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Independently audited, ABC circulation of 6,089

The impartial voice of the greetings card industry June 2015 Issue 9 Volume 16

Expect more…

…more stunning embellishments …more beautiful finishes

Expect the perfect card from…

For further details contact (01924) 465200

UK Greetings Ltd. Mill Street East, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire WF12 9AW England. Tel (01924) 465200 Fax (01924) 431814 For more information please email: and quote ref: GT-June15

contents the team Editor Tracey Bearton Advertisement Enquiries Gareth Liddiatt 01442 289940 (direct)

Group Editor Mirella Anstey Group Advertisement Manager Ryan Horwood


Publisher Mark Naish


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

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Meet our new man Gareth, visiting New York, and Window On The World.




Meet The Newbies Windles-sponsored focus on industry newcomers.


It’s All About Sales What kind of buyer are you? Alina and Neil identify the diffent species.


Retail Advice



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

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At the heart of retail

PG Live Review


Greetings Today is independently audited with an ABC circulation of 6,089 (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014) Subscription per annum: UK £60 (free for people in the greetings industry), Europe £80, ROTW £100 A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation



Humour Cards Children’s Cards & Wrap Ages and licensing are two of the big trends on the juvenile front.


Home & Gift Harrogate Pre Preview Probably the most social show around, a sneak preview of Clarion Events’ summer fair.


NSS & Surtex Review Life in the Big Apple throws up some interesting trends.

Gifts For Card Shops Greetings shops need extras these days, the GA’s Isabel Martinson gives good advice.

Creased Cards reveals his secrets.


Spotlight & Gifts Spotlight

● Jo Barber’s On The Shop Front returns next month

Tell ’em about the funny - Paul Jarman of

Telephone: 01442 289930

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

greetings card show.


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

Optimism abounded at the specialist

Lema Publishing Ltd

Frankly Speaking Hats off to buyers – Sarah Porter admits she’d be bankrupt in a week.

A selection of this month’s latest releases.

Independent retail advisor Henri Davis looks at what trends mean.


John Ryan Slatwall is cheap and versatile but can be boring. John considers how to improve it.


People, Supplier, Licensing and General, it’s all here and there’s more on

Keep in touch - follow us: @greetingstoday



Licensing Expo Preview It’s all about brands in Las Vegas.


Pulse Review Looking back at the design-led show.


Your Shout Internet selling makes sense, Miraki’s Adrien Nussenbaum talks online marketplaces.

Go to our website - - for our online features, this month we expand on Humour Cards and there are more PG Live pictures on our Facebook page. @greetingstoday

leader Editor Tracey Bearton

Y THE time you read this, we’ll be on the other side of the greetings fest that is PG Live so many people will already have met the new man at Greetings Today, Gareth Liddiatt, during the show. For anyone who hasn’t, here he is. Gareth pictured is the new advertising manager who has a lengthy background in trade and B2B publishing. I will warn you that it’s turned out both myself and Gareth happen to be Luton Town fans so we apologise in advance to everyone – especially Watford supporters (boo hiss)! Gareth said: “I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in the greetings industry – on my first impressions it’s certainly living up to its reputation as one of the friendliest around.” Mark Naish, publishing director at Greetings Today’s parent company Lema Publishing, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Gareth to both the company and the magazine. “The content has been steadily improving under editor Tracey with enhanced design, readability and relevance, including the addition of industry names such as Henri Davis and Chris Dyson as columnists, and we also provide the respected online news service as well as the industry’s only regular email newsflash. “Greetings Today is already the largest circulation trade magazine for the industry with an independently-audited ABC of 6,089 – with the addition of Gareth’s business knowledge and experience, it can only get bigger and better.” Going back to trade fairs, Gareth’s first outing was a nice gentle introduction to the industry at

● Cartoons by James Whitworth T: 07872 013943 –


Pulse – the review is on page 36 – and, following PG Live, we’ll soon be off to the other sociable show, Home & Gift Harrogate – there’s a pre preview on page 31. I’ve also been out to New York since the last issue, where the National Stationery Show and Surtex were very interesting experiences – see the review on page 32, and Henri Davis’ column on page 29. Being able to see what’s going on in markets outside the UK is always useful and, with the US being the other big greetings card lovers, what’s popular over there will often be the next big thing this side of the pond. Letterpress is a particular personal favourite of mine but we do seem be coming out of that phase in Britain while it’s still pretty big in the US. There’s a lot that can translate between the two nations and, despite the disparity in the country’s sizes, I think the UK’s publishers and designers can more than hold their own – and even teach them a thing or two especially on the export front. While there are difficulties to overcome shipping abroad, it does seem that more publishers here are willing to try it than the US, although I did find more were considering it than when I last visited two years ago. All in all it was a very successful trip, as well as the NSS and Surtex, I also visited a new art licensing show, Blueprint, and managed to cram in a bit of sightseeing – though I could have done without seeing the rather large cockroach that appeared in my 37th floor hotel bathroom!

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

Want to appear in ? JULY FEATURES: Harrogate Home & Gift Preview Plush Toys & Gifts Animal-Themed Cards JULY COPY DATE – JUNE 15

AUGUST FEATURES: Verse, Sentiment & Sympathy Cards Image Licensing & Photo Libraries Cute Cards AUGUST COPY DATE – JULY 6

SEPTEMBER FEATURES: Autumn Fair Preview Top Drawer Autumn Preview Scotland’s Trade Fair Autumn Preview Multcultural Cards SEPTEMBER COPY DATE – JUNE 15

WINDOW ON THE WORLD PINK & Brown is an independent lifestyle boutique selling greetings cards, giftwrap and gifts for all ages from their base at 13 High Street, Sunninghill, Berkshire. Laid out as a mini department store, the light and airy shop has been run by owner Caroline Amdrews for seven years. She’s the manager, buyer, visual merchandiser, and so much more, ably assisted by Bertie the Border Terrier. “We don’t sell over the internet,” Caroline said, “we like our customers to come into the shop and enjoy a great shopping experience. We’ll happily send out purchases by post though. CardMix are one of my best sellers, and I use a lot of independent publisers like Bluebell 33 who are another great seller. “We’re very happy to giftwrap purchases and many regular customers come to us on their way to parties knowing they’ll find an appropriate card and gift to take – beautifully wrapped of course!” T: 01344 624456 @greetingstoday 5


in the news news in brief Awards hot up TROPICAL was the theme for the Greats Awards 2015 and things certainly hotted up at the Savoy on May 7 as gift retailers across the country were recognised for their hard work and dedication. Mandy Elliot, retail supervisor at the National Trust Ireland Giant’s Causeway Gift Shop, was Retail Employee Of The Year, and the Independent Gift Retailers Of The Year were Charles Farris, Battersea; Forget Me Not, Stubbington; Inside Out, Cheltenham; Love It, Stamford & Bury St Edmunds; Marmalade Meringue, Hinckley; Retro 36, Scarborough, and The Old School, Beauly. The full list of finalists is on

Value model going strong NINETEEN new stores have been opened in the last quarter and the transactional website relaunched as according to the latest Card Factory trading update released on May 27 to coincide with the AGM. The openings take the total estate to 783 stores, and the report states the value retailers remain on track to open 50 in the current financial year. In the three months to April 30, revenue increased by 7.5 per cent, driven by like-for-like sales growth, new store roll out and further growth in the complementary online division.

Chris takes top prize MANTONS owner Chris Beards and his team are celebrating after they won the BIRA Retailer Of The Year prize. The first Isle Of Man store ever to even be selected as a finalist in the British Independent Retailer Association Awards triumphed at their first attempt. The greetings and gift specialists impressed the judges who said: “Mantons stood out as having a broad variety of achievements which impressed the judges, not just working to improve one aspect of their business but many elements at the same time.” Chris is pictured with TV retail expert Mary Portas who was the keynote speaker at the BIRA High Street Conference on May 13, where the award was presented and he said: “Having previously won awards for our customer service, product selection, marketing and window displays within the greetings card and gift sectors, it’s fantastic to be recognised by the UK's only awards that are open to every independent retailer in the British Isles.” Mantons have also just been named as finalists in this year’s RETAs, the greetings card retailer awards.

T: 01624 835662

Boofle-icious fun

Growing pains at 20 GROWING pains can still hit even at 20, as Cherry Orchard have found out as their continuing expansion means they’ve outgrown their distribution centre. As they celebrate their 20th year in business, the publishers are moving their distribution centre from Gloucester to 2WL facilities in Mansfield from June 8, with the head office still in Tewksbury.

Bang up to date HAVING been one of the first publishers with a fullyfunctioning transactional website, Holy Mackerel have brought it bang up to date with a complete relaunch and new look – and tested by director Katie Meeke with the most convoluted test orders she could think of.

Novelty condom pulled GREETINGS retailers Cards Galore have pulled a novelty condom after being criticised over Twitter for sexism and body-shaming. The condom, on sale in the 50-plus strong chain, featured an image resembling a toilet door sign on its packaging with the sign showing one female figure with the word ‘enter’ underneath it, and another fuller figure with the caption ‘do not enter’.

Flick of a switch THE switch was flicked on UK Greetings’ new website on May 28 and the site is now live and celebrating their market-leading brands, prestigious licences, awardwinning customer service and talented people.

Thorntons CEO steps down THE man credited with turning around Thornton’s retail business is stepping down after four years. CEO Jonathan Hart has informed the company board that he will resign his directorship at the end of the current financial year on June 27. The search for his successor is to be initiated with Barry Bloomer, currently Chief Operating Officer, acting as interim Chief Executive.

Go showrooming CAROLINE Gardner are holding their first showroom event in the Marylebone High Street store offering the opportunity for retail customers to pre-order products for AW15 and Christmas. The new showroom underneath the store and is open by appointment until June 12, contact your sales agent or Luca Bridges on 020 3010 1991.


Izzy steps down d from dream job ISABEL Martinson is leaving The Giftware Association after nearly 15 years, stepping down as chief executive for family reasons and in due course will pursue other career opportunities. GA chairman Michael Papé said: “Everyone in The GA is very sorry to be losing Izzy. She has achieved an enormous amount over many years and has continued to take our trade association forward to offer new services and support to members. “Izzy shares our desire that, until the appointment of a new chief executive, continuity is maintained and we represent our members to the best of our ability and continue to help them to fulfil their hopes and aspirations." Isabel, pictured, commented that being chief executive of The GA had been her “dream job”. There’s a chance to say goodbye to Izzy at the GA Members’ Day on June 10 at Federation House, Birmingham, as well as hear the speakers and panellists. The day will be video streamed for those unable to attend – full details are on the GA website.

T: 0121 236 2657

A VISIT from everyone’s favourite pup Boofle is the offer for independent stores as UK Greetings and giftware specialists Xpressions4U join forces to welcome the summer. The Boofle-icious initiative will see fun-packed event days in shops as independent customers of both companies can sign up to get close to the loveable pup and drive traffic into stores and encourage sales. Each retailer will receive a pack, with a detailed guide of how to host the perfect Boofle event and tools for making it a spectacular occasion, including a kit for running a bundle promotion plus full POS. As an added bonus retailers can also have the use of a Boofle costume for the day. Tony Roberts, UK Greetings’ Independent Sales Director, said: “Boofle is a fantastic character with a huge fan base so the event days are sure to generate plenty of excitement and attention. We’ve been working with Xpressions4U to create the perfect package for retailers so they can attract shoppers and encourage extra spend in store.” To apply for your kit and guide contact your local UKG or Xpressions4U sales executive. Terms and conditions apply – availability of the Boofle suit is limited so speak to your sales rep as soon as possible to secure a costume for your event.

Launching wave of love FRESH new branding has been created for the GCA’s Thinking Of You Week campaign to create a wave of love, caring and happiness by encouraging people to send a card a day during the last week of September. “I’m delighted with our gorgeous new branding, created by graduate illustrator Miki Rose, who recently joined member company The Great British Card Company,” commented GCA CEO Sharon Little. “The new branding for the week will be seen across the Thinking of You Week promotional toolkit, which has all sorts of free goodies including a flyer, event posters in different sizes, retailer hand-outs, social media cover photos, email sign-offs and sticker templates, all

available free to download from the GCA website.” Building on the event's debut last year, the aim is to have Thinking Of You Week promoted in shops across the country, on social media, by email and on websites. The toolkit gives retailers, publishers and anyone else who would like to get involved the tools to help organise events and promote them.

T: 020 7619 0396 @greetingstoday

in the news

supplier news

63 jobs saved

Designs on paper SHOWING students what the greetings industry offers was the aim behind the first-ever On The Cards competition organised by Paper Rose. The brainchild of Mark Jesset from GF Smith, and Reggie Pugh of Paper Rose and The Art Group, they challenged students to think about what is a greetings card. “We wanted students to see a career path within this industry,” Reggie said, “and we’re pleased to see by the submissions we’ve inspired many! “Well done to all those that entered and we hope to do the same thing next year.” Nottingham Trent University was the most successful, with their students Lucy

Featherstone and Victoria Robinson winning the Format & Motivation and Design & Illustration categories, while Danielle Wetton from De Monfort University, Leicester won the Technology prize. GCA CEO Sharon Little, pictured taking part in the judging last week, said: “I was delighted to take part in the judging for GCA members Paper Rose and GF Smith's great design competition for students. Well done to the winners and highly commended!”

T: 0115 986 0116 T: 01482 323503

PAPER merchants Antalis have acquired three independent packaging companies from PaperlinX UK and saved 63 jobs in the process. The three, 1st Class Packaging, Donington Packaging Supplies and Parkside Packaging, have continued to operate as normal since PaperlinX UK was placed into administration on April 1. Antalis MD David Hunter described this as an important acquisition that forms part of the company’s strategy to substantially grow their packaging business alongside supplying papers, envelopes and consumables. David said: “We are really pleased to acquire these great businesses as this further reinforces Antalis as a key player in packaging in the UK. This acquisition also secures the jobs for their 63 employees who have experienced some uncertainty over recent weeks. For them and their customers, it is now very much business as usual.” Antalis are already major distributors of packaging products, systems and solutions and, with these businesses, will increase the scale of their UK packaging business to more than £80million annual sales.

T: 0870 607 9014 T: 01530 505150



* @greetingstoday 7

people news

Hello and goodbye THE sales team at ExaClair has two new executives, Darren Stedeford and Sharon Shuttleworth, following the retirement of Roger Keys and Eddie Jessiman. Mark Daisley, MD of the UK supplier of brands including Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Europa, Decopatch, Avenue Mandarine and Guildhall, said: “They’ve had long and colourful careers. Their work ethic combined with an in-depth understanding of the products and market have helped ExaClair to establish a strong position, and we wish them both very happy and well-earned retirements.”

Darren has more than 25 years experience having most recently worked for Product Promotion Services as a regional sales manager, and he will cover Roger’s previous territory including most of London and the southern Home Counties. Sharon is replacing Eddie covering northern England having worked for four years as a territory sales manager for Tactical Solutions, and previously was at Newell Rubbermaid Prior as a Key Account Manager.

T: 01553 696600

Nick and Jonny join GIFTWARE company Lesser & Pavey have appointed two new sales reps, Nick Baker and Jonny Greaves. Nick worked for many years at Salco, and his new role will be to handle overseas accounts, develop their international business and assist with major UK accounts. Jonny spent seven years helping his parents’ Giftware Wholesale business and will now assist on Lesser & Pavey’s product development

T: 01322 29225

Brett’s flying high QUALATEX balloons owners Pioneer Europe have appointed Brett Smith as their new Commercial Manager responsible for sales team leadership, developing national account relationships, and other general management responsibilities. Brett joins Pioneer Europe after more than 23 years in retail store operations, marketing and procurement, and field staff management.

T: 01279 501090

● HERE’S the new face at the GCA – Raquel Lopez, pictured left, is now assisting CEO Sharon Little, pictured right, with the day to day running of the trade association.

Part of the UKG family THE family nature of working at UK Greetings has been proven again as sales executive Vimal Dewji celebrated 25 years with the Dewsbury-based publishers. With many employees reaching such milestones – including CEO Gary Rowley who is one of eight current staff who each have more than 40 years’ service – Vimal has been working in the London area throughout his time with the company. “I joined the company when it was Rustcraft,” Vimal said, “and we had many more sales execs than we have now. I’ve seen many, many changes from Rustcraft and Andrew Valentine to Carlton then a merger with Gibson, Hanson White and Camden Graphics to becoming UK Greetings. “My first company car was a Ford Mondeo back then and I used it to cover the same territory as I am now, which has helped me build up the relationship with the customers as it’s given them the security. “I’ve enjoyed thoroughly working for UK Greetings for the past 25 years and it’s a pleasure to carry on working for a company which is a market leader in the Industry.” Vimal is pictured receiving his 25 years’ service certificate from Tony Roberts, Director of Independent Sales for UK Greetings.

T: 01924 465200

It’s Denise’s day IT SEEMS like it’s any excuse for a party and cake these days for the team at Cherry Orchard Publishing –their Tewkesbury office was filled with the scent of fresh flowers as they celebrated Denise Molineux’s 60th birthday. Denise has been managing the Cherry Orchard office for over 11 years and has built up many long-lasting friendships within the industry – she struggled to find space on her desk for the many cards, bouquets, wine, champagne and chocolate that were delivered on May 5. Cherry Orchard MD and founder Jackie Collins, whose company are currently marking their own 20th anniversary, is pictured surprising her long-serving employee with a delicious celebration cake. “The Greetings Card industry is well known for its friendliness and camaraderie,” said Denise, “and the people at Cherry Orchard certainly prove that to be true. I’m overwhelmed by the kind words and generosity that people have shown today. I love what I do and I’ve come to think of my office space here by the river as my second home”.

T: 01684 295500

8 @greetingstoday


licensing news

Danilo catch ’em all PIKACHU and pals will be appearing on calendars shortly after Danilo Promotions won the licence to produce Pokémon calendars as the company announced they are strengthening their European consumer products presence. The licensed card and calendar specialists join Character World with bedding, Aykroyds & TDP Licensing for nightwear and underwear, and board games from Winning Moves, as the latest Pokémon licensees for the UK and Eire. These new deals complement the growth of a comprehensive slate of new European licensees across a variety of categories including confectionery, apparel and footwear, stationery and posters, and video game accessories, and they follow 24 months of exceptional sales

success for the brand, which has the slogan “gotta catch ’em all”. According to the NPD Group, annual sales of the Pokémon Trading Card Game in 2014 were up more than 30 per cent on the previous year, and the resurgence is continuing this year, as Q1 sales are already up a further 29 per cent over the same period last year. “We are delighted to have signed these prestigious new partners that are testament to the current popularity of Pokémon, which is a brand that has delighted fans for almost 20 years,” said Mathieu Galante, Senior Market Development Manager at The Pokémon Company International.

T: 01992 702900

Pop goes the culture GEMMA are launching a range of greetings cards and wrap for Japanese pop culture brand Tokidoki in the UK, following a licensing deal brokered by London-based agency Bloom. Tokidoki, meaning “sometimes” in Japanese, has built a world-wide following for its larger-than-life characters and designs as showcased on products including apparel, handbags, cosmetics, accessories and collectible toys. Gemma will be launching a range of

cards and wrap using the eye-popping aesthetic and cute characters to tap into fashion-conscious teen girls, launching into High Street retailers next year. Thalia Clare, Gemma Licensing Executive, said: “Tokidoki is a wonderful addition to our portfolio and allows us to target those fashion-conscious teens and young women with designs they’ll love. We are delighted to have signed the brand.”

T: 01264 388400

Get creative with SpongeBob A NEW licence between Nickleodeon and RMS International has seen SpongeBob SquarePants children’s stationery products hitting the shelves over the past few weeks. RMS had 19 arts, crafts, stationery and novelty products ready to go following the initial agreement, with the first released on April 15 and the remainder due out across May and June at stores including The Entertainer. RMS are known for their award-winning Grafix brand and innovative and value-formoney stationery, arts, crafts and activity ranges and the new products are aimed at inspiring fans of the show to get creative with SpongeBob and his friends.

Let them eat cake THIS is the stunning – and delicious – cake sent to the Greetings Today office by Hallmark as part of the promotion for their new Star Wars licence for cards and wrap. May the force be with you!

Polypropylene & biodegradable bag specialists Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hotfoiling also available


Play at shopping A STATIONERY and craft range is one of two new partnerships announced for Shopkins, the collectible toy property that’s currently flying off retailers’ shelves. Bulldog Licensing have negotiated deals with RMS International for stationery and craft, including colouring books, sticker books and puzzles, while Character World are developing a range of bedding, curtains, rugs, beanbags and other home accessories. Shopkins are cute little characters that live in Shopville, and there are 148 to collect in each series, including limited edition and ultra rare characters, which are sold inside adorable little shopping bags. Ranges of playsets allow fans of the brand to interact with their Shopkins in fun, interactive environments. Current licensees for the hit girls’ brand include Pyramid International for posters. “Demand for Shopkins is absolutely huge, so it’s no surprise so many licensees want to tap into this popularity,” said Bulldog Group MD Rob Corney. “There is plenty of scope for expansion and we will be announcing more deals very soon.” @greetingstoday


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meet the newbies Hand-printed in a digital age

Name’s the thing THE impending birth of his first child was the inspiration that has led to Jon Scurrah’s new business, Namephrame. “I went to the beach in North Yorkshire one day,” Jon said, “and photographed items to create his name for the nursery wall – buckets, spades, seaweed, railings, quayside items, anything as long as it looked like a letter. ”Since then I’ve photographed more than 10 alphabet themes for our website where you view, mix and match any letters for your funky mix.” Now Jon creates a number of framed products but the simple three-deck themed namecards are still his top seller. He added: “Once we had the first alphabets photographed we first sold individual letter postcards, then we were printing names on demand via a cumbersome 7x5 printer. “Then we changed to A6 home-printed cards and we later found that customers were cutting the fronts off these to put in a frame. The invaluable feedback we received from those early customers helped us in creating the cards that we sell today. “On the back of strong sales at events we’ve attended we have had a custom spinner designed which caused some head scratching but we realise implementing personalised items in store is an art in itself. “The alphabet letters crop up everywhere now I can ‘see’ them and it can become tiresome – ask the wife – but I hope I can continue to improve while not losing the passion I felt on that beach in North Yorkshire.” T: 07729 326336

SENDING one of Apple & Clover’s handprinted cards offers a very personal way of sending a sentiment in increasingly digitalised lives. Founder Jo Hawkins makes all the cards herself using a silk screen which creates slight variations in each design so every one is unique. “I wanted to create a range of cards that were different, on-trend, beautiful and offered a very personal touch,” Jo said, “In addition to being hand printed, most designs are embellished with diamantes, increasing their hand-finished look. “Quality is also very important to me and this is reflected in every aspect of the product from the board and envelope to the packaging. “I studied textile design at university before working as a fashion buyer for almost seven years, so I’m very aware of the need to keep designs fresh and current. “I’m always on the look out for new ideas and inspiration can come from anywhere!”

WHAT’S NEW AT WINDLES? Innovation – The specialist Print Business magazine has honoured Windles Group founder and owner Bruce Podmore this month with a feature that shows how he has been recognised by his peers as a leading innovator, adventurous engineer, inventor and environmentalist they’ve dubbed the printing industry’s James Dyson.


Based in Surrey, Apple & Clover have a growing client base of around 20 stockists for the 50-strong range which includes men’s, animal, occasion and birthday designs. T: 07790 900976

Saying it quirkily AT CAROLINELOVES they create eye-catching designs with quirky sayings and a range of keepsakes, and their philosophy is to keep it simple and unique. The company began three years ago when owner Caroline Price began to design and craft handmade keepsakes and banners from clay, and she’s now branched out into greetings cards. Caroline said: “I developed new designs over time which then led to requests for personalised items and eventually cards for special occasions. “The feedback on the first few was fantastic, which then prompted me to concentrate my efforts totally on the greetings cards going forward. “The range as you see it today is the result of months of experimenting with different shades, fonts and designs to achieve my objective of creating a simple and unique greeting card. “This was my first year attending the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate last month and it was a resounding success with orders coming in from all corners of the UK. “The cards are well designed and also at the right price point for retailers to return a good profit from a small outlay. “I plan to return again next year and keep building my brand, striving forward with new ideas and phrases to keep things fresh.” On the move – Development of the exciting new home for Windles Group is firing on all cylinders. Despite the odd downpour of torrential rain during our wonderful May British weather, the steel framework is up and the lift shaft erected so things are taking shape on the eco-friendly site, and it’s currently ahead of schedule. For all our latest news and pictures on the move, see Project Evolution on the website

meet the newbies THEN AND NOW

AS JUST about everyone in the greetings industry knows, the grand appeal of card-sending goes way back to 1843 with John Calcot Horsley and the festive design he printed for Sir Henry Cole. Since then the market has grown and changed to evolve into the industry we have today, and Windles Group are proud to have been an important part of that evolution since Bruce Podmore set up the family company in 1984. Exchanging greetings is an ancient custom, the Chinese sent messages of good will for New Year, and the early Egyptians used papyrus scrolls to send greetings before Europe got in on the act in the early 1400s – the British Museum has the earliest example with a Valentine from the 15th century. The emergence of the first postage stamp in 1840 coupled with Sir Henry’s idea evolving in 1846 marked the start of the greetings card being considered a commercial product. The Industrial Revolution changed the face of Britain, but the inspirational creativity evident in interior design and fashion just didn’t find its way into the greetings industry. For the first 100 years, sentiment and tradition were the watchwords of design despite huge innovations in other industries. From the jazz age of the roaring 20s through Art Deco, Art Nouveau, war rationing and austerity, 1950s consumer boom and rock ’n’ roll, 60s free love and flower power to 70s glam rock and punk followed by the capitalistic 80s, the greetings card finally came of age and they’re better than ever despite Sir Tim Berners Lee’s invention of the internet in1989 – perhaps the threat of electronic correspondence made people realise their significance. Early production years at Windles Group saw volumninous quantities of greetings cards across relatively few designs. Wholesale dominated, one card design would have multiple caption changes to generate the various occasions and relations. Windles Group owner Bruce recalls one particular job that consisted of printing 4.8million cards of one single Christmas card design! As the direct-to-retail concept took over and the latest industry innovations meant the demise of film and plate exposure, the introduction of Macs and creation of digital files alongside revolutionary direct-to-plate

technologies laid the foundations for today’s wealth of greetings designs. The integration of digital presses in greetings card production has contributed freshness, fun and an abundance of variety. Lower production costs for new design generation has made it possible for publishers to focus on the continuous release of product. With cost no longer the barrier it was not so long ago, new smaller publishers looking to do something different find it easier to enter the market. We often talk among ourselves about the huge transformation we’ve seen in our business over the last decade. It wasn’t so long ago print run quantities were rarely below 5,000 sheets and the majority of cards were transit-packed on our flowrapping line of four machines. With the massive transition to individually-wrapped cards we now only have a single flowrapping machine with four individual card-wrapping ones. At Windles we’ve become expert at adaptability and find that offering flexible solutions is what makes the difference. Having a diversity of product to manufacture with different end distribution channels actually makes our job much more interesting and keeps us on our toes – but it’s the inspiration behind today’s designs and the relationships we develop with our customers which keeps us passionate about what we do. We love what we do even more now than ever. These days it’s all about the emotional connection – with email, text and Facebook, putting the thought and effort into sending a real, tactile, greetings card carries so much more significance and importance. Windles Group embody the philosophy of taking care and pride in producing every card to the best of our ability, respecting the designer’s view that everything they produce is a piece of artwork. With today’s trends encompassing all styles from the 20s through the 90s and beyond, fashion, interior design, books, films and lifestyles including the eco side of things, have all moved much closer to the greetings industry with inspiration coming from all angles and giving buyers a huge choice. Windles Group recognise this and have created innovative solutions, such as Creative Cold Foil, holographic varnish, Colourise and Retropress, also pushing boundaries to the limit with more traditionally-viewed finishing processes. All have impacted upon our wonderful greetings card industry.

Song of Scotland FUNDING from Creative Scotland has led to Edinburgh singersongwriter Sophie Bancroft and her husband Tom Lyne setting up a brand-new company – 32 Publishing. Under the banner of Designby32, they are producing beautiful, contemporary greeting cards which are more than a card, these are heartfelt messages of love and friendship conveyed through original images and songs from Scotland. Sophie has seen her folk-inflected brand of jazz used on major US TV series such as Six Feet Under and recorded by vocalists including England’s Liane Carroll. MATTHEW Dunn is an artist who has recently discovered the digital art Since hitting her 40s she’s become form and is completely passionate about it. a major walker, to the great joy of her In order to get his art out there and noticed, Matthew and partner Labradoodle Ella, and the pair enjoy the Philippa decided greeting cards would be the very best vehicle, so last daily beauty of their surroundings 12 miles year they created MDArtist – Greeting Cards. south of Edinburgh, which has provided Philippa said: “We got a great website built, and filled it up with the inspiration for her more recent Matthew’s amazing images. Matthew has created eight categories of songwriting, and enhanced her newcards – Canterbury & Cathedral, Colour Flow, Country found love of landscape photography. & Town, Flowers & Birds, Fruity Salad, Life, Urban In 2014 Sophie was funded by Animals, and Wildlife. The ninth category, Canadian Creative Scotland to enable her to bring Wildlife, has just been added at the request of an together her photography and songs which interested party in British Columbia, Canada. has now developed into her first collection “The recurring theme throughout all Matthew’s of greetings cards that contain a QR code/ work is colour, and lots of it. Some weblink to the song of his designs are classic subjects connected to that image. – such as flowers and cathedrals – Every photograph and have been given his very own undergoes a watercolour unique treatment of colour and interpretation. wash and paper texture “Other categories – Urban Animals and Fruity Photoshop layer treatment and each THE latest publishers to join the Greeting Card Association include: Salad, for instance – show Matthew’s quirky sense of card provides a Message In 3 Moments: ROISIN CAFFERTY humour and, once again, his innovative use of colour 1.Open the envelope to reveal an stunning cover 34 Oak Road, Caterham, London, CR3 5TS makes these cards stand out from the crowd. image with a heartfelt quote Roisin Cafferty “Matthew continues to create all the time, and has 2.Open the card to receive your personal message new lines and designs filling up his files just waiting 3.Turn the card over to find the poetry of full song 07742 983044 to be launched. As he says, the possibilities are lyrics and a link to the selected song. Sit back, listen BETTY ETIQUETTE endless and he will just keep creating and updating to the song and enjoy the complete experience of Rebecca Cahill Roots his collections throughout the year.” your message in three moments. T: 01843 448291 T: 07444 901198 020 8613 9059

Putting the colour into digital



On the up! Optimism abounded at PG Live as Davora’s 10th birthday celebrations set proceedings off with a bang at the Business Design Centre over June 2-3. positive mood pervaded the hall and there was plenty of fun as Paperlink celebrated their 30th anniversary with the opening night aftershow party which continued long after dard at the Hilton Hotel bar. everyone was back in action and all smiles for the second day – and the new Woodmansterne chocolate wasn’t half bad either, as Greetings Today editor Tracey Bearton and columnist Sarah Porter discovered. Here’s a round-up of views and pictures.

Jackie Collins, Cherry Orchard “I love the lead up to the shows more than the shows themselves but we’ve just had our first silver ticket from Secret Garden in Borough Green. We’ve had a few export customers already and lots of enquiries.”

Tony Roberts, with Chris Jones, Chris Goodson, Lora Norton, Edd Burnet & Kate Randall, UK Greetings “The show has been going very well, extremely well, it’s the best first day we’ve had at PG Live and all the guys have been engaging with the customers and everybody has been very responsive to the new humour range. It’s also a nice, bright colourful stand and, with our yellow shirts, I really like it.”

Raj Arora, Davora “It’s been good. We’re 10 years old and in the Eastern culture you have to celebrate loudly and colourfully, so we did just that with Drummers Delight, the Punjabi drummers who opened the show. Everyone said it woke them up and we had a lot of comments about it being better than a strong coffee and helped drum up business. We’ve taken some orders and been really pleased how people have responded to our celebrations.”

Roger & Carol Stephens, Felicitations, Shepperton, Middx “It’s a very friendly show, we do like the social side here. You can easily get round and find what you need. I didn’t have anything particular in mind but I have been to specific publishers – Cherry Orchard have some lovely new products, and the new humour from UK Greetings is very good. We like Second Nature, where we’ve seen their bunting, and I’m expecting Paperlink will be good. There’s some quite exciting new product here.”


Mark Rees, Penmark Cards (right), with Hallmark UK CEO Steve Wright “It’s been fantastic, definitely worth the trip from Derbyshire. We’ve taken a few new bits from Paperlink, Pigment, Wishing Well and Hotchpotch, and new products from some more established bigger players in the market. More suppliers are moving to launching new product here. It’s the show to choose if you’re in the market for greetings cards.”

Laurence Prince Danilo “It’s been really good. We were rushed off our feet trying to get through the customers yesterday. It was very, very good. The last day is always quieter even with a two-day show but we’ve still had some serious people on the stand today. We like PG Live.” Danilo’s 5 Seconds Of Summer competition winner was Sainsbury’s buyer Lisa Ameghino.

Mark Long & Nick Adsett Great British Card Company “It’s been very good, very pleasing. Avanti is getting very pleasing reactions. We decided to go a bit more conceptual on the stand and it’s going down well. Handmade is going very well here too.”

Jeremy Corner, Blue Eyed Sun “It’s been amazing, for the last hour before lunch we needed three people on the stand, which is great. And I’ve seen some very good international buyers and had good responses to all the new Christmas designs and also the other new designs in the Enchantment range. Having a two-day show is really good.”



Steve Baker, Pigment Productions “It’s been brilliant, really good, lots of nationals around and quite a few export customers. I think it’s great for buyers to come here because the booths are small so you don’t get all the chest-puffing. Each publisher has to narrow it down to what they are really about, which clarifies things. It’s a real bonus.”

Hallmark UK CEO Steve Wright, head of gifting & licensing Gary Bustard & head of humour Matt Goodman with Greetings Today editor Tracey Bearton Showcasing their vast range, from the new licensed Star Wars collection that appeals to all ages and the Handpicked collection through the collectible Itty Bittys to Hallmark Studio’s latest humour and giggles, Steve said: “The feedback has been really good, I think the storyline behind our offer is resonating with independents in particular. We’ve launched Handpicked because the independent retailers are experiencing challenging times so we’re satisfying their needs. You can’t buy that product in the mass supermarkets. What we don’t want to do is have a saturated approach, it needs to be targeted and the range will be refined constantly which does allow boutiques and gift shops to keep it fresh.”

Ruth Leonard, Carte Blanche “This show has been a showcase for our capabilities from new introductions in 3D, badge cards and stockers. The show has been fantastic. Yesterday all the grocers came on. Having national buyers come down from their head offices has been great, that shows the value in the show to see new innovations and new trends.”

Mark Williams, Ben Hickman, Nicky & Tracey, Brainbox Candy “It’s been good so far, quite busy, we’ve seen lots of people we know and lots of new people too.”

Paul Woodmansterne Woodmansterne Publications “We launched Choc Therapy here 24 hours ago and it’s going down well. These are all original Belgian chocolates and it’s a whole new product line for us. I was trying to work out how to do a £10 greetings card and came up with the idea that you do one with chocolate in.”

Tim Porte, Bill Greeno & the Paperlink team – with some Brainbox Candy photobombing! “We’re celebrating three decades of inspiration. It’s been an upbeat show, there’s a mood of optimism. It’s been a good mix of overseas buyers and independents, and being a little bit lazy with shows it appeals to us to do two days, you don’t get that dreadful lull on the last day. We quite like this show.”

Michelle Airth & Becky Dobson Glick “I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at how busy it’s been and how many great orders and leads we’ve had. We’ve launched the new Laura Darrington licensed range here and are really pleased with how well received it’s been. The good quality of the buyers has been great and we’ve also had some export business.”


Dominique Miranda Lanther Black “It’s our first show, it’s been brilliant, so exciting and we’ve had several orders. We didn’t know what to expect but it’s been fantastic.”

James Mace, The Art File “We’ve been very busy so far, much busier than last year when I saw a big dip along with a lot of other people so happy that it’s back up again. We’ve launched the new spinner for form and customers who maybe had an issue with showing them have fallen in love with it. We’ve also launched some new cards and it’s always great to see all our customers.” 13


Spot the buyer The Calculator An experienced buyer whose first two questions are usually: “What’s the minimum order and how much is carriage paid?” This is quickly calculated into the number of designs required to make up the order and they can usually work out the retail prices in their head from the trade prices given without even thinking about it.

Sue Riley, Special Occasions, Failsworth “When looking at new companies I always like to know how many designs we’d need to place and order, as I can quickly see if there are enough designs we like and if it’s worth taking them on or not. Space is always an issue when taking on new card ranges so we tend to prefer to do carriage-paid orders with more companies rather than large orders with one or two.”

Karen Gregory, Annie Rose Gift Boutique, Scarborough “The Calculator is an obvious choice for me as my background is in accountancy. But I’m certainly not cold, just calculating!



BSERVING buyers in their natural habitat is a fascinating occupation and, as agents, it’s always interesting to discover new species.

Although we’re both from the north, the northeast and north-west areas we each cover are very different but we’ve found there are some species of buyer that transcend geography and are native to many areas. So this month, here’s a combined column where we’ve identified our top 10 species of buyer with their characteristics and asked some of our customers to pick which category they fall into – some needed more of a gentle nudge to decide than others LOL!

The Organiser

Lottery Winner Every agent’s dream. They usually work for a large store or garden centre so rarely ask the price and their YES pile dwarfs their NO pile! So rare we couldn’t catch one on camera, but they do exist ;-)

Tag Team Commentators

The e Tag g Te Team Team am

One of Neil’s favourites, similar to the Tag Team this pair are like a double act, giving a running commentary on each design as they come to them: “Do we like rabbits Shelia?” “No we don’t like rabbits Maureen.” “I’m not keen on that one are you are you Sheila?” “Oh no Maureen.”

This can be husband and wife or two colleagues. These creatures only ever work in pairs and go through the cards vocalising YES/NO at the turn of each card until they reach a double YES and that one’s then added to the approved pile.

Jill & Janet, Poppies Of Whalley, Clitheroe “We tend to know what we do and don’t like for the shop and Neil always says we make him laugh with our double act.”

Dad and daughters Jeff, Laura & Michelle, Brambles, Saltburn By The Sea “We are the Tag Team Commentators because we like to bounce ideas off each other. Although Dad always gets the last say!”

This buyer is very organised and knows exactly what they need to order. Often has stock cards and is also known to arrange your samples into the relevant categories before making their order.

Mike Baxter, Paper Gallery, Lancaster “I am very organised and always have my stock cards and sales sheets ready for my appointments with Neil – and I must admit, his samples are always more organised when he leaves then when he arrived. I do like to keep things in order!”

Lisa & Janet, Shackeltons Home & Garden, Chatburn “We’ve worked together a long time and tend to be in sync with what we do and don’t like. Sometimes we don’t even have to say anything, we just know by a look.”

Gill Hague & Linda Orme, Season’s Gallery, Sheffield “We work well together and I’d describe us as the Tag Team. Linda spends money like it’s going out of fashion but as I’m the owner and have a finance background I have to rein her in!”

Denise Hosker, Armitages Garden Centre, Huddersfield. “I’m most definitely the organised buyer. I know my customers and what card ranges they like therefore I can be very focused when doing my buying. We have a big mix of cards here and I always pick tasteful ranges. When an agent comes in I normally have a list as I’ve already done my homework and know what I’m looking for – but I’m always open to new suggestions.” @greetingstoday

The Story Teller

The Decider

The Observer

Easily distracted and you usually have to nip back to the car park a few times to put another ticket on. A fount of knowledge though and they usually have some interesting stories to tell.

These buyers have usually been in the business a long time and know in an instant if a range is right for them. They generally have quite a strong identity for their shop and either dismiss a range very quickly because they know it’s not for them or dive head first and do a large order as they definitely want it.

This buyer has been around a while and seen many ranges come and go. Therefore they have a lot of insight into what does and doesn’t work and are happy to share their views. If you’re looking for feedback on a new range these are your first port of call.

Marcia, Luvinit, Rawtenstall “Love my supplier Neil, we’re like peas and carrots as both love a chat with the exception that Neil isn’t easily distracted :-) He usually knows what ranges are right for my shop and I’m happy with the card suppliers he has introduced me to. Jane Rodgers, Gorgeous Gifts & Cards, nr Bradford “I am the story teller because I like engaging with my agents, reps and customers. I like to build family-type relationships with my regulars as I want to encourage them to return for part two of the story.”

The Designer

The Ponderer

Usually lays out the cards they’ve chosen on the table so they can see how aesthetically pleasing their choice is. Multiple cards of a similar design or colour are then usually swapped out for an alternative to create a better mix.

This species usually likes to be left a few brochures so they can peruse them at their leisure then often puts together their orders and then gives them to you over the phone or by email. These are the types of calls or emails that can really brighten up a rainy day.

Catherine, Willowgreen Home & Gift, Davenham, Northwich, with Reil Agencies’ Rachel (right) “I like to make sure the cards visually complement each other and that then creates a display that is inviting.”

Angela Walmsley, The Butterfly Rooms, Saltaire “The area where I’m based has a creative reputation with an abundance of artists living locally, some of whom supply the shop with their cards, so I’m very conscious of the aesthetics of the shop.”

Elaine, William & Valerie the dog, Let’s Write, Cockermouth “We tend to put a lot of our orders together between us, so we often work at home over the weekends thinking about what we want. This means we have our orders ready when the agents come to see us, and we can just add in any extras on the day.”

Suzie Bambridge, Hebe Home & Gifts, Upper Mill, “I have quite a specific look in my shop so I can usually tell fairly quickly if something is right for the shop or not.”

Vanessa Lowe, Croft Interiors, Stokesley “I have strong opinions of things and know the overall look of what I’m trying to create. I like what I like and I want the shop to represent my personal taste.”

Sandra Kinnell, The Balloon Tree Farm Shop, near York “I’ve been the buyer for this large farm shop for many years and I just know what my customers want to buy. With the experience I’ve gained over the years I know a winning range immediately and love to offer advice and help to agents and publishers.”

The Customate These have usually made the transition from customer to friend, the appointment always starts with a brew and a chat. These are the customers you can pop in to see when you’re in the area as it doesn’t feel like a sales call. Always happy to look at new stuff and you have probably seen them socially. so he even DJd for Natalie’s 21st, stayed overnight with us and introduced Mandie to his favourite tipple, red wine and Coke! Our variety of cards is the best it’s ever been thanks to our pal Neil. Love him to bits.” Mandie Garside & Natalie Pinder, Magpies Floral Art & Balloon Studio, Longton

Angela Reed, Bumblebee Cottage, Pocklington “This is definitely me! I like to look at my own leisure and not feel rushed or under pressure. I need to make sure it’s a product that really suits us.”

Charlotte, Raffia, Clitheroe “I have a clear image of what I want to offer my customers so am not afraid to voice my opinion if something doesn’t fit that vision. This doesn’t necessarily mean I dislike the product, just that I know it won’t sit well in my shop. For the record, when I love something I’m equally vocal so agents and companies know I’m genuine!

“We had a big change in our suppliers of cards and the new kid on the block was Neil who impressed us immediately with his quirkiness, knowledge and new ideas for our card sales. It wasn’t long before we built up a friendship with him, so much

Annabelle Favell-Potter, Don’t Forget, Huddersfield “This is definitely me as I always have a lot to tell Alina and we always have a catch up, a coffee and a few packets of biscuits!”

Neil Anthony (Reil Agencies, T: 07766 736254) and Alina Clark (T: 07906 792420) are experienced independent greetings industry sales agents in the North West and North East of England respectively. Each month they share their experiences of life on the road. @greetingstoday 15


Creasing up


● Modern Toss


The back of the shop idea seems to go down well

T: 01273 321718

ple ● Splim


● Icon Art

still holds its own, Off Beat and Lost The Plot ranges for example, even against their newer Colourful Minds range. The latter has some of the best-selling designs of the shop in it and really ride that thin line between clever and offensive very well. It’s particularly popular with the slightly older clientele that might find the really rude stuff just a bit too much, Buddy Fernandez are a much newer publisher whose cards I’ve been carrying in store from almost when they first started. Clear, plain and to the point, they go down very well for us. Ohh Deer and Kiss Me Kwik are two great publishers too, although I work hard to pick up on the designs from those that aren’t stocked in other stores nearby. That’s all due to my near obsession with finding stuff that’s unusual and not to be found anywhere else. ● Humour I like customers telling us they specialist – have found different and unusual Paul Jarman stuff at Creased – it’s what keeps them coming back, I think. A humour article from us wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Splimple, one of our favourite humour publishers with their British And Brokeish and Extremely Wordy ranges doing very well. One of their cards is actually our top-selling card in the entire store however, I couldn’t give that trade secret away easily so you’ll need to take a look through all their ranges and try to work out which one it is! So, all-in-all humour does really well for us – and I’m always keen to try to find the next new and best publishers and ranges within the humour section, so my stock selection revolves and customers can always find something new. That means I spend a lot of time trawling the web all year round, however I especially like this time of year as I get to go see the stuff in person at the trade shows. And, I guess there’s worse things to be doing in life than choosing the funniest greeting cards you can find.

● BSG Card

We’re just 18 months old now and in Brighton, where our single bricks and mortar store is, we’re getting pretty well known for our funny stuff – indeed, it’s becoming our speciality. In terms of web sales, they too are pretty heavily skewed towards humour cards and we’re finding that tourist visitors to our Brighton store, come back to shop online and they generally focus on the humour ranges. So, what’s popular? I certainly recognise the excellence and appeal of the humour ranges from publishers such as Danilo, UK Greetings, Hallmark, Abacus, The Art File, Great British Card Company, and Peartree Heybridge. Understandably they’re incredibly popular and cater for many different tastes, customers are guaranteed to find something suitable among the offer from those brilliant publishers. However, we do get away with some really edgy stuff down here in Brighton – and, not surprisingly, it’s becoming the same on the web. We do keep all of our cards which have profanity on them at the back of the shop – and a customer needs to walk right past our till point to get to it all, so we look out for parents with kids and give them a warning before the children start to read any of the rude cards. I think we get kudos and respect from that, more so than if we just put them top shelf so, if you can try that in your store, I’d say give it a go. It’s a good talking point with a customer if nothing else. In this section of the shop, you’ll find a selection of the best Modern Toss cards, particularly their Work range, alongside Icon’s Blush range, which has some great punchy oneliner cards and we have some great badge cards from BSG – not for the faint-hearted! Interestingly, the back of the shop idea seems to go down well on the web too, we’ve also had some good feedback on the fact you can filter out the rude stuff from our website at the click of a button, so those retailers with websites might want to consider doing something like that too. Quirky, clever humour takes up a lot of our display space. Some classic stuff from Paperlink

● Pape


ERE at Creased, around 70 per cent of our sales are humour related. We didn’t plan it that way when we started – we always thought we’d be a very mixed styles store, albeit we knew we had some great ideas around what type of humour stock we’d carry.

● Buddy Fe rnandez

As publishers are known for producing certain genres, retailers can become specialists in certain types of cards so who better to talk about humour than Paul Jarman, who runs Creased in Meeting House Lane, Brighton, as well as his online store, both of which have become famous for showing customers the funny side of things.


Bishops Waltham Post Office, Hampshire “Anything by UK Greetings sells on the humour front, Young At Heart by Great British Card Company and Frank By Name from Abacus are good too. The licensing of Avanti by GBCC could be interesting.”

Steve Haines

Coltishall Post Office, Norfolk “We do a little bit of humour where we have a few cards from Original Poster Company which always seem to sell well, and Abacus have put in their Frank By Name range and we’re aiming to add to that soon.”

Sally Stephenson

The Pencil Case, Cowbridge, South Wales “We have a few gentle humour cards from Alec’s Cards and Ruth Jackson Cards. Although popular, children’s age cards are our most important range.”

Kate Malt

Love Kates online store, “Humour is definitely our thing; we have a very wide range of funny-card titles. Most recently we’ve taken Rupert Fawcett’s Fred from Holy Mackerel and his antics are proving popular with our Facebook fans. We also stock Traces Of Nuts and Out Of The Arc from UK Greetings and they’re really popular too. Our plan is to continue growing our funny card section, which complements our Funny Card Of The Day which we feature on social media.” @greetingstoday


WTF is going on?! BIG things are happening in humour at UKGreetings as they build on an already market-leading portfolio with a massive new launch taking place this summer. Fresh from the Dewsbury Humour Lab, a collection of 250 brand-new designs across 20 collections is hitting the shelves, alongside updates of evergreen successes like Giggles. Expect plenty of surprises, awardwinning humour expertise and above all expect to be seriously impressed! WTF – Targeting the Gen Y Millennials, WTF is a fresh new alternative humour range that speaks to the hashtag-loving, meme-following, Instagramming, young consumer. With an eclectic, highly distinctive look and in an on-trend smaller format, it’s owl good! Tubthumpers – Witty typography humour in an asterisk format, Tubthumpers really pack one heck of a visual punch with a contemporary, fresh, bold and impactful colour palette. Modern lifestyle humour sits alongside a new take on classic friendship and birthday sends. The Filter’s Off! – Tapping into both the popularity of Instagramstyle photo filtering and the sort of irritating inspirational clichés that certain people everyone knows insist on sharing on Facebook. The alternative, and sometimes edgy, humour will strike a chord of recognition in anyone who uses social media and, let’s face it, that’s pretty much everyone these days. Giggles – The reason Giggles continues to be the UK’s marketleading humour range is that it’s continuously evolving and moving forwards, both through the inclusion of fresh and topical new gags and regular updates of best-selling designs. This summer sees the launch of a fresh new colour palette across the range to complement gags about the likes of Kim Kardashian and Bake Off.

T: 01924 465200


From classic to contemporary DANILO’S extensive range of humour cards features TV and film characters from classics like Only Fools And Horses to more contemporary ones such as Modern Family – they have something for all ages and occasions. On the TV front, Mrs Brown’s Boys is a toprated sit-com on BBC1 with Christmas specials already commissioned for a further five years, a movie that was No1 at the box office and even a massive arena live tour this year. She is without doubt the UK’s favourite mammy. Keith Lemon continues to appear in a number of series including Celebrity Juice, Through The Keyhole and his self-named sketch show. All are top-rated shows that have built a huge following of fans who can’t get enough of his style of comedy even if it can be a bit naughty at times. Animated BBC3 hits Family Guy and American Dad have new episodes added, and later this year Family Guy starts a new broadcast schedule on ITV2 too. Sky’s Modern Family has hilarious tales of the dysfunctional American family, while

the ageless classic Only Fools And Horses, featuring Rodney and Del Boy, appeals to the whole family. Tommy Cooper is still as popular as ever and Danilo’s cards continue to sell – just like that! Danilo are releasing a new card range to celebrate Mr Bean’s 25 years on TV this year, following his first fresh episode for some time as part of Comic Relief. Thunderbirds are back in a revamped version but this year the show celebrates its 50th anniversary and the F.A.B Danilo range of cards include ages and relation captions. Then there’s also the newest funny TV show that has gripped the UK – Gogglebox. Danilo are releasing cards and calendars to coincide with their continued Channel 4 TV scheduling. Films are also a rich source of inspiration, with the interest in Star Wars at an all-time high in the run-up to the new movie release in December. Danilo’s respectful humour brings a smile to the millions of fans of all ages.

T: 01992 702900

Storming start for caustic wit I DO NOT have PMT, I’m just a bitch! Or so says Murray, the recent hit from Pigment that has had a storming start since being previewed at Spring Fair and launched in April. Featuring anarchic, sassy and occasionally caustic wit from American humorist Leslie Murray, this range breaks new ground for Pigment. The initial collection has 18 open designs with splendid typography, clean white borders and punchy spot UVed illustration – expect much more to follow. Emporium is another series of vintage engravings from the motley crew of ragamuffins otherwise known as the Pigment design studio. There are 13 open designs printed on the finest stock with a strikingly handsome plum border and slate grey envelope featuring period lithographs depicting British decorum, lust, panic, sensible shoes and a very old joke featuring Tom Jones.

Ministry Of Chaps is a brand-new 13-strong Pigment collection of faithfullyreproduced authentic government information flyers for officially brilliant blokes. Need to know how to conduct yourself when faced with Mighty Beards, Ageing Ravers and Top Blokes? Look no further, these authoritive instruction guides offer idiot-proof advice (sort of) especially formulated by high level think-tank committees around the country. Free sample packs of these ranges are available.

T: 01423 520098 @greetingstoday


! r u o Hum Avanti join the roster GREAT British Card Company have a huge humour collection, with at least eight ranges already – and they’ve now added the Avanti licence to their roster. The photographic designs from the US humour specialists, including Tattooed Baby, Punk Elvis and the Pug, are now joining Humour Factory, Young At Heart, Look At It This Way, Eric The Penguin, Birdwit, Two Fat Gherkins, Histericals and Rodgie to give retailers an extremely wide choice. The core birthday humour range at GBCC with the broadest distribution, Humour Factory enjoys at least a quarterly update of three or four designs at a time which keeps the range refreshed and ready for market. An eclectic mix of looks and styles across illustrative and photographic material, you’re guaranteed to find something here you’ll like – good, classic mainstream birthday humour that’s never rude or suggestive. Some designs also feature attachments inside which allow for higher price points, and the look translates very well into occasions and relations sends. Aimed at a 50-plus consumer, Young At Heart proves there’s life in the old dog yet. Driving huge volume and belly laughs aplenty, this mainly 5x7in photographic range with snappy editorial continues to sell well. Created by Huddersfield legend Lee Fearnley, Look At It This Way is a hilarious age-defying female-to-female send, primarily 5x7in, that’s fast growing in popularity. Shopping, alcohol, age and weight gain are just a few of the core subjects tackled and one of the new designs recently featured in an American blog which went viral overnight. Look At It This Way is now also building a steady following in the States having been licensed by Design Design. Usually when ranges win the Henries’ Longevity award it means they’re over the hill and fading gently into the distance – not so with Eric The Penguin who simply refuses to go. Creator Chris Masters continues to inspire with his extremely topical gags and, as long as stuff happens in the world, Eric will undoubtedly cover it for birthdays, seasons, occasions and relations. Also by the prolific Chris, Birdwit covers the zany day-to-day happenings of a wide variety of feathered friends. A favourite design for the GBCC team is the classic Gone Wireless which never fails to get a laugh plus How The Little Buzzard Got Its Name. Two Fat Gherkins can be a little edgier at times and is maybe more nudge nudge wink wink suggestive, following a time-honouredphotographic-image-set-within-a-border-accompanied-by-greateditorial-approach. GBCC have done a lot of new work on TFG this year to ensure it continues to be relevant, including new humour writers and the hard work is being reflected in an upturn in sales. After a slow start, the digital graphic 5x7in range Histericals has picked up in recent months and is now making a good contribution to the GBCC humour portfolio. Laddish humour with pithy references to drinking ale, country walks, and the fabled boob mountains make this a bit more of an acquired taste but damned funny nonetheless! With 12 designs in the 6x6in Rodgie range, this is a slightly more upmarket offering at a higher price point. Black on white illustrations showcase a pared-back look and provide an alternative to GBCC’s other highly-coloured photographic humour.

T: 01452 888999 www, @greetingstoday

(e) (t) 0116 230 4197 (f) 01536 401 031 19


Knitting up a storm MINT’S unique and quirky style of humour has resulted in some fantastic, top-selling collections and designs. None more so than their market leading, play-on-words Knit & Purl, with its unique knitted characters, loved and enjoyed by all ages. The original Knit & Purl features fun captions such as Ha Pea Birthday, Fun Guy and Old Fart, paired with the individual knitting style of Mint’s Debbie Williams to make this a varied and exciting range of cards, every one sparkling with an encapsulated flitter finish. There are also Knit & Purl 3D designs as another choice of finish in this fun style and watch out for the brand new Ha Pea Times spin-off, appearing very soon. Another spin-off is the fantastic KnitWits, featuring hilarious spoofs of famous faces and movie scenes you’re sure to recognise, such as Harry Trotter, Dirty Prancing and Forrest Hump. These fab cards are finished with a glossy UV varnish and are blank for any occasion. HashGags is their hilarious new humour range, combining retro photography and witty Twitter-inspired punch lines. These brightlytinted images combined with cheeky gags are sure to raise a giggle, finished with spot UV varnish and are blank for any occasion.

T: 0116 230 4197

Rock their world THE Rock On range continues to rock recipients’ worlds with its side-splitting humour, plenty of wit, and full of puns. The range has gone from strength to strength since its release by The Art File towards the end of last year, with 12 new birthday and occasion designs added just over a month ago. These cards are finished with embossed lines and a super high-gloss spot varnish to set them apart from the crowd. The demand for Rock On has allowed The Art File to broaden the look, introducing the style to Valentine’s Day and Christmas 2015 ranges which are sure to get the message across - albeit with or without the pun intended.

T: 0115 850 7490

Funny in many ways CHARACTER humour is huge at Peartree Heybridge where their famous Camilla & Rose and Spring Chicken ranges have been joined by Clemency, Gardeners Weakly, Jacky Fleming, Katie Jean, Mollie & Snowball, Over The Edge and Pam Ayres. Best friends Camilla and Rose are feisty women, no longer young, but young at heart – it wouldn’t do to reveal their ages! Their lives, and those of their men, are depicted in a range of humorous open and occasion cards featuring the possibly autobiographical artwork of their creator Sarah Boddy. Clemency features photographs of elegant 1950s ladies in exotic locations while expressing sentiments appropriate to the 21st century. Followers of one of the nation’s favourite pastimes can relate to the hilarious exploits depicted in Gardeners Weakly. Appealing to modern, free-thinking women who defy convention, Jacky Fleming’s designs depict with hilarious insight the trials and tribulations of life for the younger woman with occasional swipes at the opposite sex. Recently launched, the Katie Jean cards reproduce original textile art created on a sewing machine using embroidery, appliqué and vintage fabrics. Drawn by Ruth Baker and Jayne Vowles, Mollie & Snowball designs show domestic and farm animals displaying human characteristics and expressing human sentiments. Animals are also featured in Over The Edge to reflect on human behaviour, sometimes in a slightly risqué manner. The Pam Ayres collection of 24 open blank cards have the funny verses of this popular and much-loved poet and entertainer illustrated by Chris Fothergill. And finally, for over 20 years the humorous open and occasion cards in the Henries finalist Spring Chicken range have been putting smiles on the faces of those coping with the stresses and strains of growing older.

T: 01423 876311


A perfect tonic BRAINBOX Candy are excited to announce the launch of their shiny new everyday humour range Grin & Tonic. This super tactile range of 12 designs have been tickled, embossed, spot uv’d and die cut for maximum touchy-feelyness – real terminology, look it up. A nod to 50s retro signage but with contemporary captions suitable for everyone, including that gin-hound Barbara in accounts.

T: 01702 716643 @greetingstoday


Not Tom, Dick, or Harry – it’s Frank and Larry ABACUS have been giving their customers plenty to smile about of late, they’ve not only introduced 10 new designs into their longrunning and extremely popular Frank By Name range but also introduced two brand-new humour ranges. The first is a sister – or rather a brother – range to Frank called Happy As Larry, which also features captioned retro photographic imagery, carefully hand-coloured, with the 14 designs printed on art board. Meanwhile regular Private Eye and Daily Mirror cartoonist Neil Kerber has created an exclusive greetings card range for Abacus of cartoons from his Basically series. The 7x5 range has 14 designs featuring cartoons dealing with life’s absurdities. Neil’s drawing style has been described as cute, warm, silly and at times weird; while his jokes have been known to bring on a full belly laugh in the reader.

T: 01638 569050

Social commentary from kids and Ronnie PURPLE Ronnie is famed for its observational social expressions, with a huge appeal of being fun, relatable and, of course, with a little cheeky humour thrown in. Gemma are launching a new-look style to keep the brand current and fresh, the 30 designs are a perfect hybrid of the heritage Ronnie coupled with current fresh, bright, vibrant colours. Also back by popular demand are the poems which have been brought up-to-date to ensure they are funny and relevant to today’s target market. The captioning is bold and they have introduced foil to ensure the cards feel special and have stand out in store. PG Live saw the launch of the everyday designs along with occasion, milestone and relation cards appealing to females and males. The cards are available across 7x5in and 9x6in sizes and are accompanied by coloured envelopes. The Wisdom Of Kids is the hilarious and multi-award winning humour brand created by Soula Zavacopoulos, owner of The London Studio and now licensed by Gemma with new bright and colourful 7x5in designs with a spot UV finish. Children’s innocent view of the world, their disarming honesty and a way with words that only youngsters have, make for some of the most amusing insights and often unintentionally hilarious remarks about life, love, the differences of the sexes and more that will have you in stitches. The Gemma range sees of everyday, occasion, milestone and relation cards appealing to females and males, accompanied by an eye-catching black and white chevron-effect envelope, and the launched is being supported with a card header and window poster POS.

T: 01264 388400 @greetingstoday

Generating chuckles and smiles BERNI Parker’s main range Ladies Who Love Life and the complementary Men Who Love Life are all about ladies and men in every day situations enjoying life that the majority of people will relate to in some way or other, the original art designs have her distinct style and gentle humour. The captions in conjunction with the design create a subtle nonoffensive image-related humour, there are lots of little details which remind people of their own experiences in those situations which generate chuckles and smiles. While not laugh-out-loud funny, these designs make you think about personal experiences producing longer-lasting smiles and generating conversation with friends like “do you remember that time when…” or “who does that remind you of…”, helping to share the humour with others and maybe bring back happy memories, so humour is not just about the belly laughs.

T: 01299 406098

New card ranges from Peartree Heybridge... Katie Jean vintage reflections on being a woman featuring original sewing machine textile art.

Face Books old photographs matched with old books along with appropriate narrative and ephemera. For more information on these and all our other humour ranges contact us on 01423 876311 or email 21


Something good for nothing HERE’S something you won’t have heard before – Splimple has a card range that is proving so popular, they’re giving them away. They really are, and with good reason. In January, Splimple released three new ranges – one a bit wordy, one a bit more wordy – and another extremely wordy, in fact so wordy that the brand name is “Extremely wordy greetings cards that are actually quite interesting despite going on a bit”, snappy, eh? Retailers have been quick to stock the Nuff Said wordy range and the British And Brokeish range that’s a bit more wordy – but, perhaps unsurprisingly, many have assumed the Extremely Wordy range is just, well, too wordy … so they’ve given it a miss.

This got Splimple’s Stuart Caldwell thinking: “The interesting thing is that, where retailers have bought all three ranges, invariably it’s the Extremely Wordy range that’s being re-ordered first. “To prove to retailers that our ridiculously wordy cards really do sell, we’ve decided to give away six free packs of the range every time a shop buys a dozen packs of each of the other two new ranges. It sounds over-generous I know – but once the cards prove themselves we know they’ll be re-ordered.” This offer runs until September – and is worth £84.60 through the till. What are you waiting for?

FIRMLY anchored in absurdity, The Argyle Sweater range from Redback Cards presents a surreal, hilarious and punny view of the world we live in. The range features dogs, porcupines, cops, bears, cavemen, mummies, prawns, cows and the occasional evil scientist. Funny, irreverent and smart, The Argyle Sweater has something for people of all ages.

T: 01386 872752

Thinking out of the box SHOEBOX is the new humour collection from The Hallmark Studio, offering a range of edgy cards that doesn’t mind crossing the line, taking real life and adding a pinch of irreverence. The bags of personality and colour make it pretty much impossible to miss on shelves, and it’s all supported with free and eye-catching POS. The captions are in a nutshell clever, sometimes sarcastic, often offbeat and edgy and always quick and funny. The collection will have new cards added throughout the year so that Hallmark can keep relevant and new humour coming into stores. Within this collection Hallmark also have a range the features stand-up comedians, focusing on great one liners from up-and-coming names, taking the words as the design. They’ve been working with a number of stand-ups, writers and, of course, Tweeters and have picked and tested the best jokes.

T: 0800 902 0900

Humorous history CATH Tate Cards, known for designs that marry humorous captions with a bit of history, have extended their Champagne range. The nine witty new designs in the occasions range celebrate milestone birthdays with a a sense of humour and include an 80th birthday card aimed at those who’ve completed their eighth decade with no intention of growing old gracefully and one for those who have reached 49 – plus VAT. The elegant early 20th century images on the cards are produced in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery.

T: 020 8671 2166


Anchored in absurd

T: 01803 712793

Dizzy with excitement LOVE From Lemonade are dizzy with excitement at the launch of their brand-new Head In The Clouds range for spring 2016. Full of fun with LFL’s signature cute and quirky illustrations, these designs are set to reach new heights, with bright splashes of colour and embellished with real wood hearts and stars. All printed on a good quality FSC board and wrapped in a cello with a white recycled envelope.

T: 07833 089098

Buddy’s been busy BUDDY Fernandez has been a busy man – aside from sampling scotch blends and open-minded go-go new hot tub, -go dancers in his n he’s also launched a new range of humorous sympathy, get we well and age-specific cards. And they’ve been going down a treat with their lovely retailers all over the UK. Which is nice. The man himself said: “We’re well happy to sneak a few cheeky Dad’s Day cards s into Tesco this season, to go alongside our presence in ngs Funky nky Pigeon, Utility and the Fenwicks Group. “We’ve “We e’ve ve never done anything on that scale and it’s been t tha something so mething of a learning curve for the whole team. A c ffew more and we e can retire tto Monaco. OK, maybe more tthan a few!”

T: 07541 171226 w


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Age does matter It’s often a numbers game with children’s cards as age is a very big part of the design with juvenile cards as are all the cute characters and licensed product that makes it a huge sale for greetings shops – along with the wrapping paper for those all important birthday presents.


Little Paperie, Ashborne, Derby

“Probably the best children’s cards for us are Juniper Tree, Pulp and Stop The Clock. It’s all their own style, we don’t have anything licensed. And we have the Ruth Jackson Pencil Shaving Cards – the little happy birthday with the boy and girl with the pencil shaving as their party hat goes well, and we have some of the Raspberry Blossom cards which are quite sweet. Age cards are quite popular, Pulp and Stop The Clock go well, and Lagom are rather nice – all the children’s ages seem to sell well although we do go up to 100 and get quite a few requests for 65 which not many people do so we have The Art File for that.”

Carol Baker

Pedlar’s Gold Swaffham & Fakenham, Norfolk

“We do quite a bit of Disney from UK Greetings which are selling through very well, and the kiddies’ ones from Jonny Javelin, they go well because they’re a little bit different – and people do like Jonny Javelin in general. We do a lot of age cards and we do a lot of the grandson 1st and 2nd birthday type all the way up to 16th, like the IC&G cards, and the named and relations and ages go brilliantly. Because people know that we do the special ages, they come in more and more for them. We also do the Cherry Orchard ages which are great and the Noel Tatt kids’ ones go very well too. I also do a bit of wholesale and try to keep the prices down because some families need to buy a few. The K2 ages go well again because they’re a good price point.”

Sally Stephenson The Pencil Case Cowbridge, South Wales

“As The Pencil Case is aimed at primary and secondary school-aged children, unsurprisingly, we sell a lot of children’s birthday cards. Being in South Wales, Welsh language cards are incredibly popular and our range of children’s age cards in Welsh have been a tremendous success.”



UGAR and spice and all things nice, that’s what little girls are made of – slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails, that’s what little boys are made of.

The old nursery rhyme, which dates back to the early 19th century, is just one version of what kids are about, fast forward around 200 years and there’s a lot more to them these days. Little boys still love getting dirty and into mischief and, thankfully, little girls aren’t very far behind as, thanks to emancipation and feminism, they’re allowed to climb trees and run around with their brothers, pals and cousins – and smile sweetly when they get caught! Princesses, robots, dinosaurs, pups, footballers and teddy bears or space rockets, pirates, ballerinas, dollies, fire engines and cute mice, there are so many different designs around for children’s cards and wrap. And one of the major common features is the age card, either as part of the design or on the badge. These are huge sellers to mark the growth of a child as well as milestone ages for adults, and they’re both an easy and thoughtful send – so long as you get the number right! The Art File have artist Sean Sims on board with their Happy Folk age cards which hark back to pre-Playstation days so are a great send, particularly for the littlies. Interestingly this isn’t the case everywhere as Greetings Today have been reliably informed by an Italian contact who hasn’t seen age cards in the home of pasta, and one publisher discovered when they were dealing with a licence for products owned by a European toy manufacturer. They had sent all their designs over for approval but the ones with ages on were returned with a query as to what the numbers were about – apparently age cards aren’t very common in many parts of Europe. However, in the UK, both age cards and licensing are extremely popular and Hallmark’s latest range continues with this happy marriage as they’ve recently released their Star Wars collection. And for Harry Potter fans the big news is that Hallmark will be launching a small range

featuring the young wizard and his pals this summer - something no good retailer will want to expelliarmus from their store. Danilo are past masters at licensed cards, with their new Paw Patrol range joining the hugely successful Minions, Batman, Everything’s Rosie, Felicity Wishes, Adventure Time, Fireman Sam and football designs, among many others. According to NPD, Paw Patrol is now the official number one new pre-school toy property and it’s also the top show on Nick Jr where rescue dogs in training Chase, Rocky, Marshall, Rubble, Skye and Zuma are led by tech-savvy 10-year-old Ryder. The pups are each inspired by a real-world job like fire fighter, police officer, and construction worker, so encourage their young fans to look at what’s going on in the world around them. These kinds of licensed cards and wrapping paper are a massive market that taps into the little ones’ interests and favourite characters as they grow up with television and movies. Gemma are also specialists, with toddlers’ favourite Peppa Pig, JCB and Jurassic World among their licences – and they also have their own Gem Fairies characters who are very popular with wannabe princesses. UK Greetings have a mix of licensed – including Big Hero 6 and Frozen – and in-house designs – such as their Buddies and Loads Of Fun ranges – while publishers like Cinnamon Aitch concentrate on their own characters which appeal to children with their cute Hello Sunshine creatures, and Laura Sherratt inspires with her drawings of pirates, mermaids, fairies and farmers. Meanwhile, Great British Card Company have combined art and age with three new sets of cards from artists Angela Rozelaar, Melanie Mikecz and Jenny Wren all with numbers on. As every child knows, when it’s a birthday there are presents involved so wrapping paper is also part of the package and specialists Glick launched a huge revamp of their Juvenile collection for 2015, with 12 designs of flat wrap, six ranges of gift bags and five collections of roll wrap with bright, colourful and fun designs from Paper Salad and Kali Stileman for those princesses and superheroes who like to party. And that just about wraps up this tale!

The nursery T rhyme is one version of what kids s are aboutt @greetingstoday


A range of ranges UK GREETINGS are proud to introduce a new range of nine designs from the fabulous Academy Award-winning Big Hero 6 film franchise. Big Hero 6 tells the story of prodigy Hiro Hamada, the inflatable healthcare robot Baymax and their hi-tech friends. The bold, bright new range focuses on the film’s main protagonists but Baymax is the star attraction. He’s loveable, caring, compassionate, polite, informative, and has the perfect voice for greetings cards. The futuristic feel of these fantastic designs mimics the astonishing scenery in the movie while the Japanese symbols, textbook style-grids and amazing cityscapes bring the cards and will inject energy to ards to life a your displays. d There are eight punchy 149x229mm general birthday and male relations designs available at £1.75 RRP, and a fantastic pop up design at £2.35. Bright Buddies is fun, colourful and great value for the juvenile market with the designs featuring cute, bright-eyed animals such brightas crown-wearing pandas, pandas monkeys in bowler hats and tigers sporting spo ti bow ties. The adorable designs are accompanied by fun, charming rhyming editorial – like “wibbly wobbly wishes” and “roar you’re four”. With 12 die-cut, single-fold designs in the range, all at code 30, £1.05 RRP, they’re perfect for the pennyconscious pocket. Designs from age three upwards have a special brightly-coloured birthday badge, and ages one and two feature extra sparkle with metallic flitter, UV and emboss. Loads Of Fun is a fabulous new addition to the juvenile collection at UK Greetings. Aimed at the toddler market these designs are perfect for boisterous little boys who like to play in the mud with their cars, trucks and diggers. This new range really makes a statement with die-cut shaping, embossed lettering, fun editorial, bold friendly design and cheeky smiles! The four 149x229mm designs have a £1.75 RRP and are available in general birthday and ages two, three and four.

T: 01924 465200 @greetingstoday

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Woolly pals spin-off KNIT & Purl Kids is children’s spin-off from Mint’s market-leading Knit & Purl range, redesigned to suit a much younger market. The woolly friends have been knitted in soft, textured wool to give a cute and fluffy appearance to the new characters for both boys and girls. Designs include ages one to four, with cute new characters appearing on each card – for little girls there are adorable bunnies, teddies and owls, while for boys there are puppies, monsters and robots. The Kids’ collection also includes four general birthday, starring kittens, aliens and unicorns, and all these adorable designs are available in a new 7x5in size, finished with iridescent encapsulated flitter and cello wrapped, each at a competitive 50 HH price point.

Happy nostalgic memories THE recognisable style of artist Sean Sims broadens his designs for the Art File to be admired by both adult and juvenile markets. His everyday range contains a selection of very bright and colourful blasts from the pasts, including the Rubik’s Cube and the space hopper, which trigger nostalgic memories from the era before games consoles and World Of Warcraft. From this, the Art File introduced a children’s range covering the ages one to six in the same style – which is certainly full of colour and fun! Happy Folk and Happy Folk age cards are available to buy directly, through their online trade website, or via a local sales agent covering your area.

T: 0115 850 7490

T: 0116 230 4197

Bright and colourful THE bright and colourful range of birthday age cards from Alice Palace go from one to 13 and are great because they are all suitable for both boys and girls. Their Dressing Up range of 12 cards features some wonderful characters including a superhero, cowboy, pirate, indian chief, onesie dog, cat and bunny suits, princess, ballerina, nurse, and racing car driver. All have been created with little ones in mind and Alice Palace also have four Christmas designs in the same style starring Santa Claus himself, a reindeer, penguin and cracker.

T: 01386 424977

Back by popular demand POPULAR demand has seen Real & Exciting Designs reintroduce the adorable children’s range Sugar. Featuring fun illustrations comprised of colourful shapes and photomontage, in a fresh, contemporary palette, each design is unique and a perfect juvenile send. The range features a selection of Birthday designs, with artworks ranging from rockets and pirate ships, to fairy tale castles and cupcakes. In addition to Birthday sends, the range also features ages one to six for both boys and girls. With the same fun artwork, the designs also feature a large numeral and are finished with iridescent flitter. These cute Age cards feature a variety of images that children love, including dinosaurs, birds, robots, cakes, fire engines and roller-skates. Each design is 125 x 175mm in size and finished with glittering iridescent flitter, wrapped with a coordinating blue or pink envelope.

T: 01223 207080

Patrol with the top pups PAW Patrol is the hot new CGI actionadventure series and perfect for Danilo’s juvenile collection as they launch cards, wrap and bags. The pack of six pups Chase, Rocky, Marshall, Rubble, Skye and Zuma are led by tech-savvy 10-year-old Ryder and are rescue dogs in training – the pups are each inspired by a real-world job like fire fighter, police officer, and construction worker. Following the TV show’s launch in 2013, toys were released at the very end of 2014


which have now been rolled out into all key accounts making Paw Patrol the official number one new pre-school toy property and it’s also the top show on Nick Jr. Danilo’s initial Paw Patrol range launched at PG Live and includes cards, wrap and bags, with 20 SKUs covering both boys and girl ages, relation captions and gift bags, plus roll wrap as well as sheet wrapping paper.

T: 01992 702900 @greetingstoday


Candifloss is very tasty RIVERSIDE are proud to introduce Candifloss, their brand-new exclusive kids’ range that takes a fresh new look at ages, with some really strong fun characters in both male and female sends. The playful and contemporary foiled illustrations, with a £1.59 RRP, are designed to appeal not only to kids, but also to the adults buying them. Candifloss has proved so popular in the kids’ ages that Riverside introduced captions in open birthday and relations and this addition has really strengthened their juvenile offering.

T: 01924 840500

Sunshine and smiles All set with key launches WITH key launches about to hit the shops, Gemma are one of the top children’s card publishers, and specialise in licensed product. JCB are the second largest construction equipment manufacturer in the world and celebrate their 70th anniversary in this year as well as being an evergreen children’s brand that targets two to five year olds and is going from strength to strength. Gemma have launched a range of mainly 9x6in, badged greetings cards covering ages two and three, a general happy birthday and male relations including son, grandson and the 7x5 nephew that’s unbadged. There’s also a complementary range of gift packaging including a large gift bag, two-wrap two-tag pack, roll wrap and a birthday pack containing a greetings card, sheet of wrap and a gift tag. Jurassic World is the fourth instalment of the Jurassic Park film series and sees Steven Spielberg return as executive producer. Appealing mainly to juvenile boys and adults the launch is supported by a multi-million dollar global marketing campaign with the film set to be a ground-breaking 3D experience. Ahead of the film launch on June 12, 2015, Gemma have launched a range of greetings cards for ages seven to 12, general happy birthday and male relations including son, grandson, brother and nephew, plus there’s gift packaging including large and extra-large gift bags, two-tag pack, roll wrap and the birthday pack. Peppa Pig is the No 1 pre-school property with an impressive 97 per cent of parents with children being aware of the brand which has huge appeal to both boys and girls among the main target audience of one to five year olds. Gemma are updating their core juvenile cards with a bright, fresh, colourful new style which shows engaging images of Peppa and George interacting and playing together. The new range, which will launch later this year, will include ages one to four along with a general Happy Birthday caption.

T: 01264 388400 @greetingstoday

CINNAMON Aitch’s Hello Sunshine range is a burst of bright, sunshiny colour and friendly, smiley creatures – just the thing for children everywhere! So, following on from the popularity of the boys and girls ages one to five, they are launching 10 new wonderful designs to extend the range. More colourful collaged critters, including an adorable little mouse and a patterned owl to twit twoo a happy birthday to you! All the C6 cards are individually cello-wrapped with a white or kraft-coloured envelope. Sold in sixes at £1.25 each, RRP £2.99.

T: 0121 773 6833


Room 1018, 10/F., Hope Sea Industrial Centre, 26 Lam Hing Street, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong Fax: 852 27960722 Email: URL:

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Very classy numbers JUVENILE is a big part of the offer from Great British Card Company and they have just released three new sets of cards from artists through their Almanac Gallery and Paper House brands. The Almanac Gallery have released a range of five square code II/60 juvenile age cards from the artist Angela Rozelaar, through Yellow House Art Licensing. Printed on a high quality matt art board, embossed and cello wrapped with a fun bright yellow envelope, these lovely designs feature fun animals in ages one to five on a white background with highly-coloured age numbers top right. Paper House have released a range of 12 animal juvenile 5x7in age cards from the artist Melanie Mikecz. Printed on a high quality gloss finish and cello-wrapped at code GG/45, there are six boy designs with a fun bright yellow envelope and six girl designs with a complementing pink envelope through ages one to six. All designs feature the age number top right and are bright, cheerful and fun while offering excellent value for money. In addition Paper House have also released a range of eight large number animal juvenile cards at 5x7in, code GG/45, from the artist Jenny Wren, through Advocate Art. Printed on a high quality matt art board and cello-wrapped with a white envelope, these eight great designs have lots going on and feature a large-scale number with the animals intertwined.

Ideal for young Jedi

T: 01452 888999 www,

Googly eyes and smiles SUNNY Smiles is the new range of children’s greetings cards that Laura Sherratt Designs are getting ready to launch at the upcoming Harrogate Home & Gift Show. The 10-strong range of 150x150mm birthday cards for young boys and girls has bright and playful designs featuring mermaids, pirates, dinosaurs and princesses to name but a few. Featuring fun googly eyes and cheerfully painted, wood button embellishments, all cards are made by hand in the UK as with all Laura Sherratt products. The designs come complete with a bright colour-coordinated envelope and cello bag, at £1.35 each trade, £3.25 RRP.

OVER at Hallmark the new for kids’ stuff has to be their fab age cards from Star Wars. “We found at our January roadshows,” said PR and Social Media Manager Tamsyn Johnston-Hughes, “that these were really popular with stores. They’re really the ideal cards for young Jedi. “My favourite card, though, is a new baby one. I love the softdrawn characters, and the fact it’s still got a cool factor while retaining real warmth. “The activity pack card from our Star Wars collection also has to be a huge hit, as well as the innovation with some fab extras such as glow sticks and 3D characters that you build. “I have to admit I think our stock of the latter has taken a battering as I’ve noticed them on loads of desks in the offices!”

T: 01538 384566

T: 0800 902 0900

Excellent testing ground

Quirkily handmade

SHOWCASE Greetings have proved an excellent testing ground for publishers keen to try out new ideas and among the 30 publishers on board they feature the talents of a number of children’s book illustrators. Caroline Mabey’s character Rufus the lovable dog appears in a series of books with his friend Bertie, and has proved so popular that American licensing giant Lawless Entertainment recently signed an agreement to produce an animated TV series, while Rufus greetings cards are exclusively available only from Showcase. Mel Johnson, of Cherry Pie Design, is the creator of Cardia & Casey, the cutest little mice in cards while Lime Green Lollipop’s Jayne Schofield and her range of kids’ age cards have both seen the benefit of working with Showcase. The retro style of Bonzo the Dog, one of the world’s oldest licensed characters, adds another dimension to the breadth of product available. Retailers can assemble their own range to suit their local needs, safe in the knowledge that regional and national chains won’t have the same product.

HANDMADE greetings designs from Mrs L Cards are perfect for children’s birthdays. The name of the birthday child is written above the number, in blue for boys and pink for girls with colourful and quirky things like footballs, cakes and toys or dolls, ice creams and balloon arranged to make the age and come with matching blue or pink envelope

T: 01394 271668


Pinch of cute BRAINBOX Candy’s new range PodBods features 12 designs perfect for those little people they like to refer to as munchkins. You know ‘em, they’re like us grown ups but shorter and they say more adorable things. Anyway, we digress, these square-cut cards come with accompanying kraft envelope, a pinch of cute and a dash of fun.

T: 01702 716643 @greetingstoday


Ignore trends at T your peril

HE greetings card industry is certainly a trend-led industry with the latest in imagery, colour and technique being uppermost in the designer’s mind when they’re creating their new collections. But, of course, it’s not just the design trends that are important. If a card is to be successful it’s critical those involved in its design and production understand how the target customer is affected by other things that impact on them every day and how this will colour their reaction to the card being created. We have seen big changes in consumer spending habits in the last eight years. Before the recession many people were spending significant amounts often on credit and, rather than choosing the most suitable item, they’d buy several options and make the final decision later. Now a card’s image and message have to be relevant to show how much thought went into the selection. In 2015 consumers are doing several smaller food shops a week rather than one big supermarket trip which means shoppers may easily be out on a local High Street at some point, not just in a larger shopping centre, which is a great opportunity for smaller independents to attract customers more often. In the card market there have been some significant changes over the last few years – the rise of Moonpig, personalisation and e-cards which may have reduced the number of cards being bought in a shop but at least consumers are still engaging in the process of sending a greeting and we may easily see them in a shop in the future. For me, more worrying is the increase in texts, email, Facebook and other social media which are taking away from card sending as a way of remembering an occasion for Generation Y. Our biggest concern should be the fact that very few of them even think of buying or sending a card and they’re our consumers of the future! Paperchase use social media a lot and have

Understanding the latest trends is vital – or is it? Henri Davis looks at what’s currently dominant in this trend-led industry and what both retailers and publishers should take from such information. 500,000 customers on their database who they email with key marketing messages every week. This leading edge retailers, who are so dominant in the card market, recognise them as their target audience for the future and how important it is to keep in touch and engage with them as they hope they’ll become card buyers and senders. The price of postage has definitely had an impact on cardsenders. We had the big price hike a couple of years ago and all of asudden everything was being sent second class. Now it’s seriously expensive to post a large letter so card designers should be very aware of the key sizes and likewise the rules about posting abroad which are not based on size but weight. In terms of design this year the ranges coming on to the market are inspiring. Humour is as important as ever and the treatment seems to get more diverse with words, words supporting image and sometimes just image all being very in evidence. Humour is the mainstay of publishers large and small with hundreds of new humour cards being launched at PG Live by the likes of Emotional Rescue and Cardmix (left). Then there are smaller publishers like Kate Guest, who exhibited at Pulse recently with some great cards

Shoppers S may easily be out on a High Street a att some pointt

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

which really made me smile like this Egg & Soldiers design (left). The original design is produced by inking up the artwork and rolling it through a press. After this, it’s scanned in and composed, in this case to produce the repeat of the soldiers, and then sent to the printers. It’s printed on a high quality, 300gsm Conqueror laid card, which gives it a lovely textured print. Likewise there’s the Old English Company’s Ben Treanor with Love You Deerly (right), where he has a simple silhouette with a quirky lovable message. Pulse was a great showcase for small card publishers this year with other print techniques coming to the fore including block printing and lino cutting. Sam Wilson’s work is a good example of this (left), she hand carves her lino cuts and prints them directly on to card blanks so each one is an original piece of art titled and signed to keep and frame. In 2014 letterpress was very dominant and, as a print technique, it got us used to eye-catching but simple one or twocolour designs. This year it has moved to another level and, at the National Stationery Show in New York, publishers were showing four and five-colour designs with foil added too. There was also a lot more laser cutting which we have seen on this side of the Atlantic – I wonder if that means it’s a trend that will be coming back here in 2016? I think it’s more likely that we will see the influence of the Olympics in Rio with lots of colour, energy and fun being reflected in the imagery and colour palette being used – we’re already seeing flamingos and strong tropical colours as themes. As both retailers and publishers, readers may feel some of the trends, in terms of market place, design or consumer, do not affect you or your customers but I’d suggest you take the time to appreciate them and understand their impact before you decide to ignore them. 29



ALK into many shops where greetings cards are a major constituent of turnover and the chances are pretty high that you’ll encounter slatwall.

In case you’re unfamiliar with this – and it’s really hard to believe you might not know it – slatwall consists of panels with parallel lines of horizontal slats that are built into mid-shop fixtures or surround the perimeter of a shop interior. Into these slats you can drop hooks that project at right angles, small bars that do the same thing or shelves. It’s the latter that are likely to be the predominant element in a card shop – narrow, Perspex-fronted shelves are inserted into the slats giving a somewhat military appearance with cards marshalled into rows to impose some sort of order on what might otherwise be chaos. The likes of Clintons have been using this shopfitting modus operandi for years, but the problem with slatwall is that it looks lacklustre in general, especially because very few retailers who use it have done anything other than take a neutral colour for the panels. This is so bland – which is rather the point. Shoppers heading into a card store are often in need of inspiration but plain, unadorned slatwall is probably not going to provide it. Instead, it sets expectations at the lower end of the scale and the shopper adjusts their budget accordingly. If you create something uninspiring, don’t expect premium ticket prices to follow – they won’t and it’s a fair bet some shoppers will decamp to emporia that provide the visual stimulus that should be a given. So what can be done to improve things? The first and perhaps the easiest option is either to insist on your slatwall – which is, admittedly, an

Symphony in slatwall Slatwall is the ground zero of greetings card retailers’ displays, , John Ryan considers the dilemma of how to improve a display system that’s just what’s needed but dull and uninspiring. efficient way of getting the maximum number b of card options out on display – being coloured. This can be effected either through talking to the supplier, or simply getting out the Dulux and doing the necessary. The trick is to create something that will complement the cards, but not distract from them. In practice this should mean avoiding pastels, something many have fallen foul of and which make a card shop feel more carpet showroom than a place in which to buy something to mark an occasion. Brights or dayglos are modish currently and, while this may sound attention grabbing at the expense of the stock, it is amazing how effective it is at creating an ambiance. Then there’s the matter of the slats themselves, which are unattractive so, if you can get the shelves and stock in combination to hide them, you’ll have done yourself a favour.

T This is so bland – which is he rather the point

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


There are a number of commercially-available slat systems that more or less do the job for you, but they tend to be pricey so it may be better and more cost-effective to take a DIY approach. Do these two things and your shop will look a lot better, more appealing and a shed-load more likely to shift stock at the better end of the price spectrum; it’s what Paperchase have known for an age. You may also win repeat business. Contrary to popular belief, familiarity tends to breed content and, if you can make your slatwall do the running for you, then things improve all round. Apologies if you feel that much of this is obvious – it is. Yet despite what might appear to be a truism, there are still legions of greetings card retailers that manage to make their shops feel more institutional than inspirational. Pause, think about the simple things and the more difficult task of selling may fall more readily into place. @greetingstoday

● Images: &



Listen up

Summer is just around the corner and, for the greetings and gift industry, that can only mean one thing – Harrogate! Home & Gift is coming up fast, here Greetings Today gives you an early look at the sociable show while the full preview will be in the July issue. GREETINGS & STATIONERY EXHIBITORS’ LIST (to May 31)

Adornment by Gilli Reeves – Stand DP2-36 April Rose Illustration – G105 NEW The Art File – DP1-32 ArtPress – DP1-13a NEW Blue Eyed Sun – DP5-58 Bookishly – DP315 NEW Caroline Gardner – DP1-113 Chequered Chicken – G71 NEW Chocolate Envelope – G-99 NEW Claire Louise – DP5-48 Clare Jordan – G33 NEW Clare Maddicott – DP5-37 Colcards – DP5-79 Coulson Macleod – DP2-25 Dandelion Stationery – DP2-54 NEW Deckled Edge – DP5-63 NEW Emma Ball – DP1-12b Frillybee – DP5-5 NEW The Handcrafted Card Co – DP5-75a Holy Mackerel – DP2-52 Jane Means – DP1-52 Jean Barrington – B19 Jelly n Bean – G31 Jessica Hogarth Designs – DP5-55 John Austin Postcards – DP5-67 Juniper Tree – DP5-16 Kate Guest – G101 NEW Katie Leamon – DP238 Lalabuds – G130 NEW Laura Sherratt Designs – DP5-43 Licorice – G92 NEW Lola Design – G169 NEW Love Your Nation – DP3-13 NEW The Lynn Tait Gallery – DP5-18 Megan Claire – DP5-59 Natural Partners – DP5-25 New Leaf Cards – G126 Olive & Belle – DP5-44 Oliver Preston Cartoons – DP1-90 Perkins & Morley – DP2-42 Photowrap – DP5-51 Pootle – DP2-36a NEW Popshots Studios – A19 Pulp – DP1-108 Quire Collections – DP5-60 Rachel Ellen Designs – DP1-31 Really Good – DP1-16 Rush Designs – DP5-22 Ryland Studios – DP1-25a Santoro – DP1-2 Showcase Greetings – DP5-29 NEW Simply Special – DP4-16a Sun Pennies – G83 NEW The Teapot Dude – G134 NEW Temporary Measure – G47 NEW Tomcat Cards – DP5-69 Tony Fernandes – DP5-66 Tracey Russell – DP5-38 Two Little Monkeys – DP5-24 White Cotton Cards – DP5-32 Wraptious – G160 NEW Wrendale Designs – DP1-97


ISTENING is a useful skill in any business and Home & Gift Harrogate organisers Clarion Events have definitely been paying attention, for the Greetings & Stationery Hall is no more. Having compiled the feedback from previous years, a brand-new DP5 pavilion will appear on the lawns of the Majestic Hotel for the 2015 edition of this popular summer trade fair where the majority of the greetings exhibitors will be situated, giving direct access to the much-anticipated sunshine. Many others among the 60-plus publishers already booked to exhibit have taken spots across the other Design Point pavilions with some newbies among the Design Point Debut stands in Hall G. Home & Gift Harrogate is the seasonal roundup of design-led and everyday gifts, interiors, jewellery and fashion accessories and greetings and stationery, with Clarion stating that more than 12,000 retail buyers attend. Acknowledged as one of the retailers’ favourite buying events, the uniquely-sociable show is a better way of doing business where e you can discover the first pick of tens of thousands of new season lines and more than 300 exclusive ranges, from thousands of brands. Other new features at the 2015 show include the Great Northern Retail Summit, to be held in the heart of the HIC on Monday, July 20, and focusing on the new world of digital and the re-birth of the Great British High Street. The summit will deliver an inspirational and educational programme with invaluable advice from renowned industry experts, designed to give practical advice to help grow your business. Hall G is now home to the Design Point Debut exhibitors, sharing with the talented Spotlight stands, showcasing design-led, innovative products and quality gifts that will set your store apart. Clarion Events have also curated a New Product Trail where all exhibitors have been invited to put forward their latest, freshest and most innovative products to help buyers identify what will be hot this coming season. The products will be highlighted with swing tags and stickers on the exhibitor’s stand. There’s also a Christmas Product Trail to showcase all those festive essentials as the busiest season is not that far away for retailers. Both the Eco Trail and Best Of British Trail are returning this year, with TV presenter and eco champion Oliver Heath expertly vetting the former, while David Nicholls, Design Editor for the Telegraph Magazine, takes charge of the latter. Passionate about buying eco himself, Oliver said: “It’s exciting to see that the sustainable product design market is evolving. In addition to low energy products, sustainable sourcing, fair trade, and up- @greetingstoday

The T h uniquely i l sociable show is a better way of doing businesss

cycling we’re seeing a marked trend in a human-centred approach where the ethos of health and wellbeing are moving to the fore. “I’m delighted these trends and more are reflected in the many products that make it on to the Eco Trail, so where better to find them than at this year’s Home & Gift show.” David commented: “One of the things I really love about my job is meeting designers and craftspeople who are passionate about their work. Maybe it’s because I’m not a creative type myself that I’m constantly blown away by the ideas, innovation and determination that I encounter. “That’s why I’m so pleased to be working with Home & Gift again this year to put together Best Of British, an accreditation for exhibitors who produce the majority of their work in this country. There’s so much talent in Britain, and such a wealth of skill sets – some cutting edge and others that continue centuries-old traditions. Best Of British celebrates this.” Finally, all work and no play really does make Jack a dull boy so the social side of Harrogate is very important. As well as finding your bestsellers and browsing the latest trends, Home & Gift is also about getting together with colleagues and friends. Clarion’s research shows that retailers who spend more than one day visiting the show have a more productive visit. So they are putting together a fantastic line-up of social events to help you make the most of your evenings in the beautiful Harrogate – fingers crossed the Pub Quiz introduced last year will make a welcome return, if it does Greetings Today will be putting together a team again, so get your thinking caps ready. 31


The British are coming

● Great British Card Company and Avanti Press ● Bright Art Licensing

A good time seems to have been had by all as the UK exhibitors across Surtex and the National Stationery Show returned positive vibes about both events in New York.


HE British contingent was small but perfectly formed at both Surtex and the National Stationery Show in New York, with a good event being reported. At the NSS, Hannah Dale led the charge, taking Wrendale Designs to their second American show of the year, with Timbergram, Caroline Gardner, Amy Beth Addison, Stormy Knight, Chase & Wonder, Nancy And Betty Studio, Jolly Awesome, Katie Leamon, Oh Deer and That Company Called If among the 15 UK companies represented in the 650-plus exhibitors over May 19-22. Hannah, pictured on her stand at the Javits Center in New York, said: “We launched Wrendale Designs in the USA at the end of last year, and the NSS was our second trade show, the first being Americasmart in Atlanta in January. “It was a great experience and the industry seems to be thriving with fledgling publishers, all very friendly and welcoming, just like the UK. “The show had a very different feel from Atlanta. The letterpress theme was very strong which we thought may be a problem for our cards as they’re quite different from anything else on display but it seemed to work in our favour and we opened lots of new accounts as well as making some good contacts. “We also spent some time with some of our US reps which was very valuable – it’s much more difficult to develop these relationships on the other side of the Atlantic.” Jillian Hildreth, US Sales Manager Caroline Gardner, added: “We experienced great success at the show. It seems people in the States are growing more excited about the line with each show that passes. I feel our exposure has grown tremendously in the past two years.” Giddy Paperie’s Lauren Yochum said: “We were able to expand their client list and increase where their products are sold geographically. An overall exceptional show for the brand and our calendars are already marked for NSS in 2016.” Simon Crook, President of Sales for That Company Called If, was pleased: “This is our first time at NSS and we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the mix of retailers attending and the number of buyers placing orders.” Gemma Broekhuis, founder and CEO of Dutch firm Milestone Cards, said: “The show was a great way to meet retailers who value paper goods. We usually attend gift and baby trade shows, and this is a different crowd. We loved being here and meeting anything from larger book stores to the smaller, paper-oriented gift boutiques.”

Jolly Awesome founder Matt Nguyen enthused: “The venue itself is incredible – the scale of the glass lobby with views of NYC as you look out fills you with energy and gives the show a sense of grandeur. It’s great for the exhibitors but even better if it get’s the buyers excited as they arrive to the show. I’ve only done one show previously which was Top Drawer earlier this year which was great. In terms of edit, size and branding/marketing I felt NSS was very similar, just slightly bigger. I was very happy at how we did and the show overall.” Avanti Press marked the completion of their licensing deal with Great British Card Company – GBCC’s Nick Adsett and owner Peter Reichwold are pictured with Avanti founder Rick Ruffner – with a win in the 27th Louie Awards, taking the title in the Halloween $4 & Below and Baby Above $4 categories. UK Greetings’ parent company American Greetings and Hallmark were also represented among the winners of the 59 categories, with the former winning one award and the latter four. All cards entered in the American Greeting Card Association’s International Greeting Card Awards Competition, were sold in the US during 2014, with Sunrise taking the $4 & Below Card Of The Year title and Ladyfingers Letterpress the Above $4 Card Of The Year winners – full details of the winners are on www. At the sister show Surtex, which specialises in art licensing, the Brits were also to the fore as student Lucy Harris, from the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, was declared the $1,000 (£760) grand prize winner out of the four finalists in the annual intenational Designext competition. There was also a larger contingent of around 30 from the UK among the 210-plus exhibitors, including Bright Art Licensing, Portfolio Select, MGL Licensing, V&A Museum, Inspire Art Licensing, Howard Robinson & Associates, Sooshichacha and Advocate Art. Hannah Curtis from Bright said: “Surtex 2015 had a great buzz to it, the artwork on display thoughout the show was by of a very high standard, the best of recent years which helps everyone up their game! “The Bright portfolios were hugely well received and, with record amounts of meetings and drop-ons we had a very successful show. The industry seems to be really picking up again with a huge positivity.” More images from both Surtex and the National Stationery Show can be found on the Greetings Today Facebook page.

● Caroline Gardner

The scale of T the glass lobby with views of NYC fills you u with energy y


● Jolly Awesome

● Portfolio Select ● V&A Museum

● Wrendale Designs @greetingstoday


Gift yourself custom Greetings shops these days rarely survive on cards alone, gifts are an important part of their offer. Isabel Martinson – who has just announced she’s stepping down as CEO of the Giftware Association after 15 years – writes for Greetings Today on the subject.


T’S NOT easy being a small, independent gift retailer these days.

Competition from big online players and major supermarkets makes it more important than ever for the members of the Giftware Association to differentiate themselves from their rivals. But they might count themselves lucky when they consider their greetings card counterparts who not only face these challenges but also the burgeoning e-card and rises in Royal Mail postage charges that must surely deter some people from buying a traditional card. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the greetings card market, but I do know that small independent shops that see cards as their principal business have benefited hugely from adding gifts to their retail offering. Of course, I appreciate that space is a huge factor when it comes to what it’s possible for the average greetings card shop to stock, but I know retailers who did so well when they introduced a few candles and small pieces of jewellery and fashion accessories that they miraculously found room to expand their gift offering and now regard it as key part of their business. That said, there are, of course, greetings card outlets which aren’t competitive and present themselves poorly. Retailers selling cards for special occasions such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day who don’t offer small, inexpensive gifts to buyers are missing out. What a boon for time-poor customers like me! Such items really can provide greetings card shops with that unique point of difference However, if you’re going to stock gifts, it’s important to keep abreast of trends regarding

Gifts shouldn’t G just be an afterthought for greetings s card shops s

even staple gift products such as candles and fashion jewellery. I’m sure you read the trade magazines and don’t just visit one trade show a year. After all, you won’t want to finish up with the same stock as other greetings card shops. That’s why it’s crucial to find the time to go to Spring Fair and Autumn Fair in Birmingham – and, if possible, other gift and home shows around the country too as well as PG Live – to discover gifts, jewellery, fashion accessories and pampering products that will help you to steal a march on your competitors. It’s forecast that, while inexpensive, practical gifts will continue to be sought after, frivolous items will become increasingly popular as consumers begin to feel more confident about the economy. And, while price points will always be crucial, there’ll also be a place – though maybe not so much on card shop shelves – for higher-end quality gifts that are a bit out of the ordinary. I’m sure that bath, body and home fragrance products that provide a little luxury and raise spirits will go from strength to strength, while candle companies will go on to create more stunning scents and beautiful products as they vie

for market share in this highly competitive arena. I sincerely believe gifts shouldn’t just be an afterthought for greetings card shops but an important part of their business development. Canny buying and the thoughtful positioning of carefully-selected gift items and staples can boost a card store’s bottom line by tempting customers who are browsing after making their intended purchase. So, don’t just buy in gifts for those special occasions. Self-purchase is a year-round activity – position that candle stand near the till, where you can also have a range of pick-up gifts for people of all ages. Above all, try to ensure that your products are different. From visiting trade shows you may already be aware of well-known gift suppliers, but do give new companies a chance too. They are the lifeblood of our industry so, if you like their products, then trust your gut instinct and buy them. Nine times out of 10 I’m sure you won’t regret your decision. And do check out the Gift of the Year awards each year – newly-launched products selected by a panel of experienced buyers. Word of mouth will soon get around the area in which you operate and you’ll broaden your customer base. Make your shop a place that people want to visit – not just for greetings cards but gifts, too!

Dynamic and mighty THE dynamic Dynomighty company are located in Brooklyn, New York, having been founded by an artist with $300 12 years ago as a magnetic jewellery company. They have since pivoted to become the original Tyvek Wallet manufacturers, giving people an eco-friendly option outside of leather wallets, and are celebrating the product’s 10-year anniversary this year with dozens of new designs and products. Their origami-folded Mighty Wallet is a staple at gift, museum and speciality stores around the world, and recently they launched @greetingstoday

travel accessories, women’s accessories, and a billfold. With independent artist designs, licensed designs, and original artwork there is something for everyone.

T: +1 212 431 3005 33


Really tweet for baby DISNEY Baby Hallmark also have the really tweet new range of baby gifting and gift wrap incorporating soft greys and yellows with silver foil detailing and beautiful little birdie e illustrations. The collection l lection offers a range ge of unique gifts to o help celebrate e all special occasions asions around the birth rth of a little one, from the he baby shower for the mum to be,, to the christening of the new arrival. rival The collection can be uniquely boutiqued with matching cards, wrap and social stationery to create

solution. a one stop shop solution The Tiny Wonderland baby collection combines lovely woodlandcollec illustrations with key insights themed ill memory keeping and recording to around mem gorgeously cute and highly desirable create go gifts tto give to friends and close family to celebrate the birth of a new little one. c The collection offers Hallmark’s most popular product formats as well as some brand-new additions which are all available in pastel pink and blue colour palettes.

T: 0800 902 0900

Moving into mugs

Perfect pick-ups BRAINBOX Candy now boast 28 distinct, design-led card ranges – wowzers! But did you know they also have a plethora of fabulous gifts ideal for card shops thanks to their size and convenient unit quantities? Their perfect pick-up gifts include fast-selling mugs, coasters, bookmarks, notebooks, magnets, tins and much more all falling under the sub-£10 price bracket. FSDUs and displays are also available maximising designs while taking up very little of that crucial shop space.

T: 01702 716643

Emerging talent CATHERINE Kleeli Cards, celebrated by the Home Counties-based House Of Cards retail group as an “emerging British card talent”, may be new to greetings, but the founder and artistic director has a wealth of experience as a professional artist. Catherine exhibits her art, including the distinctive animal collages on which her card range is based, Each print is signed and orders of three or more do not incur a carriage charge.

T: 07814 293155


FEEDBACK from greetings retailers on the huge success of their range of nostalgia cards, Down Memory Lane has led Cherry Orchard Publishing to branch out into the gift market. The eye-catching bold, iconic style of the card design is being extended to a new collection of fine quality bone china mugs made in the UK and available in a range of 24 designs in units of two. Showcased in display spinners in key point-of-sale positions, the mugs present a great opportunity for retailers to offer customers a chance to buy a stylish gift to complement their chosen greetings card. All mugs are available with boxes, and can be pre-ordered re-ordered now for delivery in December ready for sale in the new year. When it comes to those all-important milestone birthdays, people like to spend time choosing something special to mark the occasion with a nice personal touch, but busy lifestyles mean time-consuming shopping trips looking for the perfect gift can become quite stressful. So, independent retailers offering a one-stop shop op for a good range of carefully-selected affordable, quality cards and gifts can see their footfall grow as s consumers find all they need under one roof. Cherry Orchard MD Jackie Collins said: “Down Memory Lane presents events, images and facts from point. The om relevant years that are a real talking poi e card range has h been en more successful than imagined succe th we could ld ever have h i i d and d retailers approached us to ask if the product reta range could be extended into the gift market. ra “It seemed the perfect solution to add these designs to a gift range that can be offered as de additional extras at the point of sale add “Customers can be sure they’re buying quality “C gifts at an a affordable price and can find all they need under one roof. The mugs can be treasured long after the birthday has h passed.”

T: 01684 295500

Card and present in one EXCLUSIVELY designed by La De Da! Living, their greetings cards offer a huge difference to any others. Printed in the UK, these excellent quality cards come with a heart charm silver plated bracelet attached. complete w This is a great way for customers to buy a complete gift in one retailing at only £12.99 – and with 16 designs available there’s one to suit all occasions.

T: 01242 250653 @greetingstoday


It’s show time! Vegas is all about the show – and Licensing Expo is a show that’s perfect for Vegas with all the bling and glitz of some of the biggest brands around. It’s just the place for anyone interested in licensing to find out exactly what’s going on.


ET’S talk Vegas. Global experts with a keen eye for what’s hot, what’s not, what has the potential to become a global trend and what lacks that certain je ne sais quoi, will shortly be gathered in the US city to talk licensing. Licensing Expo, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, Las Vegas, from June 9-11, is a must-attend show for anyone who’s serious about the licensing industry and this year, the 35th event offers visitors more than ever before. More than 5,000 brands and properties will be represented with 482 exhibitors spanning various categories such as characters and entertainment, brands and agents, fashion and, art and design. And organisers Advanstar are hoping for an increase in the 15,702 visitors who attended the 2014 show which was five per cent up on the previous year with a 33% increase in retail attendance. Trevor Jones (pictured), Danilo’s Licensing Director, is a regular visitor having attended since before the show was moved from its previous New York home, and the firm has licences for many top brands, including Doctor Who, Minions, Thunderbirds and Paw Patrol. He said: “If you’re involved in any aspect of licensing then Vegas is the place to be. Licensing Expo is a vibrant marketplace where new projects are announced and deals are done – so I’ll be looking for the new brands that will be best sellers in the coming years.” BBC Worldwide’s Head of Merchandising Clare Piggott added: “Vegas is the place where licensors and licensees from around the world come together – this makes for an exciting and commercially rewarding week. It’s an opportunity to talk market trends, network with key influencers and forge new partnerships.” Trudi Hayward, SVP Head of Global Merchandise at ITV Studios Global Entertainment, said the show gives retailers an opportunity to see what’s causing a stir in the industry and gives them a steer on what they need to look out for. “Trade shows such as Vegas are the ideal setting to engage with brands in the early stages of their development, giving partners a chance to get involved sooner, rather than later, in the licensing programme,” Trudi added. Meeting with key industry personnel is key at Vegas but just what are licensors looking for? BBC Worldwide’s Clare said: “We look for fresh ideas that bring new audiences to an established brand and products that will excite and delight our core fans. At the heart of this, we look for anything that will extend fans’ enjoyment of their favourite BBC shows. “We are also always on the lookout for strong strategic partnerships that commercialise our latest brands, be they for pre-schoolers, teenagers or adults.” “Of course our established global brands Doctor Who, Sherlock, BBC Earth and Top Gear will also be a main focus.” For ITV SGE, Trudi said they are preparing for the roll

IIt’s a vibrant marketplace where projects are announced d and deals done e

out of Thunderbirds Are Go consumer products which is something retailers are getting excited about. The opportunity to liaise in a real and meaningful way with thousands of licensing professionals is one of Vegas’s real draws, another is the social plus Advanstar place huge emphasis on education too with the popular Licensing University, which begins on Monday, June 8. This year will see a series of round-table events, key talks on relevant topics such as art licensing, law and more will also be discussed, and this year’s Big Interview will be with YouTube sensation Bethany Mota on Tuesday at 2.30pm. In a first for Licensing Expo, five iconic British institutions – The Royal Ballet, Imperial War Museums, Natural History Museum and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust – will exhibit under the collective British Heritage banner. Jessica Blue, vice-president Licensing Expo, said: “As the former director of Brand Licensing Europe and a Brit myself, I’ve grown up with these brands. “I‘m thrilled that licensees from the US and around the world will be introduced to these truly unique institutions and the breadth of opportunities they present. “We’ve been working for years with the heritage sector to develop their presence at BLE in London, and now is a great time to do the same at the Licensing Expo and on the world stage.” @greetingstoday 35


See e the light ight The light and airy spaces of London’s Olympia are the new ho home ome e f for o Pulse or Pulse, the design-led show from Clarion Events where exhibitors and buyers gathered for the revamped event from May 10-12, And, as many reveal here, they enjoyed it so much, they’re already planning for the 2016 edition which is scheduled for May 15-17.

Laura Mackay, Paperchase, London “The year has been more or less pretty good. I think in the rest of the world it’s been terrible but for us it’s been good. We’ve been quite lucky. We’re thinking from a design point of view that things have been very similar over the last couple of seasons. We’re waiting for things to move on a bit, but things are selling across the board.”

Liz Temperley Blank Inside “The show has been really good. It’s my third Pulse so I’ve got to move out of the Launchpad area next time. I’ve had some really good orders, nice big shops and lots of lovely independents visiting.”

Paul Patel Mirkay, New Forest, Hampshire “It’s been an interesting year, very challenging. Lots of opportunities and exciting times ahead. Since the General Election it’s almost like everyone has breathed a sigh of relief. We can now make decisions and decide what we want to buy. I’m in greetings cards and stationery so that’s always been very strong. We’re lucky we have a loyal customer base.”

Jo Drake, “Business wise things have been very good, made a lot of orders and had quite a lot of visitors and a lot of people had said they need to visit us afterwards. Had quite a few decent buyers too, one in particular for a good-sized multiple is definitely interested.”


Veronica Dearly Veronica Dearly Publishing “This is only my second trade fair and it’s been ok, we’ve had some orders. Monday was really good although it was really hot and now I’m cold today! This is a lovely building though.”

Vanessa Kerr & Laura Wells Ohh Deer “Today (Tuesday) was really good, we’ve seen a lot of current buyers and had some big customers come on as well. It’s a nice hall. We’ve showcased our new gift and stationery product and had good feedback and a good response to our new cards as well.”

Daphne Diamant, Purpose & Worth Etc , with GF Smith’s Mark Jessett “It’s been going well, better than last year and it feels good. The venue feels fantastic and I’m hoping that the follow up is going to be good and I’ve had some good on-stand orders too.”

Henrik Dybdahl, The Dybdahl Company “I’m one of the only non-UK publishers here, I’m from the Netherlands and am a heritage adventurer – part of the fun is finding all the stuff and giving it a new life. I launched my prints and cards here last year. It’s been good, definitely worth coming over.” @greetingstoday


Emma Gordon & Amelia Wray, The School Of Life, London WC1N “It’s been a busy year so far. We’re preparing for around September time ready for Christmas, so we’re planning products for then. We’re noticing lots of fluoro colours, bright, clean and inspiring colours. People are more prepared to spend more money on a high-quality item. We sell stationery predominantly and that seems to work for us.”

Liz McMaster, Alice Palace “The London wrap is new for the show and the birds too. We’ve had lots of interest and taken some good orders on it. We’re really pleased.”

Dominique Fracasso-Stroud La De La! Living “It’s been a good show, we’ve had lots of people on the stand. We only do a few cards, the silver-plated necklace on a card is a really good seller, and the carnival wall lights have had lots of people after them.”

William Alladice, Archivist “Monday was as good a day as you could hope to have, today (Tuesday) is quieter. We will rebook for next year. The show looks fabulous.”

Tracy Kemp, Vintage Playing Cards “They’ve mixed everyone up rather than having the cards all together, which I think is better. It’s nice because we have a mix of cards and gifts and we’re in a good position. All the main buyers have been here.”

Stephanie Davies Stephanie Davies Designs “It’s been a good show, they’ve revamped it and it looks really fresh and feels lovely and fresh too. I love being at Olympia, it’s beautiful.” @greetingstoday

Kate Guest, Kate Guest Cards “It’s been really good – better than last year. We’ve had nearly 30 orders and some really great leads. It’s a great spot and people are looking for stuff this time of year that’s different and fresh.”

Catherine Brown Forever Handmade Cards “The wooden cards are the newest product, we have etched designs and printed, and we’ve also put them on to glass as a new line, which gives a 3D effect that a lot of retailers are buying for their window displays. We’re constantly evolving.”

Will Taylor, Ruth Jackson Pencil Shaving Cards “Ruth makes everything, she even mixed the colour for the stand because she couldn’t find the shade she wanted! It’s a nice contained show which is nice, and it’s been busy. We’ve done 50-odd orders and it’s nice it doesn’t clash with PG Live so we can do both.” 37


It’sIt’s not hard to see why. Sneaking off the stand for a look around, you can be dazzled by the number and variety of beautiful things on show. It’s like a cross between a poncey farmers’ market and a department store. Umbrellas! Earrings! Handbags! Soaps! Throw pillows! Artisanal drinks cabinets! Scarves made from pure yak hair, hand knitted by Tibetan nuns! We drift from stand to stand, pining over burr elm salad spoons and jewellery made from clock parts, and can’t help but envy the buyers who stride around choosing stuff out of this Aladdin’s cave. Afterwards we stand chatting about what we’d buy if we had a shop, and how nice it would be to fill it with lovely products. And this is why, in reality, I’d make an absolutely terrible buyer. Because I know, in my heart, that I’m not really picturing these gorgeous things in my shop. I’m picturing them in my living room. If I ran a shop, it’d be full of squirrel cage lightbulbs and novelty parasols, and I’d be bankrupt within a week. There are plenty of buyers who say things to me like: “Well, I like it, and I just buy stuff I like and hope my customers like it too.” It clearly works for them, too, so I reckon they’re the lucky ones – the ones whose personal taste and the needs and taste of their custom base align perfectly. Because you also meet a lot of people who, while they themselves like your designs, know that their customers won’t. Generally people are pretty up front about this, telling you straight away: “I absolutely love it, but it’s just not right for my customers.” I hear this a lot from the owners of village post offices in particular, who are often unexpectedly groovy people themselves, but are resigned to an audience of mostly old ladies called Ethel coming in to collect their pension. It’s nice to have people be so straightforward with you – there’s no point me trying to flog My World to someone who won’t be able to sell it, no matter how much they may want to – and they

Ethelready Indie shops that cater for little old ladies don’t get the chance to stock interesting and exciting cards and gifts because their clientele won’t buy it, but smaller publishers have a bigger potential customer base, as Sarah Porter examines. clearly know what they’re talking about. This has to be one of the real skills of buying – not just having an eye for trends, colours and products, but being able to divorce that from your own personal taste. It must be difficult looking at a product you love while judging dispassionately whether your customers will buy it – or vice versa, to go for a product you personally don’t like because you know your customers will. It’s something we’ve had to get better at when it comes to producing new cards and ranges. When we started My World we had absolutely no design brief other than a vague desire to do something different – we just came up with ideas we thought were good and had a crack at them, with no real consultation of the market or research into what sold well. Three years later we’re starting to get to a point where we know what’s popular and what isn’t, and where there might be a gap in the market we can take advantage of. I suppose, as with buying, this is something that

● Image:


T SOME point during every single trade show we attend, either my colleague Andrea or I – usually both – will say something along the lines of: “Ugh, I wish I could be a buyer!”

I’d make an absolutely terrible buyer… I’d be bankrupt p within a week k

My World’s erudite Creative Director Sarah Porter has been elected to the GCA council. She’s known as Frankie outside work and blogs about the trials and tribulations of being a relative newcomer to the world of greetings card publishing at blogs/news as well as compiling the regular My World newsletter. T: 0191 305 5165


comes with time and experience. Even so, the primary deciding factor over each new design is still ‘do we like it?’, and this is probably where indie publishers do have an advantage over some indie buyers. Our potential customer base includes every card retailer in the country, rather than just our immediate area so we don’t have to worry about appealing to Ethels. We just design stuff we like – and hope our customers like it too! @greetingstoday


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

Jacqueline Stanford, Business Director, Shipwreck Museum, Hastings

WE’RE CLASSED as an independent as we’re a charitable trust and all the profits from the shop go towards running the museum. The whole idea is that anyone can come to the museum without having to worry about the cost. We’re a very unusual museum in that we own shipwrecks – we have the famous one, Anne, one of Charles II’s restoration warships – and, through museum director Dr Peter Marsden and his connections to the Museum Of London we’re able to secure artefacts we wouldn’t have be able to otherwise. Next year we’ll have been going for 30 years and they used to have an entrance fee but, after I came on board in 2008, we changed it so the shop pays for the museum. I’d moved from London to Winchelsea Beach and set up a charity for an old lifeboat house there through which I met Peter. Because he knew I was a business consultant from London, he asked me to look at the shop. The lady who ran it was lovely and I do wish she’d stayed with us, but there was too much stock which wasn’t relevant. We sold it all off and went completely nautical, and did the same thing with the card stock too. Now we get a lot of people come here who treat it as a card shop and they come to us time and again. I now run the museum and we have a fantastic shop manager, Denise Drury, who is wonderful, and an amazing team of volunteers. Denise and I discuss stock and we have the same views, we are very careful what we buy as we don’t want stock in here that we can’t sell. How important are trade shows to you? I don’t tend to go to the trade shows because they seem to be in Exeter and Birmingham and different places and it’s all down to time. I spend much of my time in conferences to do with the museum so don’t really have time to get to the shows. They’re very useful and I think they are incredibly important for people to see new things. The Museums Association have an event where they have some suppliers. I’ve been there and found some. I use Greetings Today more than the trade shows because I can look at the magazine when I have a few minutes. How does social media and the internet feature in your business? I have a fantastic volunteer, Phil, and on a regular basis he puts up stories on Facebook and Twitter and takes photo of our artefacts, he themes it so he may do food, for example, and look at food on board ship, and things like plates and artefacts connected with food. We don’t do much for the shop specifically, if we have new lines we might tweet, but we tend not to because we want to tweet on the artefacts and bring people in through the museum. They’re often quite surprised when the see the shop and then will buy something here.

We do sell over the internet though, often people will come in the shop and go home, then ring us to say they wished they’d bought an item so we send it to them, quite often it’s a big parcel they order. We have lots of customers who come back year after year. Currently which is your top-selling design, publisher or genre? The cards are a big thing for us. it’s about 25 per cent cards, 75 per cent nautical gifts. We sell

lots of Milkwood cards, they’re a very big supplier for us. We only have a few birthday ones, it’s mainly blank designs because we’re not a card shop so I decided it would be silly to get in get well or moving house, that sort of thing, but I do go for designs that can be used for those occasions. I do find that you get some really good designs and then the next season they’ve stopped doing them – I know you’ve got to change and move it forward but it strikes me as odd that good sellers are stopped. If you had £1,000 to spend on improving your shop, what would you spend it on? There’s not much I can do without making the shop smaller, we do have to store stock which takes up space. I don’t like to have too much in stock, I like it to be out on display on the shelves and order little and often to keep up with demand. @greetingstoday

I’d probably do something on the display side to help show things better. Which publishers do you stock in humour and how big is it as part of your offer, and on the gifts front, who do you deal with? On humour I go for Milkwood again, they do some low-key humour. It’s gentle and subtle and people enjoy that because obviously we’re aiming at an older customer. The older woman buys a lot of cards here – I don’t think I’ve ever sold a card to a younger customer, it tends to be over 30s at least. We did stock Holy Mackerel which sold well but we stopped because we were trying different people – I think it’s time to look at them again. Neil Meachin is an artist from Rye near here, Satin Drew are quite zany with really good arts and do wrapping paper too which we stock a little of – a lot of people buy them as posters as the designs are so nice. Tracey Brown runs Oakwood Art and does some lovely watercolour cards. She’s a nurse at the local hospital and absolutely marvellous. We’re 75 per cent gifts and stock SDL, Nauticalia who are brilliant, a bit more expensive but very good quality. The shop is about quality, if something comes in and it’s not painted properly I’ll reject it. It’s a big thing with us not to sell something the customer could be disappointed with when they get home. Stock4U are new to me since last year, their product is all nautical-themed. Last year I introduced fudge from a company called Boynes, they do these packets of fudge that are really nice and they personalise it so ours say ”A gift from the Shipwreck Museum”, which is great. A big thing for me is using local artists and we have a fantastic supplier, Maggie Vora from Hastings, who makes ceramic boats and driftwood boats exclusively for us. I have people coming down from London to buy them, and our fossils are very popular and very reasonable. Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? It would have to be the Milkwood ones. They’re colourful and jolly and I like their lines. 39


Publishers are right at the heart of the greetings industry, designing and supplying cards for everyone to enjoy. Greetings Today chats to a few to hear their opinions on issues of the day. Mile Partridge, Director Peartree Heybridge

Chris Houfe, Sales Director, Great British Card Company

T: 01423 876311

T: 01452 888999

How would you sum up the attitude in the greetings card industry at the moment? Guarded optimism.

How would you sum up the attitude in the greetings industry at the moment? There seems to be a quiet confidence around with a reasonable spring behind us, although as always there are some winners and losers. Great product and great service is key as always.

Is there any occasion or category that is currently seeing growth? We only offer humour so we’re in no position to comment on the market as a whole, but we see plenty of demand growth for cards that put smiles on faces.

Is there any occasion or category that is currently seeing growth? Our current efforts are developing our contemporary offer and we’ve just launched some beautiful handmade captions shortly to be followed by three blank and birthday ranges, with additional captions hot on their heels. We’re coming up to the summer now, is that a quieter time for the greetings industry or are you frantically working on something? There never seems to be a quieter time for publishers! When I first got into the industry there seemed to be quieter times which allowed you to catch up but, these days, it’s full-on for 12 months of the year.

We’re coming up to the summer now, is that a quieter time for the greetings industry or are you frantically ind working on something? wo It’s I certainly not a quieter time for us! I’m personally frantically frantically working on how to get a fr quieter time! q What’s currently trending or W off interest interes st in in the t Humour Cards area? We detect continued and growing interest in nostalgiabased humour cards which take a look back in time and poke fun at the lives of our parents and grandparents. Describe Peartree Heybridge in three words. Happy, cuddly and lovely.

What’s currently trending or of interest in the Humour Cards and/or Children’s Cards & Wrap areas? Like all genres, we’re finding a real diversity in trends. Our well-known brands of Eric, Humour Factory and Two Fat Gherkins go from strength to strength. Look At It This Way is one of our newer ranges, aimed at a female-to-female send, and has seen a real surge in sales this year.

Describe Great British Card Co in three words. Experienced, creative, friendly.

Becky Martin, Creative Manager, Riverside Plus

T: 01924 840500

How would you sum up the attitude in the greetings card industry at the moment? Everyone is looking to push the boundaries and do something different. With the success of the budget retailers, publishers need to work harder to make their range stand out and for customers to pay that bit extra. With the rise of e-cards and personalised cards, people are looking for a really special handmade card, with many people preferring to purchase a quality card instead of a small birthday gift.

you frantically working on something? Now the major seasons have been covered, we’re back on to designing for Christmas! We’ve just launched a new premium trendy range - Neon Ink, using fluorescent inks to give a really punchy look. This is a great time to launch as after spring seasons, we need something fresh to get those extra sales.

Is there any occasion or category that is currently seeing growth? We’ve just expanded Bella, our handmade range, due to continued success in this premium area. We’ve also seen an influx in our Welsh cards, as interest in other language and cultural cards are growing.

What’s currently trending or of interest in the Humour Cards and/or Children’s Cards & Wrap areas? Licensed is always popular for children’s cards, and we have a wide selection. What’s also been noticeable is a refresh of kids’ ages, with some really strong quirky characters. Our new kids’ range Candifloss hits this mark. Humourwise, typography is still strong, with quirky new characters also making an appearance.

We’re coming up to the summer now, is that a quieter time for the greetings industry or are

Describe Riverside Cards in three words. Flexible, committed, diverse.

40 @greetingstoday

Artistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; directory If you are an artist/cartoonist/illustrator/verse writer or image library and would like to be part of this feature contact the advertsing department on 01442 289930 for more details. @greetingstoday 41

PRODUCT & SERVICES DIRECTORY GREETINGS CARD PUBLISHERS & PARTY PRODUCT SUPPLIERS To advertise To call advertise Ian MacFarlaine call 01442 on 289930 01442 289940

Reach a wider audience Should smaller greetings card stores and publishers sell via an online marketplace? That’s the question posed by Adrien Nussenbaum, an online marketplace expert and co-founder of Mirakl, which supplies marketplace software to some of the world’s biggest retailers.

ANY retailer wants to reach as wide an audience as possible, maximising sales opportunities and bringing their products and services to new markets.

T: 0844 357 6091

A great opportunity to maximise mis sales s

With the on-going rise of online marketplaces, is this something smaller greetings cards stores and publishers should be considering as a way of increasing sales? I believe it is because online marketplaces are an enormous growth area in many sectors of retail and bring together buyers and sellers under one umbrella brand. Amazon Marketplace, which accounts for more than 50 per cent of products sold on Amazon, is the most famous example, but many general retailers now have their own online marketplace. They work for all involved – retailers have a new e-commerce channel, consumers that benefit from increased choice and more competitive pricing, and sellers can showcase their products to a much broader audience. But what are the challenges involved and what should they have to consider? Two of the most successful specialist online marketplaces are and where they sell a variety of items, many hand-made, and it shows there is undoubtedly an opportunity for card makers and smaller card stores, with thousands of designs sitting alongside its numerous other items and products. A number of specialist greetings card marketplaces have also launched, is perhaps one of the best known, offering customers a variety of carefully selected cards for all occasions and in many different styles. So a marketplace can be a great opportunity to maximise sales, for card

designers and smaller greetings stores of all types and at both ends of the price spectrum. Here are three tips to get you started: Choose the right marketplace There are so many online marketplaces for card stores to consider. Ensure your products are complementary to the overall retailer, otherwise you’ll be viewed as an interesting curio, rather than serious seller. Also pick marketplaces with a solid technical platform and the right tools to ease catalogue integration and listings management, and one that ensures quality of service. Make your range stand out There will inevitably be other cards listed, which could be similar to yours. So good quality photography, to best showcase your range is essential. Images should fit in with the overall style feel of the site and main retailer brand. Make sure people can find your cards Most businesses are aware of the importance of search engine optimisation (SEO), which is just as vital with online marketplaces. A seller should ask their marketplace account manager what would be an efficient title on that particular product category, both in terms of grabbing attention and SEO. This applies to both a general marketplace, selling a variety of products, as much as it does to a specialist. So if you have a range of birthday cards for grandparents for example, make sure it is labelled as such.

● All opinions expressed in Your Shout are the personal views of the named writer. We can’t promise to print everything we receive – especially n ot if it could land anyone in a libel court! – but we will read through everything submitted for consideration. If you have something to say please email your thoughts to

42 @greetingstoday

A selection of this month’s latest releases

spotlight ● AMSCAN International have extended their latex balloon offering to include a new range featuring a vibrant four-colour print. There are five licensed designs featuring major Disney and Marvel properties including Frozen, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Disney Princess and Spider-Man, which are in stock and available now to retailers within the UK. Each pack of the helium quality 11” balloons provides a mixture of coloured latex balloons combined with up to three different character pose designs. Also added to the latex collection are 14 new four-sided print designs featuring popular licensed characters from pre-school favourite Peppa Pig to the action-packed Marvel Avengers. The new balloons can also be coordinated with Amscan’s range of licensed foil balloons by Anagram, in addition to their broad selection of tableware, decorations and party accessories to create a complete theme.


T: 01908 288500 ● CARD Connection have announced a range of Disney cards is now exclusively available on consignment, which their network of franchisees can deliver to retailers throughout the UK. “The designs feature favourite Disney characters, with a broad appeal for boys, girls and grown-ups,” said Michael Johnson, MD of the UK Greetings subsidiary, “the cards are available in both standard and luxury tall designs with more releases coming soon.” Card Connection franchisees supply greetings cards and accessories to retail outlets on a consignment basis where retailers only pay for what they sell, and also supply the display equipment free.

T: 01252 892300

● A SPECIAL not-exhibiting-atPGLive 10 per cent discount is available on all ranges throughout June. Take a look at their website to see the ranges including animal prints, Cat cards, Optics, photographic, Halloween, Valentine’s and many more. Their new Cat cards have been selling extremely well, with more than 250 there’s something for every taste and occasion.

T: 07803 501983

● A SELECTION of Father’s Day cards is available from Coulson Macleod across their various retro-inspired, typography and Concertina ranges. Designer Mark Coulson comes up with the ideas for their eco-friendly cards and prints which are produced in the UK as close to their Northamptonshire base as possible.

T: 01536 482771 @greetingstoday 43



A selection of this month’s latest releases

● LITTLE Seashell Cards have launched their summer 2015 collections, including this vibrant New Home card which is 5.5x4.25in and embellished with two small hand-applied rhinestones. Sweet designs, clever ideas and vibrant colours are the hallmarks of Little Seashell, a Canadian designer and manufacturer of stylish and unique greetings cards based in Toronto. The wholesale price per card is $2.38 (£1.54) and RRP is $4.75 (£3.08).

T: +1 416 236 9139

Designs that will get your customers coming back for more!

Life quotes to make them laugh out loud

All our designs are tried and tested in an award winning store


● PIONEER Balloon Company, makers of Qualatex brand balloons, are increasing their licensed Marvel product offerings with the addition of Spider Man and Avengers latex balloons. The new balloon products will be available in June to coincide with the recent release of the highly successful Marvel movie, The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, which has the DVD launch scheduled for September. The Avengers latex will be available in 5in and 11in round

balloons with Spider Man in three different sizes, 5in and 11in rounds, and 12in Quick Link Balloons and the new products will coordinate well with existing offerings, such as the popular Bubble Balloons. They are available with a Happy Birthday message in 25ct bags and non-message designs will be available in 25ct bags as well as a six-count retail bags.

T: 01279 501090 www/ @greetingstoday

gifts spotlight A selection of the latest gift releases and deals ● FRENCH rugby legend Sebastien Chabal has teamed up with ExaClair, the UK subsidiary of Exacompta Clairefontaine, for Ruckfield, a new collection of stationery, bags and accessories. The many products, including magazine holders, note pads, rucksacks and pencil cases, feature the star’s silhouette as he carries the ball at pace in his trademark one-handed style. ExaClair believe Ruckfield’s tagline, Road To England, will capitalise on the excitement in the run up to the Rugby World Cup and they hope it’s a try that’s sure to convert into sales.


T: 01553 696600 ● HANDMADE in the UK, the stylish new iBeanie is designed to hold iPads, tablets and e-readers at the perfect angle on any y surface. iations Made by DeVancer, there are 16 different variations ns of the iBeani with different materials and designs such as Harris Tweed tartan, faded blue cord, butterfly, techno black, denim, and many more e coming soon. With prices from £24.99, the iBeani can also be used it as a book stand for the kitchen or office, a steady camera stand when videoing or using long-exposures, or even a handy travel pillow. uk


CIRCULATION 6,089 July 1, 2013June 20, 2014

display services

● NEW from Lesser & Pavey’s y’s in-house designers is Daisy, a new range of fashion bags and accessories ories that’s ready to order. Fresh and bright this floral al range encompasses wallet, purse, zip bag, wash bag, backpack, tote bag, gift bags, memo pads and organiser, fine china mugs, teacup and saucer, ucer, travel mug, g, cooler shoppers bag, shoulder bag, bag, umbrellas and saddle bag. Fashion accessories are a growing market for Lesser & Pavey, and this addition is made of quality laminate cotton canvas fabric and affordably priced.

T: 01322 29225 ● TAKE a moment to find inspiration from Paperblanks’ new Gold Inlay collectio collection of mini, midi and ultra journals, journal guest book and mini-reporter notebook. noteb The Th opulent collection, where prices pric start from £12.99, has echoes ec of the sensuous designs of the Renaissance and Romantic eras. e The Stil Der Neorenaissance design was originally composed of solid metal with the binding covered by a layer of gold then meticulously meticulous engraved by craftsmen. @greetingstoday

Saunders Displays Point of sales display stands for every retail environment. Tel: 0208 594 7221 45




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June 2015 WHAT kind of buyer are you? Spot yourself in the It’s All About Sales column in the June issue of Greetings Today. Plus there are...