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Independently audited, ABC circulation of 6,093

The impartial voice of the greetings card industry July 2017 Issue 10 Volume 18

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REGULARS 05 06 14 16 26 30 36


History worth telling, fun in Harrogate and Simon muscles in.


Rounding up the month’s happenings, with more online at

On The Line

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


NEW! Ward’s Words

Giftware Association CEO Sarah Ward is Greetings Today’s latest regular columnist.

NEW! Step Back In Time

MD Malcolm Naish delves into the archives.


22 22

the team

40 42 44 94 98 94 99

John Ryan

Keeping your head is sensible advice.


Company Profile – Really Good & Soul

28 30

Company Profile – PMS


Plush Toys

Steiff are the makers of the original teddy bear.


Retail Advice

Here comes summer – and the seasonal shows.

Talk Of The Town

Greetings retailers tell it like it is.

On The Shop Front

Philip Downer enjoyed his PG Live trip.

Editor Tracey Bearton

Advertisement Manager Simon Davis 01442 289940 (direct)

Four Corners

Group Advertisement Manager Ryan Horwood

Meet The Newbies

Group Editor Mirella Anstey

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

It’s All About Sales

Weddings from Ian Bradley, as Rachel Williams cuddles up.

Window On The World

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

Publisher Mark Naish Production Director Paul Naish Managing Director Malcolm Naish

David Hicks’ two companies celebrate big birthdays.

Check out these Elves Behavin’ Badly!



Cover Story

UK Greetings’ Boofle has the cute factor.

Exit Interview - Ian Bant

Ling’s MD is bowing out.

Circulation Manager Robert Thomas

Keep in touch - follow us:

Home & Gift Preview


PG Live Review greetingstodaymag

Use this 42-page preview to plan your trip to the big show of the summer. The heavens may have opened but there were plenty of smiles to be caught on camera.

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

HOTSPOT New ranges abound but here Greetings Today features some of the many long-standing collections that are always hitting the hotspot.

CELEBRATING 35 years in business, Cath Tate first came up with the idea of marrying an Edwardian photograph with a modern, humorous caption in 2000, and the Photocaptions range is still going strong and inspiring others. Sarah Green, of Spots in Southwold and Waves in Bungay, is a real fan: “I’ve been selling them for about nine years and they were one of the first humour ranges we took on, and they just seem to have an unique appeal. They appeal to all ages. There are always people around the stand having a good laugh, and people laughing around the spinner. We’re always getting new ones too. Other people have tried to do something similar but it doesn’t seem to that same appeal.” @greetingstoday


Lema Publishing Ltd

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

Telephone: 01442 289930

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

10—12 September 2017 Olympia, London



GREETINGS& STATIONERY Explore the unique worlds of Top Drawer, expertly curated to inspire your buying. With over 1,500 design-led brands, it’s the only destination for creative retailers to source irresistible new products.


347969_TDS03_G&S_315x240mm_2017_V1.indd 1 Greetings Top Drawer.indd 1

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leader Editor Tracey Bearton


● Cartoons by James Whitworth T: 07872 013943 –

OO! Who’d have thunk it? Greetings Today is a quarter of a century old and that’s definitely something worth shouting about.

In last month’s issue we looked back at the first issue of Greetings, as it was then known, when Lema Publishing took on the task of printing the official magazine for the Greetings Card & Calendar Association in 1992. Since the GCCA turned into the Greeting Card Association (GCA), we’ve published the magazine independently as Greetings Today and now have the largest circulation of trade mags in the industry at more than 6,000 copies going out to publisher, supplier and retailer subscribers each month. That’s some history so we thought it was time to share it with everyone and MD Malcolm Naish will now be delving into the archives each month in our new regular Step Back In Time section. If you’d like to see what was going on in the greetings industry 20, 15, 10 and five years ago – you’ll be surprised at how many recognisable names and companies crop up – turn to page 30. One of those names is Ian Bant, who has been in the industry for almost four decades and has now sailed off into the sunset having retired as MD of Ling Design. You can read all about his career, spanning some of the biggest companies, and the changes he’s seen, in a really interesting exit interview on page 38. Something else that’s been going for a long time, 56 years already, is the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival, and we have a fabulous 43-page show preview in this issue, starting on page 46 with Clarion Events’ Show Director Cleere Scamell’s interview. It’s an incredibly sociable show and something of a tradition here at Greetings Today as we also run the Daily News paper with our sister mag

Gifts Today – don’t be surprised to be nabbed by one of us either in person at the show or by phone beforehand to get your news and views about what’s going on so we can include it in the paper. To help retailers plan their visit we have the Greetings & Stationery Exhibitors’ List and plenty of information from a whole host of fantastic exhibitors including 1790 Cards, Alternative Image Company, Artebene, The Art File, Belly Button, Berni Parker, Blue Eyed Sun, Cherry Orchard, Dandelion Stationery, Emma Ball, Flying Teaspoons, Glick, Handcrafted Card Company, Holy Mackerel, I Like Birds, Joe Davies, Jonny Javelin, Lanther Black, Laura Darrington, Leonard Smith, Louise Miulgrew, Meraki, Museums & Galleries, Natural Partners, Potters Crouch Candles, Really Good, Really Wild Cards, Redback, Rush Designs, Soul, Tomcat, Tracey Russell, Two Little Boys, Words ’n’ Wishes, and Wraptious – flip me, that’s a lot and, with 160 in total, there are many more too! Actually, we saw quite a lot of these at PG Live just a few weeks ago, but many have new and extended ranges launching in Harrogate so it’s definitely a worthwhile show on the product front (to say nothing of the lovely surroundings, Sunday sundowners, fab company, great food, good pubs and all the other fun stuff). Talking of PG Live – our fab four-page photographic review starts on page 90 – that was where this month’s daft photo of the lovely GT ad manager Simon came about. We’d popped over to chat to Jo Wilson at Dandelion Stationery and asked her to pick her favourite card to feature in the review. She immediately pointed to the Fine Specimen design from her Words Of Wisdom range, laughingly telling Simon he was the inspiration for it. @greetingstoday

Well, how could I resist!

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

Want to appear in ? AUGUST FEATURES: Verse, Sentiment & Sympathy Cards Art & Photographic Cards Spring Seasons & Occasions Stationery, Posters & Prints AUGUST COPY DATE – JULY 14

SEPTEMBER FEATURES: Autumn Fair Preview (Sept 3-6) Top Drawer Preview (Sep 10-12) Giftag Preview (Sep 10-12) Scotland’s Trade Fair Preview (Sep 17-18) Diversity Cards Animal Cards SEPTEMBER COPY DATE – AUGUST 2

OCTOBER FEATURES: BLE Preview (Oct 10-12) Licensed Cards & Associated Products Feminine-Themed & Mother’s Day


inthenews newsinbrief

Usual suspects shuffle home

Cath is on the move

AFTER 21 years in the same building, and 35 years in business, Cath Tate Cards are on the move across London, swapping their current Brixton address for Dulwich from the start of July. The telephone number stays the same at 020 8671 2166, and the new address will be Unit F33A, Parkhall Business Centre, 40 Martell Road, Dulwich, London SE21 8EN.

Carte Blanche buy Is It Art

CARTE Blanche have announced the acquisition of Is It Art Ltd for an undisclosed sum in a deal finalised on June 7. Founded in 1998 by Martin Nevin, he reduced his involvement in Is It Art in 2015 upon the acquisition of Emotional Rescue, then stepped back into the business earlier this year. Carte Blanche CEO Alister Marchant (pictured) said: “The acquisition of Is It Art gives us access to the wonderful and esteemed product ranges from Blue Mountain Arts, Danilo, Emotional Rescue and Gemma International which, in turn, will allow us to provide our customers with greater depth and diversity so they can meet their consumers needs.”

Sainsbury’s close in on NISA SAINSBURY’S look to set to buy the corner shop group NISA with the convenience retailers poised to sign an exclusivity deal to stop them courting other bidders. NISA, who buy and distribute groceries and convenience products including greetings cards on behalf of more than 2,500 independently-owned stores, have a £1.43billionn turnover and have been working with bankers Lazard on a potential sale since Tesco revealed £3.7bn plans to buy rivals Booker, who own Londis, Budgens and Premier.

Footfall down in May

WITH retail said to be among the biggest losers on the shares front as the fallout from the General Election result continues, figures showed footfall in May fell by one per cent on the same time last year. It’s the first decline since February but included a two per cent drop in High Street footfall, the steepest since last June, while retail parks saw a 1.5 per cent increase, with shopping centres dropping by 1.3 per cent.

Pattern to more sales

A STUDY has revealed fl ooring patterns can be used to make people walk slower down aisles where the products have the biggest profit margin. By altering lines and patterns, the academics in France, Belgium and the Netherlands worked out how to slow down the walking speed of shoppers. The Altering Speed Of Locomotion study demonstrated lines 20in apart create the optical illusion of making the end of the aisle appear further away, so shoppers tend to slow their pace and are better able to recall products they pass.

Chance to Meet The Buyer

THE success of the Giftware Association’s first Meet The Buyer event of the year has led them to set up their own version in Birmingham on July 6. Buyers from John Lewis and Choice Marketing are among those set to attend the day at The Market Hall in Digbeth, where there will be lunch for all visitors plus education seminars for exhibitors. To take part call 0121 236 2657.

Sent with a nudge nudge

A PORN site’s boss has declared they are now the “sexy alternative to Hallmark” after the launch of adult greetings cards to their 20million daily visitors. RedTube, one of the web’s more popular porn sites have released their own 20-strong Speak From The Heart line with seemingly innocuous, if cheesy, cover designs followed by ruder one-liners inside.


COME rain or shine, the annual Cardgains Charity Challenge always goes ahead, with 27 hardy souls trekking the coastal path from Whitby to Scarborough to raise money to train a guide dog. And it was the usual suspects of Chris Houfe, Thomas O’Brien and Nick Davison (pictured top right) who set the pace – even though it’s not a race, for the third year running they were first home. Cardgains’ marketing director Penny Shaw said: “Another great day was had by all even though the weather wasn’t kind. It was good to start with, then really rubbish for most of the day but we still arrived in Scarborough ahead of schedule.” There was an early start on June 22 with the Seaside Shu e walkers (pictured top left) setting off from the whalebone monument at Whitby at 7.50am in bright sunshine, only for the rain to set in once they’d climbed the 199 steps to the Abbey and set off along some tricky coastal footpaths, with spectacular sea views. Named after the buying group’s mascot, whose latest “focused on independent retailers since 1989” strapline and 2017 makeover with glasses inspired the choice of Guide Dogs as this year’s charity, pup Cyril has

been busy over recent weeks learning how to do his job. With more than £10,000 already pledged, Cardgains would welcome donations on their official fundraising site, cardgainsseasideshuffle. More pictures are available on the Greetings Today Facebook page. The walkers were Mark Roberts, Abacus Cards; Nick Davison, Tony Patman, Ascential Events; Thomas O’Brien, Boxer Gifts; Chris Dyson, Penny Shaw, Sophie Wiles, Cardgains; James Cassells, Lee Wardell, Sarah Spearman, Carte Blanche; Chaye’lee McQuade, Doodle Press; Richard Marsden, Cardgains friends & family; Louise Isherwood, History & Heraldry; Nigel Williamson, House Of Cards; Alan Holmes, Icon Art; Alison Butterworth, Jenny Weare, Nigel Quiney; Nigel Willcock, Paper Rose; Chris Smalley, Michelle Comerford, Mark Drury, Pioneer; Paul Valentine, Peter Martin, Sarunds; Chris Houfe, The Great British Card Company; Ian Powis, Tisa Solutions; Darren Cave, UK Greetings; Carl Salt, Words ’n’ Wishes. Support, Denise Dyson, Simon Dumble, Cardgains friends & family; Jim Girvan, Neil Hirst, Pat Hirst, Steve Grocott, Cardgains. Sandwiches from Fresh To Store

Diversity boost to record profits BUMPER profits at Design Group are down to the diversity of the business according to CEO Paul Fineman, and have been buoyed by their expansion into greetings cards and partyware, with a new venture producing bags for fashion chains going well. Design Group posted a record year of financial progress with revenue at £311million, up 31 per cent in the 12 months to March 31 from £237m in 2016 – and they have ended the year debt-free having turned a £17.5m deficit into a £3m cash balance. Talking to Greetings Today following the June 27) release of their latest financial report, Paul (pictured) spoke of the resilience of the sector and said: “For the first time this year we sold £10m worth of partyware and, also for the first time, £30m of greetings cards. “If asked, most people would say we’re a giftwrap company but we have really evolved into a celebrations business and greetings cards are a significant area for us. We’ve really grown sales of greetings cards in the US, UK and Australia, as well as Europe. Having rebranded from International Greetings to IG Design Group and unified their three UK businesses under one leadership team in the year, the report revealed underlying operating profit increased by 29 per cent to £17.5m, with pre-tax profits up 32 per cent to £13m, with the cash generated from operations rising 52 per cent to £31.5m.

“We have a very diverse business,” Paul added, “we have grown in the US significantly. Over the group it grew by 31 per cent, in the UK it was four per cent, in the US it was 39 per cent. “We have a very international business now – 73 per cent of sales are outside the UK. It has been transformed from a UK-centric business to a global business but the UK market is still very important to us. On the effects of the Brexit negotiations and hung Parliament, Paul said: “Quite honestly, who knows? Last year we sold 505m units of products, so that means the average selling price is 61p, and means at-retail prices are around £2. It’s a very resilient area of the marketplace.” Investment in their manufacturing plants has increased capacity for the finishes they now offer on giftwrap especially through the Cast And Cure process at their Welsh factory. “Giftwrap is a major part of our business,” Paul said, “and a billion metres of giftwrap were sold by us last year. In the US we have a gift bag that includes an integrated tissue which can shroud the gift – it’s a great new product. “And we’re now manufacturing paper bags with the integrated handles for clients such as Kurt Geiger. It’s a new and lucrative market for us.”

T: 01525 887310 @greetingstoday

One month before Christmas,

are coming to town

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inthenews newsinbrief 25 year celebration

CARD Connection are celebrating 25 years as franchisors and have proved themselves to be worth sticking with as the average time a franchisee stays is eight years with some having well over two decades’ service. Part of UK Greetings, the company was established in 1992 and became full members of the British Franchise Association in 1995 with their award-winning business model enabling hundreds of franchisees to run successful companies distributing cards and accessories to retailers across the UK and Ireland. Martin Rolfe (pictured) has been a Card Connection franchisee for 24 years, having built up his business to supply 220 retail stores with the company’s cards and accessories on a consignment basis, with display equipment provided free on loan.

Paul’s shaking out creases

RETAILER Paul Jarman will be shaking out the creases shortly as he’s about to expand his award-winning Brighton store into bigger premises in the city – and plans a further four locations over the next three years. The move just around the corner from Creased’s current Meeting House Lane home in the seaside resort’s famous Lanes area will allow Greetings Today columnist Paul to carry nearly three times as many card designs and gives the space to increase his product range.

Write your way to award

ENTRIES are now open for the brand-new Thirty Under 30 Awards with talented folk across the stationery supply and retail business wanted for a chance to receive industry-wide recognition. The criteria for entry are simple – you are currently employed or selfemployed within the UK stationery industry, aged 30 or under as at the closing fate of July 15, live and work in Britain and demonstrate creativity, innovation and commitment to your role. Run by Stationery Matters magazine – part of Ocean Media’s stable with the London Stationery Show and National Stationery Week visit to enter.

Expansion plans continue

CARD Factory have announced underlying group sales growth of 6.1 per cent with 11 new stores opened in the first quarter of this year and plans for further expansion with trial stores in the Republic Of Ireland. The announcement coincided with the May 25 AGM where the figures for the three months to April 30 were revealed, with like-for-like sales at the upper end of the one per cent to three per cent target, and total reported sales growth of 4.9 per cent.

Travel stores drive WHSmith

TRAVEL store sales are driving profits at WHSmith with the latest trading update revealing an eight per cent increase on that side of the business, with like-for-like sales up by five per cent, and the company remain confident despite current economic uncertainty around Brexit and the General Election. The figures released on June 14, show total group sales were up by two per cent over the 15-week period from March 1 to June 10, while on the High Street side both total sales and like-for-like sales each fell by four per cent.

Celebrate with Jackson’s

JACKSON’S are celebrating the launch of their new Celebration trade catalogue featuring more than 3,000 items on 100 colourful pages. It covers party items, gift wrap, greetings cards, novelties, cake decorations, banners, badges, themed ranges, balloons, picture frames, candles and more, with each product hand picked by their team of buyers based on years of specialised trade knowledge and expertise.


GA folk enjoy big birthday party OMG moments, cream tea, an update on the looming new data protection regulations, a 70th birthday party, membership drive and the big reveal of a revamped Gift Of The Year competition were the highlights Giftware Association AGM. In their biggest gathering yet, 120 members met at the Fazeley Studios in Digbeth, Birmingham, on June 21 to mark the GA’s big birthday where they were treated to a full programme of seminars and networking, followed by the evening barbecue and disco – with cake! Representing a gifts and greetings industry valued at between £220billion and £390bn, the GA’s plans for the year are to make GOTY, which is coming up for its 40th anniversary, more infl uential as well as increase the association’s membership, with a reward scheme of fee discounts for any member bringing in new blood. CEO Sarah Ward welcomed everyone, and gave an interesting run through the history of the GA from their initial formation as the Fancy Goods Association, after introducing speaker Andy Powell who explained the General Data Protection Regulations where the onus for ensuring the security of all private information held falls on that business whatever the size. The new rules come into force from May 25, 2018, and Andy said that, as compliance will be monitored by auditing in a similar process to financial affairs, firms must have evidence of due diligence, training, and continued monitoring. His slides will be available on the GA website shortly, and he recommended checking out the Information Commissioner’s Office website https://ico. for more details. The headline speaker was Geoff Ramm who gave

an amusing and informative talk on OMG marking – observational marketing greats – prompting everyone to consider different ways to capture the attention of their potential customers. Chairman Henri Davis led the AGM business side, explaining how Sarah and the team are taking the GA to both current and potential members by visiting more trade shows than ever, setting up the Meet The Buyer events and encouraging retailers to join too, helped by the seminars they present at shows, and columns in trade magazines such as Greetings Today. Following the biggest-yet entry for the 2017 GOTY awards, Henri said: “The GA are going to be working with Ascential Events to develop a much bigger and more infl uential awards that will take it to another level,” including a more prestigious ceremony at the end of the first day of Spring Fair.

T: 0121 236 2657

Cardzone buy two iCandy stores PAUL Taylor’s Cardzone chain are understood to have saved two of Clinton Lewin’s Essex iCandy stores after their future looked doubtful following the greetings and gift retailers’ collapse into administration. Administrators from FRP Advisory closed stores in St Albans, Romford, Ilford and Bishops Stortford in May immediately after the former Clinton Cards’ boss called them in, 22 staff were made redundant and the remaining 10 shops, with 79 employees, were up for sale. They confirmed on June 14 that five further outlets – Colchester, Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead, Southend and Ware – have been closed while Paul (pictured) and his Nottinghamshire-based company have stepped in to add the stores in Witham and Epping, to their 100-plus portfolio. There are seven permanent staff at Witham and it’s understood they will all keep their jobs – manager Sandra Starckey (pictured with colleagues) told the Witham & Braintree Times: “It’s quite a relief for me and all of the staff. Everybody here is over the moon. “Our customers have come in since the news and said they could not believe we were closing. The shop

is an important part of the town centre because there is not really anything quite like it.” A spokesman for the administrators told Greetings Today: “Cardzone have bought Witham and Epping, and that has saved 12 jobs, so that’s quite pleasing for that area. “There are three other stores that are still trading – Bury St Edmunds, Basildon and Chelmsford – but it’s a stock sell-off asset realisation and staff are aware that these stores are likely to close in a matter of weeks unless another buyer emerges. At this stage the stores are being traded on a wind-down process. It’s understood trading has remained solid, it’s just a question of whether offers come through. “Although the iCandy business received numerous approaches nothing sufficient materialised to prevent a phased closure of the stores that had remained open upon appointment of the administrators on May 9. “The administrators are delighted to have found a solution to the ongoing business at Witham and Epping stores and wish them success under their new ownership.” @greetingstoday













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exhibitionnews Registration open for exclusive A/W launches at Top Drawer TOP UK and international design-led brands are set to present a host of exclusive new launches at Top Drawer Autumn/Winter 17, with registration for the show now open. A new adventure in design begins with a worldclass edit of the very best design-led products across the unique worlds of Home, Gift, Fashion and Craft where the curated pick of more than 1,500 exceptional top brands and new talents make Top Drawer the destination of choice for discerning buyers this September. The Food Emporium makes its autumn debut, adding a delicious selection of the finest giftable food products from the best producers and artisans including Avlaki, Brooklyn Brew Shop, Willie’s Cacao, Stateside Treat Emporium and In A Matchbox. Buyers hunting for something totally new will find it at Spotted, offering a thrilling introduction to today’s most innovative, market-ready new products and designs – Ali Joe Design, Danny Lee Design, Leigh Bagley, Delicate Owl and Lara Quin are among the hot new talents to look out for. Gift unveils a carefully-curated edit of the most original, beautifully designed products across the gift, wellbeing, children’s and greetings & stationery sectors with exhibiting brands including True Grace, Nnuku, Rice, Sunnylife, Katie Leamon, Cubic, S-C Brands,

Apothecary & Barbershop Supply Co, and Castelbel, as well as new names Aden + Anais, Wildfire Teepees, Doiy, Siabann, Grey + Lily, Bespoke Letterpress, Pabuku, Isla Apothecary and Coco Four. Home presents an exclusive choice of homeware from Britain’s finest brands to leading global players, from the cutting-edge to the classic, new trends to firm favourites across interior accessories, kitchen & dining, furniture & lighting and outdoor living. Fashion Spy premieres in the UK a selection of cutting-edge accessories and jewellery brands, hand- picked for their original designs. And, of course, to complete this incredible show line-up, unique handmade pieces can be found in Craft where buyers can expect the unexpected with an inspiring and expertly-curated selection of one-off pieces from more than 150 hand-picked international makers across ceramic & glass, fashion & textiles and mixed media. Top names feature StolenForm, Jane Pritchard Ceramics, Claudia Biehne, Promises Promises, Chao & Eero, Materia Rica, Chelache, Rosanna Clare, Jo Cranston, Sarah Jane Brown, Faunart, Rosie Brewer and Sarah Cemmick Lino Cuts. Organised by Clarion Events, Top Drawer will be held from Sunday to Tuesday, September 10-12, at London’s Olympia. Trade buyers are now invited to register online at

£500 prizes in PaperAwards THE PaperAwards are set to make a triumphant return to Top Drawer’s AW17 edition, with G.F Smith continuing their sponsorship of the successful initiative. The edited lifestyle show runs at London’s Olympia from Sunday to Tuesday, September 10-12, and the Greetings & Stationery sector attracts UK and international design-led publishers. All exhibiting brands have been invited to submit their applications for the PaperAwards, which debuted at last year’s event as part of the PaperFest section, and had a second outing at the spring show in January, where Roger La Borde, Lagom Design and Rhombus And Pineapple were the trio of winners (pictured) taking home a prize worth more than £500 each. The PaperAwards offer a platform to increase brand exposure and promote the creativity and talent of this sector. Both finalists and winners will have their work displayed during the September edition of Top Drawer at PaperFest, in the heart of the Greetings & Stationery area. The deadline for the categories – Existing Use Of Colour, Emotive Design and Engaging Print – is July 31, with more information at show-feature/paperawards and the finalists will be shortlisted by judges including G.F Smith’s Mark Jessett and Janet Stevens, Harrods’ Rina Bhansali, Heals’ Kirsty Whyte, and Eleanor Gregory from Selfridges.

London craft show cancelled Get stationery insights THE organisers of recently-launched trade exhibition Giftag, due to take place in London this coming September, have decided not to go ahead with the project. Philip Bunn, of exhibition organisers PSM, said: “It is unfortunate that we have had to cancel the fair – although a British-only trade gift fair was a great idea, the level of interest and support for the venture was not as strong as we were lead to believe. “I think recent political events in the UK have put a degree of uncertainty in the minds of many potential exhibitors, and launching a new fair with only a minimum number of companies was not a real option. “We have not ruled out the possibility of relaunching Giftag in more stable political circumstances and will continue to look carefully at the best time to deliver such an event.” The show was due to take place on September 10-12 September at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane.

MORE than 250 exhibitors are already registered for Insights-X, the up-and-coming stationery expo held in Nuremberg each October. The third annual event, organised by Spielwarenmesse, takes place from Thursday to Sunday, October 5-8, at the German city’s exhibition centre, and will feature both start-up and established manufacturers, including Edding and Pentel. Of the 25 per cent climb in registrations this year, Spielwarenmesse CEO Ernst Kick, said: “These figures illustrate that our concept to stage a personal and compact stationery expo is being embraced by companies both at home and abroad. Aiming to cover the office, school and hobby markets, there are six categories at the show – Artistic & Creative, Bags & Accessories, Desktop, Paper & Filing, Stationery & Gift Articles, Writing Utensils & Equipment

T: +49 911 99813 63













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Tributes to Lynn Tait

Instawrap sign up first artists

GREETINGS industry folk have been paying tribute to publisher, retailer and Ladder Club founder Lynn Tait who died aged 68, after battling myeloma bone marrow cancer. As the industry prepared for the opening of PG Live, an event Lynn had attended since it began back in 2009, the news broke that she had passed away peacefully on June 1. Megan Purdie, of Megan Claire publishers, took to Instagram to say: “Our industry lost one of its finest this week. The wonderful Lynn Tait will be so sorely missed and next week’s trade show will not be the same without a visit from her. “There was nobody who showed more stoicism, determination and zest for life – I am honoured that she asked me to continue to carry the fl ag for the Ladder Club with Jessica Hogarth, and we will do our utmost to do so with the passionate spirit Lynn instilled in us.” Jeremy Corner, MD of Blue Eyed Sun and treasurer of the GCA, added: “Lynn’s legacy is a great example to us all. She will be greatly missed.” Having been a stalwart of the greetings industry for many years with The Lynn Tait Gallery in Leigh-On-Sea, Lynn was the driving force behind the Ladder Club, helping numerous newbies start out as publishers, and one of her last public appearances was at the Greeting Card Association’s Speed Dating With Dragons on February 28 (pictured) when many of the people she had helped attended. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, but continued to work with the help of Andy, her husband of 46 years, and just a few days before her death was proudly posting on Facebook about who had helped with her Queen’s 90th Birthday Card Competition, which is one of the finalists for this year’s Retas Best Retailer Initiative.

AN UNLIKELY meeting at the Farm & Deli Show has led to giftwrap entrepreneur Craig Morfett and watercolour artist Meg Hawkins starting an exciting collaboration to put her illustrations on his Instawrap product. The pair connected through the Giftware Association and the show meeting, with this being a new venture for Meg as Instawrap are the first company to licence her range of designs and artwork. Through their company Wrap Nation, Craig and his business partner Gary Hoffman launched their unique lick-and-stick 100 per cent recyclable wrapping paper earlier this year and are now expanding their range of designs to meet demand.

Flaming good fun for Chris

A CARD company should be able to do a birthday well, and so Danilo proved with a fl aming good show at Danilo’s annual PG Live dinner which also happened to be Chris James’ last as their sales director as well as his big day. So founder and chairman Laurence Prince and the team decided to present Chris (pictured) with a personalised birthday cake from Tuck-Box Cakes to mark the double event, with a fl are candle fl ame too. Operations director Daniel Prince said: “Laurence thanked Chris for his dedication, commitment and contribution to Danilo over the last 18 years and for being such a good and important friend to him. He wished him well when he retires from his day-to-day position of sales director at the end of June.” Chris, who is staying on the licensed cards and calendars specialists’ board as a full director, thanked Laurence, Danilo and his sales team, talked fondly of his time at the company, and welcomed new man Brett Smith – who has quite a lot to live up to as staff member Anna Brown had presented Chris with a Best Boss medal!

Paula’s loyalty recognised

TWENTY years’ service has been recognised at Nigel Quiney Publications, with area manager Paula Lee-Jones being presented with a bottle of bubbly by MD Alison Butterworth. The presentation was made at the publishers’ recent Spring Launch conference, and Alison said: “Paula has been an important member of the team building her territory and forming strong relationships with her customers. She worked for both J Arthur Dixion and Arcadian before joining Nigel Quiney where, for the last 20 years, she has played an important part in the success of the company.”

Big Lake District adventure beats target

WHEN you meet mountaineer and explorer Sir Chris Bonington out in the Lake District, it’s definitely an awfully big adventure – and battling extreme weather conditions, that’s what Ian and Lorraine Rush had for their 10 In 10 challenge. Setting off on June 24, the first mountain was shrouded in cloud, and the wind got up as the weather closed in but sales agent Ian said: “It was really very hard with some galeforce winds, yet we’re all extremely happy with the achievement.” Ian, Rush Design publisher Lorraine and pals were halfway through their 12-hour, 26mile, ascent and descent of mountains raising money for the MS Society when they met the veteran climber who cheerily told them: “Without the adverse weather, it wouldn’t be the same adventure.” Raising money for the MS Soceity, Ian’s team have more than doubled their target to reach over £1,000.


Natural Partners deal lets Jo be creative

BEING creative with canines is how Jo Scott got into the greetings card business and, to free up her time so she can be even more artistic, she has now licensed all her Scott & Robson designs to Natural Partners Art. Making the announcement following a successful final trade show appearance at PG Live, Jo said: “This is going to free me up to work on some new ideas and get cracking on some new work projects I’ve been putting off.” Natural Partners founder Joe Cole said: “We’re thrilled Jo has agreed to join the growing group of talented artists whose work we publish as greetings cards. “I’m sure her wonderful, insightful work, which perfectly captures the personality of her mainly canine subjects, will appeal to both our existing and new trade customers. She obviously has a real passion for dogs and this comes across in her work. “The inclusion of humour and occasions in her extensive range will greatly broaden our appeal and we’re proud to add Jo’s popular images to our existing portfolio – in fact we received our first order for her cards within an hour of the images appearing on our website!”

License This! winner set to go global

LARKSHEAD Media have been appointed by brand owner and creator Charlotte Reed to manage global licensing for May The Thoughts Be With You, the new property that combines thoughtful, positive and funny messages with witty cartoons. The winner of the latest License This! competition held at Brand Licensing Europe, May The Thoughts Be With You has become an unlikely publishing success loved for its optimism and positive outlook. But it began life as a response to something that wasn’t positive at all, a debilitating bout of depression that Charlotte suffered. To aid her recovery, Charlotte posted upbeat thoughts on her Facebook page, thoughts her friends liked and that, over time, inspired illustrations, characters, and finally a book she sold from a stall in London’s Portobello market. Larkshead Media will introduce the licensing programme at this year’s BLE in October when Charlotte takes her brand back as part of her prize. With a target market of young adult females and males, the early category focus for the brand will be on paper products such as greetings cards, gift wrap and notebooks, and gifting.

Signing up for more help

HELP For Heroes and the Otter House Group have signed up to continue the collaboration that has so far raised more than £400,000 for the services charity – and they hope to hit the half million pound mark by the end of the year. The new 10th birthday H4H stationery range will sit alongside a Christmas card and giftwrap collection for 2017 featuring the work of illustrator Bryn Parry, who co-founded the charity to provide lifelong support to those with injuries and illness sustained serving in the British Armed Forces. The stationery range includes notebooks, magnets, key rings, ceramic mugs, pens and a jigsaw, while the Christmas cards and wraps feature contemporary designs as well as traditional festive scenes. The Otter House Group includes Carousel Calendars, who are also long-term supporters with their 2018 Help For Heroes range offering a slim appointments calendar, A5 diary and square wall calendar. For every product sold, 10 per cent of Otter House sales goes to the charity, with Carousel’s donations ranging from £1 to £2 on every item sold – by April 2017 Carousel had raised £404,753 since the start of the collaboration almost 10 years ago and with Otter House they hope to make it £500,000 mark by the end of the year. @greetingstoday


Discover the latest and greatest cards, wrapping, notebooks and all things paper for your store. Your customers will be sure to take note.

Get your free ticket today at #autumnfair HOME | CONTEMPORARY GIFT & LIVING | THE LIGHT SHOW | FASHION, JEWELLERY & ACCESSORIES THE SUMMERHOUSE | BODY, BATH & HOME FRAGRANCE | GIFT | CHILDREN’S GIFTS, TOYS & GADGETS | GREETINGS BRANDS OF CHINA | RETAIL SOLUTIONS | VOLUME & HOUSEWARES Copyright of Ascential Events Ltd | Products shown in this image are proprietary to Kerry Lyons

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Hopping to it I

F MY Greetings Today magazine articles were a TV show they’d be standalone episodes, self-contained stories that don’t need prior viewing to be understood.

However, over the next few issues there will an overarching storyline as we continue the adventures of the Cudworth Bunny Trail – an event unlike anything we’ve ever done before with all the drama, highs, lows and emotions of any soap. Previously in Greetings Today… “This summer, bunnies are taking over Cudworth in Barnsley. From June 19 to to September 30, nine bright and colourful bunnies are hiding in nine shop windows in Cudworth. Visit a Bunny Stop to pick up your free map and then visit each shop on the trail to pick up your sticker. There might be treats too!” So on this week’s show we’re looking at the lead up to the Bunny Trail launch. First the nine shops that will be Bunny Stops had to be locked down. The last to come

step. The plan has been to start teasing the event in early June and then to work with the council, community groups such as the Brownies and local press to make Cudworth a summer destination. The Cudworth Bunny Trail should be a feel good story the whole village can get behind. Community will play large part in the Bunny Trail as it involves the people taking part, sharing the event online and building relationships between our village’s shops. It’s seems many owners have been strangers viewing the other shops as purely competition, and already the Bunny Trail has got us talking about larger schemes for the village. How we can work together to get funding for things such as shop front improvements, the public areas, traffic improvements and business incentives. I’ve already met with our council about the Principal Towns scheme which is looking at investing in the smaller towns and local centres in Barnsley. Funding is available but there’s a minimum bid requirement of £100,000 so we’ll need to work together to reach this

floats set off down the main street followed by an evening disco on the Co-Op car park. They reckon 5,000 people turned out for the procession, which must have given the shops a big boost. Organisers the Cudworth Community Association later set up a fancy dress fun run, and came up with other amazing ideas as a fancy dress cricket match with the ladies from the knicker factory – now there’s a thought! The article unfortunately throws up a potential issue, stating: “Eventually it went the way of everything run by a

IIt’s important to have stories you can build promotional campaigns around d

on board were the Co-Op, who I was torn about including, however I was won over by the work they do with the community. Leaflets and posters have been designed. The choice of a bunny has been debated as the council pushed for a hedgehog, but that would have meant starting over again and with the designs finished plus nine bunnies already painted that idea was quickly vetoed – maybe next year. The jewellery shop were unhappy their green bunny, so he has had a well-bling makeover and is now sparkling silver to match their diamond rings. We also have a new Facebook page and website with some lovely drawings of our shops by Jessica Woodhouse Design & Illustration – there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes and I can barely wait to release the Bunny Trail on to social media. The reach of the combined platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter from all participating retailers should hopefully ensure the Bunny Trail goes viral. It’s important to have stories you can build promotional campaigns around so we hope the Bunny Trail will build a buzz on our Facebook feed with a Facebook event an obvious next

target. The Cudworth Bunny Trail isn’t just about the one event, it’s about retailers working to build a better Barnsley. We’ll be working with the council but we need to ensure we’re productive and positive ourselves. It’s strange as most of the council communications have come via Facebook. I posted on our Cudworth Village News Facebook page early in the project to gauge interest, which promoted a council member to email me about working together. I’ve also had some lovely feedback through the Crafty Biz Barnsley Facebook group. It goes to show that, if used correctly and avoiding spamming, social media really is social. Continuing my tenuous TV show theme, I’m going to introduce a flashback to 1982, the days of mirrored sunglasses, leotards tucked in designer jeans and Robin Reliants. I found a great article on the website for our village fanzine Chewin t’Cud, covering the Christmas Carnival, which ran from 1982-1986. At 10am on the second Saturday in December 1982 it kicked off with a dancing display outside the Star pub, then 55

committee and the last carnival was a small one in 1986.” It does make you wonder if all committees are doomed by debates, in-fighting and politics. Let’s hope not. Still it’s early days for our new Cudworth Community Association, official members – one. But I can hardly fall out with myself. On a positive note, the Chewin t Cud article highlights that such events can work, and by working together we’ll be stronger. We also have the advantage over the 80s by being able to use Facebook el al to push out message to area. First the Bunny Trail, next a carnival, finally world domination (oh wait, that’s supposed to be a secret). I guess I should end with a cliffhanger. A Who Shot JR moment to get you tuning in next time…ah, sorry to disappoint, I’m hoping there’s no drama. By the time you’re reading this, the Cudworth Bunny Trail will be up and hopping. Tune in next month as we travel to another dimension, next stop The Twilight Zone – no wait, stick to the trail! – Chris Fox

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

14 @greetingstoday

As the day A grew closer scented adverts, cards and invites circulated d

’ On the scent


VER on the left, Chris has just said: “It’s important to have stories you build promotional campaigns around” – so here’s Cherry Orchard’s.

During a rather hectic morning at Autumn Fair, I got a series of messages from my boss Jackie Collins, owner and co-founder of Cherry Orchard, asking if I knew which hall perfumier Jo Malone was giving her keynote speech in. Having pointed her in the right direction – actually right next to our stand – Jackie settled down to listen and was, I think it’s fair to say, blown away by Jo’s words and the sheer determination, talent, courage and flair that has made her the success she is today. As she headed back to the company’s HQ in Tewkesbury, Jackie scribbled a note on her Christmas wish-list for Jo’s My Story book as she was curious to find out about the scented page it contains, which publishers and printers had said couldn’t be done. She wasn’t disappointed – the Pomelo fragrance was released over and again as the page was touched. It appealed so much to Jackie’s love of scents cultivated in childhood, growing up in a garden with more than 100 rose bushes carefully tended by her mother. “What if.” she thought, “we could produce a range of greetings cards with a scented insert?” With a firm idea in her head of artwork focused on bouquets of roses, Jackie set about researching the feasibility of developing a designer scent mixing rose and vanilla to appeal to both traditional and contemporary tastes. She contacted one of only six independent perfumers in the UK to ask if it could be done. Months of nail-biting meetings followed with the perfumer, printers and a maestro from Heidelberg to make sure technology could produce a high quality card with stunning artwork and an insert able to release a delicate but enduring fragrance that could cope with being handled many times. Finally, the finished product arrived and a collection of designs and styles covering ages, relations, occasions and open birthday over a range of price codes was put together, with special pink spinners to match. The focus was very much on presenting a concept that would work across a wide range of outlets, from post offices to garden centres and boutique-style gift shops. With the official launch set for PG Live, everything was kept under wraps until the finishing touches were put in place. A teaser campaign gathered momentum, with the sales team and our marketing material, tweets and Facebook posts, cryptically promising a surprise new product. As the day grew closer scented adverts, cards and invitations circulated – the phones started ringing. The launch was a resounding success and the comments and support for the range was just fantastic as people saw the cards and experienced the fragrance. Now we’re really looking forward to our own scent trail as we take our stand on the road to the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival and Autumn Fair, it’s definitely a story we can build on. When Jo Malone was told a scented page in a book couldn’t be done, she set out to prove the naysayers wrong. When I first contacted Chris and we spoke generally of the local area where his shop is based, he said retailers around didn’t really know each other and didn’t interact much. Just months later, and with the help of social media, he’s already making things happen in their local community, giving the whole area a boost. World domination might be a tad ambitious Chris, but we hope the Cudworth Bunny Trail and ensuing community and possible carnival celebrations flourish! – Helen Pallen @greetingstoday 15


● FUNNY Bones is a new collection of 12 gentle humour cards from Ling Design that perfectly sum up those special girly friendships we all treasure. Bridget MacKeith is the creator of these fabulous images and has been working closely with creative director Rebecca McCulloch to feature some of the laugh-out-loud moments from such friendships. The pair met when Bridget had been teaching Beccy’s children to draw at the village school, they immediately clicked and the idea for the Funny Bones range was born – a girly moment in itself! These will be available from the beginning of August, all individually cello-wrapped with a £2.20 RRP.

● MOONLIGHT is the brand-new range from Real & Exciting Designs which caught the eye of many at PG Live – another gorgeous collection of contemporary hand-finished cards from the talented Sarah Curedale. These stunning cards feature detailed, bright and graphic artwork, with sentimental and inspiring messages for all occasions. Imagery includes clouds, mountains, stars and rainbows, creating dream-like designs inspired by haute couture. Each design is enhanced by beautiful detailed embossing and delicately foiled with a new satin silver or gunmetal grey foil. The cards are also embellished with up to five hand-adhered crystal diamantes for that extra special finishing touch and added value. There are nine birthdays and 11 occasions, all cello-wrapped with a bespoke monochrome, illustrated envelope to complement each design.

T: 01892 838574

● DISNEY are the latest licensors to be Itty Bittyfied by Hallmark, joining an array of characters from Marvel, Star Wars, Warner Brothers and more, following the massive success of the franchise in the UK. The first Disney characters to market include those from Beauty And The Beast, Belle And the Beast, Frozen’s Anna, Elsa, Sven and Olaf, and the Disney Princesses. Esther Key, Licensing Manager at Hallmark, said: “The addition of some of Disney’s best loved and popular characters is a massive boost for the Itty Bitty franchise which has continued to grow since we launched it In the UK in 2015. “We’ve seen them fly off our retailers’ shelves and, with Disney now in the range, we know the


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

appeal and collectability will continue to grow, especially with the exciting film release calendar lined up next year.” Hallmark and Disney have been working closely since the award of the cards and GP contract in 2016. The extension into plush is a natural next step as the two join forces to create a one-stop Disney shop for retailers. With a full marketing plan growing, activity is expected as the Disney characters go on sale from the beginning of October, including Christmas stocking filler marketing campaign and support for the next Star Wars film release in December.

T: 01223 207080

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

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● WENDY Jones-Blackett’s Paper Diamonds Bijou range went down a storm at PG Live and all 110 Everyday designs are now available to order. These gorgeous 160x160mm cards are all finished by hand in the UK using a variety of gems, glitters and holographic stars for a really luxurious look, and come with a dark grey envelope at £1.80 trade, RRp £4.40. The super-thick 450gsm board has a gold pearlescent shimmer which catches the light beautifully making them something to keep.

T: 0113 288 8468

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

● THEY’RE very excited at Tillovision with the release of the humour specialists’ first-ever kids’ range – and it’s been such fun they’ve managed a second one at the same time. Created to express the fizzy-pop fuelled excitement of any child’s birthday, the children’s collection is all about eating cake, crunching crisps, and being very, very excited! Tillovision’s other new kids range is Dogs Throwing Shapes, a clever take on age cards for kids aged one to nine. It’s bright and fun,, with numerical illustrations featuring some very h quirky ky yn sausage bendy sa b aus usag ag ge dogs.

T: 07934 430029

● TALKING Buttons is one of Laura Sherratt Designs bestselling small card d ranges, and they have now added lots of cute additions to the collection, including occasion cards. The latest designs feature Laura’s small-scale illustrations, and all are, of course, embellished with unique buttons and come with a colour-coordinating envelope and cello bag. The 120x120mm cards are printed on to a high quality board and are handmade in the UK.

T: 01538 384566


● PERKIN PERKINS NS & M Morley’s l new Sew n Sew range started out as cushions and has been so popular they have now also put the designs on cards and brooches. Consisting so far of a range of 8 designs – the Kingfisher cushion has been a best seller and the Pu n wooden brooch sold out in a day! The brooches come boxed so are an ideal gift, and the range will now be expanded on to coasters and placemats.

T: 01539 564247 or 01626 888069 @greetingstoday

BOUTIQUE A Collection of beautifully co-ordinating best-selling cards, wrap, bags and gifts!

• A ‘complete’ display solution from Nigel Quiney Publications and Glick

• Use of best-selling Pizazz designs and artwork

• Now with 5 successful sub-brands: Pizazz Classic, Gallery, Limited Edition, Male and Jewel

• Lots of added impact • Regular injections of new designs and product

• Greater depth of product FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: CLOUDESLEY HOUSE • SHIRE HILL • SAFFRON WALDEN • ESSEX • CB11 3FB T: 01799 520200 • F: 01799 520100 • WWW.NIGELQUINEY.COM Nigel Quiney.indd 1

14/06/2017 16:26


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

● THE Inspire Calendar 2018 is now available from Leonard Smith with a trade price of £4.36, SRP £10.45, and they are sold in sixes, carriage free, The beautiful images have been photographed by Leonard himself around Britain and made into a calendar that’s exclusively published by them to complement their greetings cards and gift ranges. ● FOR anyone looking to freshen their shop look, Wire Fittings have a second wave of their new Organic displays on offer. In addition to the already-released card spinners with wooden backboards, they now have a flat-packed wooden giftwrap stand, two-sided slatted wood display, and two sizes of wooden slatted shelving units. Both the giftwrap stand and display unit – that will take gifts and other products – are available in dark wood, natural oiled or white wash finishes, while the 1800mm-high shelves, come in oiled or wash. Recommended to be secured to a wall, the smaller unit has positions for five shelves, 600m wide by 220mm deep, with up to nine shelves on the larger 1000mm wide unit.

T: 01929 422762

● THERE are two new ranges from Lottie Murphy, each with six designs, with Party Time inspired by summer gatherings and food, while Multi brings a graphic element of larger illustrations repeated to become something visually very different. The designs originate from pastel drawings of still life. Inspired by natural forms, the bright colours, white backgrounds and repeat patterns add a contemporary twist. Each 127x177mm design is blank inside, printed on 300gsm card sourced from the Lake District, and the £1 trade price includes brown kraft envelope and cellophane wrap

T: 01376 562727

● GLICK’S latest Pizazz range includes, for the first time, some bestselling Pizazz Male designs translated on to beautiful quality wrap and bags with gold foiling. The full range includes Pizazz and Pizazz Gallery flat wrap, bags and tissue papers, using designs which are selling very well on cards for sister company Nigel Quiney.

T: 01274 655980

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TO FIND OUT MORE PLEASE CONTACT: Ling Design Ltd. 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent, TN12 6BE, UK +44(0)1892 838574 enquiries:

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● FOLLOWING on from its success at PG Live, Mint are throwing the spotlight on their gorgeous new range Glitterati. Glitterati is on trend being petite in size and precious in finishing. It features sophisticated and chic imagery in textured watercolour art including trendy pineapples, magical unicorns, butterflies and feathers, completed with beautiful hand-drawn feature typography. Each card is delicately finished with a beautiful rose gold foil and flitter combination, sure to sparkle and shine on your shelves. Printed on a textured matte board, these dainty designs feature 10 birthday and 10 captioned titles, including Wedding, New Baby, New Home and Thinking Of You. Wrapped with coordinating rose gold or pearlescent white envelopes, these fabulous designs add contemporary glitz and glamour to any display.

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

● CHERRY Orchard have added 42 new code 30 open designs to their Kaleidoscope range which retails at 99p. The cards feature 21 designs of male hobbies and interests as well as cute and funny pets and 21 more traditional female images of flowers, cakes and gifts. With eye-catching images and captions for a magical, scrumptious or adventurous birthday, this collection brings a solid range of good quality cards to the budget end of the price scale, with a wide variety of designs to appeal to all tastes and ages.

T: 01684 295500

T: 0116 230 4197 ● DOGS and puppies are always in demand for cards and merchandising, but two of the most popular breeds at Ardea Picture Library in the last year have been pugs and French bulldogs. Images of these two breeds are traditional bestsellers

currently substantially outselling some of the such Labradors and retrievers. Ardea’s trained pet photographers have been busy shooting lots of great images of these breeds which can be found on the website, and the in-house digital wizards have been giving a seasonal or fun touch to offer alternatives for greetings cards and other uses.

T: 020 8318 1401


● LESSER & Pavey are holding their own show from July 10-23 to launch their new ranges for the second half of the year, which include the Exotic Cream Art an Initially Yours. Made from resin, the cream pieces include Buddha, elephants and skulls – and the range has also had Exotic Black Art added to it. Each piece features an antique paint finish and they are sold in classic individual gift boxes with appropriate labelling. In the Initially Yours collection, each fine china mug has a letter of the alphabet design and comes in an individual open-fronted window box. The full collection of more than 4,500 products will be on show at the Lesser & Pavey air-conditioned showrooms just off the M25 in Dartford, Kent – call to book your place.

T:01322 279225 @greetingstoday

Introducing our NEW Pizazz for Men collection. Stunning ranges of gift bags and flat wraps, all gold foiled with vibrant print.

01274 655980

Unicorns galore on our new bags and roll wraps from Unit 1 Allenby House, European Ind. Park, Knowles Lane, Bradford BD4 9AB

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14/06/2017 14/06/2017 16:15 16:05


I had a dream…

David Hicks and his team are celebrating 30 really good years with plenty of added soul as his two companies mark big birthdays in 2017. Here they look back over the past three decades, and forward to what’s in store for the future.


HREE decades ago the name of David Hicks’ first business came to him in a dream and so the Really Good Card Company was born.

With a trusty Datsun Cherry serving as his o ce, warehouse and mode of transport, July 1987 saw him begin selling Really Good’s first-ever range – Tick Where Appropriate postcards that he stored in a shoebox and went back to the car to collect for immediate delivery once he’d taken an order in a shop. After a successful first decade, and with a lot of fun along the way – including cementing his reputation for eclectic hair, beard and clothing styles – David expanded by setting up his second company Soul to complement Really Good with a different range of products. Now in 2017 both companies are still going strong, with a great team continuing to design and produce innovative cards and gifts which have been recognised by the Henries Awards and Gift Of The Year judges. “When I started selling postcards out of the back of my Datsun Cherry,” David said, “I had no idea if I could keep going til the end of the next week let alone for 30 years. “But we’ve taken a few risks, got some great licences, made so many friends and have built a fantastic team across both companies – and I’m older, possibly wiser, but I have a lot less hair! “As part of our celebrations we want to say thank you to all our lovely customers so will be sending each a £30 voucher for Really Good’s 30 years and a £20 voucher for Soul’s 20 years to spend at the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate or with their sales rep. “I’ve had a really good time for three decades and there’s plenty of soul to keep us going for the next 30 years!”

Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival Stands DP1-17 & DP1-16 T: 01235 537888 T: 01235 537816



Is the start of the phenomenon that is The Bright Side by Rachel Bright. Launched initially with just 28 cards, The Bright Side has grown in a collection of greetings and gifts, and won three Henries Awards to date. Lifestyle gifts.


Was the start of the company’s transition into the gift market with the launch of Soul Happiness Lifestyle gifts.


And it’s the 20-year anniversary for Really Good, with the 10th birthday of Soul both celebrated at a spa hotel in Stratford for the whole team. Director Lisa Shoesmith presented a This Is Your Life biography to David.


Was a year of change – a restructuring decision was made which led to the sale of the warehouse and the outsourcing of fulfillment, with the office relocated to Abingdon in Oxfordshire which is still the base today. Really Good also picked up four Henries, one for Love From Me and three for Edward Monkton – celebrations were enjoyed, of course!



The Man Tin arrived and took the market by storm. As David turned 50, the Bright Side Man Tin was launched at Spring Fair 2011 and is still Really Good’s bestselling gift line.

Waldo Pancake came me on the scene – a huge launch of fun,, yquirky and brightlynd coloured cards and gifts which was recognised in the industry as a great he success and made the n Henries winners’ list in its first year. ww w ww w..f @greetingstoday


Was an important year as the first of five company moves happened. The office space was upgraded from the back of car to a 900sq ft unit and the first employee. It was also the first time Really Good exhibited at a trade show –Spring Fair International.


The dream turns into reality with the launch of Really Good’s first postcard collection.



Brought the second company move to a 6,000sq ft warehouse and office in Summertown, Oxford, and was when The Really Good Card Company Ltd was officially formed.

Was the year which took Really Good into the greetings cards sector with the launch of Terrible Useful Cut-Outs from artist Robert Duncan, one of his many ranges – Not Particularly Orange being the most successful.


The continued success of both companies meant they were able to buy and build their own warehouse – and buried a time capsule under the site obviously. This fourth office move happened in April, and shared David’s 40th birthday.


Saw major developments of ranges across both businesses, Edward Monkton and Love From Me were launched for Really Good and Soul saw Happiness by Emma Davis.


25th anniversary for Really Good and 15 years for Soul was celebrated with glamping – a great time of fun and frolicking, not to mention a few silly games, design your own cocktail, welly wanging, and marshmallow eating to name a few.


With the launch of the Deckchair range of postcards with envelopes, Really Good went back to their roots. @greetingstoday


And it’s 10th anniversary time along with a dramatic hair cut for David! The ponytail was chopped off, raising a decent £2,000 for charity and leading to a huge collection of hats appearing since. David also realised there was a gap in the market for non-humorous greetings cards which didn’t fit the Really Good profile, so separate sister company Soul was born. Starting with 150 designs over nine ranges, Soul had their own team of agents from the beginning and a new team in the office too, keeping the two companies separate and with their own identities. Really Good finally earned a draw on the football pitch!

1994 94

Was a great time e for y the business as Happy Hefalumps was launched by artist Emma Davis which was a phenomenal success for Really Good. However, big customer Athena also went bust. The Really Good Card Company All-Stars football team made their debut being trounced 9-2 by Statics XI!


Saw the third office move, increasing to 18,000 sq ft which soon went up to 27,000sq ft, and Happy Hefalumps was in its heyday appearing on Men Behaving Badly, Coronation Street and Casualty as well as the front page of The Times! All great news but, sadly, the football didn’t follow suit and Really Good were beaten again, this time 7-0 by Hanson White :(


Really Good won Gift Of The Year for the innovative Showtime light-up cards.


The story continues as Soul goes luxury with the PG Live launch of Kingdom, a gorgeous stationery collection designed and made in the UK, plus fab extensions to Really Good’s Deckchair range, and David picks up the honorary achievement award at The Greats! gre gr ee eti eti ting ngs sttod oda ay y.c co uk 25



● Seeking introductions – Allsorted and The GA join forces for Meet The Buyer events


All customers have to explicitly confirm they have opted in to receiving correspondence

Protect your data

Incoming data regulations backed by the threat of huge fines are set to prevent businesses from using any painstakingly-collected customer information they need for day-to-day operations. Sarah Ward explains that the GA offer help and advice.


WORRYING statistic I stumbled across the other day shows how unprepared businesses are for the new General Data Protection Regulations, which will affect all GA members and every company that handles or uses data.

With the regulations to be enforced from next May, just 10 months away, only 40 per cent of companies have prepared anything yet and, possibly even more worrying, according to a YouGov survey of 2,000 businesses only 38 per cent of senior decision-makers are actually aware of the new regulations. Just think of all the data you hold about your customers which you need o they can place an order, and how much extra information have you and your team collected from all the trade shows or subscribers who have signed up to your newsletters? Come May 2018, all your customers and business acquaintances will have to explicitly confirm to you that they have opted in to receiving an email or any other correspondence from you as a company. It’s no surprise we’re working hard to educate our members as much as possible about the potential risks of not starting a GDPR project immediately in order to combat these new regulations. There are two major risks. First is the fine of up to four per cent global income or €20million (£17.6m), whichever is greater – that would cripple a large

multinational, imagine what it will do to the thousands of independents out there who risk being put out of business. The second problem will be the frustration of holding swathes of perfectly good data that’s unusable as the contacts haven’t opted in otherwise you risk the fine or repercussions. It’s time, therefore, for all decision makers in your business to get the conversation started and look after your data. There’s a wealth of support and advice available and The GA are working with some great companies and individuals who, through their seminars and one-toones, can help guide everyone through the process. ● DID you know the most common question my team are asked is where to meet new buyers, where’s the best place to find them, and, when they do get hold of someone, how to best approach the challenge of building a successful business relationship? The obvious answer to this would be to visit more trade shows but, what if you’re new to the industry and feel like you’re a very small fish in a large pond or if cashflow and workload simply don’t allow you to attend? We may a remedy for this – The GA have organised a selection of more intimate Meet The Buyer days, giving suppliers the chance to come face-to-face with influential buyers in a more relaxed environment. Our first event was in May in partnership with

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


The Tillington Group of Garden Centres, which gave us exclusive access to the annual meeting of all the group’s buyers and featured members and nonmembers from companies large and small. The day had just the right atmosphere and we were delighted that all companies exhibiting received orders. Trying something different feels good! Our next event is in Birmingham on July 6, where buying group Choice Marketing, John Lewis and a mix of independent retailers will join us for what should be a fun buying festival. This more intimate approach has also been adopted by one of our members Allsorted, where they put on a showcase in London. Due to its success they would like to share this experience by joining forces with GA members. ● LOOKING at trends, and according to Scott from Allsorted, the Little Book Of Hygge – The Danish Way To Living Well is set to be a big seller in the publishing world. Hygge is the Norwegian word for wellbeing, and the book focuses on a being happy and in the moment way of life, covering mood, diet, furniture and looking after you. The movement hails from Denmark, acknowledge as one of the happiest countries on the planet, so it’s probably time to sit up and take note. You will know hygge when you feel it – it’s when you’re cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, it’s greeting a new pet for the first time, it’s those perfect crisp winter mornings where everything has a certain haze around it. It also tells us to slow down and relax, and think of our loved ones. With so much bad stuff and confusion going on in the world today, it’s hard to see why this book won’t be a bestseller. @greetingstoday

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It’s a craze, but it’s also an evergreen

Express your elf The Christmas elf tradition looks set to be huge this December and PMS International have got it all wrapped up with the original elf with big ears, Elves Behavin’ Badly.


HRISTMAS is a time for family tradition and coming together to celebrate in your own special way.

Every household marks the days until Santa’s big arrival differently but, with the arrival of PMS International’s Elves Behavin’ Badly, the countdown to Christmas will never be the same again. The Elf phenomenon exploded in the UK last year, and looks set to be absolutely huge this festive season. – “I’ve been 40 years in the business, but I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Paul Beverley, MD of PMS International. It started in the USA, as many things festive do. The idea behind it is that parents create a little scene, incorporating a child’s elf, ready for them to wake up to in the morning. The children then leap out of bed in the morning, desperate to see what their elf friends have been up to overnight. Of course, with PMS’s Elves Behavin’ Badly, this could mean spilt cereal, funny faces drawn on bananas, hanging upside down on the Christmas tree – the possibilities are endless. “Your imagination creates the fun,” added Paul, “It’s a craze, but it’s also an evergreen.” The key characters in the range are Elfie and Elvie, who come out to play with their friends from December 1, right the way up to Christmas Eve. They keep a close eye on all the children’s behaviour and report to back Santa on who’s been good and who’s been bad. Rudie the reindeer is the elves’ best friend who dutifully and tirelessly pulls their sleigh and takes them home to the North Pole. He needs to save his energy for the long trip back to Elfland so tries not to avoid all the elf mischief, despite the elves doing their best to get him into trouble. The Elf Babies are adorably cute. Almost identical in appearance,

they can only be told apart by the colour of their clothing – red, blue and pink. Enjoying their first Christmas, the elf triplets are still trying to discover their magical powers. They love to play and sometimes need help getting out of tricky situations. They have a special talent for creeping into places they shouldn’t. Families are encouraged to buy one for each child – and perhaps each adult, too – and then everyone can share all their mischief by posting photos on social media. What started life as a bit of creative fun has now become a n nationwide tradition and is as popular with adults as it is w with children of all ages. Adults are using their elves to c create scenes that are…well… a little more risqué, and tthen posting them on social media. You need only look on Facebook and Twitter to see h how popular they were last year and, as we gear up for C Christmas 2017, PMS expect Elves Behavin’ Badly to m make an even bigger impact at retail. Paul predicts that December 2017 will be dominated by tthis craze: “It’s fun, infectious and actually it’s a lot more d di cult than you may think to create an elaborate elf scene, e especially one that hasn’t been constructed before.” So the company are inviting customers to upload p pictures of their Elves Behavin’ Badly so they can award p prizes to the most originally constructed Elf scenarios. With very affordable price points, Elves Behavin’ Badly a are fantastic impulse purchases for retailers to offer c customers. A whole range of accessories means families will be back for more as they add over-sized Christmas jumpers, Elf house stickers, Elf beds and even a post box to their collections. So watch out for the Elves Behavin’ Badly and get your orders in early – you won’t forgive your Elf if you miss out on this Christmas craze!

II’ve been 40 years in the business, but I’ve never seen anything like it


T: 01268 505050 @greetingstoday


On the road

The marketing machine is already well underway as a huge Elves Behavin’ Badly lorry livery makes its way up and down the roads of Britain. With the sign a whopping 12ft long, it’s sure to catch the eyes of kids and parents alike!

Social snaps

Families are invited to share their most inventive Elves Behavin’ Badly stories online – and the results are hilarious… @greetingstoday eetiingstoday 29 9


Celebrating 25 years of publishing Greetings and Greetings Today, we looked back last month at the year 1992/3, so this issue I thought we’d step back in time to five, 10, 15, and 20 years ago in the greetings card industry, and we’ll be continuing this as a regular series. – Malcolm Naish

July 2012

The price of a first-class stamp rises to 60p and 50p for second. We point out this may well encourage card senders to revert to sending on-line cards to the detriment of Royal Mail. We mourn the death of Jim Marshall whose amplifiers were legend with all the top rock groups. The link with our industry was with Pyramid who licensed Marshall products for their prints, posters and other items. On the exhibition front we learn Earls Court exhibition centre is due to be demolished to make way for housing. It is one exhibition centre I won’t miss! Hallmark Cards sign up The Simpsons in a three-year deal. With the London Olympics due plus the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee we ask card ● July 2012 cover retailers whether this will help drum up sales – a resounding no was the answer! Last month Clinton Cards were forced into administration by American Greetings, shortly after this American Greetings took control of 377 Clinton and 20 Birthdays stores, preserving 4,500 jobs. Dominique Schurman is appointed CEO. Illustrating the power of the Greetings Today website, one of our new editor Tracey Bearton’s daily newsflashes highlighting Riverside Card’s themed Team GB2012 Olympic range, was noticed by Tesco, who immediately snapped them up.

July 2007

UK Greetings run a competition with Cardgains named Lucky 7 with a first prize of a Mini Cooper and six further fab prizes to make your mouth water. Gemma open their first online ordering facility and Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles creates a new spot in his programme Birthday Corner. This encourages listeners to send in their favourite cards so the messages and verses can be read out on the programme. Paperhouse launch their Great British Card Company. The company’s formerly-retired chairman Peter Reichwald is so excited by this new venture he has re-employed himself and is leading the new venture ● July 2007 cover with great enthusiasm. Our Talking Shop contributor Bruno Citra takes a look back at the ● 2007 advert bears of yesterday and wonders if the world has gone into plush overload. He recalls all those wonderful little earners including Russ Berry, Gund and Plaintalk with all three being Nice Little Earners. Dakin’s Garfield followed with a whole range of associated Garfield product. When Garfield peaked and virtually disappeared off the shelves, along came Forever Friends. At its peak, Bruno recalls selling £150 retail bears like no tomorrow. Of course, when Forever Friends peaked along came Tatty Teddy – a great marketing exercise that has kept the tills ringing for many years.


July 2002

The Queen’s Jubilee brought welcome extra sales to our readers’ tills. We are saddened to report the unexpected death of Ted Eccleshall, chairman of Kardwell Hobbs. He and his wife had recently celebrated their ruby anniversary. He was a thoroughly nice man and will be greatly missed by all who new him. The Royal Mail manage to lose £1.1billion and are looking for a radical restructuring. Hardly surprising when you consider their second deliveries account for 20 per cent of Royal Mail’s costs with 30 per cent of the time taken to deliver letters are attributed to second deliveries, yet just four per cent of the UK’s mail is delivered then! Gemma tell us their Thunderbirds ● July 2002 cover Scott Tracy card and envelope in its original 1991 cellophane wrapper will set you back £20. I wonder how much it would fetch today? In addition to the Queen’s Jubilee, we also had the football World Cup. Yet again more personal disappointment, but quite a few retailers we spoke with enjoyed extra sales, particularly of foil balloons and bunting while England were still in the competition – it must have been a short window of opportunity! Some of our advertisers in July 2002 included Abacus, Autumn Fair, Ling, Carlton, Simon Elvin, Grass Roots, Regent and Blossom & Bows.

July 1997

The Greeting Store Group acquire Papertree to go with Strand Stores bought earlier in the year. Also busy on the buying side is Birthdays who snapped up Paperchain and their 50-plus stores. Fine Art Development’s Keith Chapman decides to demerge their card division from their mail order business that includes Britannia and Hambledon. Hanson White take over the publishing of Far Side following the Ink Group’s decision to stop publishing them earlier this year. Environmental statements on the back of greetings cards are all the rage, so we highlighted some of the wording from the leading publishers of the time. I particularly liked the description from Emotional Rescue: “Maude’s card is produced from beautiful European trees which are hacked ● July 1997 cover down into little pieces ● 1997 advert by burly Scandinavians with big beards. However, they are followed by the good tree fairy who plants more trees in their place, thus ensuring a continued income for the burly Scandinavians of tomorrow.” Our Talking Shop contributor Lynn Tait – who has just sadly passed away in June 2017 – is on the warpath. She tells us that publishers’ accounts departments so often do not check with their sales departments when issuing invoices and checking for payment – so what’s new? Lynn does, however, acknowledge her suppliers who give her fantastic service and generous discounts. – Malcolm Naish @greetingstoday

â—? July 2002 adverts

Abacus Cards Ltd & Clare Maddicott Publications are looking for;

A Christmas Cards for Charities Sales Agent North To serve large and small charities across the Northern regions with our large range of bespoke charity fundraising Christmas card packs. The vacancy is due to retirement and would suit a sales agent looking to grow their reach with an additional principal or perhaps a new market. An eye for detail and exceptional communication skills are an absolute must for this exciting and challenging role. We hold a large number of commercial designs, many of which are exclusive to us. We offer three different sizes of ÀQLVKHGFDUGVDQGRIFRXUVHZHGRQ¡WFXWFRUQHUVRQTXDOLW\ and value. We use great board, great envelopes and offer a ODUJHFKRLFHRIFDUGÀQLVKHVDOORIZKLFKFDQEHSUHVHQWHG with samples and our glossy brochure.

Interested? Please Email: and we can set up an initial discussion. Incorporating @greetingstoday

(E) SALES@REALANDEXCITINGDESIGNS.CO.UK (T) 01223 207 080 (F) 01536 401 031 31


The biggest cuddles

In the world of plush, a fresh new collection of soft toys from the makers of the world’s first teddy bear is worth shouting about and looks set to delight a whole new generation of children.


HEN Margarete Steiff created the world’s first soft toy in 1880, little did she realise the enormity of the gift that she was giving to children everywhere.

In 1902, her nephew Richard designed the Steiff company’s signature invention – the teddy bear – and now, in the summer of 2017, a new exciting development arrives from the very same buildings in Giengen, Germany, that the world’s first ted was born. The company’s new Soft Cuddly Friends embrace all the ingredients that made Steiff famous – ultra-high quality materials, intricate hand craftsmanship, and the famous Button in Ear – in a fresh new collection of contemporary styles designed to appeal to today’s children. Steiff have always devoted themselves to making the very best soft toys for children and embracing innovation imagination and perfection. As Margarete Steiff herself said: “For children, only the best is good enough.” Still renowned for creating unrivaled life-like animals, Steiff are thrilled to add this extra dimension of playful characters that are sure to become friends for life. Soft as soft can be, always ready for the biggest cuddle possible, the new kids in town are guaranteed to be a big hit with children of all ages. They’re destined to become a child’s most cherished companions, day in and day out. This new range is, of course, machine washable and manufactured to the highest standard. But what will surprise you is the pricing that accompanies this fabulous new collection. Soft Cuddly Friends are available in many designs and in three sizes, retailing at £14.90, £22.90 and £34.90. A full range of gift boxing is available plus fl oor and shelf displays to support as POS. The story of Steiff is full of adventure, ambition and innovation lavish with romance, nostalgia and childhood dreams. It’s the story of a company responsible for the unequalled popularity of the teddy bear, the world’s most favourite soft toy. More than 100 years later and the popularity of Steiff has spread across the entire globe and grabbed international headlines as antique bears made of traditional mohair and firmly filled with wood-wool set world record prices at auction. Proud of their heritage yet forward-looking and venturesome, Steiff never stop chasing dreams. After all, just what would bedtime be like if there were no cuddly friends to snuggle up to? Unimaginable!

T: 01483 266643

32 @greetingstoday

Steiff.indd 1

28/06/2017 13:37


Boofle reaches new heights Made from 100% love and cuddles, lot ts of lots s quickly wool and a little button, Boofle has become the star of cute greetings. Boofle tings first hit the High Street as a greetings ftly card range, his popularity grew swiftly and, soon afterwards, his gift and st plush range was launched. Since first coming to market Boofle has sold more than 60million greetings cards and can now be found in over 12,000 stockists throughout the UK.

New line

June sees the launch of a brand-new collection of designs to the marketplace, which showcase this exceptional brand to its full potential. With gorgeous new watercolour stripes, polka dot patterning and floral design, Boofle has never looked better!


Introducing 64 brand-new beautiful designs which capture the essence of Boofle perfectly. With lots of new formats and styles, quirky new imagery and fabulous innovation, there’s something for everyone!


T: 01924 465200 www facebook com/greetingsto oda d ymag @greetingstoda @greetingstoday day da


Adult ages

Boofle offers lots of choice to celebrate those very special milestone birthdays, from 18 to 70! There are 10 brand-new designs, each combining pastel stripes or polka dots with silver foil, giving a very contemporary look and feel. ● Some of the new Standalone designs

Life’s events ev

Here are 28 new designs across all the key events in all c our lives. Each caption features a fun, vibrant patterning Bo e at the heart of every single design. style and has Boofl


The success on licensed products continues with fantastic sales at retail across a number of current categories as well as the introduction of new categories. Boofle was over the moon to be singled out at a major retailer’s Brand Licensing Conference of more than 200 suppliers and brand owners as a Christmas bestseller! Susan Jones, Brand Development Manager at UK Greetings, said: “Boofle is so well loved – every new piece of artwork is really engaging and full of personality. This investment in design as well as regular style guide updates allow him to translate perfectly on to a wide range of licensed products.”


Boofle’s popularity has grown considerably derably since his ct with him across original debut on the High Street – consumers interact ial media. a number of touch points, in store, online and on social To coincide with the new product launch Boofle’s website is having a refresh – check it out at www.boofl And it be doesn’t stop there as Boofle also has his own YouTube n channel, along with a new app which just launched on both iTunes and Google Play.

Boofle VR

UK Greetings are excited to reveal the virtual reality experience that is Boofle’s Home. In a first for a greetings character, tthe super-cute pup allows users to enter into his new hi-tech world where they can join Boofle in his virtual life, exploring his ho home and engage in interactive activities such as wateri watering flowers and catching butterflies. On SteamVR, the most successful VR platform whi which has more than 8.5million users, the exp experience had 920 downloads within the first two day days of its launch. To date the experience has had mor more than 4,800 downloads across all platforms and th the following is growing. Jill A Alexander, UKG Marketing Communications Director Director, said: “The reaction has been really positive, we didn didn’t know what to expect as this is a completely new are area for us and the character. “Users have been making videos and recommending the experience to others – which is just fabulous for the brand profile which kn knows no boundaries!” So, dow download the experience, put on your VR headset and enjoy – yyou’ll love it! www facebook com/greeting @greetingstoday gstoday 35



Our masters have managed to ensure the scales are weighted against retail

’ ● Difficult times – Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May

Keep your head

W With retailers understandably wondering what to do when the world seems to be imploding, John Ryan suggests it’s worth remembering Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem If… and applying that advice.


OTE to self – remember to send a card to whoever is in charge of the Government recommending they do something about the cost of running a shop.

The fact is, while we all know there’s nothing certain about who’s supposed to be in charge at the moment with the Hung Parliament and fallout from the General Election debacle, one thing is for sure, costs look set to go up. The signal failure of the powers that be to deal with the seemingly upwards-only progress of business rates and the effective devaluation of the pound in your cash register, equates to a lower net margin when suppliers, the taxman, staff and running costs have been accounted for. And, if you happen to be in the business of selling cards and associated small giftware, things look even trickier. In order to exist, card shops rely upon volume – the low unit price going through the tills means this has to be the case. Prices may be at pocket money-level, or thereabouts but, when times are tough, pocket

money tends to remain in the pocket, with inevitable consequences if you happen to be in the business of shifting large amounts of merchandise. The other point is that, in order to make the whole shooting match work, you are to a large extent at the behest of your suppliers, who also seem to have an inconvenient need to show a profit on a regular basis. All of which means only the largest can weather the storm, doesn’t it? Perhaps but, before throwing in the towel, it’s worth considering that births, deaths and the many things that happen between these two events still tend to need to be marked and a well-chosen card remains one of the best ways of doing this. A good card shop is still quite hard to walk past without taking a peek either at the window or staring beyond this to what lies within. If this is done then maybe, in spite of everything, inertia will come into play, the potential shopper will enter the shop and become another purchaser walking out of the door. The reality, however, is that a shakeout beckons.

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


In retail there are always a few more shops than are needed and, while this may mean a fine balance which sees most managing to muddle through as a few continue prosper, it doesn’t take much to tip the scales. Led by Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn (pictured), our lords, ladies, masters and mistresses at Westminster have, through a combination of ineptitude, arrogance and, maybe, complacency, managed to ensure this is one of those times when the scales are weighted against retail so making things are even more difficult than usual. But even this needn’t mean disaster for most. The shakeout that lies ahead will affect only those who probably shouldn’t be around anyway and, as for the rest, while they may encounter some pretty powerful headwinds it needn’t equate to a trip to the offices of the receiver. The order of the day is the same as it always has been make sure you’re just that bit better in everything you do than your competition – Kipling wrote: “If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs…” and that’s not bad advice. By all means send that winsome card to whoever you hold responsible in the corridors of power for the mess we seem to be in but, for the most part, focus on good shopkeeping – ranging, visual merchandising and, yes, novelty. Put those three together, keep your head, and it may just be you’ll still be trading into 2018 and way beyond. @greetingstoday


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IIt’s amazing how you can remember the code of a bestseller 30-plus years on!

From a white Ford Escort estate to the Managing Director’s office at Ling Design, Penny Kennedy and Talking Pictures, Ian Bant has been in the greetings industry since 1979 and has decided it’s time to bow out while at the top. In this exit interview he looks back over the many changes and innovations he’s seen in almost four decades.

● Bon voyage – Ian sails off with his cake made by Sarah Moise, wife of sales team member Freddie, and a case of wine after his last meeting overseeing the launch of the new Spring range


ITH my white Ford Escort estate – reg HMJ 647V – I thought I’d really made it as sales rep for the south west with the Andrew Brownsword Collection.

I joined them aged 24, in 1979, and then, via The Gordon Fraser Gallery, and Hallmark Cards, I arrived at Ling Design on April 2, 2001. When the call came from Julian Nash, the Ling chairman, a friend and ex-colleague to take over from William McCracken, who was retiring as MD, it was to good an offer to refuse. I’m now 62, and it seems a good age to be hanging up my boots as my father retired from a managing director position at the same age and he and my mother are still going strong at 84 years of age and have had a great retirement, so it feels like a good time to stop. My wife Gaynor and I will be travelling quite a lot, including an around-theworld cruise in early 2018 – we’re also planning a house move and generally looking forward to having time to do things that a busy life doesn’t allow. There have been so many exciting parts of the job especially seeing staff grow and develop, and being involved in acquisitions, most notably Ling’s purchase of Talking Pictures in July 2008. The growth of the Andrew Brownsword Group from £50,000 turnover in 1979 to £60million by 1994 was exciting, and being involved as MD with a great team in the turnaround of Gordon Fraser Gallery (GFG). When the company was acquired by Andrew Brownsword in 1989 this long-established and well-respected business was hemorrhaging money. Within a short time, we had the company back in the black and it went on to be fabulously successful while enjoying the sort of profitability that today’s publishers can only dream of. Hallmark Cards acquired the Brownsword Group in 1994 and I became MD there along with GFG, and it was great to be invited to become a member of the Hallmark Holdings board. Following my departure from Hallmark in February 1999 I spent two years working for Andrew Brownsword on the commercial side of Bath Rugby. I did have another offer to join a greetings publisher as MD but decided against it, then came the call from Ling where I’ve great times and much success with my team, and been fortunate enough to travel to many parts of the world with my work. I’ve been involved in a few industry surprises myself – Hallmark’s purchase of Andrew Brownsword Collection, Ling buying Talking Pictures and Penny Kennedy, and Swan Mill Paper Company’s acquisition of Ling Design in 2015 were all well-kept industry secrets.

● Wildlife

● Memento baby

38 ● Memento new home

When the call came to take over at Ling, it was to good an offer to refuse @greetingstoday



A NEW LEVEL OF SERVICE, QUALITY & VALUE Offset Print & Packaging design and manufacture high quality, bespoke printed cartons and greetings cards.

● Hello and goodbye – Ian with new man Alessandro at PG Live, and their favourite Sara Miller shopper from Penny Kennedy, and an Escort like his beloved car! Mind you, I had quite a surprise myself last week when my CEO David Byk bought me a pint! The industry has changed many ways since I started – all stock used to be sold in 12s rather than sixes, the cello-wrapping of cards was a preserve of the wholesale trade only, no self-respecting direct-to-retail publisher would have dreamed of doing it, and brokerage hadn’t been heard of. Back then, when gaining space for an open range in a national account you’d be allocated either a four-foot or metre-long display containing between 70 and 90 pockets. Today allocations tend to be for maybe six designs. Retailers didn’t used to operate integrated occasion and relation displays. They were displayed by publisher around the store so when looking for, say, a get-well card you’d be directed to several places in a store – I actually think we called them shops when I entered the trade. Orders were taken in a Challenge duplicate book, not on an iPad, and trade shows were incredibly well attended. One thing that hasn’t changed is that it’s still a great industry to be involved in. I’ve been privileged to have spent 36 years of my working life involved with greetings cards. There have also been many changes on the design front, our top-selling range when I arrived at Ling was Memento which was created by in-house artist Rebecca Harris (now McCulloch), who’s since returned as our creative director. Greetings cards have many more finishes now than they ever did, the value for money offered to consumers is incredible. We have a very broad and diverse product offering and Wildlife is our fastest-selling current range. I don’t think the sales ratio of captions has changed a great deal over the years, top sellers remain Wife, Husband, Mum, Dad and sympathy, but one notable growth caption in recent years has been Friend/Friends. We were hopeful years ago that Grandparents Day would take off and provide a good revenue stream – sadly it never really got off the ground. Goodness knows how many tens of thousands of designs I’ve been involved in over the years but if I had to choose a favourite it would be Frogs Legs by Dino, as the designer Deborah Jones was known. The card reference was EUF4 – it’s amazing how you can remember the code of a bestseller 30-plus years on! This was part of the Andrew Brownsword Collection Dino Gang range from around 1980, I’d guess. The sales of the design were outstanding, goodness knows how many we sold, it’s a shame I can’t find an image. I think the future for greetings cards is bright. Although I don’t forecast a great deal of growth with a market alreadu valued at £1.7billion at retail value there are still plenty of opportunities out there. I can’t fit my parting advice to Ling’s new MD Alessandro Arosio in three words, but I can manage 19: “You’re lucky to be taking over a great business with great people, please look after them both well.” @greetingstoday

We offer full in-house support across innovative structural design and state-of-the-art reprographics. This is complemented by the highest levels of quality and reliability throughout the entire production process. We continue to redefine expectations through our superior levels of commitment in everything that we achieve.

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progressive greetings awards 39



● The Art Group, Designers Guild

Here comes summer

● Summer buys – PG Live and Pulse have their own niches

…but is it a good tim time for a trade examines the fair? Henri Davis exa expecting retailers to logic behind expectin summer. attend shows in the s


S WE head into summer, almost regardless of which sector you work in there are still plenty of trade fairs to visit – but is there any point in a retailer visiting shows at this time of year and which buyers are they useful for?

Here the starting point should be to review the visitor lists from previous years, then ask any current exhibitors you know who they expect to attend, and check if other companies that you’d want to be at a show with are exhibiting. Think about whether these visitors are the type of outlets you want to stock your products, will they sit well and fell right alongside the rest of the store’s offer, and are your retail prices right for them. If not, don’t exhibit. Retailers can run a similar exercise, check out who’s there via the exhibitor lists beforehand and save your time and money if there’s no one you really want to see – of course, if you’re after completely new suppliers, then it’s a good thing if there are more exhibitors you don’t already know. Regardless of the type of show, t number of orders being placed at the t actual has dropped significantly the o over the last 10 years, for most exhibitors this doesn’t mean shows aren’t worth attending as it reflects the change in the way buyers behave. Those from large retailers are unlikely to be able to place an order without referring back to colleagues, they may also not be looking to stock the products for several months so are on a scouting mission to see what’s out in the market and the suppliers to talk to later in the year when they are ready to do that specific piece of range work. When suppliers talk to buyers, a critical question is

It’s vital exhibitors understand when buyers are looking to buy stock for

Which retailers visit which show w is influenced by the design and price point of the products being exhibited, as products that are very on trend, design-led and have higher price points will understandably attract a very different retailer from a trade fair selling volume products that are mass produced. Both have their place and are equally valuable to the different retailer types but as an exhibitor and d visitor it’s critical to understand thatt and select your events accordingly. Exhibitors don’t need me to tell them how expensive it is – it’s not just the stand costs, there’s transporting stock and displays, probably some accommodation charges and you should factor in the time people will spend on the stand rather than generating sales through other means. They have to be sure it’s going to be a good use of their time and money, so it’s a good idea to work out if a show is going to attract the right sort of buyers.

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


to ask when they are looking to review their range – understanding this is invaluable for future planning so you know when to call, send samples and follow up. These days I believe exhibitors can’t measure the success of a show purely by the value of orders taken. It’s great if everyone is clamouring to place orders and you know you’ve covered your costs, but the quality of contacts made and information gleaned about the market, competitors and future events are worthy reasons to attend fairs. As a buyer, I find trade shows do many jobs – they help me identify trends and new ideas in design and manufacturing technologies, remind me of products and suppliers I’ve forgotten about who can offer stock that’s now relevant, they help me find product at short notice if I’ve been let down by a supplier, and if I’m starting on a new product area it allows me to begin to understand the various supply options and talk to suppliers about manufacturing processes. In terms of timing, it’s almost impossible for show organisers to pick dates that suit all retailers, so it’s vital exhibitors understand when buyers are looking to buy stock for. Those working for larger businesses and the multiples are buying a long way in advance while independents can often be more flexible and may be buying stock to go on sale in the next few weeks. As I write this, I’ve just come back from PG Live. As an annual specialist event this is a good example of show timing, it’s less likely to be about a particularly good time for buyers to buy with spring seasons over and with everyday ranges out in full and selling, it’s certainly not focused on Christmas. I would suggest the timing is as much geared around when the exhibitors and buyers will be available to be there given the dates of other relevant fairs for this sector with Pulse also a late-spring event, and there’s the London Stationery Show too. Whatever the time of year, there’s always plenty to be found with The Art Group’s new Designers Guild range sticking in my mind from PG Live, especially the cream embossed wedding card. @greetingstoday

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

Alicia Greaves, Deck Out, Salcombe, Devon

What’s the story behind your business? I started in 2001 and did womenswear and menswear, then just womenswear and now I do gift bits and cards because it kind of breaks up the product as it’s more about the shopping experience so people can enjoy themselves in the shop. Currently, which is your top-selling design, publisher or genre? My number one is English Graphics, second is Catherine Kleeli and third is Counting Stars. It’s especially English Graphics because they have a little sparkle on them. With the glorious sunny weather we’ve been having, does that help sales or keep people away from the shops in your area? Some people walk around in the afternoon when it’s too hot outside, so it’s a mix. With the cards when it’s like this we find people like bright colours and unusual snazzy designs, that’s what I find people gravitate to.

Did you go to PG Live, if so what was your top find, and are you planning to attend the Home & Gift Buyer’s Festival, and how will you approach it? I have been to PG Live before – not this year – but felt it’s more for card shops, as I don’t need all the captions. I find the more individual ones at Top Drawer. I have picked up cards at Spring Fair but because my time is limited and cards aren’t my main business I don’t spend much time in that area. I just walk up and down and see what jumps out at me. I find Top Drawer is better for the more bespoke designs. I have more general cards so people can put their own messages. The ones than sell the best have Happy Birthday on the outside, otherwise it’s the blank cards.

sort of thing. We do a lot of Lua appliquéd purses and clutch bags which are selling very well at the moment.

Roughly what percentage of your store is greetings cards, and what else do you stock and how do these different products help with sales? It’s about 10 per cent, perhaps just a little under. I do other gift bits, shoes, jewellery, bags, that

Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? It would have to be English Graphics, I don’t mind which really, they all have a little sparkle and I do like the animal designs.

Sarah Stott, Celebrations, Kirkham, Lancs

What’s the story behind your business? We took over on June 23 last year and before the owner was doing mainly cards and a few gifts, I’ve brought in a lot more gifts. I was a sales assistant in a soft furnishings store and had been there about 13 years, and it was just time to do something else. I finished work and after about six months I got bored of sitting at home so started looking at businesses around here and this came up. I thought it would be really nice so bought it. I have one staff member, Peter, who I worked with at the other place and he came over with me, so that’s been nice. And I’m already a Retas finalist in the Best Newcomer or New Branch In the North this year! Currently, which is your top-selling design, publisher or genre? We do Cherry Orchard, Noel Tatt, Nigel Quiney, Second Nature, UK Greetings, Carte Blanche – which is now Is It Art as well. And we’ve just taken on Splimple for humour which is doing really well. I’m looking at Berni Parker too, their rep is coming to see me at the end of the month. And we also do IC&G and Honny Javelin. With the glorious sunny weather we’ve been having,


does that help sales or keep people away from the shops in your area? The weather is a major factor to be honest, nobody likes coming out in the rain so it’s better when it’s sunny. They’ve shut two of the banks in the town which has slightly affected things, I’m just hoping that it doesn’t take people away from the town when they do their banking. You’ve just got to get on with it though. Did you go to PG Live, if so what was your top find, and are you planning to attend the Home & Gift Buyer’s Festival, and how will you approach it? I didn’t go to PG Live and I’ve not managed to get to Home & Gift yet as Peter’s away that week, but we do go to the NEC and

I pick most of my cards up there. We do try to make a plan for shows but quite often we do go off of it. I look through the booklets and then we look at the gifts side, and we have a quick scout around. Roughly what percentage of your store is greetings cards, and what else do you stock and how do these different products help with sales? I’d say it’s about 60-40 in favour of cards, but I have built up the gifts side quite a lot. We have vases, frames, a nice range of candles from Landen Tyler. We still sell Jellycat, which do very well, and also taken on a new supplier who do little gift bracelets called Handmade By Erin, they are very popular because they are very fl at so can go in a card which doesn’t increase your postage, they’re little wish bracelets. Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? I do like Jonny Javelin cards, I don’t think there’s anything like them really, but I can’t say I dislike any of the ones I stock. You can’t really shop for yourself when you’re stocking the shop, but I do like them all. @greetingstoday

Holly Williams, The Tokenhouse, Nottingham


What’s the story behind your business? My parents started The Tokenhouse 44 years ago – in 1973, the year they also got married – after graduating from art school in Nottingham. I always joke it wouldn’t be the same if I turned round to them now and said I want to open a gift shop. The capital needed for a start up back then wasn’t on the same scale as now and my dad worked as a furniture restorer part-time. They started out selling a lot more hand crafted items and antiques and they say it was a lot easier going in the gift trade then. They’ve watched companies like Gisela Graham build from traditional Scandinavian decorations into today’s impressive brand that’s synonymous with Christmas. The shop progressed into a more contemporary gift shop as having handmade items isn’t as sustainable on a major High Street, although we do try hard to have some, if we can make the margin and companies can supply the demand. We still buy from a few local greetings card makers and craft jewellers for example. We now aim to be an ever-changing store where people of all generations, ages and walks of life can come and find something for everyone and every budget. I like the idea that you can buy a small item that really brings you joy and add a bit of style to your home without breaking the bank – I’ve recently moved house can’t wait to buy some wooden bookends and a set of swan planters to brighten up my new home! Currently, which is your top-selling design, publisher or genre? My favourite things at the moment are the cactus, fl amingo and now llama trend. Quite kitsch and bizarre but also stylish when in a nice white, airy room, adding just a touch of colour and quirkiness. I also love the unicorn trend which seems to go through all ages from little ones to teens and beyond. We sell seven different toy unicorns just from Jellycat! And we have some magical unicorn Christmas items too which I’m already excited about. With the glorious sunny weather we’ve been having, does that help sales or keep people away from the shops in your area? We are sort of lucky to be right in the city centre, so people do meander the streets of Nottingham and pop in on their way to have lunch in town, but the building is very old and can get very hot with all the lights and low ceilings. It does slow sales, but we do our best with fans and at least you’re not trying clothes on which is tough when it’s hot. I know sometimes even in the big chains where you imagine they can afford an air-con system it’s sometimes not any better. Sales have slowed after Father’s Day but we’re focusing on wedding season now with a new window and plenty of pretty cards and gifts. Did you go to PG Live, if so what was your top find, and are you planning to attend the Home & Gift Buyer’s Festival, and how will you approach it? We did go to PG live and we plan on attending Harrogate but perhaps only for the day – I’m currently pregnant and not sure I could handle too much time in the tents in this weather! We found so many lovely new card companies at PG it was a bit overwhelming. The standard of cards is very good at the moment, it’s hard to choose and we buy from 200-plus. One we already buy from is Jelly Armchair but it was good to see them at the show and the artist working on some new wrap while on the stand was cool. Roughly what percentage of your store is greetings cards, and what else do you stock and how do these different products help with sales? Roughly 40 per cent is cards, so they’re very important and we have to compete with Paperchase and Scribbler who we’re now sandwiched between. We also stock giftwrap, toys, baby and wedding keepsakes, jewellery, fashion accessories, stationery and a few home items including Emma Bridgewater and other mugs, candles and decorative items. People who walk through the shop from the front by the cards say it’s like a Tardis because there’s so much to see and it goes on and on. They also say it’s a good place to find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for. All the items help each other, as the ideal is when someone can come in and buy their card and a present all wrapped up –we occasionally help people wrap, if it’s quiet and they’re polite. Then they’re ready to go and give the gift immediately. Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? I actually bought myself a card which the staff were going to buy me, it’s a Katy Abey design with a Preggosaurus drawing on as it made me laugh and I love dinosaurs. We’re lucky in Nottingham to be hosting an exhibition of Chinese Dinosaurs Fossils, some of the largest ever found and the first time they’ve y’ve been seen outside of China. We hope to see an upturn in sales of related products cts on the strength of this. @greetingstoday

(t) 0116 230 4197 (f) 01536 401 031 (w) 43

Summing up success C ALLIOPE spent a day at PG Live at the Business Design Centre in Islington –and it’s hard to think of a better-named venue for the greetings trade to hold their annual trade fair.

If any two words could sum up what makes our sector successful, they would be “business” and “design”, but it’s often said of the British that we aren’t great at combining these two disciplines. We can design fine motor cars or brilliant computers, but we rely on foreign businesses to bring them to market. Our banks did a fine job of building their businesses until the products they designed crashed the economy…et cetera. And, while designing iPhones or creating PPI may be more complex than picking an appropriate image for a Get Well Soon card, it’s striking how many of our card designers and publishers combine a potent design capability with a keen appreciation of how to manage the bottom line. We’re a pretty robust trade. We’re also rather Darwinian, as any industry selling discretionary products to the public has to be. You might observe that, while the card trade is built on sentiment, there’s no room for sentiment in the card trade – if a publisher’s designs aren’t right for the public, or they can’t serve their retail customers fairly and competently, out they go. And retailers know that if they misread what their customers want, there’s little scope for coming back and fighting another day. Every season must be a good season. My business partner Andy Adamson and I spent a busy day the fair, meeting old friends and colleagues, seeing upcoming seasons’ ranges, and placing orders with all our key suppliers. It was our second visit to the BDC in the space of a few months, as we’d already participated in the GCA Dragons event in early spring, and it’s been a pleasure opening accounts with some of the companies we met on that day. I came away from PG Live with an overwhelming impression of the quality and diversity of design on show – from the flood of new designs and ranges from businesses such as The Art File or Pigment (a surfeit of choice!),

Business and design are brought together in the flexible, adaptable, imaginative and inclusive greetings industry but Philip Downer is wondering why those who seek to govern don’t do the same.

● Business boys – Andy with Susan O’Hanlon and Philip with Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner

through the skill with which established brands like Designers’ Guild are applied to cards and wrap, to the exciting newer talents like Jessica Hogarth or Rosie (Made a Thing) Harrison. We deal regularly with more than 50 greetings card suppliers, and the great majority of those businesses are creating regular new ranges and testing new ideas. It’s refreshing to be working in a sector where having to decide what not to carry is the order of the day, rather than figuring out how to scrape together a range from unpromising material. All told, I feel our sector has weathered the advent of social media effectively, and is well-

Will the future W be a beach party, or should I start stocking up on sandbags?

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


placed to continue to grow into the future – notwithstanding one tiny detail… PG Live took place in the same week as the General Election. By the time you read this, a Government should have been cobbled together, and Brexit negotiations should have started but, at the time of writing, who knows? What we all need to thrive is confidence in the future. You can never predict what is going to happen next month or next year but, as a business, you should be able to make some informed assumptions and, ever since the Brexit vote, those certainties have been lost. Whether you’re building Airbuses or creating and retailing greetings cards, you need to be able to plan for different scenarios. Do I invest in new production capacity, or open new shops – or should I retrench? Will the future be a beach party, or should I start stocking up on sandbags? PG Live, while awash with great products from both established names and start-ups, was nevertheless a cautious, careful affair. We’re doing the best job we can – indeed, we sell the best cards out of the best shops in the world. We’re flexible, adaptable, imaginative and inclusive – if only the same could be said for those who seek to govern us. @greetingstoday

Unit 8, Archers Park, Branbridges Road East Peckham, Kent TN12 5HP Email: Tel: 01622 871449

Polypropylene bag specialists Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hot-foiling also available




T 01206 396209 E sales @greetingstoday



Festival fever As the last details are finalised for this summer’s 57th edition of the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival, Clarion Events’ Show Director Cleere Scamell explains what visitors have to look forward to at this unique and sociable trade fair, which runs from Sunday to Wednesday, July 16-19, at the Harrogate International Centre.

If an event was ‘hygge’ Home & Gift would pretty much be it, believe me!



There are five edited sectors – DesignLed Gift, Jewellery & Fashion, Home & Interiors, and Greetings & Stationery

25 4 57

A quarter (25%) of exhibitors are new this year

There are four product trails, Best Of British, Eco, Christmas and New.

The show is now in its 57th year and has built up a strong reputation among retailers, designers and manufacturers


Mo ore than than one thousand thousa brands More will be exhibiting this year


Why does Home & Gift has such a special reputation? There’s a real spirit in Harrogate during the

festival. It’s one of the very few B2B events that people really look forward to. Everyone usually arrives in a good mood and we all just get on with it and do what we’re all about – which is buying. In terms of business, it’s the first show of the second season. We know a lot of people have samples arriving first week of July, so the timing is perfect and It’s a real destination to see hot, fresh products for the first time and buy something special. Over 25 per cent of our exhibitors are new this year and it’s a great opportunity for exhibitors to meet new people, the northern audience in particular, though we do draw from all over. The Irish come in great numbers, lots of people come down from Scotland, and we also get people from the south and south west. From an exhibitor point of view, you’ve got buyers you wouldn’t necessarily see at the other shows, you’ve got them at a time of year when they really are looking for that interesting new line, something that’s going to make a difference, that will be front and centre in the point of sale displays.

What about the famous social side of the show? The social scene is something we’ve really actively tried to put back in in the last few years, which is why we added the word “festival” to the name. There will be plenty of hygge at Home & Gift – as a Dane, I feel qualified to say that! It’s a Danish concept, about the pursuit of good feeling, intelligent conversation and is all about giving life an extra glow. If an event was “hygge,” Home & Gift would pretty much be it, believe me!

Besides great buying opportunities, what else is on offer? While Home & Gift is definitely not the place

to hold what you consider a traditional seminar with a PowerPoint demonstration and everyone sat in rows on benches, we launched The Forum three years ago and this will continue. It will be opinion-based with lots of speakers who have some direct way of helping people with their businesses. There’s a full programme planned – expect content that’s practical, informal and relaxed.

How confident do you think retailers are?

Last year the show took place about a fortnight after the Brexit vote. I remember talking to buyers and exhibitors and there was definitely a lot of uncertainty. While we still don’t 100 per cent know how things will pan out, what I’ve really noticed this year is that everyone is just cracking on with things. I have noticed suppliers from outside the UK are really interested in what’s going on here. It’s good news for British-made product as well.

What trends have you spotted? Personalisation

seems to be the ever-growing sunfl ower in the middle of the garden, getting taller and taller every year. Home accessories are also doing really well. The Greetings & Stationery sector within the festival is going from strength to strength. this year we have an amazing array of greetings cards at a range of prices in our dedicated Greetings & Stationery Gallery. We’ve seen growth in this area in the last couple of years and Home & Gift is attracting more exhibitor and buyers in this area.

What’s it like running a huge show like this?

This is my fifth show as director, though I’ve been involved in the show in a variety of guises for about 12 years or so. We really live and breathe Home & Gift here, starting the planning of one show within a week of the previous one closing – I’m already thinking about 2018, 2019 and 2020! I’m a real event junkie. I fell into it as a career but I’ve now clocked up 30 years. I was the only student at my all-boys’ school to do an art A level, and then I turned down a place at Central St Martins. I realised that, while I was artistic – I still paint – I was drawn to doing something commercial.

How would you recommend visitor shop the festival? Approach it in the same way as you would your

dream holiday. Do a quick tour around when you arrive to get a feel for the type of products and the types of halls – there are 16 different structures to explore. Once you’ve got your bearings, I suggest you just browse. We don’t force businesses to be in any one hall or area, so there’s a range of products everywhere – perhaps that’s why lots of people compare the experience to shopping in a bazaar. The halls are all small, and you can easily see where you are. I’d say there are no bad spots. Home & Gift is a great place to build close relationships. The one thing I have discovered in this game, there are some lovely, lovely people. Passionate about what they do.

What are you looking forward to this year? We

spend a year organising this event. It’s a bit like organising a wedding – you can’t put the date off and you definitely need everyone in the same place at the same time. However, the thing I love most of all is about half an hour to an hour after the show opens when I’ll stand back and, for once in my life, listen! There’s that noise that people talking en masse make, I call it “the buzz”. It’s the event humming. You know conversations are happening and, if conversations are happening, that means business is being done and that makes me really happy. When the event’s buzzing, I know all’s well. It’s the Home & Gift “hygge” feeling. @greetingstoday

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GREETINGS & STATIONERY EXHIBITORS 1790 Cards – G105 Adornment By Gill Reeves – DP1-35a A Gift From The Gods – DP2-21 Alljoy Design – GS46 Alternative Image Co – GS53 Art Cards Ireland – GS69 The Art File – DP1-23 Art Nouvocative – GS3a Artebene – DP1-45 Belly Button Designs – DP2-30 Berni Parker Designs – GS27 Bertoy DP1-55 Bespoke Verse – DP3-19a Blue Eyed Sun – GS58 Bree Merryn Art – G183 Caroline Gardner – DP1-113 Caryl Halstead – GS29 Caspari DP1-51 Cath Ward – GS32a Catherine Kleeli Cards – GS56 Character Shop – G68 Cherry Orchard – GS51a China Betty – DPD9 Chloe Gardner Art – G83 Claire Louise – GS54 Clanna Cards – GS68 Claire Vaughan Designs – DPD61 Clementine Designs – GS2 Colcards – GS48b Comic Art – DP3-13a Coulson Macleod – DP2-37b Dandelion Stationery – GS3 Davidt’s – C19 Dilly & Pink – GS5 East Of India – DP1-43 Eatsleepdoodle – DP2-4 Elaara Islamic – GS93 Element – DPD50 Elsie & Nell – DPD68 Emma Ball – DP1-4a Ezen – GS34 Flying Teaspoons – GS38 Forever Cards – GS18 Fragrance Lounge – DP2-56 Fred – M21 Gifted Stationery Co – DP2-44 Giftisimo – GS76a Gift Time Products – Q51 Go Stationery – DP2-24 Grace And Favour Home – DP4-44 The Grumble & Co – DPD63a Hairy Coo – G168 Half Moon Bay – DP1-12 The Handcrafted Card Co – GS32 Hannah Longmuir – GS69a Heathcote & Ivory – A13 Heather Alstead – GS63 Heritage Cards & Souvenirs – DP1-3a Holy Mackerel – GS19 House Of Crafts – G121 House Of Marbles – DP1-39 I Drew This – GS71 I Like Birds – GS55 Iona Buchanan – DPD67 Janie Wilson Cards – DP1-26 Jean Barrington – B19 JellynBean – G31 Joe Davies – Q50 John Austin Postcards – GS67 Jonny Javelin Card Co – GS13 Julie Dodsworth – DPD23 The Juniper Tree Card Co – GS16 Just A Little Note – GS75 Keep This Cracker – G127 Keyhole Collection – G150 Kind Compliments – GS3c Lanther Black – GS6 Laughenirs – GS77b Laura Darrington Designs – GS64 Lauren’s Cows – DPD65 Leonard Smith – DP1-28 Life Styled Planners – DPD18a


Lime Stationery & Art – DP2-36 Little Blue House – DP1-11a Lola & Gilbert – DP2-23a Lola Design – G71a Louise Mulgrew Designs – GS73 Louise Tyler – GS5b Love Your Nation – DP3-13 LS20 Letterpress Studio – GS9 Lyn Evans Designs – GS51 Made By Leah – GS1a Make A Wish Candle Co – DPD61a Mary Ann Rogers – GS1 Mary’s House Designs – G97 Megan Claire – GS59 Meha Art & Design – DPD62 Memelou – GS3b Meraki – GS28 Molly Mae – DP1-44 Moongazer – GS12 Mosney Mill – DPD24 Museums & Galleries – DP1-32 Music Gifts Co – DPD1 Natural Partners – GS25 NJ Products – DPD40c Norma & Dorothy – GS73d Old English Company – GS45 Onetenzeroseven – DPD71 Ooh I Like That Design – GS66 Paper Art Viet – GS35 Paper Plane – DPD74b Peakridge Photography Co – GS60 Peel Cards – DP1-111 Penny Kennedy – DP1-101 Petra Boase – GS43 Pigment – DP2-31 Pomegranate Europe – DP2-47 Pop Out Card Co – GS62 Popshots Studio – A19 Pop Up Designs – GS77a Portico Designs – DP1-12b Pulp – DP1-108 Rachel Ellen Designs – DP1-13 Räder – DP2-28 Really Good – DP1-16 Really Wild Cards – GS76c Redback Cards – GS2a Richard Lang & Son – B18 Roger La Borde – DP1-94a Rush – GS22 Ruth Jackson – DP2-15 Ryland Peters & Small – DP2-57 Santoro – DP1-2 Sarah Gee Fine Art – G26 Sarah Kelleher – GS11 Seasonal Soul – G27 The Silver Studio – G98 Simply Special – GS57 Sophie Allport – DP1-70 Sophie Morrell – GS73a Soul – DP1-17 The Stamford Notebook Co – G35 The Steel Rooms – G120 Suchak And Suchak – D18 Sue Fenlon Art – GS77 Tatty Co – GS73b Temporary Measure – DP1-62 Tomcat Cards & Calendars – GS25b Tracey Russell Design – GS25a Two Little Boys – GS30 Two Little Monkeys – GS24 Voyage Decoratiuon – M4 Wedding Handbook – G113a Weekend365 – DP2-37d White Cotton Cards – DP1-37a Wild And Wolf – DP2-3 & DP2-30 Wild Whiskers – DPD73a Woollytales – GS10 Words ’n’ Wishes – GS49 Wraptious – DP1-1 Wrendale Designs – DP1-4 Yellow Publications – GS48A Yoojoo – GS39

● Speakers – (l-r) Barney Edwards, Rachael Rowe, Dan Bartram, Melanie Lissack, Neil McLennan

Big talk D

IFFERENT ways to boost your business is the aim of the Great Northern Retail Forum at the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival.

This year the programme has been designed with the independent retailer in mind, so every piece of advice, every top tip, every expert recommendation, is tailored to them. Show organisers Clarion Events have expanded the forum to three days so visitors to Harrogate can make the most of their time away from their stores, with a varied selection of subjects including social media, product displays, trends and attracting customers.


● Elana Fantuzzi

Sunday, July 16

11-11.45am The Power Of Local And Made In Britain Grace And Favour Home’s founding partner Rachael Rowe & VMC Accessories Account Manager Dan Bartram Noon-12.45pm Online Vs Bricks & Mortar – Pros & Cons commercial director Barney Edwards 1.30-2.30pm The Beginner’s Guide To Building A Social Media Strategy Social media strategist & author Warren Knight 3-4pm Visually Stunning Product Displays Made Easy Stylist & visual merchandiser Elana Fantuzzi

Monday, July 17

● Warren Knight

Noon-12.45pm Building Your Brand on Social to Grow Your Business Social media strategist & author Warren Knight 2.30-3.30pm How To Get On A Blogger’s Radar Blogger Melanie Lissack

Tuesday, July 18

● Jenny Spivey

11-11.30pm Top 10 Trends For Christmas 2017 Livingetc lifestyle journalist Neil McLennan Noon-1pm 10 Ways to Attract Customers – And Keep Them Retail & small business consultant Jenny Spivey @greetingstoday

Come and see the whole range at Harrogate: Home & Gift Stand DP2-41


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23/06/2017 10:29


Tickle your chuckle muscles PIGMENT are bringing lots of newness to the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in their home town of Harrogate with bags full of cards hot off the printer. Tucked away down a cobbled street only a mile from the show, staff at their little studio have been working as hard as ever to bring you constantly evolving and consistently hilarious cards. As well as adding lots of new funny stuff to their bestselling humour collections, trend and sentiment have also had plenty of attention with new additions throughout. Alongside much (much!) more, some of the updates include brand-new additions to The Happy News that’s always filled with all kinds of magic, sunbeams and twinkles, their brandnew range Fiore and new Etched – Pigment’s punniest collection – which is guaranteed to tickle your chuckle muscles.

Stand DP2-31 – T: 01423 520098

50 @greetingstoday

  Introducing brand new Wild Berry stationery 6HHLWëUVWDW+DUURJDWH+RPH *LIW-XO\6WDQG'3

T. 0115 850 7490 F. 0115 941 3411 E. sales@thear


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20/06/2017 10:03


All change – while remaining handmade IT’S HARD to believe Tracey Russell has been going nearly 20 years but, with her oldest child recently turning 19, she has fond memories of trying to juggle a tiny baby and hand-making cards at the same time so she must have been! Trends have changed, the retail market has changed but one thing that certainly hasn’t is that every single one of the cards remain handmade. There’s a lot less juggling for Tracey these days as she concentrates on being the sole designer while her cards and other products are handmade to order by a lovely team of studio staff. Running everything is one very determined woman, Claire Ballentine, who has helped the founder transform Tracey Russell Design from a table-top business to publishers who successfully stock retailers in all corners of the UK and across the world. And their latest baby about to be launched is Scribble Bear, an adorable card collection revolving around this very cute chap who Tracey has drawn in a scribbly, sketch style. The designs are printed on the wonderful G.F Smith Callisto Diamond White board with minimal colours and, as always, hand finished, this time using nine different components from mini envelopes to rhinestones. Tracey and Claire hope Scribble Bear will evolve to have a life of his own growing in the number of card designs and hopefully inspiring licensing deals. This has has all ready been a busy year with the launch of the Vintage Love wedding designs, Birthday Bubbles children’s range, and two smaller collections, Bottoms Up and Petal which are all uniquely hand-finished in their own individual way. In addition there’s been the re-vamp of the Little Miracles baby designs which have taken TRD into a very successful licensing collaboration with Lesser & Pavey, resulting in baby gifts based on the rabbit illustration. The cute and adorable 181x181mm Fairy Sparkle collection has brought the magical creatures to life with these hand-glittered designs that are adorned with a real packet of fairy dust held on the card by a silver bow. There are candles too with the collection of nearly 30 designs, made locally in Northumberland, and they stand out because the designs revolve around the recipient – ie Mum, Daughter, or Friend – and they have lots of lovely sparkle inside the tin. PG Live saw the launch of the Milestone bright, bold collection of age cards with 65 designs hand-finished with glitter, hand fl itter and silver metallic hearts running from Grandaughter 16 to Nana 100, available in three sizes, 155x155mm,181x181mm and 220x220mm, For Christmas customers have asked for red and gold and that’s what Tracey has given them – not in the same collection, mind! There are actually three ranges, all being received very well. The most successful so far is Traditional which includes a trio of designs that can be personalised by adding your own village or town name with a minimum order quantity of just six cards.

Stand GS25a – T: 0191 373 2497

52 @greetingstoday

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Putting their stamp on it THEY’RE making sure customers can definitely get the bird in the nicest possible way at Really Wild Cards with the newly-released Stamp collection. Featuring Royal Mail stamp drawings of British birds, the latest audio designs are married with the sounds from the Birdsong range to bring the cards to life. You can see – and hear – all the Really Wild ranges on their Home & Gift stand, and take advantage of the Summer Spectacular discount of up to 20 per cent. Other ranges being showcased include Sounds Of London, with 12 iconic sights such as Big Ben, the old Routemaster double decker bus, the Tower of London and the Bells of St Paul’s Cathedral. There’s also the stunning imagery and wonderful music from Swan Lake, Nutcracker and other famous ballets in the Ballet range, plus the Locomotion range featuring six classic British railway engines such as Flying Scotsman and Mallard, produced in association with the National Railway Museum, and the Classic Cars series. The every-popular Endangered Species, Down On The Farm, Hidden Nature, Christmas, RSPB, and Adorable audio cards will also be available.

Stand GS76c – T: 020 3174 1144

54 @greetingstoday

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16/06/2017 14:24


Accents of industry RUSH Design are excited to be launching a brand-new collection of male cards at the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival. The Fossil range consists of more than 30 designs including male relations, ages and open birthday. The style has an earthy and homely feel to it with accents of industrial materials like concrete, copper and rivets. Priced at £1.15 trade, £2.75 RRP.

T: 07941 903698

Heads up for pheasants DIGITAL artist Belinda Morris has created eight new designs for 1790 Cards’ popular Heads Up range to be launched at Harrogate. “I never quite know which animals or birds I’m going to feature,” she said, “they sort of vote themselves into the range. “I seem to have noticed the local pheasants around the village a little more this year and I’m really pleased with the finished pheasant card as the colours are so strong.” A rabbit, hedgehog and a friend’s cat are also among the animals


to join the collection, which now contains 36 designs in total. The Heads Up range will be on show alongside Belinda’s popular landscape, bird and plant designs which are created in her signature colour block style.

Stand G105 – T: 01904 448130 @greetingstoday











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15/06/2017 15:44


Designs are flying out A HOST of new designs from Cornwall-based textile artist Sarah J Perry will be gracing the Holy Mackerel stand at Home & Gift. Also at the show you’ll be able to find lots of new products – from eco-friendly wooden keyrings with a gorgeous retro feel, to beautifully-packaged mini mirrors and fridge magnets, and luxurious faux-suede cushions too. Sarah’s exquisitely embroidered designs feature some of our best-loved British wildlife, and they are beautifully reproduced in print, capturing every stitch in minute detail. As Sarah’s cards have been fl ying out, and Holy Mackerel have been busy extending the range for Harrogate with stunning 150x150mm cards, as well as the cutest little mini cards. The latest in their Stitch In Time heritage card range is this fine chap, an appliqued version of the Cerne Giant, carved into the chalk hillside above Cerne Abbas in Dorset. The original is 180 feet tall – from head to toe, they hasten to add! Holy Mackerel have been looking around for an eco-friendly keyring and are launching these little beauties. Printed on wood, here in the UK, and with an appealing retro look and feel, they make a great little impulse buy or stocking-filler, and come in designs across several of the Holy Mackerel ranges, from Erica Sturla’s well-loved historical characters, to Sarah J Perry’s beautifully-embroidered bird designs.

Stand GS19 – T: 01395 578571

Ladies tell their story BERNI is adding a new collection to her Ladies range with six new designs in a Ladies Who Lunch Collection telling the story of a Ladies Loving Life Lunch from beginning to end. Also to be released at Harrogate is the Little Ones new range of 18 children’s cards with girls’ and boys’ ages one to six and general birthday all individually cello wrapped with a coloured envelope.


Home & Gift will also see new coasters and notecards derived from the successful Ladies drinking collection launched in Februar,y along with mugs, new tea towels and cushions. See us in the Greetings and Stationery marquee

Stand GS27 – T: 01299 406098 @greetingstoday



You’ll make me blush! HOME & Gift will show the progression of one of Belly Button’s most successful collections of 2017 – Noir! Originally designed with men-in-mind, Noir has developed from a maledriven audience to a produce a spin-off range that will personify femininity in colour and captions with the launch of Blush Noir. The concept of Blush Noir came from the inspiration of current trending interiors and textures, including marbling and concrete, and pairing these with a blush palette to complement a lot of featured rose gold. “It’s a glaringly obvious organic evolution, said Belly Button founder Rachel Hare, “Blush Noir brings something fresh to our portfolio offering to provide something completely different.”

This is a collection still based around opulent textures and materials, as with Noir, but with a shift in palette of brass to distressed rose and copper accents in foil finishes to create a sophisticated style. Captions are bold in their statements, celebrating Boss Lady and Sassy women, a differing tone to the delicate and soft palette but that perfectly sits with the accented finishes and geometric creative. Distinctive and eye-catching, Belly Button hope this will be a collection that’s well received by buyers at Harrogate where they can see 28 designs comprising open birthdays, relations and occasions.

T: 0161 902 0200

All set for a tumble in the jungle AT LOUISE Mulgrew Designs, the eponymous artist is excited about her new Jungle Tumble range, and you can meet all the loveable furry friends at Home & Gift. Inspired by a recent trip to Costa Rica, you’ll spot lots of monkeys, a very slow and smiley sloth, a toucan or two, a birthday tree frog and some rainbow macaws that were all drawn from life in the depths of the rainforest.


Surrounded by loads of colourful jungle foliage and a few signature ink splatters, this collection of playful characters are sure to put a smile on your face!

Stand GS73 – T: 07810 304414 @greetingstoday


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Bright Sentiment Frames


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Joe Davies Limited 149 Broadstone Road, Reddish Stockport SK5 7GA Tel: 0161 975 6300 Fax: 0161 975 6301 Email:

The ‘Little & Often’ giftware supplier Joe Davies.indd 1 *UHHWLQJV7RGD\-XO$XJLVVXHIS+RPHDQG*LIWLQGG

21/06/2017 14:04 


Obsessed by things with wings BELOVED by the design-conscious and bird-obsessed alike, high-fl ying I Like Birds’ beautiful bird-based greetings cards can already be found among the best gift shops, nature reserves and galleries across Britain – and this summer they’ll be making their first appearance at Harrogate. The last six months have been a busy time for owners Stuart and Alison, having picked up The Most Promising Enterprise gong at the Moray Business Awards, selected as One To Watch In 2017” by The Executive magazine and being featured in The Sunday Telegraph’s Best Of British supplement. Having made the final of License This! at Brand Licensing Europe, I Like Birds subsequently signed with global licensing agency JELC, headed up by industry legend and this year’s Licensing Ambassador Of The Year Jane Evans, who has been working closely with Stuart and Alison to expand the brand both in the UK and internationally. There are some exciting new products in the pipeline and, first out of the blocks, is a range of three 2018 calendars licensed through industry leader BrownTrout. They’ll be on show for the first time at Harrogate and available to order for independent retailers through I Like Birds. Naturally they’ll also be showcasing new additions to their bestselling All The Birds Of The Air and An Alphabet Of Birds ranges with notecard packs, colouring books and packs, and super-foldy zigzag cards. Home & Gift will also see them launch their first non-bird-related range as their obsession with things with wings now extends to British butterfl ies.

Stand GS55 – T: 07581 282820

62 @greetingstoday

New Jangles Range

Home & Gift come and see us

Stand GS-58 Telephone +44 (0)1273 823003

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Dishing the dirt on twats IT STARTED with a (broken) dish... Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, nothing was stirring other than the peace-invading racket of Jack colliding with the dishwasher, smashing half of the he crockery into irreparable smithereens and simultaneously vandalising no less than three of his is limbs. Dominique headed to the scene of the disaster and tried to locate Jack in the tangled h heap of saucepans and body parts on the fl oor. As she searched the wreckage, an idea came to her. She retrieved Jack, covered him in plasters and set off to find a pencil and some paper. Before long they had created their first greetings card, Get Well Soon You Clumsy Twat. “I knew I couldn’t be the only one living with a clumsy twat,” explained Dominique. “There had to be other people out there, just like me, sweeping up the shattered remains of dinnerware and spending their Saturdays in A&E waiting rooms.” The sales figures of the card in question suggested this was indeed the case. The pair, encouraged by their findings, began to monitor friends and family, looking for other characteristics and behaviours that warranted a sending occasion. “We just sort of followed them. Made notes. Produced pie charts. Pretty standard greetings card stuff,” Jack admitted. Dominique and Jack have been building their collection in this way, card by card, and they return to the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival for the second time to present their latest results, including a brand-new design – Twat Du Jour – inspired by Jack’s observations of Dominique. If you’re concerned by all the twats, don’t be – 92.67 per cet of Lanther Black’s cards have all of their unique humour and charm without a f*ck or sh*t in sight and 100 per cent of them are printed on to a delightfully weighty board and finished with rounded first!

Stand GS6 – T: 01277 549040

Always a winner TWO Little Boys will be returning to Home & Gift this year with their bestselling collections as well as new seasonal gift offering. With the overwhelming response they receive at London-based Christmas retail shows Spirit Of Christmas and Country Living, they know these gifts are winners with customers. And there are activities to keep children entertained during the festive season as well as memory books, do check them out.

Stand GS30 – T: 020 8400 3606

64 @greetingstoday


Meet seven new artists NATURAL Partners are getting ready for a bumper release of 290 new card designs at the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival. The selection includes ranges from seven artists new to the company – Sarah Campbell, Jos Haigh, Caroline Hodson, Fi Powers, Karen Risby, Louise Scott and Jo Scott. There are also new designs from several of their established favourites such as Andy Broderick, Fiona Calder, Clare Lindley, Morag Lloyds and Nikki Monaghan. The company already have a reputation for quality fine art cards and are now starting to add occasions and humour to its offering so, whatever your tastes, it’s worth going along to have a look!

Stand GS25 – T: 07714 768956

2017 Collection

Unique and exclusive designs from the iconic British fashion brand. See us at Home & Gift, Harrogate – Stand DP1-32 Alternatively please contact your agent or request a brochure for more information. @greetingstoday

Tel: 01373 462165 65


Sharing their heart and soul MERAKI would love to share with you another two new ranges created with real heart and soul. Tiki is a range of 12 designs that rely on soft fl uoro colours to deliver scenarios featuring everything from llamas to eopards and lush fruits to cacti, all topped off with copper foil. Elm is the second new range featuring six designs, and mixes tropical and botanical elements together to create vignettes embellished with fine line detail. Jungle leaves are also juxtaposed with English fl orals to add to this cool modern edge.

Stand GS28 – T: 020 7840 2662

Back with the black and white THE Alternative Image Company are back at Home & Gift with two brand new ranges of black and white cards to accompany their classic bestselling collections. Both ranges, Christmas and everyday, feature a brilliant mix of retro/vintage good humour, fashion and celebrity, and there’s also a collection of 20 square cards depicting Britain’s landscape at its very best. And if you’re looking for bespoke or branded cards using images from your own archive, please visit their stand to see designs produced for Aston Martin Heritage Trust, MG Car Club, the Museum Of Lakeland Life and Industry and many others. All cards are individually cello-wrapped and sold in packs of six.

Stand GS53 – T: 020 3478 4804

66 @greetingstoday


Life after the mantelpiece FLYING Teaspoons are new and upcoming quirky greetings card publishers, featuring a humorous wildlife theme in the form of a very distinctive collage style. artist Laura Clamp is driven by her ambition to create cards that have a “life after the mantelpiece” – designs that become more than just a card but also a gift. Magazine cut-outs are used to find the perfect colours and textures and, through combining a keen eye for detail, a lot of patience and a steady hand, Laura creates truly original pieces of work that bring a smile to everyone who encounters it. The Flying Teaspoons product range is ever growing and at Home & Gift Laura will be launching a brand-new cushion range, mounted prints and more greetings card occasions.

Stand GS38 – @greetingstoday 67


Fab offers for fine fragrances nces AFTER 31 years in business, Potters Crouch Candles will be at their heir first Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival with their full range plus a fantastic new gift project aimed at the masculine market – and competition to win free stock. Having been a specialist perfumer making the finest perfumes s for others – both in the home fragrance sector and personal perfumes es – their relaunched brand with a great contemporary look has been n a huge success and sales are running at plus-130 per cent this year so far. With the trade loving the amazing fine fragrances which are the Potters Crouch trademark, the team are bringing their combined 94 years perfume experience to the consumer market At the show they will have our full range of candles in tins and glass, reed diffusers, wax melts, tealights, and room mists plus the eight festive fragrances: ● Christmas – nutmeg, cinnamon and mixed spices, all your favourite memories in a tin ● Christmas Stocking – all those sweet citrus and nutty smells from days gone by when oranges and nuts were found in stockings hanging on the end of the bed. ● Christmas Tree – fresh green pine heart notes with a sweet tangy citrus twist, and an added little sparkle. ● Festive Spice – fruity mulled wine blend with cinnamon, nutmeg and dmerara sugar, yum! ● Frankincense & Myrhh – earthy and woody aromas with balsamic and pine base notes, fit for a king! ● Gold – rich herbal blend with aromatic neroli and soft eucalyptus heart notes. ● Plum Pudding – sweet juicy raisins, sultanas and currants with nutmeg and mixed spice. ● Turkish Delight – sweet fl oral notes of rose water blended with a hint of delicate chocolate. Launching at the show will be the new gift product aimed at the masculine market and refl ecting the Roman history of Potters Crouch’s St Albans home. This chunky geometric-shaped glass is hugely contemporary, and the fragrances are all brand-new including the special development of perfume in the Chypre group – often described as the most beautiful lesser-known fragrance family. With the Potters Crouch passion for fragrance, as always each fresh version is of the highest quality, and there’s a new in-store display stand available for those retailers who want to show the full range. On the stand will be a little fun competition with a prize of free stock, special trade show offers – and the added attraction of an espresso machine so visitors can take the weight off, enjoy a coffee and let the Potters Crouch team explain how they can help increase your sales of home fragrance products.

Stand DP2-41 – T: 01727 836454

68 @greetingstoday


T: 020 3174 1144 E:



Up to 20%* DISCOUNT

*Off our standard trade price See us at Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival Stand GS76C



A Frank look at stationery FOR the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival this year, The Art File are delighted to announce they will be launching two brand-new stationery collections. The first is an evolution of the extremely popular Call Me Frank stationery collection, which has been hugely successful in the retail environment since its launch two years ago, and the new look complements a new Everyday greetings card range launched recently at PG Live. The second collection is a beautiful female-orientated stationery look called Wild Berry – again, it’s an evolution from one of their very successful greetings card collections. Both these collections will have brand-new to The Art File stationery items, including file organisers, mouse mats, rubber packs, and more. Alongside these, they are incredibly proud to announce a range extension of the ever-popular Natural History collection, by talented illustrator Ben Rothery, who takes around 40-60 hours to complete each original piece. Keep an eye out in the show’s daily newspaper for a Q&A on Ben, to find out more about his amazing work.

There are also new Lettersets, note boxes and more planned to be launched at the summer show where you can find The Art File on their newlylocated stand, and you can keep up to date in between shows with their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles.

Stand DP1-23 – T: 0115 850 7490

Ready for their annual visit LIVING down on the south coast, the Tomcat team of Lynne and Merv Thomas don’t get up north very often. So their annual trip to the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival gives them a chance to catch up with the customers we only see once a year. Lynne said: “We love the atmosphere of Harrogate, the people are exceptionally friendly and we always feel like we’re on holiday during our visits – the other bonus for us is that they like our cards. “We’re really looking forward to introducing our Blue Eyes range to those that were unable to get down to the NEC for the launch in February.

Stand GS25b – T: 01243 837300

70 @greetingstoday

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Ranges are blossoming BLOSSOM is the latest range of female greetings cards from Words ’n’ Wishes, which will be on show at Home & Gift. The stunning new 152x216mm designs combine a traditional style with a fresh contemporary look and each is finished with a luxurious smooth gold fl uted foil. As well as offering major female titles, Words ’n’ Wishes have also added milestone ages into the range and both carry a code 70 price point. Words ’n’ Wishes have also just released two new collections in the shape of Spectrum and With You In Mind. Spectrum consists of 12 bright multi-coloured foil graphic designs in a price code 60 while With You In Mind has 14 code 75 designs with heartfelt sayings and thoughts that refl ect your love and feelings.

Stand GS49 – T: 01942 233201

Plunging in with quirky fish YOOJOO, winners of the first British Craft Trade Fair Greetings Card Award in 2016, will be taking the plunge and exhibiting for the first time at the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival. Showcasing their innovative cards and gifts for book and guitar lovers, it’s founder Julie Ashworth’s first outing at a bigger trade show. As well as the Birdies range which was shortlisted for the 2016 Gift Of The Year award, they’ll be making a splash with the new Tails For Tales range of eight quirky fish designs which come with a removable origami tail that transforms into a bookmark to use when you dive into your next book.

Stand GS39 – T: 01274 621419

72 @greetingstoday




Come and see our new childrens cards (& more) at

Harrogate Home & Gift Show


here’s hoping your

third birthday is filled here's hoping your

first birthday is filled with love and giggles ... *not to mention

with sparkles and magic... here's hoping your

*and possibly the odd


plenty of cuddles

6 here's hoping your


fourth birthday is filled with love, laughter and happiness

stand GS-3

(*and not to mention plenty of lions, dinosaurs and dragons... basically anything that )



wishing you a monster - ously happy ninth birthday

sixth birthday is filled with love, laughter and happiness (*and not to mention

woo hoo!

truck loads of birthday cake)

let's celebrate!

Visit us at: Harrogate Home & Gift show Stand: GS-3 @greetingstoday

Get in touch 01332 659 359 73


Christmas in July WITH most customers refusing to mention the C-word in January or February, Emma Ball will be fully launching her 2017 Christmas range at Harrogate this year. So she’s busily working on her mid-year Christmas-based catalogue at the moment. With a range of 34 designs by Emma herself, Caroline Cleave, Shelly Perkins, Eric Heyman and Abigail Mill, they are sold in packs of six to retail at £3 – they’re sure to be a winner!

Stand DP1-4A – T: 0115 985 8081

Tell ’em about the mummy LAUNCHING at the Home & Gift Buyers’ festival, Really Good will be introducing a new Mummy range from The Bright Side. There’s a journal, sleep mask, signs and mug, plus a handy Mummy To Be tin, with plenty of room to store tissues, cool packs, moisturiser and ridiculously large amounts of chocolate. The thoughtful and beautiful metal tin, with a hinged lid embossed with The Bright Side’s unique lettering, is a perfect gift for a mummy-to-be to store all her essentials. In addition, Really good have a new range of gift products in their Deckchair range, which includes glasses, tins, mirrors, notebooks, and purses all with a touch of gold foil.

Stand DP1-16 – T: 01235 537888

74 tin ti ng gs stto od day day ay.c co o..u uk k @greetingstoday


H+G Stand GS-13

Home&Gift, Harrogate 16.07.-19.07.2017, hall DP1- 45 @greetingstoday 75


Vintage expansion BLUE Eyed Sun have added 24 new designs to their bestselling Vintage range of hand-finished cards based on colourful original embroidered artworks by award-winning textile artist Jo Corner. Beautifully litho-printed on thick watercolour board, embossed and hand -inished with jewels in the UK, these distinctive 160x160mm original designs retail for £2.99, trade price £1.25 each. The full Vintage range includes more than 150 essential everyday designs. Sold in sixes to trade buyers only, the cards are blank inside, barcoded and cello-wrapped with a coloured envelope, and all are printed on board from sustainable sources. Blue Eyed Sun’s cards are available to order through their easy-to-use, trade-only website, their Summer 2017 supplement and team of sales agents across the country.

Stand GS58 – T: 01273 823003

Wisdom of more designs AT DANDELION Stationery they are just in the process of releasing 30 new designs into their Words Of Wisdom collection – which won the 2016 Henries Award for Contemporary Words & Sentiments. They will all be on display at Harrogate and include new designs for a number of occasions such as Retirement, Goodbye, Engagement, New Baby as well as general birthday. Dandelion have also created a mini-range of new children’s age cards within the Words Of Wisdom collection.

Stand GS-3 – T: 01332 864990

76 @greetingstoday



GS-64 @greetingstoday 77


Fantastic buying experience THE Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival is one of the most important shows of the year for Joe Davies and is always the most enjoyable for visitors and exhibitors alike. The timing of the show makes it the perfect venue for Joe Davies to introduce their new Autumn & Winter Collection and enable visitors and the company’s buyers to get a valuable head start on their selections for the upcoming season. It’s perhaps no coincidence that Joe Davies’ Harrogate customers are among their most successful! Customer service is at the forefront of everything Joe Davies do. They aim to make a visit to their spacious stand a fantastic buying experience with more than 9,000 fresh, exciting products on show including over 2,000 that are brand-new for autumn and winter 2017. There’s something for everyone with gifts, jewellery, fashion accessories, home décor and homeware, everything is attractively displayed and clearly priced for easy selection – in fact, many customers write their own orders! Minimum quantities are small and the minimum order is just £100 so buying an impressive collection doesn’t have to break the bank. This year there are more highlights in the range than ever – brand-new Snoozies for men, women and girls; gorgeous new Equilibrium jewellery; one of the largest ranges of photo frames and occasion gifts in the UK; the Leonardo Collection; Poo Pourri; Prices Candle; LED lights and jars; a gorgeous Christmas selection and much, much more!

Stand Q50 – T: 0161 975 6300

Manicured elegance SOUL successfully launched the Always Fabulous range of cards and gifts last year, due to the popularity it has developed and they can’t wait to show some new products to complement the collection. These Include boxes, keyrings and photo frames plus a beautiful leathereffect manicure set adorned with an elegant deer design. Inspired by Victorian engravings and with soft pastel colours complementing the overall finish, this compact manicure set is perfect for a sophisticated lady to stay Always Fabulous. The set includes two sizes of nail clippers, tweezers, nail file, nail pusher and eyebrow scissors.

Stand DP1-17 – T: 01235 537816

78 @greetingstoday

290 gns i des new how at on s & Gift e Hom tand S 25. GS-

Quality ďŹ ne art blank greeting cards reproducing original works by more than 40 talented artists and photographers. Contact us now to request our current comprehensive trade catalogue or register as a trade visitor on our new website. Email:

Tel: 07714 768956 @greetingstoday 79


Design-led extra bubble BUBBLE from Belly Button Designs is an exciting giftware venture that’s design led, and will be exhibiting new additions and collections to an impressive popular portfolio at Home & Gift. The collections offer an extensive variety, which will appeal to a wide customer base. Colour and trends are all taken from Belly Button’s award-winning card collections, which inspire the whole range to make it totally unique. The aim is to offer design-led product of a high quality with the same excellent lead times and customer service retailers receive from Belly Button. It taps into the knowledge that Belly Button have in producing their own bags and licensing designs to fill the gap in the market for fresh design-led product of gift bags, roll wrap, tissue, notebooks, albums and china mugs. Strong graphics, sophisticated colour palettes and their distinctive illustrative style have found new form with the notebook offering of great designs featured at a great price. With colour and trends taken from Belly Button’s award-winning card collections, the format of 100 lined 145x205mm pages have been hugely popular already. Expect to see nine brand-new designs at Harrogate for Bubble’s 2018 collection.

T: 0161 902 0200

Showcasing winning artists WRAPTIOUS continue to provide a platform for emerging artists and are introducing two stunning new ranges by Laura Estellés and Olivia Hicks. Beating off more than 700 entries in their May competition, Laura – under the name Ninola Design – and Olivia will be joining their bestselling ranges from previous winners Kat Baxter and Katherine Williams, for a wonderful showcase of products at Harrogate. Visitors can pick from greetings cards, mugs, coasters, prints and Wraptious’ ever-popular Gift Of The Year vegan-suede cushions.


Their carriage-paid is only £100 with no minimums per product or design, which they hope will tempt you in giving these winning artists your support.

Stand DP1-1 – T: 0161 738 1440 @greetingstoday

Info 01788 521745 @greetingstoday

Harrogate Home & Gift Stand GS22 81


Enjoy halcyon days LAURA Darrington Design are returning to the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate for the first time in six years. On show at the fair they will have the gorgeous new Halcyon Collection which is beautifully embossed and presented with

bespoke envelopes. There will also be additions to their ever popular Breton Collection and new spring seasons for 2018.

Stand GS64 – T: 0116 284 9660

Smell the roses BOUQUETS you can almost smell are the designs on Cherry Orchard’s latest range – actually, you can actually smell the roses! Scent With Love is the publishers’ brand-new range of fragranced greetings cards featuring stunning designs of bouquets of roses. And the inserts are infused with a unique, delicate designer fragrance of rose and vanilla crafted especially for the card range by an independent perfumer. Using a special printing technique, the cards release the scent when the insert is rubbed anywhere on the page and the process means the fragrance continues to be released over many months, making them perfect keepsakes. The designs cover a range of price codes and styles, with a total of 40 in the collection, including 16 at code 150, eight at code 90 and 16 at code 75. The captions include open birthday, relations, occasions and ages. The cards are supplied cello-wrapped to prevent tampering and a pink branded spinner – 81ins high including header board by 20ins wide – is available. In an easy-to-manage stylish spinner display, this collection offers a greetings card with a difference for discerning customers and is perfect for retail outlets, visitor attractions, garden centres and fl orists.

Stand GS-51a – T: 01684 295500

82 @greetingstoday @greetingstoday 83


Save the best for last! THAT something special in chic, glamour and fashion – the Artebene Design Studio have given their all for the development of the Autumn and Christmas Collections. High-quality paper and fabric materials, exciting embellishments and elaborate details create strong product ranges, making shopping in stores an extraordinary experience for the second half of the year. In addition to a great variety of new designs in the core range of gift wrapping-related products, the new collection introduces numerous gift items that can be beautifully decorated in stores and provide for additional sales. They include beautiful shopping bags printed with gold colour, as well as attractive accessories like bags with beads and sequins that go perfectly with trendy fashion clothing. The We Love! range has expanded further, with new designs, created with great love of detail, added to the successful Favourite Bags – gold embellishments, tassels and sequins decorate the famous shopping bags made of high quality cotton. Small cushions with sequin motifs look great on any sofa. The new writing-related part of Artebene’s collection sees high-quality journals impress with modern gold and silver prints that are perfectly accompanied by matching pencils and pens. The Finest range with its soft and powdery colours and lots of gold foil represents a real eye-catcher thanks to the design and quality of the delicately structured wrapping papers and gift bags with lavish embellishments. The newly-developed Happy Birthday Mix & Match range has strong rainbow colours to build the foundation for a year-round everyday packaging assortment which will be replenished with each new collection – mix and match is encouraged. Three coherent themes were developed for this year’s Christmas Collection, offering great combinations across the product areas, including packaging, writing and giving. Christmas Family represents a modern interpretation of the traditional red and white colours with classic elements like wintery houses finished with holographic foil and can be combined with humorous motifs such as a dachshund or pug. Those great little somethings like music boxes and fridge magnets bring smiles to everyone’s faces and are perfect last-minute presents. Winter Camp matches the current trends in interior design and decoration. A powdery pink and tender icy colours impress with their combination of gold colour, shimmering holographic foil and glitter. And finally, a subtle elegance with striking golden highlights on dyed-through white and black paper products make Christmas Finest a captivating theme, adding that certain luxury to special moments – in stores and for festive celebrations with loved ones.

T: 020 8588 9510

Special autumn promotion LEONARD Smith are promoting Thinking Of You Week, which runs from September 25-October 1 this year, on their stand at Harrogate this year. They have a wonderful range of new and best-selling Thinking Of You designs – and have also put together a great offer of 26 Thinking Of You, Get Well, Sympathy and Blank designs for a very special Leonard Smith Autumn Promotion. Leonard’s meaningful photographic images always work so well for these important and sensitive card-sending occasions. Do come and see these new cards as well as their other beautiful card ranges at Harrogate or contact Issy or Catie for a catalogue.

Stand DP1-28 – T: 01376 562727

84 @greetingstoday


Spin around to connect with gift ideas THE last couple of years have seen Museums & Galleries develop their ranges of journals considerably – there are now well over 100 different designs to choose from, in a variety of different sizes and formats. The company have an increasing number of address and birthday books, guest books, and diaries as well. To help make sense of this wealth of product, and to market the products efficiently in store, M&G have developed a bespoke spinner for their stationery products, which is being previewed exclusively on their stand at Harrogate. The fair is a great opportunity to stock up on Christmas gift ideas and the M&G journals with their beautiful cover designs make wonderful and on-trend gifts for all those eager to reconnect with pen and paper. This year M&G launched gift ballpoint pens to match and co-ordinate with their V&A journals, and also brought out journals in a new luxurious Grande size which feature bestselling Matthew Williamson patterns as well as classic V&A archive designs reinterpreted for today. M&G will have their full everyday card ranges and Christmas ranges on show as well.

Stand DP1-32 – T: 0116 230 4197 @greetingstoday 85


Create a bit of a flutter THE Handcrafted Card Company have been working with Magic Flyer International for many years and have now become UK distributors of The Magic Butterfl y. Designed to fl y out as a greetings card is opened, this wind-up butterfl y is a perfect complement to a card and ideal as an impulse buy. Magic Flyer butterfl ies are perfect for cards but are also used for marketing and corporate events and of course weddings. Established for more than 20 years, Magic Flyer International are the inventors of the original wind-up butterfl y which are popular all

over the world and, with the advent of social media and videos showing the recipients’ reactions, they have been creating a bit of a fl utter lately. To capitalise on this The Handcrafted Card Company have developed a Magic Butterfl y range of their own designs including tropical prints, geometrics and fl orals in a counter-top stand that’s to be launched at Home & Gift, and is perfect for independents.

Stand GS32 – T: 01782 639733

Whopping launch for A/W AT HARROGATE, Caroline Gardner are launching a whopping 74 cards for AW17 in one of their largest card releases yet, and they’re particularly excited as there are lots of new finishes. There are six brand-new ranges, but they think Palm Springs and Pom will be especially popular. Drawing inspiration from LA and Palm Springs, the former has a soft pastel colour palette of blues and pinks and some bold typography. They’ve gone finish mad, and added a new extra chunky glitter in pink, red and gold, alongside Caroline Gardner’s classic gold foil with touch of blue and pink. Palm Springs is bold and attention grabbing, perfect for all those who can’t

resist a bit of shimmer and glitter. With the trend this season definitely channeling honeycomb paper decorations, which adorn summer parties and the product market, Caroline Gardner have dived in with Pom. Bright pink fl amingos, blinging diamond engagement rings and cherry-adorned cupcakes are just some of the vibrant designs that pop in this range. Each card has a honeycomb paper pom-pom integrated into the design, which the recipient folds over and sticks to the card, once taken from its envelope. The other new ranges from Caroline Gardner are Keep Sake, with a mini note in an envelope on the card; Ta-da has text cards with an embossed finish; Cine’s Polaroid-style cards have intricate stick-on pieces adding a new depth to the designs, and last but not least is Lunette, a new modern range with a cut-out section on the front that reveals a message on the inside.

Stand DP1-113 – T: 020 8288 9696

86 @greetingstoday


Keeping in the moment JONNY Javelin mainly be focusing on their summer Wedding releases at the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival – but they do also have another series of Velvet Moments about to burst on to the scene. MD Jonny Spears said: “We’ve been asked by our lovely customers that the Moments line really needs some additional male titles and milestone anniversary captions, so we’ve obliged in this latest set. “Grandson through to Grandad in birthdays and Silver through to Diamond in anniversaries will hopefully keep them satisfied for the time being.” This expands the Moments range to 68 titles over quite a short period as the slim 5x9in size makes these cards extremely versatile in the racks and with an RRP of £1.79, there are obvious price-point options for the retailer as well. Jonny added: “We’re looking forward to a busy, buzzy, sunny show – with perhaps the odd Pimms by way of refreshment!”

Stand GS13 – T: 01423 563740

Pop by and see us at these upcoming shows: Harrogate July 16 - 19 Stand GS-25b

Autumn Fair Sept 3 - 6 Stand 4F-40

7RPFDW&DUGV +44 (0)1243 837300 @greetingstoday 87


Fantastically foiled fresh funnies LIFE IS too short to be taken seriously so over at Redback Cards they are launching 20 new designs to the fantastically foiled Cloud Nine range. With an array of fresh funnies they have plenty for the giggle bank while the fun colours and quality foiling lends itself to celebrate all the major occasions. Redback’s Cloud Nine cards are 150x150mm, printed on a premium 300gsm board and come cello-wrapped with a quality white envelope.

Stand GS2a – T: 01803 712793

Mystical and mythological NEPTUNE’S Favourite Daughter is from a new collection of Art Nouveau-inspired mystical and mythological designs by the talented Illustrator Ed Org, who is famous for the Hobgoblin beer advertising. Art Nouvocative have teamed up with Ed and began publishing some of his designs earlier this year, with lots more in the pipeline. They also publish the popular Mo Welch vintage fashion collection.

88 @greetingstoday

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Heavenly spirits

The heavens may have opened for PG Live but that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits as the biggest show yet took place at London’s Business Design Centre. There were birthdays galore, interesting visitors in the shape of a real-life owl, Gru from Despicable Me, and former Curiosity Killed The Cat saxophonist Graeme Airth, plus a touching tribute (top) to greetings industry and Ladder Club stalwart Lynn Tait who passed away just days before the June 6-7 event. Gold, silver and sunshine prize tickets galore were spent by last year’s Retas winners and this year’s nominees as orders were placed. As you put next year’s show dates of June 5-6 in your diary, check out these four pages to see if you and your favourite card from the show have been snapped for the Greetings Today photographic review – and there are more pictures on our Facebook page.

● Sarah & Nigel Morris, The Card Emporium & Rhubarb, Malvern “We’ve come down specially for the show, we like Winged Hat and have just done an order with them and Hotchpotch – those badge cards are great as you get a gift and a card together. And we love these new Cherry Orchard Scent With Love cards.”


● Daniel Prince – also above wih Gru and a Minion – Dan Grant & the Danilo team @greetingstoday

● Dees Cards


● Leonie Van Der Hulst, Image Gallery, New Zealand

“I’ve come over specially for the show because it’s a good time of year as it’s our winter. I really love the Lemongrass range from Clare Maddicott.”

● Little Boat

● Just the ticket –

Dees Cards used their Sunshine Ticket with Paper Rose, Little Boat Gifts spent theirs at Red Berry Cards, and Trevor and Barbara from Maythers used their Silver Ticket on the Abacus stand ● Karen Mace, The Art File with new London range artist Anna Hymas

Piccadilly Circus from the London range

● Maythers

● Lyd Lydia Jeffers-Phillips & Jo Barber, The Stationery Boutique, Ampthill Stati

“We “We’d spent a fortune before we’d even got up the stai stairs! We like Always Sparkle and the Hotchpotch stu stuff is really nice, they are completely on trend wi with the nickel badges. We loved the flamingo one – and the Banterpants Drink Up Bitches!”

● Amanda & Will Oscroft, Love It, Stamford & Bury St Edmonds, with White Cotton Cards

“We have a Sunshine Ticket as we’re finalists in the Retas 2017. I haven’t finished looking at all the newbies and I have a list in my bag as long as my arm of who to go to see. But I’m very taken with White Cotton Cards as they have a £4.20 retail and do all the anniversaries like tin, paper etc. They really stand out and it’s a bit different to what people can get on my High Street.”

● Darren Cave, UK Greetings

“It’s been really exciting just to get out and meet people because it’s my first week running solo. It’s been good because I’ve put some faces to names and a lot of customers have come on to the stand. Tracy McMinn, UKG Regional Sales Manager, has been introducing me so the networking has been really beneficial. I love the atmosphere here, it’s very good, I’m enjoying meeting people and the hospitality is great.” Star Wars range @greetingstoday

● Rosie & Cath Tate, Cath Tate Cards

““It’s the sort of show where you get tto talk to everyone, it’s a social show which is also good for business. We sit down for lunch and before you know it you’re talking business, and you can share news with other publishers. This is our 35th anniversary and we had some lovely biscuits in the shapes of threes and fives made by one of the ladies in the office.” 87


● Janet Stow, Love Letters, Kingston Upon Hull

“I came down to the show specially because I was a Retas winner last year and have a Golden Ticket – I finally spent it at White Cotton Cards. I like to look first before I commit. I’m after Tracey Russell, Cherry Orchard’s new scented cards and I love the My Music Box musical cards where they dance around.”

● Lisa Marcuccio & David Hicks, Soul UK

● Jenny Morrison, Top Drawer, St Andrews

Velvet Wedding range

● Nicole Schragger & Chris Bryan, Second Nature

● Bob & Adam Short, The Imaging Centre

Butterflies PopUp Card

Digital foil

● Tracey Russell, Tracey Russell Designs Scribble Bear range

● Debbie & Chris Beards, Mantons Cards, Isle Of Man, with Alison Butterworth & Jenny Weare, Nigel Quiney


“I had a great day – there are so many gorgeous card designs out there at the moment, I wish my shop had expandable walls so I could fit even more in! I met Sara and Nigel from Rhubarb in Malvern at the Greats Champagne reception, we had lunch and then caught up at the after show drinks – as this wee selfie of us and a very tired-looking Georgie and Lizzie from White Cotton Cards shows. I was also on the WCC stand when Georgie opened the magnum of Prosecco she took for customers!”

● Karen Wilson & Claire Williams, Paper Salad

Gold Dust range, Thanks & Magical Birthday

“It’s nice because it’s just two days and everyone can get round the show – we had Paperchase on straightaway, they came here when the show opened and like what we do. Since Spring Fair they’ve taken lots of our new ranges.”

Pop Art & Waterlillies

Glick’s Wendy JonesBlackett bag & Pizazz Classic Smile & Eat Cake card

Flair range, unicorn bestseller

New Kingdom luxury stationery range, designed and manufactured in England

● Jonny Spears & Judy, Jonny Javelin

● Gary Hoffman & Craig Morfett, Instawrap

● Anna Price, Emma Pearce & Max Aver, Hotchpotch

● Lisa Ardren, Rob Brown, Glenys & Doug Morrice, Grass Roots Debbi Moore Collection

● Tom & Alan Williams, Mint Publishing Glitterati range

● Grainne Cooley, Mandy Harvey, Elaine Gallie, Steve Baker & Debbie Saltmarsh, Pigment Productions Happy News @greetingstoday range


● Cinnamon Aitch

● Charlotte Farley, Tracey Sutton & Marcus Fox, Hallmark Cards

Harley Quinn & Olaf new Itty Bitties & Disney Handpicked Tinkerbell card

● Dean M


● Blue Eyed Sun

● Dominique Miranda & Jack Parker, Lanther Black Sad Stickman range

● Simon Wagstaff & Tony Roberts, IC&G

Handmade code 300 wife released in January and Geometrix ages

● Smile, it’s a selfie

● Wendy Jones-Blackett with Andrea Pinder from Unit 7, Manchester

Dean Morris (Gumdrop range) is very good at capturing people on camera, his PG Live haul included Cinnamon Aitch (Cherry Blossom range), Greetings Today, agent Neil Greenwood, Buddy Fernandez, Ohh Deer, Blue Eyed Sun (new Charming range), and Brainbox Candy

Paper Diamonds Bijou range

● Nick HannafordHill & Chris Stanley, Redback Cards Cloud Nine range

● Bill Greeno, Paperlink Florence range

● Steve Pepper & Nick Carey, Abacus Cards & Clare Maddicott Harold’s Planet

● Team shot –

Rosie Harrison, ●R Rosie Made A ush Des Thing; Alexa ign Stretton, Always Sparkle; Bex Hassett, Bexy Boo (Font Fancies range); Jeanett Stevenson, Pippi & Me, and Lorraine & Ian Bradley, ● Jill Hunter, Owl My Love Rush Designs The charming Percy is Owl (Everything My Love’s mascot and was @greetingstoday Sparkles range) very well behaved ● Bexy Boo 89

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


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

Having just returned from my first PG Live in London, I can’t quite believe we’re almost half way through June already! I had a fantastic day in London, new card designs were chosen from lots of our current card publishers, including White Cotton Cards, Wendy JonesBlackett and Always Sparkle and some new to us suppliers too, which included Lola Design and Hotchpotch London. Most importantly the Christmas cards have all been chosen and ordered! Now our thoughts turn to the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival, which I really enjoy and use to source some new Christmas products and see all the new trends emerging. It’s a great chance to catch up with suppliers and to see all their new ranges. It always has such a lovely relaxed atmosphere, set in fun surroundings and you’re guaranteed to source some new and exciting finds for your shop.


EAST – Caron Naylor, The Gift House, Blacker ● Joejo e Hall Farm, West Yorkshire

After surviving a manic Father’s Day card rush, we’ve finally come back to earth! Demand for our personalised ones was huge but the team were on it, clocking up a record Father’s Day with Joejoe Designs – handmade here in Yorkshire – fl ying out of the door, I think we made three repeat orders! A Farmer’s Daughter cards were popular with dads, Bexy Boo’s range were perfect for daddies, and superhero dads, we sold out of those! We’re finding more and more customers wanting a plain card or an animal one and we do very well with Wrendale Designs, however, at one of the many trade sell Rus shows, I found Meg Hawkins which I loved straightaway acey r T ● and our customers do too as they are great themed cards and perfect for any occasion. To make customers chuckle we took on Rosie Made A Thing a few months ago, these too have found a firm place in our shed along with the Yorkshire Range from Little Button Cards. Our increase in larger cards has escalated to the point where we’ve brought in our own team to design them but lovely Tracey Russell has a perfect range for all occasions which has given us a bit of a breathing space to complete our own designs, while Elspeth Thomson’s new collection is our top seller next to Belly Button. We’re now into wedding season, and anniversaries, so have a huge demand for the bespoke work including folded wedding cards containing poems, and our own cards can be made into a framed gift, using our own supplier. We now have no more big events until Harrogate, where we’re looking forward to being on our own patch. Home & Gift is always enjoyable and I can view it over three days which is more relaxing, no doubt I’ll find a few more fab card ranges to squeeze in!

94 ● Little B


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

Recently, it was time for my favourite show of the year – PG Live. Held on my birthday this year, I tottered off on the train into London looking to finding lovely new stuff, enjoy catching up with existing suppliers and getting a lovely free lunch and some beers –who in the world turns down free booze on their birthday? The show really was excellent this year and looked to me to be the biggest yet, with stands in every nook and cranny! It was a quite different experience as, rather than just looking for those two or three new suppliers to freshen up my ranges, I was seeking out a significant portion of new stuff for my lovely new shop that I’m moving to in a couple months. There really was quite a wonderful mixture of designers and publishers this year, from humour to handmade, from traditional to innovative. And the amount of stands in the Springboard and Springboard Extra areas was brilliant – I love seeing newer, smaller publishers and so had quite a few to choose from. I also caught up with several existing suppliers, such as Icon, Megan Claire & Corinna Rothwell, and spent my Golden Ticket with I Drew This (pictured). After a couple (yes, just a couple) of beers that night (thanks PGL!), I left the show feeling happy I’ve found some great new connections – and I’m super excited about my final few weeks planning the bigger Creased store in Brighton.


WEST – Alison Allen, Conway Cards, Garstang, Lancs

Harrogate Home & Gift is my absolute favourite trade fair of the year. The atmosphere is always great, bustling yet relaxed, whether the sun is shining or it’s pouring with rain, everyone is always happy – the live music, Pimm’s and strawberries are just an added bonus! As always it’s a great opportunity to catch up with smaller publishers, and see the brand-new ranges as they’re released. I particularly look forward to seeing the Santoro stand, it never fails to look amazing and there are always new Gorjuss products to get excited about. The Gorjuss range is, without doubt, our most successful gift line. We started selling the cards about nine years ago, and gradually the brand has grown – with so many products, it now has its own section of the shop! It sells to young and more mature ladies alike, and has a real following now. In the 10 years I’ve had the shop, I’ve always purchased our plush gifts from Aurora. Quality is of the utmost importance, especially when customers are buying for babies. Aurora’s Baby range is perfect – the comforters are really popular for newborns, and the pink and blue Bonnie Bears make lovely gifts for Christenings and toddlers.

W @greetingstoday

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

Abacus Cards Limited t: 01638 569050 e: w:


print services

Products An exciting and innovative range of quality Birthday, Relations, Special Occasions, Art and Humorous greeting cards. Full range of Christmas and Spring Seasons merchandise. Comprehensive collection of handmade cards. Pizazz gifts.

Brand Names Pizazz Art of Nature What a Picture Pizazz Jewel

Pizazz Gallery Pizazz for Men Time Out Marshmallow

Cloudesley House • Shire Hill Saffron Walden • CB11 3FB T: 01799 520200 F: 01799 520100 @greetingstoday 95



Finer things in life F GIVE YOUR





L LOTTIE Murphy paints and illustrates from her London Studio having set up her business L jjust last year after graduating ffrom Manchester School Of Art. Growing up in Cambridgeshire, sshe went on to study classical portraiture at Charles Cecil Studios in p Florence before taking her fine art F degree, and has worked on d commissions ranging from condiment c llabels to animal portraits, as well as producing greetings cards, notelets, wrap p and prints from her own pastel illustrations. a Currently searching for agents to rrepresent her cards, Lottie said: “I wanted tto continue a creative path illustrating, having studied fine art, and the designs h originate from pastel drawings of still life. o “I’m inspired by natural forms, the bright colours, white backgrounds and repeat patterns c add a contemporary twist with my subject matter a rranging from food to flowers and birds> “They are blank inside as I wanted them to suit every occasion for men and women.” e The designs are printed on 300gsm card, sourced ffrom the Lake District, and they come cello-wrapped with a brown kraft envelope. w T: 07716 304741

01228 560526

Polypropylene bag specialists


Just dotty about designs Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hot-foiling also available

T 01206 396209 E sales envelopes


ARTIST Janice Daughters has been illustrating, mainly in pen and ink, for a number of years, but has just launched her first greetings card range. The subjects, including floral and animals, reflect her long-established style of monochromatic illustrations using the technique of stippling, reminiscent of the pointillist method. Janice, who showcased her cards at the recent British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate along with prints of her drawings, said: “As a first timer at a trade fair it was a bit daunting, but everyone was so friendly and helpful and my work was much admired.” Her other ranges include colourful floral designs and a quirky collection called Crazy Cakes, grey line artwork with a touch of pink, designed especially for the loved ones in our lives. Janice is influenced by the splendour of life and believes people should embrace all things that are beautiful and give us the feel-good factor. Living in the Yorkshire Dales helps her creative juices flow, with wonderful scenery, flora and fauna. Her camera is always with her when out walking or on visits to open gardens and stately homes: “I never know when I might come across something that might inspire or motive me to create a design. “And we can’t end without mentioning Scruffo Bear – he’d be very upset if we ignored him! Scruffo and his Paw Pals are teddy bears depicted in a series of enchanting cards. You will meet Paddy Paws, Pansy Paws, Princess Tiffany, Dale and Mister Cool along with others. “My own much-loved, old Teddy Bear was the inspiration to this range of bear-utiful greetings cards, aimed at children, the young at heart and lovers of anything cute and furry. Watch out for further designs, I can’t help myself, I’m a prolific designer with ideas springing out of my head at a speed that sometimes my hand can’t keep up with. I should have been born ambidextrous!” T: 07860 633490 @greetingstoday

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

Search and you’ll find EVER since Angela Chick was a child, she’s been making cards for people and, after finishing university got started professionally as part of a Brighton-based collective of illustrators, photographers and graphic artists. They put out a limited edition set of greetings cards and, since then, Angela has been moving forward with her own ranges, and has just started in the trade show scene, and focusing on the wholesale side of her business. “I was always making cards for people and found this to be a great opportunity to get her card designs to a bigger audience,” Angela said. “As I developed my range, each design started with a search – I’d be looking for a card that I couldn’t find and so decided I wasn’t the only one who’d want that card.” Angela Chick now creates a delightful range of illustrated greetings cards and gifts from her studio based on the south coast of England with the designs professionally printed in the UK using FSC certified board and environmentally-responsible printing methods. Friendship and fun remain at the forefront of her brand with brilliant and bright cards, stationery, enamel pins, badge sets and other products. With a focus on card designs that bring a smile to the recipient’s face, Angela has a style and a voice that is unique. With a collection featuring designs inspired by best friendships, pets and more – she offers a playful alternative to the everyday. @greetingstoday 97


I do, I do, I do! W

E’RE now well ll into i t the th nextt bi biggestt card-buying season after Christmas. Yes it’s the time of year when people all over the country are saying “I Do…” – it’s the wedding season.

I’m starting to see sections of shops turned into weddingrelated gift displays and the section in the card racks expanded too. Some shops even move their entire wedding and anniversary card section to a new focal area just like they do with Christmas. It certainly is big business for the card and gift industry at this time of year. And it’s not just about the big day, it’s about anniversaries too. When you think that, traditionally, most weddings happen between May and September, this means all the anniversaries that follow will be during these months too. It seems so obvious yet is something I only came to understand a few years ago – I often have discussions with customers about this too and realise they’ve also just worked out the connection too. Most of us only have one wedding (well, possibly two or maybe three) yet we’ll have an anniversary every year after that, and it’s not only married couples who celebrate an anniversary. Most partners will have a special date that they celebrate each year so anniversary cards are huge business there too. Selling into the shops as I do, I’m finding more and more specific year anniversaries are being asked for and stocked by my customers. These include 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th and 20th. A few shops also like to stock every year from 1 to 20 as a unique selling point. I think this is partly due to people generally getting married later (or for a second time) and partly because we like to be more specific with the captions of the cards we send. Now for those few readers who’ve not already heard via social media, the trade mags or saw my other half Lorraine swanning around PG Live in her gorgeous dress and shoes – we tied the knot ourselves in May.

Y ft getting tti engaged d iin JJanuary we Yes, after headed up to Gretna Green the day before my 50th birthday for a secret wedding. We’d not told any of our family or friends, just went and did it. It was an amazing day and we even embraced the latest social media trend by going live on Facebook from the ceremony. It got some great reactions and lovely comments. We obviously caught a lot of people out and they were so excited to see the ceremony live from Gretna Green. All in all it was a pretty hectic and exciting month for me. Getting back to business with a bump, my customers are busy making sure they have adequate supplies of wedding and anniversary cards when I visit them. There was definitely a good focus on wedding season cards at PG Live where reports from suppliers and customers alike were very positive, and the next big chance for showcasing product will be the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate this month. We received a fabulous array of wedding congratulations cards from family, friends and colleagues, from which a couple of things really stood out. Firstly, a wedding is the perfect time for a personalised card and, yes, we got a few. Secondly, since our wedding was a surprise, most cards were sent to us over the following few weeks and the newlyweds caption was quite a popular choice. This is a great title since it’s current any time after the wedding, whether getting married abroad or just not telling anyone. Since we did the dirty deed ourselves, I actually found out one of my customers got married in January and didn’t tell anyone – including their parents – till several months after! – Ian Bradley ● Token House, Nottingham

● House Of Cards, Rugby

Let’s cuddle up W HEN it comes to plush toys I’m such a child, even now I’m supposedly all grown up, I still love how they look and feel.

● My mate – Rachel likes a hug

● Gracegentle, Newark

As a youngster I had many in all shapes and sizes and loved receiving them as a gift. My love of these furry friends was a source of amusement to my parents who often remind me how I used to collect them but would then hate giving any up to make way for new ones. The plush toys available now are so much nicer than when I was a child, heavens knows how many I’d have if I were still collecting! I represent Deva Designs and their Bunnies By The Bay collection and, as their agent, help man the stands at the trade shows. I was pleased to see I’m not the only fully-grown person who finds it hard to resist their adorable ranges of plush toy characters. The designs are really innovative and different, gone are the standard teddy bear with wiry fur and glass eyes. In its place are all sorts of animals – octopus, sandpipers, foxes, even flamingos.

The colours are bright and eye-catching and the toys are so soft to touch it’s hard to resist a cuddle – I have to admit Mingo the Flamingo is my favourite as you can see from the picture. So many customers are drawn to the stand to look and touch the toys and are taken aback by their softness and sheer ability to delight all ages. The story behind the brands is also really lovely and warms your heart, making the products even more adorable and appealing to the buyer. Bunnies By The Bay aim to create delightfully endearing gifts for young babies just starting out in life. With engaging art and playful wit, the products offer detailed designs and lush materials in timeless products that will be cherished in the years to come. The toys are suitable for all children from infancy to those of us who are young at heart and considered to still be big kids, and make delightful gifts. So next time you’re at one of the trade shows and spot Skipit, Pip Squeak, Petal and Mingo The Flamingo, pop over for a cuddle I promise I won’t tell! – Rachel Williams

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

98 @greetingstoday

Window on the world


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

Megan Ford, Meggie’s, Stow-On-The-Wold, Glos How often do you change your windows? I’ve got three windows so it’s quite time consuming. I tend to change one or two every month or six weeks so they alternate. I have one window that’s such a pain because it has a really narrow window ledge so it’s quite hard to do. My children’s window gets changed the most because there’s always lots to see. What’s in there now?I have a lot of Liberty Print Bunting so I’ve picked up on the colours and have a lot of pink and neon. It’s a total mix of stationery, candles, a bit of everything. Because that’s such a narrow ledge on my side, I always have lots of stuff hanging in the window. Which has been your favourite or most talked about? I really loved my Christmas window – I don’t like talking about Christmas when it’s sunny but I did like it. I put a real tree in the window and then just filled it so it looked like all the presents were coming out from under the tree. It was probably more full than usual and looked lovely. I also liked my children’s Easter display because I do Bob & Blossom clothes so it’s all the chalky colours. Those two are probably my favourites. Where do you get inspiration from? Definitely stock, if there’s nothing seasonal then I just go with a colour palette and it comes down to what I have in. I’m constantly looking on Pinterest for ideas, I’m not very artistic so I always have my glue gun and industrial stapler handy! It’s whatever I’ve got that I want to show off. Which publishers do you stock? I only do independent British cards, so I’ve done Jade Fisher for a long time, Raspberry Blossom, Cardnest, Louise Tiler, Amelia Flowers is one of my favourites at the moment. Anna Victoria are one of my popular ranges, and I’ve just started stocking Katie Leamon. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Rhys McArdle, he’s only about 16 or 17 and I’m absolutely obsessed with his cards, I could have taken one of everything – probably nearly did! I do the mini Lagom cards, Old English Company, Papier Press and Ruth Jackson. I do a lot of cards but have always gone for independents.

Sarah Laker, Stationery Supplies, Marple, Cheshire CHESHIRE retailers Stationery Supplies came out tops for their head-turning window display in the debut National Stationery Week competition. Event organisers Ocean Media picked Sarah Laker’s store in Marple from the 92 retailers of all sizes who signed up to be part of the campaign, where they were tasked to dress their storefronts and webstores with the free POS pack for the chance to win product from headline sponsors Sheaffer and Nu: Notebooks. Sarah has been an official retailer to the annual stationery event for the past three years and brightened up the windows with Stationery Addict badges, the bright NSW logo and product displays. She said: “We’re extremely proud to have won the National Stationery Week Retailer Window Competition – as an independent retailer, our window displays are vital to us, giving us a place to showcase what we offer before entering the store. It’s also a fun and varied way to think about how to get people into the store. The free POS pack that National Stationery Week offer is key to that. “National Stationery Week gives us an opportunity to shout about the thing we do best – stationery! We love being involved year on year and are so pleased to be chosen as the winners.” Ocean Media MD Tim Willoughby said: “All of us would like to say congratulations to Sarah and her team. Their display was by far the best entry. “It was great to see retailers from around the country making use of the free POS pack and entering the window competition. Hopefully the campaign has helped get shoppers through the door of both national and independent retailers.”

! w e n D BRAN from

Come see us at

harrogate home & gift fair!

Stand DP2-31

16 th-19 th July


w w w. p i g m e n t p ro d u c t i o n s . c o m

Greetings Today  

July 2017, SUMMERTIME and the living is easy – well maybe not so easy, but it is summer and that means Harrogate as the July issue contains...

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