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Independently audited, ABC circulation of 6,093

The impartial voice of the greetings card industry May 2017 Issue 08 Volume 18


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contents

REGULARS 05

Leader The ever-charming Ged Mace does have a mean streak!

06

News People, Exhibition, Licensing, Supplier and General, it’s all here and there’s more online at www.greetingstoday.co.uk.

10

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

12

John Ryan

the team

33 34 39 42

On The Shop Front

16

Cover Story

Celebrating Forever Friends 30th anniversary of the hug in an envelope.

18

Candles & Home Fragrance It’s quality that counts in this market.

24

NSS & Surtex Previews Paper products and art are happy bedfellows.

26

47

Window On The World Special Nigel Quiney’s Mother’s Day display contest produced some stunniung windows.

30

British Craft Trade Fair Review Winners are in the pink.

36

Retro, Vintage & Nostalgia Cards Looking back provides future inspiration.

41

01442 289940 (direct)

Group Advertisement Manager Ryan Horwood ryan@lemapublishing.co.uk Group Editor Mirella Anstey mirella@lemapublishing.co.uk Publisher Mark Naish mark@lemapublishing.co.uk Production Director Paul Naish paul@lemapublishing.co.uk Managing Director Malcolm Naish malcolm@lemapublishing.co.uk Circulation Manager Robert Thomas robert@lemapublishing.co.uk

Keep in touch - follow us:

Pulse Preview

@greetingstoday

Breaking the boundaries of design.

44

Gifts For Card Shops Clever retailers pick add-on products carefully.

ONLINE

Meet The Newbies

Advertisement Manager Simon Davis simon@lemapublishing.co.uk

Focussing on industry newcomers.

Greetings cards are good sellers everywhere, as Philip Downer discovered on his hols.

FEATURES

It’s All About Sales Ian Bradley talks Brexit impact, while Rachel Williams checks out the gift offer.

A selection of this month’s latest releases.

23

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

46

Spotlight

Talk Of The Town Special Indies go behind the scenes at UK Greetings.

Art card shops the next meal for big stores?

13

Retail Advice Henri Davis looks at how craft producers could make the difference in store.

Editor Tracey Bearton tracey@lemapublishing.co.uk

Company Profile

https://www.facebook.com/ greetingstodaymag

Two Little Boys’ Sarah Watts looks back over 15 years of innovatie design.

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

HOTSPOT NEW ranges abound but there are many long-standing collections that are always hitting the hotspot and deserve recognition. In this Hotspot section Greetings Today features some of these each issue. TALKING Pictures is Ling Design’s hand-finished brand, and the More Than Words range has been going strong for some years now. Just Cards in Honiton, Devon, have been long-time stockists and Manager Bex Wynn said: “They sell well for our shop. I’ve been here nearly six years and we’ve stocked them since them. All the Talking Pictures cards do well, though the ones with the captions do go better because of the price point. When they have ‘sister’ and that sort of thing on, they definitely sell better.”

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PUBLISHING

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

Telephone: 01442 289930 www.greetingstoday.co.uk

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

www.greetingstoday.co.uk 3


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*


leader Editor Tracey Bearton

● Cartoons by James Whitworth T: 07872 013943 – jameswhitworth@mac.com www.whitworthcartoons.com

G

ED Mace is a blue meanie, there, I’ve said it!

Okay, the President of the GCA and MD of The Art File is actually one of the nicest, most diplomatic and unfailingly polite people it’s been my pleasure to meet, but he’s still a blue meanie. Ged may have very kindly agreed to help judge the Greetings Card Awards at the British Craft Trade Fair – you can find out all about the very worthy winners on page 30 – and even spent the whole day walking the show with me visiting all the exhibitors on our long list, to trim it back to 10 shortlisted publishers. And just because his 20 years in the industry means he really knows his stuff so we could pick four cracking publishers, I’m afraid that doesn’t excuse him from his heinous crime of making me speak in public! We’d had a very busy day at the show and I was congratulating myself on handing over the list to the organisers in plenty of time, unlike last year when we’d taken so long over the decisions that they were still printing the certificates out as the presentations began, when Ged dropped the bombshell that he was happy to present the awards but that I had to do the announcing. I said I’d just read out the names, he nodded in that oh-so-charming way he has then, about five minutes later, suggested: “It might be an idea if you mentioned that the industry is worth £1.7billion a year.” Shortly after he followed up with “and you could say, that’s 38 cards bought per head in the UK” followed by “and they’re sold in one in six retailers across Britain”. Having proven just how suited he is to representing the greetings industry – as the small matter of The Art File’s fantastic achievement of earning The Queen’s Award For Enterprise backs up in spades – Ged wandered off leaving me floundering with less than 20 minutes to the awards ceremony, and remembering that, as tiddlers, my kids called people like him ‘blue meanies’. The thing is, while I’m well aware I talk far too much, blathering on about all sorts of rubbish and annoying everyone in earshot, one thing I don’t do is off-the-cuff speechifying, I need a script – and not just a few notes or pointers, it has to be properly worded and written out in full. It’s okay to wander slightly off message while you’re talking, a completely different kettle of fish to string a coherent sentence together when it

Send your views and submissions for the magazine to: tracey@lemapublishing.co.uk Tel: 01442 289930 involves a microphone and a large crowd of people who expect you to know what you’re doing. So I had to quickly come up with a speech pulling together all the nuggets of wisdom Ged had just imparted while also making sure it was completely legible and not my usual scrawled mix of shorthand and dreadful writing so I didn’t stumble over my words in the limelight. I think I got away with it, at least no one told me I was gasping and flailing like a beached salmon while Ged charmed everyone as he presented the awards and posed for the inevitable pictures. Mind you, I suspect I shall get my own back – if he thinks he’s getting away without helping next year just because he’ll have stepped down as GCA president, I’ve got news for you, Ged! ● New readers may be forgiven for wondering if Greetings Today is truly a trade magazine for the card industy given that this month’s features include Gifts For Card Shops (p26) and a brand-spanking new one on Candles & Home Fragrance (p18). But there are very good reasons for that – candles and gifts generate huge add-on sales for greetings retailers, especially the independents, so we’re aiming to make it easy to find that extra product to give your shop its very own USP. ● We had a very happy anniversary in the Greetings Today office a few days ago as ad manager Simon Davis celebrated his first year in the job. He’s been doing some sterling work as you can see from these snaps – don’t worry Simon, you can get back to talking to our lovely clients once you’ve finished unblocking the sink, vacuuming, making the coffee, and that light still isn’t quite right…

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

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

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

REMEMBER, THE JULY ISSUE DIGITAL EDITION WILL BE SENT TO CLARION EVENTS’ 55,000 DATABASE www.greetingstoday.co.uk 5


exhibitionnews Pyramid make LIMA finals

All write in the north THE success of the London Stationery Show has led owners Ocean Media Exhibitions to announce a new event in Manchester on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 31-November 1. The new Manchester Stationery Show will be a specialist writing and paper products show, focused on design-led and fashion-forward product; run at the perfect time for buyers to select product for the new year. Ocean Media are aiming to attract more than 50 exhibitors showcasing around 150 brands in the heart of Manchester at the Cotton Sheds, part of the Victoria Warehouse venue in Old Trafford. The launch was decided upon as London Stationery Show visitor data revealed a clear pattern of attracting a southern-biased audience – with just over 65 per cent of all visitors travelling to the show from London and the South East, and national High Street data showing a 60/40 split in stationery and gift retailers based south and north of the Midlands. The specialist stationery trade show offer will be supported by a seminar programme, a Manchester LaunchPad to draw in new talent from the area, a Creative Hub to get visitors hands-on and engaged, and a New Product Display area. “Stationery is on trend and in fashion,” Ocean Media MD Tim Willoughby said, “the GlobalData report ‘UK stationery market will add £49.1 million to its value by 2021’ has shown growth will come from the trend of purchasing stationery as a gift, partly driven by increased personalisation, increased product ranges and design-led products and innovation. We want to share that message across the UK and support the growth of the stationery industry.”

T: 020 8462 0721 www.stationeryshow.co.uk

Record list of newbies A RECORD number of new exhibitors have been confirmed for the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival where more than 1,000 brands can be viewed. At the event, which runs from Sunday to Wednesday, July 16-19, 25 per cent of stands will be companies new to the show at Harrogate International Centre. Now in its 51st year, Home & Gift is organised by Clarion Events and has built a strong reputation as a very social show that provides a friendly and professional backdrop for sourcing products as well as networking, meeting industry leaders, and seminars at the Great Northern Retail Forum. Eleanor Gregory, Selfridges Assistant Buyer Home Accessories, Stationery & Christmas, said: “Selfridges have visited Home & Gift for over four years. We visit to hunt for exciting new Christmas gifts, stationery, greetings cards and wrapping, along with catching up with our current suppliers and talking through their new ranges. The new trenddriven areas that showcase new brands are my favourite parts of the show.” New exhibitors on the greetings and stationery side include Dilly & Pink, Elaara Islamic, I Like Birds and LS20 Letterpress Studio, with regulars such as Berni Parker Designs, Blue Eyed Sun, Dandelion Stationery, The Handcrafted Card Co, Holy Mackerel, Jonny Javelin, The Pop Out Card Co, Rush Designs, Tomcat Cards and Two Little Boys making their return.

www.homeandgift.co.uk

PYRAMID’S Star Wars doormat has been nominated as one of five finalists, in the Home Décor category for the International Licensing Awards taking place in Las Vegas in May. The Welcome To The Dark Side mat was one of a record 461 submissions this year for the awards that celebrate the best of the licensing industry across 20 categories. Paperchase are also on the finalists list, one of six vying for the Publishing, Social Expression, Back To School category with their A-Z Stationery & Gifting Range. The awards are run by the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association and the 2017 winners will be revealed at the ceremony on Tuesday, May 23, during Licensing Expo, which runs at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Vegas from May 22-25. Robert Ling, Pyramid Marketing Executive, said: “It’s great to be nominated. The Welcome To The Dark side doormat is an incredible product and paved the way for our doormat range to expand into other licences – Guardians Of The Galaxy and DC Comics – so for it to be in the running is incredible.” “The LIMA Licensing Awards programme recognises outstanding performance across a range of categories throughout the global licensing industry,” said LIMA President Charles Riotto. “The level of excellence exemplified in this year’s submissions was truly impressive and it is a testament to the impact LIMA members are having all around the world.” The entries have been narrowed down to 125 nominees from 10 countries, with LIMA members voting on who takes the prizes.

T: 0116 284 3640 www.pyramidinternational.com

Join Made In Britain movement ORGANISERS of the recently-launched Giftag new concept for British home and gift trade fairs now have a fully-functional website and booking system. Giftag has been launched alongside the British Craft Trade Fair London which organisers PSM debuted last September, and will offer a unique buying platform to view, order and buy British-only home and giftware. Booking a stand at this fair, which runs from Sunday to Tuesday, September 10-12, at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, is simple with the new website – go to www.giftag. london, click on the register tab, and you will be sent a link to the online booking form. The Giftag organisers, who also run the highly-successful British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate that’s now in its 44th year, will accept exhibitors who manufacture home and giftware items produced in the British Isles.

Register for PG Live preview GREETINGS card buyers, distributors and retailers looking to plan ahead for their visit to PG Live 2017 can register for their free tickets now to receive a show preview in advance. Stuffed with the biggest launches, most exciting show offers and hottest industry trends, the 2017 preview is a guide to more than 280 publishers, artists and designers. In addition to exploring the very latest card trends at London’s Business Design Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 6-7, visitors to the UK’s only dedicated greetings card trade show will also be able to relax and enjoy the famous PG Live hospitality, with a complementary two-course lunch and endless refreshments on both days, plus a free drinks party on the first night.


inthenews Royal recognition for TRADING with more than 30 countries around the world has earned The Art File the prestigious Queen’s Award For Enterprise: International Trade. The honour was revealed on April 21, Her Majesty’s 91st birthday, by the Nottingham-based publishers of contemporary greeting cards, giftwrap, bags and stationery, with MD Ged Mace saying: “We’re absolutely delighted.” The Queen’s Awards For Enterprise are the UK’s most prestigious business awards to celebrate and encourage business excellence in the UK, and the Art File’s application was spearheaded by Ged, who is the current President of the Greeting Card Association, with his son and sales coordinator James (pictured together). To win the 2017 honour, The Art File have demonstrated outstanding results in international trade, successfully exporting British-made products to design-inspired retailers in over 30 countries. With more than 1,700 entries from businesses from many different industries across the UK, an in-depth and meticulous vetting process was carried out by the Queen’s Awards Board.

Danilo make phenomenal partners DANILO picked up a Long-Standing Partnership accolade from Nickelodeon as the company recognised the accomplishments of their UK retail and licence partners across the past year. Licensing Director Dan Grant and Operations Director Daniel Prince (pictured) were on hand to collect the trophy at the Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products event at London’s Hamyard Hotel on March 30. The greetings cards, giftwrap, calendars and diary publishers were recognised for their long-standing relationship with NVCP, including licences for Paw Patrol, with Chase and Marshall from the hit Nick Jr property on stage for the presentations. “Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen our portfolio perform extraordinarily well at retail with our pre-school brands driving a lot of new business and our evergreen properties more than holding their own,” said Marianne James, VP Commercial Partnerships, Consumer

Products and Experiences, Nickelodeon UK & Ireland. “These annual awards provide us an opportunity to celebrate the success of the last year and recognise the phenomenal contribution made by our partners.”

T: 01992 702900 www.danilo.com

Applications which show excellence are then passed to a board of independent assessors, who pick finalists to be approved by The Queen herself, and the winners will be invited to Buckingham Palace for an awards ceremony hosted by Her Majesty later in the year. Ged said: “Naturally, we’re absolutely thrilled with the news. As a company we’ve always recognised the opportunity to export our award-winning products to as many overseas territories as possible. “With all of our products being designed here in the UK, it’s also a fantastic feeling to be showcasing the exceptional quality and creative talents of British designers to the world.” James added: “Even with the additional challenges due to recent events in the UK such as Brexit, this shows that British products are still attractive to export markets.” The honour means The Art File can proudly display the Queen’s Award emblem on their unique and contemporary products, giving added kudos and weight to the brand, both domestically and overseas.

T: 0115 850 7490 www.theartfile.com

Get social with Berni – and win! GET your cameras out – Berni Parker Designs have launched a brand-new competition for trade customers with a prize of 20 per cent discount and a social media feature to more than 12,000 followers for the Shop Of The Month winner. To kick-start it, the first contest in May will have an extra treat of a 15 per cent second prize discount and 10 per cent third prize discount. To enter, retailers should take a photo of their new Berni Parker cards delivery on display in store and post it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter tagging them in or using the hashtag #berniparkerdesigns. Berni will announce her favourite store each month via the company Facebook page @berniparkerdesigns.

8 named as top employees EIGHT staff members are eagerly awaiting the Retas Awards this year as they’ve been named as finalists in the Greeting Card Retail Employee Of The Year category. They join the 120 shops and suppliers announced as the finalists for this year’s awards which recognise and reward greetings retailers of all shapes and sizes. The employee nominations see two each from Scotland and Devon vying with Kent, Essex, London and Cheshire for the title which will be revealed at the Enchanted Tailsthemed ball at the Dorchester Hotel in the capital on Wednesday, July 12. Now in their 13th year, nominations from publishers, agents and suppliers were considered and validated by a panel of experts to draw up the finalists. The eight employee finalists are below and the full list can be found at www.theretasawards.co.uk. Greeting Card Retail Employee of the Year Susan Robertson, The Mains Of Drum, Banchory, Aberdeenshire Sue Williams, The Hollies Farm Shop, Lower Stretton, Cheshire Carol Budd, The Card Hall, Maidstone, Kent Heather Clarke, Ivad Gifts, Paisley, Renfrewshire Lisa Dean, Feathering Your Nest, Rayleigh, Essex Hilary Hayes, Coles of Sidmouth, Devon Denise Keers, Cards 2 Confetti, Brixham, Devon Tim Reynolds, Medici Gallery, Kensington, London

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Cyril takes tweeting on road THERE were exciting days for Cardgains members as mascot Cyril Service took to the road with social media training guru Jason Squires. “After hosting three courses for suppliers and members at Cardgains head office in Sheffield over the last couple of years,” Marketing Director Penny Shaw said, “we always wanted to take the seminars on the road and encourage more members to get involved and see the benefits social media can bring to their business.” The first two courses were sponsored by The Great British Card Company in Gloucester and Borehamwood on March 15 and 16, and the third, sponsored by UK Greetings on April 25 at their Dewsbury HQ, then the buying group are looking to take the courses north of the border later this year.

www.greetingstoday.co.uk 7


licensingnews

inthenews newsinbrief news inbrief Holiday will have Pizazz

Cardzone buy M&P stores EIGHT M&P Cards stores have been bought by Cardzone after the 16-strong small chain went into voluntary administration. The chain, which mainly traded under the Occasions name, was run by MD Terry Harvey and buying director Jane Chandler for a decade and the sale of the Didcot, Gillingham, Hungerford, Locksheath, Melksham , Plimstock, Royal Wootton Bassett, and Warminster stores to Paul Taylor saves 50 jobs and takes his estate to more than 100 shops, with 35 including a Thorntons franchise.

Adele snaps up cards SUPERSTAR Adele snapped up the entire stock of Tache Crafts’ greetings cards with a cartoon of herself when she found them in Peter Jones’ Sloane Square store in London. The Sun revealed on April 27 that the 28-year-old known for her raucous laugh “cackled away” when she saw the cartoon with the caption “Hello, it’s me…” the opening line from her single last year, and told store staff she was going to send them to all her friends.

Card Factory’s target HAVING opened 51 new stores in the past financial year, Card Factory have identified big growth opportunity in retail parks and in the Republic of Ireland. Retail Week reported demand from shoppers and market research has indicated a “significant opportunity” in Ireland, while Card Factory chief executive Karen Hubbard said the increasing availability of smaller units on retail parks has enabled growth as they strive to reach a store target of 1,200, compared with the 865 revealed in their preliminary results on March 28 for the year to January 21, 2017.

Hallmark webstore success A NEW trade webstore has been launched by Hallmark with more than 30 per cent of their accounts already signed up in just a few weeks. The site was launched at Hallmark’s Christmas Roadshows earlier this year, allowing customers to search and order by SKU number, range picture, pocket or plan and, in what is believed to be a first for publishers, they can also track the whereabouts of their orders online and see bespoke plans for their specific store.

Paperchase go green PAPERCHASE are on a new store roll with Berkansted, Herts, seeing their third of the year opening – and it’s their greenest shop yet. The 680sq ft store features LED lighting, the latest energy-efficient heat and cooling system and all wood fixtures were sourced from FSC-approved sites.

Clintons join the party CLINTONS have launched a new party-focused fascia as the card specialists seek to diversify in an increasingly competitive market, Retail Week have revealed. As part of Clintons’ ongoing portfolio review the retailers, who are owned by UK Greetings’ owners American Greetings, have opened two standalone Party Delights stores, one in Manchester and another in Romford.

8 www.greetingstoday.co.uk

GEMMA International have confirmed a partnership with eOne Entertainment for a new range of licensed cards, gift packaging and partyware for PJ Masks, the latest action-adventure hero brand taking the UK by storm. Six-year-olds Connor, Amaya and Greg are normal kids by day but, when they put on their pyjamas they transform into their dynamic alter egos Catboy, Owlette and Gekko who make up PJ Masks to save the world from the villainous Romeo, Luna Girl and the Ninjalinos. Louise Ellison, Marketing Executive, said: “Everyone at Gemma is really pleased with our new signing. Our studio are loving working on such a fun new brand, and, of course, our sales team can’t wait to get out there and present the product, which is already in high demand.” The cards and gift packaging range includes aged and no age cards with foil finish, roll wrap, two-sheet and two-tag pack, and a large gift bag with stickers, which will be available from July. The initial party range will include invites, plates, cups, napkins, banners, masks and stickers, latex balloons and loot bags, all available from September.

T: 01264 388400 www.gemma-international.co.uk

Maped Helix pop pencil case deal MAPED Helix have signed as a licensing partner for Pringles, with a trio of pencil cases as the first release. Under the agreement negotiated by Pringles European licensing agents Pink Key Consulting, the designs have been created in the style of the iconic “once you pop you just can’t stop” crisp can, with consumers able to choose from the UK’s favourite flavours, Sour Cream & Onion, Original, and Salt & Vinegar. Maped Helix MD Gray Richmond said: “Pringles is an iconic brand, with truly distinctive packaging. Our licensed products have always proved incredibly popular with consumers.

T: 01384 286860 www.mapedhelix.co.uk

UK awards entries open ENTRIES are now open for the UK Licensing Awards with nomination forms for all five categories available from the website. Headline sponsors are Brand Licensing Europe with the awards officially supported by the industry’s trade body, the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, with their LIMA Rising Star affiliated to the awards fore the second year. The awards can only be entered at www. thelicensingawards.co.uk with a closing date of May 31 for the licensed product categories, June 20 for the Property Awards, which will be judged by a panel of retail buyers from leading High Street names, and July 28 for the LIMA Rising Star Award for individuals under 30 working in the industry.

Big birthday for grumpy Grinch THE Grinch is celebrating 60 years of stealing Christmas with retail and licensing gearing up to mark the occasion with new products and major events. Since the classic Dr Seuss character first appeared in the book How The Grinch Stole Christmas in late 1957, he has gone on to become one of the most recognisable in children’s literature. The successful and long-lasting licensing programme is managed in the UK by Rocket Licensing with an expanded campaign being developed as Christmas approaches.

Supported by the recently-launched, new and comprehensive style guide, the Grinch’s 60th birthday celebrations are planned for the fourth quarter of 2017 and include a special anniversary logo and targeted marketing, such as in-store activity, events and press and PR. The continuing success of the Grinch at retail every Christmas will also mean new products and designs from a wide range of licensees including Design Group International for wrap.

T: 020 7207 6243 www.rocketlicensing.com

Nick’s humour hits cards MGL LICENSING have announced the launch of the new greetings card range for artist Nick Hannaford-Hill’s Cat & Dog humour brand. The collection will be available through publishers Paper Rose from High Street and independent retailers throughout the UK, Australia and North America from May 2017.

T: 020 8392 8010 www.mgllicensing.com T: 0115 986 0116 www.paperrose.co.uk

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● Please note all images are subject to licensor approval

RETAILER Amanda Brooks is planning a fantastic holiday after earning Nigel Quiney’s £1,000 prize for buying the most of their award-winning Pizazz cards over the past year for her Paperchain shop in Romsey, Kent. Amanda, pictured with her dog Alfie, received £1,000 worth of Thomas Cook/First Choice holiday vouchers from sales rep Paula Lee-Jones, having been helped to the title by her manageress Gina Charrington.

Gemma confirm PJ Masks product


peoplenews people news Darren takes over from UKG’s Tony UK GREETINGS have appointed Darren Cave as their new Director of Field Sales, who has taken over from Director of Independent Sales Tony Roberts with immediate effect. Tony (top) is leaving the Dewsburybased publishers in June to join IC&G as sales director and will work with Darren in the meantime to ensure a smooth handover. Having joined the greetings industry in 2005 with Watermark Publishing, Darren (bottom) moved to UKG in 2014 as Director of Merchandising.

Card Factory name new financial officer CARD Factory have announced their new chief financial officer is to be Kristian Lee, who is moving from the same role that he’s held at Edinburgh Woollen Mill for the past five years. The greetings and gift retailers snapped up Kristian to succeed their current finance boss Darren Bryant, who announced his retirement in January after eight years at the group.

Portico appoint Charlie CHARLIE Bassil has been appointed as Portico Designs’ sales and marketing director having worked her way up after starting at the company as the receptionist 11 years ago. Since then Charlie has been project manager in sales, then national account manager and has seen founder and MD Simon Harrison move the company, who celebrate 30 years in 2018, from their greetings card roots into stationery and gifts. “We’ve had a big transition over the past three years so it’s good to have a new sales director,” Charlie said, “our years of experience doing bespoke gifts and stationery have changed our whole business model. Stationery is our focus now and we think it’s the way forward.”

Fi’s excited at Cherry Orchard new concept CHERRY Orchard are continuing to push the boat out as their recently-appointed Director of Sales Fi Douglass-Gibson takes the helm and the team get ready to launch yet another totally new concept. Fi brings a wealth of experience with her, having worked previously for six years as Sales Director at Nigel Quiney and prior to that in sales manager roles with Camden, Really Good and Soul. She said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Cherry Orchard at an incredibly exciting time. They’re working on a completely new project at the moment that’s being kept under wraps until its official launch at PG Live. “I can’t wait to tell the greetings card world about this as I know it certainly has that special wow factor that will make both retailers and consumers sit up and take notice.”

Candles agents have country covered MEETING the needs of retail partners is the key for Potters Crouch Candles MD David Brown, and their latest appointments mean they now have most of the country covered by a team of good sales agents. Nat Hitchcock (pictured) joined recently to cover the north Home Counties, adding to Neil Greenwood in the North-West, Rachel Williams in North Wales and Cheshire, Melanie Ashworth for the North-East, Ian Bradley covers the Midlands, Rob Sellers in East Anglia, Maria McKenna has the South-East and the South-West is Simon Williams’ territory.

Dhruman gets prize job HANDING out prizes is the nice job and, for Enveco, the task fell to Business Development Manager Dhruman Shah, who popped over to see Judy Lumley Print. Judy was the lucky winner of Enveco’s Useful Book draw from Spring Fair where entrants sent in their artwork to have a bespoke notebook made, and all the names were then drawn out for the prize of 100 of the books completely free. Dhruman took the package over to Judy’s St Albans base for her to sell as she wishes, making the prize worth up to £1,000.

Abu nose how to help A DAFT dare was the challenge Comic Relief threw down for this year’s Red Nose Day and UK Greetings’ employee Abu Adam decided to involve his workplace and colleagues. Abu challenged himself to run and walk non-stop between the three UKG sites in Dewsbury between 5am and 5pm on Red Nose Day, manging 50 miles and raising a magnificent £2,079 through a JustGiving page and the power of selfies. “I thought I’d get others involved,” Abu said, “so that’s where the selfie idea came from – for every selfie taken with me on the day, a £1 donation was received.”

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01386 872752 for samples and brochure pack or email sales@splimple.com www.splimple.com

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ON

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

THE LINE

● Naughty boy – Dean Morris

We hope W our little shop is adding to the positive and happy things to be found nd online e

● Rubbish retailer – Gerald Ratner

Engage not outrage T HIS latest article is a little different from my normal column’s happy smiley philosophy.

Maybe it’s the uncertain political landscape, the rise of the right wing across the world or it could just be the dodgy sandwich I ate before writing this but it’s altogether darker. More Batman than Superman. I’m not preaching revolution or anarchy in the UK, more offering my thoughts on a few online trends to provoke debate. Let’s all stay friends at the end though! There’s been a recent shift in the cultural zeitgeist towards a society quick to shame in which others’ opinions and actions may be violently condemned. While I don’t want to speak on behalf of our industry, it does seem, as a collection of artists and creative thinkers, that we would support the freedom of expression. Look at the recent controversy surrounding Dean Morris Cards’ Valentine’s designs. Yes, their cards are cheeky, rude, loved by some and offensive to others – is it right for anyone to call for them to be banned? Mind you, when the Sun newspaper calls your cards sick you must be doing something right! If you don’t like a product, don’t buy it, or frequent shops that sell such items as, surely, retailers should have the choice of what cards we wish to stock, after all, who knows our customers’ tastes and limits better than us? Still, when the public use Twitter to call for a retailer to withdraw a product from sale, it must be hard to stand firm. The Sun’s one thing but no shop wants to declare war on their own customers. Tone and content is important for any business. One misplaced tweet can cause uproar and do terrible damage to a company. One of the most famous examples of bad marketing is the story of Gerald Ratner who became infamous with a speech in which he jokingly called one of his jewellery products “total crap”, which saw the value of his jewellery business plummet by around £500million and nearly destroyed the company.

Quick tip (that no one really needs) – don’t call your products crap. A more innocent mistake is the misspelt tweet. In an early morning haze recently, I spelt Father’s Day wrong which was retweeted with the hashtag #spelling. Did I rise and start a Twitter war, no, of course not but in my eyes it was a little unkind.

● Twitter storm – Katie Hopkins

There was a libel case last month which ended with newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins having to pay £24,000 damages for comments on Twitter to a blogger in what appears to be a case of mistaken identity. Such issues are more relevant for bigger chains and publishers with larger numbers of Twitter followers but we smaller independents should always look at how we present ourselves online. We need to put aside our own personal opinions and more controversial views – ironic considering the nature of this article – as nobody wants an angry, grumpy shop shouting at the world. My personal Facebook feed is full of shop-related posts. One trend I’ve noticed is shops releasing CCTV footage of alleged thieves on to their pages, asking their followers to name and shame the offenders. With very little recourse for small shopkeepers against what the police regard as petty crime but which can be the difference

between them making a loss or a profit, this is seen as a simple but effective way of fighting back against these criminals, but not without its problems. I’ve seen videos of the crimes get views into the thousands, with hundreds of comments, but not all are supporting the shop and many question the legality of the video footage. It’s a tricky balance, shops have been forced to close due to the cost and stress of such crimes but should we be acting as vigilantes? Does the outrage distract from the shop and products we’re selling as a negative review or unhappy comment is often a massive blow to an independent shop. Are these videos asking for our customers to debate our policies rather than praise our products or do the videos warn off would-be thieves? Let’s end on a positive note. The last thing I want is to put anyone off promoting their own shop on social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been a source of much joy for us at Wishes and I’d always encourage other shops to join us online. One of the best things about working in a card shop like ours is the moments shared with our lovely customers. Helping them celebrate weddings, anniversaries, new babies and the happiest of birthdays. We hope our little shop is adding to the positive and happy things to be found online and want to engage not outrage. We’d like to think of Wishes as part of the lovely Cudworth community, not just a shop but a place where you can come for a chat and a browse away from the hustle and bustle of the chains. We want our social media to make people smile so that, like our cards, our posts can help brighten a dark day and lift a little of sadness from a difficult time. the Therefore we’re on mission to make Cudworth Cool (well even cooler) and, taking inspiration from our local #barnsleyisbrill hashtag we’ve come up with our own – #cudworthiscool. Next month I’ll be sharing more of our plans and getting back to my more happy, bouncy self. No more dark clouds, rather rainbow-coloured unicorns. On a final note: Be kind to each other, both in life and online. – Chris Fox

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

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Use common sense

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T THE time i off writing i i this, hi iit’s ’ another week when technology news hits the headlines again with Google, Whatsapp and websites all raising controversial discussion.

Google found themselves having to apologise after a series of companies withdrew their ads when it emerged they were being displayed alongside hate videos and other inappropriate content, so the money garnered from their advertising efforts had been making its way into the hands of hate-preachers and anti-Semites. Whatsapp has been accused of giving terrorists a place to hide after refusing to release details of encrypted messages and a 17 year old found herself confronted by Trump’s lawyers after she made a website to practice her coding skills where users click to punch the US President’s face with tiny kitten paws – I’m saying nothing in case the man with the tan is reading this! With greetings cards also in the headlines as shoppers debate the suitability of rude designs, it raises the question of where to draw the line – what is considered offensive, what safeguards are needed and who should police them? If all this seems a bit daunting, applying common sense will usually help. Don’t be deterred by extreme examples. Listening to and understanding your customers will steer you to keep posts within the parameters acceptable to them. When developing an online presence, let your character and personality shine through while g yyour business ppage g as somewhere you’d be happy for your neighbours to think of you. treating P regularly, with content that is a mix of engaging words and Post i im images, not all product-related, and interact with your customers, b quick to reply and address any complaints. Invite them to be r review your products and services and use your best customer s service skills to quickly address any negative issues. Chris has touched on the Ratner moment, Odeon cinemas are another a example of how it can go wrong following a long letter of complaint c from customer Matt Pledger on their Facebook page, polite, p but raising a number of concerns. Odeon failed to address the issue in a timely fashion and, five years y on, comments on his post are still running, with 292,000 reactions r and more than 24,000 comments. In comparison, while I’ve I been writing this an email has popped into my in-tray from a shop’s customer service team with a code for free delivery on my next order. I’d bought some items online but, two days after placing the order and paying, they emailed me to say several things were out of stock. The website invited me to leave a review, so yesterday I had a grumble about the service – less than 24 hours later, they’ve responded positively to redress the situation. I also have a free bottle of wine waiting for my next visit to a local restaurant after I reviewed their disappointingly slow service. Please don’t think I make a habit of complaining, I feel uncomfortable when I do but, in both cases, I simply gave the necessary feedback when asked and the quick apology and gesture of goodwill are enough to make me a returning customer and hopefully encourage the shop and restaurant to address the causes of my complaint. It’s all very positive as neither business tried to make excuses or defend themselves from my criticism – I appreciate items can go out of stock very quickly and restaurants do get unexpectedly busy sometimes. I now feel they’ve listened and reassured me that I’m a valued customer. Had they ignored me or argued back, and it’s so easy to fall into the trap of doing this if you feel the problem is beyond your control, the matter would never be resolved and I would never return as a customer. For independent shop owners, the local community are your neighbours, invite them in, have a little grumble and a laugh, reflect on life’s ups and downs, smooth over any hiccups and rally round when someone needs a bit of support. If you’re feeling in need of a bit of support yourself, there’s lots of industry events that can give you help and advice. Greetings Today have all the information you need to support your business with a great online presence too with their near-daily email newsletter as well as regularly updated Twitter and Facebook pages. Members of the Cardgains buying group can learn more about social media through their seminar training events. Trade shows are also a great place to meet and chat with your suppliers, to see their new launches and to have a general catch-up. Cherry Orchard will be at PG Live in London on June 6-7, and also at the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate on July 16-19. We really hope you can come and see us at one (or both!) these events because we’re very excited as we’re working on something very special which we think is going to bring a whole new dimension to the greetings card world. We’d like to invite you over for a chat and a catch-up and see what you think. – Helen Pallen

I feel they’ve listened and reassured me I’m a valued ed customerr

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JOHN RYAN RETAIL ENVIRONMENT

Is a process of natural selection on the way for those who don’t cut it?

Who’s eating who? The T h Au Aust Australian ust s ra rali lian r retail etail mod model del sees a ne near ar complete lac lack ck of independent greetings stores with every other type of outlet taking the sales. John Ryan considers whether card shops here will be eaten up by bigger stores in the same way.

W

ALKING around the Indooroopilly shopping centre in Brisbane, Queensland, recently one thing was very apparent – this may be a large mall, but there was a conspicuous absence of stores selling greetings cards.

This was very much at odds with the week before when I’d been in Dubai and come across a massive Hallmark store and sundry Paperchase outposts (don’t usually travel this much, but work called). The question that formed pretty quickly in Oz was, how come? The answer, to an extent, was at hand. Everywhere seemed to stock cards, whether it was the Daiso Japan store (an Aussie Poundland where everything seems to be either lime green, hot pink or bright yellow), home-grown stationers Typo or any of the several department stores, from Myers to David Jones. Fair enough, we have this kind of phenomenon back in Blighty, but what about independent card shops? Is it the case that they’ve been measured by

Australian consumers and found wanting so now only exist when they are part of a broader offer? Perhaps, but it’s hard not to escape the sense of a monoculture in parts of the Down Under retail landscape where indies and small chains have little part to play. More broadly, is the Aussie panorama symptomatic of what might one day happen in the UK? Everybody knows you can buy greetings cards at the same time as you stock up on your groceries or make sure you’ve got something to mark your grandma’s birthday while you sip a cappuccino in your fave local café. But is the ultimate conclusion to this the demise of the card shop? The fact that standalone greetings card outfits, from Clintons (which has been under the cosh for a while) to Scribbler, continue to exist alongside multiple other outlets where the category is available must point to there being some kind of demand. In truth, Australia’s absence is our gain. Walk into Tesco or perhaps Sainsbury’s and pick a greetings card and the choice is, at best, very limited.

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

12 www.greetingstoday.co.uk

Head into a dedicated purveyor of greetings cards, by contrast, and you’ll need a little time, which is part of the fun. Matching up what you know about the recipient of a card with the offer you’re confronted by is simple in a card shop – the trick is deciding which one to go for as there will always be a choice. This really isn’t the case elsewhere where it becomes a matter of making do and hoping what you’ve bought may actually raise a smile or cause the heart to flutter, even though it probably won’t. The supplementary question, therefore, is do we have too many card shops and is a process of natural selection on the way for those who don’t cut it? And the simple response to this one is, of course. At any moment, irrespective of what’s being sold, there will always be an imbalance of demand and supply and, as things stand, there are probably a few too many standalone card shops in the UK. That said, it’s pretty easy to pick out the winners and losers. It would be churlish at this point to name names but, most of those in the industry will know who they are and will be wondering whether to shut up shop or open a few more stores. The good news, however, is that we remain a nation of greetings card lovers and there’s still room for standalone shops on our High Streets, no matter what the behemoths are up to. Just make sure you’re on the winning side.

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

● FOURTEEN new designs have been added to Abacus Cards’ children’s range 100% Kids. Covering age six to 10 birthdays for both boys and girls, these latest introductions also include four open birthdays specifically for this higher age group. Presented in a standard 5x7in format, the cards are greeted inside, using smooth board and finished with colourful flitter details. These fun cards feature children’s characters with doodle details and large bold numbers, created exclusively for Abacus by illustrator Jennie Randall.

T: 01638 569050 www.abacuscards.co.uk

● FOUR birthday and four blank cards have been added to the Clare Maddicott Lemongrass range. Presented in the 140x140mm format, the cards featured delightfully summery illustrations by the artist Linda Edwards. The cards, which are printed on art board and finished with delicate foil details, have all been left blank inside for the sender’s own message.

T: 01638 569050 www.maddicott.com ● KATIE Phythian Design have added more than 20 new designs to the Paintbox range after an overwhelming reception to the collection since the start of the year. Paintbox is their key range made with paintings created by Katie in their Cheshire studio, printed on textured board and hand-finished in England with sparkling gems. “We love this range,” Katie said, “it just spills over with happy vibes and bright colours, it was a joy to create. Everybody needs a Paintbox card in their life.”

● NEW birds have flown from Judy Lumley for spring 17 – both the tropical and British varieties. The beautiful birds, like this cormorant, fold out to create an elegant, free standing, threedimensional card that becomes an object of beauty in its own right. The cards are blank inside and supplied individually wrapped with a grey 135x185mm envelope, UK printed on board from FSC-approved mixed sources, fully recyclable and biodegradable, including clear wrapper. And the printmaker also has great new range of wrapping paper which includes simple geometrics, retro block prints and funky botanicals, all in a beautiful selection of colours.

T: 07952 404586 www.judylumley.com ● TOTALLY Tropical is a new range from Caroline Gardner featuring 10 bright and bold cards capturing the feeling of tropical weather, and warm evenings at beach bars sipping cocktails. The inspiration for this range is the tropics at dusk, hot flashes of screen-printed pink neon against clashing intense florals and icons teamed with a coral neon envelope. Launched in May – perfect timing for spring – these cards are adorned with jungle parrot greens, dragon fruit pinks, pacific blues and bright tropical bursts of Caribbean culture with a Latin mood, you can’t help but long for summer to arrive when you see these cards. It’s a great addition to Caroline Gardner’s trend-led ranges, covering key captions such as birthday, thank you and let’s celebrate.

T: 020 8288 9696 www.carolinegardner.com

T: 07900 431825 www.katiephythiandesign.com www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday

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spotlight ● LEONARD Smith have just relaunched one of their original and muchloved ranges under the new name Petite cards. “Adding 22 new designs to this 130x100mm range has given us the opportunity for a new name and logo,” said MD Issy Smith, “The Petite range offers a fantastic variety of blank, birthday and occasion cards. “As much love, care and attention to detail goes into Petite as into our other ranges but it can retail at a great price point. “There are certain images taken by Leonard which perfectly suit this smaller format of card and people really appreciate being able to find this size, with just as much style as larger formats, to send their sentiments.”

T: 01376 562727 www.leonardsmith.co.uk

● CARD Connection are exhibiting at Pro-Retail 2017 in Shropshire on May 16-17 where they will be revealing their major new range for the first time. The UK Greetings-owned leading publishers and franchisors have spent more than a year developing the 122-strong collection to bring the boutique card shop look to the convenience sector. “A launch of this size is unprecedented in Card Connection’s history, so we’re very excited,” MD Michael Johnson said. “Detailed study of the sector and intelligence from our own forecasting has anticipated the requirement for a more sophisticated and slightly up-market look. Card Connection’s eight-strong, in-house design team have put together an extensive collection of styles which cover classic, contemporary, cute, humour and fun. Multi-finishes feature heavily with embossed foil, UV varnish plus other highlights. The colour palette is more muted and treatments are tasteful and subtle, while text is a little more quirky and clever to create an artisan card shop look.

T: 01252 892300 www.card-connection.co.uk

● ECO-FRIENDLY publishers Glebe Cottage are delighted to relaunch their fine art collection of 12 greetings cards, and complementary notecard wallets by the late Michael Morgan RI after renewing the licence with his estate. A member of the Royal Institute Of Painters In Water Colours and a founder of the South West Academy, Michael held the coveted RI Medal as well as the Roland Hilder Landscape Prize, and built an international reputation for his inventive and highly sought-after paintings. Director of Glebe Cottage Sue Morrish said: “Michael’s stunning and distinctive landscape images have always proved incredibly popular with our customers so we’re thrilled to be offering this new collection.”

T: 01626 369269 www.glebecottage.co.uk

● CHERRY Orchard are launching 14 brand-new designs with a collection of Sympathy and Get Well cards, including both open and relations captions at price codes 45 and 60. The designs have a range of styles to cater for different tastes, with some focusing on sympathy messages and others having fewer words. The collection is available for delivery now.

T:: 01684 295500 www.cherryorchardpublishing.co.uk

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● MUSEUMS & Galleries launch a luxury collection of V&A-branded cards this month featuring designs that are either gold or silverfoiled and embossed on a beautiful art board. With 12 designs to choose from, at a £2.85 SRP, the collection has a distinct and quite new aesthetic ethos for the V&A Museum. The original archive artworks are sympathetically reinterpreted with contemporary colours and embellishments, delivering stylish impact with sophistication, and reflecting the museum’s mission to inspire the best possible contemporary design.

T: 01373 462165 www.museumsgalleries.co.uk www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday


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

● LING Design have been taking deep breaths and counting from one to 10 in order to get their fabulous new Juvenile Age Cards ready for release at the beginning of May. The 20 brand-new designs for boys and girls aged one to 10, are bursting with colour and full of vibrant fun imagery, perfect for all those over-excited little ones on their special day. All designs are finished with foil and individually cello-wrapped.

T: 01892 838574 www.lingdesign.co.uk ● IT’S OFFICIAL – the first trade deal concluded since the triggering of Article 50 has opened the door for Alec’s Cards to be sold in the UK. There’s not a card shop at the South Pole that doesn’t stock the range, which will now be published in the northern hemisphere by Splimple. Created by Barry the penguin and originally known as Barry’s Cards, the range was gifted to Alec the human in 2011 and imaginatively renamed Alec’s Cards but they fell foul of EU rules, as Brussels bureaucrats didn’t like their fishy smell. Splimple MD Stuart Caldwell said: “The fishy smell has been addressed. The cards have always been kissed for good luck by Barry’s mum Edith but, in future, she’ll be wearing rubber gloves and won’t use her tongue.” Splimple have recruited Peggy McNeill, a retired flautist from the City of Bristol Symphony Orchestra, to add some subtle South Pole quality to the cards. “Peggy will play a jolly Antarctic jig while every order is being packed,” Stuart added, “although customers can opt out on religious grounds if they wish.” There are 24 designs in the initial release, all printed and embossed on a textured board that has the feel (but not the smell) of a deceased mackerel.

● SPREAD the love with an Inky Jingles card, the new contemporary Christmas greetings card collection from Bexy Boo featuring the cutest illustrations all sprinkled with a little flurry of snow. Each card is lovingly hand-finished with an acrylic letter or spotty bow and some super sparkly crystals. The range comprises 24 cards covering all relations from Mummy and Daddy to Daughter and Son as well as from “Our house to yours” and “Baby’s 1st Christmas”. The 150x150mm designs are each individually cello-wrapped and enclosed with a white hammer envelope.

T: 01565 830546 www.bexyboo.co.uk

T: 01386 872752 www.splimple.com

● SMALL cards are what customers are requesting from Laura Sherratt Designs so they have been developing these with the handmade Talking Buttons range. They have just created 12 dinky new 120x120cm designs centred around love, cello-wrapped complete with bright envelope at £1.15 trade, and will be adding to these ready for PG Live 2017. Laura said: “It’s really exciting to work on this small scale card range again, it has always been a favourite with our customers and it’s fab to develop this with new buttons and fonts.”

T: 01538 384566 www.laurasherrattdesigns.co.uk

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● NEXT Episode have added the fine art business of Little England to their portfolio, as well as expanding their own Bon Bon range which sees a new series being released every four weeks until the end of the year. The publishers are all about offering the next release of interesting subjects within greetings cards and selected gift items, from unique lifestyle ranges through to fine art, floral and mainstream promotions. They avoid planned display to pass the savings to customers up front making their product often 60 per cent less than most publishers. Maintaining overheads at the lowest levels by operating without fleets of managers, Next Episode support the independent retailer and have resisted moving into the crowded major account sector which demands enormous discounts.

T: 01954 260728 www.nextepisodegreetings.co.uk

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COVERSTORY

Let’s be friends With Forever Friends celebrating their 30th anniversary, owners Hallmark are looking back over the brand’s history while moving forward d with a revamp of the card collection – plus new research into the meaning m of friendship today.

T

HIRTY years of cute is definitely something to celebrate, and Hallmark have done exactly that with their all-new 30th Anniversary Forever Friends collection. An Combining the much-loved style of the original card C illust illustrations with fresh, vibrant designs this latest collection gives the brand a bold and contemporary new look. To create this 30th Anniversary range Hallmark took the best of the past, adapted, tweaked and tickled to create a gorgeous, new contemporary Forever Friends look. Fresh colour palettes, stylish patterns and floral accents are brought to life with bubbly and warm editorial, all wrapped up in a luxurious gold envelope to give real stand out at retail. For a brand to last 30 years is quite an achievement in this age where characters and trends come and go so quickly as tastes move and evolve faster than ever. And the principles of the Forever Friends brand are standing Hallmark in good stead with many of their illustrators and creatives sticking around. Amanda Foster is their Creative Manager for Properties & Licensing – and one of those who set the record for the world’s longest hug to celebrate the Forever Friends’ silver anniversary five years ago. “As a core Forever Friends consumer, all the way from early childhood into the present day,” Amanda said, “it’s been an honour to have helped create a brand-new look for the 30th Anniversary Collection. “Inspired by current trends, yet remaining faithful to those traditional elements that make our beloved bear so unique, this latest styling combines adorably cute artwork and fresh, playfully emotive typography.” Joss Vanplew looks after the bears’ editorial side of things and has been involved with developing the Forever Friends brand for many years. She added: “Shaping the creative direction for the Forever Friends 30th Anniversary required a careful balance between delivering a fresh, contemporary new look, while continuing to focus on the heritage of the bears. “Forever Friends is a famously British brand which we wanted to be evident in the rich colour palette, stylish patterns and florals, and bubbly, memorable editorial of this exciting new range. “We also made good use of the recent hand-lettering trend to give the 30th Anniversary collection a warm, elegant air that feels bright and relevant and offers the brand a reinvigorated look in-store.” As friendship is the true essence of the brand, in addition to the new and updated product, Hallmark are marking the anniversary with the launch of a

Our evolved ability to make friends is a defining characteristic of our species

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COVERSTORY 8

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new report on friendship and what it means in modern society. With insight from relationships expert Sam Owen (pictured), this report examines everything including the impact of social media on friendships, where people are most likely to make their life-long pals and which celebrities are the most admired Forever Friends. Friendships are essentially what makes us human, as John Edward Terrell wrote in his book A Talent For Friendship: “Our evolved ability, our psychological and biological capacity, to make friends even with strangers is a defining characteristic of our species, an evolved human trait marking us apart from most other species on Earth.” Hallmark’s research showed loyalty is a friend’s most important trait with 19 per cent of respondents picking it, honesty follows at 18 per cent, then reliability with 16 per cent. Only 10 per cent of people valued good fun the highest. Sam said: “Loyalty is hugely important as friends are the holders of our secrets and are essentially our personal coaches and therapists.” The old saying “you can count your true friends on one hand” stands true with the majority of people – 37 per cent – saying they have between one and three close friends. Sam added: “Friends can help us to live healthier and longer, and they can be of paramount importance to those who do not have family members – or at least family members they’re close to.” With the meteoric rise of social media, including Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, 40 per cent of those questioned think friendships mean less than they did 30 years ago, although 53 per cent agreed it makes it easier to stay friends with people for longer. “We build rapport online but we build relationships offline,” Sam said, “we can have this false sense of ‘we’ve connected’ when we use social media or other electronic text communication but we’ve not truly connected with our energetic signature, there’s no real emotion or energy attached to it. “One great way to leave a trace of the real you is by sending handwritten cards, this notifies your friend that you took time out to find the card, write something meaningful in it, address and seal it and then post it. In the modern day, these sorts of sentiments mean a lot and when you start doing them, you’ll notice the difference in how you feel and how you make your friends feel.” With an impressive 37 per cent of people saying they have known their best friend for more than 30 years, and 17 per cent admitting they are more important than their partner, 38 per cent said the celebrity friendship they most admire is Ant and Dec. The presenters have been mates for almost as long as the Forever Friends bears have been around, having met 26 years ago on the set of children’s TV series Byker Grove. Sam said: “Ant and Dec’s presence always demonstrates a deep mutual understanding and loyalty to each other and they always seem to be having fun together and that is what people want for themselves. “Their friendship is a sign of what happens when we honour loyalty, understanding and appreciation and grow together rather than apart, something they made possible by choosing to work together for the long haul. “If Ant and Dec aren’t the ultimate Forever Friends, I don’t know who is.”

PG Live stand 416 – T: 0800 902 0900 (ROI: 01 248 0104) http://hub.hallmark.co.uk/ www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday

A hug in an envelope THREE decades have passed since the first Forever Friends Bear was sketched. From that day to this, one thing has never changed – their dedication to helping people express love and friendship. The story begins in 1987 with artist Deborah Jones sketching her very first bears in her little studio in Bath which were seen and loved by greetings king Andrew Brownsword who put them on his cards. The bears became an instant cute hit and, by 1989, were known as Forever Friends as the brand’s distinctive style was established as the first choice for people sending messages of love, friendship and warm sentiments – and became known as “a hug in an envelope”. By 1997 a Between Friends range was launched focusing on the love and friendship shared between younger fans and the Bears, closely followed in 1999 when a sophisticated hand-drawn sketchbook-style collection for older friends was developed. The Forever Friends reins were taken over by the talented team at Hallmark in 2000, when Deborah finally said farewell to her little bears. The new team injected new ideas with a gorgeous Pastels range which introduced a fun-loving cheeky side to the Bears’ personality with warmer colours and longer messages helping bring it to life then, in 2003, the popular Classic Core collection was born, focusing on brightly-coloured floral bouquets and soft patterns inspired by nature. By 2005 the Bears had made their first foray into the digital age with the launch of www.foreverfriends.co.uk, a home for all things Forever Friends and a place for fans to access news and moviequality animations. In 2009 Forever Friends broke into the music industry with the release of their debut album which proved hugely popular with fans – the Mum In A Million third album even reached No1 in the UK charts! At the turn of the decade, the talented Forever Friends team brought the bears to life in the beautifully-illustrated children’s bedtime book Night Night Sweet Dreams, which launched alongside a marketing campaign backed by the Sleep Association UK, focusing on the importance of having a good night’s sleep. And their new Facebook and Twitter pages attracted hundreds of thousands of followers, allowing the ever-growing worldwide fanbase to always be at the forefront of exclusive news and content. Looking for a new challenge to mark 25 years of hugs, 2012 saw Forever Friends and Hallmark set a Guinness World Record for the world’s longest group hug lasting over 25 hours – which stands to this day! And that brings the story to 2017 with the celebration of 30 years of friendship with Forever Friends.

www.greetingstoday.co.uk 17


● Heart & Home

CANDLES&HOMEFRAGRANCES

● Potters Crouch

Keep the flame alive ● Caroline Gardner

A

QUALITY candle has fantastic appeal, both on the shelf and in the home, ensuring their popularity as they have become a staple product for many retailers, and fantastic add-on sale in greetings stores.

The good news is that, as candles and home fragrances are a consumable item, they often generate repeat sales. The sector continues to evolve, with many new entrants and also brands that are now recognised by the consumer, such as Potters Crouch who have been a well-kept secret for 30 years and are now beginning to become far better known thanks to the quality of their product and perfume. Companies such as Heart & Home and Heaven Scent are also continually growing their collections, with the independent greetings retailer often looking to find more unusual items to stock to keep their point of difference. Susan Kerr, of Harvey Willis in Glenrothes, Fife, knows the importance of candles for retailers: “About 40 per cent of our shop has candles. They are very important to us and it has to be the right type of candle – the fragrance should be what is says it should be. For example, strawberry should smell like real strawberry, cinnamon should make you feel like cosying up by the fire and thinking of winter months.” The candle sector is being driven largely by innovation with new fragrances, jar shapes and candle formats, plus contemporary packaging, particularly in the form of gift boxes to give the product versatility to act as either a self purchase or a special gift. And with the ranges of candle accessories available, such as wax melts, holders, and reed diffusers, these often transfer to an additional purchase. And with the ranges of candle accessories available, such as wax melts, holders, and reed diffusers, these often transfer to an additional purchase. Heart & Home have also just released their distinctive aromas in Fragrance Sachets and Car Fresheners. The Sachets feature the same designs which appear on the unique candle lids, and are the perfect size to slip into drawers, wardrobes, linen cupboards and suitcases with a delicate scent to revive and enliven clothing.

What’s hot? Candles of course. This category always holds its own with the consumer, and gives great add-on sales and chance for independent retailers to source and stock products with a difference.

The air fresheners are a convenient and pretty way to fragrance your vehicle with plastic container that holds scent even better than the more traditional card hangers. Many people buy candles for everyday use in the home and it’s becoming evident they are moving away from the cheaper end of the offer to design-led, quality candles as a way of adding a touch of style to their house décor. Susan Grant, from Widdop And Co, said: “There are many consumers who are incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to candle quality. Although burn times are important, it’s more about the quality and consistency of the hot throw right through the entire burning process. “Consumers are wise to the brands that use a double pour process with a lesser amount of fragrance in the bottom of the jar compared with the top. Even a novice candle burner will expect a clean burn with no build up of soot around the jar as well as an even burn – tunnelling looks ugly and is a real turn off.” Tom Sykes, Xstos Flame & Fragrance Director, added: “We’re finding that an increasing number of greetings card shops are taking more and more candles and we expect them to become a growth area for our brands this year.” Susan Kerr has definitely noticed customers are more aware: “They’re more savvy when it comes to candles. Some come in asking for soya-based wax having read that it’s better for the environment. Others have watched TV shopping channels which spend ages describing the qualities of good wax and fragrance oils etc.” Presentation can be key to a range. By adding appeal to a candle, whether through scent or glassware, the extra value to the gift becomes obvious. “Candles can sit just about anywhere in the gift sector – they look just as much at home in a card shop as they do in a garden centre or home accessory retailer,” added Susan. “They offer a wide range of price points incorporating just about any budget. The fragrance they give off in store is inviting to the consumer drawing the consumer’s attention to the product in a way that no other product does.” Candles have a dual purpose too as, not only do they have a function, but they also now come in glass vessels and tins that give storage options for all sorts of items once the flame has gone out.

They look just as much at home in a card shop as they do in a garden centre

Melting in the middle INSPIRED by the artistry of the great potters of Stoke-on-Trent and the beauty of the Staffordshire countryside Helen, the owner and creative talent behind Newman-Curtis Candles, has designed an original bespoke range of handmade candles. Coloured, fragranced, dipped and carved by hand, the perfumed candle melts on the inside, filling the room with beautiful colours and fragrance. When the inner wax has burnt away the hand-decorated shell remains and can be used with an LED tea light inside to enjoy again. “My candles are all about experiencing light, colour and fragrance, casting different illuminations as they burn – but my customers kept telling me my candles were too lovely to light. “I decided to experiment, eventually creating the Newman-Curtis candle so now customers are fully enjoying their glow and radiance.”

T: 01782 746160 www.newmancurtiscandles.co.uk

18 www. www.greetingstoday greetingstoday.co.uk .co.uk

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Fragrances rom e eart to ake your ouse a ome


CANDLES&HOMEFRAGRANCES

Fabulous

● Xxxxx

C

HOOSING which home fragrance range to stock is no easy task in a congested marketplace where so many brands old and new compete for retailers’ shelf space.

For more than 30 years, the folks at Potters Crouch have been making outstanding fragrance products, but they have also learned to understand their retailers and make sure their offering is designed to deliver what their retail partners want. Lovingly handmade in St Albans, using traditional fine fragrances and superior ingredients, at Potters Crouch they are, above all, perfumers working in partnership with a respected British artisan perfumer and one of the oldest family-owned fragrance houses in Grasse, France. Managing Director David Brown said: “Although the fragrance market keeps changing, our priority stays the same – it’s all about our retail partners.” To keep focused on their retailers they ensure they offer: ● Made in Britain – Potters Crouch are a UK company making great products in the country. ● Easy to buy – there are no complex ordering requirements, and low minimum orders. ● Exclusivity – there will be no other stockist nearby. ● Great margins – and a retail price that totally belies the quality ● Excellent customer service – they try to keep every product in stock so delivery will be within a few days ● No competition – Potters Crouch undertake not to compete with their retailers by offering customers better deals online. ● Great sales agents – the team cover every part of the UK and are always responsive to customer’s needs.

20 www. www.greetingstoday.co.uk .co.uk

The Potters Crouch story started in 1986 when Louise Gow received a simple birthday gift of a scented candle in a decorative tin from America, a completely new innovation at the time. Being a serial entrepreneur, Louise set about trying to import them simply couldn’t track down the makers, so she decided to do it herself, establishing the business at Potters Crouch Farm near St Albans. Ever a perfectionist, Louise wanted to produce world-class products and realised the key ingredient to set her candles apart was the use of high-quality fragrances. Deciding to go down the bespoke fragrance route, she went to work learning all about fragrance, essential oils, herbs, spices, plants, aromatic compounds and fragrance compositions. Louise sought out a respected artisan perfumer and independent fragrance consultant who had years earlier established his own niche perfumery. Drawing on his lifetime career in the aroma trades industry they worked exclusively on creative briefs for high-quality handmade candles, which smelled beautiful and burned wonderfully – and this friendship is still going strong. After months of testing and evaluation, the first candle in a tin was due for launch. With a fragrance of Gardenia and Tuberose, this scent has remained in the company’s top three bestsellers ever since. Beginning in a kitchen, then garden shed, then a room over a nearby stable block, they quickly outgrew their premises before coming across Prae Wood Farm, with old dairy buildings dating back some 400 years. In keeping with the company’s values of sustainability and authenticity, Louise and her team set about renovating the derelict farm and preserving the location’s history. Today the Potters Crouch brand is recognised worldwide for producing the highest

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CANDLES&HOMEFRAGRANCES

fine fragrances

quality fragranced candles, ndles, reed diffusers, room sprays and other gifting items. Set in the Hertfordshire countryside on th the Gorhambury Estate owned by Lor Lord rd and Lady Verulam, their base remains a stone’s throw away from the company’s birth h place of Potters Crouch. Employing eight permanent and numerous seasonal staff they handmake thousands of candles every week with the company now led by David Brown and nd Joanne Martin, who continue to ensure Potters Crouch Candles live and breathe e their original values. This includes producing and designing all products on-site using traditional hand and pouring and labelling methods for a fragranced product which far exceeds public ic expectations and which has an incredibly loyal customer base, who can also buy uy through the onsite gift shop, where prices are kept in line with retail stockists. The production process lends itself to bespoke manufacturing, with Potters Crouch uch the first port of call for companies sourcing gifts for celebrities and VIPs – and they crafted ted two new candles for Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations last summer. David added: “The best reason to stock Potters Crouch products is that yourr customers will keep coming back for more! “The outstanding quality of the exclusive fine fragrances created by our own artisan perfumer leads to committed consumers.” Retailer Elaine Paton from Paton’s Parcels, in Bowling, Glasgow, said: “After three years these have become my top-selling fragrance brand because my customers rs always come back for more – many travel here just to get them. “The exceptional quality of the fragrances make them stand out in a crowded d marketplace and the price point is remarkable. These fragrances really do deliver er – for my customers and for me.” From relaxing to uplifting, calming to invigorating, their product range evolves seasonally, bringing you a selection of the most luxurious fragrances to enjoy – whatever your mood!

T: 01727 836454 36454 co.uk www.potterscrouchcandles.co.uk www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday

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CANDLES&HOMEFRAGRANCES

Clean burn and bespoke labels HEAVEN Scent were the first to create an alternative to a paraffin wax candle back in 1993, and firmly believe they sell one the best candles on the market. The vegetable blend and fragrances used have been tried and tested over the years and burn cleanly and effectively giving an excellent hot throw. Heaven Scent offer customers a bespoke labelling service thanks to their great in-house design team. “Many of our small independent shops like the own label service as we are able to do short runs for smaller orders,” said Sarah Bellis, a designer at Heaven Scent. Heaven Scent also sell greetings cards and are able to put an illustration on to a label and so a greeting card can match a candle range. Sarah added: “We’re finding that candles and greetings cards sell well for our shops – so why not combine the two!”

T: 01225 868788 www.heavenscent.co.uk

The art of home fragrance – naturally A BEAUTIFUL range of stylish, fragrancerich candles created to fill the home with evocative scents and designed to look stylish anywhere, that’s the collection from Heart & Home. With soy wax as the central ingredient, customers can enjoy this gorgeous indulgence safe in the knowledge that it has its heart in nature. Distinctive fragrances, beautiful

22 www. www.greetingstoday.co.uk .co.uk

accessories, environmentally friendly – the perfect combination to attract those candle consumers looking for the perfect scent and affordable luxury. With eye-catching displays to fit a whole array of retail footprints you can be sure that you’ll find just the right selection to build your fragranced category sales.

T: 01709 730700 www.heartandhome.com www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday


I

’M WRITING this piece in a holiday cottage on the north Norfolk coast, looking out to sea across the Salthouse marshes, with the sun catching the blades of the Sheringham Shoal windfarm in the far distance. It’s Tuesday morning, and it occurs to me that I haven’t set eyes on a chain store since we drove out of the car park at Morrisons in Fakenham last Friday. No Smiths, no Boots, no Costa, not even a branded petrol station. I honestly can’t recall the last time I’ve had such a thorough retail detox. But, while plastic fascias have been thin on the ground, I’ve wandered into a number of shops, from the tiny village store, through the bird-watchers’ visitor centre, to the pottery at Cley (do go if you can, they’re terrific), and from Crabpot Books to the vast gifterie at Holkham Hall. Each of them has done what they do impressively – they know their customers (locals and visitors), they understand their ranges, they’ve created the right retail ambience (in the village shop, this is done by having a tractor driver share the latest local scandal with the family behind the counter, now that’s ambience), and they carry good quality products. Oh yes, and they all sell greetings cards. I haven’t visited a single outlet that didn’t have a standee on the counter or a spinner by the door. Everyone sells greetings cards. Perhaps the fact this is a holiday area contributes to the effort, but I’m talking about proper cellowrapped greetings cards with envelopes, not just postcards. I’ve seen more greetings cards than I’ve seen Mars Bars! Of course, everyone sells greetings cards because, well, they sell. When we were setting up Calliope several years ago, we were repeatedly pushed back by potential investors for the paucity and oldfashionedness of our ambitions. “Greetings cards?” the professional men in their smart casual suits would say. “They’re on the way out, aren’t they? My kids just message everyone on Facebook.” (You can see how long ago this was. Kids were still using Facebook.) I suspect this says more about professional men in smart casual suits than it does about the card trade, as their spend on greetings is probably, per capita, among the lowest. Seduced by technology, they couldn’t see that a simple card does a job that no amount of social messaging can – enjoying the lovely sunny weather here in Salthouse, I’m glad we took their advice with a pinch of salt!

Pinch of salt Enjoying a break in Norfolk, Philip Downer noticed the dearth of chain stores, but picking up a greetings card wasn’t difficult as local shops have plenty of stock – because they are consistent sellers.

● Tang of the sea – Philip checking out the card selection at Kirkbrides Old Post Office in Salthouse

North Norfolk’s indies aren’t selling greetings cards because they’re stuck in a time warp – they’re selling them alongside some smart, desirable and up-todate merchandise. Plus some pretty odd old bits and bobs too, but no matter. The market is broad enough for a host of local artists to create their own cards, which sell in-store alongside familiar designs from the likes of Wrendale or Green Pebble. Back at home, with three of the four spring season events now passed and the red, pink and yellow envelopes packed away for another year, Calliope are looking at a very good first few months in cards. It appears that, whatever political or economic uncertainty is dogging people’s lives, they won’t be dissuaded from sending cards to their nearest and dearest.

I haven’t visited a single outlet that didn’t have a counter standee or spinner by the door

Philip Downer Is MD of Calliope Gifts, owner of Front Of Store retail consultancy, an experienced public speaker and the former CEO of Borders bookstores. T: 01306 889914 www.calliopegifts.co.uk www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday

This is taking place in an increasingly febrile retail environment, where American giants like Sears and Macy’s are closing 28million square feet of space (that’s nearly three square miles of shops) and, in Britain, companies such as Jaeger and Brantano are going to the wall. Nick Hood, of Opus Restructuring, reckons that another five to 10 High Street chains could go under this year. All of us, large or small, are living with rising costs – business rates, minimum wage, pension legislation and (of course) rapacious landlords, so it’s a relief to be working in a sector that continues to thrive. However, with greetings cards apparently sold in more shops than any other product category (at least on the basis of my holiday research), those of us who specialise have to continue to innovate, with new designs, new suppliers and regular refreshes of display and layout. When the barriers to entry are low, each of us has to be the best we can to thrive on the ever-changing High Street. Now, I must get down to the pub and check out their card selection…

www.greetingstoday.co.uk 23


SURTEX&NSSPREVIEWS

The magic words Nearly 200 exhibitors will be at Surtex sh showing how wing thousands of designs which ensure the global marketplace keeps buyers and licensees coming back to see the new, fresh and original works they need.

T

HREE of the most effective words in the lexicon of successful marketing are New, Fresh and Original – and the story at Surtex 2017 is all about that trio of magic words.

That makes the annual show one of the top marketplaces to which the world comes every May, seeking artworks and designs to be applied to an endless variety of products. With art licensees and art buyers always on the hunt for what’s new, fresh and original it’s amazing how artists manage to come up with such ideas year after year. Now in its 31st year, Surtex is a global B2B marketplace for sourcing original art and design, connecting artists, agents, licensing agencies and licensors with manufacturers and retailers. Art and brand licensing is the largest section at Surtex where artists, designers, agencies, and brands feature thousands of creative works available for licence. The Atelier sector is arranged in an intimate, yet

open, floorplan, for talented textile design studios from around the world to sell their most trend-forward surface designs to a multitude of product categories. Launched in 2016, the Design District features firsttime exhibiting artists, provides visitors with a preview of emerging artists they can’t source on your own. The annual event runs this year from Sunday to Tuesday, May 21-23, at the Jacob K Javits Convention Center in New York where nearly 200 exhibitors, including Portfolio Select, The Pattern Social from greetings card publisher Jessica Hogarth, Howard Robinson, Lilla Rogers Studio and Ansada Art Licensing, are expected to introduce thousands of designs to more than 4,500 buyers. As well as the seminars and presentations available in the Trend Theatre, new for 2017 is the Surtex Show Planner platform enhanced to optimise visitors’ event experience as, once registered via the website, they can connect directly with exhibitors. Visitors can also see the four young artists representing three nations chosen from the Designext entries that flowed in from around the globe as the

winners in tex student the 31st Surtex est. design contest. Canadian Cassie Suche, Meredith West and Jiran Xia from the US, and Brit Louise Towers (pictured), who is studying printed textiles and surface pattern design at Leeds College of Art, are on their way to New York to exhibit their prize ideas in special booths at the show where they will compete for the $1,000 (£780) grand prize. “Licensed art and design is everywhere, from housewares to furnishings to apparel and more,” said Jill Campbell, Vice-President of Marketing for show organisers Emerald Expositions. “Since the show began more than 30 years ago, it’s become a premier global forum for the sale and licensing of art, where hundreds of artists with unique designs meet manufacturers seeking fresh trending designs for use on their finished products and goods.” For more information about attending Surtex, which is co-located with the National Stationery Show, and to register online, visit www.surtex.com.

Stop by for fresh artwork to make products stand out PORTFOLIO Select are excited to be returning to Surtex this year, where they hope people will stop by for fresh artwork that will really make your product stand out. Portfolio Select are a well-established art licensing company based in the UK. They are dedicated to excellent customer service, and to providing fast, friendly assistance to clients. Their exclusively-selected artists offer designs for all occasions, driven by creativity and changing trends, and are available for bespoke commissions. The talented artists and designers supply artwork for any product, and Portfolio Select currently produce designs for a broad range, including greetings cards, boxes, tins, tags, gift bags, packaging, jigsaw puzzles, tableware, fabric, and paper products. Everybody is hard at work creating lots of new art for the show – with plenty of festive creativity going on. They have fun Christmas characters in graphic, juvenile, and folk styles from Julie Oldham and Nicola Mason. Their religious art ranges from Sue Waddicor’s eye-catching contemporary Three Kings designs to Alison McGarrigle’s colourful painted nativity scenes.

24 www. www.greetingstoday.co.uk .co.uk

Toben Robbins, Mike Donnelly, and Adam Sanderson create popular painterly traditional winter art, with cheery Santas, beautiful snowy countryside, and cosy home scenes, and they also have digital art from Enrico McGarrigle and Nancy Fullenwider, who are very successful in business and charity markets. Portfolio Select also have a huge selection for everyday ranges too. Karen Tye Bentley’s bright contemporary style is perfect for any occasion, with fun feminine florals, modern masculine ideas, and ontrend designs for general everyday. Sam Rudd is also very successful for her bold, graphic style, with fun juvenile characters and beautiful detailed text art. And there’s a huge photographic library full of unique, professional images, along with fine art ranging from traditional to abstract. Portfolio Select have already taken early bookings for appointments, so don’t hesitate to get in touchvia becky @portfolioselect.co.uk if you’re planning to visit the show. All artists portfolios can be viewed online at where you will find selecting images and making enquiries to be simple and fast.

Surtex stand 2742 T: 01442 833458 www.portfolioselect.co.uk

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● Ohh Deer ● Dear To Me

● Purpose & Worth Etc

SURTEX&NSSPREVIEWS

All things paper F

OR MORE than 70 years, the National Stationery Show in New York has been the place for all things paper – from greetings cards, custom invitations, gift wrap and journals, to lifestyle gifts, and everything in between.

The launch-pad for 200-plus emerging, trend-leading businesses each year, the atmosphere is highly creative, yet very serious, attracting store owners and top buying executives from thousands of diverse businesses worldwide, and engaging exhibitors from designer-makers to well established companies. With more than 800 greetings card and stationery exhibitors taking part, the NSS is co-located with surface pattern and design fair Surtex and attracts a global attendance of around 10,000 buyers and industry professionals. And this year Laura Darrington is leading the British charge as one of four publishers travelling over as finalists in the Louie Awards, with the winners announced during the show, which runs from Sunday to Wednesday, May 21-24, at the Javits Center. Alongside fellow Brits Ohh Deer, Purpose & Worth Etc, and Dear To Me Studio, Laura’s work has been recognised in the 60-category annual competition that’s been run by the US Greeting Card Association since 1988 – her village design is one of three up for the Christmas/Seasonal General $4 & Below title. Ohh Deer are in two categories, Christmas/Seasonal Humourous $4 & below and Valentine’s Day $4 & Below, while Purpose & Worth Etc are LGBTQ $4 & Below finalists and Dear To Me Studio are in the Rising Star Above $4 section. The winners of each category and the overall winner will be announced at the Louie Awards Gala on Sunday, May 21, with all the finalists on show in the foyer at the NSS.

● Laura Darrington

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www.nationalstationeryshow.com

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GIFTSFORCARDSHOPS

Truly gifted With very few greetings shops selling just cards these days, retailers are always on the look out for new and exciting products to suit their customers. Current trends such as personalisation, sustainablilty, flamingos, and nostalgia are always good to include but, whether it’s a considered purchase of the Museums & Galleries fine art collections, or the fun and contemporary licensed products from Pyramid, there are pens, journals, candles, doormats, mugs, and even towels – truly a gift out there for everyone that will work as an add-on or destination sale.

V&A COLLECTION With Father’s Day approaching, gifts for men can be hard to find, so Cherry Orchard have an unmissable offer on their Timeless Moments range of male mugs. Until the end of May there’s 30 per cent discount on this bone china range featuring 14 open and captioned designs for those with hobbies such as golf, DIY, gardening, trains, and hiking. The mugs are supplied with free gift presentation boxes and a branded display stand is available. To take advantage of the offer, there is a minimum order requirement of 25 units (50 mugs) and no other current discounts will apply.

A decorative pen makes an attractive gift, especially when matched with a journal. This spring, Museums & Galleries have launched six beautiful gift ballpoint pens, all packed in presentation boxes, which can be bought separately or together with matching V&A journals. There is a choice of two design directions – half the pens match or coordinate with new up-to-date contemporary look journals in Grande or Deluxe sizes, and there’s a more traditional English look featuring Arts & Crafts designers William Morris, Charles Voysey, and Walter Crane, which complement existing bestselling elasticated journals.The gift ballpoint pens retail at £11.99; Grande Journals retail at £12.99; Deluxe Journals at £9.99; and Elasticated Journals at £8.50.

T: 01684 295500 www.cherryorchardpublishing.co.uk

T: 0116 230 4197 www.museumsgalleries.co.uk

TIMELESS MOMENTS

26 www.greetingstoday.co.uk

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GIFTSFORCARDSHOPS

Out Now

HAMMAM HAVLU Evolved from the traditional Turkish bath towel, this British brandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s highly absorbent and quick drying towels are woven using the finest 100 per cent cotton and traditional weaves and work as beach towels, sarongs, scarves, picnic blankets and tablecloths. . www.hammamhavlu.com

CREATION EXPRESS Made in store in under three minutes, the Creation Express franchise has personalised mugs, cushions and greetings cards, plus magic mugs, hanging hearts, heart keyrings, compact mirrors and tote bags, all presented with free gift packaging.

The new V&A everyday range is in stock and available to order. Please contact your agent or request a brochure.

T: 0161 762 9309 www.creationhub.co.uk

sales@mgml.co.uk Tel: 01373 462165 www.museumsgalleries.co.uk www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday

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GIFTSFORCARDSHOPS

PIZAZZ Themed around Nigel Quineyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bestselling floral Pizazz designs, complemented with modern polka dot patterns, this stylish selection of baking items has elegant cake tins, contemporary tea cups and saucers, napkins, three-tier cake stands, bunting and a trio of delicatelyfragranced tinned candles. T: 01799 520200 www.nigelquiney.com

HEART & HOME Visually eye-catching collections of candles and home fragrance gift sets, plus new Fragrance Sachets and Car Fresheners at retail points that make for aďŹ&#x20AC;ordable luxury. T: 01709 730700 www.heartandhome.com

28 www.greetingstoday.co.uk

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GIFTSFORCARDSHOPS

PYRAMID INTERNATIONAL The licensed collections include their LIMA Award-nominated doormats for some of the biggest movies, bands and brands, such as Guns ’n’ Roses, Guardians Of The Galaxy, My Little Pony and Volkswagen. They also have an incredible range of stationery, with new magnetic clasp premium notebook for the legendary Pink Floyd, and a whole library of products for Lego, current holders of the world’s most powerful brand title. T: 0116 284 3645 www.pyramidinternational.com

STRAWBERRY FAYRE & REDOUTE ROSE Two tabletop ranges from Lesser & Pavey which include glass cutting board, laptray, tea towels, napkins, shopping bag, mugs, cup and saucer, tea set, coasters, placemats, melamine trays, and scented candles. T: 01322 279225 www.leonardo.co.uk

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BCTFREVIEW

● Commended – Joanna Martin, Curlew Cottage, with Ged Mace

● Just Because… – Shelley and John Rapley, Snapdragon Designs ● Winner – Kathy Starr, Dilly & Pink

● Sharmaine Guthrie, Opel Picture Frames, Sutton, Surrey: “I found quite a lot of interesting things and I’ll definitely be coming again, it’s a good fair and the people are lovely and friendly – I’ll be going to the one in London too.”

● Highly Commended – Clare Free, Our Funny Family

● Speech – Henri Davis

●Helen Simpson, Willis & Simpson, Whitby: “I love Snapdragon’s cards and have had bespoke ones made for us.”

BCTF AWARDS BCTF Award For Excellence Winner Jack Laverick Highly Commended Pratima Kramer Commended WUD Lighting

Giftware Association Awards Winner Cathy Hilton Highly Commended WUD Lighting

National Association Of Jewellers Awards Winner Alice Barnes Highly Commended Kathryn Williamson Highly Commended SaraBuk Jewellery

Greetings Card Awards Winner Dilly & Pink Highly Commended Our Funny Family Commended Curlew Cottage Designs Just Because… Snapdragon Designs

Wow Factor Winner Jack Laverick Highly Commended WUD Lighting

Best Newcomer Awards Winner Stephanie Holt Highly Commended Miriam Griffiths

30 www. www.greetingstoday.co.uk .co.uk

Winners are in the pink Buyers and suppliers alike had a g good ood oo d s sh show how at the British Craft Trade Fair which concentrates solely on UK-made products, and has seen a marked increase in greetings exhibitors in recent years, who were all considered for the second annual card awards.

A

GREAT show at the British Craft Trade Fair was crowned by the awards ceremony with Dilly & Pink’s wide range of highly-commercial designs winning the Greetings Card prize. Our Funny Family’s colourful cartoons were highly commended with the linocut illustrations from Curlew Cottage getting the commended certificate, and Snapdragon’s laser-cut 3D cards picking up the judges’ special Just Because… award. While the specialist show dedicated to Britain’s designermakers has been running for 43 years, this was only the second time the Greetings Card Awards have been made and they were part of the presentations at the end of the second day of the fair organised by PSM Ltd, which ran over April 2-4 at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate. The huge range of different designs across more than 70 greetings exhibitors out of 430-plus at the fair gave the judges – Greetings Today editor Tracey Bearton; GCA President Ged Mace, and retailer Caron Naylor from The Gift House at Blacker Hall Farm, near Wakefield – a tough task to match their criteria of originality, commercial viability and wow factor. Having whittled them down, all stands on the long list were visited at the show at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate, to come up with a short list from which the winners, who will all receive publicity in Greetings Today, were chosen. The other six who made the shortlist were 1790 Cards, Faye Stephens, Flying Teaspoons, Life & Soul Designs, Lucy Alice Designs, and Perkins & Morley. Having received her award from Ged, a delighted Kathy Starr, of Dilly & Pink, said: “We’re over the moon to have won the Greetings Today card award at BCTF, it’s a very welcome validation of what we’re doing. “It does sometimes feel like we’re in a very crowded market

so it will be fantastic if this helps bring us more exposure.” The accolades were a perfect end after starting with a very useful breakfast presentation from Giftware Association Chairman Henri Davis on her first-ever visit to the BCTF. Henri was wearing her retail buyer’s hat to give insights into their thought process about what they are looking for with new products, and the expectations from suppliers. “At its most simple,” Henri said, “as a buyer what I want from a supplier is some one who has great product that’s relevant to my customers, gives great service, and offers new, innovative products from time to time. That’s it!” She also pointed out that preparation is key, with the need to understand what products the retailer sells very important, as is knowing how their buying cycle works – if they only look at Christmas products in January and you submit your items in March, they won’t even be considered for almost a year – and be clear about cost prices and margins. And Henri gave a very simple example of how to calculate margins – if your cost price including materials and your time is £50, for a 50 per cent margin the retailer will double that to £100 and add VAT at 20 per cent, taking the price in the shop to £120. She also spoke on how suppliers can be seen, mentioning picking the shows they attend carefully as buyers visit those they feel have relevant exhibitors, appearing in pre-show trade press and catalogues with adverts and editorial submissions, and entering industry awards. Emma Richards, from the Government’s Intellectual Property Office, followed up with a talk on IP and how to protect it – videos of both presentations can be seen on the Greetings Today Facebook page, along with more photos from the show.

www.bctf.co.uk

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BCTFREVIEW

From retail to wholesale

BCTF Greetings Awards winners – Dilly & Pink SISTERS Helen Whiteley and Kathy Starr are the people behind handmade card publishers Dilly & Pink. Following a honours degree in visual studies and a career in retail Kathy opened her Gifted store in Thaxted, Essex, specialising in handmade, British-made, fair trade and recycled gifts, jewellery and cards. Kathy has always made cards and jewellery to sell in the shop, so Dilly & Pink, was a natural progression. ‘We launched Dilly & Pink at the British Craft Trade Fair in 2013 and the business has been growing and learning ever since. “We knew cards were a booming sector from our experience with Gifted – when we opened 15 years ago we just had a single spinner of cards but now have a whole section dedicated to them, stocking a wide range of catagories. “I think the popularity is a reaction to the digital age, a carefully-selected beautiful card is still a special thing to receive. “Gifted gives us a retailers’ perspective when we’re designing for Dilly & Pink, that’s why we offer age cards – from one to 100 – occasions, relations, seasonal as well as lots of birthday and everyday. “I think the fact that we cover most of the occasions and ages helps us stand out as a small card producer, plus we trial all the cards in the shop so are confident they sell well. “We’re over the moon to have won the BCTF award, it’s a very welcome validation of what we’re doing.” The Dilly & Pink range is quite diverse in style with some cards featuring Kathy’s illustrations and others having a more graphic feel, and pattern and colour play an important role too. They are all printed on premium quality recycled board, some textured white, some ribbed kraft, with wholesale prices from £1.

T: 01371 830891 www.dillyandpink.co.uk

Rocking a new career

BCTF Greetings Awards Highly Commended – Our Funny Family OUR Funny Family will be a new name to readers but, having gained nearly 19,000 Facebook fans in just nine months and with her cartoons picking up thousands of likes on social media, Clare Free decided to launch her designs as cards that focus on the funny side of being a parent. Clare is a well-known rock and blues guitarist and vocalist with three acclaimed albums under her belt but she felt she was away from home too much on tour while her older two children were little. So, when her third baby came along she was looking for a new career. While she was on maternity leave last spring, Clare had some ideas for cartoons and,

although she had never drawn anything before, she had a go at illustrating them herself. Initially, they were black and white drawings. She shared the first one on her Facebook page in April 2016. Her friends liked it, so she drew more. By June her following had grown to around 700 and Clare was getting more confident so she tried adding colour to the cartoons. Her following went through the roof: “I just couldn’t believe how many people started following me – big companies like the Bounty parenting advice people started sharing my cartoons and they were being liked and shared all over the world.” Clare launched her range of cards featuring the cartoons in February 2017, and the British Craft Trade Fair was her first trade show outing to introduce retailers to the concept, where they went down very well. “I’m thrilled to bits, and a bit stunned by being highly commended in the awards,” said Clare. “I’m really enjoying doing the cartoons and I’m delighted other people enjoy them too.”

T: 01473 487467 www.ourfunnyfamily.co.uk www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday

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BCTFREVIEW

Prize was a great relief

BCTF Greetings Awards Commended – Curlew Cottage Design

BCTF Harrogate was Curlew Cottage Design’s first trade fair in England where Joanna Martin exhibited her new card range featuring images from her linocut prints which celebrate Irish wildlife. “We were really delighted to win the Commended award and enjoyed every aspect of this very friendly show,” Joanna said. The inspiration for Joanna’s images runs deep: “My family and I live near Strangford Lough in County Down, Northern Ireland, where we sail and camp on its many islands. Experiencing nature first hand has given me an endless source of inspiration for my work. I’m passionate about wading birds, particularly the endangered curlew.” Now in mid-career, this year marks a change in emphasis for Joanna’s business away from graphic design and illustration with her map and bird prints, to more marketable products featuring the relief images she crafts using linoleum and Japanese vinyl. The images are cut into the surface, rolled up with ink and hand printed on a magnificent 1825 Columbian Press. She added: “I’ve taken my business up a level and going to trade fairs has been an exciting challenge. The response from retailers has been brilliant and I’ve had to reorganise my house to cope with processing the orders! “I’ve really enjoyed meeting retailers who love nature as much as I do and are enthusiastic about my work. I’ve had great feedback about the colour I use in my images. One of the reasons I like the linocutting process so much is the strength of colour that can be achieved. “I have no shortage of ideas for new designs going forward and I’m already planning our next trade fair.”

T: 028 4482 8143 www.curlewcottagedesign.co.uk

From drudgery to international

BCTF Greetings Awards Just Because... – Snapdragon Designs FROM their beginnings as a way to break from the drudgery of a London commute and instead make pretty things, Snapdragon Designs are now going international. Run by Kent-based wife and husband team Shelley and John Rapley, they met at art college and gained degrees in graphic design with John becoming a D&T teacher and Shelley a professional book binder. But, after 10 years, she tired of the commute and decided to make her own range of pretty books, which they sold at craft fairs before expanding their range when they got access to a laser cutter. John said: “Together we now design and make a range of unique and quirky acrylic jewellery influenced by fairy tales, stories and books alongside a range of handmade gorgeous books, photo albums and lasercut cards. “Our laser-cut cards were a brainwave from Shelley, she’ll tell you she has no idea where it came from, only that it just popped into her head one day and she asked me to make a prototype – that was our London skyline and it’s still our most popular card.” Shelley and John strive to ensure their products are right for their clients and customers, designing and manufacturing almost everything in-house, ensuring the companies they do outsource to are carefully selected so the quality is up to the same high standard of everything that leaves their studio. First appearing at the BCTF in Harrogate in 2015, Snapdragon Designs now supply many shops and galleries across the country. At this year’s show they showcased their hit Cityscape range featuring their bespoke, exclusive lasercut cards with each bringing to life a vision of a specific town, city, or place. The key elements of the scenes are selected by the shops that commission them, making each truly unique. Snapdragon’s products are now being launched internationally as the company have a partnership with Serendipity International, with plans to expand in the future.

T: 07905 453552 www.snapdragondesigns.co.uk

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RETAIL ADVICE WITH HENRI DAVIS

B

ACK IN 2003 I joined the National Trust on a 10-month project – they’d had feedback from visitors that when they visited properties they wanted to be able to buy something made in the local area to remind them of their trip.

It was important these products were not from large companies selling nationally or internationally but that we were supporting local artisan food producers and craft makers. This sounds like old news now but, then, it was an innovative strategy and long before supermarkets were offering locallysourced food ranges. I had the fantastic task of working with the National Trust shop managers in each region to find the relevant producers with great products ● Fiink Design that would excite our visitors from fudge and apple juice in Devon to beautiful tartan textiles in Northumbria. Fourteen years later I’ve just made my first trip to British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate – and I left wondering why I haven’t been before! Having spent a wonderful day looking at inspirational products from an amazingly skilled set of people, I’m in no doubt that they can offer a lot to many retailers in 2017. We constantly read about how challenging retailing is at the moment and how important it is for retailers to differentiate themselves from competitors by offering more unusual products, so craft items could be the answer for many of them. Of course not everyone can do this but for those retailers whose customers want to buy the more unusual items, looking to craft producers could deliver some ● Scott & really strong sales results. Robson So what is it that craft producers can offer retailers? Essentially it’s unique products which can’t be compared with items sold by their competitors and therefore give their customers a reason to come back to buy more exciting products another day! Many of the products will be handmade so, even if they’re a similar size and colour, often they will be completely different in detailing or finish. For many independent retailers and galleries this is part of the appeal but for larger retailers who need product and pricing consistency this can be a problem, they usually need variations to stay within certain parameters.

Making a difference

Craft producers could hold the key to making your shop different, as Henri Davis explains following her first visit to the British Craft Trade Fair. ● Gail’s Glass ● Our Funny Family

Items such as printed stationery and cards are easier to control so retailers wanting a consistent product often feel more comfortable with these lines. There were some great cards at the BCTF – I’ve featured a really interesting cross-section here which you can see have huge potential – and, depending on the type of customers who come into your shop, could suit retailers large or small. The only question then will be over the volumes the producers can supply and the cost prices they can offer. All retailers need to refresh their ranges from time to time so they have exciting new things to tempt their customers in or to shop with them online. Craft producers are often very happy to devise new colourways and patterns for you so it can be very easy to have new products regularly. However, it’s not always easy for retailers to work with craft producers – many who are wonderfully creative often find the business side of things more difficult so, initially, they may need some handholding while they learn what’s required. That’s no reason not to do business with any of them but it does mean you should be prepared to take a little more time explaining what you need and not make any assumptions. I can cite so many examples of small producers who became very capable suppliers who were a pleasure to work with – if you feel their product is right for your customers it’s worth investing a bit of time to support the producer. Notonthehighstreet.com are an example of the business which support small producers so they can trade in the bigger market, they offer support with marketing, logistics and all the other skills needed to run a company. A newer company offering similar support to UK producers is The Great British Exchange which is a trade destination for small to medium-sized British

A wonderful day looking at inspirational products from an amazingly skilled set of people

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

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● Jane Revitt Mapworks

manufacturers looking to sell their products to retail and for retailers looking to find and buy British-made products. MD Matthew Hopkins explained: “Britain has an abundance of quality makers, designers and manufacturers ● Rachel of a wide variety of different Morley products, however, there is little support for these companies in getting their products in front of a retail audience.” With more than 2,000 retailer members and 1,100 British brands, The Great British Exchange creates continual opportunities for producer members to sell in small volumes or scale up to sell on a national and even international level. He added: “An example of this is our partnership with John Lewis working to find fantastic British brands for their stores on a local level. A recent success of this collaboration is sister duo Martha and Hepsie currently selling extremely well in John Lewis’ Leeds store and online, and enjoying working with The Great British Exchange to grow their business.” What this highlights is just how commercial a lot of craft product is, but it needs to be found by the relevant shops, and larger retailers will often only stock products that can be supplied in the way they require. Those producers who want to grow their businesses significantly have to be sufficiently motivated to get themselves out there, exhibiting at the right shows – like BCTF – sending information to ● Martha And Hepsie local, regional and trade magazines and entering the relevant industry awards so they get noticed. And buyers need to do their bit by being out there looking in the less obvious places, otherwise we’ll all end up with exactly the same product offer that’s so dull customers will just stop coming to our shops!

www.greetingstoday.co.uk 21


Talk of the town special ● Product showcase – UKG’s Rachel Broadhead’s presentation

Scientific creativity This Talk Of The Town special looks at how going behind the scenes at UK Greetings gave a group of independent retailers from across the country a look at the science involved in producing cards that meet customers’ needs.

F

INDING your own creativity was one of the aims behind UK Greetings’ special two-day event where independent retailers got to see the science behind the cards.

● 3D Studio – Sonya, Kirstie, Tanya and Mark with UKG’s Nikki Farrar, Amanda Bradley, and Allen Taylor

ya, – Sonya, Tan st, ● Editorial Hir en ar K ’s G Kirstie , UK anklin and Mark Fr

● Card collection – UKG’s Gabriella Peace and Lois Holcroft with Cha ndra, Urmila, Tanya, and Paul

34 www.greetingstoday.co.uk

In the first of what they hope will become a regular event, eight guests from six independents visited UKG’s Dewsbury HQ in April for a tour of the product showrooms and distribution section, plus enjoyed a customer care session. Over the past five years UKG’s consumer insight team have spoken to more than 60,000 consumers in their Research Programme set up to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to customers and reinforce how much the publishers invest in research to ensure the right product is brought to market. The Consumer Insight session at the event gave an overview of the greetings card market where UKG shared the data collected to help us understand the consumer and how this information translates into developing relevant product and identifying opportunities. The publishers’ data shows that 95 per cent of all UK households have bought a greetings card in the last 12 months with the category having a 93 per cent individual incidence rate – higher than incidence rates for chocolate! And 88 per cent of card buyers told UKG that paper greetings cards cannot be replaced by social media, with even the youngest consumers seeing their unique value over social media. Their latest spot polls suggested one in four people would buy into non-occasion card giving, increasing to almost one in three of the Gen Y demographic of 28-37 year olds. There was a chance to get hands on and unleash their creativity in the design studios by creating ng their own gift bag, and it was the Creative Studio the visitors found the most inspiring. Tanya Hendrickman, who attended from Celebrations Carlisle with daughter er and co-owner Sonya, explained: “It’s really eally interesting to see how the business operates erates and, in future, when I’m selecting cards s I’ll remember this experience and be more ore appreciative of the hard work that goes s into the process.” Kirstie Mogg, from Sincerely Yours in Warrington and Merseyside, added: “It’s fascinating to see how the whole process clicks together from start to finish. I imagined them all drawing awing on boards but it’s much more technical. “I found it fascinating how the power of changing ng something as little as the font can completely change the style e and tone of the card.” The visitors, who also included Chandra and Urmila Khatri from Just Write London; Paul Heath from Days To Remember in Sheffield; Cathy Parker from Del’s Supermarket in Sheffield, toured the recently developed product showrooms for giftwrap and UKG branded cards, where the stand-

88% of 8 card buyers say paper greetings cards can’t be replaced by social media

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95% of all UK households have bought a greetings card in the last 12 months

● Creative Studio – Kirstie, Ta nya, Sony a and Ma rk with UK G’s Emma Ha rrison, Denise Blackburn and Ma ry Moulton

out products that earned the most praise were the double bottle bag from the new wedding range and the RHS greetings designs with bespoke envelopes. Kirstie said: “Product coming through is just fantastic. Over the last seven to eight years the product has really moved on and is keeping up with the times and current trends which is crucial to fulfilling consumers’ wants and needs.” The second day kicked off with an independent customer care session which was well received by the guests. The day ended with a tour of the distribution section and resounding thumbs-up from the retailers. Cathy Parker said: “I really enjoyed seeing the process from start to finish – you don’t realise how much goes into it.” Chandra Khatri added: “We really enjoyed our time here, especially going around the distribution area as we just didn’t realise the scale of it all.” Jill Alexander, UKG’s Marketing Communications Director, added: “We wanted to do something out of the ordinary, to share our insight with our independent retailers, to help drive their business forward as part of our ongoing commitment. “The general feedback was that they were blown away to the scale of our operation and iit’s something to be proud of. We plan to continue these events on a regular basis, hopefully the next being in September. Interested p parties should speak with their sales exec to ensure a place.” Karen Hirst, UKG’s Editorial Manager Branded, said: “The day was a great opportunity for us in editorial to meet and chat with w the independents about words, and how they are at the heart of th everything we do at UKG. e “As well as talking them through some of our day-to-day processes and systems, we discussed how we bring together p experience and creativity to ensure the sentiments insight, experienc we write say wha what the consumer wants to say, how they want to say it. “Just like us, th they’re in the business of selling feelings and emotions, so the d day was a brilliant chance for us all to learn something new fro from each other.” And Creat Creative Manager Mary Moulton added: “We had a lovely after afternoon introducing the retailers to our studio. They chatted to the designers and I think they were genuin genuinely impressed by the level of consideration, s and dedication that goes into each skill design. “They especially enjoyed meeting the illust illustrators while we gave them a sneaky peek ne of our newest work for Christmas 2018. This led to a discussion about how we’re constantly challenging pro ourselves to produce new looks which will give customers a fresh choice of u up-to-date products every season. “We’ve made some great links b by meeting these lovely people and the Creative Managers are looking forward to going out to their stores really soon so we can learn from them about what makes their businesses tick too.”

A NEW LEVEL OF SERVICE, QUALITY & VALUE Offset Print & Packaging design and manufacture high quality, bespoke printed cartons and greetings cards. We offer full in-house support across innovative structural design and state-of-the-art reprographics. This is complemented by the highest levels of quality and reliability throughout the entire production process. We continue to redefine expectations through our superior levels of commitment in everything that we achieve.

Tel: +44 (0)1622 795000 Email: contact@offsetgroup.co.uk www.offsetgroup.co.uk

T: 01924 465200 www.ukgreetings.co.uk www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday

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RETROVINTAGE&NOSTALGIACARDS

Memories are made of this

Looking back to the past provides some fantastic design influences and images for the future with retro, vintage and nostalgia cards making good collections for publishers such as Glebe Cottage with their colourful Becky Bettesworth range, and UK Greetings with a number of designs that cover all bases. And Cherry Orchard have taken the genre to the next level with their Down Memory Lane collection that includes des mugs to meet the gifting demand too.

BECKY BETTESWORTH Stunning retro range published by ecofriendly card company Glebe Cottage. Becky’s pictures are an explosion of colour, influenced by vintage 1930s railway posters, celebrating Britain’s amazing natural beauty. There are 50 titles with generic captions and regional designs plus complementary notecard wallets. Becky said: “I love the old-fashioned railway and travel posters and I’ve tried to keep the same nostalgic feel, but in a modern contemporary way. The original posters are so stylish and beautiful, where the world seems so charming and unspoilt. I’m wanting these sentiments to be portrayed in my images but in a fresh modern way, and we all need to be reminded to slow down and see the beauty around us.” T: 01626 369269 www.glebecottage.co.uk

DOWN MEMORY LANE 24 male and female card designs covering milestone stone birthdays from 18 to 100, and 25th, 30th, 40th, 50th and 60th wedding ing anniversaries plus 24 bone china hi mugs. T: 01684 295500 www.cherryorchardpublishing.co.uk

VINTAGE Humorous life lessons from feline friends, to instructions for the real use of an iron. Waving At Trains, Lippy Chicks and Mini Mottos are three of UK Greetings vintage-style ranges. T: 01924 465200 www.ukgreetings.co.uk

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RETROVINTAGE&NOSTALGIACARDS NOSTALGIA The Gibson line and Disney Originals from UK Greetings takes you back to those cherished moments in time with stunning designs evoking a sense of nostalgia within their imagery and emotive sentiment. T: 01924 465200 www.ukgreetings.co.uk

GEO Masculine range inspired by contrasting retro geometric patterns combined with texture, vibrant colour palettes, and foil and emboss finishes at ÂŁ1.14 trade each. T: 0116 284 9660 www.lauradarrington.co.uk

WITH YOU IN MIND 14 designs combining softlyfocused photographic images with embossed detailing and multi-coloured foil highlights teamed with heartfelt quotes to capture that nostalgic feeling across varying relation captions. T: 01942 233201 www.words-n-wishes.co.uk

www.ecofriendly.cards 01626 369269 Established 1993 www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday

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RETROVINTAGE&NOSTALGIACARDS ROAD TO THE FRONT Remembering the difficult days of WW2 with 15 cards and prints reproduced from original paintings and sketches done in the field by the late Joe Cole, who went ashore in the second wave of D-Day landings and had to keep the drawings hidden in his kitbag. T: 07714 768956 www.naturalpartnersart.co.uk

RETRO Whether showcasing the amazing heritage of Marvel Comics or flashing a cheeky bit of Bamforth’s seaside humour, UK Greetings’ retro cards offer something for everyone, across all ages. T: 01924 465200 www.ukgreetings.co.uk

FOIL Eight designs using unique retro font with holographic foil, and five occasions cards with gold foil emboss, plus 12 Christmas cards introducing humour with letterpress print and foil. T: 01274 596925 www.ls20letterpressstudio.com

VENEER Abstract geometrics and retroinspired flower shapes, 130x130mm, £1.25 trade, £2.99 RRP, sold is sixes. T: 0121 773 6833 www.cinnamonaitch.co.uk

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

N

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

IN TERMS of nostalgia cards, I have to say that one of the most popular ranges we carry are the St Andrews Landmark cards from Scottish artist Lilias Conroy. From original silk paintings, these cards are popular with our local customers and tourists and are often sent abroad to people who used to live here or may have visited many years ago. There’s also a range of matching coasters – Lilias even created a silk painting of Top Drawer! We love the Wendy Jones-Blackett licensed giftware range from Widdop & Co, it’s a fabulous collection which complements the card designs so well. The most popular items for us are the countdown “days until we become Mr & Mrs” and “weeks until our little baby arrives” signs along with the little baby keepsakes box.

E

Caron Naylor, The Gift House, Blacker Hall Farm, West Yorkshire SPRING has arrived, so the weather tells us – it’s always a reminder the British Craft Trade Fair is upon us. Always a refreshing start to the season, the new layout and halls at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate were so much better, brighter and bustling with excitement at all the oul new products to view! ● Life & S I discovered quite a few newcomers and, for us, handmade cards with a big difference. I certainly loved the individuality of the many new ideas and have ordered from a few new names. Life & Soul’s collection was beautiful and more than a card, while Lottie Murphy filled a gap in our range too. The illustration side of the cards was strong this year, with many detailed designs, especially the open ones for any occasions. We’re finding a lot of customers stocking up on illustrative cards such as Wrendale and A Farmer’s Daughter. It was a great show and gave me many new ideas for the coming months. ● Lottie Next stop for us is the London Stationery Show, I’m hoping Murphy to expand on the notebooks and letter-writing sets we’ve been stocking which seem to have had a huge turnaround. Emails are qu quick, but family and friends deserve something that’s nicer to receive – I’ve even no noticed more individual stationery shops opening again as everyone does enjoy re receiving a card through the post. It may be called “snail mail” but at least it shows w we care enough to pick up a pen. Suddenly proper writing is back in fashion. I may even dabble in stocking fashionable pens like Museums & Galleries to go w with all this paper – and not a mouse in sight!

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SOUTH – Paul Jarman, Creased Cards, Brighton, East Sussex WE DO pretty well with pick-up gifts here at Creased – they’re the sorts of gifts that are priced pretty low and that customers do grab on impulse. Th Things like fridge magnets, coasters and keyrings are items p people will happily pay £2-£4 for and include with a card th they are giving or even buy for themselves – I’m genuin genuinely surprised these days that people buy fridge magnets still, doesn’t everyone have integrated appliances, m making them useless? Good sellers come from Kiss Me Kwik for coasters a and keyrings, as well as Redback for some great c coasters in their Good Things range. Buddy F e Fernandez also do some great coasters – as well as ssomething so om om to put on them in the shape of mugs. Mu are a strange one – sometimes we get a rush on Mugs c ce ert rtain design ne for a week! They’re a certain designs, and then we’ll not sell one greatt thi thing tto h have in-store though, as theyy are an impulse buy but with a solid profit. al and I’m also always on the look-out for really unusual om quirky gifts and we get a good selection of those from ing Thabto. Things like moustache-shaped photo holding ers magnets as well as Subbuteo themed bottle openers – great sellers for Father’s Day. I’m very much looking forward to stocking more gift lines and varying my stock when we expand in the summer – but more on that soon!

S

WEST – Alison Allen, Conway Cards, Garstang, Lancs BEING a fairly small card shop in a market town, we have limited space for gifts, and therefore have to buy very carefully. Santoro’s Gorjuss by Suzanne Woollcott has done very well for us and we’ve built up the range over the last eight years or so, and it now has its own dedicated area! The range appeals to all ages from small notebooks, purses and pens for little girls, to handbags, holdalls and spectacle cases for the more mature customer, and the collection just keeps growing with new products every time we do an order. Alex Clark and Wrendale stationery is very popular too – sticky notes, shopping list and to-do pads are great pick-up lines. The popular animal designs sell well as we’re situated in a very rural area. Our latest success has been Hunca Munca bathbombs, scented with rhubarb, rose or lavender, you can’t miss our countertop stand as they smell divine. This is the second year we’ve stocked the fabulous Memory Lane mugs from Cherry Orchard, these beautifully-designed bone china mugs make great gifts for everyone celebrating milestone birthdays.

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THE PACKAGE INCLUDES • Coffee and bacon rolls on arrival • 9 hole morning Texas Scramble • Lunch (ham, egg and chips)

• 18 hole individual Stableford and team, longest drive and nearest the pin • 3 Course Presentation Dinner

Email Registration Form Name .......................................... Company .....................................Handicap ..................... Daytime Tel. No......................... Daytime .......................................Email............................ ..... Golf Club .................................... Cost - £100 Please make cheques payable to Lema Publishing Ltd


● Botanical – Brie Harrison

PULSEPREVIEW

Breaking boundaries

GREETINGS & STATIONERY EXHIBITORS’ LIST

A L’aise – E8 Alison Hardcastle – L41 All The Ways To Say – C27 ● DIY – Arthouse Meath – K59 Imagination BerinMade Designs – M27 Illustrated Bespoke Verse – J43 Bird Brain London – E37 Block – H30 Bombus – J36 Bookspeed – H40 Brie Harrison – B9 Cambridge Imprint – K37 Card Nest – L19 Charlotte Clark Designer Maker – L45 Chase And Wonder – J52 Chau Art – K44 Cluck Cluck! – C31 Doodle Moo – B5 ORKING with world-class East End Prints – K11 trend agency Unique Ella Iconic – H52 Style Platform, Pulse is English Graphics – L50 Fawn And Thistle – A20 offering exclusive and Fine Confectionery Co – J60 expert trend predictions for the Forever Cards – L11 seasons ahead. Forever Funny – L20 The boutique trade event for inspiring new gifts, The Gift Label – M11 modern living and fashion accessories takes place at Glorious Mud Ceramics – C17 London’s Olympia, on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, Have A Gander – L24 Hydestyle – B50 May 14-16. I Am A – H70 With a strong emphasis on emerging designerImagination Illustrated – C19 makers, unseen international brands and new Ink Bandit – E31 launches across all product sectors, Pulse has the Inkase – D16 UAL Now section showcasing young talent from the Invotis – J20 University Of The Arts London, plus five other sectors Jacqueline Colley – C33 James Barker – C35 – Brands, Makers, Living, Fashion and the never-seenJen Rowland – K20 before international design brands category Found. Kate & The Ink – B36 And there are three trails to guide visitors around Kate Guest – L38 the Clarion Events-organised show – New Products, Katie Cardew Illustrations – K45 Christmas Launches, and Customisable Products. Katy Christianson Illustration – C7 On the trends front, Unique Style Platform have Kazvare Made It – A26 Lili Price Studio – UAL Now identified four for this year, Botanical, DIY, Functional Liljebergs – L30 and Retro Pop: Lizzie Chancellor – E18 LuckyLobsterArt – L14 Botanical LucyLovesThis – F9 A rich and nourishing palette inspired by heritage Lund London – J58 vegetables, fresh botanicals and perfumed plants. A Martha And Hepsie – C23 Meri Meri – H48 vibrant vitamin green combines with sage and tones Meylor Paper Goods – L16 of almond brown, while deep navy, plum, beetroot Molten Wonky – K64 and dandelion add depth. Botanical prints cover every Nava – L43 surface, combining scattered florals with illustrated herbs Nikki Strange – B16 and leafy greenery. Norma&dorothy – M55 Notable Designs – H20 Ohh Deer – K28 Ola – D20 Old English Company – L40 Over The C – D28 Poet And Painter – K66 HE 2017 Pulse ShopTalk linePomPom Galore – L29 up has been announced with Ruth Holly Paper & Home – C29 Ruth Jackson – K38 speakers from Heal’s, The Design Samantha Warren – A24 Museum, Made.com, Future & Sass & Belle By RJB Stone – G10B Found, Simple Shape and Skandium among Schnucki Images – K50 Scout Editions – E21 the highlights. Scribble And Daub – A2 Presented by 5X15, curators of inspirational talks and Shibaful – L55 workshops, the insightful conference programme at the ShoeLicks – B23 Clarion Events show is devised to provide practical insights Sloane Stationery – K35 to support and inform creative retail businesses. Sophia Enjoy Thinking – K36 ShopTalk highlights include Christina Schmidt, Owner Studio Flash – E28 & Co-Founder of Christinasinteriors.com and Skandium, Su & Miah – B13 revealing why storytelling is vital to help retail products stand Susan O’Hanlon – K29 out from the crowd and how this can be achieved through Tache Crafts – L21 This Mama Does – A0 the power of design. Treasure Buddy – A37c Ruth Wasserman, Head of Design at Made.com. will Turnaround Gifts – K40 give an exclusive insight into what they do to understand U Studio – H22 customers and how research into customer lifestyle Vintage Playing Cards – K61 informs its product offering. Wonderinaliceland – L32 Kirsty Whyte, Product & Design Manager at Heal’s, will Wrap – J53

With unexpected products, undiscovered brands and unlimited inspiration, Pulse is a boutique trade event that breaks the boundaries of design and innovation in new gifts, greetings products, modern living and fashion accessories.

W

DIY

● Functional – Old English Company

A fun and rebellious mood which focuses on customisation and individuality. The colour palette is vibrant and clashing, with primary brights highlighted with hot pink and mint green. A flash of ultraviolet provides a pop, while pale blue, nude and navy tone down the palette. Print and pattern is expressive, giving a new urban feel to the maximalist trend. Scribbles, doodles, paint drips and hand markings combine with hyper-real digital artwork.

Functional A simple and focused mood, where flat colour and bold shapes play a starring role. Core neutrals of grey and stone are balanced with tonal shades of blush and coral. A soft utility blue, rich red and mustard elevate the palette. Print and pattern is kept to a minimum, consisting of structural stripes, graphic blocking and modular shapes in subtle shades of colour.

● Retro Pop – Thorn And Thistle

Retro Pop Artificial brights dominate the colour palette, toned down with microchip grey, mandarin red and almost black. Magenta, cyan, marigold and lime clash with vibrant shades of violet and indigo. Print and pattern is key, taking inspiration from retro gaming, futuristic worlds, neon lighting and computer graphics. As well as these four forward-thinking trends the trade fair organised by Clarion Events will launch further emerging lifestyle trends at the show with a series of on-site installations.

Speakers are on the pulse

T

explore what a designer collaboration looks like and why it

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● Collaboration – Kirsty White ● Storytelling – Christina Schmidt

can be mutually beneficial for both retailers and designers. And Rebecca Hossain, Head of Retail and Publishing at The Design Museum will|P share her top 10 tips for impactful visual merchandising, and how this can be replicated on a shoestring budget. The full list of speakers is on the website, and registration for visitors to attend Pulse is now open at www.pulse.co.uk.

● Research – Ruth Wasserman

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IT’S ALL ABOUT SALES

S

O I SAID to Julie, the buyer at Brookfields Garden Centre in Nottingham, over coffee recently: “Any road up, how’s 2017 going for you?”

What with the price increases starting to come through as a result of the Brexit implications I thought it would be a good time to see how much impact this was having on the High Street. “Any road up” is an expression I picked up from Julie a few years back, it’s basically an alternative to starting a sentence with “anyway” but a longer version. While the price increases of up to 25 per cent from suppliers have totally shocked Julie, she said she has no feeling of uncertainty at present. Her biggest decision with price increases is whether to pass it on to the customer or accept a lower margin – we agreed lower margins are a difficult decision as the costs of running the business only go up too. The biggest frustration for Julie is the number of suppliers making difficult decisions even harder at the moment. Julie’s feeling confident and, with gifts always good add-on sales, she’s getting behind the product groups that are growing including candles, home fragrance and toiletries. “My core aim is to integrate lifestyle products with what’s on trend. I’m focused on building strong categories rather than pursuing the one hit wonders,” Julie said. “Novelty-wise, unicorns, pineapples and cactus are very big – we could probably sell anything related to these at the moment, LOL!” Consistent with pretty much every retailer I’ve spoken to, Mother’s Day and Easter sales have seen a really delayed build-up compared to previous years but, looking forward to a strong second quarter and rest of 2017, Julie said: “I do wonder if garden centres are future-proofed so long as we keep g evolving.”.

Any road up! IIn contrast, when h I spoke k to B h hhas run ffashionhi Bev, who led gift shop Etcetera in Rugby for 14 years, she finds the challenges never get any easier, and the recent opening of a lifestyle-based retail park on the outskirts of town has been particularly demanding. Bev believes having strong brands such as Radley, Jellycat and Crabtree & Evelyn has been the cornerstone of surviving everything that’s thrown at the independent retailer. In addition to new retail parks, parking charges and rates increases certainly make survival hard work – despite all this, sales were up in 2016 and, so far, this year is looking good. Bev’s advice to other retailers is to make a database of your customers so you can target them when you have something new or exciting to talk about – having started this herself three years ago it’s generated amazing results so far. She said: “My approach to retailing is to take it one year at a time rather than plan too far ahead. I’m looking forward to the new fashion launches and a good rest of 2017.”

Lastly I caught up with Di at Carlys, the Knowle home and gift shop known for having one of the country’s longest card walls, who said the year so far is “going fast”. Di added: “It’s been a good start with no real effect from Brexit and no real complaints about price increases yet. In a small town focused along the main High Street weather has the biggest effect on trade. “Valentine’s was good for cards but poor as far as gifts are concerned. Mother’s Day has been excellent overall. Most of it happened in the last two days but then sales were up on last year. Scarves continue to be a big winner for us with prices from £9.99 up to £60 selling well.” Any road up, what’s on customers’ minds at the moment? Well. Nearly everyone is asking: “So when are you getting married then Ian?” I do like to tease them since it took me 16 years to get round to asking. All I can say is “watch this space”! y – Ian Bradley

I carry a few gifts myself that are suitable for card shops and have recently taken on Potters Crouch, who make their own candles, diffusers and room mists. To help me sell the products I visited their offices and saw the candles being made – I was amazed at how much work and skill was involved in the process and the difference it makes to the overall quality and end result. Potters Crouch aren’t candle makers but perfumers who make fragranced candles and when you smell their product

against others you can really tell the difference. Candles make a lovely gift and, with 81 fragrances to choose from, there’s something for everyone. I also like the contemporary design of the containers and the little gems that surround the wick, making them stand out. All products are handmade in Britain too, which is great, and Potters Crouch will also make bespoke labels free of charge so the candles display the shop name and/or different fragrance name. A few customers have taken up this option and named the candles things like “Happy Birthday” or “ Thank you” making them a personalised gift which I thought was a great idea. I’m also a sucker for jewellery and again can’t resist handmade items, especially earrings, some shops have some gorgeous selections which are really different and much nicer than the big stores where so many of the same things are on offer. Smaller individual shops can stock companies who are new to the market and still up and coming. Selling both cards and gifts allows smaller retailers to make their shops extra special with a few different gift lines which are not readily available in the High Street. I always prefer to buy something a little different where possible. So don’t always go for the well-known brands that everyone else has, make your shop your own and look to be a little different with gifts, and cards, that make a statement. – Rachel Williams

Not on the High Street...

O

NE OF the best things about my job as an agent are the places I travel to and the shops I supply. I get to visit some lovely shops and destinations throughout the north-west, all of which have diversity and variety in their style and the things they sell.

I particularly enjoy my journeys over to North Wales as the views are spectacular both inland and on the coast – I often take a photograph and post my office view of the day to friends who are sat in office blocks day in day out. Some people ask if the travelling side of the job bothers me, as they know I have to cover quite a distance at times to get to my appointments. To be completely honest, I see this as a perk rather than a chore as my days and work schedules are rarely the same. Every shop I visit is also different and each has their own style and preferences in the things they sell. There are very few retailers who stock their shop with just the customer in mind, their choices and tastes are led by their own preferences and individual styles, and this is what makes each shop unique and a pleasure to visit. It’s inevitable I prefer some shops to others as they match the styles and designs I’d choose myself – these are the shops where I usually end up spending more money than I make in commission from selling to them! Although mainly a greetings agent, I also love gifts and find it impossible to resist picking up items in store for my own home, or as a present. I particularly love candles and diffusers as I enjoy the vast array of smells, colours and designs available.

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

42 www.greetingstoday.co.uk

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

Abacus Cards Limited t: 01638 569050 e: info@abacuscards.co.uk w: www.abacuscards.co.uk

INDEPENDENTLY AUDITED & LARGEST CIRCULATION

print services

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Not so little! With 15 years of innovative design and trading under their belts, Two Little Boys are going strong – and founder Sarah Watts has an unusual measure for how time is passing at work, she just has to check her kids’ ages!

T

HE original Two Little Boys are not quite so little! As the twin sons of founder Sarah Watts head towards their 18th birthday, it means the stationery company hits 15 this year.

If anyone has ever wondered where the Two Little Boys company name originates, you just need to look at the lovely photo Sarah took of her twins’ heads as they sat at the edge of a pool on a sunny day in Bournemouth. Deciding it would make a particularly cute logo for the company she was creating, she held the photo up to her husband, “what do you see?” she asked. “Two little boys” he said. Never one to shy away from the obvious brilliance of simplicity, Sarah stuck to the name. The company was started with the intention of helping time-poor parents to create precious memories of family life without having to make an enormous effort. Their first products included camera packs for little ones to take photos of their holidays and special events, and they were soon followed by more serious medication diaries to keep track of medicines given to each child. Having had the twins within a year of giving birth to her baby daughter, Sarah was very aware such products were simply missing from the market. Now that more companies have jumped on board with their own versions of activities for little ones and memory books, Sarah is enjoying the exploration of teenage gifting and beyond. Their award-winning core ranges continue to sell well and are, indeed, the backbone of the company – but continuing to push boundaries with simple colourful design and mischievous fun is really what Two Little Boys are all about. Their latest products include the Awkward Truth range of mini-notebooks that rail against the positivity which has taken social media and the greetings industry by storm in recent months. There’s also the Stationery Lovers Of The World Unite tins that take inspiration from famous film dialogue for the mini-notebooks covers, and their newest Mindlessness activity books for adults designed as a foil to the wealth of mindful colouring books. The designers think plain old fun is being neglected for the sake of self improvement. With titles such as “Something to keep you happy when everyone else is being really boring” these books are to be used with tongue very firmly lodged in cheek while enjoying Cosmo-style questionnaires including “would you survive a zombie apocalypse?”, crosswords, word searches, fill-the-gaps stories and much more. Sarah is very relieved to find that her own two little boys seem to be as healthy and happy as any 17 year olds around, which makes 2017 also the year that Two Little Boys Ltd reach the grand age of 15. And she’s almost as relieved that it’s all still going strong.

Never one to shy away from the obvious brilliance of simplicity

T: 020 8400 3606 www.2littleboys.co.uk

44 www.greetingstoday.co.uk

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

● Then and now – Sarah with the kids, and at the London Stationery Show

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www.greetingstoday.co.uk 45


meet the newbies NEW MEMBERS

Turning textiles into art

The latest publishers to join the Greeting Card Association include:

THIS year has seen the launch of Barley Bay, bringing together creativity in the form of fresh high quality contemporary art greetings cards from textile artists and artographer duo, Myra and Trevor Hutton. They have a lot of experience of trade shows through exhibiting Myra’s textile artwork at shows such as Craft at Top Drawer and the British Craft Trade Fair, and will be at PG Live in June. “The cards have evolved alongside the artwork,” Myra said, “and now is the right time to put our cards at the forefront, meaning more people can access and appreciate our artwork. “Whenever we’re out and about we constantly seek out and soak up the world around us, each taking our observations and images back to the studio to work on. “Having met at 16 and married while still students we’ve grown complementary in our taste, understanding and mutual passion for creativity and our ideas are both independent and entwined, now we can work on pieces side by side and in collaboration.” Myra’s lifelong passion is textile art with her pieces being sold all over Europe, America, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and now her award-winning felt and stitch landscape and dye-and-stitch imagery is being translated into rich and graphic greetings cards. Trevor’s work is photography and digital media-based and he’s now exploiting his own creativity capturing life through the camera lens and digital darkroom to breathe new meaning into an image. Myra added: “Along with our granddaughter – our first – and our pup Rollo, who just loves to help out in the studio, a whole new chapter is unfolding and we can’t wait to show our work!” T: 077221 36495 www.barleybay.co.uk

TILIA PUBLISHING UK Amanda Davey adavey@tiliaservices.co.uk www.tiliapublishinguk.co.uk 0871 226 2107 BELLA JACOBS DESIGN Tamar Klaus bellajacobdesigns@gmail.com www.bellajacob.com 07787 564324 NEON MAGPIE Chris Hicklin info@neon-magpie.co.uk neon-magpie.co.uk 0131 281 1067 MY GREETING CARD Willow Cairn willowcairn@icloud.com mygreetingcard.co.uk 01843 826075 or 07534 503211 BLANK INSIDE Studio 9a Star Brewery, Castle Ditch Lane, Lewes, BN7 1YJ Liz Temperley hello@blankinsidedesign.co.uk www.blankinsidedesign.co.uk 07730 617264

Journey to expression Creatures in collage HAVING studied illustration at the University of Central Lancashire, Mia Hague only began making cards three years ago, after a decade of travelling and working in the service industry. Specialising in collage, Mia takes her inspiration from human attitudes and tendencies and mixes them with characters, inanimate objects and landscapes. There are woodland creatures doing human things, hot air balloons, adventuring wolves, men in suits with flags, a passed-out dog, a 18th century wedding, a mothership zeppelin, cat discos, badgers on a tandem, and an annoyed fox in a lobster costume, to name a few.

46 www.greetingstoday.co.uk

Now selling her work through her website and wholesale, she makes everything by hand so each piece is original, using paint, found and old paper materials and rubbish. All cards are eco-friendly, using FSC card with recycled envelopes and the cello bag is biodegradable. Working from her home studio in a red-brick terrace in Manchester, Mia creates illustrations for cards, prints, clothes and works on commission too. T: 07803 781983 www.miahague.co.uk

HATTIE Koops began on a train journey from Bath to Bristol, with one simple sketch and the desire to create heartfelt cards that are relevant, resonate with people and allow them to express themselves through the designs, Hattie Koops is the design baby of Katie Maritz, a Devon-born designer now living in Blackheath, London. Katie’s hand-drawn cards are unique, bold in design, heartfelt and full of attitude. Katie’s aim is for her designs to resonate with the giver and receiver: “I wanted to create cards that people would like to give their friends and that they’d like to draw themselves but can’t. “All of our cards are high-quality 330gsm and blank inside – your words are better than ours!” T: 07834 039086 hattiekoopsdesign.peeky.com

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Window on the world

WINDOWONTHEWORLD WINDOWONTHEWOR

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

● Express ions, Hadd ington

● Display has Pizazz – winner Expressions Of Broadstairs ● Just Cards

side ● Peep In

● Cardies

Y

OUNGSTERS in the Broadstairs area had no excuse for forgetting Mother’s Day with this lovely window display at Expressions in the High Street to remind them.

And Faye Jordan’s efforts at her shop definitely showed Pizazz as her work been picked as the winner of Nigel Quiney’s Mother’s Day Window Display competition. A hamper full of delicious goodies was delivered to Faye and her six-strong team in Kent for giving the store some added sparkle with product from the Nigel Quiney ranges, including their enduring bestseller Pizazz. Faye, who only took over the shop last February but has worked there for 10 years, said: “The entry info said you had to use Pizazz cards but we also used Glick wrapping paper which is their sister company. “My mum Sharon Walters made the big flowers and I made the small ones. They were all made out of Mother’s Day cards we had left over from the year before, and they were really effective. The outside is the picture part of the card, and inside were the inserts with all the words on. “I don’t win anything normally so this was a shock. We’re all family here so we put the hamper on the table and everyone took something home. “The shop has been here 23 years and we’ve owned it for a year, I run it with my cousin Gemma Allen. I started at 16 as a Saturday job while I was doing my A Levels and came full time at 18. ● Expressions Of Broadstairs

“When the owners said they were going to sell I had to make a decision. I’d been putting off going to uni for years and didn’t know what else to do so I took it over just over a year ago. I was going to buy a house but bought the shop instead. “We normally do the display on a Sunday, and underestimate how long it will take! I think it’s going to take a few hours and it takes all day by the time we’ve removed all the previous display. “But we do start planning beforehand and have things ready to put in. We were making the flowers for Mother’s Day weeks before – and my mum is planning the Christmas window already! “We change it every two to three weeks and it’s everyone’s favourite job so we all want to do it. I always make sure I get a picture because otherwise you forget what you’ve done and we like to make it different each time.” All Nigel Quiney stockists were eligible to enter the free competition by sending photos to the publishers, with MD Alison Butterworth judging the winner. She said: “We were amazed by the flowers they’d made out of recycled cards – you can see all the type when you look at them closely. They’re absolutely beautiful and really stood out. “We had lots of lovely entries from Scotland right down to the south and it was a really close competition. We found it so hard to judge, but Faye’s handmade efforts edged it.” The runners-up were Maureen and Tom O’Connell, from Just Cards in St Ives, Cambs, with notable entries from Teresa Sear at Expressions in Haddington, East Lothian; Jo Sorrell of Cardies of Stevenage, Herts, and Linda Costello from Peep Inside in Liphook, Hampshire.


New contemporary look, same luxurious fragrances

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“…organisations across the country would be well-advised to keep an eye on the representatives in this year’s Review when deciding how to set their sails.” R T HON. DAV I D C U R RY

Greetings Today  

May 2017, THERE’S a lot going on gift-wise in the May issue of Greetings Today as add-on sales are massive earners for greetings retailers s...

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