the moment we have a lovely Mother’s Day display, and we have our new Creation Express items because we’ve just had that come in. We also have various general gifts in our glass cabinet. Which has been your favourite or most talked about? Probably one of our special balloon displays. We try to do it for the season, so for the carnival we always follow the theme – last year it was Rio so we had the window all done on that theme and then the carnival float too. We do baby showers and we’ve had wedding ones. Balloons are really taking off for us at the moment, they’re really pushing the business. We’ve just started displaying the balloons on top of the racks which is helping them sell, and we have a balloon arch over one of the card racks too. This brightens up the shop and shows people what we can achieve. We did a red one with hearts for Valentine’s Day and have now got a spring one with five different pastel colours all twisted round – and we had a red and green one over Christmas. Where do you get inspiration from? The seasons are our inspiration and then our imagination. The basic displays are good but to do something different is really good to show off our skills and then we put a few pieces from the shop – when we have new products in we do a little feature on them. Which publishers do you stock? There are so many! Cherry Orchard, UK Greetings, Hallmark, Nigel Quiney, IC&G. Words’n’ Wishes, Carte Blanche… We also do a lot of wholesale cards because it keeps the prices down. We offer cards from 36p each and people stock up on the cheaper cards and are then happy to pay more for the big occasion ones. The Second Nature 99p handmade cards fly out, they’re lovely. We try to cater for everyone.

Jill Guy, No 6 The Slack, Ambleside, Cumbria How often do you change your windows? That depends, but I’d say every four to six weeks as we try to keep it fresh. What’s in there now? It’s Mother’s Day with a big pale green jug with artificial flowers in – white peonies, pink orchids and olive branches – there’s bunting and some twinkling lights dangling down, picture frames and cards. I did have friends cards in there and have changed them for Mother’s Day ones. Which has been your favourite or most talked about? You forget because you do so many! A nice one was in the summer where we had a variety of cards and lots of artificial spring flowers stacked up in crates. I like d that one. Customers do sometimes say about the window but mainly they like the cards – they come in because of the card they’ve seen and actually take them out of the window, particularly Mother’s Day because we find they prefer it to say Mothering Sunday, so if there’s a card with that on they’ll go for it. Where do you get inspiration from? Products we have, the seasons, and I also go on Pinterest – I do love Pinterest – and Instagram, I use my imagination and other people’s. I think if I can do what they’ve done but do it a bit differently. I sell giftware so use it as props. Which publishers do you stock? There’s Bexy Boo for handmade, Megan Claire for contemporary, Redback for humour with Wulffmorgenthaler, and they have The Little World Of Liz by Liz Climo which is really popular especially with younger people – she’s linked with The Simpsons! Plus Cloud Nine is good from Redback too. Louise Mulgrew cards are gorgeous, Dandelion Stationery, Ruth Jackson’s Pencil Shavings cards, The Porch Fairies – particularly Racey Helps – Eloise Hall, and a new one I’ve got is James Ellis Shakies cards, plus Sally Scaffardi, The Little Dog Laughed. Oh! And Janie Wilson too.

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10/03/2017 10:03

Greeting Today  

April 2017

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