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Independently audited, ABC circulation of 6,086

The impartial voice of the greetings card industry January 2016 Issue 4 Volume 17

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F O R A F R E E S A M P L E P A C K P H O N E S A L LY O N 0 1 4 2 3 5 2 0 0 9 8

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© Emma Thomson 2016

Licensed by Sable & Winbourne Ltd




the team


Happy new year everyone, plus Window On The World.




Meet The Newbies Windles-sponsored focus on industry newcomers.


John Ryan

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


Vox Pop Publishers are at the heart of the industry, hear their opinions on current issues.


Spotlight & Gifts Spotlight A selection of this month’s latest releases.

Thunder from down under, John looks at a new Aussie import.


Agents Neil and Alina talk about not feeling Christmassy and manging baby and business.


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

It’s All About Sales

● Jo Barber’s On The Shop Front will be back next month

Retail Advice

Looking back and looking forwards with retailers, Henri Davis and publishers.


Cover Story Thinking iside the box with RetroCo’s fantastic vintage-themed offer.


Birthday Boost Autism Friendlly Birthday Greetings UK prove that cards really do bring happiness.


01442 289940 (direct)

Group Editor Mirella Anstey Group Advertisement Manager Ryan Horwood Publisher Mark Naish

Managing Director Malcolm Naish

FEATURES Bestsellers & Trends

Advertisement Manager Gareth Liddiatt

Production Director Paul Naish

Here we go again, but Henri Davis says the new year shouldn’t be a repeat.


Editor Tracey Bearton

28 43

Top Drawer Spring Preview An evolution has seen three shows brought t ogether under one umbrella.

Christmas Cards & Wrap

Circulation Manager Robert Thomas

Keep in touch - follow us:

One season is just over but we’re straignt into the next one with great new product.



Festive Friday greetingstodaymag

Fun and frivolity abounded for the GCA event capured here in pictures.

Go to our website - - for all the up-to-date news where you can also read our extensive archive of online features.

HOTSPOT NEW ranges abound but there are many long-standing collections that are always hitting the hotspot and deserve recognition. In this Hotspot section Greetings Today features some of these each issue. Frank By Name has been a great seller for Abacus for a decade now and retailer Peter Hughes, Cards 4 All, Hayes, Kent, is a fan: “It just works really well for me, customers come in and they just love it. “I’ve been here 8½ years and have sold the range since I opened the shop. They do update it and change them – Abacus are just doing that at the moment – so there’s not a particular bestseller, they all sell. They bring out new ones, change the designs and retire some so it’s always kept fresh.” @greetingstoday


Lema Publishing Ltd 1 Church Gates, Wilderness, Berkhamsted, Herts HP4 2UB

Telephone: 01442 289930

At the heart of retail Greetings Today is independently audited with an ABC circulation of 6,086 (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015) Subscription per annum: UK £60 (free for people in the greetings industry), Europe £80, ROTW £100 A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation 5


Breath-taking ... smile-making ... Simon Elvin cards!

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leader Editor Tracey Bearton

EW YEAR, new baby – that’s what’s on the cards for our lovely Greetings Today columnist Alina Clark. And she’s brought up a very interesting point in her column this month, we might be in 2016 but there seems to be no precedent for an agent getting pregnant and how they continue working once the baby has arrived. Turn to page 26 for Alina’s take on the matter – and if you’ve any advice for her please do share it! As Alina also mentions, the greetings industry really is incredibly friendly and helpful and I’ve been the beneficiary of that kindness myself this month through the Facebook group Autism Friendly Birthday Wishes UK. The full story is on page 27 but essentially they’re a notfor-profit group whose aim is to make sure that children who have few friends and don’t get many birthday cards because of their additional needs actually receive lots as AFBWUK recognise the joy they bring. I heard about them through the lovely Bev Cunningham at Abacus where they have generously donated batches of cards so the administrators have plenty to send, but anyone who joins the Facebook group is also asked to post cards to the named birthday children each month. It’s such a simple and heartwarming idea that I decided to become part of it – as did my 19-year-old when I mentioned it to her, she pulled a disgusted face and demanded: “How mean are these parents who won’t take their kids to an autistic classmate’s party? You’d have made me go whether I wanted to or not!” Unsurprisingly for a greetings industry trade mag, we have a big box of cards in the office so I raided this for

● Cartoons by James Whitworth T: 07872 013943 –


all the children’s cards I could find – yes I did make the required donation to the hedgehog rehabilitation charity in case a certain immediate past president of the GCA who supplied many of them asks. And on Festive Friday when I sat down at my desk to write my Christmas cards, it seemed completely appropriate to carry on and pen my first lot of happy birthday messages to the January youngsters. For my daughter, I raided my own home pile of cards so she had plenty to take back to uni with her to write in her rare break from constant studying (!), and I also gave her half the stamps I’d bought to go in the package so AFBWUK’s money can be spent on buying small gifts for the youngsters instead of on postage. I quickly realised I’d need to acquire a significantly larger supply of children’s cards as we only seem to get more adult-oriented ones in the office and my home stash is now completely depleted as we don’t have many littlies around at the moment. Having been mentioning the story to anyone who’s not stone deaf (actually, I could spell it out in sign language too though it’d take ages as I only know the alphabet not the whole word version) I was absolutely delighted to receive extremely generous parcels from Cherry Orchard and Danilo full of kids’ cards. Thank you so much, the box under my desk is full to bursting again, I will be busy writing the next lot as soon as the February birthday names are posted. Mind you, that’s not to say I’d turn down anyone shoving cards for girls and boys, especially age three to nine ones, in my hand or bag as I walk past at any of the new year fairs as I’m sure you can never have too many – but I’m really not pressuring anyone.

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

Want to appear in ? FEBRUARY FEATURES:

Paperworld Preview (January 30-February 2)

Spring Fair Preview



Calendars Male & Father’s Day Cards Wedding & Anniversary Cards MARCH COPY DATE – FEBRUARY 2


British Craft Trade Fair Preview (April 10-12)

London Stationery Show Preview (April 26-27)

Giftwrap, Bags & Accessories Retro, Vintage & Nostalgia Cards APRIL COPY DATE – MARCH 10

WINDOW ON THE WORLD PAPER cut and etching artists Rhombus And Pineapple love colour, shape and words and, just a year after setting up as publishers, they have their own store too. And founders Emily Powell and Grace Thomson also look after the windows of the shop, gallery and HQ in Topsham, Devon, to make sure they stand out. Emily said: “We do everything ourselves, the designing and the making of the cards. The window display was also designed and laser-cut by us and our stock is all made by us here in Devon.” @greetingstoday

The girls set up Rhombus And Pineapple in the summer of 2014 after deciding the 9-5 was no longer for them and sold their work at markets and popup shops before buying their own laser cutter in January and expanding their range of products. At the British Craft Trade Fair in April they secured orders from 80 stockists – and the British Museum asked them to design a custom range of three folding cards to accompany their permanent exhibition collection. “In September we opened The Rhombus And Pineapple Gallery And Studios,” Emily added, “Here we started to hire staff and take on volunteers and became a team of eight.” And the shop is proving a real window on the world for the girls as they’ve now been asked to showcase their work at the NY Now trade fair in New York. T: 01392 758599 7

in the news It’s all gone yellow

news in brief We’ll be back after floods THE EFFECTS of Storm Desmond will take a long time to dissipate as shops like Wishes of Cockermouth are unable to reopen until the new year. Owners Fiona and Victoria Robinson had hoped to get the doors back open at their Main Street shop – pictured above during the flood – as soon as possible but need a professional clear-out and full refit to repair the damage from the floods in early December. They were touched by customers pledging to stay loyal and insisting their money for balloon orders that couldn’t be met should be donated to the Cumbrian Flood Appeal.

Jeremy aims for Palace

A DATE with Her Majesty could be on the horizon for Blue Eyed Sun MD Jeremy Corner as they have been shortlisted for the Queen’s Award For Enterprise: International Trade. These enterprise awards are among the UK’s most prestigious accolades for businesses and individuals and the rigorous entry process sees a success rate of 20 per cent with the winners announced on the Queen’s April 21 birthday.

EVERYONE’S making a date with the Minions for 2016 as the cute yellow characters have stormed to the top of the Official Calendar charts, knocking Frozen and One Direction for six. The buzz around the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens also saw the title go straight in at number two, with other new entries in the top 20 including Olly Murs, Joe & Caspar, Tottenham Hotspur and Kylie. Having topped the chart for three years running 1D were knocked down to second place last year by the phenomenon that was Frozen but Harry, Liam, Niall, and Louis have hung on in there, despite becoming a foursome after Zayn left, and are still a credible fourth

AN EXHIBITION at the Palace Of Westminster and lowering the rate of VAT on greetings cards were just some of the ideas discussed at the December 2 meeting between the GCA and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. Greeting Card Association president and The Art File MD Ged Mace and GCA CEO Sharon Little also talked with Ed about Government backing for export as well as an initiative to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday on April 21, 2016. The aim was to highlight the success of the UK greetings industry, detail the scope of the market, explain the GCA’s remit and the uniquely British culture

THE FIRST shipment of Two Little Boys’ new distribution deal with Notes & Queries in the US has made its way across the Pond. The award-winning West London design studio and publishers headed up by Sarah Watts recently signed the deal for a carefully-selected range of their products including the Gift Of The Year Highly Commended Things… perfect-bound notebooks. FOLLOWING on from wowing the greetings industry with the story of growing Wrendale Designs from kitchen table business to £4million turnover in four years, founder Hannah Dale has just returned from an exciting trip to Moscow. Having been one of the speakers at the GCA AGM, the greetings publisher turn giftware star delighted crowds with painting masterclasses at the flagship store of Дом Фарфора (Dom Farfora) in Moscow to mark the company’s 50th anniversary.

Winning thinking

THIS year’s Thinking Of You Week saw a number of great initiatives and Sharon Little, CEO of organisers the Greeting Card Association, has announced the prize winners – Asda Jarrolds of Norwich and Earlybird, Stoke Newington – with special mentions going to Hallmark, Morrisons, UK Greetings and Moonpig, plus independent retailers Artizan of Rochford and Harriet & Dee in Didsbury.

T: 01992 702900

Minsterial meeting

Crossing the Pond

From Russia with love

while the Disney blockbuster has felt the chill and is now ninth. Manchester Utd are third with Liverpool fifth, while the Great British Bake Off rose from 20 to eighth. And the Peter Pan of Pop Cliff Richard proved his longevity again with his calendar rising to sixth from ninth place last year – not bad for a star whose fans have been making a date with him for more than 35 years – while Danilo’s original and longest-running title sees Elvis Presley make a reappearance in the chart at number 17.

of sending cards and find out what Ed could do for the industry at Government level. Sharon, pictured with Ged and Ed’s friend and GCA member Eloise Hall and GCA joint general secretary Jakki Brown, said: “This was a really positive meeting, the first for us at such a high level of Government. The Minister was interested to learn about the size and scope of our industry, was full of suggestions and open to ideas. “We have high hopes of him speaking at the GCA AGM, visiting PG Live and have the idea of a competition to design and produce his Christmas card for 2016.” To give Ed an idea of the breadth of the card industry Sharon gave him more than 200 cards, gift bags and a giftbox, sent in by 87 GCA members.

Hello Downing St! A TRIP to Downing Street at the personal invitation of Chancellor George Osborne and a fleeting appearance on national TV were how Bexy Boo owner Bex Hassett marked the third Small Business Saturday. Picked to represent her home Tatton Constituency in Cheshire, where Mr Osborne is the MP, Bex and her family travelled to the Treasury event in London on December 5 for a special Christmas Fair to celebrate Small Business Saturday taking place the next day – and enjoyed a personal tour of both No 10 and No 11, the Prime Minister’s and the Chancellor’s official residences. Also at the event was Chris Beards, whose Mantons Cards store in Port Erin, Isle Of Wight, won the British Retailer Of The Year title and was one of 100 businesses featured on the SBS website. Bex, top, and Chris, right, were among those representing the UK’s 5.4million small businesses and the grassroots, not-for-profit campaign aims to prompt consumers to spend money with small independent companies across the country in the run-up to Christmas and hopefully extend that to all-year-round.

Review doesn’t impress

THE Autumn Spending Review saw the Chancellor continue the small business rate scheme for another year – but the £1,500 discount for retailers with premises under £50,000 rateable value has disappeared. According to BIRA, the average rateable value for shops in England and Wales is £27.290 so over the past two years most small retailers have benefited from this discount and its loss will hit many hard. Chancellor George Osborne also said the results of the structural review into business rates reform will not now be finally announced until the Budget, reverting to his original plan.


And the winners are…

WE’RE not telling! Make a date with the National Calendar Awards presentation ceremony at London’s Stationers’ Hall on January 27 to find out what Greetings Today editor Tracey Bearton and her fellow judges decided on December 10. More than 360 2016 dated products were entered for the 24 awards, with the diary category making a return as the industry recognises the continuing strength of this sector – despite the growth of smartphones and tablets! @greetingstoday

THE WORLD’S BIGGEST SHOWCASE OF GREETINGS & GIFT. Discover the most exciting new products for your business at the industry’s premier global event. Espresso Cup, Bialetti, Hot Plate Products · Tree, CB Imports · Pineapple, Two’s Company by Mulhouse · Stool, Baa Stool · Foo Dogs, India Jane · Cockatoo Cushion, Bombay Duck · Patterned Cushion, CB Imports.


licensing news

in the news news in brief Focus on service GOING the extra mile for customers with late-night opening, excellent service and great product has earned Emotions Cards & Gifts the latest Shop Of The Month award from Cherry Orchard. Debra Godden’s shop at the Dockside Outlet Centre in Chatham, Kent, are the fifth monthly winners in the competition – two more are to be chosen for November and December, then all seven will go into the prize draw for £1,000 worth of stock to be presented at Spring Fair in February.

On a mission

BOOFLE and Tedmund Ted have been helping UK Greetings bring smiles to the faces of some of the country’s less fortunate children. With statistics suggesting one in three children in the UK are living in poverty, the publishers supported Cash For Kids and their Mission Christmas campaign by giving more than 130 Boofle and Tedmund plush toys and gifts as presents for youngsters.

Moving date set

BLUE Eyed Sun have been gearing up for their big move into new larger premises, with their new address operational from January 1. MD Jeremy Corner is keeping the business in West Sussex but moving from Hove to 56 Victoria Road, Burgess Hill, RH15 9LR, with all telephone numbers remaining the same.

Top after two months

AFTER being open for only two months, Calliope Gifts’ third store in Haywards Heath was named the winner of the town’s Best Christmas Window competition. Calliope’s owners Philip Downer and Andy Adamson opened their first store in St Martin’s Walk, Dorking, Surrey, two years ago, followed by a second in Westbrook Walk, Alton, Hants, in June 2014, while the Orchard Centre, Haywards Heath, shop followed in October.

Faster and user-friendly

REDBACK Cards have been busy setting up their faster and more user-friendly website which has a quick order function and each trade account will log orders so customers can repeat or amend previous orders, and the product image size has been increased. Trade customers registered on the old site do need to re-register.

Bishy is best

AFTER six weeks of campaigning, 21 judges’ visits, nearly 200,000 votes and one very tough judges’ meeting, the results of the Great British High Street competition on Novermber 30 gave top spot to York’s Bishy Road. There were 230 entries, with 21 being chosen as finalists in the seven categories. Locan Centre category winner Bishy Road was picked as the winner of winners, while Faulkner Street in Hoole was named Best Newcomer.

Virtual doors open

NEW wholesale greetings suppliers CentreCards opened their print-on-demand virtual doors on December 1 with two special offers for retailers – free saleable sample packs and a 20 per cent first order discount. Specialising mainly in photographic cards and fine-art wildlife images, including by Archibald Thorburn, they cater for small to medium-sized greetings retailers.

Cut your bills

A NEW service from the Federation Of Small Businesses could cut energy bills by nearly £1,000 a year as they help companies find competitive rates for utilities and assist with switching providers. The FSB say www. could help reduce gas and electricity bills by up to 23 per cent of the average £4,243 bill.


Trevor’s £1m charity challenge THE LICENSING industry made light work of raising more than £15,000 for their charitable body with a sell-out quiz night featuring 45 teams – and a challenge to take their overall fundraising to £1million next year. The record amount was brought in by the Light Fund London Quiz held at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on November 19 for the first time with over 350 licensing industry folk attending and the Copy-Mights team from Copyrights taking the top spot while the recipients of the Pants Of Doom for coming bottom were Global Licensing, and Rainbow Productions has the best team name – The Furry Arse N’Alls. Danilo’s Trevor Jones, the night’s co-quizmaster and charity chairman, said: “Tonight we have raised over £15,000, which is a record for this event. This makes 2015 the best year yet for The Light Fund, with a massive £150,000 having been raised over the last 12 months. We will be able to fund projects with approaching 30 registered charities and make a difference to thousands and thousands of people in the UK and overseas.” Trevor, pictured with charity committee member and event organiser Ian Downes, added a challenge: “Since we started the charity 11 years ago, we’ve now raised £885,000 – wouldn’t it be nice to get to the £1million mark next year!”

Alice is up to date A CENTURY and a half ago, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was first published and Walker Books are celebrating with the launch of a new stationery range. Based on Helen Oxenbury’s award-winning illustrated edition of Lewis Carroll’s classic story, her pictures introduce a more modern Alice for today’s audiences. Following on from the original published in November 1865, Walker Books first produced the new version in 1999, and Helen’s Alice has been added to the Robert Frederick collection. With product lines including notebooks, memo blocks, carry cases and storage boxes, colouring pencils and jigsaw puzzles, Helen’s drawings bring a contemporary touch to this classic tale, and a whole cast of her characters are included on the stationery range from the White Rabbit to Alice herself.

Cute characters signed up SHOPKINS calendars, greetings cards, giftwrap and bags are soon to be available after Danilo signed a deal with Bulldog Licensing for the cute little characters. With their range to include print-on-demand cards Danilo are one of the two latest licensees for the property as Blueprint have also signed up to produce a stationery collection of files, writing sets, pencils, art sets, scrapbooks, binders and accessories. Shopkins are cute little characters that live in Shopville with more than 140 to collect in each series, including a few ultra-rare ones, and they are sold inside adorable little shopping bags.

T: 020 8325 5455 T: 01992 702900

David Brent rocks on RICKY Gervais is taking his alter-ego David Brent on the road in a feature film that he stars in as well as wrote and directed – and Entertainment One have the worldwide licensing rights. David Brent: Life On The Road sees a documentary crew catching up with the former star of hit series The Office who is now working as a travelling salesman as he chases his dream of rock stardom by self-financing a UK tour with his band Foregone Conclusion. Co-produced by eOne and BBC Films, eOne will be looking to sign partners across apparel and accessories, home and giftware, stationery, greetings and novelty toys while utilising the fullyintegrated marketing support for the film’s release.

T: 020 7637 4660

Life’s a beach LICENSING Link have been appointed by the Seven Network Australia – the brains behind iconic Aussie show Home And Away – as their licensing agents in the UK and Eire. The agreement comes as Home And Away is building up to its 30th anniversary in the territory, and will meet demand from a loyal fan base who have been requesting merchandise and related products. Licensing Link, run by Ian Wickham and Chris Taday, will focus on developing lifestyle products including clothing, giftware, stationery and beach products as well as looking at promotional partners that will embrace the opportunity to link with the laidback and aspirational Australian beach lifestyle. @greetingstoday

people news

supplier news

Jardine joins team JARDINE Donovan has recently joined Pigment Productions’ team of Area Managers, taking over responsibility for the East Anglia region. Jardine comes with a wealth of experience, having most recently worked for 15 years with Expressions, and previously as merchandiser for both Nigel Quiney and Carte Blanche, Having even managed a greetings shop in the past, Jardine said she’s delighted to be back in the card industry.

T: 01423 520098

Hi Tim and James TWO sales management appointments have been made at Ling Design with Tim Davies and James Gunn joining. James, top left, has moved from a sales management position with Hallmark Cards to become National Sales Manager responsible for managing the sales for Ling Design, Talking Pictures and Penny Kennedy products to independent customers. Tim, bottom left, has joined as National Accounts Manager. Most recently Tim held commercial positions with Bath Rugby and Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, before which he was at The Gordon Fraser Gallery and Hallmark Cards.

Antalis get all ’appy New website stands up ORDERS placed during December benefitted from a five per cent discount to celebrate the launch of Wire Fittings’ brandnew website – which is already seeing improved searchability. The new website was designed with the independent retailer in mind, focussing on providing easy access to Wire Fittings’ portfolio of display stands with easily browsable technical information and detailed product images. Key features of the site include a cleaner design, enhanced search and intuitive navigation, and an easier checkout process. As part of the launch the Wareham, Dorset-based display stand manufacturers are offering customers the discount for orders placed online in December. Sales director Lesley Gardner said; “Retailers are time poor. They need to quickly find what they want, understand whether it will fit in their shop, buy and then leave. “With this in mind new features include a significant enhancement of our online portfolio of products and we’re confident that the improved website will provide greater value and an easier experience. “The new website was rolled out in November and already we are seeing improved searchability.”

A NEW DocuCloud app has been launched by paper suppliers Antalis which contains all of the company’s latest product literature. Available to download for free from app stores for iPhone, iPad, Android devices, and Windows tablets, phones and PCs running Windows 10, DocuCloud is a quick and easy way of finding out the latest information on a wide range of products. The guides for Print, Sign & Display, Office and Packaging range featured on the app are constantly updated and feature enhanced content links to videos, applications, technical information and more. Customer Marketing Director Leigh Gracie said: “DocuCloud is the perfect solution to customers who want fast access to our product literature at the swipe of a finger. It’s very simple to use and can be downloaded by customers as a handy way to keep on top of our latest products and ranges, particularly when they are on the move.”

T: 0870 607 9014 T: 01530 505150

T: 01929 422762



* @greetingstoday 11


exhibition news Alive and kicking

All set for spring

KICKING off the 2016 trade show season, Giving & Living is the biggest home and gift event in the south west and offers a great selection of products for buyers targeting the coast and tourism markets. There’s a very wide range of exhibitors at the Exeter event from January 17-20, including Berni Parker Designs, Big Pink Bubble, Colcards, Glebe Cottage, The Heart Of A Garden, Mint and Sandscript on the greetings front, but the show is designed with five sectors to make it easy for buyers with specific needs to find exactly what they want: ● Designed And Made in Britain – featuring UK designed and produced gifts, for quality and uniqueness that is

WITH just a short while to Scotland’s Trade Fair Spring, one of the first exhibitions of the year is almost sold out. New to the show for 2016 is the Craft Gallery where exhibitors have been specially selected by Craft Scotland and fair organisers Springboard Events for their quality and craft credentials. The Launch Gallery is for young innovative companies chosen for the quality and originality of their products where Scott & Robson Designs will be showing their wares inspired by her love of all things dog. Other new greetings exhibitors at the show, which runs from January 24-26 at Glasgow’s SECC, include Celtic Mystery, Laura Rennie Photography,

so sought after by consumers. ● Newcomers – featuring companies previously unseen at any trade show. ● Naturally Trail – running throughout the show, this trail features products with strong environmental credentials. ● Enhance – a mix of new and innovative products designed to help enhance retailers’ product offerings and forming the hub for an area of business services and add-ons. ● Coast And Tourism – these are huge driving forces in the south-west economy.

T: 01934 733433

Leonard Smith, Peartree Heybridge and Sassy Saltire. Returning publishers seeing the value in exhibiting north of the border range from bigger companies such as Pigment and Woodmansterne, to smaller designers like Lisa Donati, Pink Pig and I Like Birds. Organisers Springboard Events have compiled a comprehensive programme of talks and seminars and the Best Product Awards will be presented at the show, having been judged by the Historic Scotland buyer, the owner of The Liquorice Tree and the buyer from the New Lanark Visitor Centre.

T: 01877 385772

Aisle be ‘phenomenal’

Live on the web

TWO CENTRAL aisles are being planned for Brand Licensing Europe 2016 to encourage a free flow of visitors across the Character & Entertainment zone on the ground floor. And the Art, Design & Image area up on the balcony at London’s Olympia hasn’t been forgotten as two new central staircases are to be built to ease congestion here and in the Brand & Lifestyle area as well as enable additional access. “BLE has always been a very visual event,” Event Director Darren Brechin said, “but next year’s looks set to be phenomenal. For a visitor, navigating your way around the show can be daunting – we hope that by adding another main aisle it will become easier to make their way around and find everything they need. For exhibitors, this means more traffic to and from stands.”

A NEW website has been launched for PG Live – with the 2016 edition of the specialist greetings exhibition taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 10-11. The website has information about visiting the exhibition and will soon have an exhibitor list. This will be the eighth outing of the specialist show, which is held at London’s Business Design Centre and incorporates the main floor, plus Springboard for new and emerging publishers, and Artists’ Quarter showcasing artists, designers and agents. Everyone visiting and exhibiting receives free tea and coffee, a complimentary lunch and use of the Buyers’ Lounge on both days, with an invitation to the first night party too.

Top brands sign up TOP BRANDS are lining up for the London Stationery Show with 85 per cent of the space already sold for the April 26-27 show and more than 25 new names added. Pomegranate Europe, Pilot Pen and Toad Diaries are joining returning names including Pyramid, Museums & Galleries, Flame Tree Publishing and Leuchtturrm1917 to exhibit at the Business Design Centre in London. Now in its sixth year, the London Stationery Show takes place during National Stationery Week which runs from April 25 to May 1, with the second World Stationery Day on Wednesday, April 27.

10 picked for visitors’ vote

Initiatives and appointments

A RECORD number of entries awaited the judges for the Paperworld greetings card competition as they had to whittle them down from more than 700 to the 10 that will be displayed at the show for visitors to pick the top three. Paperworld opens on January 30, running to February 2 at the showgrounds in Frankfurt Am Main, and the 10 most creative designs will be featured in the new Centre Of Excellence – Greetings Card in Hall 5.1 with the final winner being decided by a visitors’ vote. Run by Paperworld organisers Messe Frankfurt and AVG, the German greetings card association, the judges assessed entries on craftwork skills, originality of idea, quality of presentation, and design of the inscription. When the competition launched in 2004 there were just over 100 entries, this year 473 design, school and university students and other young people submitted more than 700 entries. The 22-strong judging panel included greetings publishers, wholesale and retail traders, designers, industry media, colleges and universities. Many of the designs focussed on themes close to the heart of young people, including moving home, friendship, love, separation from family, travel, and life in the big city, and included a wide variety of materials such as felt, wood, fabric, leather and cellophane. Visitors to the trade show are being asked to vote and three of the top 10 designs will be the overall winners, who will receive cash as part of their prize. Paperworld is a leading trade fair for the paper, stationery and office supplies industry and runs alongside Creativeworld, with Christmasworld starting a day earlier.

SPRING Fair organisers i2i Events have made two new senior appointments as part of a raft of initiatives being implemented for the 2016 edition. Nick Davison is the new Portfolio Director for Spring Fair while Saul Leese joins as Head of Marketing, and they have introduced a Wish List function as well as issuing a new Product Guide with the first one featuring the Greetings & Gift section. The Art File, Caroline Gardner, Artebene and Wrendale Designs are among the companies picked out in the online brochure and billed as “a new way to discover the latest and most innovative products either available to buy now or going on sale at the show”. Among other publishers featured are Belly Button Designs, Raspberry Blossom, Two Little Boys, The Square Card Co, Rose Hill Designs and Sabivo Designs. The 2016 show at Birmingham’s NEC from February 7-11 also sees the introduction of The Wish List, which gives buyers the opportunity to save and print their own shopping lists of favourite items from a comprehensive database of Spring Fair exhibitors’ products. This handy online sourcing mechanism generates leads for exhibitors throughout the year – not just around show time – while greatly facilitating the selection process for buyers. Further changes to Spring Fair for 2016 will include an improved layout, which will further enhance the show’s superb cross-over buying opportunities across 14 different product sectors. Consultation with exhibitors has also revealed the need to improve access to the atrium side of the show which will be achieved via the introduction of an express entrance in Hall 9, helping channel footfall to Halls 6, 7 and 8 as soon as the show opens.

12 @greetingstoday

meet the newbies Putting the sassy into Saltire FROM their base in East Lothian, husband and wife team, Matthew and Hilda Felstead are co-founders of the newlyformed card publisher Sassy Saltire, who pride themselves on designing and printing their cards in Scotland. “It was one of those light bulb moments,” Matthew said, ”having seen the Union flag portrayed in various designs and styles as a design icon, we thought ‘why not the Scottish Saltire’ and at that point Sassy Saltire was born.” Hilda added: “It took a while to develop so, having toyed with the idea for about a year creating sketches and mocking up with various bits of tartan, cloth and other background designs, I finally took the plunge after being made redundant, when Matthew suggested I revisit my designs and go for it. “After a manic nine months and hundreds of design concepts, Sassy Saltire now have a range of more than 80 card designs, as well as a further 20 designs that are being launched at Scotland’s Trade Fair Spring.” Scotland’s Trade Fair Spring Stand E6 – T: 07486 653787

Must grumble with the pugs – and schnauzer IN THE historic town of Knutsford, in a cottage nestled on the outskirts of Tatton Park, live three pugs and a miniature schnauzer – oh yes, Nicholas Child lives there too. Here the founder of The Grumble & Co has created a new and exciting greetings card business now expanding across Cheshire. Nicholas designs and illustrates everything himself, keeping to the classic style of a white border while giving each image its own unique character and personality within the three collections with the aim that it’s a piece of artwork, not just a card, so can be kept and framed. “Mugshots is our very first collection of comical and cute dogs wearing mugshot signs,” Nicholas said. “We also have a collection based on wonderful Tatton Park which is right on our doorstep, and the popular Wizard Bear collection. “My previous career was in the fitness industry, I’d been working in management and had started to feel unsure about where my career was heading. “I had a life coaching session and the three factors I kept coming back to was my love of dogs, I wanted to be creative again, and to run my own business. From there, I started illustrating greeting cards and prints for family and friends. “The Grumble & Co name came from my four dogs, three pugs and a miniature schnauzer. I knew there had to be a quirky name in there somewhere – a group of pugs is called a grumble, add to a grumble a miniature schnauzer and, ta-dah! We created The Grumble & Co. “We’re already stocked in some of the most wonderful greetings shops and retailers in Cheshire, including The Hollies in Tarporley, The Cheshire Smokeshouse in Wilmslow and OnChurchHill in Knutsford. “We’re also extremely excited to be debuting all our collections at PG Live Springboard in May – this will be our first trade show so excitement and nerves are already being felt!”

Hint of retro glamour NEW MEMBERS THE latest publishers to join the Greeting Card Association include: DESIGNED4DOING Nina Odejimi-Riley 020 8556 7415 or 07890 868433 THE latest companies to join the Greeting Card Association as associate members include: PACK IT IN Unit 7, Church Farm, Collier Street, Maidstone, Kent, TN12 9RT Jess Newholm 07713 163194


HAVING become a leading commercial illustrator of international ad campaigns as well as adult and children’s books, Lucy Truman has now launched her own unique and expanding range of greetings cards. Lucy graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Illustration, and started work in 2001, taking her influences from mid-century art and design, and the highs of modernism and modern art, pop art and pop culture to the beautiful children’s artwork of M Sasek and Maurice Sendak. Her work is stylish and

modern, with a hint of retro glamour, and she really hopes her industry experience shines through in her greetings card designs. Lucy said: ‘It’s always been my dream to have my own range of cards and I have always sent my own designs to family, friends and clients. I recently launched a brand-new website and took the opportunity to develop a trade and retail store for my creations.’ “I’ll be exhibiting at PG Live 2016 and am really looking forward to this new challenge and to exciting times ahead!” T: 01332 883307 @greetingstoday


Thunder from Down Under I

F YOU’VE been up to the smoke in the last couple of weeks and happen to have made your way to Covent Garden, you may have come across kikki.K.

The curious use of upper and lower case lettering in this retailers’ name notwithstanding – but we’ll add a capital K at the start as it makes sentences easier to read – these Aussie stationers have just made landfall in Europe and have global ambitions. Among other things they sell cards and have just come through the Christmas card bonanza period or at least that’s what it probably hoped for. Owners and co-founders Kristina Karlsson – from whence came the name Kikki.K – and Paul Lacy see everything in their stores as part of a Swedish lifestyle. That this is a thunder from Down Under brand stemming from Melbourne is coincidental, this is the brainchild of a woman with a strong sense of identity who looks towards her home country for inspiration. Cards as lifestyle? Well, possibly, when taken in the context of a stripped-for-action interior with soft lighting and plywood fixtures, as well as naïve-looking cartoons that move, courtesy of a projector, on the perimeter wall. Then there’s the stock, of which the cards are one element. If you like journals, there are a lot of options, from a Mindfulness version to one that’s about noting down Happiness. Everything is so Scandi-upbeat that you wonder if you’ve entered some kind of parallel universe, until you look at the prices, which do rather bring you back down to earth. Organisers, notepads, pens, ornamental candles and so on and on – and, according to Lacy, the customer base is more than 85 per cent female. In the middle of all of this there are the cards which come with the inevitable gift-wrap, gift labels and trimmings and will be varied, as everywhere else, with the season.

Curiously-named Aussie imports Kikki.K have just hit the UK with their Scandi-upbeat lifestyle brand of greetings and stationery, John Ryan examines their modus operandi. ● Popping up – the temporary store in Covent Garden’s North Piazza is soon to be replaced with a permanent shop in nearby James Street

Running through all of this is a pared-back Swedish simplicity, which has a stark softness that makes you feel as if you’re a designer, even if you’ve never picked up a pencil or sat behind a Mac in your life. And, in case you’re wondering why this lengthy discourse on a shop in which cards form only a small part of the total offer, that’s perhaps the reason why. Cards can work well as part of a more general gifting environment where multi-buys become a very real prospect. Create a store that deals solely in a single commodity then any sense of pandering to a specific

Running through is a pared-back Swedish simplicityy

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


lifestyle disappears out the window with single item purchases the order of the day. Kikki.K are highly successful operators – they have 82 stores in five countries and next on the list is the US, as well as more stores in the UK and perhaps a handful in Tokyo. Worth looking at, therefore, for what they represent – a different way of selling greetings cards and one that’s more likely to yield a healthy profit than the more traditional card shop approach. Their rivals are clearly Paperchase, which is a home-grown version that does more or less the same thing but in a rather less New Age manner. They too have gone from strength to strength and their formula have enabled them to make high(er) pricing acceptable and, in some ways, desirable – that way you know you’re getting something that will have an element of perceived quality about it. When whittled back to the core, all of this is marketing, pure and simple – understanding the way that a particular group of shoppers operates then providing them with what they want. Sounds pretty easy really, so how come so few do anything that’s like this? @greetingstoday


What’s it all about?

One of the first things a retailer wants to know is what are the top sellers, closely followed by what’s expected to go well in the future – here Greetings Today gathers a few of those thoughts.


ESS is more at the moment on the bestsellers front as respected retailer and Greetings Today columnist Jo Barber has noticed over the past year.

● Kerry Lyons

● Caroline Gardner Hey You

● Megan Claire

● Caroline Gardner Folklore

And it’s something she expects to continue given the popularity of the ranges in her Ampthill store, the Stationery & Gift Boutique. “The bestsellers for us are Megan Claire’s new Pink Champagne range,” Jo said, “We ordered each design at Top Drawer and our customers are loving them! The colours are completely on trend and the wording’s clever. “We had a break from stocking Caroline Gardner, for no reason other than the rep never called and we kind of forgot about them. Again, at Top Drawer I noticed the Hey You and Folklore ranges and they have literally flown off the shelves, we’ve already reordered and in greater quantities. The colours work so well and look very chic in store. “I’ve admired Kerry Lyons’ cards for some time and placed an order at Top Drawer. They’re simple and contemporary, this is what my customers like. “I think it’s fair to say less is more at the moment, there are no embellishments, bows, sparkles or crystals on these cards, they’re simple, different and clean – and that looks set to continue into the new year.” When asked about bestselling cards, there’s one category that pops into the minds of those at UK Greetings – cute. “Lots Of Woof is one of our bestselling cute characters and one that consistently performs well,” said Product Manager Leigha Wilkinson. Woof is a character that UKG continually support with refreshment and inclusion of designs in a variety of price codes. Although classic designs such as the butterflies sell well in Woof, this cute pup isn’t one who misses out on the latest trends. Leigha added: “Woof has started to see some trendier looks, including contemporary lettering designs with pops of colour including pinks, peaches and mint greens – very on trend!” Over at Abacus, their bestseller is the Hedgehog from the BBC Springwatch range which also carries


through to their trend forecast. “There continues to be an increasing interest in social responsibility,” Creative Director Bev Cunningham said, ”and care for the environment, which includes concerns about animal welfare. You only have to see what happened in the wake of the killing of Cecil the lion. “Experts predict that this will continue, so we believe the popularity of brands such as Springwatch and other wildlife and nature ranges will continue and thrive.” And for their sister range Clare Madicott the birthday card from their Velvet Ink range was the bestseller which Bev and the team are developing for the new season. She added: “There has been a growing trend for hand lettering, led by a reaction to computer-generated fonts and a nostalgia for beautiful penmanship. The modern calligraphy style or brush lettering can be seen on everything from cards to packaging, signage and ads. “Our Velvet Ink range features this style of lettering, the caption takes centre stage and is accompanied, if at all, by very simple illustrations. For 2016 we’re developing this range to include occasion cards, which we expect to be as successful as the original birthday cards.” At Cardmix the Drama Queen range is top of the sales list and Creative Director Lee Keeper said: “This humour range continues to perform year on year, and this bestselling design pokes gentle fun at parental peer pressure with aplomb – it highlights our desire to keep the range both relevant to our consumers as well as develop the ever-growing portfolio of designs.” On the trends front Just Sayin’ by Helen Dennis and the Cardmix studio is a range launching in January and Lee added: “With a saturation of text designs in the marketplace there will be an increased challenge to both attract and engage the card consumer. “Greetings card design will have to continue to compete with the dynamic and plethora of visual language consumed through social media. Our forthcoming range targets this ongoing trend offering relevant statements with witty captions, hand-drawn icons and lettering.”

HENRI’S HINTS GIVING customers a reason to buy your products rather than those of your competitors has been a major focus for publishers and retailers alike for the last few years as they try to establish a position in the market. As the greetings card market becomes ever more competitive product differentiation becomes critical and I don’t believe this is going to change in the foreseeable future. In terms of design trends I believe colour and finish will be key in this differentiation. In 2015 neon became much more popular and it looks as though it’s likely to be an important part of the colour palette for 2016 too as we have seen lots of neon detail on the more contemporary Christmas cards and with letterpress too, and this is well illustrated by the Marby and Elm range shown at Top Drawer. Vintage, retro and cute imagery continue to feature in some of the latest launches this year, the images are often being coupled with humorous captions, and they are going to have to fight hard for a retailer’s pocket space in this already crowded genre. Detail and hand finishing are where smaller publishers come into their own as they are working with volumes where this is still practical and cost-effective – Blue Eyed Sun’s new Pincushion range is a good example of this. Over the last few years we have seen the importance of licensing increasing and 2016 looks to be continuing this trend with the major film titles being snapped up by the biggest publishers. But there are new brands being licensed too and Springwatch has been launched by Abacus and UK Greetings are launching Studio Pets By Myrna in January. Done carefully it can work really well for smaller designers too as they are licensing their images to bigger companies for other product sectors so generating additional income which helps drive their card businesses as Jess Hogarth is doing very successfully.

● Continued on page 20 @greetingstoday

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● Davora ● Wendy Jones-Blackett

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At Caroline Gardner a great trend for 2015 has been gold foiling and neons – Luca Bridges said: “We’ve seen a great success with it in our card and gift ranges along with Christmas, such as our bestselling Happy Birthday Lovely card in neon pink. “We see this continuing into our spring-summer 2016 range with gorgeous gold foiling of text and images on cards, along with luxury gold detailing on the gift range. “In November we launched a lovely new range called OMG based around emojis, all of which are die-stamped in silver, gold and a vibrant new rose-gold finish.” Pineapples and flamingoes were extremely popular for Paper Salad in 2015 and they agree neon is going to be a big trend this coming year. Bright colours have seen Wendy Jones Blackett’s Quicksilver cats design sell “brilliantly” this year and she added “giraffes, elephants and yet more cats will feature heavily in our 2016 collections,” while the Quicksilver new home design has been extremely popular since its launch in January. Nostalgia is a thing for the future for Cherry Orchard, being the key selling point in their very successful recent Down Memory Lane range which marks milestone ages with facts, events and iconic images. Business development and marketing manager Helen Pallen said: “In line with current contemporary UK-styling trends, the designs have bold, vibrant colours and a text-driven front. “The range has been so successful that we’ve extended the designs into bone china mugs, predicting a


trend for 2016 of retailers and consumers wanting a range of complementary products in a design range, so busy shoppers can find all they need under one roof.” This year Davora have seen Halloween cards trending, with Tesco and Asda taking on their range for the first time. As Pooja Shah explained: “Halloween cards are a relatively new phenomenon in the UK, but the trend is coming from across the Pond and catching on here. Also doing well are Davora’s latest Christening and Baptism cards, complete with Bible verses inside. “This year saw the launch of our Welsh brand Pili Pala, featuring a beautiful range of 30 Welsh language cards. Outside of the core Diwali and Eid cards, the Pili Pala range has been Davora’s bestseller. Given the success of the range, expect to see plenty more new designs added in the coming months.” Even before Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released in December, the licensed card range from Hallmark had hit the bestsellers list – and they expect it to trend well into 2016 too so have more cards featuring the new characters. The bestseller for Cinnamon Aitch is from their colourful, lustrous Gypsy range, where the cheerful little bird peeking off the top of the die-cut card while sitting on a seed head has proved a winner. As co-founder Sara Burford said: “Just when we thought the market was saturated with our little feathered friends, people are still loving them and they continue to sell well.” Laura Sherratt’s bestselling range of 2015 has been

the Arty Krafty occasion and birthday collection: ”This range offers excellent value for money, with wooden buttons and more. The colours used are really eyecatching against the dark kraft backdrop. “In 2016 I’m hoping to see the trend for handmade products continue, with buyers looking for individual products made by hand in the UK.” The Hungry Indian range by The Playful Indian is growing in popularity each year and now there are 20 designs to choose from with Valentine’s Day the bestseller. The designs are based on Indian foods and we all love a good Indian, or know someone that does and they’ve become so popular that publisher Dina Mistry has released matching coasters. Last but not least, Lisa Marcuccio is sales director at Really Good and Soul and said: “Birthday Girls Just Want To Have Fun has been one of Really Good’s topselling Bright Side cards this year. “This hot pink and purple foiled design has hit a chord with birthday card buyers, with a bright design and the writing conveying a message echoing the lyrics of one of the best pop songs for girls ever written! “Moving into 2016, we anticipate designs such as this maintaining their top spots in the sales charts due to wordy sentiments and fanciful fonts continuing to set trends. “One of our fab new ranges for Soul UK is Stardust, launched in December, and it’s led by this so embodies the direction of the new year with the fusion of differing fonts, all hand drawn and accentuated by a generous smattering of foil speckles.” @greetingstoday

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Here we go again…

One of the biggest changes in 2015 was the increasing influence of brokerage


...but don’t assume 2016 should be a repeat of 2015, as Henri Davis explains, you need to look at what worked and why as well as thinking about what’s new.


OWEVER good a year 2015 was for you personally or in business it’s really important that you don’t repeat the same old stuff just because it worked last time.

Without evaluating why it was such a success, you cannot be sure that it’s still relevant in 2016. This applies to businesses of every size, retailers, suppliers and designers alike and, as the market gets more and more competitive, it becomes ever more critical to be sure that whatever you invest time and money in is going to deliver the positive results you need. We saw some really interesting things happening in the market in 2015, so how will these develop in 2016? In terms of design letterpress was very strong as a print method and developed from the very simple images and one-colour designs we saw over 2013 and 2014 into much more complex work with multiple colours and intricate imagery including text. Whether letterpress will be as strong in 2016 is open to debate but the neon colours we saw being used with this and other design techniques are certainly going to be in evidence along with hot tropical colours and summer imagery as designers seek inspiration from Rio and the Olympics, like these from White Cotton Cards. (right) Card retailers gave us a lot to talk about in 2015. Who would buy Paperchase? What would be the impact of new value retailers Cardmarket and Simply Clinton who were out to spoil Card Factory’s fun and try to take share from them at the bottom end of the market? We also saw the emergence of Paper And Script and what feels like a slowdown in the growth of Funky Pigeon, both businesses under the WH Smith umbrella. We now know Paperchase are to stay under the same leadership in 2016 and that, as well as growth in the UK, they are planning significant growth abroad too. Paperchase set the pace in all their markets with publishers and producers desperate to supply them and, with many design-conscious retailers measuring their performance in term of design development and sales against them, the real question is, how high will they set the bar in 2016? At the luxury end of the market Liberty, Selfridges and others will be searching for unique cards that use beautiful materials, print and finish to set them apart and justify they prices they need to charge. One thing you can be sure of is that there will be a real price fight at the bottom end of the market to drive volume – no change there then!! One of the most notable people moves we witnessed in 2015 was Sophie Greenwood leaving the WH Smith group to go to Marks & Spencer. Sophie, pictured right, has been a real driving force as a buyer in the industry having been at Tesco prior to WHS and, because of M&S’s own-brand range, her profile in the industry may be much more invisible in the coming year. @greetingstoday

Greetings Cards & Gift Stationery ● Plenty to talk about – new and expanding card retailers are keeping everyone on their toes

For me one of the biggest changes in 2015 was the increasing influence of brokerage as it permeates through the market, moving from the supermarkets into mid-market retailers as more large publishers take on the role of broker and then grow their share by managing the card ranges for medium-sized businesses such as garden centres and small retail chains – plus, I heard recently, even large independents. This may make the retailers’ lives easier as some of the more complex range analysis that they may not have the time, data or skills to carry out but is essential if a buyer is to make their ranges better and better, is done for them by the brokers as is the individual supplier negotiations and management. However, for publishers it really limits their access to another set of retailers because, if they’re not able or willing to supply under a brokerage system themselves, they will almost certainly not be able to supply these retailers. For these publishers it means they have to approach the smaller independent retailers directly themselves, use agents or hope retailers find them at shows or online – this could make 2016 a really tough year for smaller publishers and those who don’t want to supply through brokerage. So what will I be doing differently in 2016? I spend a lot of time at trade shows looking for trends and new products but I’m not good at keeping my notes in an ordered fashion so I can easily find details and contacts when I want to refer back – so a better filing system for each product type and exhibition is something I need to set up. I have a tendency to leave things to the last minute so putting both myself and suppliers under unnecessary pressure. It’s not so much a lack of planning but rather trying to fit too much into the time I have, so I need to be more realistic and keep it simple. The one thing that I will carry forward is the preparation before I do something so I have the right information with me and am in the right mind-set. I cannot see any point in attending a meeting without knowing the agenda and the points I need to contribute. Likewise, attending trade shows without having done the relevant sales analysis first so I know what I need to find and what would be good to find – and what I definitely don’t need. By the time you read this it will almost be 2016 and time to hit those opening shows. I look forward to seeing you in the new year!

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

NEW – Available exclusively from

Spring Fair Stand P17, Hall 3 23


Thinking inside Nostal Nostalgia never goes away and RetroCo have really tapped into this market – here Sian Ellis Thomas, company’s head of sales and marketing, talks the co about the new vintage gifts they have to offer.


This time they’re introducing a new range of gift sets targeting our tendency to ponder on the good old days – being a child of the 60s I can easily relate to this! I remember doing the twist in front of our old Bush TV to the strains of the Beatles and I just love looking at old footage and memorabilia from that period – by the looks of the burgeoning nostalgia market, I’m not the only one. People just can’t seem to get enough of the stuff that reminds them of their youth. I guess it’s all about looking through those rose-tinted spectacles at everything that seemed better, faster, cooler and fabber!

Company – into RetroCo to extend our remit into gifts while still keeping nostalgia at the heart. We had such a great reaction to the introduction of our Birthday Boxes last year that we’ve now added another 13 titles to the range, a number which may be unlucky for some but certainly not for anyone interested in buying a nostalgic gift with a real difference. Launching at Spring Fair in February, the new range includes Remember The 50s, 60s, 70s And 80s to home in on the decades as well as Child Of The… for the same key decades and, to top it off, we’re also launching Anniversaries for the really important milestones for which it seems always difficult to find a special gift that captures the longevity and importance of the achievement and occasion. After all what couple don’t deserve a fantastic gift to commemorate 40 years of marriage, but who can afford rubies?

Take a look at any gift offering at any time of year and you’ll find a plethora of retro stuff to choose from. People love to give something that takes both them and their loved ones on a trip back to the stuff they shared growing up. Having been in the nostalgia market for almost 30 years, RetroCo are well placed to take advantage of this. We have morphed from a very successful independent greetings card company – The CDCard

The thinking for the launch of the new gift boxes came about because when we launched the Birthday Boxes last year we concentrated on the milestone birthdays and, immediately, we were asked if we were going to do more varieties to target anniversaries and decades and so here we are. We’ve introduced several more generic titles that will have a much broader appeal and we’re very excited about the Anniversary boxes.

ETROCO are back again with yet another bunch of vintage-tastic gifts to capitalise on the never-ending demand for nostalgia.

● Full to bursting – each box is stuffed with vintage objects and retro ephemera eme era

24 w @greetingstoday


the box SPRING FAIR OFFER Take a copy of Greetings Today along to RetroCo’s Spring Fair stand – 4J16 – and get 10 per cent off your first order of Celebration Boxes

There’s Th herre’s so little e av available vailable a on the market to cater for these life ese big lif fe events and the great thing about all the boxes is they’re so easy to personalise – you can add your own n memorabilia stuff, such as photos and ticket stubs, to the box to make ke e them even more special. Each box contains a really brilliant and carefully-selected collection of memorabilia including a 24-page booklet, a CD of original hits along with downloads of each tune, a fulllength DVD of news stories, replica lic ca ephemera such as postcards, posters, music and TV guides plus retro surprises like coasters, s magnets, badges, stickers and lots more, it’s chock full of memories to take the recipient on a happy trip down Memory Lane. Curating all the elements for each box has been a real labour of love for the team here at RetroCo. There’s been so much research and gathering and sifting of vintage paraphernalia but it’s kinda what we do – and it helps that our MD has an enormous vintage collection of his own to pull from. It’s taken an age to get it all together, but attention to detail is really important to us and so we’re confident that, when someone gets one of these boxes, it’ll push all the right warm, fuzzy memory buttons and make them smile inside and out. What else are gifts for? The new celebration boxes will retail for £19.99 so they come in just under that magical 20 quid gift threshold and should help card shops increase their basket value which, of course, is always important. Spring Fair Stand 4J16 T: 020 8993 5966 E:

● Boxing clever – RetroCo’s Gift, Anniversary and Birthday boxes ag @greetingstoda @greetingstoday www g i d k2 25


Mind the bump H

OORAY! It’s the January issue so it’s a brand-new year and I’m looking forward to the brandnew challenges that lay ahead.

You never quite know what’s in store at this stage but, for me, there will certainly be some different experiences ahead this year. With my fast-growing baby bump going to turn into an exciting little new arrival in April, my business has certainly not been far from my mind throughout my pregnancy. I’m determined to manage both baby and business and do have a game plan in place but this great big step into the unknown has left me feeling excited and anxious all at the same time, as I’m sure it does any new parent. Announcing the news to my customers has been lovely, they’ve been utterly delighted for me – and thank you again to all those who sent me a New Mum To Be card. Everyone seems genuinely excited with some customers asking if I’ll be bringing baby along to appointments – I laughed nervously at the prospect as images of me juggling the little one and their paraphernalia with all my samples filled my mind! One of my fellow agents sent me this picture a few weeks ago saying: “Here’s an idea for you Alina, I know they have a pragmatic approach to

such things up in Yorkshire.” It did make me laugh. Principals have been very supportive too, understanding that I can work my appointments around childcare and, as I have worked so hard to establish my ranges and myself in the industry, we all feel business will keep turning over and the orders will still come in. Customers have promised their continued support, coming up with “We’ll order over the

phone”, “We’ll still email’ and “Just come to the shop when you can” sort of arrangements. I will be trying to stick to an as-normal-aspossible schedule but it’s good to know everyone is understanding and flexible. Interestingly, one principal has said: “We’ve never known an agent being pregnant before!” And, to be honest, neither have I. There hasn’t been anyone I know in a similar self-employed role to ask how they found it, how did they manage, what was the industry support like – all these questions but no answers. So I feel almost like some kind of maverick, really stepping out into the unknown, but with the faith and confidence that all will be fine, the support will be there and it will all work out. If any agents do have experience of having a baby while working I’d love to hear from you, do drop me an email to share your experience. With my ever-increasing bump, carrying heavy samples has been on my mind for a while, yet my brilliant customers have been so understanding and told me to come in with just catalogues or some have even rushed to and from the car to bring them in for me. The story so far as been a very happy one and so far it’s all working out nicely. – Alina Clark

White Christmas?


NE customer I’ve dealt with for quite some time is a florist so her main priority is the flowers and, although she sells cards, she doesn’t really have the time to merchandise them.

She’s handed that responsibility over to me, so every four to six weeks I go in, see what gaps she has and ideally try to fill all those empty spaces from one company to reduce the number of carriage-paid orders she has to do. I then rotate which company we use each visit to keep the designs fresh – and be fair to everyone. When it came to Christmas last year we decided how much space we’d dedicate to the festive cards and also how many of each title we would do. I then put together her Christmas orders across various companies to give her a variety of styles and designs. When it was all planned out using my samples to give her an idea of the overall look, we both stood back and looked and the card display as a whole – after a few minutes she said: “It looks very white doesn’t it?” I have to admit I agreed with her and, even

though I’d used a number of different companies whose styles were completely different, with the exception of two almost all the companies were using white board. Granted there was lots of colour on the cards in the designs etc and each had a completely different look yet when they were all together it did feel like it was lacking festive colour. Some of her other comments were “where’s the traditional red card with gold etc” and “it just doesn’t feel very Christmassy”, and she really did have a point. When we went through everybody’s designs, yes, they looked great and yes, individually, they were really striking – put them all together though, and it definitely felt like we needed some strong designs on coloured boards to break up the sea of white cards. I know that trends change and sometimes modern or simplistic are en vogue but I’m sure there will always be a market for a traditionalstyle card at Christmastime. Surely even modern designs can still reflect the traditional colours? I know cost must play a factor as I expect coloured board is more expensive than white and it can be a minefield using gold – I’ve had a few ranges

● Royal connections – florists are good customers for Ne il, who is pictured at Paul Burre ll Flowers in Farndon, Cheshire, wit h the owner, Princess Diana’s forme r butler

that tried gold board but it looked very brassy and didn’t go down well at all. Maybe using white board but printing a large area of it to add colour is the solution, I don’t know as designing cards isn’t really my thing, I only sell them! One thing I do know from customer feedback is that, contrary to popular belief, not everybody wants a white Christmas. ;-) – Neil Anthony

Neil Anthony (Reil (Reil Agencies, T: 07766 736254) and Alina Clark (T: 07906 792420) are experienced independent greetings industry sales agents in the North West and North East of England respectively. Each month they share their experiences of life on the road.

26 @greetingstoday

Birthday boost


If you’ve ever doubted the happiness receiving a card brings, read on to find out about a not-for-profit group that gives joy to youngsters who often miss out on birthday fun.


ESEARCH has confirmed the fantastic boost that receiving a greetings card gives people – and there’s now a group using birthday cards to make children with additional needs happy. The not-for-profit group Autism Friendly Birthday Wishes UK was set up by volunteers six months ago to send cards so these youngsters have birthdays that are as special as they are. Abacus Cards have become one of the first publishers to help by supplying cards and Creative Director Bev Cunningham said: “There have been stories on the news about children where no one replies to their party invitations because they have autism or special needs and it’s so sad. “This just shows how important greetings cards are and we’re very happy to help this group with their lovely work.” The group, who have already brought joy to more than 60 children with nearly 600 cards, work via a Facebook page where the admin team post a birthday roll call once a month ready for the following month. Anyone who joins the Autism Friendly Birthday Wishes UK page can comment with a child’s name, birthday, age and interests and send their address in a private message to the admin team. Each month the birthday children

will then be posted with a central address so people can send in cards that will be forwarded by the admin team along with a card and small gift from the group. Research by neuroscientist and psychologist Dr Linda Shaw showed that receiving a card really does lift the spirits and the proof is in the joyful Facebook messages and pictures the group receive from parents. Birthday Wishes’ Claire Lyons said: “Quite often children with additional needs can miss out on a number of social activities and have difficulties making friends. This impacts on a child who can’t understand why they’re the only one in the class not invited to a party or none of their peers bothers to RSVP to theirs, let alone turn up. “We know our children often don’t get the amount of cards that reflect their brilliance and are left waiting by the door, and the group ensure the kindness of strangers can help put a smile on a child’s face.” Birthday Wishes have four administrators – Claire, Daniella Robles, Jo Gowrie and Dorothy Dougan – and rely on donations, particularly of stamps to cover their postage costs, and money for the cards and gifts they send themselves. groups/272635342943768/ Twitter: @snbirthdays @greetingstoday

(t) 0116 230 4197 (f) 01536 401 031 (w) 27


Under one umbrella A contemporary evolution sees Top Drawer, Home and Craft combine to reveal the most distinctive, design-led products in a single, unifying international event for creative retailers.


OP DRAWER has evolved – organisers Clarion Events have brought the three shows under one umbrella to present four distinct elements and create a single destination starting with the upcoming spring event. Having expanded into greetings and fashion accessories, Clarion introduced Home in 2012 and Craft in 2014 alongside the main show, and they have now united everything under the Top Drawer brand with Home, Gift, Fashion and Craft sectors. The 2016 Top Drawer Spring edition runs from January 17-19 at London’s Olympia as one of the UK’s leading design-led buying events. Event director Alejandra Campos said: “Our dedicated team spends the year cherry-picking the best in class across home, gift, fashion and craft. “The result is a curated, exciting and inspiring event that presents the up-and-coming trends, and showcases the very best of each sector. “The new look is fresh, premium and contemporary. By simplifying the brand architecture, we are able to focus more on relevant content and engage fundamentally with each of the communities we represent.” Buyers are now invited to register for the show which is due to host a record number of exhibitors and bring together an inspirational showcase of thousands of selected British and international brands and designers. The Gift world will present a carefully-edited, global cross-section of products from the finest brands and designers in Gifts, Stationery & Greetings, Wellbeing and Children’s for the spring/summer season and there are more than 200 greetings exhibitors already confirmed. Top Drawer has a proud history of discovering and nurturing new talent and for 2016, Spotted will expand to become the all-encompassing hub for new and emerging brands across the show sectories and will include the popular Confessions Of A Design Geek bursary award, this year won by product designer Martha Bordes, who has a range of lamps. The Craft sector boasts a selection of carefullycurated handmade products from more than 150 contemporary makers.


This h Thi T has b become the h most important show of the year for im im imp design-led cards and gifts. I think the sheer scale and quality of Top Drawer surprised everyone this year, and I know a lot of buyers have already pencilled it in as their must-do show for next year. This is reflected in our decision to take a bigger stand in 2016.

– Michael, Frankie Whistle

Top Drawer is most definitely T the th th he e strongest show in the UK for seeing high-quality buyers from around the world. This is now the only show we do in the UK as it reaches out to all new and existing retailers of a high discerning quality. I can honestly say it is an absolute pleasure to exhibit in such a stunning environment among world-class co companies. pa es s

– Helene Ellingsoe, Rice

Top Drawer Spring last time was a great success for us. It’s our favourite UK show as it’s full of design-led products and independent brands that are paving the way in lifestyle design.

–K Katie Kati atie ati e Leam L Leamon eamon eam on

GREETINGS & STATIONERY EXHIBITORS’ LIST 1790 Cards – stand Y55a A Farmer’s Daughter – Z54 A L’Aise – W56 AP Illustrations – P55 Abigail Warner– Y66 Alice Palace – ZA42 Alice Shields – C-E26 Alison Hardcastle – X42 Allihopa – ZB49 Alljoy Design – Z42 Always Sparkle – Z40a Ambiente Europe – N57 Amelia Lane Paper – Z45 Anna Wright – O69 Apple Tree – Y40 April Rose IIllustration – ZB36 Archivist – W33 Art Angels Publishing – U50 Artbox – ZB55 Artebene – U44 The Art File – U47 Arteum – K42 Arthouse Meath – X55 ArtPress – Y39 The Art Rooms – Z38 Belly Button Designs – X53 BerinMade – SP29 Betty Etiquette – S66 Bexy Boo – U69 Big Jon – X41 Black Olive Studio– X63 Blank Inside – ZB33 Blue Eyed Sun – T42 Bold Bunny – V68 Bonnie Blackbird – ZA46a Boxwood – tbc Card Crazy – ZB51 Cardinky – ZB46 Caroline Gardner – L49 Cath Tate Cards – U33 Cavallini Papers – K41 Catherine Kleeli Cards – Z56 Cavallini Papers – K41 Charfleet Book Bindery – V59 Cinnamon Aitch – X46 Claire Tarling – Y55 Clare Brownlow Pheasant Feather Art – ZA33 Clear Creations – X50 Colcards – ZB45 Comic Art – N46 Coulson Macleod – Z33 Cracker Cards – Z53 Dandelion Stationery – X45 Dandylion Jack – ZB39 Dean Morris Cards – W50 Dear Prudence – U67 Dear To Me – Y36 DeBono & Bennett – P43 Dicky Bird – Y60 The DM Collection – X58 Doodlelove – X66 Dry Red Press – Z64 Earlybird Designs – Y44 Ella & George – ZA44 Eloise Hall Studio – Y54 Emmeline Simpson – A13 English Accent – S57 English Graphics – W66 Esmie – X40 Evie & Me – ZA50 Ezen – Y49 Fawn & Thistle – ZA39 Five Dollar Shake – X38 Floppy Toast – SP12 Flytrap – ZB54 Forever Handmade Cards – X33 Fox & Lark– ZB48 Frankie Whistle – Z50 Gabrielle Izen – ZA47 Gellie Design – ZB50 Grace & Favour – N60 Gatch Cards – O46a Heather Alstead Design – O45 Hole In My Pocket – Z47a Holy Mackerel – ZB41 Hunky Dory Designs – U49 Hype Associates – T58 Imogen Owen – W68 James Ellis – T40 Jessica Hogarth Designs – Y46 Jessica Russell Flint Design – B27 Jo Clark Design – ZA40 Jolly Awesome – Y37 Judy Lumley – Z39 Julia Manning – Y64 Kali Stileman/The Square Card Co – tbc Kate Guest – ZA37 Katie Leamon – W58 Kerry Lyons – Z41 Lagom Design – U41 Laura Darrington Designs – U61 Laura Skilbeck – ZA55

Laura Truby Designs – ZB46a Legami Milano – L69 Lesser Spotted Britain – ZA38 LH Design – X59 Linen Prints – Z41a Lou Mills – T56 Louise & Lygo – Z55 Louise Scott Art – T33 Louise Tiler – V67 Lucilla Lavender – ZA49 Lucy Ledger – Y41 Marc Tetro – M56 Marianne Glass Design – SP31 Marina B Designs – SP16 Maurice & Maude – ZA45 Megan Claire – Z49 Meticulous Ink – Y58 Mlavi Studio– 729 My Design – Z53 Nancy & Betty Studio – Y47 Nella Cards – Z46 Nocturnal Paper – V66 Noi Publishing – Y53 Northlight Design– O58 Objectables – Z63 Ohh Deer – V63 OLA – X66a Originaliart – X61 Paladin – J80 Paper Bird – S68 Paper Republic – C-E9 Pearl & Black – ZA46 Penny Lindop – Z57 Periodic Society – ZB44 Petra Boase – Z48 Pickmotion UG – ZB40 Pigment – V49 Pippi & Me – X57 Poet & Painter – W52 Polite Company – ZA53 Pootle – ZA48 The Pop Out Card Co – U60 The Porch Fairies – Y43 Portfolio – V39 Portico Designs – L65 Pressed & Folded – W54 Publishers Group – W46 Pulp – T50 Quotable Cards – W40 Rachel Ellen Designs – V53 Raspberry Blossom – X44 Real & Exciting Designs – Y61 Redback Cards – ZA41 Reliefprint Press – X54 RJB Stone – L61 Rocket 68 – Y38 Roger La Borde – V27 Ros Shiers – U58 Rose & Clara Designs – SF3 Rosanna Rossi – Y56 Rosemary’s – Z47 Rosie Flo’s Colouring Books – S42 Rosie Made A Thing – Y45 Ruth Jackson – Y50 Sally Scaffardi Design – ZB37 Sarah Cemmick Lion Cuts – C-E24 Sarah Ray – ZB35 Schnucki Images – U53 Scissor Monkeys – Z59 Sea Gems – 339 Sivelink – T31 Sloane Stationery – Z40 Snapdragon Designs – C-A4 Soul – P53 Stephanie Dyment – U51 Stone Marketing – X39 Stormy Knight – V59 The Strawberry Card Co – U51a Stripey Cats Cards – Y59 Studio Seed – Y57 Susan Entwistle – ZA54 Susan O’Hanlon – X43 Suzie Lee Knitwear – C-A10 Tache Crafts – ZB47 teNeues – X49/X49a Thames & Hudson – U63 Think Of Me – Y42 Tom Pigeon – B17 Tracks Publishing – V55 The Typecast Gallery – ZA57 Urban Graphic – U37 Velvet Olive – Z37 Veronica Dearly – ZA31 Victoria Eggs – M39 Vintage Playing Cards – O49 Wild & Wolf – I61 The Wooden Postcard Co – ZA40a Wot Me Like – SP10 The Wrap Paper – T52 Wraptious – T54 YCUK – W64 @greetingstoday

Once Upon a Time

Beautiful words and exquisite illustrations a story worth telling. 36 designs

T. 0115 8507490

The Art File

Top Drawer London 17-19 January 2016 – Stand U47

F. 0115 9413411

@The Art File E.


Learn while you laugh CATH TATE Cards’ new range History Notes is designed to make you laugh and brush up on your history knowledge at this January Top Drawer. Each of the 16 designs in the range is a portrait of a historical person such as Henry VII, Anne Boleyn, William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein and each figure is then coupled with a relevant humorous caption. For this range Cath draws from her memories of a previous life as a history teacher, marrying her love of the subject with her sense of humour! Printed on a high quality uncoated textured paper the range covers a variety of mixed occasions. Other new ranges and designs in best-selling collections can also be seen at the show.

Stand U33 – T: 020 8671 2166

Here’s a retro vibe to get you in the mood AT ROSANNA Rossi they are proud to release a stunning collection of 24 birthday and occasion cards to get you in the mood for spring/summer 2016. Retro Flair offers a nostalgic feel fusing colourful flora with striking typography into sweet and fun designs, featuring an array of vibrant flowers, palm leaves and exotic birds bursting with summery hues. Each 170x120mm card is finished with colourful foil, intricate emboss detail and die-cut edges and presented individually cello-wrapped with recycled brown fleck envelopes. Alongside this, they are releasing further birthday card titles in their popular male Retro Rocks range, plus 20 mini cards featuring a collection of delicate floral designs, which have been hugely successful since their release earlier this year.

Stand Y56 – T: 07900 698522

Adorable awkward animals REDBACK are launching the Little World Of Liz at Top Drawer Spring, a cute and witty collection of cartoons by Simpsons animator Liz Climo. This adorable 120x170mm range of 24 designs features animals in conversation about their awkward everyday lives and is sure to make you smile.

T: 0845 257 0455

30 @greetingstoday


Glittery sunshine BRAND-new for 2016 is Pootle’s wonderful Hello range of cards, which are all hand-glittered and come with a beautiful mustard yellow envelope for that added touch of sunshine. Also brand new for 2016 is their Sparkle With Flowers range of cards; all of which are also hand glittered and come with a bright pink envelope.

Stand ZA48 – T: 01750 23595

Best businessman impression DEAN Morris has loads of new cards to shock and delight this January and will be fronting a packed stand full of his new everyday humour, spring seasons and even Christmas – yes, the festive season is starting early this year. Dean himself will be doing his best impression of a proper businessman so come on down for a good old laugh in the aisles of Top Drawer.

Stand W50 – T: 01902 560247

Wrapping up fab imagery EARLYBIRD Designs have just published 10 new designs of wrapping paper with Dinosaurs, Cats, Dogs, Bikes and a wonderful collage of colourful fruit among the fab imagery. The majority of the wrap has been designed by owner and artist Dominic Early and director Heidi Early said: “We needed to do some fresh wrap for the new year and decided to do a bigger range than we would normally. “Along with Dom’s designs, we asked our new artist Annabel and existing Earlybird artist Raissa to contribute their work too.”

Stand Y44 – T: 01227 765372

32 @greetingstoday


Watch out for the pretty pink elephant WITH A well-balanced mix and introducing lots of new products, Artebene are pleased to present their new Spring 2016 collection of packaging, stationery and greetings cards. The Pink Elephant is just one of the eye-catching fresh new designs on Artebene’s successful products, such as flat gift wrap, roll wrap, ribbons, gift bags and gift boxes that give the collection a colourful, innovative and improved look. Besides their core product range of packaging, cards and napkins, Artebene have introduced the We Love range featuring an assortment of leather wallets and purses and this has been expanded with new cosmetic bags, coin pouches and key rings. All products have a high-quality Moroccan embossed finish, and come in fashionable spring colours such as hot orchid pink, fresh jungle green and muted shades of pink and ocean blue plus the ever-popular and stylish metallic gold and silver. For the home there is also the range of cushions with new motifs and top-quality soft textile fibres, printed on both sides, while the new cotton shopper bags with gold foil embossing are the perfect accompaniment for your spring shopping. For the important spring occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Wedding and Baby, Artebene have added some great new designs and they have also enlarged their assortment for the Back To School season. There are lots of funky new stationery bits and bobs for kids in great colours – pencil cases, animal-shaped magnets, 3D rulers, pencils with rubbers and eraser cars all provide great fun for the kids and boost retailers’ sales. New on the website you can be inspired to find creative solutions to a successful season with the virtual tour.

Stand U44 – T: 020 8588 9510

Award Winning Calendars, Diaries & Stationery Celebrating the BRITISH ISLES 2017



by Kelly Hall

17 Jack Vettriano 20


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Scout Tests 2017


Family Planner

17.11.15 22:13



Introducing our new 2017 Calendar and Diary range, and exciting new additions to our stationery programme.


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18.11.15 12:58

Contact: Claire Trigger, Sales Manager UK; teNeues Calendars & Stationery GmbH & Co. KG Mobile: +44 (0)771 520 8507; Tel: +44 (0)203 542 8997; e-mail: @greetingstoday 33


Designs with Panache THIS IS going to be a fantastic year for Real & Exciting as they launch another brand-new collection at Top Drawer. The stunning new Panache, designed by talented Sarah Curedale, has beautiful, contemporary designs featuring on-trend looks in a selection of different styles, ranging from luxurious diamond designs, to abstract textures paired with elegant typography. Each design is finished with a coordinating, gleaming foil and detailed, textured embossing, wrapped with a pearlescent silver or gold envelope. Titles include 16 general birthday cards, in both feminine and masculine styles, a selection of 12 special occasions and six luxury Father’s Day designs. Also available to view at the show will be the boutique Bijou, delicate Woodland Wonderland and beautiful Paper D’or ranges.

Stand Y61 – T: 01223 207 080

Kali’s not all square now LOTS OF new and exciting things happening at the Square Card Company with the main one being a big name change to Kali Stileman. As they now have as many rectangular cards as square, founder Kali decided The Square Card Co seemed a bit of a daft name. “Kali Stileman is the name I write children’s books under,” she said, “so it seemed an obvious alternative and it will be good to join the two elements of my work together.” They also have a new set of 21 cards called Little People, launching at Top Drawer, featuring children’s hobbies and games. Kali added: “There’s the old favourites like spacemen, superheroes and fairies but with a few more interesting themes – I think – bug boy, DJ, martial arts and a rocking horse for the girls who love ponies. “They are smaller as my assistant Lucy wanted something small and perfectly formed like her, and they’re printed on lovely thick watercolour paper and come cellowrapped with a wonderful old gold envelope which makes them feel extra special.” There are two wraps to match, a super hero and a rocking horse both printed on a brown paper background.


And Kali is seeing her ever-growing range of personalisable Bubbles cards flying out so she’s designing more. They have more than 70 now which look really special when children write their own messages on them.

Stand S33 – T: 01305 848899 @greetingstoday


Cute little critters PREVIOUS winners of the Best Cute Cards category at the Henries Awards, Blue Eyed Sun have launched a gorgeous new Crochet Critters range of cute cards. Crochet Critters designs are all based on original hand-stitched crochet artworks by textile artist Jo Corner. Beautifully litho-printed on thick watercolour board from sustainable sources, there are 20 distinctive 125x125mm designs featuring a fun collection of super cute characters that retail for £2.99. Sold in sixes to trade buyers only, the cards are blank inside, barcoded and cello-wrapped with a pearlescent silver envelope. Blue Eyed Sun’s cards are available to order through their easyto-use, trade-only website, their 2016 brochure, and they also have a team of sales agents across the country that can come in to see you with samples and help you choose the right look for your shop.

Stand T42 – T: 01273 823003

Cutely cut out A GORGEOUS new children’s range from Laura Darrington Design will be launched at Top Drawer Spring. The Cut-Out Cuties collection will consist of 24 designs covering children’s ages one to eight and general birthday captions for both boys and girls and will have a sparkly glitter finish. The 125x175mm cards have a trade price of 83p, RRP £1.99.

Stand U61 – T: 0116 284 9660 www.lauradarrington.


Getting set for 2017 already TENEUES will be previewing their 2017 calendar range at Top Drawer Spring, including award-winning bestsellers such as the Gruffalo Family Planner, A Cat’s Life and Jack Vettriano, New titles include the cartoons of Tim Whyatt, Celebrating The British Isles by Kelly Hall and Scout Tests – Scouting Skills For Everyday Life based on the celebratory edition of the 1914 official manual used by Scouts. For 2017, TeNeues Calendars & Stationery have introduced a new range of slim calendars, with a Gruffalo Activity Calendar, Tula Moon’s London, Potted Garden by Julie Dodsworth and A Cat’s Life featuring the hilarious designs of Gemma Correll. They will also be displaying their new stationery ranges for 2016, including new designs for their GreenLine Range as well as popular classics such as Magneto blank books and SoftTouch.

Stand X49 – T: 020 3542 8997 @greetingstoday

London TopDrawer, 17.01-19.01.16 Paris Maison&Objet, 22.01.-26.01.16 Birmingham Spring Fair, 07.02.-11.02.16


Excitingly male Exclusive collection from Sara THE ART File will be launching more than 200 new everyday designs at Top Drawer, including new everyday gift bags and giftwrap. They are also incredibly proud to present and launch an exclusive collection of more than 40 everyday, occasions and relations designs designed by esteemed designer Sara Miller, all finished with intricate attention to detail.

Alongside Sara, The Art File’s new stationery lines for 2016 will be unveiled for the first time to show-goers, along with several other range extensions which will be sure to squeeze a few smiles out of their fabulous customers.

Stand U47 – T: 0115 859 7490

ALWAYS Sparkle are launching three exciting new card ranges at Top Drawer including their new Say What? male card range. This collection features 12 male birthday titles printed on slightly textured, white FSCcertified board. These 148x148mm contemporary cards are suitable for men of all ages and many feature a humorous caption. They come with brown ribbed Kraft envelopes and sealed in a cellophane sleeve.

Stand Z40a – T: 07940 726842

Love and friendship INDEPENDENT designer Gabrielle Izen creates greetings cards, stationery, artwork and gifts. She produces the artwork by hand using traditional methods of illustration, calligraphy and lettering – dip pens, Japanese reed pens, brushes, inks and watercolours – and typography is used in some designs. The theme of love and friendship plays a big part in my work and many of the designs feature messages of love, good wishes, uplifting and humorous sayings and famous quotes, like the From The Heart range of 15 cards and six art prints.

Art of the handwritten note WITH family and friends spread near and far across the globe, correspondence is at the heart of Dear To Me. A traditionalist by nature, Elly Vvaller strongly believes in the art of the handwritten note and, after a career working for leading luxury fashion brands, she launched Dear To Me in spring 2015. From notecards and writing paper to gift tags and wrap, Dear To Me’s mission is to create distinctive social stationery and an everexpanding line of luxury gifts that will provide their clientèle with a little daily goodness and a distinguishing stamp of style.


Stand ZA47 – T: 01732 440428

Getting all Luvvy Duvvy LUVVY Duvvy Doodles is a fabulous, brandnew range from Bexy Boo encapsulating all the joys of spring. For Valentine’s there is a little love in the air, beautiful butterflies, buzzing bees and cups of tea for Mother’s Day, and for Father’s Day, from a champion Dad to a super hero sporting Y-fronts. Finished with the Bexy Boo signature Scrabbley wooden tiles, the most sparkly of Swarovski crystals and hand-punched shapes these ranges are a must-have for 2016.

Stand U69 – T: 01565 830546 @greetingstoday

Genius new designs from

for 2016! See us at Top Drawer, stand U33 17th -19th January T 0208 671 2166 E


Plight of the bumblebee Beautiful botanicals BOTANICAL is a new range of 12 cards with contrasting metallic gold envelopes that Megan Claire will be launching at Top Drawer. Inspired by the latest trends, this contemporary A6-sized typography range features hand-drawn botanical designs in simple striking colours. Each card features a quirky phrase aimed towards the girls.

THE PLIGHT of the endearing bumblebee has recently captured the hearts of many and their beguiling charm has inspired a fabulous new collection from Soul UK. Featuring notebooks, storage tins, and other home accessories, the gifts will appeal to any nature lover or appreciator of quality giftware. The mug makes a perfect present and the glasses case is a purposeful gift suited to both handbags and briefcases. The money tin, torch and tray all offer useful gift ideas.

T: 01235 537888

Stand Z49 T: 01536 560345

Wonderful windows

Get the message TOP Drawer sees the launch of April Rose Illustration’s new Message Me Christmas range from founder Siobhan Harrison. Siobhan has also launched a new website showcasing her vintage-style greetings cards and notebooks, and her artwork that’s available to licence.

Stand ZB36 – T: 07957 738711


LET THE spring and summer flourish as Rocket68 have thrown open their windows to reveal 18 positively blooming floral designs in their new Windowbox range. On sunlit windowsills these windowboxes are adorned with radiant floral, cacti and succulent displays with a fresh retro palette of colour to brighten your world. Illustrated by Jill White they are printed in the UK with an array of vivid cards for every occasion plus other new designs at Top Drawer.

Stand Y38 – T: 01935 822588 @greetingstoday


gorgeous birthday cards

Sophisticated, sentimental, and sassy for spring SASSY new card collection Mindful Moments is the latest product release by Bonnie Blackbird that’s launching at Top Drawer Spring with 10 150x150mm designs. The new concepts are designed with a sophisticated and sentimental focus and original messages mixed with compelling colour combinations make this range an eye-catching compilation you can’t fail to notice on the shelves.

Stand ZA46a – T: 07799 280584

beautiful occasions

luxury father’s day

(e) (t) 01223 207 080 (f) 01536 401 031 @greetingstoday 41


Bringing in the new year AT CINNAMON Aitch they’re bringing in the new year with lots of lovely new designs, and they’re all launching at Top Drawer Spring. There are 16 new additions to the delightfully bohemian Gypsy range with gorgeous new birthday and occasions titles. The beautiful collection of whimsical and colourful birds and flowers is finished with a combination of textured printing, die-cutting, foiling and embossing to accentuate their exquisite detail. There are also 24 additions to the elegant Piccadilly range of hand-drawn illustrations combined with photographic details. Including both birthday and occasion titles, all sprinkled with shimmering sliver gems and little black bows and finished with luxurious silver foiled text.

And because the best things do come in tiny packages Cinnamon Aitch are thrilled to be launching 16 stunning new gift bags to complement their successful Cornflower card range. These luxurious gift bags have natural rope handles, coordinating die-cut gift tags and come in four stylishly modern designs. They are now in four different sizes with the addition of the tiny new 75x90x50mm size priced at 72p each, RRP £1.75, that’s just perfect for jewellery.

Stand X46 – T: 0121 7736833

Excited and nervous AT PIPPI & Me they’re very excited –and also a little nervous – about exhibiting at Top Drawer for the first time. The 2015 Henries Award winners have added more than 30 new designs to the very popular Little Creature range taking it too over 100 cards that cover most occasions in a cute and adorable way! All Pippi & Me cards are 125x125mm, blank inside and cello-wrapped with a white recycled envelope – and five per cent of their profit goes to charity.

Eclectic collection LUCY Ledger Studio are exhibiting for the second year at Top Drawer Spring and showcasing 10 new ranges. An eclectic collection in Lucy’s unique recognisable style is made up of two children’s ranges, a male occasion range, two Christmas ranges and five female occasion and everyday ranges, which will be joining the best-sellers from the 2015 collection. The muliti-award-winning design studio, established in 2010, have had a hugely successful first year in the sector securing more than 100 stockists including Fenwick’s and currently have distribution across Switzerland.

Stand Y41 – T: 0114 438 7569


Stand X57 – T: 07540 637424 www.PippiAndMe.Com

A pun-tastic world THERE are two new card ranges from Lesser Spotted Images being launched at Top Drawer. The feel-good paint splashes of children’s illustrator Fiona Lumbers will be joined by glimpses of Cake Moss, Justin Beaver, Egg Sheeran and Danny Dorito in the pun-tastic world of Sydney-based artist Justine Morrison. In addition Krasiva and Ashley Amery are both adding to their ever-popular ranges – perfect for any last-minute Valentine orders. And, as always, the Lesser Spotted Britain road sign photographic range will be stopping people in their tracks at the unbelievable daftness of Great British place names!

Stand ZA38 – T: 07932 086581 @greetingstoday


Write on

Beautiful Christmas cards abound as publishers find ever more inventive and interesting ways of helping people send their festive greetings, bringing out lovely new designs every year – but, as Greetings Today editor Tracey Bearton examines, someone still has to write them!


HAT IS it about writing Christmas cards – you sit down with the pile of carefully-chosen designs in front of you and every intention of working through your address book with a beautifully-composed personal message for each person.

el cker

ly Ma

● Ho

There are always a few cards where the recipient has absolutely no idea who they’re from

As National Stationery Week organiser Chris Leonard-Morgan said: “Writing, and being able to write by hand, matters and is as important as ever, even in an increasingly digital world. It isn’t a question of one or the other.” Perhaps if more people fully embrace the spirit of Festive Friday and turn writing your Christmas cards into a fantastically fun event, the neat handwriting will survive right through to the X Y and Zs in your address book – bet the messages are still shorter though!


● Jonny Javelin

● Min

However gorgeous your cards – whether they’re award-winning Form 3D from The Art File, funnies by Holy Mackerel, Mint and Roisin Cafferty, more traditional greetings from Jonny Javelin, Ling Design, Museums & Galleries or Simon Elvin, or contemporary designs from UK Greetings, Cinnamon Aitch, Abacus, and Clare Maddicott – there comes a point not that far down the list when you almost start to dislike them. This is around the time that the message has slipped from a jolly paragraph about your year and asking after the family while making sure everyone’s name is mentioned, to a single line of seasonal greetings. Next comes the drift to a simple “Dear Fred, George & family, love Enid, Pat & cats” and eventually just a scrawled “love Enid & Pat” – well, they’ll know it’s for them from the envelope! Anyone who knows your writing can tell at exactly what point in this process their card was written. Beautifully neat and readable at the start, then gradually becoming more scrawled before hitting the lowest ebb with an illegible scribble. And that’s when the biggest issue sets in because, however hard we try, there are always a few cards where the recipient has absolutely no idea who they’re from – and, more importantly, whether they’re already on your list or do you owe them a greeting! Maybe this is where the worlds of traditional greetings cards and digital collide so you post a pic of the squiggle on Facebook and hope one of your pals ’fesses up to their appalling handwriting.

● Abacus

Mickey-taking at Yuletide ROISIN Cafferty will be celebrating Christmas 2016 with some lighthearted mickey-taking of many muchloved Christmas traditions and icons with her Snow Joke range. From a mischievous cat causing Christmas tree chaos to the wrath of a badly-built snowman, there’s a funny Yuletide observation to suit everyone in the family. So whether you’re only at @greetingstoday

church events for the wine, or you’re rocking the Christmas jumper look, these fun-filled illustrations will leave you merry and bright! The dozen 150x150mm designs have a limited colour palette for a contemporary look and each feature a festive red to match the envelopes, and a trade price of 95p each.

T: 07742 983044 43


Capturing the winter wonderland UK GREETINGS have been working in a winter wonderland, creating product for 2016 that truly captures what Christmas means to so many people. Camden’s new British Wildlife photography range captures the popularity of all things wild, with some added festive sparkle. Assistant Seasonal Product Manager Adam Martin explained: “With the increasing popularity of nature programmes, we’ve sourced some exceptional images of British wildlife which should emotionally resonate with animal lovers – a must for all accounts.” In terms of Christmas 2016’s editorial, UKG Editorial Manager Seeta Wrightson said: “We looked to include lots of light-hearted edit to make sure that the fun of the festive season really came through in some of the new pieces. We’ve also incorporated some contemporary pieces that talk about the importance of family and home – something

which really lies at the heart of Christmas.” Hanson White’s Lemon Jelly perfectly captures the cheeky, light-hearted feel while Carlton’s Contemporary range combines powerful lettering, vibrant palettes and homely edit to fit the heart of Christmas bill. For a true winter wonderland feel, look out for Gibson’s White Christmas range, featuring strong colours, stunning laser die-cuts and fresh illustration. The cards showcase a layering effect that, as Adam puts it, “makes you feel like you’re literally walking into the scene”. UKG’s Christmas Showrooms will be on the road in January so don’t forget to book with your sales rep to find out more.

T: 01924 465200

Go with the snow WRAP up warm – Cinnamon Aitch are launching two gorgeously snowy Christmas ranges for 2016. Nordic Snow is frosty and shimmering with festive cheer, shy reindeer, cheeky little robins and their animal friends dress up in their finest bobble hats and scarves to celebrate. There are 49 C6 designs including friends and relations titles along with

two advent calendar cards, all printed with foil detailing and hand-finished with sparkly gems, wiggle eyes, custom-made buttons, and new ontrend gems in tones copper and black. Snowflake is an elegantly merry and modern Christmas range in silver

grey and white with highlights of red or green. This smaller square range of 12 stylishly-square designs is brimming with embossed and die-cut snowflakes, trees and baubles, printed with foiled details and finished with nickel eyelets, red and white twine and festive message tags. To finish up perfectly there are also two money wallet designs for stylishly sending gifts of vouchers or cash, plus eight gorgeous little Nordic Snow packs of five cards and envelopes cello-wrapped in a custom-made header bag.

Artists provide wide range of styles

SIMON Elvin’s Christmas range has been expanded with the addition of a collection of 60 new designs under the name Season’s Greetings, offering superb value. The collection ranges from regular card sizes to a largesize code 125, including a four-fold insert, with all designs embossed and with elaborate finishes, including foil and flitter. The designs are predominantly traditional with thoughtfully-composed complementary verses and will be available from all leading wholesale distributors. Simon explained: “We have added Season’s Greetings to offer our retailers an even wider variety of designs for Christmas 2016, using fresh artists to give this collection a different look.”

PORTFOLIO Select are a well-established art licensing company based in Hertfordshire, strongly dedicated to customer excellence and providing fast, friendly and reliable assistance to clients. Portfolio Select’s exclusive selection of artists features a range of styles, with art for all occasions, and designs that can be commissioned to fit any brief. Their traditional portfolios include Toben Robbins, who creates painterly winter scenes, featuring snowy countryside, pretty cottages, and farm animals. Emma Leach is busy painting fun festive characters with a cute folk feel. Her art is always popular, particularly in the card and bag market, with a broad appeal for adults and children. Karen Tye Bentley continues to introduce fresh Christmas ideas, along with bright everyday for any occasion, and her contemporary style never goes out of fashion. Michael Donnelly’s cheery Santa’s are perfect for a bold vintage look, and Pippa Elison is hard at work too – her Henna range was recently nominated for a Henries award! The full selection of portfolios are available to browse online, registration is simple, and they aim to answer any queries from customers as quickly as possible. They pride themselves on friendly customer service, and can assist with new or ongoing projects.

T: 01628 526711

T: 01442 833458

T: 0121 773 6833

Well-versed in value

44 @greetingstoday


Extensive range of on-trend work

Three formats supporting two charities FOR 2016 Abacus are offering three formats of charity cello packs, consisting of 16 packs of 140x140mm cards, eight packs of 101x147mm mini cards and 10 packs of 160x160mm cards. Offering a variety of styles from traditional to contemporary, the cards feature both illustrated and photographic imagery and each pack contains eight of one design that support the charities Marie Curie and British Heart Foundation. Abacus also offer a comprehensive selection of single captioned cards including 57 relation captioned cards, 21 further specific caption cards ranging from To A Special Couple to Baby’s First Christmas and eight luxury open cards. The collection offers a cross section of designs, sizes and finishes to suit most tastes and pockets. In addition, the Abacus collection also includes eight money wallets, which can accommodate all sizes of bank notes and gift vouchers, including credit card-style gift vouchers. The Abacus Christmas Collection can be purchased by design or via one of many Christmas packages available to suit all types of retail outlets from small gift shops to large garden centres.

WELL-KNOWN art licensing agency Image By Design represent an extensive range of Christmas greetings card and wrap designs in different mediums and styles. Recent signings to the agency include James Smith, Cath Ager, Emmeline Webb and Elizabeth Page who all create on-trend work suitable for cards and wrap. All portfolios can be viewed on the categorised Image By Design website and most of the artists are available for commission.

T: 01462 451190

T: 01638 569050

Tactile frost scenes THIS new range of seasonal cards is called Frozen Lake Skating, and features four designs printed using special white ink on tactile 100 per cent recycled grey board. The 120x170mm winter scenes of ice skating on a lake capture the essence of the season against a frosty, lovely mountain scene, and come individually cello-wrapped with a recycled brown kraft envelope.

A drop of humour with your mince pies IF YOU fancy a drop of humour with your mince pies, then Holy Mackerel have the perfect answer with Fred at Christmas, a range of Christmas cards featuring Rupert Fawcett’s perennially popular couple, Fred and Penelope. Whether it’s Penelope’s occasional fortifying Christmas sherry, or Fred’s plans to deal with unwelcome carol singers, there’s all you need here for a festive giggle! Three French Hens is a fabulously foiled range of Christmas cards from Holy Mackerel by best-selling artist Erica Sturla. Light-hearted and contemporary, these 12 150x150mm designs have seasonal red


T: 07779 657477

envelopes and lashings of festive appeal – they’re a real celebration of all things Yuletide from sprouts to selfie-taking elves! If you’re looking for a slightly different take on Christmas, look no further than Erica Sturla’s One Lump Or Two Christmas range from Holy Mackerel. The 39 designs cover everything from Happy Hogmanay and Poorly At Christmas, to Christmas weddings, and Erica’s bestselling First Christmas As A Family card. With lots of relations designs too, this range really has Christmas covered.

T: 01297 33899 @greetingstoday

12 packs with a trio of distinctive looks CLARE Maddicott Publications are offering a selection of 12 charity packs of 140x140mm square cards for Christmas 2016. The collection comprises three distinctive looks – there are four religious designs in an opulent fresco style, four fun Santa packs and four sophisticated woodland designs reminiscent of the publishers’ Lemongrass range. These latter packs and the religious designs feature copper or gold foil finishing, while the Santa series are finished with flitter and all packs offer five cards of one design and support CLIC Sargent, the children’s cancer charity. In addition to the cello packs, Clare Maddicott are also offering four 160x160mm luxury open, single cards this Christmas, featuring foil finishing and a recommended retail price code of HI.

T: 01638 569050

Doing our customers proud AT JONNY Javelin they’re doing three ranges for Xmas 2016 with Velvet Tidings, Fudge Frosties and Mistletoe & Wine. MD Jonny Spears said: “We simply have to do Velvet – it’s developing a bit of a reputation and we’d upset so many retailers if we didn’t. They’d upset so many customers if they didn’t retail it. I think many customers go looking for it or certainly hope to see it for sale in the shop where they’ve bought it the year before. “This year’s title is Velvet Tidings and it will again be a collection of over 100 titles, with brand-new images across the board. “The second range is another styling of Fudge, our cute doggy. Fudge Frosties will have bigger characters, less borders and die-cut edges. But the range will still be bold and colourful with foil, red-flittering and funky embossing. Fudge has been a real winner. “Mistletoe & Wine is a contemporary range with all the traditional colours and themes. The graphic styles give it that modern look but we don’t like to drift too far from the usual festive icons. We had a range called Holly & Ivy three years ago and this has a bit of a similar feel. “We’re hoping the combination of the three ranges will span the trad, cute and modern genres and once again JJ can do our customers proud.”

T: 01423 563740

Masterpieces are on the cards A NEW CARD range and collection of Christmas sheet wraps are being launched by Museums & Galleries for the 2016 festive season. The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge celebrate their 200th anniversary in 2016, and are planning a celebratory exhibition of their famous collection of illuminated manuscripts. Conservation reasons mean these are usually kept in the archives and not on public view but now MGL have teamed up with the Fitzwilliam to produce a stunning range featuring 12 of these masterpieces, reproduced in full and glorious colour with delicate, fine, gold foil detailing. @greetingstoday

There are six square and six portrait designs, in a luxurious selection box, also available as cellopacks at SRP £4.75 for a pack of five, and single cards. Public demand has led to MGL expanding their enviable collection of everyday wraps to launch a range of six Christmas sheets for 2016. Featuring work by the company’s most successful artists, including Jane Robbins, Louise Cunningham, and Giuliana Lazzerini, the exclusive designs are strong and traditional with a contemporary seasonal twist.

T: 0116 230 4197 47


Wonderful quality CHRISTMAS is an important retail time for maximising sales, and Mint are launching their most comprehensive and attractive collection of quality festive designs to ensure customers are getting a wonderful choice. To ensure varied Christmas products, 2016 sees the launch of three new ranges as well as additions to best-selling collections and new format assorted boxes. Buddi Bunni is growing in popularity and is now available for Christmas where the adorable knitted character is starring in festive illustrations with his cute woodland friends. With captioned and general designs available, Buddi is a perfect, cute Christmas send. The contemporary Ha Pea Times range features a cute knitted pea with festive illustrations and punbased captions. These designs are simple and sweet making a great general collection. Also new are Knitted Ditties, a range of amusing versed cards featuring festive images of the unique Knit & Purl characters and witty Christmas ditties, Mint will also be launching a broad everyday collection for 2016. Mint’s selection of boxes, featuring a variety of designs, now includes new formats and sizes. Their Mini Cubes are small boxes filled with cute designs, perfect for children, while the Assorted Christmas Box is full of fantastic designs and great value. Existing Christmas ranges have also undergone a refresh, with a new artist creating a selection of beautifully updated designs for Cool Britannia while Sweet Tweets Christmas has been expanded to include a selection of sweet special captions, such as Teacher, Carer, Cat, Dog and Godchildren. There’s something for everyone to enjoy this Christmas with Mint Publishing!

T: 0116 230 4197

Broader offering AFTER one of their most successful Christmases to date, The Art File have had the opportunity to create a much broader festive offering for their customers. This means many people now see The Art File as a strong contemporary Christmas alternative so, following on from this, a much larger format of packed/boxed Christmas cards has been created. This includes their much larger offering of Single Christmas Cards, along with their hugely-successful CLIC Sargent Charity Packs and award-winning Form Christmas Boxes. Christmas 2016 is certainly coming early at The Art File!

T: 0115 859 7490

Foiled for festivity AT HOTCHPOTCH they can proudly say these contemporary, luxury Christmas cards are printed on luxury FSC certified board and hand finished in England. Using the finest quality crystals, the 140x140mm Morello range has 18 designs for open Christmas and relations that sparkle with gold satin foil and glitter, capturing the festive spirit perfectly.

T: 01243 792600

48 @greetingstoday


Friday frivolity

● Deer, deer, it’s Bev Cunningham and the Abacus team

It was all hands on deck for Festive Friday day with retailers, retailers publishers and suppliers among ng g t those h se ho taking part in the GCA event on November 28 which was aimed at getting everyone in the Christmas mood so a sparkly snowstorm of beautiful cards arrives in the first week in December. Here’s our pictorial round-up of the fun and there are more images on the Greetings Today Facebook page.

● It was free cards and sherry all round at Laura Sherratt

● Abacus’ Alan Hey with Josie Daubney of Park Lane Cards, Cheshire

● Five Dollar Shake

● Nigel Quiney’s Carl Pledger ● Abacus’ Simon ● All Flynn with David smiles Smith at Wishing at Paper Well, W Great Bookham Rose

es ● Abacus’ Jam bora De th wi y Dohert The owner of From ton Heart, Cleckhea

● The Boo Crew at Bexy Boo

● GCA CEO Sharon Little all set for their 700-card marathon session

● Pigment’s H&S manager John McPartlan’s festive hat (above) inspired the team of Steve Baker, Debbie Saltmarsh, Jackie Williams, Dawn Gennery, Kirstie C, Sophie, Millie, Stevie, Elaine A, Annabel, Emma and Sarah to get writing – Sally Greaves is behind the camera

● Abacu Hazel Wil s’ liam at Acorn s Gift Shop in Axminste r, Devon


● Debbie Smith & Susan Knight of Southbourne Cards with Abacus’ Julia Briden

● The Original Poster Company team @greetingstoday


Talk of

Dave Hockridge, Present Surprise, Chichester & Portsmouth

What’s the story behind Present Surprise? After many years working in retail for other people, I bought the business as a going concern in September 2012 and proceeded to put my mark on it by introducing new product lines not previously available in Chichester. The area is a traditional city with lots of history and has many Roman features and walls. Chichester was in a recession when we opened so it was a gamble and, although it’s not all been plain sailing, the takings are healthy and the feedback has been really positive. We’re known for being different to other card and gift retailers in the city. In October this year we bit the bullet and decided to open a second and bigger store in neighbouring Portsmouth, selling the same gift and card ranges but expanding on the product. Again, this has had a positive response and we’re hoping for increased footfall in 2016 to complement the Chichester store. We sell branded goods including Lolita glasses, original Terramundi moneypots and Jellycat, while on the card front the biggest sellers are Dean Morris, Twizzler and Drama Queen – again proving we have the balls to stock different products not available elsewhere locally that there’s a call for. We have a good relationship with the agents and other local businesses and always put the customer first. We’re open seven days a week in both stores and have knowledgeable staff with us, in Chichester we have three part-time staff and in Portsmouth with my partner Adrian Marden we have four part-time helpers – all striving to give customer satisfaction at all times. We’re always open to ideas and, although sometimes the cards may be near the knuckle, no offence is really meant. What’s been the best thing on the business front for you in 2015 and what are you looking forward to in 2016? The best thing to happen this year has been the release of some blockbuster films – helping us to keep ahead of our competitors. Star Wars, of course, is huge and related merchandise is selling really well. Batman is also a big seller for us. On the cards front the new Dean Morris range has flown off the shelves and Tracks Publishing’s naked old people range has proved very popular and we’re really looking forward to seeing the new additions to this top-selling range. In 2016 we’re hoping for more of the same and will be looking at new suppliers to provide this kind of uniqueness. With the new Batman Vs Superman film out in 2016, the comic book heroes will continue to be important to us and we will continue to work with Half Moon Bay and Paladone. Currently, which is your top-selling design, publisher or genre – and is there anything that looks like being a big trend in the coming months? Our biggest-selling designs at the moment are the Dean Morris range along with other basically


rude, saucy, and comical cards – everyone appears to love to laugh when choosing or receiving greetings cards. We also find the Dave Thompson range from Star Images featuring local scenes is very popular. Despite stocking saucy cards, we’re also choosy. There have been some cards that even we find offensive – or just not funny. If you had £1,000 to spend on improving your shop, what would you spend it on? In Chichester, the shop is a listed building so we’d struggle with much more than a lick of paint and a new carpet. In Portsmouth, the shop is very fresh already. But we are going to be doing a new website next year and expanding on this vital part of the business. We’ve only just finished one festive sales season but Christmas Cards & Wrap 2016 is the feature in this issue. When do you buy/order your stock, and when do you usually set out your Christmas offer? Which publishers do you stock in this genre and how big a part does Christmas play in your business? We tend to start looking at buying Christmas cards and stock in early February. You’ve obviously got to be well in front of the other seasons. Christmas is all about fun and laughter and these are the ranges that we choose ahead of more traditional styles that can be purchased anywhere. Of course, Christmas is when we make our money so it’s got to be judged correctly but in the past couple of years we’ve got the balance right and hopefully we have done so again in 2015. We’re hoping to continue our working relationship with our current suppliers in the new year – but if anyone feels they might fit into our store then please get in touch and we’ll see what we think. Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you most like to receive for your birthday? It can only be one or two! There’s the Tracks card with Archie the West Highland Terrier as he looks like my oneyear-old Edward, or the Dean Morris design “To one of nicest wankers you could hope to meet” – it’s rude but extremely popular.

● Biting the bullet – D ave outside his Chichester shop and the new Portsmouth store @greetingstoday

the town


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

Viv & Dave, Quirky Coo, Dundee

What’s the story behind Quirky Coo? We’ve just celebrated reaching the grand old age of two! Quirky Coo opened in Dundee in October of 2013 and hit the internet shopping world in June 2014. We’d worked together for more than five years for local government and, as our contracts were coming to an end, we decided in a total change of career – you’d be amazed at the decisions that can be made when you car share :-)

Dave, Jackie, Kristina & John Tinker Out Of The Blue, Totnes, Devon

What’s the story behind Out Of The Blue? This is a family-owned and run business with parents Dave and Jackie, daughter Kristina, who is also the manager, and son John. We bought the business eight years ago when Dave retired from Sainsbury’s and decided to move from Essex to live the dream in Devon. What’s been the best thing on the business front for you in 2015 and what are you looking forward to in 2016? We have started to see an increase in sales after a decline in the last two years and we’ve also begun to see the confidence of our customers improve – as a result our average spend per customer has increased. In 2016 we’re looking forward to continued growth (hopefully!) and improving sales on our website Currently, which is your top-selling design, publisher or genre – and is there anything that looks like being a big trend in the coming months? Our top-selling card suppliers are Second Nature followed closely by Grass Roots, particularly on their ever-improving range of Christmas cards. We’ve introduced a number of new lines of stationery that have initially shown excellent sales and we look forward to expanding our range in early 2016. If you had £1,000 to spend on improving your shop, what would you spend it on? We’d improve our internal lighting to give our shop a better overall presentation. We’ve only just finished one festive sales season but Christmas Cards & Wrap 2016 is the feature in this issue. When do you buy/ order your stock, and when do you usually set out your Christmas offer? Which publishers do you stock in this genre and how big a part does Christmas play in your business? We make appointments with all of our Christmas representatives during January and February to place our Christmas orders for the coming year. We set out our Christmas offer about mid-October because we’ve learned over the years that this is when our customers are happy to start thinking about and buying for Christmas. This year we’ve used Grass Roots, Second Nature and Paper Rose cards for our Christmas offering. Christmas is essential to the overall success of our business and continues to be an all-year round focus in terms of purchasing and display. Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? We are all agreed on this that it would be a Grass Roots card we’d like to receive because they have lovely images and thoughtful wording. @greetingstoday

What’s been the best thing on the business front for you in 2015 and what are you looking forward to in 2016? We’ve reached the finals of several awards this year which has been a great achievement considering we’re so new and this has provided us with some excellent exposure. We’re still a relatively new business in the grand scheme of things so for us, 2015 has been about promoting the business and our online presents – see what we did there – while 2016 will be all about growing the business online at www.quirkycoo. and attending various pop-up shops and getting the word out there about what we offer.

If you had £1,000 to spend on improving your shop, what would you spend it on? Improved lighting and signage for the exterior of the shop. Anything to make the shop stand out more to passers-by is welcome, the shop front and window display is such an important advert for who we are and what we do.

do you stock in this genre and how big a part does Christmas play in your business? We like to keep an eye on Christmas products throughout the year and, if we see something we love, then we’ll place an order as early as possible. However the majority of our ordering of Christmas is done in September/October. Being a local lass to us here in Dundee, we love the handmade products by Pauline Swindells at Cockadoodle Design, we predict big things for her and her designs. Christmas is a huge part of our business, we love it!

We’ve only just finished one festive sales season but Christmas Cards & Wrap 2016 is the feature in this issue. When do you buy/order your stock, and when do you usually set out your Christmas offer? Which publishers

Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? Definitely one by Cockadoodle Design, who doesn’t want to be called a Bawheid on their birthday?

Currently which is your top-selling design, publisher or genre – and is there anything that looks like being a big trend in the coming months? One of our top sellers just now is the range of very funny Ladybird books for adults. The Hangover and The MidLife Crisis are two of the most popular, and we’re told by people who are familiar with the subject they capture the feelings well! 51


Publishers are right at the heart of the greetings industry, designing and supplying cards for everyone to enjoy. Greetings Today chats to a few to hear their opinions on issues of the day. Bex Hassett, owner, Bexy Boo Designs

T: 07810 448080,

How would you sum up the attitude in the greetings card industry at the moment? As I’m new to the industry I have very little to compare it with but, for me personally, the attitude has been amazing and exciting. Customers have been prepared to take a risk and try something different and new which I believe shows confidence. Is there any occasion or category that is currently seeing growth? Thank you cards have been particularly popular throughout the year showing that people are happy to spend money on a card that’s far more personal than a text or email. Open birthdays have also been in demand which is something I’m currently working on for next year. What’s been the best thing on the business front in 2015 and what are you looking forward to in 2016? I’ve had an incredible end to 2015. At the beginning of October I won the Cheshire Business Award for best start up business 2015 followed just

six days later by winning a Henries Award for best hand-finished/handmade for my Scrabbley Neon range. Lastly, I’m thrilled to have been invited by Chancellor George Osborne to represent Cheshire to launch a small business event on Downing Street in December. I’m eager for the Christmas fun and frivolities to begin, to have some time off and to spend some precious time with my family. For the new year, I’m keen to have a period of consolidation and stability to give myself and my fabulous new team, the Boo Crew, a chance to catch our breath and to enjoy the journey. What’s currently trending or of interest in the Christmas Cards & Wrap area? Our open Christmas cards have been extremely popular including Happy Christmoose, Snow Ho Ho and Mistletoe Wishes. Describe Bexy Boo Designs in three words. Contemporary, original, honest.

Cath Tate, founder, Cath Tate Cards

T: 020 8671 2166,

How would you sum up the current attitude in the greetings card industry? There seem to be a lot of changes happening at the moment with a lot of new talent bubbling to the surface. This is partly because of the increased use of digital printing and also because some bigger retailers are beginning to take on board a wider range of design. Is there any occasion or category that is currently seeing growth? Occasions generally seem to be strong at the moment with number age cards doing well for us. What’s been the best thing on the business front in 2015 and what are you looking forward to in 2016? The most exciting development has been finding some great talents to produce new ranges with – the quirky cartoons of Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig and the witty Roadsigns of photographer David Purdie. For Top Drawer Spring we can’t wait to show the exciting new ranges we’ve been cooking up. We’ve been working with witty illustrator Veronica Dearly, I’ve been taking a fresh look at history and my daughter and assistant Rosie has been finding all her socks are odd!

What’s currently trending or of interest in the Christmas Cards & Wrap area? Single humour cards are still doing very well at Christmas for us. They seem to be an essential part of every retailers’ offering.

Describe Cath Tate Cards in three words. Witty, wicked, wise.

52 52 w

Gabrielle Izen, owner, Gabrielle Izen Designss

T: 01732 440428,

How would you sum up the current attitude in the greetings card industry? My business is 2½ years old so it’s still early days. All I can say is that, since launching the business, I’ve had a really good response to my designs and quality of the products both from stockists and the public. Is there any occasion or category that is currently seeing growth? Yes, the Minimal range which I launched earlier this year. It’s a range of cards for everyday – a mix of traditional greetings and sentiments, along with some spontaneous and humorous messages. I’ve been blown away by how popular these cards are, both trade and retail! I’m launching a set of new designs for the Connections range, also for everyday, at Top Drawer Spring 2016. What’s been the best thing on the business front in 2015 and what are you looking forward to in 2016? I was invited by Not On The High Street to become a partner at Top Drawer Spring 2015. I joined in April this year and have had a consistent flow of orders for the cards, art prints and personalised art prints. I’ve developed the prints and created more designs which I launched in September and have become steady sellers. This has really boosted the retail side of the business. On the trade side, my business is growing steadily and I’m so thrilled to have some wonderful stockists with gorgeous shops. I’m looking forward to growing the business further in 2016 and am excited about year three! What’s currently trending or of interest in the Christmas Cards & Wrap area? I’ve only just designed Christmas cards so it’s too early to say.

Describe Gabrielle Izen in three words Beautiful, original, high-quality – that’s what other people tell me! @greetingstoday

If you are an artist/cartoonist/illustrator/verse writer or image library and would like to be part of this feature contact the Gareth Liddiatt on 01442 289930 / for more details @greetingstoday

Artists’ directory 53

Product & services directory greetings card publishers & Party product suppliers To advertise call Gareth Liddiatt on 01442 289940


A selection of this month’s latest releases

Make every occasion count with greeting cards from Abacus Cards Limited, The Studio, Oaks Drive, Newmarket, Suffolk,CB8 7SX t: 01638 569050 f: 01638 569051 e: w:

● THERE are more tasty additions to the Cookie Jar range of friendship and occasion cards from Clare Maddicott as it’s proved to be so popular the publishers have recently added a collection of birthday cards. This latest batch of 14 new designs is presented in the same format and with the same spot, raised, varnish finishing as the existing cards in the range and offer an equal mix of designs suitable for both male and female birthdays. The cards all feature front captioning but are left blank inside for the sender’s own message.

T: 01638 569050 ● SABIVO Design are launching their new chic range Bijoux with monochrome line work featuring hand-illustrated elegant designs of fashion shoes, posh teacups and champagne flutes. The artwork is accentuated with gold paint and hand-finished with colourful cup flower jewels and organza bows and the 20 designs are across everyday and popular occasion captions. The publishers proudly design and hand-finish their competitively-priced 145x145mm cards in England and all come individually cello-wrapped with gold envelopes.

T: 0116 225 8 255

INDEPENDENTLY AUDITED & LARGEST CIRCULATION To find out how Greetings Today can help you just call 01442 289930

● COLOURING for adults has fast become the latest trend and for good reason – it helps reduce stress and anxiety and increases mindfulness. A Made Hand are launching Colour Me Calm!, a range of eight new card illustrations just itching to be coloured in. Colour before sending to a friend or send to a friend to colour in. All designs are 210x210mm and come with a free bookmark that you can also colour in – aaaand relax…..

T: 01200 420880

54 @greetingstoday

A selection of this month’s latest releases


Product & services directory greetings card publishers & Party product suppliers To advertise call Gareth Liddiatt on 01442 289940

● DAFT Dogs are the brilliantly funny and adorable dog cartoons from the pen and brush of Tony Fernandes making up his new greetings range for 2016. The 36 new cartoons feature all the best and loveable canines around on 5x7in cards which are supplied in sixes cello-wrapped with a white envelope at £5 per pack, or 84p each – and there’s no minimum order. Tony has also created A4 prints beautifully presented with a deep thick-cut mount and cello-wrapped at £12 trade. All designs are done in his famous wickedly-humorous trademark pen, ink and a splosh of watercolour style.

T: 0114 262 0899 ● CHERRY Orchard are delivering the latest male with their new collection of 28 code 55 square open cards with a range of styles to cover all ages. Finding the right card for the men in your life is always something of a challenge and this brand-new 159x159mm Square Male line has a wide range of images that cover everything from smartphones to teenage sneakers for younger males, through to a relaxing glass of wine or a colourful riverside kingfisher for more traditional images. All cards are foiled and inserted with contemporary square dimensions, with some cards having single images and others having a collage collection.

T: 01684 295500 ● BROADENING the appeal is the thinking behind the new humour range at Country Cards along with a rebranding from Country Humour to Humour By Country Cards. For 2016 they have also widened the subject matter and spiced it up a bit – it may be a little bit naughty but still good clean fun without being crude. All Country Cards designs are 7x5in, cello wrapped, and come in either blank or happy birthday captions.

T: 01835 822485 @greetingstoday 55



● l BRAINBOX Candy are extremely chuffed, nay estatic, to launch their latest range – Facematt. Each card in this amazing range has a pop-off double-sided face-mat that you can wear on your lovely face, creating a totally unique and fun birthday card experience. Currently, there are 12 designs in the range, with many more to follow. All cards are printed on quality FSC-accredited board, come cellowrapped with colourful envelopes and are of course made in the UK – God bless the Queen, huzzah! Sending a birthday card has never been so much fun.

T: 01702 716643 Pigeon Courier Service: 2CATACOOO2, ask for Dennis

INDEPENDENTLY AUDITED & LARGEST CIRCULATION To find out how Greetings Today can help you just call 01442 289930


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● TWELVE poetic illustrations decorate the 2016 Moon Calendar to show the changes of the year and seasons. By Danish-Swedish design studio All The Way To Paris for Paper Collective, the phases of the Moon are illustrated in changing colours and each illustration can be cut out to fit standard-sized frames to keep. Paper Collective are a young Danish brand who use FSC-certified materials and under the regulations of the Swan mark, the official Nordic mark of sustainability, with 10 per cent donated to good causes from the sale of each print.

● PL PLAYING cards and card games make great reat gifts and specialists Cartamundi have e new products for the January Toy Fairs in London and Nuremburg. There are additions to the Shuffle family of games, their combination of playing cards and digital technology, such as Disney Monopoly and Disney-Pixar’s Cars. Plus they are previewing game box releases including a Finding Dory game box with waterproof cards inspired by Disney-Pixar’s eagerly-awaited follow-up to Finding Nemo, as well as Disney Princess and Disney-Pixar’s Cars game boxes. New Disney versions of Snap will also be on show, and the March release of Zootropolis has inspired a two-deck game of cards.

T: +45 6088 8909

T: 01268 511522 @greetingstoday

gifts spotlight A selection of the latest gift releases and deals

● SPOILING your mum and your partner is the aim behind Yankee Candle’s Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day releases for 2016 – and they also have four new Scenterpiece Easy MeltCup Warmer designs too. Seasonal pastel colours Rosa, Lucy, Elizabeth and Heather have been added to the Scenterpiece system that simplifies flameless home fragrancing into one easy process, allowing people to enjoy and quickly swap out their fragrances without the cooling, scraping and pouring normally associated with traditional melt warmers. For Valentine’s they have developed two new gift sets of a large jar candle and five-votive set where the packaging is appropriately adorned with hearts but not branded as Valentine-specific so there’s potential to sell all year round. And to show mums how special they are this coming Mother’s Day, there’s an array of candles, accessories and gift sets. There’s plenty on offer, from the pretty pastel-themed My Serenity collection to the opulent and indulgent Pure Essences range, plus the colourful and eye-catching Sentiments which includes a Lilac Blossom scented candle with the message Mums Make Everything Brighter.



CIRCULATION 6,086 July 1, 2014June 20, 2015

display services

T: 0117 316 1200 ● WIDDOP Bingham’s Christmas 2016 is open right through to March 31 at their head office in Oldham, where the collection boasts nine festive stories incorporating tree decorations, festive home accessories and candle holders. Visitors to the showroom will be treated to an amazing array of eyecatching themes with ideas galore for in-store merchandising. During January, the company will also be previewing their entire spring 2016 collection in their showrooms prior to showing at Spring Fair. Retailers can book an appointment via the website. Widdop’s Christmas collection will also feature at Harrogate Christmas & Gift Show on January 10-13.

T: 0161 688 1200 @greetingstoday

Saunders Displays Point of sales display stands for every retail environment. Tel: 0208 594 7221 57




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YOU’re my

Best friend A collection of 16 CARDs, part of our new Everyday release for 2016

Top Drawer London 17-19 January 2016 – Stand U47 WW W. T H E A RT F I L E . C O M SHARE DISCOVER REVIEW


Profile for Lema Publishing

Greetings Today  

January 2015 WITH the new year looming, the January issue of Greetings Today takes a different perspective on the opening trade shows of th...

Greetings Today  

January 2015 WITH the new year looming, the January issue of Greetings Today takes a different perspective on the opening trade shows of th...