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August 2019 Issue 10 Volume 20

The impartial voice of the greetings card industry



Editor Tracey Bearton

OO! We’re still in the middle of August, but the early dates for Autumn Fair mean the greetings industry is already planning for the festive season.

Yes, dear old Santy will be packing up his sleigh with Rudolph getting the Cillit Bang out to polish his nose before you know it, so let’s make the most of the remainder of the summer. And what a summer it’s been, with the fabulously hot weather we’ve enjoyed, ok it’s probably a wee bit too flaming for us pasty Brits but at least it gives us something to complain about instead of the rain. Greetings Today’s chairman and founder Malcolm Naish had a glorious day for his annual golfing shindig, with the photos on page 62 to prove it – and the 2020 event is already booked for July 7 so do mark the date in your diary. The sun beat down in Harrogate as the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival crowd enjoyed the social summer show, and our very own ad manager Simon Davis got right in the swing of things at the Sunday Sundowners event – dig those glittery flamingo bins matey, suits you sir! Indie buyers got to grips with the start of their festive orders while enjoying the odd ice cream and iced drinks on the lawns, as you can see in our review on page 60. And with Autumn Fair opening the renamed Everyday Sector on August 31, it’s the earliest the event falls in the year, which is why we have our annual bumper preview (p30) in this issue, along with Top Drawer A/W (p54) as it’s also earlier. It does seem bizarre to be talking about Christmas with the kids still on school holidays, but Selfridges have

contents REGULARS 06 10 16 26 28 52 57 58 59 61 64 65

News Spotlight John Ryan On The Shop Front Retail Advice Four Corners It’s All About Sales Meet The Newbies Ward’s Words Talk Of The Town On The Line Step Back In Time


ensured the Golden Quarter – that top-selling season for the gifts and greetings trade – is already in the news. The luxury London department store again claimed the honour of kicking off the Christmas 2019 season with the opening of their festive shop 149 days before the celebrations. Buyer Eleanor Gregory was on hand with Santa Claus himself when they became the first retailers this year to start selling their Christmas merchandise, a tradition they believe boosts year-on-year sales, driven by both British early festive shoppers and souvenir-hunting overseas customers keen on taking mementoes back home. Not to be outdone, just two days later Carl Dunne – the over-the-moon Retas winner who took his trophy on hols to Spain – posted on Facebook that he’d sold his first 2019 Christmas card at Cards & Gifts Sheffield! I wonder if any other indies can beat that record (or holidaying with an odd companion pics). And finally – who wants to get naked with us? We all want to get rid of single-use plastic and publishers are finding ever more ingenious ways such as naked cards, Windles’ Kard Klasp (p53), M&G’s corner banding so we’re planning a supplement in our October issue to talk about the issue from all perspectives. To get involved in this exciting venture please contact Simon on 01442 289940, or

the team Editor Tracey Bearton Advertisement Manager Simon Davis 01442 289940 (direct)

Managing Director Mark Naish Production Director Paul Naish Chairman Malcolm Naish Circulation Manager Robert Thomas

Keep in touch - follow us: @greetingstoday greetingstodaymag greetingstoday

Want to appear in



Brand Licensing Europe Preview (Oct 1-3) Insights-X Preview (Oct 9-12) Licensed Cards & Associated Products Animal Cards SEPTEMBER COPY DATE – AUGUST 28


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Cover Story Talking Shop with RHS Spring Seasons & Occasions Autumn Fair Preview Focus On...Windles Top Drawer A/W19 Preview Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival Review 62 Greetings Today 15th Golf Classic Report

Go to our website – – for all the up-to-date news and new product information plus our Facebook and Instagram pages carry more photos from shows and events. @greetingstoday

OCTOBER FEATURES: NAKED CARDS SUPPLEMENT Feminine-Themed & Mother’s Day Verse, Sentiment & Sympathy Cards OCTOBER COPY DATE – SEPTEMBER 25


Children’s Cards & Wrap Male & Father’s Day Services To The Greetings Industry NOV/DEC COPY DATE – OCTOBER 23

Lema Media Ltd

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

Telephone: 01442 289930


At the heart of retail Greetings Today has a circulation of 6,076 Subscription per annum: UK £60 (free for people in the greetings industry), Europe £80, ROTW £100 5



Aga takes Pride in balloons

AGA Gabrysiak is rightly proud of her latest work – the retailer flew off to Munich to help organise the balloon displays for Disney’s Pride Parade in the German city. The joint owner of the Highworth Emporium near Swindon was with fellow balloon artists Stuart Davies of Beyond Balloons in Tonyrefail, South Wales, and his son Kai at Disney’s Munich offices, arranging almost 5,000 colourful biodegradeable balloons using no helium.

3 Trees for Hallmark

HALLMARK have been recognised for responsible sourcing of paper products with the highest 3 Trees rating in the WWF-UK’s latest Timber Scorecard. In the third and final scorecard tracking the market’s progress towards sustainability by 2020, Hallmark have improved to climb into the top bracket among the 122 companies reviewed, underlining their ongoing commitment to finding responsible and sustainable ways to reduce their impact on the environment.

Jo has bug for bikes

PEDAL power has pushed UK Envelopes director Jo Davis to raise more than £300 for charity as she completed the Great Yorkshire Bike Ride. Jo dusted off the bike she’d left in the garage since buying it two years ago and got in the saddle to train for the 70-mile challenge, cycling from Wetherby to the coast at Filey. “We had a few stops on the way,” Jo said, “it got harder each time to get back on the bike – ouch springs to mind! But I’ve got the bug and have no intention of letting the bike collect dust again. I’m thinking about the next challenge – London to Paris is being talked about.”

Liberty’s £300m sale

A £300MILLION deal has seen Liberty London change hands, with Bluegem Capital offloading their 40 per cent share to Glendower Capital for almost 10 times the £32m they paid back in 2010. The deal is a secondary recapitalisation led by global secondary private equity managers Glendower, a firm that spun out of Deutsche Bank’s secondaries private equity business last year. The deal does not include ownership of the iconic store’s unique Tudor-style building as that was sold for £41.5m then leased back to the retailers in 2009 to pay off debts.

Wyevale sales continue

A SERIES of sales and three closures have seen Wyevale cut their estate to just 31 garden centres from almost 150, with a further six trading under licence. Potters Bar, Syon Park and Thatcham will close in the autumn. Cherry Lane Garden Centre are taking over the Podington branch, adding it to the Barnett Hill one they bought in March, and British Garden Centres have acquired eight – Albrighton, Birchencliffe, Bressingham, Gardenlands, Hemel Hempstead, Louth, Tarporley and Wolseley Bridge – following their earlier purchase of six Wyevale sites. Blue Diamond have bought the Bridgemere garden centre and nursery, Webbs are taking over in Cheltenham, Plant Area trading as Clandon Park have acquired Woking, Coolings are taking over at Wych Cross, while Maidenhead Aquatics are the new owners at Dummer and Hilliers have bought John Browns Garden Centre in their second deal.

Manuscript write Lime deal

MANUSCRIPT Pen Company have confirmed the acquisition of multiple award-winning distributors Lime Stationery & Art, and their subsidiaries in the UK. The world’s largest calligraphy brand has grown extensively and UK brand distribution will give them more diversity, strength in the domestic market and ability to grow as a business. Manuscript and Lime will trade under one company with previous joint owners Michael Owen, Tracy Owen and Jon Sumner continuing to sell on behalf of the group.


Retas winners party hard CELEBRATIONS were in order for the 2019 Retas winners as those crowned the best greetings retailers for the year partied hard. And there was plenty of colour at the presentation at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel in keeping with the Frida Fiesta theme inspired by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. “We freaking won it!” was the triumphant cry from Carl Dunne at Cards & Gifts Sheffield, caught celebrating lifting the Best Newcomer North trophy with Cherry Orchard owner Jackie Collins. “Thank you so much to each and every one of our invaluable customers – we couldn’t have done it without your support and feedback.” The Best Greeting Card Retailer Initiative went to Cardies in Stevenage, Herts, for their street art programme, and owner Jo Sorrell said: “We’ve only gone and won another Reta – absolutely lost for words, which doesn’t happen too often. This one is even more super special because we won it with all your help! A really extra special huge thank you to you all for joining in with our bonkers ideas.” Having been crowned Greeting Card Retail

Employee Of The Year, Mandy Baker made sure her trophy went straight into the window at Celebrations in Aylsham, Norfolk, when she got back into work the morning after the July 10 event. Mandy was among the greetings folk who had pictures taken with ex-boxing champ Chris Eubank who happened to be passing when the celebrations moved on to nearby Market Tavern after the main event finished. And that was where publisher Wendy Jones-Blackett and Glick’s Becky Dobson were able to join the fun after the two category sponsors missed the main event because they were stuck on a train for hours.. Hosted by comedian Pippa Evans, who delighted the 400-plus audience with a poem about greetings card retailing, the day’s charity raffle proceeds of more than £4,000 are being split between Amnesty International and licensing industry charity The Light Fund. With the 30-strong Blue Diamond Garden Centres group taking the overall Best Greeting Card Retailer award, the full list of winners is available at www.

Windles in Vogue Convert to growth AN ADDITIONAL fully reconditioned converting machine has increased production at UK Envelope Centre by more than a million envelopes a week on a single shift pattern. Installed at their Baildon premises in West Yorkshire earlier this year, owner and director Joanne Davies said: “The investment has not only increased productivity, it has helped streamline production and improved lead times, which is great news for everyone, especially during the busy summer months. “We’ve been fortunate enough to experience growth year on year, and are now one of the leading envelope suppliers to the greetings card market. “It’s important investment continues in all areas of the business, staff and machines alike, to ensure we can meet customers’ needs and expectations now and in the future.”

MEGHAN Markle’s guest editing of the September issue of iconic fashion mag Vogue made national headlines – but the Duchess of Sussex’s work wouldn’t have been seen without Windles Group. For the environmentally-conscious printers known for their greetings card speciality were picked to produce the glossy cover at their Thame base using special material, print inks and varnish combinations. Entitled Forces For Change, Meghan’s front cover shows 15 inspiring women and a mirror to encourage readers to force changes. Meghan, who gave birth to her first child with husband Prince Harry in May, spent seven months working on the issue and chose not to put herself on the cover, the magazine's editor-in-chief Edward Enninful told the BBC, as she felt it would be a "boastful thing to do". Windles’ Michelle Mills said: “We love producing work like this that really pushes what’s achievable in print. This is the first time we've worked on Vogue and it’s great that this is a particularly high-profile issue, which sits well with Windles’ environmental principles which are also helping to change the world.”

Finalists hope to thank Henry PUBLISHERS are celebrating after the 2019 Henries Awards finalists were announced – with Rosie Made A Thing topping out as their Gin + Frolics range is listed in no less than five categories. And the public vote also counted, with 10 companies nominated for Best Service To The Independent Retailer, where there will again be gold, silver and bronze awards. A record 14,000-plus cards were entered for this year’s awards, with a panel of 50 retailers, including buyers from Barkers, Card Factory, Clintons, Fenwick, Fortnum & Mason, John Lewis, Moonpig, Paperchase, Sainsbury’s, Scribbler, Tesco, and Waterstones, plus leading independents checking them out on July 31. They picked six finalists in each of the 18 categories plus the Henry Cole Classic Award for ranges that have stood the test of time – the full list is on – and all the winners will be revealed on October 3, at the Henries Ball in London to be hosted by comedian Tom Allan (pictured). @greetingstoday

Celebrating iconic style.

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Museums & Galleriesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; exclusive collaboration with Dame Zandra Rhodes â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most recognisable, distinguished and exciting fashion designers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is out now. This new signature range of cards and stationery celebrates her fiftieth year in fashion and a lifetime irrepressible style. Please visit our website, contact your local agent or ask our sales team for more information.


Tel: 01373 462165

Home of the finest arts brands *UHHWLQJVB7RGD\B)3DJHB$GB$XJLQGG

newsinbrief Win £350 break

TAKE a break with Cherry Orchard – the greetings publishers are joining in Cardgains’ 30th birthday fun with a £350 short break prize on offer to their customers. All you have to do is place a £500 minimum order through the buying group by September 19, and all orders will be entered into the prize draw for the chance to w£350 worth of vouchers stay to in a boutique hotel of their choice. For full T&Cs, call Cherry Orchard on 01684 295500 or contact your area sales manager.

Small Man take over

NATIONAL Stationery Week is now under the control of Small Man Media, who have reached a 10-year licensing agreement with Ocean Media Group to preserve and maintain the consumer campaign. Founder Rachel Smallman and her team have been raising the profile of NSW and the Writing Matters campaign since its inception by founder Chris Leonard-Morgan and LMC Media in 2011, in connection with their London Stationery Show.

Adam joins Card Factory

ADAM Dury has been appointed as Card Factory’s new chief commercial officer, joining the value greetings and gifts retailers from August 26. Adam, who was at Tesco for 14 years most recently as category director of home, seasonal and design in the UK and Central Europe, also joins the executive board and will be responsible for Card Factory’s commercial strategy, including supply chain and shopping experience, as well as the ongoing development of their market leading range of quality, value-for-money products.

Carousel happy to get the bird

THE Bird Photographer Of The Year competition and Carousel Calendars have announced a partnership to publish an annual calendar featuring winning images picked by TV’s Chris Packham. Thousands of images from photographers across the globe, both professional and amateur, were entered into the contest where broadcaster and wildlife campaigner Chris is head judge. The 2020-dated calendar has been designed and published by Carousel and will be distributed to and available for purchase from retailers in the UK.

A century of cards

BOOKINGS are now open to help the Greeting Card Association celebrate their centenary at this year’s annual conference and AGM with the theme of Looking To The Future. The venue is Central Hall Westminster, from 10.15am on October 17, with lunch and a chance to see their 100 years of greetings cards exhibition. Entrepreneurial retailer Olly Tress, owner and founder of Oliver Bonas, will be the keynote speaker, with exhibition curator Geoff Sanderson looking into the future of the industry, and the afternoon has a panel discussion on the routes members are taking to respond to environmental challenges. To reserve your place go to uk/anniversary-celebration-conference-and-agm.

Mutually marking 20 years

TWENTY years of providing independent retailers with an alternative to traditional insurance are being marked by The Retail Mutual. Having been set up in 1999 as specialist providers of business cover to retail newsagents, The Retail Mutual expanded first to the wider convenience retail sector before taking on the whole spectrum of UK independent shops and service providers in 2017. They provide business, home and landlord cover, and access to health insurance and a mortgage service to independent retailers, their families, staff, wholesalers and suppliers.


inthenews Making use of connections TURNING a personal tragedy into a way to help others is how Sue and Scott Morrish are using their connection to former Prime Minister contender Jeremy Hunt. The Eco-Friendly Card Co founders were invited to the Conservative Party hustings in Exeter, Devon, with the MP who they first met as Health Secretary after their son Sam died aged just three from sepsis, and he tweeted about meeting them. Having discussed their continuing work with the Sepsis Trust (www. to promote awareness in the NHS and with the public of the problems undiagnosed sepsis can cause, Sue added: “The opportunity to meet also allowed other issues to be discussed, including the importance of supporting small independent businesses and local High Streets. “Independent retailers are the

backbone of our business and vital contributors to communities.” Sue, whose eco-friendly business is based in Newton Abbott, Devon, used the July meeting to present Jeremy with a Good Luck card – it was before he lost the battle to be PM – filled with facts about the greetings industry and highlighting concerns about current supply issues for recycled paper and boards. “It seems crazy we can’t buy goodquality recycled board that’s made in the UK, using UK post-consumer waste,” Sue added, “if we want to start taking responsibility for our own waste we should be making recycled pulp and papers in the UK – all as part of growing the green economy and reducing our carbon footprint.”

T: 01626 369269


Get your Insight online FIVE online tutorials are available from Insights-X organisers Spielwarenmesse to help exhibitors make the most of the growing stationery expo. The free videos contain helpful tips and clearly communicate what exhibitors should bear in mind before, during and after the fair at Nuremberg’s Exhibition Centre in Germany. The first tutorial shines a light on strategic exhibition planning, giving valuable ideas for project and budget planning, and explains why it’s so important that the objectives and message of any trade-fair appearance are clearly defined in advance. Another video is devoted to visitor marketing showing how exhibitors at Insights-X can create invitation campaigns for maximum effect and which advertising options they can exploit at their stand and around the exhibition centre. A third tutorial looks at evaluating sales and tracking

success, highlighting the ways in which exhibitors can retrospectively follow up leads and new contacts made at the event. And the final two are packed with important and useful information summarising relevant dates, events and other offerings at the fair and explain in detail how voucher codes can be generated for customer invitations. The online tutorials are available in English and in German, and run between 10 and 12 minutes each at www. The fifth edition of Insights-X runs from October 9-12, and Spielwarenmesse offer a broad spectrum of valuable services to help exhibitors maximise the impact of their appearance at the industry trade fair for paper, office supplies and stationery, including checklists and various marketing materials such as personalised online banners and QR codes.

BLE saves the dates at ExCel BLE IS to stay at London’s ExCel for the next five years with the organisers releasing dates for the annual show dedicated to licensing and brand extension. Brand Licensing Europe moves to the East London venue for this year’s show over October 1-3, and will now be staying there for the next five events – October 6-8, 2020; September 28-30, 2021; September 20-22, 2022; October 3-5, 2023, and September 24-26, 2024. “It’s a great feeling to lock down the dates for BLE right up until 2024,” commented BLE event director Anna Knight, from organisers Global Licensing Group, “and we wanted to share this news with the industry as soon as possible so they can also plan ahead.”

BLE celebrates its 21st anniversary this year, having grown exponentially since its 1999 launch, and now brings together more than 7,800 licensing professionals from all over the world to do business with 260-plus brand owners from across the licensing spectrum. For 2019, BLE will highlight a number of licensing categories currently bursting with creativity and potential in Europe, including animation, gaming and esports, heritage and interiors, and publishing. Immersive, interactive activations, pavilions and conference content will bring these categories to life and provide unique educational experiences for visitors. @greetingstoday

licensingnews Danilo extend preschool reach DANILO have added to their Peppa Pig and PJ Masks licence portfolio by becoming the greetings card partners under an agreement that will extend the range further and provide continuity for customers. They already produce the Peppa Pig and PJ Masks interactive My First Calendar for children aged three to seven under licence from brand owners Entertainment One, and the new card ranges for both brands will be launched in Quarter 4 this year. Dan Grant, licensing director at Danilo, is delighted with the range extension contract and said: “The addition of these licences to our existing portfolio gives us an even stronger offering to take to existing and new customers. “The Danilo studio are already busily creating exciting new greetings card designs to extend the offering on these leading preschool properties. This new opportunity also allows Danilo to build on our existing relationship with eOne.”

T: 01992 702900

Peppa’s set to party IN THE year of Peppa Pig’s 15th anniversary, party goods will be joining the Amscan International portfolio alongside their existing range of Peppa and George dress-up and balloons, with everything available to pre-order now. Mel Beer, licensing director EMEA for Amscan, said: “We’re thrilled licensors eOne have supported us in our ambition to offer Amscan’s customers a one-stop party opportunity for Peppa Pig across party goods, balloons and costumes. Balloon sales for this truly evergreen property continue to grow year on year and, with the recent addition of costumes, and now party goods, our full range offering provides everything a Peppa Pig fan could possibly need to celebrate with their favourite character in style.”

T: 01908 288500 @greetingstoday 9



BRIGHTER and bolder than ever before, the new additions to Pigment’s The Happy News range combine artist Emily Coxhead’s trademark kooky compliments with quirky illustrations to sprinkle a tiny bit more happiness all over the planet. Using a variety of flitter, glitter, sparkle and shine, the four new integrated and six new open additions elevate this wonderfully unique collection to a whole new level.

T: 01423 520098


FINDING inspiration for a new collection can be difficult so at Rosanna Rossi co-founder and designer Anna Nelson set herself the challenge of painting something new every day for 100 days. And from this 100 Day Project came the basis of their joyful new Fiori Rosa range – named after the Italian for pink flowers – comprising 36 birthday, occasions and milestone ages fuelled by the love of hand-painting, colourful brushstrokes and floral patterns. Pops of pink, shades of coral and vivid blues are all enhanced through the print process, then beautifully embossed on a high-quality white board and each 150x150mm card is presented with a complementary blue envelope. “The 100 Day Project began on April 2,” Anna said, “after a post I stumbled upon on my Instagram feed caught my attention, and the idea of dedicating some time during my day solely for indulging in creativity really appealed. Running your own business is a huge juggling act and I found myself losing my sense of creativity. I was getting lost among dayto-day tasks and the carefree creative aspects were disappearing. So I set myself the challenge to dedicate time each day to something that I love. It began as a personal project to have fun again and I found that I was mostly drawn towards floral pattern and sketchy illustrations using my worn-out calligraphy pen. Surrounded by piles of scribbly paper, tubes of paint and sketchbooks, my piles of painterly illustrations, sketchy animals and bright floral patterns were forming a collection. It didn’t feel like a challenge, but more so a journey which is now a daily routine to pick up the pen, pencil or paint brush and just explore – you never know where it might end up!”

T: 07900 698522



CONTINUING to help customers new and old “makeitshiny”, Metallic Elephant have added another press to their fleet. Having firmly established their KSF Series 1 on the market with an impressive 1000-plus sales since launch, these proudly British manufacturers don’t rest on their laurels and continue to design and innovate new models. Having launched the KSF1 in 2015, the KSF2 in 2017, the KSF3 in 2018 (specifically developed for card printing) to bring more versatility to the personalisation market their fourth press has now launched – unsurprisingly named the KSF4! Along with this exciting new launch Metallic Elephant have recently completed a £100,000 development in their block-making division, allowing them to double capacity of their brass and magnesium foiling plates. Production manager Vincent Wilson said: “This is an exciting development for the 12 year old firm and an exciting beginning to Metallic Elephant’s next chapter, we have year-on-year continually reinvested in to equipment, services and personnel to make a proactive service to meet our clients everchanging needs and the increasingly demanding timeline of their customers. We’re doing some exciting things in the greetings card market and all we can say is watch this space!”

T: 01206 251221 @greetingstoday


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



FRESH stationery products are available for 2019 from Enveco as they now have a new machine to produce hardback products such as clipboards, hardback wiro notebooks, ring binders, lever arch files and many bespoke products. This is in addition to their current production range of bespoke perfect-bound, wiro, saddle stitched, and section sewn notebooks.

T: 01908 378866 9HOYHW$G*7$XJSGI

THIS September The Curious Inksmith are launching a series of fresh and different new designs, each showcasing the signature illustrative style with hot-topic themes such as festivals, plants, llamas and sausage dogs. This new collection is a mix of stylish birthday and occasions cards, with milestone events including engagement, new baby and baby shower, perfect for the life stages and interests of millennials â&#x20AC;&#x201C; although theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re sure lots of other age groups will love them too!

T: 01892 838574 the-curious-inksmith


INTRODUCING In A Pickle, Ling Designâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s completely new range suitable for children or anyone whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still a child at heart! Each imaginative design invites you to its own special kingdom, with cute and colourful watercolour characters celebrating a distinct and fun party theme. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find magical pink unicorns or pirates and treasure, with foil touches to make the designs really pop.

T: 01892 838574

The years are flying past us as the milestones come and go! So mark each Special moment with the quality you know!

... of course

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TOWARDS the end of August Jonny Javelin will be releasing a nice new batch of Velvet titles. They have nine new male ages coming out from 18 to 90 in a code 75 and, in the smaller code 60 format, they are releasing 22 open birthday titles, 11 male and 11 female. They have lots of new artwork and imagery to whet the appetites of loyal customers, and MD Jonny Spears said: “Although we decided not to attend Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival at Harrogate this year, we’re giving it a go at Glee at the NEC in September. We do very well in the garden centres that we supply so the aim is to hopefully pick up a few more of these. So many of them are tied into the brokerage systems with the bigger players, but we feel some buyers might just fancy a bit of a change from that routine and dip their foot in a JJ pool of Christmas loveliness or everyday excitement! We’ll keep our fingers (and toes) crossed on that one! We’re working on lots of new stuff for January with over 100 new titles in the pipeline but before then it’s time, of course, to get those Christmas orders out to the shops. Would you believe it – we haven’t had our summer holiday to Spain yet!”


LONDON’S Fashion & Textile Museum is preparing for its autumn blockbuster exhibition, this year Zandra Rhodes: Fifty Years Of Fabulous will showcase the legendary career of the iconic fashion designer. The exhibition opens in September and Museums & Galleries’ new Zandra Rhodes greetings card and stationery range, featuring her archive of bold and colourful graphic textile designs, plays a key role as part of the designer’s 50th anniversary celebrations. The Zandra Rhodes range adds further depth and weight to M&G’s collection of fashion brands, which includes fashion connoisseur favourite Cressida Bell and the ravishingly sensual and exotic Matthew Williamson. Matthew has now moved strongly into interior design and has a number of prestigious hotel commissions to his credit already and he has set up a studio in his home on Majorca, where he continues to design his trademark repeat patterns for the M&G cards and stationery, Osborne & Little wallpaper, and other licensees. Interestingly, both Matthew and Cressida started their fashion careers as interns with Zandra.

T: 01423 563740

T: 01373 462165



A FANTASTIC new range of homeware products has just been launched by The Art Group, including china gifting, stationery and soft furnishings. Featuring artwork from Sam Toft, Scott Naismith and Jane Bannon, extensive research was carried out to ensure the collection was launched with the correct line up of products and each image was individually selected to offer maximum in-store impact and consumer appeal. Designed to appeal to those who love wildlife, bold colours or quirky art, the collection has been teased at shows across the UK by brand owners Pyramid International with positive feedback from retailers.

T: 0116 284 3640

CREATIVE photos and a dedicated charity have been brought together by BrownTrout for a late addition to their vast 2020 calendar catalogue. They have teamed up with Greenfingers to raise money for the charity which supports children with life-limiting conditions and their families who spend time in UK hospices by creating inspiring, fun and therapeutic gardens they can enjoy. And the Square Wall Calendar, which is available now, has been created in collaboration with International Garden Photographer Of The Year, the world’s most prestigious garden, plants and botanical subjects competition.

T: 0117 317 1888

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The Kard-Klasp name, Kard-Klasp logo and product shape are Trademarks of the Windles Group 2019 ©


A new chapter After 200 years of keeping the world on time and in date with their diaries Collins are planning on celebrating the bicentennial of their famous name in style while also writing a new chapter in the famous Scottish firm’s history.


OLLINS have big plans for the coming months to celebrate the milestone of their bicentennial anniversary, with events in London and their home city of Glasgow.

worries, freeing up your mind for what really matters! Collins Debden managing director Shahrazz Hayat said: “Looking back on our first 200 years, our passion has never wavered and we’ve been steadfast in creating quality stationery for authentic self-expressions. “We have designed numerous organisational tools that improve the daily lives of our customers, and encourage them to let their creativity flow. “As we write a new chapter for the next two centuries, we’ll continue to evolve to suit consumers’ preferences and attitudes while always staying true to our Scottish roots. “Be it a diary, notebook or desk planner, every Collins product inspires self-expression and is delightfully pragmatic. After all, Collins is the conduit of what flows from within.”

Collins is the conduit of what flows from within

Keep an eye out on their social media and website for more details of their London pop-up store, where they will be celebrating William Collins’ legacy while looking to the future with the exciting new 2020 range of diaries and notebooks. Plus there will be special interactive events for those who love to write, focusing on the theme of What Flows From Within – advocating the merits of diaries and notebooks as a place to release your inner thoughts, plans and

Anniversary Special Limited Edition Candleriggs Diary TO CELEBRATE their 200th anniversary, Collins have launched a limited edition Candleriggs diary. The anniversary product is bound in bonded leather and incorporates a special tartan design that’s one of its kind, commissioned specifically for the diary. The tartan – the background to this page – is officially logged with the Scottish Register Of Tartans and its colour palette is emblematic of Collins’ rich Celtic heritage. The deep rich heritage blue inherited from Collins’ most recent corporate colour palette

is combined with the official blue and white of the Scottish flag, and the use of gold is in reference to the time in the brand’s history when their book covers were gilded by hand. Similarly, the maroon references the deep-red cloth that was used extensively in the early productions of Collins products, while the touch of green denotes the company’s continued dedication to environmental sustainability. There is a limited production

of 1,000 Candleriggs, and each diary has a marker which is stamped with a unique number from 1-1000, making them all truly one-off collectors’ items! The Candleriggs diary will be exclusively available on the Collins website, so visit for more details.

Looking to stock Collins products?

COLLINS have a wide range of retail display units and point-of-sale materials to help their diaries and notebooks really stand out. This includes counter and floor display units, rotating stands and shelf display materials such as shelf strips, wobblers and aisle banners. For more information on the display packages available, please contact

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The Collins story

THE world was a very different place when schoolmaster William Collins followed his heart and opened his first printing shop in the historic Candleriggs area of Glasgow in 1819. Born in 1789, William had been a millworker as well as a schoolmaster and was driven by passion to establish the company which combined printing and publishing in the Scottish tradition. He quickly became a key figure in the city’s transformation from a relatively small manufacturing and university town into a thriving commercial metropolis renowned for its industry and innovation. However, the city wasn’t the only thing transforming as Collins began expanding the business beyond Glasgow. This ambition would take him to London which, at the time, was a 47-hour round trip from his home. In the capital, Collins exceeded all expectations, eventually becoming the diary craftsman for Queen Victoria along with gaining access to the hero of Waterloo the

Duke Of Wellington as well as Prime Minister and founder of the police force Sir Robert Peel, along with many other important people. But that’s only the start of the long Collins story – the earliest known diary in the company archive is dated 1799 and was printed for T Willis of London. The first Collins diaries published for the mass market were dated 1881 with five titles in the range and sales totalled 17,500 units. Operating from Cathedral Street in Glasgow, Wm Collins & Sons went on to become one of the world’s leading publishers. The product offering was expanded to include Bibles, dictionaries, educational publications, fictional and nonfictional books as well as a wide range of office products. Generations of the Collins family continued to build the business over two centuries as it has evolved into the brand that’s loved and respected today. In 1989 the company merged with Harper & Row of the US to form HarperCollins Publishing, and in 1995 their stationery and diary division – along with the long- @greetingstoday

established fountain logo – was acquired by Debden to form the company known today as Collins Debden. Sticking to their roots, Collins Debden are based at their offices in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, just three miles from William’s original building in the city centre. Today Collins Debden are the UK’s largest publishers of desk diaries for the office as well as dominating the analysis book sector with the famous Cathedral brand. While remaining committed to their history and traditions they continue to move with the times, and the rapidlychanging demands of their consumers, with the latest products includings personal organisers, conference folders, address books notebooks and personalised items, as well as the anniversary special limited edition Candleriggs Diary. Now a global stationery and lifestyle brand, Collins have a strong presence in the UK, Australia, Singapore and Japan and the passion continues as they pay homage to the past while propelling their diaries, journals and dated products into future ventures in America, the Middle East and across Europe. 15



Better latte than never

● Exmouth Market – Space

The grab-and-go-culture leaves very little time for taking a look around and can have a detrimental effect on independent greetings card stores whereas, when customers make the decision to slow down and have a latte, John Ryan has noticed a distinct loosening of the purse strings.


N LONDON’S Duke Street, in the very posh extreme northern end of Mayfair, there’s a store that until recently was part of the upscale fashion and homewares outfit Bluebird.

Owned and operated by Jigsaw, this space has just become the newest outpost of embattled neardesigner brand French Connection. Both the now vanished store and the new arrival have a café, clothes and homewares – and a section devoted to books and greetings cards. The latter in both outlets consists of a highlycurated selection of pretty expensive hand-painted and handmade items. These are actually still small change for those who are likely to frequent these premises and, well, it gives you something else to do while waiting for that skinny latte and gluten-free brownie to be brought to your table by the curiously thin and better-looking-than-you member of staff. All this goes to show is that, while Bluebird may have come and gone and French Connection have taken their place, given the chance shoppers will buy a card or two if they have an idle moment. Now head across town to Exmouth Market, just to the north-west of the City, and there’s a gift shop called Space. This is the sort of place you pop into during the lunch hour (there are a lot of design agencies in this neck of the woods) before sitting down to enjoy a skinny latte from nearby café-cum-music shop Brill (it is). And what’s surprising is just how busy Space are – given the fact that footfall in the area is pretty proscribed and there really can’t be that many birthdays, can there? In both the Duke Street and Exmouth Market

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


The answer would seem to be that, while it’s not necessarily a cheap thing do to, it instils a state of mind where shoppers go into have-a-look-around mode. By definition, having a coffee, solus or with friends, means that time has been carved out for the activity. It would be easy to pick up a drink to go, but a decision has been made to take time out. This in turn means that when the bottom of the cup is reached, there will still probably be time to do a little shopping, whether it’s taking a look at a range in-store or popping next door. So, do you have coffee available in your store, or is there a good, preferably an indie, café very close at hand? If the answer to either of these is yes, there’s a fair chance your card and/or gift shop will benefit. If there’s nothing of the kind around, then the mindset of passing trade will be grab and go and there may not even be time for that. If you’re wondering how to upgrade your existing shop, then a small café space could be a better latte than never investment (groan!) and, if you’re looking for a new store, consider the effect your immediate neighbours will have on shoppers

When the bottom of the cup is reached, there will still be time for shopping

outposts, a virtue has been made of keeping things simple – fancy fixtures, digital flimflam and plush toys are nowhere to be seen, with simple spinner displays, plywood shelving and slatwall being the order of the day. And they work in more or less the same manner – the key is coffee. In Duke Street the French Connection store have a Fernandez & Wells coffee shop-in-shop where the baristas do their thing. Over in Exmouth Market, even though they’re not actually part of the same institution, Space benefit from both the aforementioned Brill and, a few more doors distant, casual dining and coffee emporium Caravan. Both of these make the business of slowing down, which means time to buy a card, a part of what the whole ethos is about, so what exactly is it that imbibing a caffeine-laced hot beverage does to loosen the purse-strings?

– it makes all the difference. @greetingstoday


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l Credit: Paul Debois/RHS

Plant wisely

Flowers and plants may be the mainstay at The Royal Horticultural Society, but the charity are also wise hands at offering a wide selection of gifts and greetings cards across their shops, and the flagship store at their historic home of RHS Wisley in Surrey is the jewel in the crown. Opened in June this year by TV gardener and RHS vice-president Alan Titchmarsh, the £20million Welcome building also houses a new centre for horticultural science. Buyer Hazel Small and the team have chosen stock for the spacious gift shop where the profits ensure they can continue promoting horticulture and looking after the gardens in their care. How long have you been with the RHS and how did you arrive there?

I’ve worked for the RHS for 18 years – I joined as a visual merchandiser working on instore displays and windows then moved to the buying team around 10 years ago.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

The most exciting part of my job is putting together new ranges at the start of each season – I especially love coordinating our Christmas selection!

When did the RHS start selling cards and gifts, and how did that come about?

Yes, all our shops have a great selection of cards and gifts.

How important is the cards side to the RHS shops?

Customers love our card range and often buy handfuls at a time!

There have always been gift shops at the RHS Gardens and they contribute an important revenue stream that feeds back into our charitable work.

Is the new gift shop at RHS Wisley the largest of your shops?


Rosemoor, and Bridgewater – and do they all sell cards and gifts?

Our customers tell us they love our card range and often buy handfuls at a time! The range contributes a significant amount of revenue to the charity.

Do you stock different products in different outlets, or do you keep the same formula everywhere? We have our core ranges that are stocked in all our shops and then items of local interest in each.

What brands of cards does the RHS sell and which sell well – and which are the initial bestsellers at the new Wisley store?

Yes, RHS Wisley is our flagship garden with the highest number of visitors so we have created a wonderful retail space to showcase our fantastic plant and gift ranges.

We have a really wide range of brands from large publishers such as Woodmansterne down to cards from individual artists. Doing well at the moment are The Thing About Dogs from Pigment, Rosie Made A Thing, Art Angels, Dry Red Press and Words Of Wisdom from Dandelion Cards.

Are there shops at all five RHS sites – Wisley, Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall,

How many people are on the buying team, do you have separate teams or buyers for @greetingstoday


l Bestseller –Butterfly waterbottle

l Rosie Made A Thing

lA  rt Angels

l Dandelion Cards

l Dry Red Press

lP  Igment

different products, such as stationery and gifts.

we have a buying team of six – our head of buying, then two buyers for gift (including stationery and cards), two buyers for plants and garden sundries and one buyer for books.

What makes a good buyer for the RHS, and do you work on your own initiative or are you briefed?

A good buyer for the RHS will have a clear understanding of our customer and a keen eye for high-quality products and current trends, and the ability to put ranges together that reflect our values. We work as a team following the direction set by our head of retail.

If someone has a product, card or gift, they want to pitch to you, how should they go about that?

An email introduction is the best place to start – if we’re interested then we will request further details or samples.

How do you choose which products to stock?

All products must meet certain standards of design and quality – although a large element of our range is horticultural or floral in theme we’re not restricted to that completely and will choose products we think will inspire our customer.

Do you attend any of the trade shows

for greetings and gifts, if so, do you feel they are important and which do you like?

We attend most of the trade shows including Top Drawer, Spring Fair, PG Live, Home & Gift and Autumn Fair. They are an important part of the buying calendar for us. I like Top Drawer for design-led products and PG Live for just being able to concentrate on cards.

What season are you buying for currently, and how does that work – is it that Christmas is bought in January, Valentines in September for instance?

At the moment I’m putting together our range of Christmas single cards and Christmas food – with also an eye for products for spring 2020.

What are customers buying at the moment – is there anything that stands out as a bestseller? We’re doing very well with the bespoke gift ranges that we have developed using RHS images from our library. Our Butterfly range is proving popular with the water bottle the bestseller in the range.

What are the evergreen categories that consistently sell well on both the card and gift @greetingstoday

sides? And what are the top-selling seasons for you?

We sell mainly blank and birthday cards – botanical and humour categories do particularly well for us. The top-selling season for us is Christmas, followed by Mother’s Day.

What are the emerging trends, and how have trends changed over the past year as well as in the time you’ve been with the RHS?

We’re still seeing huge growth on houseplants and anything houseplant-themed whether on cards or products. We’ve seen many trends come and go – the trick is to catch them at the right time!

What’s the item that you think people would consider the most surprising product the RHS stock?

In our quest to find unique products we do stock some ranges that are not readily available in the UK – customers are often surprised that our range is so different from other gift shops.

Which card would you like to receive for your own birthday from those the RHS stock?

I’d love to receive one of our new botanical cards from Catherine Lewis – the Wild Meadow design in black (left) is beautiful! 19


● Wendy JonesBlackett

SHOP TALK “The biggest season for us would be a tight call between Mother’s Day and Easter. The publishers that do well here are Kara Lynne’s Designs and Noel Tatt.” Rachael & Gavin, The Baobab, Mortimer Common, Reading, Berks “In the spring season Sunny By Sue gin glasses continued to sell well following on from a busy Christmas period. Jellycats have always done well for us and the new additions have sold through, the forest green bunny and the navy stardust bunny are proving very popular as are any of the animals connected to the sea. Cards do well and Dean Morris, Rambling Mansions and Twizler continue to be our strongest sellers. We’ve taken on a few new companies recently and probably the best one has been Rush Design, they perform very well for us – and Lorraine is lovely to deal with.”

● Mint Publishing

● Redback Cards

Dave Hockridge, Present Surprise, Chicester, West Sussex

It’s the season

What’s the difference between a spring season and an occasion – depends who you ask! And there are plenty of occasions for the greetings industry to cover with just the right card.


VERY spring season is an occasion – but not every occasion is a spring season!

That’s probably the best way to describe the difference between spring seasons cards and occasions designs which is one of those conundrums that can confuse people, especially those new to the industry. While spring seasons covers Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter and Father’s Day only two of them have fixed dates – February 14 for the celebration of love while dads get their annual thank yous of the third Sunday of June both here in the UK, much of Europe and in the US. Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox, or first day of spring around March 21, so happens between March 22 and April 25. America has Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May thanks to its 1908 invention by Anna Jarvis, in the UK it’s intrinsically tied up with Easter because it falls on Mothering Sunday, the day in medieval times when you made a pilgrimage to your mother or home town church. Inspired by the success of the US event, which had become a national holiday by 1912, Constance Adelaide Smith campaigned to bring back its medieval incarnation in Britain. However, these ancient traditions weren’t quite as peaceful and unifying as she believed – parishes often saw brawls over who should go first in the procession leading a 13th century bishop of Lincoln to threaten punishment because of the fights. So here, Mother’s Day is the fourth Sunday of Lent, the 40-day commemoration of the time Jesus spent fasting in the desert. That begins on Ash Wednesday, the day after Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, and ends 40 days later on Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Back in 2016 the Archbishop of Canterbury suggested Easter should happen on the same Sunday every year, with the Most Rev Justin Welby adding that Anglican leaders would join discussions with other churches to fix the date for the first time in 2,000 years. His plan would have wide-ranging implications for schools and universities with regards to their holidays, the tourism industry, sporting fixtures and the greetings industry as both retailers and publishers would be able to plan with more certainty. Archbishop Welby said Easter should most likely be fixed for the second or third Sunday of April: “I would expect it to happen between five and 10 years’ time. I wouldn’t expect it earlier than that not least because most people have probably printed their calendars for the next five years.

● Dandelion Stationery

“School holidays and so on are all fixed, it affects almost everything you do in the spring and summer. I would love to see it before I retire – equally, I think the first attempt to do this was in the 10th century.” Greetings retailers like an occasion as it’s a reason for customers to buy cards but they can cause another conundrum because many an occasion is also considered to be an everyday occurrence. The Art File have New Baby, New Home, You’ve Passed and Best Teacher under their everyday portfolio, while Paperlink put Get Well Soon, With Sympathy and New Baby under the occasions heading. At Dandelion Stationery, they include Congratulations and Good Luck; Get Well, Sympathy and Thinking Of You; Exam, Teachers and Graduation; Engagement, Weddings and Anniversaries; Baby and Christening; New Home; Retirement, Leaving and New Job; Thank You, and even birthdays under their Occasions portfolio! And under their seasonal heading, Dandelion have spring seasons and Christmas along with Other Occasions & Religions where they include Halloween, Holy Communion, Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving, St Patrick’s Day and Diwali. Mint Publishing broadly class anything that’s not a birthday as an occasion with all the hatches, matches and dispatches, along with education-related greetings, and congratulations, while also adding in extras such as mum-to-be, leaving to have a baby, and travel and bon voyage cards. Both retailers and publishers organise their year, and displays, according to the seasons and occasions. Publishers plan their ranges so retailers and buyers can begin seeing fresh spring seasons designs around now, late summer, to start thinking about ordering for the stock to arrive ready for the red hearts and roses window displays beginning in late January. From there it all follows with Mother’s Day and Easter, then Father’s Day in the middle of the wedding season, which mixes with end-ofterm and graduation. And throughout there are the general occasions of life – babies turn up at every point in the year, loved ones pop their clogs, friends and family have birthdays, pass their driving test, change jobs, and need a little support and outpourings of love and sympathy. But it would quite nice if Easter finally stopped shimmying up and down the calendar to make planning for retailers and publishers that wee bit more precise!

Easter should most likely be fixed for the second or third Sunday of April

30 20 @greetingstoday



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SHARE the love with Paperlink – they really like to do that and spring seasons gives them the perfect platform to cover mums, dads, lovers, friends… friends with benefits (haha!). Cute, conversational, heartfelt or funny, Paperlink think they have it covered this year. New to Mother’s Day they have the quintessentially English, vintage tea room feel of their Fern range featuring prosecco for those who prefer something a little stronger than a cuppa! Alongside this they have the bubble and sparkle of Forget Me Not for all those lovely bubbly sparkly mums. Valentine’s Day newbies include jokey, conversational banter – complete with hearts and flitter for that ultimate lurve vibe – in Just My Type, and sweet, silly, lovable puns are coupled with super cool photomontage visuals in Love Bugs. Dads can enjoy love, laughs and a fair bit of micky-taking with Paperlink’s awesome new Jitterbug range, which is a bold, bright fusion of retro photos and graphic design coupled with hilarious family-life observations. Paperlink’s Emma Young said: “We hope our collection gives everyone the urge to tell someone they care. Take a sneak peek here at our designs across the spring seasons board this year!” T: 020 7582 8244

30 22


THE Showcase range from Mint Publishing has jumped straight into 2020 spring seasons with some eye-catching fun designs for Valentine’s Day, Easter and Father’s Day. The quirky, contemporary and tongue-in-cheek designs all feature a small simple fun image and message and are finished with beautiful gold foil. Also adding to the portfolio is the Pow! collection with four new designs for Valentine’s Day and two new Father’s Day cards. The fun-loving comic book-style is certainly a distinctive design that cannot be missed. And there are new designs and captions for spring seasons in Mint’s classic Knit & Purl humorous collection. T: 01373 462165 @greetingstoday



THE Spring Seasons 2020 collection from Wendy JonesBlackett comes in a lovely variety of sizes and styles to suit all tastes. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hot-foiled bestselling Quicksilver, cold-foiled design-led Hey Fresco, hot-foiled gorgeous Goldsmith, beautifully hand-finished Paper Diamonds Bijou and Paper Diamonds Deluxe, and a fun twist to the large Cloud Nine handmade feather designs. Do call for a brochure. T: 0113 288 8468 @greetingstoday 23



JANICE Daughters, designer and publisher of Art By Janice, has produced two new collections for anniversaries and special occasions. Crazy Cakes has 12 designs for engagement, wedding and those milestone anniversaries. Each card features a simple cake design in subtle colouring and embellished with metallic foil for that extra sparkle.With 15 cards in the Inky Icons collection, it’s mainly aimed at the men in our lives. Along with anniversary wishes there are some designs which can be sent anytime, when you just want to say how much you care and birthday wishes are also catered for. These pen and ink illustrations, accompanied with simple bold colouring and adorned with metallic foil, certainly stand out. T: 07860 633490


THE Eco-Friendly Card Co, Glebe Cottage, have just launched 24 new occasion cards in their photographic collections. Featuring both colour and black and white photographic images, the collection complements their current art card occasion cards. All designs are printed on 100 per cent recycled board and packed in a compostable bag with 100 per cent recycled envelopes. T: 01626 369269



BURSTING with a fantastic selection of innovative and contemporary designs, Redback have a number of ranges and designs with a modern take on spring seasons and occasions. Help a loved one feel super special with a stylish enamel pin card from the charming Pinata range or turn their world upside down with a stunning reversible sequin card from their hottest collection, Shine! Both really offer something extra special by having removable and reuseable keepsakes at an attractive price point. Although traditionally spring seasons lends itself to sentimental messages, Redback have some outstanding humour designs for all those embarrassing mums, badly-dressed dads and long-suffering partners out there, reflecting modern relationships where poking a little good-hearted fun is a great way to show you care. New designs from the badly-behaved Holy Flaps and quirky Good Things ranges are a great example of how to do this in style. Dad won’t mind being compared to the dog, right? So many designs to choose from bold to beautiful! T: 01752 830482


MOTHERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S Day is an important part of the Nigel Quiney Spring portfolio being the biggest of all the spring seasons. They have sized the 2020 range at 30 designs â&#x20AC;&#x201C; plus they have a wonderful Pizazz Grande line extension of nine 180x180mm designs at an amazing code 70 value. With 24 brand-new designs matched to bright blue envelopes, Nigel Quineyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day collection is a blend of traditional and striking contemporary images including some of their bestselling Pizazz Male designs and fun pictures. In addition, Kick Back has six brand-new 160x160mm male designs finished in copper foil and featuring some of the most popular hobbies. For Valentineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a collection of 20 cards with beautiful finishes around a blend of contemporary, traditional and fun, making this range stand out from the crowd. Easter remains predominantly traditional, with lots of spring florals, religious and fun characters among the 37 designs in total, including 2 money wallets. Additionally there are six Easter packs with five cards each of a single design and bright yellow envelopes, retailing at ÂŁ2.99. T: 01799 520200

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CREATED by the fabulous Amy Bradley at the Art Of Brilliance these punny anmd funny new cards from Dandelion Stationery are printed on to luxury 300gsm FSC board. Finished with metallic gold foil, the 114x162mm cards come supplied with 130gsm rustic brown kraft envelopes which are made in the UK from recycled paper and the range is available to order now in multiples of three with a ÂŁ2.75 RRP. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re interested in becoming a Dandelion stockist, you can register for a trade account on their website. T. 01332 695359


BEAUTIFUL bouquets, bestselling editorial, much-loved licences and topical designs are just some of the amazing things you can expect for Spring 2020 from UK Greetings. Their charming Peter Rabbit cards sings the delights of Easter, while you can send happy Motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day wishes with the innovative new RHS pop-up. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re dreaming of the greatest romance, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a design thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s packed with fun while subtly parodying a muchloved movie, and for Fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day, there are perfect picks for a sweet yet funny send. New babies are joyous occasions and, while thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still a demand for the traditional blues for boys and pinks for girls, UKG have expanded their oďŹ&#x20AC;ering to include baby designs with a diďŹ&#x20AC;erence, providing consumers with more choice. The new designs feature less expected colours, monochrome icons and new captions including Isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t He Wonderful, Hello Little One and Perfect Little Miracle, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not all about the traditional baby girl and baby boy captions. T: 01924 465200 @greetingstoday




Exclusively yours

Ellie Bartle works hard to ensure she keeps a unique offer for customers at Tigerlillys – but what happens when another shop locally suddenly stocks the same products?


WNING and running Tigerlillys for the past 5½ years has made me happier than I could ever wish to be.

I wake up each morning feeling incredibly happy to go to work doing something I love but, as with everything in life, you occasionally run into situations that are a minefield to negotiate. Retail is a fast-moving environment. Trends shift quickly, customer buying habits alter frequently and new products and brands are emerging constantly. As an independent business my role in the local community is to offer my customer base something completely unique that can’t be bought at any other indie, small or large chain shop nearby. Over the years I’ve had the chance to work with some fantastic small companies, a few of which I’ve stocked from my first days at Tigerlillys and still stock now. Finding a brand that continues to grow, adapt, change and still prove a hit with your customers year after year is a precious thing – but what do you do when another local shop picks up the same brand? This is the situation I’m in at the time of writing as another shop in my area has picked up my bestselling giftware brand East Of India. East Of India are a huge hit with my customers, many of whom visit Tigerlillys specifically for their gift range as I stock a wide range of their products, from shopping and cosmetic bags, through mugs and keepsake boxes, to ceramic coasters, bookmarks and wooden pictures. Having another local business stock the same products is inevitably going to cause problems. With East Of India, I’m fortunate they operate an exclusivity policy, meaning they don’t supply to

businesses within a specified distance of each another. However, the shop in question had been sold East Of India products via a third party, so the company weren’t aware and, of course, it’s possible the shop didn’t know of either the exclusivity policy or the fact I’m already a stockist. Can any of us honestly say we know all the brands our fellow shopkeepers stock? Overlaps can, and will, happen. Such a situation has to be handled carefully – there’s no sense me stomping into another shop and demanding they remove items from sale just because I sell them. Every business has a right to sell items they love, are passionate about and think their customers will love too. But there aren’t likely to be any positives for either business if the same products are being sold in rival outlets so close together. East Of India have been wonderful and have handled the matter on our behalf but, without an exclusivity policy and the kind intervention of the company themselves, how should situations like this be dealt with professionally and with respect for everyone involved? Working alongside, and not against, other local companies is essential but, as small traders, these situations can sometimes leave us feeling completely powerless and this is amplified when the shop in question isn’t a fellow independent with whom you could easily reach a mutually beneficial agreement, but a huge chain that could squash your little store with one finger. Emily Coxhead of The Happy News is a friend and I was stocking her products in my shop when she was still folding the handmade greetings cards

We all have that special something that makes us “us”

Each month an independent retailer takes up their pen (or taps away at their keyboard) as a guest columnist for Greetings Today. This month we hear from Ellie Bartle, who runs Tigerlillys ( TigerlillysShop/) in Littleover, Derbyshire.


on an ironing board in her bedroom. Now, her Happy News brand is represented by such companies as Portico Designs, Pigment Productions and Widdop And Co, and her cards and gifts are stocked in the likes of Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and Boots. As a pal I’m over the moon for her. She’s never given up and worked hard for years to get to where she is, and works even harder now that she’s there. But, as a small business, where does that leave me? I have to offer a unique range to give customers a reason to shop in my little store. If they can visit Sainsbury’s, pick up their groceries and buy the same card they could get at my shop at the same time, that’s what they’ll do. It’s much more convenient, and I can’t blame them. This can mean I have to stop stocking certain artists’ or designers’ work if they’re picked up by the larger chain stores. These situations highlight the importance of maintaining healthy relationships rather than engendering fierce competitions between the independents and the High Street bigger boys, it doesn’t have to be us-versus-them. So maybe we aren’t better off just minding our own business, but being mindful of what our fellow business owners are doing without using it as a form of comparison. As people, we all have that special something that makes us “us”, and it’s the same with our shops. Adapt and change as the market does, sure, but always know what you’re selling and why you’re selling it. It’s not a good enough reason to stock something just because another shop seems to do well with it. Our independent shops are as unique and as full of character and personality as the individuals that run them. Create something you’re proud of, and the rest will follow. @greetingstoday

Well established IMAGE LIBRARY APPROX 1,200 IMAGES With the ability to utilise these for a substantial number of products including greeting cards, mugs, tote bags, duvets, cushions in fact, anything associated with the greetings/giftware industry. The images are offered with the benefit of a 10-year licence agreement. Our clients retail and wholesale and also have a presence at a number of Country and Flower Shows across the UK. Substantial earning potential for the supply of Greeting Cards and Giftware.

PRICE GUIDE ÂŁ150,000-175,000. For further details please contact Fishwick & Co: 01246 558995 or email:


 Pioneer Europe

 Gisela Graham

Any excuse for a party! People pull together at times of crisis and, with the Brexit uncertainty still looming large, celebrating everything with family and friends keeps the connections going, while firms are also meeting the need for eco-friendly partyware, as Henri Davis reports.


S I WRITE this we’re having another week of amazing weather and I’m slowly melting on my journey home.

them there are some really interesting alternatives becoming available – on Kikkerland’s stand at Home & Gift in Harrogate I was amazed by the choice available (left). Having produced paper straws for 19 years But the great thing about which are still the best disposable ones, they fabulous weather is it gives us a now offer more than 20 styles of reusable and perfect excuse to get together eco-friendly straws made of paper, stainless with friends and, if there’s steel, reusable food-safe plastic, organic something to celebrate like the bamboo, borosilicate glass, and weekend, let’s make it a party! natural straw! The last three years since the Historically there are strong links referendum vote have been quite between licensing and partyware difficult for most of us as we with the latest children’s TV or film realise we have very little idea character in huge demand for little how this is all going to turn out. ones’ parties so it will be interesting This uncertainty in both to see how the businesses here business and personal lives respond with reuseable and encourages us to turn to family  Kikkerland eco-friendly products. and friends for moral support and Pioneer Europe reassurance, keeping in contact are already on the and acknowledging them more, which helps us case with their compostable plates feel connected and part of something we value. and cups, and recyclable napkins This is great news for those working in the card, gift available in a broad range of and party industries so we need to make sure we’re licensed designs, including Disney offering consumers great products they will really enjoy. Minnie Mouse Unicorn Dreams, While there is an increase in demand for Disney Pixar Cars High Speed partyware the sector is affected by other trends range, and Marvel’s Spider Man – namely the reduction of single-use plastics and Super-Hero (top right). the desire to buy products with longevity – and this Eco-friendly tableware is is proving a challenge as suppliers work out how to definitely increasing in popularity respond and how quickly it can be done. and Fallen Fruits benefited from Blue Planet 2 has been very influential in the eco this when they won Gift Of The debate and the programme’s image of a turtle with Year 2018 with their Green Picnic a drinking straw in its nostril put that product under range (far left). Suitable for hot and cold food, the the spotlight. When I was young, straws were plates and bowls are made from palm leaves while always part of the the cutlery is birchwood – all 100 per cent organic  Fallen Fruits party fun but there and compostable so they can go thrown away with are probably few your organic waste. scenarios where This move away from single-use plastic products they’re really encourages people to focus on the special things necessary. used for specific events, helping create family For those who traditions and excitement. still need to use A good example is perpetual, refillable, advent

calendars where each drawer or stocking has a little treat for each day in the run up to Christmas. Heaven Sends have great success with their Advent Train (right) which seems to resonate with young and old alike. Easter and Halloween are becoming much bigger ● Heaven Sends occasions for UK retailers and consumers helped as they both tie into school holidays. While Easter is a religious holiday, I think its increase in popularity isn’t particularly a religious move. The bright fresh colours of spring, lighter, warmer longer days and, usually, a four-day long weekend are reasons to relax, enjoy, and hopefully get outdoors. And when Easter falls in the middle to end of April it’s the perfect time to drive outdoororientated sales with garden centres really seeing a difference in their spring quarter reviews if the long bank holiday weekend has been cold and wet. This Easter wreath from Gisella Graham is a good example of how a pretty spring decoration can lift a room (top left) and their ( commercial director Mark Jones said: “Easter is now comfortably our second largest seasonal range behind Christmas and has a huge impact on our customers’ businesses. “Whether they display a full collection of Easter goodies, or use it to accent around new spring gift and interiors, it’s become an important way of attracting customers in early spring.” Talking Tables are seeing a similar increase in sales at Easter, and Halloween is growing in importance too with decorating gardens, dressing up and buying pumpkins and sweets for trick or treat all very much part of it. and there’s definitely an air of excitement around the preparations (right). Now, with the August Bank Holiday approaching what excuse will you use to get together with friends – for me ● Talking Tables it’s a pal’s 60th birthday!

Blue Planet 2 has been very influential in the eco debate

Henri Davis is an independent retail advisor to businesses in the cards, gifts, stationery and heritage industries, with 35 years of retail experience. She has worked for Habitat, Next, WHSmith and the National Trust and now advises small and medium-sized businesses, including retailers, visitor attractions, manufacturers and suppliers. She is the first retailer deputy chairman of the Giftware Association and the recipient of this year’s Greats Honorary Achievement Award. For more information visit

28 @greetingstoday


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Meet the queen Autumn Fair will be looking significantly different this year with a completely new layout enhanced by next season’s colour trends, and a seminar programme led by Queen Of Shops Mary Portas.


IGH Street hero Mary Portas is headlining Autumn Fair’s speaker line up as the Queen Of Shops brings her vision for the future of retail to the season’s biggest show. And the first 200 visitors to sign up for her In Conversation With Mary Portas session on Monday, September 2, at 2pm, will receive a copy of her latest book Work Like A Woman. Mary said: “Now’s a time for visionaries. The old dinosaurs and faceless corporations are on the out and retailers who place people and community at the heart of their business are on the up. “I truly believe there’s never been a more exciting time to be in retail and I’m excited to see what’s on offer at Autumn Fair this year.” More than 22,000 visitors, and 1,300 exhibitors – including around 130 greetings and stationery stands mainly in Hall 6 such as The Art File, Berni Parker Designs, Blue Eyed Sun, Dean Morris Cards, Eco-Friendly Card Co, Emma Ball Ltd, Glick, Handcrafted Card Co, Joe Davies, Lanther Black, Lesser & Pavey, Pioneer Europe, Pyramid International and Rush Design – are expected to descend on the NEC. The speaker sessions run throughout the show, over Sunday to Wednesday, September 1-4, at the NEC in Birmingham, with retail entrepreneur and former BBC TV Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis returning for a candid chat about the ups and downs for retail over the past 12 months and to share insights on useful things small businesses can do to help succeed in the current climate. An Audience With Theo Paphitis is on the Tuesday at 2pm, while Giftware Association deputy chairman and independent retail advisor Henri Davis (pictured above right), who is also a regular


NEC, Birmingham Saturday, August 31 – Everyday Sector only 10am-5pm Sunday, September 1 – 9am-6pm Monday, September 2 – 9am-6pm Tuesday, September 3 – 9am-6pm Wednesday, September 4 – 9am-4pm Greetings Today columnist, has a Negotiation Skills: If You Don’t Ask You Don’t Get slot on the show’s final day at 10.45am. With a completely new layout, this year’s Autumn Fair plays host to four exciting theatre and workshop spaces, including the Inspiring Retail Stage, Retail Skills Theatre and the Sourcing Theatre, each delivering dedicated retail insight and trend information to help retailers with the all-important Golden Quarter festive sales period and beyond. The full list of thought-provoking seminars and panel discussions, all aimed to inspire and futureproof buying decisions, is available at www. Speaking as part of a live Q&A, broadcaster and retail consultant Mary, who was appointed by then Prime Minister David Cameron to lead a review into the future of the British High Street and tried to help struggling independents in her Mary Queen Of Shops TV series, will talk about how retailers should be creating communities out of their loyal customers. She will also explain why the sector needs to

The old dinosaurs and faceless corporations are on the out


embrace and value soft skills and more traditional attributes such as empathy, instinct, kindness and trust, and argue that these can be the key to engaging staff and, by implication, consumers. Julie Driscoll, regional director at Spring & Autumn Fair for owners ITE Group, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be able to announce Mary as a show headliner – she’s been a true champion of the UK retail sector for much of the past two decades. “She’ll bring a renewed sense of optimism in the Great British High Street to the show, as well as her characteristically unique and creative ideas as to how the sector can improve and grow into its future.” Julie and her team have also been working with creative agency ColourHive as the top trends specialists have played a major part in the planning of this year’s Autumn Fair outing with their insights providing a foundation for the 2019 re-edit. The impact of next season’s colour trends will be felt throughout the show in new features, speaker sessions, and in the styling and design around the NEC where the event has been moved from its traditional Piazza spot to the Atrium, taking over halls 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 17, 18, 19 and 20. Julie added: “We’ve brought ColourHive on board to help visitors understand that getting their approach right, and understanding how trend drivers influence what consumers will buy next year will be the key to unlocking better sales, no matter what category of products they’re buying for. “Our partnership will help visitors to visualise and better understand how colour trends are established and identified.” ColourHive staff will be on-hand to provide daily insights for next year and into 2021, kicking off the daily programme on the Inspiring Retail stage, taking visitors through how trends are expected to evolve from Spring/Summer 2020 into Autumn/Winter 2020/21. @greetingstoday



The Art File – 6E41 The Art Group – 19A02-C01 Alex Sharp Photography – 6B25 NEW Alljoy Design – 6A20 Angelic Hen – 6L47 Ambiente Europe – 6C20 Archivist Gallery – 6F49 NEW Art Marketing – 20H21-H23 Art Matters – 6B17 NEW Ash Display Solutions – 9H52 Bakedin – 8E92 Berni Parker Designs – 6A24 Bertoy-Vekemans – 6C81 Bird – 6B27 Black Ginger – 20A50 Blue Beryl – 6B14 Blue Eyed Sun – 6A43 Bookspeed – 6E70-F71 Brainbox Candy – 6D10 Breuckmann – 32F22 Buddy Fernandez Card Co – 6B32 Busy B – 6E23 Button And Squirt – 6F86 Candlelight Products – 8D81 Cardgains – 6C21 Cardology – 6B30 CG Global Products – 6A39 NEW Cheeky Chops Cards – 6B33 The Country Candle Co – 6H10 Craft Buddy – 6D82 The Crafty Kit Company – 6E32 Dean Morris Cards – 6E16 The DM Collection – 6A22 Do Something David – 6B10 Draw UK – 6E02 Earlybird Designs – 6A26 East Of India – 6K70-L71 Eclectic Lifestyle – 6J20-K21 The Eco-Friendly Card Co – 6E10 Eloise Hall – 6F16 NEW Emartbuy – 6C31 Emma Ball – 20A41 Fay’s Studio – 6A28 Forever Cards – 6B36 Fujifilm – 6E21 Georgie Paws – 6J72 NEW Ginger Ray – 6C40 Glasgow Packaging & Print – 6B16 Glick – 6A01 Globe Enterprise – 20A67

Greeting Card Association – 6B18 NEW Growing Greeting – 6B19 NEW Half Moon Bay – 6B50-C51 The Handcrafted Card Co – 6A14 Handsn – 6C01 NEW Hearts Designs – 6A10 Heathcote & Ivory – 6G22 Heaven Scent – 6H21 Helen Richmond Design – 6B24 NEW House Of Crafts – 6E12 Jane Buurman Handmade – 6B21 NEW J-Art – 6C80 NEW Jeno Floral – 17E10-F11 Jeremy Barlow Fine Art – 6C37 John Austin Postcards – 6C35 Kallos Storm – 6C15 NEW Kenji – 9G48 NEW Kidicraft – 7B90 Koza Dereza Manufacture – 6H72 Krasnaya Nesting Dolls – 6D18 Lanther Black – 6B34 Lesser Spotted Images – 6B12 Lime Stationery & Art – 6F72-G73 Life Charms – 9G32 & 9F103 Lisa Angel – 9E60-D61 Little Blue House – 20A55 The Little Dog Laughed – 6D21 Little Spring – 8A90 Lola Design – 6E01 MaBelle Princess – 6B11 NEW Marina B Designs – 6E30 Mark Betson Artist – 6B15 NEW Megan Claire – 6C11 NEW Megan Elizabeth Designs – 6B23 NEW Moongazer Cards – 6B29 Natural Partners – 6A12 Neviti – 6D20 N Smith & Co – 9G50-F51 Paper Salad – 6D40 Penguin Ink – 6B37 Peter Pauper – 6D41 Pintail Candles – 6K60 Pioneer Europe – 6C13 NEW Poly HK Development – 6B22 NEW Portfolio – 6E34 Pulp Cards – 6E36 Pyramid International – 19A02-C01 Rachel Ellen Designs – 6D50-E51 NEW Ram Enterprise – 18F30-17A31 Reasons to Love – 6B13 NEW

The Ribbon Printing Co – 6C19 Richard Lang & Son – 8B62-C63 Robert Frederick – 6E58-F69 Rush Design – 6E14 Sabivo Design – 6B35 Sam Wilson Studio – 20A39 Santoro – 6C50-D51 Sarah Kelleher – 6B31 NEW Shantou Jiahong Craft Factory – 10H80 NEW Shared Earth – 8D70-E71 Shruti – 6B52 Simon Drew Gallery Design – 20A45 Sock Academy – 6D70-E71 Stands Out – 7E51 Sweet William Designs – 20A61 Tags Direct – 9H50 NEW These Cards/Bags Are Great – 6C33 NEW Tilnar Art – 8A61 Tinc – 6D52 To Home From London – 6F83 NEW Tomcat Cards – 6A16 Twizler – 6C39 Upon the Moon – 6E86 Vintage Playing Cards – 6H76 VKF of Worcester – 20A52 Wenzhou Charming Gifts & Crafts – 10E73 NEW Widdop And Co – 7D60-E61 Wish Strings – 6C41 Wraptious – 6L60 Zoe Crawford Art – 6H93

GLICK – stand 6A01

THEY’RE launching a brand-new range of plain vibrant wrappings at Glick, called Pure Zest. The gift bags have been produced with no plastic-based lamination and a recyclable paper handle – and it’s always worth noting that gift bags are widely recycled by the recipient in their own gift sending! At Glick, they’re working hard to source material components that are kind to the environment while still producing beautifully-designed and manufactured products that are appealing to consumers. They have double-sided rolls and gift tag multipacks within the Pure Zest collection which match the bags and are a great addition to their ever-changing roll wrap portfolio. The new shirt and jewellery box range is great value, comprising 26 boxes nested in one large and one medium shirt box with 12 large and 12 small jewellery boxes in a mix-and-match combination of core Pantone colours. T: 01274 655980

32 @greetingstoday

Aumn Fair- 20A41

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RREVERENT and with a distinctly naughty streak, Dean Morris has ruffled a few feathers over the past two decades – especially at the Daily Mail. But he’s never much minded the notoriety, considering the publicity helps the eponymous greetings business he founded in 1999 following a fine art degree at Wolverhampton University and deciding life working in a building society wasn’t for him. And for his email sign-off Dean now proudly uses the Mail’s “surprisingly respectable” comment from their latest two-page spread condemning his horrid greetings cards. After 20 years of bringing pain and pleasure in equal measure to the card-buying and receiving public, Dean has an enviable work-life balance that involves lots of travel and a great Lego collection, and he tells Greetings Today where he’s at now: Do you still enjoy your job? I enjoy it as much as I always have – although it might have been a different answer if you’d asked me in April when I was getting used to my new accounts software! I still get a buzz out of seeing my cards and gifts in various shops and was feeling big love for the industry back at PG Live in June. I just feel like it’s a very special industry. What’s changed over the past five years, since your last big birthday? I think there’s still plenty of potential orders out there but I’d say you have to put in more work to get them than five years ago. Despite a lot of negative reports in the press about retail, I’d say I’ve seen a slight upturn in sales from my independents and there’s new ones discovering old me even now. And what’s changed in the greetings industry since 1999? I can barely remember the greetings industry in 1999, it seems like a lifetime ago! It’s great to see that some companies I knew back then are still going strong but it’s sad some friends from when I started are no longer with us. Trade shows will always be a little bit more boring now Stephen Bradley is no longer with us. Maybe it’s because I’m looking back at 1999 when I seemed like a little urchin and everyone else was a big business, but there seem to be a lot more new small companies nowadays, which I think is great as it brings so much diversity into the industry.


DEAN MORRIS CARDS – stand 6E16 T: 01902 560247

You’ve cut down on trade fairs, why is that? For years I used to do four but a few years back I realised life was too short to attend two trade shows a fortnight apart in the spring. They’re still relevant, in different ways, so now I usually have Spring and Autumn Fairs and PG Live on my roster. Three is enough nowadays. How are the holidays and meals in Michelinstarred restaurants going? Anyone would think I’m constantly away! As my partner Mat and I both live and work from home, if we ever had a week off and didn’t travel we’d inevitably end up working so, to fully escape, we travel. On the Michelin star meals, I just like restaurants. Everyone has their one thing they like to spend their hard-earned money on. I’ve never been into “stuff” so I like to travel and eat. As well as 20 years in the industry it’s also 20 years for Mat and I so we’re off on a road trip from Portland down to San Francisco in September to chill among the redwoods.

You seem to have the almost perfect work-life balance, how do you manage that or is it all frantically paddling under the surface really? I think there’s a bit of truth to both those statements. I’ve never wanted staff and a massive business to look after. My stress levels would be through the roof so that naturally keeps my company to a size that I can – usually – manage. With foresight, advance planning, and just the experience from 20 years of working for myself I manage to have quite a lot of time off each year. The downside to being away quite a bit simply means I have to take my laptop with me and do a couple of hours of work each day in morning just to keep it ticking over. I really don’t mind as I can relax for the rest of the time off and it pays for said holiday. There’s still quite a lot of under-the-surface paddling when I’m working and late nights, but it’s still my baby so I never really mind. What’s your favourite memory from the 20 years you’ve been in business? When a member of British Airways staff at Heathrow, who was sorting out a problem for us, asked “are you the Dean Morris from Dean Morris Cards?” – I was completely made up. My personal Instagram profile is TheDeanMorris because of that! More recently I really can’t beat having a full double-page spread in the Mail On Sunday all about me. I can’t think of many card publishers that have managed that. They used nice pictures too. My mum, if she was still around, would have been so proud and horrified in equal measure with that. How do you feel now the Daily Mail have declared you’re “surprisingly respectable”? I think it was begrudgingly. I can only assume they wanted me to slam my door in their face and go back to practicing witchcraft but after inviting them in how could they not be won over by my charms. Friends now constantly refer to my “immaculate semi”. What are your latest ranges and which ones are still going strong? Gumdrop is a popular addition to the Dean Morris Cards catalogue but my favourite range has to be Fabulous that I launched back in 2006 and is still my bestselling range. I’ve designed over 400 cards in this range and over the years its look and style has evolved to keep it fresh and relevant. I might even enter it into the Henry Cole Classic section at the Henries Awards in a few years. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Almost certainly doing another one of these articles! Ask me in 10 years’ time and hopefully I’ll be living in a cabin surrounded by trees building Lego and jammaking all day.

l Cheeky grin – Dean now and back in 1999 @greetingstoday




T. 0115 850 7490


F. 0115 941 3411





CELEBRATE at Autumn Fair as you can get party-ready with Pioneer Europe’s top-trending balloons. Pioneer are the manufacturers of Qualatex “the very best” balloons and have a portfolio of designs reflecting the most talked-about trends, ensuring consumers can easily create stunning parties with this season’s must-have looks. From super stylish monochrome, to the popular tropical cactus look, Qualatex have a range of different-style balloons under each theme, with options to suit every party vision and budget. Pioneer’s head of marketing Julie Dommett said: “We invest heavily in trend analysis to ensure we remain ahead of the curve and continuously update our range to encompass all the new and emerging must-have looks, to deliver lifestyle and in-fashion designs which consumers will love. We have a huge range of designs and price points, ensuring retailers can offer solutions for gifts and birthday surprises, and event decorators can set a scene that’s right-on-trend, whatever the occasion.” Here are Pioneer’s top picks for the season: LLAMA – The llama craze is still trending and Qualatex’s pretty pastel designs are perfect for a summer party or to welcome home a new baby. The 45” Loveable Llama Microfoil balloon will be the star of the show, while the cute Llama Birthday Party design can be teamed with Llama latex balloons, and the Birthday Llama or Hello Baby Llama 18” Microfoil balloons for a pretty and fun event. FIESTA! – The super bright and colourful Fiesta range is fun, loud and screams party. Party planners can use the 34” Rainbow Pinata balloon as the talking point, while the Rainbow Stripes, 41” Sombrero, quirky Birthday Party Cactus, and fun Sliced Lime balloons are sure to get the party started. SPACE – With the recent 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, space is dominating interiors, social media and party themes. Qualatex offer the 37” Microfoil Adorable Astronaut, a space-themed Happy Birthday message, as well as the show stopping 3-foot Glow Stars-ARound balloon and Contempo Stars-A-Round designs. UNICORN – The love of all things unicorn is showing no signs of abating and Qualatex have a host of cheerful designs available, from the pretty 38” Magical Unicorn face shape, to gold unicorn silhouette latex balloons, to the inspirational Ride A Unicorn, Swim wWth Mermaids, Dance With Fairies 18” balloon and more. Continuing the mythical theme, there are also caticorns, mermaids and narwhal options available to help create a mythical wonderland. MONOCHROME – For those looking to create a more sophisticated vibe, Qualatex have a huge range of stylish black and white options including the stunning marble effect of the SuperAgate latex range and Insta-ready Chrome latex. A monochrome celebration has never looked so slick. OMBRE – This graduated flow from one colour hue to another is everywhere, from hair to tableware, and now balloons! The Qualatex range includes a choice of different colour palettes and messages, to make any celebration instantly on vogue. TROPICAL – For party planners looking to add a splash of tropical style, Qualatex have large tropical-themed balloon shapes including bright Toucans, Tropical Philodendron leaves, cute pineapples and bright flamingos, ensuring the summer vibe lasts long after the recent heatwave. T: 01279 501090




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JOE DAVIES – stand 7A60/B61

AUTMN Fair signals the beginning of the Christmas selling season and the spacious Joe Davies stand is always one of the busiest at the show. Joe Davies use Autumn Fair to showcase their vast range of collections which make ideal gifts and many buyers make them their first stop at the show as they can buy a wide array of products to suit all tastes and pockets. With more than 8,000 products on display, everything is available in Joe Davies’ trademark Little & Often ordering quantities and their minimum order value is just £100 for free nationwide delivery. Snoozies!, the hugely successful brand from USA, are a hot seller during the run up to Christmas and the new collection will feature the comical Pairables. These are odd Snoozies! which when paired up complete the story. There are luxurious soft chenille ribbed Snoozies! and, back by popular demand, the Lots A Dots collection which was a sell out for 2018. Men’s Snoozies! have grown in popularity and the brand-new Men’s Plaid Snoozies! Collection is sure to be a big hit as they are the ideal gift for chilly winter evenings for those men that have everything. Sock Society is another desirable brand exclusive to Joe Davies and one that really comes into its own during the second half of the year. These vibrantly coloured unisex socks are real wardrobe essentials and the eagerly awaited new designs include cool penguins, pretty parrots, hot motorbikes and many more ensuring there really is something for all tastes. With a recommended retail price point of just £4.99 Sock Society socks make ideal stocking fillers. The Equilibrium collection from Joe Davies continues to be the UK’s hottest fashion jewellery brand. Up-to-the minute designs, indisputable quality, luxury branded packaging and affordability make this highly successful range a real must have for many gift and jewellery retailers. The enchanting new Country Collection has been lovingly created to capture the wonders of Mother Nature with hedgehogs, foxes, hares and many more animals from the British countryside. There’s also the new Equilibrium Sentiment Lockets which bring a modern twist to the traditional locket. These desirable pieces are plated with real silver and rose gold and feature popular sentiment captions including Love You To The Moon And Back and Heart Of Gold and are just perfect to treasure those special memories or photographs. Who would have thought Scrabble would feature in home décor? This trendy concept of using the tiles on accessories is extremely popular and the Scrabble Sentiments Collection of photo frames and tea-lights featuring captions and heartfelt sentiments is a real success story. Meanwhile, grey is a key colourway in home décor at present, combine this with sentiment and you have a real winner with the Cherished Hearts collection with 3D captions and messages straight from the heart. Thoughtful Words is Joe Davies’ pretty little ceramic range of sentiment plaques and mugs with the dainty designs picked out in gold. Made from porcelain with heartfelt messages these are produced in a range of quirky-shaped hanging plaques and a modern mug, all packaged in trendy kraft boxes, and are available to sell on a fullyloaded spinner or by individual design. You can be assured a warm welcome awaits visitors both old and new on the Joe Davies stand in their centenary year. Their friendly, awardwinning staff look forward to showing you around their vast array of gifts and making your buying experience as easy and pleasant as possible. T: 0161 975 6300

38 @greetingstoday


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THE ART FILE – stand 6E41

FOR Autumn Fair this year, The Art File will be in the new location of Hall 6, and their award-winning Christmas collection will be on display, giving customers the ideal opportunity to address their festive needs with one of their sales experts on the stand. Reserve the perfect stock for the upcoming festive season as The Art File have launched more than 150 brand-new designs across cards, wrap and boxed Christmas product. Single cards have grown in popularity and sit happily alongside the Luxury Boxed cards which are a must for most of their customers. Their charity card sales grew again last year, and The Art File are delighted to announce that for 2019 they will be supporting three charities – CLIC Sargent, RSPCA and Dementia UK. They have also launched a freestanding display unit to house their selection of charity packs for the first time. Their roll wrap and bags have now established themselves as a refreshing alternative to the mainstream offer and, this year, The Art File are introducing a luxury flat wrap for the first time. Alongside the Christmas collection, they’ll have a handpicked selection of bestselling everyday greetings card, wrap and gift bag ranges especially for visitors. The Art File’s mission when designing these collections is to deliver high quality, unique and commercially-proven product to even the most discerning of retailers, worldwide. They look forward to welcoming you on to their stand during the show. T: 0115 850 7490

40 @greetingstoday


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RUSH DESIGN – stand 6E14

FOLLOWING the successful launch of the Blossom collection and very positive reaction from customers, Rush Design are adding more captions in this style. There will be lots of new occasions including baby, new home, thank you and more female ages. Blossom is also the opportunity to launch their new large-format 210x210mm age-relations range. Titles will include mum, daughter, granddaughter, wife and friend all with relevant ages. The collection is printed on quality GF Smith textured board and finished with glitter and diamantes, and matched with a classic grey envelope. You can see these new designs when they are officially launched at Autumn Fair – if you can’t wait then please get in touch with Rush Design by phone, email, website or your friendly agent. T: 01788 521745

42 @greetingstoday


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EMMA BALL LTD – stand 20A41

DESIGNS perfect for galleries are Emma Ball Ltd’s Art Card ranges, all blank inside and printed using vegan inks on FSC board. Measuring 6x6in with matching envelopes and retailing at £2.25, both Abigail Mill and Susie Lacome’s designs are just the ticket! Susie is a printmaker based in Fife, creating collages and lino prints, with Abigail a textile artist from Norfolk, and between them have created two beautiful ranges for Emma. At Autumn Fair they are launching 18 brand-new enamel pin badges based on Emma’s own bestselling designs. These are great wee gifts and stocking fillers for the coming Christmas season and will become rather addictively collectible. Retailing at £6, each pin measures 2.5-3cm and comes with its own matching backing card. You can call for the summer catalogue which includes all Emma Ball’s Christmas ranges and the pins, new mugs and tea towels. T: 0115 985 8081

46 44 @greetingstoday


BLUE EYED SUN – stand 6A43

A GORGEOUS new range of foiled and embossed greetings cards is being launched by Blue Eyed Sun under the Jade Mosinski brand. This beautiful design-led collection has been created by artist Jade, who is represented by Jehane Ltd. There are 48 designs being unveiled at the show, 12 Valentine’s, 12 Mother’s Day and 24 everyday, with each card coming wrapped in a compostable bag with a colour coordinated envelope. The everyday and Mother’s Day cards are 160x160mm at a trade price of £1.25, RRP £2.95, while the 148x170mm Valentine’s designs are RRP £2.75. Blue Eyed Sun MD Jeremy Corner said: “We absolutely love the style and elegance of the Jade Mosinski brand and buyers were very excited at our sneak preview of the cards at Home & Gift.” T: 01273 823003

Autumn Fair - Hall 6 / E10 01626 369269 @greetingstoday 45



THE new photographic card collection from The Eco-Friendly Card Co, Glebe Cottage, is being launched at Autumn Fair and retailers are invited to collect their free copy of the new photographic cards brochure. Additions include new designs in support of The Wildlife Trusts, landscape and coastal designs, notecard stationery and charity Christmas packs. All of these can be ordered alongside their popular art card collections and 2020 calendars. T: 01626 369269

THE HANDCRAFTED CARD CO – stand 6A14 LOOKING to the upcoming spring seasons, The Handcrafted Card Co have a trio of lovely ranges which can all be seen at Autumn Fair. Cotton Tail is a super-cute range with spring florals ideal for all Easter sends. The cards are hand finished with sparkly gems, yellow pompoms and a coordinating yellow envelope. Doo Litle Valentine’s is endearing romantic collection bursting with fun animal illustrations that are hand embellished with a sparkly gem and supplied with a coordinating striped envelope. And for Mother’s Day, Mum Cub is a striking range with cute animal family illustrations handfinished with sparkly gems, a bow and a coordinating pink envelope. T: 01782 639733

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LESSER & PAVEY – stand 8E60-F61

NATURAL World is one of the new ranges from Lesser & Pavey, along with bamboo feeding sets, William Morris table-top collections, and the Desire humidifiers. The highly-stylised Natural World range of resin figurines features a washed silver finish and includes hares, horses, elephants, lions and tigers with busts and full body sculptures available. For smaller creatures Lesser & Pavey’s mirrored glassware features Gold Glitter Bees on frames, tea light holders, candle plates, coasters, placemats, jewellery boxes and clocks. Even when it comes to babies consumers are looking to be environmentally friendly, so their latest range of bamboo feeding sets is on point. Primary colour pirates are among the designs coming out to play in this fivepiece set, which includes feeding tray, bowl, beaker and cutlery. Dishwasher safe. BPA and phthalate free, they’re all reusable and made with eco-friendly, sustainable, natural bamboo fibre. There are two new ranges in Lesser & Pavey’s William Morris collection of quality tabletop with Jungle Fever and Bird Song. Jungle Fever captures a leopard on quality print ceramics, and melamine kitchen and tableware. The range is also extended to wash bag, glasses case, shopper bag, passport holder, bamboo travel mug and lunchbox, as is Bird Song in the fashionable colourway of teal. Modern life and appliances change the humidity of homes, with sealed windows and central heating, and the trio of colour-changing ceramic Desire Humidifiers, presented in colourful gift boxes, can address the dry air. The Desire range includes multicoloured Aroma Lamps that are touch sensitive, projecting light that can be used with wax melts and aroma oils. And three sizes of decorative candles with scents of Peach Blush, White Lily, Salted Caramel, Pomegranate Noir and Vanilla Crème have been added. Lesser & Pavey’s brand-new collection of reading glasses is an eye catcher with eight designs in five colours in strengths from 1.0 to 3.5. Each design is supplied on a customer display unit which features an easy-touse eye test to check the strength required, and a mirror. And finally, with Christmas on the way, the latest festive collection has reindeer, snowmen and gonks in a variety of designs and sizes from 35cm to 150cm. T: 01322 279225

LANTHER BLACK – stand 6B34

EACH year brings with it an opportunity for personal growth, a chance to better oneself and learn something new. Lanther Black’s new Stickman collection encourages these efforts by promoting culture and learning. Take this Happio Birthdayio card, for example, which is not just in one foreign language, it’s in all of them – and none of them. If that’s not educational enough, the collection also covers food and drink, and medieval history. There are nine cards in the collection, which is the square root of 81. Maths. T: 01277 549040

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BERNI has added six new designs to her Christmas Ladies range along with two new festive notecard packs with two different bestselling designs in each. Also newly released are 12 cards of Bernie’s Ladies embracing and loving summer along with designs for lovers of yoga, tai chi and pilates. There are an additional dozen new designs in the successful Ladies birthday collection printed on a soft textured board with copper foiling and a copper-coloured pearlescent envelope. Berni’s brand-new Lovely You collection of ethereal art cards for special friends is now available with beautiful faces, flowers and loving sentiments printed on a textured board with gold foiling and gold pearlescent envelope. And not forgetting the males with eight new everyday designs for Men Loving their sport, including cycletherapy and relaxin over a drink with their mates. T: 01299 406098


A WHOLE host of new products and ranges will be on show from Pyramid International at Autumn Fair. These include a collection for the hugely-popular Netflix series Stranger Things. Hot on the heels of its tremendously successful third season, Pyramid have introduced several new and exciting products, including an arcade machine-shaped mug and a hidden-feature cappuccino mug. Pyramid will also be exhibiting new additions to their Eco-Conscious range which has proven extremely popular since it’s spring launch. The rice husk eco mugs will see expansion with new Lion King and Pusheen designs, while their metal drinks bottle range will see licences such as Harry Potter, Rick & Morty and Friends join the portfolio. Autumn Fair will also provide an opportunity to present images of Pyramid’s ranges for the highly anticipated Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. The buzz around these continues to grow on an almost daily basis and will provide incredible opportunities at retail. With all of these opportunities and more, the Pyramid International stand is not one to miss! T: 0116 284 3640

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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.


NORTH – Denise Laird, Spirito, Glasgow

The autumn trade show season is starting to loom large in the diary and last-minute arrangements need to be finalised. These shows are quite important to us as they represent the final major buying opportunities for last-minute Christmas gift and card ideas, as well as a look ahead to getting orders in for new spring season stock especially for Valentine’s, Mother’s Day and Easter – this year I intend to visit both Autumn Fair and Scotland’s Trade Fair Autumn. Autumn Fair is so much more manageable than Spring Fair which can seem overwhelming due to its sheer size and scale, so I find it easier to be able to focus on finding what I need instead of getting distracted and straying miles off topic, although the challenge is not buying more of what you have already ordered – why is it that you always seem to find nicer versions of products that you’ve already bought? Scotland’s Trade Fair is my local show and, although it’s relatively small compared to the London and Birmingham shows, many of the suppliers and product ranges work very well us, especially the Scottishthemed gifts and cards which often reference local landmarks, themes or dialects. Suppliers who have caught my eye are Pink Pig Cards who have some great touches such as add your town to their card range which is a nice way to connect with your local community. They also have quirky Scottish twist on Christmas cards as their spring collection has a quite different look which gives great variety across the board.

WEST – Alison Allen, Conway Cards, Garstang, Lancs


Spring seasons will be upon us, in terms of stock arriving, in the week leading up to Christmas, which is a scary thought! We love getting our spring selection of tissue, bags and gift wrap from Glick - it brightens up our whole wall with the bright and pastel colours of the floral designs. We’ve recently started to add clay sheets, rolled up and tied with ribbon, into our window displays and it really works!  Our selection of spring greetings cards will come mainly from UKG, Nigel Quiney Publications and Cherry Orchard again next year. Mother’s Day in particular in NQP’s Pizazz range is stunning, floral and glittery alongside UKG’s contemporary and traditional designs always seem to be a winning combination for us. The neon trend is well catered for by Pigment in their Nutty Neon and Happy Jackson ranges for both Mother’s and Father’s Day, and for Valentine’s Day their Alice Scott range is simple, to the point and very effective!  Abacus also give us a good selection of floral and photographic for Mother’s Day, contemporary and gentle humour for Father’s Day and bright and traditional for Easter.  Our EcoChic range of environmentally-friendly bags and accessories just keeps getting bigger. They’ll make great Mother’s Day gifts, a fabulous alternative to chocolate Easter eggs and even something for dad on Father’s Day too. Our lovely lightweight Alex Clark scarves make a beautiful gift, and we’re eagerly awaiting a delivery of Wrendale Designs new satchels, bags and drinks bottles – they will make great gifts all year round as the designs have such a huge following.


SOUTH – Chris Dell, White Mint, Berkhamsted, Herts

It’s getting near to trade show season again, and we’re busy trying to plan our trips across the country, finalising Christmas plans and preparing for the new year newness. We always look forward to Autumn Fair and this year it gives us a chance to catch up with our good friends Buddy Fernandez and see their new Babbling cards. At the show we’ll also be on the hunt for some unusual Christmas card packs and wrap. A new supplier we’ve just introduced to the shop is Stop The Clock and their Wild At Heart range have been extremely popular. The trend for jungle animals and prints seems to continue as we look at ordering for the new season. Cheeky adult humour cards have continued to sell well and it’s lovely hearing the chuckles from the back of the shop so we’ll also be looking for some more suppliers to add to this range of cards which make us unique on our High Street. Looking at the card exhibitors at Top Drawer there are a few which we’ll be paying a trip to, including Text From A Friend and Stormy Knight. We have our comfy shoes and socks packed so are ready to go out and tackle the great hall trek!


EAST – Kathy Starr, Gifted, Thaxted, Essex Summer is an unusual time for us. It often goes a bit flat after the rush of teacher gifts and we use this lull to focus on our Christmas buying. However, this year we’ve been amazed at how busy July was. This is partly due to our new refill service for beauty and home products appearing in the press and social media, but also maybe as a result of more and more people stay-cationing? I think we’re on track for Christmas but we will be visiting Top Drawer and, as ever. looking for new cards. We recently received our delivery from PG exhibitors Lucy Alice of their lovely animal designs in her distinctive style. We’re also still riding the Rosie Made A Thing wave - still funny and still hugely popular here! Huge congratulations to Rosie on being shortlisted for five Henries awards. @greetingstoday



Constantly improving and updating their processes and offer, Windles Group have been the home of Creative Cold Foil since 2004 and now have the Kard Klasp solution to the issue of cellowrap versus naked cards.


ECKON you know all about Creative Cold Foil? It’s time to take another look because, at Windles, they’re constantly improving and updating.

The process invented by the print specialists’ founder and MD Bruce Podmore really started to come to the fore around 10 years ago and, as they hit that milestone, Creative Cold Foil is now being used on some of the world’s leading greetings designs. Windles’ creative direction guru Ian Kear-Bertie has been busy bringing their offer bang up to date with a brand-new brochure showing a further 300 colours as well as different gradients, patterns and how Creative Cold Foil adapts to various substrates. And that’s not the Thame-based eco-friendly print group’s only innovation as they are also expanding and improving their trademarked Kard Klasp alternative to naked cards, helping publishers and retailers begin to get to grips with cutting out single-use cellowrap from the greetings industry. Applied in one pass on a lithographic press, designers can have as many Cold Foil metallic colours as they wish on one image – in contrast, traditional hot foiling applies one colour at a time and, although still a foil, provides a completely different finish. “The new foil guide is in addition to the original,” Ian said, “that had 300, this has another 300 but this has new colours, new techniques, and new ways of using the Cold Foil to inspire designers. Ian’s creative direction role is to work with clients, listening to their requirements and matching it with the production capabilities of the Windles team and their machines – always pushing to see what else can be achieved. He added: “I do as little or as much as the client wants. With Creative Cold Foil, this new guide puts all the creativity back in their hands in terms of metallic colours. The 600 we show are only a guide, a starting point. The designer can have almost any colour they want and pick any tints for the graduation or ombre process. Business development and marketing manager Michelle Mills is also finding more clients wanting techniques such as embossing, textured embossing, and sculpted to be combined with the Cold Foil, as well as the use of neon inks. “Embossing as the finishing touch to anything cold foil delivers huge impact,” said Michelle, “and has almost a glistening effect as the peaks and troughs on a textured material are retained. “And seeing it on notebooks is good, we’re beginning to see the take up there so it will be interesting to see if the trend follows that of greetings cards where it is such a synonymous part of the world.” Textures and lusture are also affecting designers with regard to the naked card phenomenon. Not only do they want to cut down on single use

plastics but they also find the cellowrap can stop the effect being seen as well as preventing customers realising the tactile nature of the cards. Following their launch of Kard Klasp earlier this year, Windles have been constantly refining and improving the Klasps which hold card and envelope together while enabling publishers to keep their branding obvious. With the main driver being to remove single-use plastic, Windles developed the concept of mechanically joining card and envelope together with the Klasp. They are still bagging with the options of using recyclable OPP or biodegradable plasticfree film which won’t be susceptible to bursting or disintegrating on the shelf – it’s the customer’s choice. And, looking to offer the ultimate solution, Klasps can be ordered separately which can be applied manually in fulfilment houses or by publishers themselves – and retailers can have their own versions printed with prices and shop name to apply as they put naked cards out on shelves. Ian said: “The overriding message is that Kard Klasp is a solution to help the industry. Almost everyone has said they love the idea because it’s getting rid of plastic and we all want that as a main goal. “It’s amazing how much detail and research goes into such a simple little solution. I think we went through seven, eight, nine, different mixtures of adhesive to get to one that was sticky enough but not too sticky, that worked for different board substrates. People said the original glue was a little aggressive so we went to the special mixes to find one that was about right. “It’s the reason we put the Kard Klasp name on the back so people know it’s been through all those tests and it will come off the card in two months’ time. It’s a sign of quality and assurance. “It’s mad – we’re printers but we have responsibilities. When we were setting up this new environmentally-friendly factory we were learning all about the habits of badgers, and the settling of bats to ensure we looked after the wildlife around here, and recently we’ve been working with chemists on adhesives!”

Kard Klasp is a solution to help the industry @greetingstoday

T: 01844 201683 53


The 7th PaperAwards will be revealed just before Top Drawer A/W19 opens its doors and retailers are being asked to help pick the winners who will be displayed at the show which breaks boundaries and defines trends.

Vote for winners R

ETAILERS and the greetings industry are being asked to help celebrate design, creativity and innovation by voting for their favourites among the just-announced finalists for this season’s PaperAwards.

Supported by G.F Smith, there are now four categories – Exciting Use Of Colour, Emotive Design, Engaging Print and the new Best Stationery Design – with the winners to be displayed at the autumn-winter edition of the show, which runs from September 8-10 at Olympia in London. The show itself is aimed at breaking boundaries and defining trends, and for the first time is co-located with the Pulse event, bringing an unmissable, unique edit of more than 1,000 carefullycurated brands showcasing everything from cutting-edge to classic design and firm favourites to undiscovered names. The 10 sectors – Home, Gift, Fashion, Greetings & Stationery, Play, Pulse & Spotted, Craft, Food Emporium, Wellbeing and the brand-new Retail Clinics – join the Clarion Events show features for buyers to learn about the latest trends, gain expert advice, and help them successfully source products for the new season. Having moved from its former May slot Pulse, along with Spotted, will give visitors looking for emerging talent and new names access to original and innovative brands. Show director Alejandra Campos, for organisers Clarion Events, said: “Top Drawer has always been at the forefront of industry trends and cutting-edge content. The co-location with Pulse, which is known for presenting the next wave of design talent, makes for the perfect complement to our existing offering. “With the amalgamation of the two shows, visitors will have the ability to explore the largest presentation of commercially-ready emerging brands and design, as well as the industry’s bigger, more established names.” Retailers looking to learn about the latest in-store and online solutions will discover a hand-picked selection of the very best suppliers and experts in the brand-new Retail Clinics. The A/W19 debut of this sector has been specially tailored to give visitors access to the very best advice and tools to help drive their businesses successfully forward and stay ahead of the competition. Following its successful January debut,

At the forefront of industry trends and cutting edge content



Olympia, Kensington, London Sunday, Sept 8 – 9.30am-6pm Monday, Sept 9 – 9.30am-6pm Tuesday, Sept 10 – 9.30am-5pm DesignTalk returns as the dedicated seminar stream for interior professionals and design-savvy retailers, presenting specialist advice, trend analysis and spirited discussion from leading interior designers and key exponents, complementing RetailFest, the show’s flagship seminar programme, while the PaperAwards and Spotted Award will highlight industry innovation and trends. Taking place for the seventh time, the PaperAwards entries again impressed the prestigious list of retail industry judges (pictured top), from department stores, High Street staples and indies, so much it was decided to increase the number of shortlisted entries per category from six to seven. All greetings and stationery exhibitors were

eligible to enter the awards, and the shortlisted finalists in each category are:  Best Stationery Design – Ola, Paper Plane, Portico Design , Rama, Rifle Paper Co, Text From A Friend, UWP  Exciting Use of Colour – 1973, Alphablots, Archivist, Ola, Paper Plane, Poet & Painter, Stormy Knight  Emotive Design – 1973, Artcadia, Cut & Make, Deadpan Cards, Old English Co, Rifle Paper Co, Stormy Knight  Engaging Print – 1973, Cut & Make, Made By Shannon, Ola, Pavillion, Wanderlust, UWP Members of the retail industry are now asked to vote for their favourites at with the winners to be announced prior to the show. All finalists will have their work showcased in the Greetings & Stationery area at Top Drawer AW19, and each of the four winners will receive a prize worth more than £1,000, including £50 worth of free paper from G.F Smith on any order of £50 or over; marketing help with a two-month PressLoft free trial worth £750; HR resources worth £250, and a 25 per cent discount on print solutions with Century Studios. @greetingstoday


EXHIBITORS’ LIST 1973 – stand A41 2toTango – S29 About Face Illustration – Y19 A Gift From The Gods – J31 Alljoy Design – S20 Alphablots – R12 Amberlyn Co – Q16 Amelia Florence – T15 Arnelle Woker – T29 Art Angels – R29 Artcadia – S01 ArtPress – R15 Authentik London – Q17 Ben Langworthy Paper Goods – P01 Bluetiful – V16 Candle Bark Creations – P16 Carpe Diem – R21 Chiltern Publishing – R25 Crumble & Core – T18 Cut&make – Q19 Deadpan Cards – V15 The DM Collection – T11 East End Prints – R28 Elena Deshmukh – V18 Ellie Good Illustration – R18 Emily Nash Illustration – R10 English Graphics – S22 Forever Cards – P02 From Me 2 U – S13 Go Stationery – Q29 Humbee – Q25 Jade Fisher – S18 James Ellis – U10 Jen Rowland – V10 Joy Jen Studio – S19 Judy Lumley Print – S28 Katy’s Print Shop – V11 Kaweco (Studio Pens) – R24 Little Plover – Q23

Lorna Syson – U19 Middle Mouse – S11 Made by Shannon – U28 Megan Elizabeth Designs – T25 Mike & Some Ink Nice – S15 Mode Prints – S25 The Moon Journal – V29 My World – T10 Ola – T22 Old English Co – P26 Olive & Belle – T28 Paper Parade Stationers – Q15 Paper Plane – U16 Pavilion – T19 Pearl Ivy – U24 Peggy & Kate – V28 Peter Pauper Press – V23 Petra Boase – V19 Poet & Painter – U25 Ponder Lily – Q13 The Pop Out Card Co – P20 Pressed And Folded – T20 Proud Couture – V22 Rama Publishing UK – P18 Roger La Borde – Q18 Rosie Made A Thing – S16 Rumble Cards – T21 Ruth Jackson – S10 Scout Editions – U11 Stephanie Davies – U21 Stormy Knight – U20 Sweet Design – R16 Tattersfield Designs – I17 Text From A Friend – R01 Tor Grey – R14 Wanderlust Paper Co – V21 We Act – U29 Well Said Card Co – U15 You’ve Got Pen On Your Face – S17

MIDDLE MOUSE – stand S11 AFTER the success of PG Live, Middle Mouse are excited to exhibit at Top Drawer, with brand-new designs in both their Cardlet and Trailblazers ranges. The innovative Cardlets are greetings cards with bonus content, from bon voyage cards with travel planning pages, to new baby cards with pages to record the little one’s progress. They’re now launching their brand-new retirement card with gardening tips inside, as well as a range of coordinating gift wrap, tags and more. The popular Trailblazer collection is back with six brandnew designs. This inspiring and empowering range features portraits of iconic figures each with a quote that encourages positive self-image and achievement. As well as Shakespeare, Einstein and Emmeline Pankhurst, new designs include Emily Brontë, Maya Angelou and Mozart. And Middle Mouse are also launching this range as A6 soft back notebooks. T: 07855 959176

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THE range of 1,000-piece jigsaws by Flame Tree has been a hit and it keeps growing! They are adding four new designs this September, including the colourful Up, Up, And Away by Nel Whatmore, Van Gogh’s iconic Sunflowers with the National Gallery, and the fantastical Cthulhu Rising by Eddie Sharam plus The Garden Of Earthly Delight by Hieronymus Bosch. Following the introduction of the Lilac Artisan Notebook this summer, Flame Tree are delighted to be adding a new vibrant colour – Metallic Blue. The range now has 15 colours, all with different beautifully-decorated edges. And Flame Tree’s Foiled Notebook collections now consists of 260 designs, from fine art to dragons, all of which will be on display at Top Drawer. For the first time buyers will be able to see the four new designs –Janine Partington’s Copper Foil Tree, Angela Harding’s Rathlin Hares, Kerem Beyit’s Mama Leaf Dragon and John Tenniel’s Alice And The Cheshire Cat. The notebooks are incredibly tactile as they are all foiled and embossed, with a handy pocket, ribbon markers and magnetic flap – do come to have a look. T: 020 7751 9650

PAPER PLANE – stand U16


THE signature collection of gifts and greetings cards for sports enthusiasts will be on display from Worry Less Design at Top Drawer, where they are also launching several products for the season ahead. These include a new range of socks with quirky designs for rugby, cycling, cricket and golf lovers, and a stylish insulated thermal travel cup branded with Worry Less Design’s iconic artwork for sports enthusiasts. They are also expanding their existing Definitions and Repeat ranges, including dedicated collections for rugby, rowing, football, and cricket. There are several new, humorous greetings cards and the full range has been redesigned to look and feel more luxurious, with textured board and an embossed frame. And ready for the festive season, Worry Less Design will present their full range of Christmas cards while retailers looking for products with a gift box option can discover their new packaging made from eco-friendly kraft packaging and featuring branded glossy labelling.

18 56

HOT on the paws of the Designed By Dog collection, Laura and Jack from Paper Plane have turned their attentions to the feline market with their new range, Love From The Cat X, with cheeky messages aimed at owners of felines with attitude. The Rutland-based duo have also added a birthday age selection to their popular Mixed Messages range, covering birthdays from 16 to 100, plus they’ve added three new cards to their Grid range, for real people in real relationships. As well as cards at Top Drawer, Paper Plane will have their range of vegan, 100 per cent natural soaps and solid shampoo bars – and will be keeping their fingers crossed for the PaperAwards where they are finalists in both the Best Stationery Design and Exciting Use Of Colour categories. @greetingstoday


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Build a bond Guest columnist Bella Ghale (card and gift agent covering Hants, Berks, Bucks, Oxon & Herts, 07938 190544) has been a sales agent for a year and here talks of what she’s learned in that time.


EEEKKK! Is it that time of year already..,?

What an exciting time, we’ve had the Retas Awards – many congratulations to all the retailers who were winners there. The 2019 Henries finalists have just been announced so good luck to all those publishers too. Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival was last month and we have Autumn Fair and Top Drawer coming up in September. Retailers are starting to look at the spring seasons for 2020, not to mention all those Christmas preorders done earlier in the year that are about to arrive in store! There’s certainly lots going on for all of us regardless of our function in this wonderful greetings industry. Sorry to remind you about all of this by the way! Having worked for a card and gift company for seven years, I’ve been an independent sales agent for a year since returning to work after having my little kiddies – I’m a very proud mum to a fouryear-old and an 18-month-old. I’m lucky to be representing some fantastic companies, so I get a good balance of Mummy Bella and Agent Bella. I simply adore this industry – I’m obsessed with and addicted to cards and all these beautiful quality gifts we see come through nowadays. Anybody who knows me can vouch that I’m also a sucker for a designed envelope! I visit a wide variety of clients, High Street card and gift shops, garden centres, fashion boutiques, farm shops, tea rooms and coffee shops, and many customers have become my friends. We’ve built up a natural bond which started from

having cards and gifts in common, to knowing about your son’s potty training or how your mum is doing in her new home. We see each other through ups and downs of life, so I feel a retailer-agent relationship is so important for more than just work. We work closely together to come up with new ranges for them to stock, but we also console if needed and have a good old catch up at the same time. Business is super tough now, we all know that, so the support between retailers, agents/reps and the suppliers themselves is essential. Market trends continue to influence sales within the card and gift industry – which brings me on to social media. I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen our fair share of flamingos and unicorns, right? I use Instagram to share different products and many of my customers comment on my page when I see them, or through the portal itself. Social media is imperative now so if you don’t have accounts and profiles setup already, you should – I highly recommend it (that’s my bit of barking orders at you). I’ve found tremendous success and traction through social media, it’s great for catching on to trends, seeing new potentials and showcasing brands. I’ve even opened up new accounts through it. When I’m not on Instagram, I am out doing my actual job! An average day sees me visiting between three

and five customers. There might be a couple of appointments with some pop-ins, or prospecting within an area where there are no customers for certain companies I represent. One minute you’re in the car all on your own, the next you’re selling yourself and your brands to customers you may never have even met before. Other days there might only be one or two appointments that can last four to five hours each, so every day is different. The other thing an agent should be good at is journey planning, constantly looking at a map working out the next town to visit and which companies aren’t already covered in that area. Now there’s also all the samples to carry – my card case is heavy, and I mean really blinking heavy! But it’s so important to have all the samples as you just don’t know what retailers will want or need in their shop that day. I also carry my gift samples as well, so my biceps are pretty good from lugging them around – that, and the children (but not usually at the same time). There’s my snapshot of life as an independent sales agent. Following the Looney Tunes tradition, that’s all folks. I’ve hit my word quota, maybe I’ll be back again soon if I haven’t bored you all to tears! Enjoy the rest of the summer holidays, hope trade is good for you all and, next stop, school starting back, Halloween and the big C!

The retailer agent relationship is so important for more than just work

Ian Bradley (Midland Card Agencies, T: 07905 597498) is an experienced independent greetings industry sales agent in the Midlands, and shares experiences of life of the road bi-monthly with guest agents taking up their pen in between. @greetingstoday 57

meetthenewbies Feel good and get smart PURPOSEFUL children’s stationery business Stib have launched their first greetings card range, featuring six individual, colourful designs. More than just a card, they are each printed with one of the brand’s spark phrases – Smart Earth Lover, Inspiring Self-Believer, Brave Freestyler, Creative Joy Finder, Amazing Big Thinker and Kind World Changer – alongside their exclusive Stibler animal characters. And each card is blank inside while also including a four-page colouring landscape with positive mantras designed to help children feel good – plus the six designs will also be available as A4 posters, perfect for children’s bedrooms or playrooms. Stib were recent winners of the prestigious LaunchPad 2019 competition, which saw eight brands selected to receive a free exhibition stand at the Stationery Show London, where they were also identified by trends forecasters Scarlet Opus as epitomising future global consumer design trends and selected to feature in their highly regarded Trends Tour, revealing what consumer demands and expectations will be over the next two years. Founded by mum and entrepreneur Emily Sayer, Stib stands for Spark Thinking In A Box, and she aims to help children feel good on the inside and do good on the outside.

Stib believe in the potential of all children to do amazing things and give 10 per cent of profits to the charity which supports education projects for vulnerable children in the UK and overseas. The product range also includes Stib’s inspirational colouring pencils, each embossed with a positive spark phrase and available in brightly-striped Jumbo and Mini size tubes along with a double pencil sharpener, as well as a sticker sheet or colouring templates featuring the Stiblers, a secret group of animal characters designed exclusively for Stib to help children facing life’s little lumps and bumps.

T: 07837 428364

Pressing matters for Vici and Adam

Delighted by happy surprise 2Fs Design was an unplanned child – one thing led to another and it was born. Peppy Scott and David Smith are delighted with their happy surprise and are now on a steep learning curve as they want to bring it up properly. Friends who met through a writers’ group, Peppy and David discovered a shared enthusiasm for words and humour as performance poets, and they continue to host a regular open mic evening as Pam Flitt and Ivor Folio. When Peppy began illustrating her poems, the idea of combining light-hearted words and simple drawings on cards came to life, and Flitt & Folio became 2Fs. 2Fs Design launched at PG Live 2019 with a diverse selection of all-occasion ranges, plus birthday and Christmas cards with a twist. Varying in style, the ranges are linked by a thread of humour that ranges from whimsical to sardonic via cheeky. The original illustrations are hand-drawn in various media and crafted with an affectionate overtone.

T: 07770 918592


BASED in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Artcadia are a new letterpress card brand, having recently branched out into greetings designs. The company were founded in 2009 by Vici Blenkharn, and are considered one of the pioneers in the resurgence of letterpress printing in the UK. The business has come a long way from those humble beginnings working on a treadle press in a garden shed – fast forward to 2019 and you’ll find Vici, her husband Adam and a small team working in a beautiful print studio and shop, bustling with creativity and production and with two Henries Awards 2019 nominations to boot. In late 2018 they developed a line of greetings cards, gifts wraps and stationery for retail, which they sell direct and through their lovely stockists worldwide.

T: 01743 367949

Design your own ONLINE retailers of personalised gift packaging products and complementary items. The range of products from includes rope handle gift bags, bottle boxes, boxes of chocolates, advent calendars – the list goes on! When on the website, the customer can select the occasion they’re looking for, followed by the product, they then pick a design from one of thousands available to personalise with their own photograph and message. After seeing a 3D preview of their item, the order can be placed to be delivered either to themselves or directly to the recipient. All of the products offered on the site are 100 per cent manufactured in-house at Vanilla Reindeer’s state-of-the-art production facility in Boston, Lincolnshire.

T: 0843 561 9450




From steam power to the power of the internet, Britain has led the charge with industrial revolutions and, in the midst of the fourth, we’re moving rapidly towards the fifth. Sarah Ward looks at how it will help the greetings, gift and home industry.


N 20 OR 30 years, you’ll be able to hold in your hands as much computing knowledge as exists now in the whole city or even the whole world.

Back in 1997 Douglas Englebert, an early internet and computer pioneer, made this comment and, two decades, on it’s clear that we’re now well and truly in the fourth industrial revolution, while moving rapidly towards the fifth. Business owners need to understand the rapidity of the technological advances the world sees each day, whether in medical sciences, space exploration or new ecommerce and retail tools. But how can taking advantage of these help you reach your business goals in the greetings, home and gift industry? Well, it’s all about embracing the change and moving with the times, adopting new and emerging technologies and using them to your advantage over the competition.

The premise of each industrial revolution so far is that it has improved human life. Previously, the country developed from a farming nation by creating tools and technology to master machines and catapult us into a global superpower through the industrial revolution with then cutting-edge steam power and industry. Going forward, the invention of the microprocessor and development of computers created the advent of the digital age in which we now live, which means we are even more connected than ever. Within our industry we have never before been as connected to our customers thanks to technology where we now rely on social media and social strategies to engage with our audience. A lot of these technologies are free, or available at a very low cost, which means small to medium-sized companies can really boost their profiles within the industry. A key tool in the current industrial revolution, data is now massively important and more valuable than oil, with companies utilising it more efficiently than ever, able to target and

We have never before been as connected to our customers thanks to technology

Sarah Ward is chief executive of the Giftware Association which is at the heart of the gift industry supporting members by offering invaluable advice and assistance. Coming originally from a retail background she then worked at Penny Kennedy gaining extensive knowledge in the card, wrap and stationery sector, and now utilises these skills across a broader environment. T: 0121 236 2657 @greetingstoday

personalise their interactions with customers – your marketing campaigns will only be as effective as your data. Companies are using IT systems more efficiently as data is transferred to cloudbased systems. The Internet Of Things, which extends connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects, has also moved forwards as connectivity along conventional computing platforms such as PCs and mobile devices has evolved and we’re more connected than ever. We’re now nearing the fifth industrial revolution, which will have an artificial intelligence focus and machine learning at its heart, creating more opportunities for the greetings, home and gift industry to grow. The giftware world can take advantage of the increased computing powers making the previously impossible seemingly possible. Using this new power will be key to boosting your company and achieving your goals as well as giving you an advantage over your competition. This robot utopia will significantly change how we work, play and sell, both on and offline by taking over repetitive time-consuming tasks and assisting with high-level decision-making, allowing business owners to concentrate on strategic activities while planning and implementing the success of their business. In the robot utopia, the importance of innovation and advancement should be both embraced and celebrated as well – for the future of the systems relies on many companies adopting them and using them to their advantage. 59


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Glorious sunshine greeted visitors and exhibitors at the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate over July 11-14, with the Sunday Sundowners social gathering going down a storm and retailers queueing up to find out what the 59th annual event had to offer. The ShopTalk sessions with headline speakers Piers Linney, Pearl Lowe and Rosie Fortescue were well attended and there was plenty of buying going on.

Aga Gabrysiak & Paula, The Highworth Emporium, Highworth, Wilts “We were in search of new exciting gifts for our lovely shop. First stop Charlie Bears! We can’t wait to share our choices with our customers – we’re all buzzing and really looking forward to receiving our new stock very soon. We sourced some really exciting new pieces of jewell ery, fashion and eco and much more.”

rcs & Co, Malvern, Wo Sean Austin, Austin t Show, catching Gif & me Ho the at “I had three days relationships pliers and forging new up with current sup ted for sor ng ppi sho of bit with others. A fair !” p – and yes, dinosaurs Christmas in the sho

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Suzie & Holly McSw iggan, Gingerbread Dreams, Duntocher, West Du nbartonshire “It’s my favourite sho w to attend, as it has lovely atmosphere a – you day. The shop has bee ’re guaranteed a good n going 15 years and we’ve been coming to Ho me & Gift for about 10 years. It doesn’t feel like an intense shopping spr ee. We have more time and there’s no pressure. Today we’ve managed to fi nd a few new supplie rs.”

rton, , Northalle n, Barkers e Wilkinso di ri B & n Kate McCai ’s clear shire does and it er North York s what she H . ve lo ss y ne nl si ai e cert ns in bu “Pearl Low go with your passio portance of being to im t e go th you’ve lighted cause our session high ly relevant to us be m. For ShopTalk al mainstrea re t ’s no at d th erent, different an pect something diff .” rience ex customers opping expe out the sh us it’s all ab



Talk of the town The voice of the people who matter, greetings retailers tell it like it is.

Rachael & Gavin, The Baobab, Mortimer Common, Reading, Berks

‘ Sarah & Ange, The Dotty House, Gateshead, Tyne And Wear

What’s the story behind your store? My best friend of forever Sarah and I started a business up about 14 years ago making personalised gifts in a design studio and then sold the products to independent retailers and our own website. We both had quite stressful jobs and very young children, so wanted something that was more flexible and it made sense to start our own business. Then four years ago we opened up our own shop and just over a year ago we moved to a bigger, newer location which is where we are now. It was converted for us and things are going really well. Now the kids are a lot older, we can commit to having a High Street shop – and we wanted to sell things that are good quality, not necessarily really expensive, but also different, that can’t be found in every other shop. And we’ve just had some more excitement as I’m in a choir called The Voice Of The Town and our musical director was in contact with Take That’s management about being one of the choirs to sing with then, first in Birmingham in an arena in front of 15,500 people and then in Middlesborough to 35,500 people. We only sang two songs, but one of them was Relight My Fire with Lulu as well, so it was quite an experience – the atmosphere was fantastic.

Are you attending any of the Autumn shows? We’re going to Top Drawer, we’ve just booked our train tickets! We like Top Drawer because we feel there are more top-quality, new designers there. Autumn Fair is just so huge and it can take a long time to find the one thing you’re looking for, whereas Top Drawer, you tend to find many new things.

What’s in your window at the moment? Artebene bags and make-up bags. We have a lot of locally-sourced gifts – we stock a brand called Wot Ma Like, they make a lot of North East products. We also have prints from I Drew This and we have personalised gifts from Coulson Macleod and Jola Designs.

Which occasion is your biggest and which publishers sell well here – have you ordered from anyone new for next year? I wouldn’t say there’s a particular season/ occasion that sells the most, but Caroline Gardner cards always sell exceptionally well. Real & Exciting Designs have also sold really well for us, along with Think Of Me and Louise Tyler. And yesterday we ordered from Peel Cards who are new to us.

How do trade mags like Greetings Today help you? They’re great! They give us ideas, let us know what other people are buying, what’s current, the new, up and coming designers. So yeah, we find them really useful.

What’s your biggest trend at the moment? The Gingko mini speaker and book lights are just really nice, quality men’s gifts. Life Charm bracelets – people can’t get enough of them. Orbitkey keyrings are another popular one. What’s the most surprising product, card or gift, that you sell – and what’s your favourite item in store? Hydestyle handbags have sold really, really well and we thought they’d take quite a while to shift them, but they went quite quickly. Another one was the reusable drinking straws from Really Good; we uhmed and ahhed over them for ages, but they sold really well. Our favourite product is from Lure Bags and we’ve also just brought in Annie Edwards candles that come in cocktail shakers, so they’re useful once the candle has burned.

Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? I love the Buddy Fernandez cards because they’re funny and a bit rude! @greetingstoday

What’s the story behind your store? We used to be a post office and I was the postmistress here. The Post Office then decided to take away all the postmasters so we decided to send it packing. We did a full shop refit and we reopened as we are now, incorporating a coffee area in to our cards and gift shop, and we’re Cardgains members too. What’s in your window at the moment? We have a combination of cement-type vases, rusticstyle, carved-out geckos, plants and Moroccan lamps as well. How do trade mags like Greetings Today help you? They give us more inspiration as well as allowing us to scout new suppliers. Are you attending any of the autumn shows? No, sadly not. What’s your biggest trend at the moment – llamas, sloths and unicorns are all generally popular, how about for you? It’s hard to say really, but we have had a bit of a rush on the jewellery, specifically the shell designs. What’s the most surprising product, card or gift, that you sell – and what’s your favourite item in store? We’ve just had in Redback Cards’ Holy Flaps range, they’re extremely rude and hilarious. It’s really difficult to pick a favourite product because I do all the buying, so I like everything in the shop. But, at the moment I like the Joe Davies Busy Bees design. Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? We’ve got a brand-new, absolutely beautiful Noel Tatt pop-up card collection. It’s The Treasures and there’s a beautiful one with humming birds and fuchsias. 61


Greetings Today golf day 2019 Glorious sunshine crowned the annual Greetings Today golf day, with 10 teams taking to the greens at Puckrup Hall in Gloucestershire on June 27. Lema Media chairman and Greetings Today founder Malcolm Naish reports on the day’s fun.


T DOESN’T seem like 15 years ago that I first decided to organise a golf day for the greetings card industry – time goes really quickly when you’re having fun! With 39 golfers setting out on the morning round nine-hole Texas Scramble in wonderful weather conditions, everything was set for a great day. I was delighted to welcome back some old friends in the form of Fedrigoni ,and Ernest Cummins Print that included Chris Dyson and his gents from Cardgains, and newcomers Tallon led by Paul Ellis, plus Berni Parker Designs with John Parker leading the way. The Texas Scramble was won by the team of Troy Nelson, Simon Davis, John Skeet and John Parker with a score of 25.3. Second were the talented Tallon team of Paul Ellis, Gary Jackson, Colin Eccleshall, and Peter Grice on 26.3 and third were Fedrigoni’s team of Nick Rowley, Peter Stevens, Neil Mercer and Richard Gilgrass on 28.4. After a hearty lunch and relaxed couple of hours discussing industry matters on the patio (those lagers went down well!), it was down to business and the serious golf that would see the team prizes, yellow ball and individual stableford trophies being awarded to new winners for 2019. The yellow ball competition always attracts a huge following and very rarely sees more than a couple of teams retaining the yellow ball across all 18 holes. Ace salesman, piano player and golfer Mr Bill Greeno led his Paperlink team to glory by retaining their yellow ball and amassing 34 Stableford points in the process. A close second came Rod Brown’s Words ’n’ Wishes with 32 points. As I’ve often stated, the team four-ball competition for the UK Greetings Trophy is


always a close-run thing and it was no different this year. The first three teams were split on just two points with Bill Greeno’s Paperlink team of David Theobald, Mark Rees and Mark Janson-Smith topping the scores with 119 points. Second on 118 were Words ’n’ Wishes and third on 117 the talented Tallon team – how close was that! We had a new and most deserving winning of the individual stableford with Paperlink’s David Theobald off a handicap of just eight amassing a stableford total of 40 points. Second and third were decided on countback with Rod Brown just pipping Gary Jackson on countback on the last three holes, both having scored 35 points. To encourage the high handicap players we have provided a handsome piece of glassware for the 24-28 handicappers and this year the prize was won by Neil Hirst from the Ernest Cummins team with 30 points. It was a very good day for David Theobald as he also won the longest drive, with Karen McCracken winning the nearest the pin in two and John Skeet of Skeet Print winning nearest the pin. For the last few years we have all enjoyed a barbecue to finish the day and, with gorgeous weather, what better than to lounge and relax outside in the sunshine to discover the various winners. This also enabled those having to drive home a much earlier start, compared to sitting out a three-course meal. My thanks to William and Karen McCracken for scoring the cards and to Edward Litchfield of Puckrup Hall and his team for looking after us so well. Put a note in your diary for 2020 that the next Greetings Today golf day will again be held at Puckrup Hall, Tewkesbury, Glos, on Tuesday, July 7. – Malcolm Bubba Naish @greetingstoday

15THGOLFCLASSIC @greetingstoday 63



The life of Brian N

OSTALGIA is a funny thing and we’re all guilty of looking back into the past and saying “it was better in the old days” – even if the old days aren’t that old.

I’m talking about the 80s and 90s and my magnificent, messy but not really misspent youth. When we look back at our glory days, we do so with rose-tinted glasses, viewing those moments lost to yesterday in an often optimistic light. After all, the modern world is a very different place. Back in the 1980s the internet was taking its first baby steps but it wouldn’t be until 2004 that Facebook changed the way we connect with each and how we define our friends. I didn’t even have a mobile phone back then, never mind a smart one! So, please return with me to the 90s, when I was fledgling graphic design student at Chesterfield College with the whole world ahead of me and not a clue about anything much. It was a time of Britpop, curtain haircuts and just four channels to watch on TV. Back then, like now, it was no secret that I was a bit of geek. I’ve always loved cult and obscure films, especially cheesy horror or sci-fi. When I was a whippersnapper there was no such thing as eBay or online shopping. If I wanted a copy of Killer Klowns From Outer Space on VHS (not as good as Betamax but it was the cheaper format) it meant a trip to Chesterfield’s Thursday flea market and ferreting through the various stalls in the desperate hope I’d somehow discover my illicit treasure. More often than not I’d return home empty handed with tears in my eyes but the times I did strike gold, wow! I never felt so alive. It’s a rush our digital generations may never know.

My favourite market stall was Brian’s, also the name of the owner whose affinity to his secondhand, slightly dusty videos and knowledge of all things geeky meant we hung on every word as this Yodalike guru talked us through the history and trivia of each film. We listened in wide-eyed wonder as he regaled us with stories of wizards, warlocks, leprechauns and critters, gathered around Brian we quizzed him on 80s video nasties, Japanese animé and the latest zombie masterpieces – we’d even buy things from time to time. But oh, how times have changed. You can buy the complete work of Danish film director Lars Von Trier with a few clicks and have it shipped out to you the next day, building a film collection that would have made my teenage self pass out in disbelief. With online shopping you can become an instant collector overnight – hipsters have it easy, we had to earn it! Now I’m not suggesting we should turn off the internet and rewind to watching video tapes. They tended to jam and my dad had the annoying habit of taping over my films with Bullseye. There’s no doubt t’internet has made the world more accessible and shopping easier – but maybe the world, would be a better place with a few more Brians. In many ways our own shop’s owner and Jedi master Julia is a Brian, not that she’d know her Danny Trejos from her Bruce Campbells but, when it comes to service, she shares the expertise and, yes, warmth of my childhood retail superhero. She’s also a big Road House fan so I’m sure Brian would approve.

I didn’t even have a mobile phone, never mind a smart one!

Chris Fox is the digital content manger for greetings card and gift shop Wishes of Cudworth owned and run by partner Julia Keeling as well as the online resource for independent shops, small businesses and artists. Having learned how to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the internet and social media, he aims to pass on the online tips he’s discovered so far to help independent retailers boost their bricks and mortar businesses in the digital age.


Why, the trip back in time? Well, a number of things inspired this article. Recently in Barnsley we’ve seen the opening of Retrodome, a vintage amusement arcade featuring classic computer games from the 70s, 80s and 90s. The nearby Cooper Galley are exhibiting a collection of artwork celebrating the early beginnings of comic book superheroes featuring original drawings from Batman and Superman to name just two. Retro cards like Danilo’s Enid Blyton and Ladybird Books For Grown-Ups are going great guns while Rick Astley was never giving up at the Isle Of Wight festival, and I can’t help but be tickled by the revival of vinyl records and even cassette tapes with Madonna releasing her new album Madame X on Deluxe Cassette (plus digital download so our millennials can actually listen to it). Yes, cassette sales are up – Brian’s stall might be able to make a comeback soon! We’ve also been putting together a Cudworth Calendar featuring contributions from our customers and it’s guaranteed the majority of entries will have been taken on a smartphone and not a camera using traditional film like back in my college days. We have tools far beyond our childhood dreams tucked in our trouser pockets, mini supercomputers that can answer any question and buy almost anything we desire. I guess when we look back we only see the best of times. The internet has opened a new world of opportunities so, if Brain was around today, he’d be using Facebook to advertise and have a booming eBay stall. Even with the impact of Netflix and other streaming services, the life of Brian would still be a success story and that’s worth celebrating right here and right now. Now who’s for a Back To The Future marathon round mine? @greetingstoday


Celebrating over 25 years of publishing Greetings and Greetings Today, here we step back in time each issue to five, 10, 15, and 20 years ago in the greetings card industry – Malcolm Naish

August 2014

● The Scots are about to vote on independence, causing our editor to muse over what the problems might be if they do decide to leave the Union. Thankfully, a resounding “No” to this possibility, as we all know, rendered this worry obsolete.

● Card Factory grow their number of stores for the first six months of 2014 by 36 stores, bringing the total up to 749 stores.

● Hallmark announce a profit of £3.9million for 2013 – a big improvement on their previous year’s figures. Overall, pre-tax losses were reduced to £4.6m down from the £7.4m posted for 2012, despite the £3.8m costs incurred through the restructuring which culminated in the outsourcing of all manufacturing at their Bradford base.

● Dean Morris Cards are still going strong and in August 2014 (left) we celebrate their continued success. Dean’s cheeky use of retro images plus rude messages seems to be really paying off!

● Those lovely lads from Art File announce a commercial tie-up with their local rugby team Nottingham. The team had recently beaten Leicester Tigers, so everyone involved was really excited about the future. Not sure if young James Mace ever made their first team though!

August 2009

● We don’t believe that the country is out of the recession that started in 2008 but, to help the industry, Greetings Today creates its first online presence, with daily news items online for the first time. ● We are to print an obituary for David Espley who spent his entire career in the greetings card industry and was a past chairman of the GCA.

● Terry Harvey muses over how best to display rude greetings cards and believes he has found the answer by creating a modesty sleeve that only shows the top half of the card. He quotes: “We sold 24 cards in one week from a facing of 20 sleeved cards, which I consider to be outstanding – particularly among a spread of humour spanning 20ft.” ● Cardgains’ annual charity triathalon raises £17,500 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust (right). Those taking part had the choice of a 20-mile bike ride, 16-mile walk or a four-mile canoe course. I wonder if any attempted all three!

August 2004

● Enesco acquire Dartington Crystal. Their uncut crystal products will enable Enesco to reach new markets around the globe.

● Hello Sailor! Carte Blanche sponsor a yacht in the Global Challenge – the world’s toughest yacht race. Their Me To You brand will be emblazoned on the yacht for all to see. Tatty Teddy will also be present in an advisory capacity. ● Do we all remember the CD cards that were very popular 15 years ago? What a shame CDs have been replaced by other forms of music presentation.

● Our editor interviews Tesco’s card buyer Amanda Simmonds. Their card and party products are stocked in 1,020 of their stores. Retail prices from 25p up to £1.49. Their main suppliers are Hallmark and Carlton Cards plus a few smaller publishers.

● As mentioned previously, the girls from the Giftware Association are publishing a calendar for 2005 and will be revealing all – from a publicity point of view – prior to the opening day of Autumn Fair. Did anyone buy one and, if so, are there any left in 2019?

August 1999

● Our first issue as Greetings Today is published following our severing all links with the GCA.

● Cartel (originally Athena) seek a CVA arrangement with liabilities totaling more than £2.37m. Preferential creditors and integral licensors will be paid in full with all other creditors receiving just 30p in the pound. ● David Metcalfe is appointed both chairman and managing director of Spring Fair by owners EMAP. Well deserved I hear you say!

● In our monthly Card Talk section we asked eight retailers if they had a computer for business. Only one used a computer for business and then only for their accounts. The other seven didn’t own a computer and I loved the comment made by Patricia MacDougall from Card Carousel in Liverpool: “No, I don’t use a personal computer for the business not for buying or for the accounts, not at all. Personally speaking, I don’t see it as the future for trading in the greetings card industry. I am quite happy with the way things work at the moment.” Oh to have the use of a crystal ball! ● We publish a two-page interview with Abbey Cards MD Harry Rai. Harry is looking forward to the Millennium. I also loved his quote: “Discounting is a trap I never intend to get into. It not only devalues the product but means wholesalers don’t have the money to invest in new product.” ● Paperclip, led by MD Alan Munt, celebrates their 10th year in the UK having increased sales each year by an average of 15 per cent.

– Malcolm Naish @greetingstoday

56 65 @greetingstoday

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Greetings Today August 2019  

IT’S AUGUST, still summer but autumn and the approaching festive season are drawing close. And with the early dates for Autumn Fair we have...

Greetings Today August 2019  

IT’S AUGUST, still summer but autumn and the approaching festive season are drawing close. And with the early dates for Autumn Fair we have...