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Independently audited, ,QGHSHQGHQWO\DXGLWHG ABC circulation of 6,086 $%&FLUFXODWLRQRI

October 2016 Issue 02 Volume 18 &&0ZZ\L&=VS\TL& && 0ZZ\L&  = =VS\TL&

The impartial voice of the greetings card industry ;OLPTWHY[PHS]VPJLVM[OLNYLL[PUNZJHYKPUK\Z[Y`

Cards, Calendars, Gift Wrap & Bags published by

01992 702 900



Independent retailers contact Is It Art on 01926 747935


Licensed by



contents REGULARS the team

Editor Tracey Bearton Advertisement Manager Simon Davis

03 04

Group Advertisement Manager Ryan Horwood


Group Editor Mirella Anstey


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

Keep in touch - follow us: @greetingstoday greetingstodaymag


Meet The Newbies Windles Group have a fresh perspective in this focus on industry newcomers.

On The Line NEW! Chris Fox and Helen Pallen give their online insights as GT’s newest columnists.


Lema Publishing Ltd

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

Telephone: 01442 289930

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


28 35 53

I Like Birds are up for the License This! awards at the London show.


Top Drawer Review Picture and three-worder round-up of the design-led London show.

Trade Show Review Round-Up The British Craft Trade Fair’s first London outing and Scotland’s Trade Fair Autumn.


Brand Licensing Europe Preview

Window On The World Taking our regular look at the face retailers present to the public.

Gut instinct is a good gauge in this genre.


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


Licensed Cards & Associated Products

It’s All About Sales Technology and odd requests are the subjects for Neil Anthony and guest columnist Ian Bradley.

The magical world of Danilo’s 2017 offer.


On The Shop Front It’s Christmas already for Philip Downer.

Working in a community shop is enlightening.

FEATURES 14 Cover Story

Talk Of The Town Greetings retailers tell it like it is.


John Ryan

Retail Advice Henri Davis looks at licensed cards.


Mother’s Day & FeminineThemed Cards Cards really do celebrate women.


Autumn Fair Review The big show of the season summed up in three words and pictures.


Handmade & Hand-Finished Cards Taking a good look at these premium products.



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

01442 289940 (direct)

Publisher Mark Naish


Greetings Today ed Tracey is stationery.

Go to our website – – for all the up-to-date news and new product information and 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.

COLLECTIVE Nouns may bring back memories of schooldays but for Perkins & Morley the range of the same name is a modern day success. Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Commercial Manager Alison Rhodes said: “We’ve sold them for a good couple of years across the three sites that we have. We’re a wildlife charity so we tend to only stock wildlife cards anyway so they fit in perfectly with our line. They’re quirky and people love the collective nouns aspect of it, like Hum Of Bumblebees. We sell the cards, coasters, tea-towels, magnets and prints, so quite a lot of the range and they’re really popular.” @greetingstoday

leader Editor Tracey Bearton

NYONE who’s had the misfortune to be buttonholed by me may be very surprised to learn that I had a little telling off from my bosses this month about not talking enough. ● Cartoons by James Whitworth T: 07872 013943 –


Moi? Missus 200 words to the dozen, fill any possible silence with inane chatter about absolutely anything? Yep, ’fraid so! Apparently I’d kept too quiet about my inauguration as a Freeman of the Worshipful Company Of Stationers And Newspaper Makers, – I have to admit, for all my constant jaw-jaw, I’m really not very good at bigging myself up and boasting. I’d actually not told anyone until a few days before the ceremony at the lovely Stationers’ Hall in London, and that was only because I needed the time off to attend! I thought no one would be interested so the many congratulations that I’ve received from across the greetings industry have been absolutely lovely. However, I am immensely proud of even being asked to apply to join such an ancient organisation, let alone being admitted, thanks to the sponsorship of London Stationery Show founder Chris Leonard-Morgan and Pat Batley from the National Calendar Awards. The proof is the picture here where I’m standing by the royal charter from 1557 – although the company was founded in 1403 – I even wore my smart new suede Dr Martens for the occasion, possibly the first time in the 600-plus year history of the Stationers, I do hope no one minded! The Stationers’ Company is the City Of London Livery Company for the communications and content industries so quite appropriate

for a journalist involved in the greetings industry, after all, communicating is exactly what cards are all about. Funnily enough, that’s exactly what myself and ad manager Simon Davis were doing at the recent trade shows. As well as a chance to meet all our lovely advertisers, we get to chat to more retailers than usual as they’re wandering the aisles and talking to exhibitors. So it was the perfect opportunity to show off last month’s brilliant front page and Cover Story from Paperclip Penguin We’d both downloaded the app so were merrily nabbing folk to show off the augmented reality trick and it went down a storm. Seriously, if you’ve not done so yet, go straight to GooglePlay or the App Store and download the completely free PaperclipPenguin AR app to your phone or tablet then wave it at the cards in the September issue. Back to this month where there’s a lot of licensing talk going on as Brand Licensing Europe (preview page 29 is on the horizon, and we have our Licensed Cards & Associated Products (p17) feature as well as Danilo’s Cover Story (p14) on their magical 2017 offer. Keep an eye out for news from BLE as the greetings is very involved, especially in the License This! competition where I Like Birds are one of the four finalists invited to present their brand to the judging panel. Stuart Cox and his designs are a great advert for small publishers as he’s carved his own niche in just two years, and even managed to become of the top 50 small businesses on Facebook, racking up 15,000 followers! @greetingstoday

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

Want to appear in ? NOV/DEC FEATURES: Bestsellers & Trend Forecasts Charity Cards Services To The Greetings Industry NOV/DEC COPY DATE – OCTOBER 27



in the news news in brief

All spaced out WHAT am I going to do with all this space – that’s the question Jill Perkins is asking since she and business partner Jan Morley finally decided to stop packing their Perkins & Morley cards themselves. “We’ve just started using Clacton-based PPG (Picpacgo) to store and send out our products,” Jill said, “and it’s wonderful! I no longer open cupboards and have cards fall out, and I’ve regained a spare bedroom. The only thing left is a roll of bubble wrap, and my rescue pooch Barley Moe is able to cross the room without falling over boxes.”

IG are growing strong GROWTH across all regions is the news in the latest trading update from IG Design Group, formerly International Greetings, with partyware and licensed stationery helping sales in the UK. The August 30 report on the three months ending June 30, 2016, also showed first quarter trading is in line with management and market expectations and benefits are being delivered from capital investment projects, with the Beds-based group on track to deliver against market expectations for the full year with opportunities for incremental growth in the second half of the year.

Talking to the wall boost for TOYW A WHOLE wall of cards was a talking point at Top Drawer to boost Thinking Of You Week with all mail sent which over September 26-October 3 being stamped with a special Royal Mail postmark. Exhibitors at Top Drawer were on board with a special display for the third outing of the initiative organised by the Greeting Card Association, where the idea is to send a card to a different person each day over the week. GCA CEO Sharon Little, pictured at the show with Cleere Scamell of organisers Clarion Events, said: “We had about 90 entries for the TOYW display, all are member publishers who were exhibiting here and they’re designs that best express the event’s spirit. “We were flooded with entries and lots of people were stopping by the display so it’s had a two-fold effect – promoting TOYW to a lot of people who were taking leaflets and also driving buyers to members’ stands at the show.” With more than six million letters sent each day with postage stamps, Royal Mail again supported the initiative with a special postmark on all stamped mail across the week saying: “It’s Thinking Of You Week! Send a card to raise a smile.” Stephen Agar, head of social mail, said: “There’s nothing better than receiving a card in the post and opening it up to find out who sent it. Cards spread happiness and joy in a way that can never be matched by emails and texts. We are really pleased to be marking the campaign with a special postmark.” Technology was a way to bring the good old greetings card to the fore as both UK Greetings and

Hallmark released videos to boost the event The UKG message within their video, available on YouTube, was: “It’s easy...all you need is a card and a pen! Let’s all get involved in this brilliant celebration of all things thoughtful by sending cards and encouraging family and friends to do the same.

Over at Hallmark they conducted a study of 1,200 respondents with Censuswide which showed 66 per cent of Brits said receiving a handwritten card or letter shows the most thought when it comes to sharing an emotional message while only nine per cent enjoy receiving an appreciative email and just eight per cent think a soppy text is the most touching method. In response to these findings, Hallmark created an emotional new video depicting couples, mothers and sons and grandfathers and granddaughters telling loved ones what they think of them.

Colouring craze boost RETAILERS WH Smith are on target for a strong year as their pre-close update was bolstered by the craze for colouring books for grown-ups and spin-offs such as extreme dot-to-dot. The August 24 update showed they are expecting results for the year to August 31 to be “in line with expectations” thanks to a solid set of results, especially on their travel business side. The uplift in adult spend on felt tips and colouring books has helped deliver “particularly strong” stationery sales and is expected to have a positive impact on the retailers’ High Street profit performance

Hard work ‘wasted’ THE head of the Jersey Retail Group has told ITV News that the hard work of the island’s tourism company is being wasted by shop owners who don’t want to stay open late. David Elliott, said Visit Jersey are bringing “a lot more people” to the island and the High Street is busy with visitors in the evening but he is concerned that by 6pm: “We still have a lot of shops that close. At 9am the High Street is very quiet and yet most of the shops are open. At 5:30-6pm there’s a heck of a lot of people around and a lot of shops are closed. We’re just trying to remember customer service – that’s what it’s all about, being open when our customers are

Boost to literacy A DOWNLOADABLE pack for schools was launched by Hallmark for International Literacy Day following research that greetings cards and shopping lists can help teach children to read and write. The survey commissioned in August by the publishers revealed 40 per cent of five-year-olds in the UK enjoy sending cards because it allows them to practise their handwriting, while 37 per cent of under 12s said they like receiving cards to practise reading. World Literacy Foundation Jade Lane said: “The study clearly shows children want to practise their reading and writing using traditional methods, such as greetings cards. “


Enjoying a cuppa COFFEE and cake were enjoyed by everyone at Nigel Quiney Publications as they helped raise £112 for the Macmillan cancer charity. The official date for the event, the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, was September 30, but the Saffron Walden-based publishers got their treat in a week early with some of the firm’s excellent home bakers giving

the Great British Bake Off stars a run for their money. The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event for people facing cancer when they ask people all over the UK to host their own events with all donations on the day made to the charity – last year alone they raised £25million.

Chocs away! IF ONLY every Friday was like this – that was the response from the team at Abacus Cards when they received their bumper £150 Hotel Chocolat hamper from UK Envelope Centre as the lucky winners of the August promotion where customers went into the draw taking delivery of 50,000 envelopes during the month. UK Envelope Centre director Joanne Jefferson said: “We really appreciate all the support our customers give us and wanted to run a promotion that would show this – it was important to us that the lucky winners could share the prize with their whole team. @greetingstoday

exhibition news Chris lets his baby go SIX years after founding the London Stationery Show, Chris Leonard-Morgan and LMC Media announced they have sold the much-enlarged event to Ocean Media Group. The leading providers of trade and consumer exhibitions, events, awards and specialist publications have bought the whole package including the Stationery Awards, Stationery Magazine, National Stationery Week and World Stationery Day. Chris (pictured) is staying on as an advisor on the show alongside the existing team and said on September 19: “The London Stationery Show has much to gain from the Ocean Media Group, who have a wealth of experience working with, and attracting large b2b and b2c audiences to their exhibitions, events and publications. “It’s very much been my baby but we’re looking forward to making the most of the support, experience and investment which they can offer. I love this marketplace and I’m very excited that I will have the opportunity to carry on working within it. I’d like to thank Greetings Today for all the support, encouragement and enthusiasm over the past six years that has helped us get to this point.” Founded by Chris in 2011, the London Stationery Show marked its sixth show in April this year having trebled in size, attracting a growing number of suppliers every year, many of whom do not exhibit elsewhere, with visitors from across the retail spectrum, including companies from more than 40 countries around the world. The 2017 show, which runs at the Business Design Centre in London on April 25-26, during National Stationery Week from April 24-30, is on course to continue this upward trajectory with more than 85 per cent of the stand space already booked. David Watt, CEO at Ocean Media, commented: “This is an exciting opportunity to add two more market-leading brands, and a new sector, to the Ocean portfolio. “The London Stationery Show has captured the imagination of both mainstream and niche retailers while stimulating consumer demand for quality stationery products. “Ocean believe we can help foster the sector and help the London Stationery Show continue to grow to meet the demands of this vibrant industry.”

T: 020 8462 0721

28 – 31. 1. 2017 Frankfurt am Main

Hello tomorrow. The visionary office.

The stationery trends.

Growing a great range HAVING raised more than £18,000 for the Perennial and Greenfingers charities less than six months after launching their Floreo card range, Great British Card Company presented them with cheques. And at the Glee trade show at Birmingham’s NEC they also revealed 12 new designs to extend the photography range that is now stocked in nearly 200 garden centres across the UK with every card sold generating a 10p donation for both charities. On the opening day of the show, which ran from September 12-14, GBCC Sales Director Chris Houfe handed giant cheques for £9,000 each to Perennial, which helps people from the horticultural industries, and the Greenfingers charity that creates magical gardens for children’s hospices. Chris said: “Our relationship with Perennial and Greenfingers has been brilliant from the start, and our enthusiasm to create a card range specifically to support them evolved quite naturally. “Garden centre retailers are a specialist trading sector for us, and Floreo was able to gain impressive distribution countrywide, with consumers delighting in the fabulously colourful images and variety in design. On the back of this success we have launched 12 new designs at Glee with an autumn/winter feel.” GBCC were among five publishers who exhibited at the show to the lucrative garden centre market. Tracey Russell Designs were there for the first time, joining Noel Tatt Group, UK Greetings and Abacus Cards.

Do you always take the long view when making decisions? If so, make sure you book your online ticket for Paperworld 2017 now. You then benefit from our Business Matchmaking service and can forge new contacts and arrange appointments in advance of the world’s leading trade fair for paper, office supplies and stationery products. For a perfectly prepared trade fair visit: Tel. +44 (0) 14 83 48 39 83 @greetingstoday 5

licensing news

in the news news in brief

First night nerves JANE Hewitt had first-night nerves at the premiere of the new David Brent Life On The Road movie – because one of Twizler’s good luck cards was starring along with Ricky Gervais! “A few months ago,” Jane said, “we were approached by the Life On The Road Team who’d spotted one of our cards from the Bubbleicious range – they thought it would be the perfect card to use in the film. With trepidation we went to the first night – as you can imagine we just didn’t know how our card was going to be treated. We were so thrilled to have been approached and it’s always fabulous to see the industry showcased – we’ll await the Oscar nominations!”

Publishers amalgamate COLNEIS Marketing and Colour House Graphics have joined forces to present a united business with both companies contributing their best-selling designs in one new colour brochure. Both run by John Botting in Felixstowe, Suffolk, Colneis have built their reputation mostly on photographic images while Colour House have traditionaly used drawn designs, and will now be incorporated within Colneis, with a new joint website,

Reports of death exaggerated NEW studies have shown UK consumers still opt for physical shopping destinations and suggest fears over the death of the High Street has been exaggerated. The Retail Gazette reported that The Market Creative’s figures released on September 14 found 75 per cent of consumers surveyed said they would not abandon the High Street for online shopping. Nearly half preferred to get a feel for the products they were purchasing while a quarter said they enjoyed the social aspect of shopping and 88 per cent said staff were important to the shopping experience.

£150m float rumours NATIONAL newspaper The Daily Mail has revived rumours that Paperchase may be gearing up for a £150million floatation on the stock market. Citing “sources”, the Mail’s This Is Money section reported on September 11 the chain’s private equity backers Primary Capital are understood to be looking for an exit after six years of ownership.Having previously mulled over a private sector sale, they hired Pinanco and PwC to assess options in 2014, but the paper’s sources said the chain’s management are keen to go public. Paperchase were part of US bookseller Borders, operating out of their stores in the UK. They lost 38 concessions when the British part of Borders collapsed into administration in 2009, which spurred chief executive Timothy Melgund to save the business by leading a management buyout of Paperchase.


Pokémon is all the go SMASH-HIT Pokémon has joined the Gemma stable for an exciting new range of cards, wrap and gift bags in a direct deal with the owners of the global phenomenon. Announced on September 15, the deal sees the Hampshire-based family-run licensed product specialists working with The Pokémon Company International for the second time – the items are currently in production and expected to be available as soon as October. First launched in Japan in 1996 as a video game for Nintendo’s Game Boy family system Pokémon reached the United States and Europe in 1998-99. Lindesay Rudd-Clarke, founder of Gemma International, fondly remembers the company’s success with the brand the first time around – in 2001, they celebrated the incredible milestone of having sold one million Pokémon greetings cards! The first generation of games introduced 150 characters, while today the Pokémon universe includes more than 700 characters that players can catch, trade, and battle against their opponents in the quest to become the best trainer. Now in its 20th year, the brand is appealing to another generation with the upcoming launch of

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. Tim Rudd-Clarke, Gemma Licensing Director, said: “Pokémon was huge the first time round, and we are so pleased to be given a second bite of the apple. “With more characters, more games and, most importantly, the addition of hand-held gaming and interactivity, combined with a massive social media following, we’re expecting big things. “As leaders and innovators of the licensed greetings world, we’ve enjoyed recent success with number of digital brands and have no doubt that Pokémon will follow suit.”

T: 01264 388400

Built on culture THE BRITISH Library’s exclusive licence for branded everyday and Christmas cards has gone to long-time partners Museums & Galleries. Having been saved from administration by Mint Publishing’s Debbie and Alan Williams, who also have Real & Exciting Designs, MGL specialise in product using licensed images from cultural organisations. Licensing Manager Eddie Clarke said: “The company have extensive experience in the sector, particularly of high-end fine art and design licensing, and have pioneered the increasing importance of brand licensing in this area. “The British Library was one of the very first organisations MGL started working with many years ago and we’re pleased to announce that from January 2017 we will be the exclusive source for British Library-branded everyday and Christmas cards. “The British Library offer a world-famous name and an extensive collection of more than 13million items in their unsurpassed archives – it is quite simply the largest library in the world. “The Alice In Wonderland cards are selling extremely well after last year’s 150th anniversary in addition to evergreen interest in Lewis Carroll's book, and the gold-foiled book cover licensed journals in the stationery section of the licence have been runaway bestsellers this season.”

T: 0116 230 4197

Tim’s in fine form COMEDIAN and actor Tim Vine was on fine form with his quick-fire quips as more than 1,500 professionals got together to honour the very best the licensing industry has to offer. Hosted by Tim, the Licensing Awards 2016 saw attendees from retailers to suppliers at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane on September 13, where they also held a raffle to help industry charity The Light Fund nearer to their £1million goal. For the first time, LIMA UK’s Rising Stars Award was presented at the event with Nickelodeon Consumer Products Retail Marketing Executive Sarah Patel taking the title, while Start Licensing’s Ian Downes received the Honorary Achievement Award. The Radar Award, aimed at any bricks and mortar UK retailers who have upped the ante on its licensing activities in the past year, went to M&Co, beating off competition from finalists including Paperchase and Card Factory. Card Factory were also finalists in the Top Retailer Award where Tesco triumphed, making them the biggest winners on the night as they had already collected the Best Kids’ Retailer and Best Retailer Of Adult Licensed Product. With Peter Rabbit taking the Classic Licensed Property award, and Paw Patrol being crowned the Best Pre-School Licensed Property, Star Wars Stamp Range from Royal Mail (pictured) was the winner in the Best Licensed Paper Products or Stationery Range – the full list of awards winners is on the website. @greetingstoday

people news

supplier news

Sally joins Gifts

Vince makes finals at first attempt

EXPERIENCED magazine journalist Sally Norton has joined Lema Publishing to edit Greetings Today’s sister title Gifts Today following the departure of Sarah Welsh. Sally, who can be contacted on, has been in the magazine industry for many years, starting out as Health & Beauty editor of Woman’s Own, before freelancing for titles as varied as Marie Claire, Ideal Home, Essentials and Best. “I’m really excited to join this fantastic title,” she said, “I had a wonderful introduction to the world of gifts when I visited Top Drawer. I was bowled over by the fantastic products I saw and the enthusiasm of the people I met. I can’t wait to start work on my first issue.” ● LESSER & Pavey have a new member of their sales team in the shape of Peter Hammett, who started at Autumn Fair where met customers on their stand. Sally Pavey said: “Peter has a wealth of experience in the trade and will be responsible for the Midlands and both North and South Wales. ● FIONA Kenny has joined illustration agency Bright Group international’s London office reporting directly to Senior Art Licensing Agent Hannah Curtis. As an art licensing agent, Fiona will work with some of the department’s existing clients as well as looking for new opportunities and creative talent.

VINCE Brearey’s Offset Group have made it to the finals of the prestigious Print Week Awards at their first attempt after the company’s merger earlier this year. The specialist greetings card printers also have a packaging arm which has made the shortlist for the Luxury Packaging Printer Of The Year category. Offset Print & Packaging rebranded in the spring from the merger of Offset Packaging and Offset Productions with Vince as MD Operations, and were among more than 600 print samples submitted for the awards. The 26 judges, all senior buyers or experts in their field from companies including Burberry, Harrods, National Trust, Tesco, The AA and Toyota, have just finished cutting the list down to 70 firms across a total of 24 categories.

And the greetings print sector are well represented with Windles Group in the running for Environmental Company Of The Year, while The Sherwood Group are hoping to retain the FMCG Packaging Printer Of The Year title they won last year. And the Social Stationery Printer Of The Year category sees Loxleys, The Sherwood Group, Windles Group and last year’s winners Woodmansterne Publications all vying for the title. The winners will be announced at the black tie gala dinner in the Great Room at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Monday, October 17, which has been hosted in recent years by Dara Ó Briain, Jimmy Carr, and Gyles Brandreth. The full list of finalists can be found at www.

moves on with new machine Loxleys MD Richard Bacon said: “With more publishers, of all sizes, requiring smaller run lengths, samples, market testing and speed-to-market products, along with promotional items such as mugs and coasters, we felt it was the right time to significantly invest in our digital offering to the greetings card market, the relocation and investment will bring real tangible benefits to all our customers.”

T: 0114 250 1150


Poised to deliver.

RAPID growth over the last year, the need for more room and new investment have culminated in Loxleys and the Sherwood Group moving their digital production facility from Tewkesbury to Sheffield. The Digital Hub is a joint venture between the sister print companies and is now based within the Loxleys manufacturing plant with the addition of a new state-of-the-art Konica 1080 digital printing machine they can now offer more capacity, higher levels of print quality and more finishing processes, all in-house. @greetingstoday 7

meet the newbies Busy mum’s brainchild PRESSIE Pouch is the brainchild of busy Northern Ireland-based mum Sharon McGillion, who was last-minute shopping for a gift for her son Mark who was attending a birthday party. Having no time to go home and wrap the gift, Sharon had her eureka moment: “Surely there was a gift wrap product that would overcome the need for a separate wrap, seal and label? “That’s what got me thinking and, after numerous sleepless nights, I eventually came up with an idea which would eventually become Pressie Pouch. “Manufactured from giftwrap paper with the to/from label encompassed on the outside of the bag, the problem of wrapping is solved. “If you can’t find the scissors, run out of tape or have no wrapping paper at home, you can now purchase a Pressie Pouch, pop in the gift, peel and seal the pouch, write the label and off you go!” Having set up her Bizzi Stationery Company, Pressie Pouch is already sold widely throughout Ireland in three sizes, and Sharon is looking to enter the GB market by licensing her invention. T: 028 8224 9494

Homegrown and hand-finished BORN and raised in a small mill town in Lancashire, Amy Warburton has always relied on the nature and wildlife around her to provide daily inspiration, and she now uses it in her work for Amy Louise Designs. Over the years her style has developed to become a mix of nature-based, floral themes and graphic patterns which have been gently mixed with eye-catching colours, charming designs and visceral textures to perfectly suit the tastes of different ages and genders. All aspects of Amy’s designs are made with nature in mind – homegrown in her studio they are printed locally, using paper derived from sustainable sources in the UK. To complete the process all the cards are hand finished in Amy’s studio. T: 07815 573311

Intriguing poetry


THE passing of a dear friend prompted Olayinka Cole’s search for a sympathy card with the appropriate words befitting the occasion. The Lightrays Centre founder said: “On looking through High Street and online card stores I expected to find a large variety of bereavement cards to choose from. “However, to my surprise there was little variety in relation to the choice of wording and appearance. In addition, this type of card appeared to have been allocated to a small section of the card display unit.” Recognising a gap in the market Olayinka came up with the idea of creating a new line of bereavement cards that seek to bring comfort and upliftment, after many creative months they produced their first series of sympathy cards and this has evolved into birthday, friendship, Easter and Thinking of You cards. The corresponding spiritual verse within each card aims to raise the truer meaning of what the cards represent to the surface, thereby providing an alternative philosophical view. Offering an exclusive new line of vibrant and uplifting cards consisting of intriguing poetic verses, the Lightrays Centre philosophy is the development of a variety of meaningful designs which create a memory, stir an emotion and touch the lives of others. T: 07800 730526


The latest publisher to join the Greeting Card Association include: The Taste Buds 07906 367663 Memelou 9 Talbot Terrace, Rothwell, Leeds, Yorkshire, LS26 0DR Michelle Gemmel 07866 803293 Kaili’s Home & Gift PO Box 807, Harrogate, Yorkshire, HG1 9WL John Sr Zhou 01423 431430 @greetingstoday

We may be leaders in litho and digital production of cards, calendars, packaging, and giftwrap, having all the bespoke equipment and technical knowhow for greetings card production, to bring unique touches and visually stunning points of difference into the marketplace. And we’ve developed fantastic finishes like holographic varnish, ultimate flitter, Retropress, Colourise, deep textured, pearls and soft touch varnishes, to bring tactility to cards as well as shimmer and visual creativity. All from our home of in-line, precision register, cold foil. But we can’t stand still, because innovation and creativity are at the heart of what we do at Windles so the investment programme continues apace. Our new building has given us increased confidence in our abilities, and helped us become supply partners with many publishers from the largescale operators right down to those start-ups who may just be a one-man band, all with potential to grow. We continue to work to achieve efficiencies through our people understanding better how to develop further capabilities, and we’ve recruited lots of fresh new faces joining our team. Customer demand has meant more foil capacity was needed so our brand spanking new Bobst Visionfoil machine – a sheet foiler delivering hot-foil stamping with unrivalled accuracy and unbeatable product quality – is now in situ to ensure we don’t become victims of our own success and can always meet requirements. While we have always been rightly proud of our minimal nicks policy on die-cutting work, where the team work hard to minimise the unsightly bits that can be left on the edges of special products, we are now introducing a system to remove them altogether – no nicks die cutting really is here! The new Windles’ barcoding system has gone fully live throughout the factory too, following on from the successful pilot scheme that’s been running

INVESTMENT remains the buzzword at Windles Group as we’re determined not to relax our efforts following the successful move to our lovely new building.

stemming from the deep-rooted passion to do everything in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. And we also work hard to keep it in the family and close to home so as many of our friends and family benefit as possible. Nathan Pitts is the husband of our lovely sales

Symbio’s Nathan Pitts developed a great lighting solution

for the past few months. Products are scanned and date recorded, meaning traceability of all SKUs and respective quantities at all times, which will provide us with a platform to further improve the accuracy of finished goods and service levels for our customers. An in-house development, it has been rolled out to encompass all customer products within our factory and the investment is already reaping benefits. It interacts directly with our Management Information System (MIS) programme providing more accurate data, while enhancing the exchange of information between the departments so work in progress is recorded at all points. Windles are well-known for our eco-friendly operation and our environmental conscience is built into the DNA of the entire team – everyone wants to be green, it’s not something they feel obliged to do. This has been in place since the early days of planning for the new factory with the relocation of our furry black and white friends into their toasty new badger sett, and the beautiful bat house that has been perfectly constructed to mimic the surroundings of the derelict barn where they previously roosted. These are things Windles and our MD Bruce Podmore have invested in because we wanted to, sunlight to work, even working on cloudy days. In keeping with this latest investment and confirming Windles’ quality, we are delighted to have been nominated in the Environmental Company Of The Year category at this year’s Print Week Awards. We’re also shortlisted in the Social Stationery category and, a first for Windles, are absolutely over the moon to have been nominated for an award at the UK Packaging Awards this year. Now we have

director Andrea Norcott, and he’s been instrumental in introducing us to our latest green initiative which came about when we realised we were in danger of being the nightmare neighbours next door! It was all over the light pollution from our car park and yard security systems. This was noticed by the neighbours we’d invited in to look around the new factory and the chatter got back to us. Nathan works for local business Symbio Energy, who turn solar and wind power into green electricity, and came up with the idea of us changing to an LED system outside, which utilises reclaimed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. These were salvaged as part of a project he was working on with their property company Lumiere Developments, who specialise in eco-friendly building projects – all of which was right up Bruce’s street as he not only got a new toy to play with but it’s also doubly green. The system consists of solar panels, an inverter and a generation meter allowing us to generate our own electricity by capturing the Sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells that don’t need direct everything crossed for success at the awards’ ceremonies – talking of which, the Henries are fast approaching where we’re on the other side, as we are sponsors of the Best Christmas Counter Cards Range. It’s such an exciting event where publishers are recognised for their amazing designs. We’re so proud to work closely with so many in the production of their masterpieces – good luck all round from us. We are always happy to hear from our neighbours, customers, suppliers, retailers, and end users for any feedback that might help us make a difference and contribute to this incredible greetings card industry.


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 new series of articles Chris Fox, from Wishes Of Cudworth, and Cherry Orchard Publishing’s Helen Pallen aim to pass on all the online tips they’ve learned so far to help independent retailers boost their bricks and mortar business in the digital age.


Addict or not? A

RE you a Facebook addict or do you think it’s a waste of time?

Forget the 10 O’Clock News, if we want to know what’s happening in the world, social media is now the first place we now look – it’s become part of our everyday lives so we should ensure it’s part of businesses too or we risk losing touch with our customers. At Wishes we use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for our social media as, not only are they easy, they have great integration too. We can create a post on Instagram and then, with one click, share to Facebook and Twitter. Social media is cheap with no initial cost to get started, so can complement, or even replace, more traditional advertising. It’s lightning fast – one quick photo and upload means your latest exciting gift range can be online and ready for customers to browse in seconds. You can also answer questions, take orders and begin to create a bond with the customers who may not be able to visit regularly, a subtle reminder you’re still there. No waiting for them to pop into your shop to show off your latest gifts and cards. You may have concerns about using social media, viewing it as frivolous (it’s just silly cat pictures), controversial (the soapbox politicians) or, worst of all, damaging to your business (the fear of a negative review). I can assure you the positives far outweigh the negatives and we’ve had some wonderful successes of direct sales in our shop after customers have seen our latest photos. One lady recently drove 20 minutes to visit after seeing one of our Facebook posts – she was a new customer who would have never known we existed without seeing us online. It opens you up beyond your own High Street while engaging with your regulars too, alerting them to offers, events and new stock just in, and also helps us stay in touch with our suppliers and their latest promotions, sharing each other’s posts, as well as with the greetings industry in general through the Greetings Today Facebook page. For us, Twitter is the most neglected one of the three but we have still found it a direct way to make new business connections. Our Instagram followers have been steadily growing and it’s something that Wishes owner Julia Keeling particularly enjoys. Our rabbits Molly and Pedro often take time out from their busy schedules to pose for a photo and if I ever hear Julia giggling with delight, it’s because she’s stumbled upon a picture of a sausage dog!

It’s a great way to find new suppliers and our products have wonderful packaging and designs, so Instagram is the perfect showcase. The social media platform we invest the most time in is Facebook. It’s the best place to begin when starting out, even replacing your need for a website. We’re quite strict, posting once a day, so we make it count, planning the week ahead to get an interesting mix of product photography and shop life. Recently we’ve found our customers have responded better to our more personal photos, so we’re going to be doing more fun pictures of Julia and the shop. People often come in and say “Hi Jools” which is the advantage of being a small independent shop. Yes, you may work six days a week but people see your face every day and that’s something to trust in. It’s the same online, the more you post on social media, the more you’ll find your own voice and your customers will respond. Make use of the character of your local area too; be proud of who and where you are. Remember that you and your staff are part of what makes your shop unique. While social media can done with no budget, the current trend is that you will have to pay to get seen. Of the 3,000-plus followers we have on our Facebook page only 800 generally see our posts each time because of the way they have the system set up for business pages. For a small price, you can boost a post to increase the number of views it will get, selecting your audience by area, customer gender, age and even interests so more of your followers see each one. Promoting yourself online can be seen as an unnecessary expenditure but, all we can say is, we see direct results so £1 (yes, just a quid!) spent on boosting a post could add hundreds of views to your latest products from the people who live nearby. Even if you really can’t afford to pay, the more you can get your customers to interact by putting up images and information that they start liking, commenting and sharing, then more of your posts will be put in front of a bigger number of your followers as well as their friends and family, that’s the way the Facebook system works. With so many possibilities and, of course, the running of the shop itself, it’s a balance of time and finance. Yet we always strive to do our daily Facebook post, tweet the latest news and give our shop bunnies their latest close-up on Instagram. – Chris Fox

The more T you post the more you’ll find your own wn voice e

Set up a Facebook ad THE page has easy-tofollow instructions on how to set up your page in the first place. You need to have a personal Facebook page from which you then set up a linked but separate page for your business, which is where you set up your advert. Facebook alerts you when it’s a friend’s birthday and reminds you of friends with upcoming big days and you can utilise this information to target your ad to the right audience. With a paid advert, you can target your audience so it’s displayed to people of a certain age range and gender within a chosen radius of your shop. This means it goes to specific groups such as those who are friends of someone with a birthday coming up or a wedding anniversary. You need to go to Create Ad, choose your marketing objective (get more page likes, send people to your website), set the location where your shop is, then the drop-down menu Detailed Targeting will offer you the choice of ‘suggested’, ‘recently used’ or ‘browse’. From the browse menu, choose Demographics and scroll down to Life Events which will then offer you a wide selection. Aim to have your advert displayed to ‘Friends Of’ as this is the group of people who will be buying cards and gifts for the person with the big day. The number of people you’re likely to reach will vary with the length of time and budget you choose to spend, but Facebook’s Insight Reporting will give lots of useful feedback for you to measure the response and keep tweaking your ads so they work better for you. If you have an Instagram page you can also arrange through Facebook for the advert to display there. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can look at Facebook’s powerful Remarketing functions so you can create a custom audience of visitors to your website.

Retailer Chris(Reil Fox runs WishesT:Of07766 Cudworth with and partner Keeling nd has learnedare how to take advantage of the opportunities offered Neil Anthony Agencies, 736254) AlinaJulia Clark (T: 07906 792420) by the internet and social media, and Cherrysales Orchard’s Helen Pallen theNorth issue East from a publishers’ experienced independent greetings industry agents in the Northlooks Westatand ofviewpoint. England respectively. Each

10 @greetingstoday



Hanging with Chad S

OME readers may be familiar with the name Chad Hogan, a supposedly fictitious character made up by Glaswegian comedian Kevin Bridges, who invented him as being the ultimate American party organiser.

As it turned out, the Utah-based real Chad Hogan noticed his Facebook page suddenly started to receive lots of attention and hundreds of friend requests a day from Scotland. When Chad invited an excited Kevin to hang out at one of his parties, things turned out to be rather different than expected, mostly due to a total lack of alcohol. Mr Hogan meanwhile, became something of a minor celebrity. The comedy sketch shows the amazing power of social networking. A well-known comedian with a big following unwittingly acted as a powerful influencer for someone he didn’t actually know existed, promoting his name to his many followers. Chad got lots of Facebook attention but from thousands of miles away, and Kevin got his invite to what he thought would be a crazy party. But, putting on a marketing hat, this actually illustrates just how not to do it. For a campaign to work for your business you need to set up a clearly structured strategy, identify and network with relevant influencers, know your target audience and set yourself measurable objectives. The great thing about digital marketing is that you can tailor your message to a very precise audience. Getting lots of Facebook friends or followers to see your posts is fine but, if you’re out to sell more, you need to make sure those people convert to paying customers. When you post to your page, be sure to supply g good content with nice images that a relevant audience w want to share, or run competitions to incentivise will s shares and grow followers organically. Monitor your insights to see how many saw your post and engaged with it. Note when your followers are online, posting too often will mean fewer people see later posts. Rough guidelines say put one business post in for every four or five fun or general ones. As it takes time to grow your followers this way, you may decide to pay to boost your posts. The amount of data that Facebook collects on its users means that you can pay a small controlled amount to achieve the results you want. The price you set for your campaign can be a few pounds and you can run it for just one day and pay only when someone clicks through to your website or when someone likes your page. It can cost you literally a few pence to get that one click from a potential new customer who might then not only buy from you (hopefully regularly!) but also recommend you. By posting an ad with a well-chosen, eye-catching image and offer, you can send a powerful targeted reminder to people that they need to get a card or gift. For events such as Mother’s Day for example, an enticing image of a card, gift and giftwrap with a clear call-to-action such as “We’ll help you make Mother’s day” can get an impulsive response from Facebook users who are then just a few clicks away from arranging the gift. If you direct people to your website, customers can arrange delivery straight to the recipient for complete hassle-free shopping – ask if it’s a gift and does it need wrapping and enclose a voucher for the recipient to try your website too. Try using a time-bound special offer such as “discount ends midnight” and track and monitor the success of your advert by collating the clickthrough rates to your website or use a promotional code that people can present when they come to your shop. Or you can offer a free click-and-collect service so your local customer doesn’t pay postage and comes into the shop where you could invite them to join your loyalty scheme. In marketing-speak, these ideas are known as show-rooming and web-rooming where customers will either see your product in store, but buy later online or, vice versa, see an online promotion but want to see the product in-store before actually buying. Either way, try to identify all the touchpoints you have with your customers and aim to redirect them at each point towards more follow-up purchases, extra services or onward referrals. – Helen Pallen

Kevin thought he’d been invited to a crazy party @greetingstoday 11


Give ’em what they want/need W ORKING in a shop that sells just greetings cards is easy – you know where you stand.

Anybody walking through the door is in search of something that will convey a thought to somebody who matters to them and it’s just a question of making sure that all the bases have been covered. Practically this means stocking everything from the “It’s a boy/girl!” – why does this sort of thing always seem to merit an exclamation mark – crowd, to “Sorry you’re leaving” which is surely the most insincere sentiment that finds its way into the workplace. Providing you have a little more than a basic birthday and Christmas range, it’s a fair bet that you’ll shift cards…little else is required of you by your shoppers. But here’s a challenge – suppose your card offer is just a small part of a more general selection of merchandise. Imagine that in your shop there’s everything from a bottle of blended whisky to cheeses that come from local farms – welcome to the world of the community shop. I work the early shift as a volunteer in one of these on a Saturday and Sunday in a place called East Knoyle, which those on their way to Devon and Cornwall will probably have raced past as they make their way along the A303. It’s a very small village, notable perhaps for being the birthplace of Sir Christopher Wren, and in its middle is Wren’s Shop, declared open in 2006 by author Terry Pratchett. For most people in the village, it’s a lifeline – the nearest town is the best part of 20-30 minutes drive and, as well as greetings cards and a broad range of comestibles, it has a sub-post office. The cards are housed on a tiered display unit that the alert will notice in the window as they head in to pick up their copy of the Blackmore Vale, the free local magazine that sits alongside The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph, both essential reading in this (deeply conservative) part of Wiltshire. For those in search of a card that captures the mood, there is choice, but it’s not huge and what’s on show is the outcome of a bit of retail realpolitik – what’s really essential and what will represent just an occasional purchase?

● Sweet service – John in the shop and (left) the opening day with Terry Pratchett

Welcome to the world of the community shop

Working in a community village shop goes a long way towards working out what is essential and what isn’t, as John Ryan knows from first-hand experience. In our community shop it’s the former that wins out every time which means birthdays and deepest sympathies (it’s a mature demographic) for the most part. What the East Knoyle community shop is in fact about is looking at who the customer is, working out what they probably can’t do without and then making the call. This gives us an unspectacular greetings card range, but it’s perfectly suited to the needs of those who frequent our store, and it does the job.

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


This principle of “doing the job” should be one that informs the actions of every retailer worth his or her salt yet, all too often, specialist card shops go walkabout and the outcome is something of a mixed bag. In the desire to cover every eventuality, they’ve lost sight of who their customer is and what they’re looking for. Next time you happen to be heading down to the West Country, pause for a moment when you see the sign for East Knoyle. Maybe even take a short detour to visit the village and wander into the store for an object lesson not just in selling greetings cards, but rather more in giving ’em what they want/need. As such, there are lessons on what is done for all of us. @greetingstoday

greetings cards and retail packaging Tel: +44 (0)1622 795000 Email:

The Original Coaster Card Company. Tel 07921259652 Email

As if by magic


Magic never goes out of fashion and Danilo are always on hand to whizz up great new product to lead the trends, including marrying the on-going colouring-in craze with the revival of My Little Pony to boost their 2017 offer even further.


T’S ALL about the magic at Danilo this season with a wizard new range of licensed calendars, diaries, greetings cards and giftwrap for 2016/17 supported by some amazing promotional activity.

Magic is really back in fashion with My Little Pony the focus as the brand is bang on trend again, and particularly popular with girls who are looking forward to the movie due to be released in time for the October half-term in 2017. Danilo have a new 2017 My Little Pony calendar which chimes with the colouring-in trend as it features exactly that in the centrespread to keep fans busy with their pens and pencils creating their own spectacular versions of the fantastic four-legged friends, and they will be launching their movie range next summer. The latest incarnation is the TV series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which is often referred to by collectors as the fourth generation of the brand that began on children’s television back in the early 90s and not only appeals to the little girls that Hasbro’s toy line is primarily aimed at, but also has a cult following of teenagers. As if by magic Danilo have numerous other wizard titles in their extensive portfolio, including Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, and Disney Princess, covering calendars and diaries. And on the more general front, Danilo have plenty to offer with great new product featuring Disney Princess, Despicable Me, Shopkins, Secret Life Of Pets, Noddy, Ladybird Books For Grown-Ups, Yokai Watch and Paw Patrol – nominated at both the Henries and the Licensing Awards this year.

T: 01992 702900

Harry Potter Harry Potter: Colouring In Calendar. A brand-new design for 2017, this Harry Potter calendar gives you the chance to colour in 12 fantastic scenes and popular characters from the beloved film series. Also featuring a large centrespread, this 2017 Calendar would make the perfect collector’s item for any Harry Potter aficionados. Fourteen years, seven books and blockbuster films later, the Harry Potter brand, valued at more than £11.6billion ($15bn), is still going strong. More than 400million copies of the books have been sold worldwide and translated into 67 languages, and a new play based on an original Harry Potter story by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany premiered in London this year. The fourth anniversary of the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour at Elstree near London was marked on March 31, 2016. More than 6,500,000 people have visited the tour showing the huge appeal the brand still has with the next milestone coming up on June 26, 2017, when it will be the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first story, Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone.


Despicable Me The third instalment of the Universal animated franchise that introduced Minions to the world, Despicable Me 3 is the upcoming comedy film set for release in 2017. Gru, the adoptive father of Margo, Edith, and Agnes, husband of Lucy Marvel plus all the marvellous Minions will be back for this third outing. Minions and Despicable Me 2 are 2 of the top 10 bestselling animated films in history so the latest instalment is a sure-fire hit. For 2017 Danilo have the Despicable Me Calendar, Family Organiser, EU Calendar, Slim Calendar and Mini Calendar. The greetings card range offers a wide selection of age, relation, blank, general, and seasonal, with designs being updated and added frequently and currently featuring fold-outs, sticker sheets, build a Minion, height chart, money wallets and more. @greetingstoday

Disney Princess


This Disney Princess 2017 Wall Calendar is a magical new title featuring enough space for daily notes or reminders with beautiful images of everyone’s favourite Disney Princesses on each page with key dates included. The calendar even includes a fun colouring pull-out page, and there’s also an A5 diary and slim calendar for 2017. The diary reads “I’m 99.9% sure I’m a Disney Princess” on the front cover. Elsa and Anna also have their own calendar again for 2017 with the Official 2017 Frozen Calendar.

Secret Life Of Pets From the humans behind Despicable Me, The Secret Life Of Pets has also proven popular with its animated depiction of what our animals get up to when we’re not around. Having achieved more than £76.5million ($100m) in its opening weekend, it’s the biggest opening for an original animated feature. Danilo have the official 2017 calendar, and they also have a fantastic card and wrap range featuring key characters such as Max, Duke and Gidget with designs including blank, relation, general birthday and ages five to eight, as well as flatwrap, rollwrap and gift bags.

Paw Patrol The official number 1 UK preschool brand, Paw Patrol has overtaken kiddies’ stalwart Peppa Pig with more than 2.5m viewers tuning in on Milkshake per month. Having won the Best Pre-School Brand category at the Licensing Awards 2016, there’s a huge audience for anything Paw Patrol-related. The Danilo greetings range includes ages three to six plus relations, general birthday and seasonal captions while two-sheet two-tag packs, rollwrap and gift bags are also available Currently the top sellers in the card department are ages three, four and five with girls’ and female cards having been developed now.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them This tale about the adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards 70 years before Harry Potter reads his textbook Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them at Hogwarts. On August 10, the official social media account started the official 100-day countdown till the film’s release. For 2017, Danilo have the official calendar featuring stunning images from the upcoming film – fans can spend the whole of next year in truly magical company with this official calendar.

Shopkins Currently the hottest girl brand in 2016, Shopkins has been a massive success in all product areas, especially Toys, Danilo are publishing the 2017 calendar, card range and wrap – there are more than 15 card designs from ages five to nine and female captions plus small and medium gift bags, roll wrap and two-sheet two-tag packs and they also have a Christmas range in the pipeline for 2017.

Ladybird Books For Grown Ups This year Danilo have launched a fantastic new card range based on the fun Ladybird Books For Grown Ups Range. These popular books have sold more than two million copies since launch last year and continue to dominate the UK book charts with some weeks titles occupying nine positions out of the top 10! The card range includes general birthday, captions and seasonal designs and mirrors the same tongue-in-cheek humour from these bestselling adult parodies of the classic Ladybird Books. @greetingstoday

Noddy Created by English children’s author Enid Blyton, the Noddy books were originally published between 1949 and 1963. The television shows based on the character have run on British television since 1955 and continue to appear to this day. Perennially popular with both boys and girls, Noddy, Toyland Detective is the the new series which first aired back in April this year and is now on Milkshake on weekdays New to Danilo, this card range includes ages two to four plus general birthday.

Yokai Watch The hit Disney XD comedy adventure, Yo-Kai Watch follows the everyday life of Nate who discovers that the world is full of mischievous beings called YoKai that create trouble. Nate’s mission is to find creative ways to understand the cause of the Yo-Kai’s bad behaviour and make friends with them. A new addition for this year, Danilo are delighted to offer an Official Yokai Watch 2017 Calendar – watch out for their greetings card range coming in 2017. 15




ICENSING has been a part of retailing for many years now and its importance in driving sales for retailers and suppliers continues to grow – but what does it actually mean and what impact does it have on the greetings industry? Licensors are the owners of the licence, which can be anything from an entertainment brand like Minions, a design style such as William Morris or an entity like Battersea Dogs’ Home. All are licensed brands used in the greetings card market. Licensees are those who want to use these properties, usually publishers or manufacturers who are prepared to pay for the privilege. Many businesses use licensed images for all their ranges, they’ve established a reputation for the quality and types of products they are known for so it’s important the licences they add to their portfolio are consistent and support this to ensure retailers don’t get confused about what they stand for. I call this “fit” and Gemma are a good example with their focus on recognisable brands like The BFG (top). I believe the success of licensing is completely dependent on fit and ensuring a licence is wellexecuted and, for me, Glebe Cottage embody the notion. From their earliest days in the mid 90s they have ensured their products are at the forefront in using eco-friendly technologies and materials to ensure buyers can support green issues in their product selection. Glebe Cottage licence the Wildlife Trust images which is a very comfortable fit with both brands’ values supporting one another perfectly (left). For the licensor allowing others to use their images is a great way of extending recognition of their brand to other areas, if the right licensing partner has been selected it’s likely to be a good way of generating a steady income stream through upfront payments and royalties without the risk of investing in stock themselves. This has encouraged many museums and charities, who are always looking for new ways of funding their work and often have the most wonderful treasures, to make images available for licensing to appropriate manufacturers. The Great British Card Company recognise the importance of strategic partnerships within the greetings industry and, as such, they license from bluechip organisations as well as individual illustrators. Because of their creative sensitivity they are able to leverage the brand values of National Geographic, English Heritage, Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady, the Natural History Museum, The Medici Society, Bebunni and, more recently, Avanti to create a really broad portfolio.

Seeing the value

Licensing plays an important part in the greetings industry, even if retailers don’t always realise its full reach, as Henri Davis explains. GBCC Creative Director Nick Adsett confirmed that Eric The Penguin from Chris Masters is their most popular licensed range along with other key licensed illustrators and photographers including Stephen Hanson, Peter Cross, Becky Brown, Lee Fearnley, Barry Goodman, Richard Austin and Villager Jim. He said: “With the correct level of regular investment licences enable us to punch above our weight at retail, and offer differential from our own studio creative process” (left). However, the process is not without issues. If the licensor doesn’t have a clear set of brand guidelines detailing how images or designs can be applied, the quality of products they can be used on and setting up an agreed approval process they may end up with their brand on what they consider to be unsuitable items. In such cases the fit is poor – if retailers and consumers think the same this may be reflected in poor sales too. Paper Salad are publishers having great success with using licensing as a way of broadening the reach of their brand. Now 11 years old the company have been involved in licensing a number of their designs to create children’s gorgeous apparel as well as glasses, notebooks, gift-wrap and giftware. Mim-pi from the Netherlands took their vibrant patterns and turned them into a lovely children’s clothes range and on a recent trip to Paris, Paper Salad visited the Maison & Objet

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.


show to see Pictura’s launch of super-cute notebooks based on their bright and colourful Trio cards, plus there’s their popular Glick range of giftwrap and bags (right). We all know humour is one of the strongest-selling genres in the card market and licensing has a significant influence here too. At CardMix, where they have had great success with many humour licences, including the very popular Off The Leash, Sales Director Keith Gillespie said: “Licensing provides us with a rich resource for content for greeting cards. “This has often been created for other purposes such as books or, in the case of Chef & Sue, a cartoon strip for Waitrose. “Licensing brands is a great USP for the company; exclusive content can be of value to our retail partners. Often the support of other branded product is helpful to retailers to build a story in their stores.” (left). So, what’s the value of licensing to retailers? In terms of sales the answer is significant. What’s vital is that the retailer makes the most of the opportunity stocking licensed products represents. Licensing is an expensive process for the licensee which is almost always reflected in the cost and retail prices of the resulting product making them relatively expensive for the consumer and the margins smaller for the retailer. Mind you, whether retailers always realise when a range is licensed is unlikely particularly if it’s illustration or artwork rather than linked to a well-known brand or character. In many cases that knowledge is not relevant, the key question is: “Is the imagery, text or humour suitable for the retailers’ customers.” If the answer is “yes”, that’s all that matters. @greetingstoday

● Gem


● Museums & Galleries


● Redbac Cards

● UK Greetings



ICENSING spans many different forms from the pretty pattern on a tin of talc to the major TV and Hollywood blockbusters where the character’s face ends up plastered across your undercrackers. While just about everyone gets the idea that product featuring Minions or Batman will have been licensed, retailers and consumers tend not to realise about the idea of licensing an image from a museum for use on a card or where publishers take it in the opposite direction and have their greetings designs on mugs, cushions and stationery. Working with cultural organisations is Museums & Galleries’ forte and they have extensive experience, particularly of high-end fine art and design licensing, and have pioneered the increasing importance of brand licensing in this area. One of the very first organisations MGL started working with was the British Library, and they are pleased to announce that from January 2017 they will be the exclusive source for British Library-branded everyday and Christmas cards. At the other end of the scale are Wraptious, a relatively new company where founder Simon Wadsworth said: “Licensing is a great opportunity to expand our market and artists’ work into new regions and new products. “As we’ve only been in trade for 18 months, licensing allows us to support our artists in many new ways we wouldn’t have been able to support on our own. “We’ve been very fortunate to work with ECP Design, launching a stunning range of ceramics, candles and giftware with Katherine William’s Highlands range this summer. It’s been extremely positive so far, and we’re looking to expand into other products such as tinware, as well as potentially new ranges with another of our artists. “We also have a Christmas card and 2017 calendar licensed to RSPB, through Carousel Calendars, which sits well with our ethos of supporting animal-based charities, something we have also been doing for Thinking Of You Week.” By far the most obvious brands, though, are also the biggest, with Disney and DC Comics featuring strongly across many products relevant to greetings retailers. Mel Beer, Amscan’s Licensing Director EMEA, explained: “Licensing represents a significant part of our business, particularly across our balloons and party categories, so it’s important we keep our portfolio refreshed and relevant.” At Pyramid, they focus on “delivering licensed

Go with the gut ● UK Greetin gs

● Gemm

Instinct is key when picking the best licences to put on product so Gemma’s Tim Rudd-Clarke’s advice to trust your gut is not to be sniffed at – they have plenty of experience!

SHOP TALK We have the UK Greetings licensed product like Disney Princess and they now do the Royal Horticultural Society cards too, which are lovely. We also do Gemma because they have a lot of different . And now we have Creative Express to do personalised cards and they have the licence for Tatty Teddy, also there’s Xpressions 4 U with the Disney Star Wars and Dad’s Army gifts. Gillian Farrelly, Bonjour, Barnoldswick, Lancs images worldwide”, which has been their mission statement since the early 90s, and they have established an enviable list of licences as well as regularly fulfilling orders to more than 80 countries. Pyramid’s core strength is their extensive library of licences – working with the world’s top brands they have secured gifting deals including Marvel and DC Comics, Star Wars, Game Of Thrones, Fantastic Beasts and Adventure Time to produce a wide variety of merchandise including mugs, stationery sets, notebooks, doormats and calendars. With more than 20 years’ experience, Pyramid have seen a magnitude of trends in the industry, the most recent being the notable and sustained demand for superheroes. Licensing Director Mordy Benaiah said: “We have worked closely with the teams at Disney/Marvel over the past few years developing an extensive range of superhero merchandise. “This has now evolved to the next level with fresh new content from Warner Bros/DC Comics from television on series like The Flash, Arrow and Supergirl and the big screen with Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad and next year with Justice League and Wonder Woman. “New movies are also coming into the frame like Valerian directed by Luc Besson which is based on a French comic book series from the 1960s, so the industry is following these themes carefully and merchandise is very high up on the consumer’s list of priorities.” Around their core of licensing are Pyramid’s passionate staff whose zeal for the licences they work with means they have an insight into the ever-changing dynamics of the market and the shifting customer trends that come with it. @greetingstoday


Mordy added: “This level of market knowledge and a broad range of expertly-designed products mean Pyramid International can provide the greetings industry with the products it needs.” To ensure all these pieces fit in the best possible way for the retailer, Pyramid have invested in improving the customer experience including a new state-of-the-art showroom to showcase their ranges while providing retail display solutions and the development of a brandnew, customer-focussed website. From the most iconic superheroes such as Batman, Superman, Captain America and Iron Man to Finding Dory and Harry Potter, consumers love products that feature their favourite licences and, with no sign of this trend slowing, the opportunities from Pyramid for retail are limitless. Gemma are another company who have been involved in licensing for a long time with more than 30 years under their belts of designing cards, wrap and partyware for some of the biggest brands in the world such as Thomas The Tank Engine, Peppa Pig, Mr Men and Disney. They pride themselves on a strong core of brands that have stood the test of time, as well as continuing to innovate their portfolio with new, up-and-coming licences. Historically, Gemma’s main focus has been on children’s brands, with influences from TV, film and toy sectors, but in recent years they have expanded their portfolio to include brands from the digital and gaming sector, having noticed significant growth in this area. MD Amanda Parkin said: “Gemma have a fantastic range of licences to offer customers, from our evergreens which include Peppa and Thomas through the social media phenomenon of Pusheen The Cat, to the highly-anticipated Trolls movie, not forgetting Pokémon – and we’ve just signed Animal Jam which is an educational, gaming and social app which is really fresh and innovative.” Tim Rudd-Clarke, Gemma’s Licensing Director, is passionate about choosing new licences: “Our licensing team keep their ears to the ground and fingers on the pulse so we’re usually quite hot when it comes to knowing which new licences are coming through. “We are well-known in the industry so quite often opportunities are presented to us before they hit the trade shows. “When it comes to making decisions, obviously the ground work has to be done to make sure the numbers work but, ultimately, we have to feel passionate about a brand. “After this much time in the industry, I know to trust my gut instinct and, if we get excited about a brand then, chances are, so will consumers.” 17



Busy busy busy! AUTUMN and winter are shaping up to be busy seasons in the Pyramid International calendar. Harry Potter fans will get their first feature in the movie universe since 2011 with the eagerly anticipated Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them which follows the exploits of new character Newt Scamander and the events that unfold on his visit to the American Ministry of Magic. Pyramid also have a new chapter in the Star Wars saga that’s hitting screens in December with Star Wars: Rogue One. Set just before the events of the original Star Wars trilogy, the story follows a group of rebels on their mission to find plans for the Empire’s secret weapon. With such a vast and loyal fan base, Star Wars: Rogue One is certain to be popular. Pyramid are proud to support both of these monumental releases with a full range of products, including posters, prints, wall art, stationery mugs, badges and keyrings. They are also pleased to be offering a range of licensed products for Trolls, Dr Strange, Moana, Paw Patrol and DC Superhero Girls.

T: 0116 284 3645

Racey’s retro range The Porch Fairies have recently licensed a range of greetings cards based on the nostalgic illustrations of English artist Racey Helps. These retro cards feature typically English country scenes from the 1950s with charming animal characters having fun. A perfect complement to the hand-finished range of greetings cards from The Porch Fairies, all Racey Helps cards are 135 x 185mm and have a bright green envelope with a cello bag. The RRP is £2.25.

T: 01603 661179

Oor Wullie says happy hogmanay SCOTS icons Oor Wullie and The Broons are coming to greetings cards near you thanks to a licence between publishers DC Thomson and Comic Art director John Reynolds. The range is based on John’s screenprints of the drawings taken from the Sunday Post, Dundee, which has been carrying strips featuring the characters since 1936. As well as The Broons designs, currently there are half a dozen each of Christmas and Hogmanay cards featuring Oor Wullie with his characteristic spiky hair and dungarees, and John said: “I’m delighted that DC Thomson


have given me the go-ahead for these, as my screenprints of Oor Wullie and The Broons sell very well and my customers have been asking for ages if I can supply greetings cards.” The cards cost £7.80 for a pack of six wholesale, and are printed on 300gsm textured off-white card to mimic the paper used in Comic Art’s screenprints, which also include Dennis The Menace, Popeye, Asterix and Thelwell.

T: 07980 844906 @greetingstoday

The UK No.1 in Licensed Greetings switchboard: +44 (0)1264 388400 sales hotline: +44 (0)1264 388436 e: w:


Pepping up the brands ANIMAL Jam is an online playground for kids where they can learn about the natural world while playing with friends and Gemma have secured a licence for the property on cards, wrap and party. The online social community and gaming app is growing in popularity with more than three million users in the UK and 55m worldwide. Developed in collaboration with National Geographic, it is currently the number one online social game for kids in the US. “Animal Jam is a really exciting brand that is different from anything else out there right now, as well as being a gaming and social app, it is also highly educational. Gemma are really pleased to add yet another fresh and innovative digital property to our portfolio” says Managing Director, Amanda Parkin. As well as continuing to innovate their portfolio with new, up and coming licences, Gemma pride themselves on a strong core of brands that have stood the test of time, and Peppa Pig is one of those classics that continues to perform year on year.

Beryl’s brand expands FOLLOWING the success of the initial launch of Beryl Cook greeting cards and datable lines last year, licensees Carousel Calendars and Otter House Card and Gift published a range of stationery and giftware for the first time in the summer. The Exeter-based publishers are thrilled by the opportunity to create a new collection showcasing Beryl Cook’s unique artwork. Martin Rees-Davies, Head of Licensing for The Otter House Group, said: “This is the second year Carousel Calendars have published the Beryl Cook dated range, which has been extremely well received by retail markets. “As a result Otter House have launched a greetings card, stationery and gift range ready for the AW 2016 season. “Incorporating notebooks, note cards, sticky notes, mugs, key rings and jigsaws, it draws on a wide variety of Beryl’s art to offer something for everyone and a great gifting solution for retailers”. John Cook, spokesperson for Beryl Cook’s family, added; “We were often being asked for products that carried her images and we realised there was a potential for merchandising. “This led on to us meeting up with our licensing agent, This Is Iris, with whom, we are pleased to say, we have now joined forces.”

Gemma have held the licence for Peppa Pig for more than 10 years, across cards, wrap and party, and their award-winning creative studio have recently developed yet another brilliant range of cards and wrap launching soon, expanding the usual age and relation cards, to include new designs for Mummy and Daddy too. Licensing Director Tim Rudd-Clarke said: “Peppa Pig has been a great adventure for Gemma International, I was first convinced to licence the brand by Mike Smith, who was head of licensing at E1 at the time. “I was instantly taken by the spirit of Peppa and her family, and the show which captured those wonderful family moments, Mummy and Daddy Pig, and Peppa’s little brother George. As a brand it has universal appeal as not just with the young fans, but the whole family can relate to it!”

T: 01264 388400

Honeycomb makes an impact FANTASTIC new designs have been introduced within Hallmark’s Disney licensed range – focussing on more innovative designs incorporating paper honeycomb. This is a fun, impactful card at the 250 price point and offers a really special send!

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

T: 01392 824300

20 @greetingstoday


with character!

Anagram makes the fun larger than life with our AirWalker® Balloons & Airwalker® Balloon Buddies. Our innovative Airwalkers® appear to magically ‘float’ on air, adding a whole new dimension & play factor to our already extensive balloon collection. Amscan’s One-Stop-Party solution has 1000’s of products to choose from including partyware, decorations, balloons & costumes.

TEL: +44 (0)1908 288 500 E-MAIL: WEB: ©Amscan 2016, ©Anagram 2016 All rights reserved


Pushing the style ENESCO have their hands on three great licensed collections – Gund’s Pusheen Mystery Boxes and the new Hallmark Little Meow and Style & Gracie gift ranges. As the only official licensees of Pusheen soft toys, Gund use their vast experience in creating high-quality soft toys to bring fans of the little grey tabby cat an exciting collecting experience – Mystery Boxes. There are two collections, Series 1 features Pusheen in eight different poses with her favourite snacks including pizza, doughnut and cookie, while Series 2 is all about Christmas and welcomes the first introduction of his little sister Stormy. Each mystery box contains a sealed foil pack containing a mystery keyring in Series 1 and a versatile ornament in Series 2, which can be used as a gift topper, tree decoration or can be attached to bags and backpacks. Some styles are harder to collect than others. With millions of fans on social media – more than 9.2m Facebook likes, 180k on Twitter and 160k on Instagram – that’s a whole lot of fans who are going to love collecting these adorable new characters. The new licensing partnership between Enesco and Hallmark has led to the release of two giftware collections which could be seen at Autumn Fair for the first time. Inspired by the artwork of Hallmark’s Little Meow and Style & Gracie card collections, the products are being distributed by Enesco in selected European markets including the UK. The first range includes mugs, figurines, plush and accessories featuring the popular feline Little Meow and his adorable companions Mittens and Red. Mischievous, playful and softly sweet, these purr-fect little partners help cosy up any day with their taste for adventure, their gentle, whimsical sense of humour and unconditional love. Style & Gracie is all about the stylish. Gracie is a city girl at heart, glamorous with a wardrobe to die for, always out and about, travelling the world’s most beautiful locations and exciting cities. The range includes figurines, wine glasses, tote bags and accessories and there are further launches planned for January.

T: 01228 404022

Meet Goose and Sophie REDBACK are launching a delightful collection of children’s cards based on the character Goose. Goose and his best friend Sophie feature in a series of adorable picture books by award-winning artist Laura Wall. Her books are selling in more than 40 countries worldwide having been translated into 10 languages and the pilot TV show is being sold into production companies this summer. There are 32 simple, bold and colourful 120x170mm cards created specifically for the pre-school market. They are finished with a soft-touch laminate and spot UV varnish and come individually wrapped with a premium white envelope.

T: 01803 712793


Hoping for happily ever after UK GREETINGS are no strangers to awards and accolades, but one particular Disney range has them dreaming big – their Disney Originals range has been nominated for a prestigious Henries award and reached the finals at The Licensing Awards 2016. Using some amazing material from Disney’s archive, the cards showcase early film sketch work, character drawings and original promotional material such as film posters. Such beautiful artwork deserves to be displayed in a frame, so each card features a debossed panel “to give the impression of a mount,” explained Ben Whittington, UKG’s Senior Creative Manager Disney & Humour. After Disney Originals became one of the six finalists in the Licensing Awards Best Licensed Paper Products Or Stationery Range the magic-makers at UKG will be heading down to London on Thursday, October 6, and hoping for a happily-ever-after ending in the Henries Best Licensed Card Range. Also in UKG’s licensed portfolio is the Bamforth & Co collection of saucy seaside

postcards that are as British as fish and chips. Their cheeky risqué humour remains timeless, with a strong nostalgia element for older consumers and contemporary relevance to a younger generation for whom a staycation is becoming an increasingly popular option. The UKG humour team spent many a happy hour with buckets and spades in the Bamforth archives in deepest Yorkshire digging out the pick of the funnies and giving some a contemporary twist where appropriate – they’re drop-your-ice-cream funny. The New Yorker cartoon collection continues to go from strength to strength. Classy, clever and sophisticated, the gags nonetheless have a broad appeal and an accessible, easy-purchase quality that contributes to their popularity. Romantic Adventures is a sassy new fem-tofem humour range featuring retro comic panels from vintage Marvel comics for girls, such as Millie, coupled with witty editorial and a fresh make up-inspired colour palette.

T: 01924 465200 @greetingstoday


Craft, curated.

Making an impact THE vibrant new designs from Glick’s Paper Salad licence made a big impact at the recent Autumn Fair, and they are expecting these to be top sellers. Glick have also launched two beautiful new flat wraps in September from Pizazz with a tropical feel. They use a variety of different artists to create designs for their gift wrap and bags to keep their product portfolio fresh and on trend.

T: 01274 655980

Notable brands ABACUS are enjoying great success with the licensing of the two complementary BBC brands – Springwatch and Countryfile. Having kicked off with two photographic card ranges for each brand, which fit neatly on to one 56-pocket spinner with a dual-branded header, the Newmarketbased publishers have now added notecard packs into each range. The packs are available from October and presented in a hanging cello-bag with a branded header, containing six 125x125mm cards, three each of two designs, and envelopes.

T: 01638 569050 @greetingstoday

A curated edit of contemporary craft-based art cards exclusively from Tel: 01373 462165 23


Get set to party AMSCAN are a one-stop-shop for all things party-related – from disposable tableware and decorations through to foil balloons, costumes, party accessories and favours. With more than 12,000 products within the complete range there is great choice to suit any taste and budget for all occasions. In addition to the latest themes and trends in the market, licensed ranges make up an important part of Amscan’s offering. Working closely with more than 20 top licensors such as Disney, Warner Brothers, Hasbro, Nickelodeon and Mattel, they are able to create inspiring products to make celebrating those special occasions even more memorable. Exciting new additions to the collection include a variety of Finding Dorythemed foil balloons and party accessories which features an impressive AirWalker measuring 139cm high. Amscan are also delighted to welcome back Teletubbies to their portfolio with an extensive new range and 10 balloon designs to complement the partyware. Also new to the pre-school offering is a pink Paw Patrol ensemble following the great success of Amscan’s original unisex range which has been performing fantastically. Also not to be missed are Amscan’s new Disney Tsum Tsum balloons, which include a colourful standard design showing several of the key characters, plus four UltraShape balloons which can be stacked on top of each other just like the plush toys themselves! The fun doesn’t stop there, as Amscan also have new foil balloons for properties including Trolls, Shopkins, Peppa Pig and more which feature in their 2017 Early Release catalogue.

T: 01908 288500

Built on culture MUSEUMS & Galleries’ portfolio, as the name suggests, is very largely built on licensing imagery from cultural organisations. The company have extensive experience in the sector, particularly of high-end fine art and design licensing, and have pioneered the increasing importance of brand licensing in this area. One of the very first organisations MGL started working with many years ago was the British Library, and MGL are pleased to announce that from January 2017 it will be the exclusive source for British Librarybranded everyday and Christmas cards. The British Library offer a world-famous name and an extensive collection of more than 13million items in their unsurpassed archives – it is quite simply the largest library in the world. The Alice In Wonderland cards are selling extremely well after last year’s 150th anniversary in addition to evergreen interest in Lewis Carroll’s book, and the gold-foiled book cover licensed journals in the stationery section of the licence have been runaway bestsellers this season. On the other side of the cultural divide, MGL’s Matthew Williamson licensed cards have also sold exceptionally strongly for them this year after their critically-acclaimed launch at Spring Fair, and the range has already been nominated for industry awards. There are range extensions and a striking new development to be revealed in January. MGL continue to follow an image-led approach to the creation of card ranges, and recognise that the basic driver of a greetings card sale is a striking, appropriate, and sending-occasion friendly image. This means that some ranges have a general licence ethos with the new Crafted range a case in point – created in response to the vogue for hand crafts, the range brings together vibrant designs from many different makers.


T: 0116 230 4197 @greetingstoday

we’ve got giftware all wrapped up Enesco Limited, Head Office & Customer Services, Brunthill Road, Kingstown, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA3 0EN Tel: 01228 404022 Fax: 01228 404041 email: Overseas Customer Services: Tel: +44 1228 404066 Fax: +44 1228 404080 email:

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

Jo Kraemer-Dent, Birdie’s Perch, York

What’s the story behind your store? It’s been 11 years here, and then the first shop we had was called the Little Card Shop before that. I was doing professional motor sport at the time – it was circuit racing, the support for the British Touring Cars – and a little shop came up round the corner from where I lived. I thought ‘what could I do with that’ and came up with the idea of cards so rented it. It was only 10ft by 12ft, then the owner of the hardware store opposite gave me first dibs on buying it because he knew I would keep it as a shop and not turn it into flats. I bought it and rebuilt it and named it Birdie’s Perch after my nan. Moving in to much bigger premises was interesting, it’s 1800 sq ft here and I was wondering how on earth I’d fill the space. You could fit the old shop in the sweet section here so we put in a coffee shop and do all cakes and that sort of thing, and we have a haberdashery section with all the ribbons and upstairs is pre-loved children’s designer clothes – it’s like a mini-mall. We’ve invested in this building which has been good but going from a little shop to 1800 sq ft was daunting. Actually a week after I signed the papers to buy it I found out I was pregnant so my shop is 11 in December and my daughter is 10 – it’s all a blur! We also have the shop dog Duffy who comes in a lot and sits behind the counter, she’s so good. What’s currently by your till? We have a sweet shop in here and we also do all the Belgian chocolates that are imported direct so those are all by the till. It’s a struggle to stay slim! We do over 200 different weigh-out sweets. Fizzers are my favourites, or jelly buttons but I like them all. Have you been to any trade shows recently – what was your best find?


I go to Spring Fair and Top Drawer in January usually, I must get round to going to PG Live as it always looks interesting. I did go to Harrogate this year which was good. I haven’t been for a few years as it falls in the school holidays. I really like it, I had a whole day to myself and I found a couple of new stockists, Blossom & Co where I like their dog leads, and NPW have some good product out this year, and I did have a good look around the card section too. Currently, which is your top-selling design, publisher or genre? It’s the general high-end birthday cards, they go really well. Jellycat is always really good for me on toys, East Of India for gifts, Art Angels cards go well – and a fantastic lady I came across at the show is Sarah Kelleher whose cards are a bit different and I’m excited by them. Dandelion Stationery brought out a new sympathy card this year based on some wording we suggested. There are also a few smaller companies that were hard to find so I’m reluctant to let everyone know we do them! I’m also finding that bigger cards are making their way back. When the postage charges changed people were worrying about the cost so seemed to stop sending them and a lot of companies stopped doing the larger cards, but we’re seeing them come through again and selling more. Grace who works here is the daughter of a local artist, Gerard Hobson, who does cards for Green Pebble, which we stock too. He’s fabulous, you can tell his style straightaway – and he designed our window display last Christmas.

Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? Probably a Meri Meri hand-finished card, I just think they’re lovely. @greetingstoday

Jackie Humphrey, Dragonfly, Cheam, Surrey

What’s the story behind your store? We opened in 1994 so we’re old hands now, and we’re part of Cardgains. We opened originally as a craft and gifts shop but we’ve become all cards and gifts now. We also sell delicious chocolates! We’re in a small village and we have some loyal customers so we’re very lucky. There’s me and my husband Dave and we have three lovely ladies who work for us. What’s currently by your till? We have Ecochic bags, which are the little shopping bags, and Joma jewellery, and Katie Loxton clutch bags which are very on-trend. Plus Carrie Elspeth’s Mycolourbands which she won Gift Of The Year with at Spring Fair. On the other side is the big chocolate counter from House Of Sarunds – and jolly nice they are too! I do tend to put my husband there to keep me away from the chocolate.

Have you been to any trade shows recently – what was your best find? Yes, we went to Top Drawer and headed straight to Dandelion Stationery! That was who we wanted to see. I do stock them anyway but needed to have a look to see we had everything we need. We had a quick whizz around the show but didn’t have a good start because the trains were shot. We lost about 2½ hours of our day and that doesn’t put you in the right frame of mind. It’s a show that’s always worth checking out, I think it’s very important to attend the trade fairs. Currently, which is your top-selling design, publisher or genre? We do very well with Wendy Jones Blackett and the Belly Button large cards, which are something I always keep in stock because they’re a nice price point. And we do smaller publishers like Molly Mae,

we’ve just taken Tracks Publishing back because they have some nice cards again. Licensed cards isn’t for us because we’re directly opposite a WHSmith and I think it’s a different type of retailing. Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? I usually say Wendy Jones-Blackett but I’d say probably Stooshie at the moment because they are a bit different. My husband always sends Two Bad Mice to me – they are a solid company that just keep going.

Gillian Farrelly, Bonjour, Barnoldswick, Lancs

What’s the story behind your store? I’ve been here for 15 years and basically started it up because it was a newsagents, tobacconists and sweet shop when I took it on, and now we’re a proper independent card and gift store. There’s me and three part-time staff. I’ve always liked nice cards, proper ones not the warehouse ones and I was a hairdresser but got repetitive strain injury so decided to do something different. I went from having a hairdressing shop to card selling. I also like sweets and we did do sweets when I started! I enjoy shopping and pick every card in the shop. I cherry pick exactly what I want and the staff help so when there are more of us we get different viewpoints. Mainly the agents come to me so we know Neil Anthony, who writes for Greetings Today, very well – but we call him Louie as he looks like Louie Spence! We have nicknames for quite a few of the agents, not all nice ones but most are. What’s currently by your till? We’ve just swapped it this week so right next to the till is diaries and the Teeny Tys plush, behind is calendars. We’ve sold a few but literally put them out as we’re starting the process with Christmas coming fast. Have you been to any trade shows recently – what was your best find? I’ve just been to Ireland for a week’s holiday

and we went over the border to Bambridge, Co Down, to a little Christmas show which Enchante run at their base. It was lovely, and the town was very nice, we went for a look around when we’d finished and it was absolutely spotless! They’re lovely people at Enchante, very friendly and they took us to the pub and paid for lunch. I went to Home & Gift in Harrogate to find Enchante but they weren’t exhibiting which is why we made the trip north when we were in Ireland. But I did get some stuff from Lang’s, who I haven’t bought from before. I also bought the new collection from Janie Wilson, I wasn’t buying any cards but walked past and just stopped dead, the new Silver Leaf range is stunning. And we topped up from Really Good too. Currently, which is your top-selling @greetingstoday

design, publisher or genre? Overall it’s probably the Teeny Tys, I don’t think there’s been a day when we haven’t sold at least one, and often quite a few. On the cards it’s your UK Greetings, IC&G, Jonny Javelin and Nigel Quiney that go out every day. Plus Janie Wilson to be honest, and then Five Dollar Shake. We sell a lot of word cards, Loving Words from Cardigan Cards are very good, I can pick them out as I like verses myself. And we also do well with the accessories from Stewo, tissue, giftwrap and gift bags. Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? I don’t know! It’s down to the words with me and they vary from year to year. I’m a words person – the picture doesn’t matter, I like to read the words. 27


Nice mince pies A

UGUST 1 saw Selfridges open their Christmas department and, bang on cue, the Evening Standard published the first why-oh-why article of the season, banging on about how the department store was “defying the disapproval of purists who say it undermines the magic of December 25”.

Working in retail inures you to this sort of thing – indeed, the huffing and puffing about “mince pies in August” is now as established a part of Christmas as the office party fallout or the M25 tailback. It’s also a simple fact that for card retailers, the festive season never goes away – we’re shopping the Christmas hall at Spring Fair long before our (negligible!) Christmas returns have been accepted by the suppliers; we’re loading stock on to the inventory system in May, ready for deliveries to start in the summer – calendars and diaries first, then cards. It’s a bit like football – one season slides into another with barely a pause for breath. As Calliope’s Commercial Director, Andy Adamson rarely takes his Santa hat off, whereas at the Ops and Finance end of the business I do get some respite. We work out of our Dorking stockroom which, as each new store opened, became progressively filled with more racking and more stock. Just this week, I had the carpenter round to quote for adding more shelves to the spaces between the existing shelves! Last year, we were opening our Haywards Heath shop and used some third party space. This year, I looked up from my steaming August desk to find that over 6,000 Christmas cards had arrived in this one small room in the space of a week. All other considerations were cast aside, for we now had to process Christmas card deliveries not merely “as though our lives depended on it”, but because we would actually all suffocate under a landslide of robins, reindeer and puffins (hang on The Art File, when did puffins become a Christmas bird?) if we didn’t work those cards through the stockroom and out to the branches. The atmosphere became febrile as we pushed our way through the seasonal avalanche, and there was little time to think about what we were seeing.

Looking up from his steaming August desk to discover 6,000 Christmas cards, Philip Downer concludes that the festive season never goes away for greetings retailers.

When did W puffins become a Christmas ? bird?

Is someone sitting in an office coming up with more and more obscure relatives who need bespoke cards (to my former brother-in-law and his genderreassigned partner)? Does the Great British Card Company have a Random Product Code Generator? Why is the Nutbrown Hare still Little at Christmastime – will he survive the winter? Eventually the piles of boxes subside and the stock gets Volvoed out to the branches to be sorted and readied for display. You ease back in your chair, heave a huge sigh of relief, then the decorations and gifts start to arrive – quantity, bulk, breakages, and clouds of glitter falling from your hair at the end of a busy day. The terrifying bright-eyed boxing Santas are mere harbingers for the season ahead. Our shops have become progressively more

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


efficient as each year passes and, as soon as they receive their cards, they will sort them by family recipient and product code, and have a “first display” box that ensures everything can go out on the floor at once, straight into the right location, on the right day. We’ll launch Christmas cards instore at the beginning of October (though we’ve had them online for a month), which feels like the right sort of balance for a local specialist. My concern is not with appeasing the whyoh-whyers, but ensuring we keep the balance of stockholding and displays aligned to what customers want to buy. Reducing the space available for everyday cards is always a wrench – we have to make compromises on the number on display and the flexibility with which we can display them. Manufacturers’ FSDUs are essential for boxed cards and packs, but their space and location instore need to be balanced against Halloween and other everyday needs. Essentially, October is a phoney war month, when Christmas is out there, some customers are tut-tutting, while others are planning ahead and buying up all they need in a slightly guilty or conspiratorial way. Half term is when we launch full Christmas – buckle up, it’ll be quite a ride! @greetingstoday


Crowing at success Passion for our feathered friends has taken I Like Birds into the License This! finals at this year’s Brand Licensing Europe, the biggest licensing show on the continent where publisher Stuart Cox will be presenting his concept to the panel of judges.


TOTALLY delighted Stuart Cox is crowing about the success of his publishers I Like Birds as they’ve made the finals of the License This! Competition. They are one of just four entries picked to make a presentation to the judges at Brand Licensing Europe, where they compete for the prize valued at more than £6,000. Now in its seventh year, the License This! challenge is run by BLE organisers UBM as part of the 18th outing of the show, running at London’s Olympia from Tuesday to Thursday, October 11-13, and offers those with brand-new unlicensed creative concepts the opportunity to break into the global licensing industry. Sponsored by the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), the final

takes place on the final day of the show when the four finalists will present their concepts to a live audience and the panel of judges, chaired by LIMA UK MD Kelvyn Gardner. This year’s finalists are: ● Chihuahua Hiyaa, presented by Ryan Winchcombe and Chris Berntsen – a TV show concept set in the fictional world of West Valley, California following the adventures of five young Chihuahuas. ● I Like Birds, presented by Stuart Cox – beautiful bird-based greeting cards and designs. ● May The Thoughts Be With You, presented by Charlotte Reed – a book of Charlotte’s own thoughts illustrated with cheerful, fun cartoon characters. ● Super Geek Heroes, presented by David Lawrence Jones – animation based on a unique group of nursery school kids with friendly super-

Notess Notes Note No

Myy Notes & Thoughtss @greetingstoday 29


More time needed! Danilo Licensing Director Trevor Jones has been attending BLE since it started in 1999, and knows a thing or two about the show. “AS A leading publisher of licensed calendars and greetings, the week of Brand Licensing Europe is a key time for Danilo to maintain our broad selection of licences across our products. “Exhibitors use BLE as a launch platform for new projects in films, gaming, TV shows and art licensing. “Brand owners and rights holders travel from around the globe to launch their newest IP – the screening suites at Olympia are where film and TV studios share sneak peeks of upcoming shows across all genres. “BLE is one of the most exciting and busiest weeks of the licensing year for the Danilo licensing team. In recent years organisers UBM have grown the London event into an essential show for anyone involved in licensing and merchandising, from licensees to retailers. “Exhibitors in the exhibition halls cover sports, brands, entertainment and art licensing aimed at all age groups. “As well as the latest updates from existing licensors we will also be looking for new projects to work with over the coming years. The show lasts three days but important presentations and meetings take place all week so the biggest challenge is to squeeze everything into the diary. It’s impossible to attend all the screenings – that takes a full day – and also visit all the stands, perhaps an extra day...?


powers derived from specifi ecific c development areas off the Early Years Foundation Stage. Stuart said: “Even making the final feels as though it’s validated what our Facebook following was telling us, that our proposed product is both desirable and commercially licensable. “Tracey Bearton and Simon Davis from Greetings Today are owed a huge debt of thanks for flagging the competition – I wouldn’t have seen it if it wasn’t for one of their emails – and for the pep talk at PG Live. “Greetings Today really is our favourite trade mag and we’re hugely appreciative of the genuine support and enthusiasm you’ve shown towards us. “Over the past two years we’ve built up a strong network of stockists and gathered a strong and extremely-engaged cult-like Facebook following – one of the top 50 small businesses globally according to – currently numbering around 15,000 who are loyal, dedicated and very vocal in their desire for us to make other things. “Finding a suitable licensing partner would

fulfil the de desires of our existing allow us to fulfil stockists and fans, and expand our offering into other sales channels. Until now we’ve produced everything ourselves so we’re looking forward to the next step of working with licensing partners to extend our range and bring our particular take on nature to the world.” Kelvyn said: “Having received 24 entries for the contest this year, the judging panel had a difficult task. As ever, the calibre of entries was extremely high with lots of very interesting new property concepts. However, we felt the final four have strong licensing potential and we are looking forward to hearing their pitch at BLE.” The winner will receive a fully furnished nine square metre stand at BLE 2017 to bring the property to market, along with LIMA membership for one year and one ticket to the LIMA Licensing Essentials Course & Spring Fling Networking Party in May 2017. T: 07581 282820

Meet your match A BRAND-new online Matchmaking Service has been launched by Brand Licensing Europe following its success at sister show Licensing Expo where it generated more than 2,500 meetings. The BLE Matchmaking Service, which will be provided for free this year, will enable exhibitors and visitors to request meetings with one another through an online portal ahead of the show at London’s Olympia. The tool allows users to create online profiles, identify key contacts based on area of interest and job type, build relationships and create business opportunities – resulting in a pre-planned roster of private meetings at the event. A team of matchmaking professionals support the service, assisting with meeting arrangements and managing the show’s new Matchmaking Lounge. Anna Knight, BLE Brand Director, said: “The licensing industry has embraced this revolutionary service – the take-up rate at Licensing Expo was 50 per cent higher than in any other industry currently using the tool. In fact, 90 per cent of exhibiting companies engaged with it, and we are delighted to now offer this opportunity to the European market. “Users told us that the portal made their time at the show more efficient, opened up a network of new contacts, and generated substantial amounts of new business. We would encourage anyone attending BLE to sign up today.” Following his experience at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas in June, John Larson, Director at IMG Worldwide, added: “The Matchmaking Service was a fantastic tool that helped me meet many new contacts. Taking meetings in this format was very valuable and I took about 12 meetings via the service. Many solid leads were generated and many new contacts made.” Now in its 18th year, BLE is the largest licensing event in Europe. Organised by UBM and sponsored by the international Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), the show includes an art and design section and features more than 2,500 brands, characters, and images available to licence from over 300 exhibitors. To access the Brand Licensing Europe Matchmaking Service, visit or contact the team at or call 01275 335912. @greetingstoday


Plenty of heart POPCORN is a bouncy bear with ticklish paws who just pops with imagination. He has a fun-filled attitude and his creative approach to problem-solving inspires everyone around him to be creative too! Hearts are really important for Popcorn – he has a special heart-shaped button in his ear and when this glows, he goes on adventures into his imagination with his friends where absolutely anything can happen, his paw pads are heart shaped and his comfort blanket has a brown heart on it too. Popcorn and his friends live deep in the English countryside in the little village of Berryville where everyone is named after food, and he has magical fun with his favourite (and only) sister Brie and lots of pals – Soufflé the Duck, Biscuit the Dog, Pretzel the Caterpillar and many more. “Popcorn and his friends are such fun that it’s a true pleasure creating and collaborating on new projects and illustrations,” said creator Debbie Howard. “The development of new and existing characters comes naturally to me as they’re part of my life as I am part of theirs.” Created by Debbie back in 2004 as a set of storybooks, Popcorn and his pals are all available for licence from her company Bright Star Characters. They already have back-to-school, stationery, backpacks, plush, calendars, cross stitch kits and quilting and Debbie is now bringing the property to Brand Licensing Europe to find new partners, as well as launch her own 32-strong collection of greetings cards plus notebooks and gifts. “When my daughter was a little girl,” Debbie said, “I wrote stories for her about a bear who had adventures with his friends – she loved them and asked me to buy her the books! “Many years later, in May 2004, I remembered those stories with great affection. So, with a picture in mind of what this soft, cuddly, squidgy little bear looked like, out came a sketchpad and pencils and a new little bear came to life.”

Stand F85 –

Amusing animals available ALEX Underdown Art are looking forward to attending Brand Licensing Europe again after a successful first time exhibiting there last year. There are now various products with their designs on including tea towels from Samuel Lamont & Sons, tinware from Gardiners of Scotland and calendars from CSP Countryside Greetings. To see these items and more of the amusing animal works available to licence, pop by the stand at the show.

Stand J6 – +353 (0)87 091 5907 www. @greetingstoday

Returning with popular work CLAIRE Louise is showing a large selection of her art at Brand Licensing Europe this October as she exhibits at the show for the second time. Having published her own greetings cards for the past eight years, artist Claire Hill She is excited to show some of her current work that has already been popular this year in the cards, gifts and homeware markets. After a successful show last year Claire has been working with several new licensing partners and has developed her brand on to ceramics and gifts. Her art is created using a mixed media of watercolour, soft pastels, inks, fabrics and machine embroidery. A lot of time is spent on each piece to create something that is truly unique and inspiring for everyone.

Stand J9 T: 07715 373344 31


Trained to run smoothly The trains may not have been running completely smoothly but Top Drawer’s autumn edition had no such problems at London’s Olympia. Organisers Clarion Events integrated PaperFest into the Greetings & Stationery sector for the first time with seminars including GF Smith’s Mark Jessett (top) and Greeting Card Association CEO Sharon Little (right). Here’s Greetings Today’s pictorial round-up of the last big show of the season with retailer comments and three-worders.

Nick Hannaford-Hill & Chris Stanley, Redback Cards


GOOS HAS UNICORNS VENEER SUNSHINE Sarah Danby & Sara Burford, Cinnamon Aitch, with agent Neil Anthony





Dean Morris &, Dean Morris Cards Jessica Needham, Imogen Owen




Sara Ellis & Sue Freeman, Alphabet Soup, Great Missenden, Bucks “We’re looking for general gifts, cards, jewellery and scarves – anything fabulous because we only do fabulous! We’ve looked at Ruth Jackson Pencil Shaving Cards lots of times and took them this time, and Rosie Made A Thing which are hilarious, we do really well with them so ordered more. We’ve also looked at Susan O’Hanlon, Roger La Borde and Dandelion Stationery. It’s been a good show.”




NE’S Yumi Jhun, “I’m setting up my luxury lifestyle website from November and I’m here looking for brands from around the world. I’m after products and potential brands for the website that are ethically sourced, I’ve already found Alchemy Candles, soya candles from Melbourne, and I’m looking for inspiration for cards, gifts and all sorts.”

SO James Mace, The Art File

GOOD Judy Lumley, Judy Lumley Prints



Victoria Kupczak, “It’s a new cakes website I’m launching in the next couple of months where I’ll be making the cakes as I’m a cake designer. Greetings cards are quite a good add-on product, while paper goods can be turned into toppers for the cakes, so it’s a completely different take, quite collaborative and very contemporary. The Pop-Out Card Company are fabulous and the owner is an absolute diamond, I also liked Katie Leamon and Tache Crafts, I like fun and quirky pieces.”


INSPIRING Katie Leamon, Katie Leamon


KIND PEOPLE Susanne Borg, Message Earth

Louise Mulgrew, Louise Mulgrew Designs

Anna Nelson, Rosanna Rossi








GE BYRON-BUR Jo Wilson & Jess Greaves, Dandelion Stationery

Veronica Dearsley, Veronica Dearly

MORE PICTURES ON @greetingstoday

Rebecca Woodcock, Oad Street Food & Crafts, Borden, Kent “We’re looking for cards as part of our offer, we’re looking for new companies to us, like Katie Leamon. Good sellers for us are Belly Button and Artebene so we’re looking for ones that go with them.” 33


Right type of buyers The first London outing in the 40-plus years of the British Craft Trade Fair was successful enough for organisers Primary Sport Management to book the same dates for next September and Margeret Bunn said: “We’ve had some prestigious buyers in, placing good orders. The general feedback is that we got in the right type of buyers and good prestigious buyers they are very happy with, and they’re saying they are very happy that there is a show focussing on British handmade products in the south.The response has been good and we’ve reserved the same dates for next year – there’s always a first show, and this was our first show in London.”

● Fowle r & Web b

● Curio Prints

xtiles ● Heidi Meier Te

● Lucinda Denn ing

ramics ● Manzaroli Ce

Quietly confident

● Seren Paperc uts

A respectable summer season saw buyers out in force at the largest Scotland’s Trade Fair Autumn yet with exhibitors reporting good interest and order taking. Show Director Mark Saunders said: “The quality and quantity of the retailers was excellent including many from the north of England, especially Yorkshire and Derbyshire, which demonstrates the wider appeal of the Show. There seems to be a quiet confidence in the independent retail market in anticipation of a good Christmas season.” ● Embroidered Originals – Wee Wishes

● Jill Perkins & Jan Morley, Perkins & Morley

a ● Jo Scott & Thomasin n the dog, Scott & Robso



With regular columnist Alina Clark on maternity leave, the equally lovely Ian Bradley ( 07905 567498) has stepped in with his view from the sales agents’ bench.

Slave to technology


● Up to date – Elaine Myers at Let’s Write in Cockermouth keeps busy on her laptop during quiet moments


NTIL this month I never realised just how dependent I’ve become on technology – my iPhone decided to pack in and I dropped my iPad (other brands are available LOL)! So as well as being a very costly month it also meant that, until I could get to my local phone shop to sort out replacements, I was working blind. Thankfully I had a spare old handset so I was contactable but not having my diary to hand on my smartphone really made me feel disorganised and uneasy. Luckily I was able to print off my diary of appointments but I really hated not being able to have everything to hand at the touch of a button. I use the Salesforce software to keep track of all my customer records, including which service calls are due and when a customer last ordered from each of the publishers I carry. Not having this info on the road was really unsettling after having used it for five years. Some of my customers have also embraced technology – some have a laptop at the counter so that when it’s quiet they can update their website, Facebook and Twitter.

Others have an epos system keeping track of stock levels for specific supplies so when I arrive they have the bulk of their order ready, then we just look at anything new to add to their printed draft. Some, like myself, admit they’ve become completely dependent on these digital systems and processes and don’t know how they ever managed without them. Obviously there still needs to be human intervention – just as it’s my responsibility to update my customers’ records, an epos system can’t account for stock that “walked out the door”, so manual checks still need to be done. I also have those who prefer good old-fashioned pen and paper and can see that in a busy shop, having a wall calendar or paper diary to book in your appointments is probably more practical as everyone can see it. Keeping that kind of info on someone’s phone isn’t very useful to the rest of the staff. An epos system, however, in a large shop must be very handy as it even shows how long items take to sell, helping identify slow product and bestsellers. Working blind did bring home how much of a slave to technology I’ve become but the one lesson it has reinforced, is how important it is to back everything up to the cloud, as at least I was able to access the info on my home computer and print out the things I needed.

Now I can’t wait for the cars that drive themselves to become cheaper and more common, then I can be much more productive catching up on admin on my way to an appointment – or maybe just enjoying breakfast on the back seat :-) – Neil Anthony

By popular request T

WENTY years ago, I don’t recall anyone asking for a baby shower or 10th anniversary card. Even a combined relation and age design was a pretty rare request.

Well, how times change. The more we give the customer, the more they want. Extra titles mean extra sales but shops have to draw the line somewhere as they don’t have expanding walls. ● Caption competition The first time I remember thinking customers – the card wall at Carly’s expect to find a card for every exact occasion was in Knowle and new large about 10 years ago at a gift shop in Worcester. designs at Edmonds Gift A lady came in and asked: “Do you have Get Well Shop in Coventry cards?” “Of course we do,” said the owner. “It’s for a solicitor”, said the customer, “who’s broken his leg.” The image in my head went from a card with a nice specific and unusual titles. It goes to show how bunch of flowers on it to a picture of a gowned barrister passionate we are in this country about our greetings on crutches, with stars spinning around his head. cards. People are always looking for the right card to Of course, the shop could not meet this very specific match the person and occasion – I think it was my own request so the customer left empty handed, convinced this love of finding the right card for people that led me into card was out there somewhere. the greetings business originally. One request that frustrates many a shop owner is for a Another frequent conversation goes: “I really like this twins’ birthday card – why would you buy only one card for design but it doesn’t have any words on. Do you have two individuals on their special day is the discussion we have this design with words?” once the customer has gone. How about a “New Car Day” Recently one of my shop owners came up with a card? That’s one of the more recent requests I’ve heard. different solution when faced with a client who really Actually I don’t mind hearing customers ask for liked the picture on one blank card but another had the

perfect words in. The retailer suggested they buy the blank design they really liked and take a photo of the words in the other card. Then they could add the words in their own handwriting. Cue a very satisfied customer. Another shop told me about a request for a daughter’s 21st birthday card with a Highland cow on it. Somewhat unsurprisingly, they had each caption on separate cards to hand but not on the same one. Stick-on numbers is a compromise here. I’ve also seen several retailers with artistic flair who go one step further and personalise off-the-shelf cards by adding text or numbers using glitter pens, etc. Solutions in Market Harborough recently added the word “favourite” to a son birthday card – he’s actually the only son but it had become a family joke over the years and the customer was very pleased with the result. Just the other week Di, at Carly’s in Knowle, told me of the kind of requests they get. “Have you got a card with a tap on it” the customer asked. They manage to find a humorous card with a bath on it. “We get this sort of thing all the time,” Di said. Let’s see if we can embrace social media and get all interactive on this one – tweet me – @midlandcardagnt – your strangest request for a card title, and we’ll feature them next time. – Ian Bradley

Neil Anthony (Reil Agencies, T: 07766 736254) and Alina Clark (T: 07906 792420) are experienced independent greetings industry sales agents in the North West and North East of England respectively. Each month they share their experiences of life on the road. @greetingstoday 35


● Cherry Orchard

● Laura Darrington

Celebrate women With women being the majority buyers of greetings cards, as well as the main recipients, femininethemed designs are a huge seller both for retailers and publishers – and Mother’s Day is the second biggest occasion after Christmas.

● Pigm

● Rsoanna Rossi


● Sweet Design Studio

● Paperlink


UGAR and spice and all things nice – that may be the nursery rhyme, but in the greetings industry the female market is extremely competitive while also being a celebration of women.

SHOP TALK “For Mother’s Day it’s Five Dollar Shake, Caroline Gardner, Peony Scarves, Heyland & Whittle, jewellery in general and the Belgian chocolates we do, we can’t do enough of them. The day before Mother’s Day last year it was the busiest we’ve ever been, it was crazy. I didn’t look up all day with people buying cards and gifts. We do well with all the occasions, even Easter because we have the giant chocolate eggs but, after Christmas, Mother’s Day is definitely the biggest.” Jo Kraemer-Dent, Birdie’s Perch, York “I do Berni Parker, both the female and male cards, they’re quite funny with good subject matter, and we have had Blue Eyed Sun, plus we have a lot of UK Greetings including their new RHS range, Jonny Javelin, Nigel Quiney.” Gillian Farrelly, Bonjour, Barnoldswick, Lancs “We do Mother’s Day and feminine cards very strongly, Nigel Quiney and Great British Card Company are a very good solid base to have and we build on that. We have done Berni Parker in the past, and I’d say Soul are really coming through with their cards, particularly in an inspiring and friendship way, which we’ve found is growing for us. Where a friend is down or going through a difficult time and you just want to say you’re there for them. These are difficult cards to send but you really want to show your support.” Jackie Humphrey, Dragonfly, Cheam, Surrey


Ese Akpojotor has developed her ethnic greetings and gift brand Sweet Design Studio with the deliberate aim of spreading body positivity through celebrating every woman’s body shape. “Mainstream media completely ignores the various body shapes that women of colour possess,” Ese said, “and focusses on what they think is the conventional shape that applies to all. “All the figures featured on my cards are actual silhouette shapes of women that I trace on to the paper. What began as a personal idea to help celebrate my body shape is now a community and movement that empowers women to share their story, embrace and celebrate their own body shape in all its greatness and imperfections. “My brand’s phrase is ‘let’s celebrate you’ and I believe I do just that.” According to Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner, 85 per cent of card buyers are women so feminine-themed designs are a key part of their offer, with Mother’s Day one of their strongest-selling occasions. He said: “The phrase Mothering Sunday has risen in popularity on Mother’s Day cards in recent years, now it’s a must have in any publisher’s offering to retailers.” “Our embroidered ranges like Vintage and Vintage Too have been hugely popular with women around the world. There’s something about their tactile appeal and the way they are lovingly handcrafted that really appeals to women, particularly with the increasing popularity of hobbies like stitching and crafting in the UK.” At Paperlink they acknowledge that women of today, including mums, are fabulous, funny, wine drinkers who constantly keep many plates spinning – and often save the day! Head of art and production Emma Young said: “Paperlink is a very female company so our feminine cards tend to really come from the heart, they’re not contrived. We do what we feel we’d like to receive

because, basically, we are the customer we’re aiming at! “Social media has changed the way we communicate with everyone which has led to new emotional openness and plenty of positive affirmations. The words do rlink ● Pape need to be natural and conversational though. “The traditional family model has been redefined over the last 50 years. This has impacted women most, affecting relationships, work and social life. “We’ve seen this reflected particularly in Mother’s Day where it feels like women are staying younger for longer – it’s not just about housework and kids and being a mother, it’s now about her as a person too. “Telling mums they’re gorgeous and fabulous has become a winner, and complimentary and cheeky humour has become increasingly popular as mums like a laugh too. “They’re not all twin set and pearls and it’s also now perfectly ok to acknowledge mum likes a glass of wine – or two! “Pretty floral and feminine remains popular, but does move with the times both for mums and women generally, but then super traditional isn’t something we really do. “In general for women, wine is still right up there in humour, you can have any number of wine cards and they’ll do well and prosecco is the flavour of the month.” Dandelion Stationery’s Jo Wilson added: “I love designing cards for females – I use my friends and relatives for inspiration, or equally think about the style of card I would like someone to give to me. “We also love taking feedback from our customers – many of our designs have been created or evolved based on feedback or requests from customers.” Over at Jonny Javelin, MD Jonny Spears said: “The female side of our business, like most publishers I suppose, is such an important part. I would guesstimate that for every three male cards, we’ll sell seven female cards. “Thank heavens for all you lovely ladies out there! Where would we be without you?”

I would guesstimate that for every three male cards, we’ll sell seven female e @greetingstoday


Loving life and friends BERNI Parker’s established and long-running Ladies Who Love Life range is standing the test of time as it’s continually refreshed. The designs all have an element of gentle humour in situations which most fun-loving Ladies can relate to, and the latest ones in the ever-popular range are the start of a best friends’ collection which have been loved by all customers. Many of the original designs have remained bestsellers, but Berni is soon to be developing other collections within the range to appeal to particular groups of her female followers. There is always a card that will be suitable for a friend, remind you of someone, or bring to mind pictures of happy times spent with friends and the design will inevitably bring a smile to the faces of both the sender and recipient. The full range of designs can be viewed and ordered on-line from the website.

Enhanced and complemented MOTHER’S Day is a perfect occasion for the entirely hand-finished designs from Wendy Jones-Blackett. The delicate imagery is enhanced and complemented by gems and glitter to really bring out the designs that are digitally printed in their own studios. With 65 cards in total, including Mother’s Day and numerous suitable for female sends, Paper Diamonds Deluxe is Wendy’s flagship range that’s up for no less than two Henries Awards this year.

T: 0113 288 8468

T: 01299 406098

Tactile appeal key

What is it about wine! CARDS that feature wine are a great seller for Dandelion Stationery with one currently their second best-selling female card but publisher Jo Wilson said: “I’ve no idea why!” Food is also a good theme with the new series of Great British Bake Off boosting their Mary Berry card to the top slot in their female charts. Small independent shops love personalised products and the more wordy designs are targeted at those people who may not get to see their mum in person on Mother’s Day, where the wording makes it idea to let your Mum know you miss her.

T: 01332 864990


THE MAJORITY of greeting card buyers – 85 per cent – are woman so feminine-themed designs are a key part of Blue Eyed Sun’s offering. MD Jeremy Corner said: “Mother’s Day is one of Blue Eyed Sun’s strongest selling occasions and we have two wonderful Mother’s Day ranges this year, Vintage Too and Tahiti.” Vintage Too is based on original stitched artworks by artist Jo Corner, embossed and hand finished with jewels. Tahiti is a fresh, colourful range based on pastel artworks and hand finished with jewels.”

T: 01273 823003

Sweet positivity SWEET Design Studio is an ethnic greeting cards and gift brand that helps to spread body positivity through celebrating your body shape. All the figures featured on designer Ese Akpojotor’s cards are actual silhouette shapes of woman which she traces on paper, adds colourful bold patterns and prints using mixed media and finishes the designs on the computer. With the brand phrase “Let’s celebrate you” the designs come in ranges of happy birthday, thank you, blank, Christmas and will soon include sympathy cards.

T: 07554 235628 @greetingstoday


Varied offering THE 2017 Mother’s Day card collection from Abacus consists of 12 designs across a variety of sizes, price codes and styles. The offering includes two sweet Mummy captions as well as offering a mix of Mothering Sunday and Mother’s Day titles. The designs can be bought as part of a Spring Seasons package, or as individual cards.

T: 01638 569050


Fully covered – unlike leggings! FOR THE lady who loves to let her hair down, for the lady who loves to laugh and for the lady who loves to love. For every special lady in your life, there’s a card at UK Greetings to suit. Expect fashion-forward designs, pretty palettes and words to raise a smile, warm a heart or bring about a fullon belly laugh with these fabulous new female ranges. Champagne Party is bang on trend, with its soft pastel colour palette, the designs are finished with amazing process techniques as the artist has used a mixture of embossed and bevelled foils, flitters and holographic foil. This range is modern and energetic with a contemporary focus. The designs feature celebratory icons, to suit different occasions. Let’s Hear It For The Girls is a perfect ready-to-go solution for female humour. Featuring an eclectic mix of 18 feminine designs with a variety of visual styles and humour tones, there’s something in this innovative collection for every lady who loves to laugh. Whether it’s new takes on perennial classic genre themes such as wine and friendship, or topical lifestyle ones like gym memberships or the perils of see-through leggings, it’s an all-in-one fem collection that has everything fully covered – unlike those leggings! Romantic Adventures is a sassy new fem-to-fem humour range of nine code 45 cards featuring retro comic panels from vintage Marvel comics for girls, such as Millie, coupled with witty editorial and a fresh make up-inspired colour palette.

T: 01924 465200

(E) SALES@REALANDEXCITINGDESIGNS.CO.UK (T) 01223 207 080 (F) 01536 401 031 @greetingstoday 39


Truly scrumptious A SCRUMPTIOUSLY flowery Mother’s Day offering of 18 cards from Cinnamon Aitch will leave you spoilt for choice this spring. There are six vibrant and brightly-coloured square designs in a modern graphic style, lively fuchsias and oranges, bold embossed daisies and decoupage flower shapes inspired by the best-selling Cornflower range. Six delicate square cards, dainty line drawings combined with bright photographic flower details, inspired by the elegant Piccadilly range. And six C6 block-printed, whimsical designs inspired by the hand-crafted style of the newlylaunched Woodblock range. These 18 gorgeous designs in total are all lovingly hand finished and handpicked for you, and they’re sold in sixes at £1.25 each, RRP £2.99.

All nicely packaged AT JONNY Javelin they are producing a small package for Mother’s Day 2017 as they did for this year with just 14 designs using five of their everyday ranges as a basis for the titles. “We like to keep things more manageable when it comes to Spring Seasons,” said MD Jonny Spears, “hence we keep the package under £100. “By doing this and, I suppose, by featuring strong-selling ranges within the range, we tend to get good feedback on sales when the weekend is all done and dusted. “Our female cards go from strength to strength. We’ve brought out a whole new batch of female-orientated cards in the past couple of months and these have been received brilliantly. Female relations, female ages and open female birthday cards have all been added to the portfolio in the Ribbons & Bows and Velvet ranges. “Not only that, we have more female designs coming out in January’s releases – more Velvet and a brand-new range (unnamed as yet) to keep the collection fresh!”

T: 01423 563740

T: 0121 773 6833

Capturing the mood

Signature style with stripes

LING Design excel at creating cards that capture the feminine mood perfectly, offering equally good designs to send to your grandma through to your baby sister. They are about to launch a new femininethemed range called Floris, a stunning selection of open birthday designs bursting with wonderful vibrant blooms offering a flower to suit every female taste. There are 12 cards in the range, all finished with delicate copper foil, and individually cello-wrapped with a white pearl envelope.

NEW for spring 2017, The Breton Collection from Laura Darrington Design features the classic Breton stripe combined with their signature style of eclectic florals, pattern and colour. Each design is printed on FSC material and beautifully foiled and embossed to enhance each design. The range covers Mother’s Day, Valentines and Easter captions with a £1.25 trade price, RRP £2.99.

T: 0116 2849660

T: 01892 838574

Mums go Ditsy Daisy LAURA Sherratt Designs have added to the Ditsy Daisy card range by introducing Mother’s Day 2017 cards. This range is very feminine with pastel and candy colours, pretty prints and paper flower embellishments. All cards measure 150x150mm and come with a pink envelope!

T: 01538 384566

40 @greetingstoday


Gorgeous hints and delicate collage IN THE hugely competitive female card market, Mint have a brilliant selection of designs in different styles to suit all tastes. The gorgeous Chantilly range is new for summer 2016, featuring delicate paper-cut collage in shades of white and kraft, with hints of peach and mint green. The collection consists of 16 designs, including general birthday and occasion titles that feature beautiful butterflies, birds and cupcakes. Detailed embossing and gleaming gold foil accents accompany the intricate designs, which are printed on a quality board and wrapped with a coordinating white or kraft envelope. Mint have also launched their Spring Seasons for 2017, with two brand-new ranges in their Mother’s Day offering. Candi Mother’s Day designs are bright and contemporary, with @greetingstoday

imagery including cake, hearts and feature typography. Finished with cold foil and embossing, these modern designs are fun and colourful, wrapped with a silver pearlescent envelope. Liquorice is also available for Mother’s Day in a large 9x6in size, perfect for an extra special send. These graphic designs feature a contemporary pink palette, trendy patterns and lovely captions, including Wife On Mother’s Day. Cards are embellished with coppercoloured foil and embossing, and each card is wrapped with a fuchsia pink envelope. For even more feminine and Mother’s Day designs, visit Mint’s revamped website to view the whole collection and order online.

T: 0116 230 4197 41


Going for the floral touch FLOWERS, flowers galore – that’s certainly the message at retail in many different product categories but this timeless, feminine trend is especially evident in home décor and fashion. Dark and light backgrounds with large and small-scale florals, sometimes mixed with geometrics or stripes for added effect and texture. Real & Exciting Designs are always ahead of the trend in greetings cards and their new stylish Panache Fleur range is no different. This stunning new floral concept features the contemporary artistic talents of Sarah

Curedale with its fashionable, loose watercolour blooms and foliage in bang ontrend colour palettes. The artwork is cleverly embellished with stylish copper foil patterning and detailed textured embossing, with a stunning copper envelope completing a truly stunning quality card. This 22-card collection features general birthdays, milestone ages 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70, and female relation captions.

T: 0116 230 4197 www.realandexciting

A first-time offering FOR THE first time Clare Maddicott are offering a small selection of Mother’s Day cards to complement the collection from sister company, Abacus. The cards can be purchased as part of the Abacus Spring Seasons Collection or as individual cards from Clare Maddicott. The cards, all designed in-house by the Clare Maddicott studio, are from the popular ranges Velvet Ink and The Cookie Jar.

T: 01638 569050

Vintage distinction Going for DISTINCTIVE designs with a classic, vintage glamour feel and high-end finish – it’s easy to see

Wrapping up potted gifts AIRBORNE is the feminine range from Garden Greeting cards that uses butterflies, dragonflies, bees and seed heads as inspiration. This new concept in greeting cards comes flat, but then unfolds to wrap any small pot plant transforming it into a personalised gift with a space on the back for a personal message. Designed, printed and hand finished locally, the cards have a £2.99 RRP.

T: 07772 311645


why Liberty London were one of the first to stock the uber-cool collection of cards of Maurice & Maude form designer Alice-Jane Hutton. Lovingly brought to life in her rural studio in Norfolk, Alice’s feminine designs have grown legs and are now popping up in boutiques and department stores from London to Norwich. Catch ’em while you can!

T: 01379 652242

GLAMA Drama from Hallmark features a bright display of florals with bold accents of navy in a very striking new signature within the female range. The cards convey short and punchy wishes for the big day, creating a fun and striking female card range. The seven contemporary designs feature a range of finishes, from rose gold foil to navy flitter.

T: 0800 902 0900 (ROI: 01 248 0104) http://hub. @greetingstoday



Straight from the heart PRETTY florals and loving sentiments are the theme for Rosanna Rossi’s Flora Pop Mother’s Day collection. The cutest little birds are intermingled with striking floral artwork and colour is considered an important element alongside a strong design. Designer Anna Nelson said: “We love working with this subject matter – it just comes straight from the heart.” Printed on high quality 280gsm board, the designs are highlighted with beautiful emboss and foil finish and each card is presented with a soft lilac envelope at £2.75 RRP.

T: 07900 698522

Mixing modern and traditional CHERRY Orchard continue to add fresh feminine designs to their portfolio in both contemporary and traditional styles, making sure that there’s a card that suits a range of tastes. New for Spring 2017 will be additions to the very successful Ooh La La, Carnival and Mikiko ranges with Mother’s Day designs giving a choice of pretty contemporary styles. For more traditional feminine birthday designs, a selection of female relations with verse have been added to the Timeless Moments Sentiments range.

T: 01684 295500 @greetingstoday

(T) 0116 230 4197 (F) 01536 401 031 (W) WWW.MINT-PUBLISHING.CO.UK 43


Stands deliver

Autumn Fair saw retailers taking a good look around for the latest autumn-winter releases and last-minute Christmas orders as well as enjoying great seminars from names such as scent sensation Jo Malone. And for the suppliers there was the official launch of the 2017 Gift Of The Year by the Giftware Association. Here’s Greetings Today’s pictorial round-up of the big Birmingham show with retailer comments and three-worders. BRILLIANT NEW CUSTOMER Sarah Porter & Andrea Murphy My World

James Mace, The Art File





● Wishing well – the presentation from new Greetings Today columnist Chris Fox was well received as he talked about what he’s learned over the past couple of years helping run Wishes Of Cudworth, near Barnsley, about the balancing act need to promote your business online while also running the shop.

LE B A IT F O PR FUN S ZIG-ZAG Jill Perkins & Jan Morley, Perkins & Morley




STEADY CUSHIONS PRINTS Claire Hill Claire Louise

ACTUALLY Kali Stileman & Lucy Tobin, Kali Stileman


M BAL ● Stand really delivers – Giftware Association vice-chairman and Blue Eyed Sun MD Jeremy Corner helped with the launch of their new graffiti-style Gift Of The Year stand that made a huge impression, with one exhibitor becoming a member before the show even opened.


BANTER Jackie Collins, Cherry Orchard, with Ian Bant, Ling Design


● Row D ravers – Ling, Alljoy Designs; Julie, The Steel Rooms, Lynne Thomas, Tomcat Cards; Toft’s staff with their flamingo that took six ladies two days to crochet; Craft Yourself Silly; Sabina Kovacheva, Sabivo Design, and Lorraine Rush, Rush Designs















Donna Biggs & Alison Skingsley, The Handcrafted Card Co




Becky Dobson, Glick

Jonny Greves & Julian Hunt, Lesser & Pavey




Starla Graham & Laura Mounce, Lifton Farm Shop, Devon “We’re only here for the day but there’s a team of us looking around. We’re looking for everything, gifts, kitchenware, toys, cards, having a look to see what new people are around and what our existing suppliers have. We like the look of the Really Wild Cards – we’ve never seen anything that sounds like a tractor before! We’re just having a good old look.”




Penny Shaw, Chris Dyson & Cyril Service, Cardgains

Joe Cole, Natural Partners




Rob Long & Michael Lipman, Pyramid


A-HAPPY SHOW Berni & John Parker, Berni Parker Designs





Sue and Slyder Smith, Paprika, Wellington, Somerset “This was our first trade show for 18 months for various personal reasons so it was great to meet up with old friends in the card hall plus we picked up a couple of new suppliers, DM Collection cards and Paper High wrap and Christmas decorations. Ling at Alljoy is an old friend from our days exhibiting as Cards For Arts’ Sake.”

Bella Ghale, Kate Falshaw, Katie Burt, & Lisa Marcuccio, Really Good & Soul

MORE PICTURES ON @greetingstoday

Chris Dell & Paul Cheshire, White Mint, Berkhamsted, Herts “We’re here just to catch up with some of our current suppliers and having a look for some new ideas for Christmas because we’ve left it a bit late. We’ve found Disaster Designs, which we’re very excited by, and we ordered unicorn spray from DOIY Design. We’ll also be going to see Ohh Deer, and we’ve seen Archivist with their lovely letterpress cards.” 45

That’s the question

HANDMADE&FINISHEDCARDS ● Glitterati – the team get stuck in with the glitter and gems at Wendy JonesBlackett’s studio

ed Sun ● Blue Ey

When is a card hand-finished or what makes it handmade? Whichever, these are a premium product that is increasingly sought-after by discerning consumers because of the perceived added value of the human touch. ● Yoojoo

● Yoojoo

● Blue

Eyed S


SHOP TALK “We do Belly Button, Wendy Jones Blackett and Blue Eyed Sun, the normal gang. It’s not that we don’t like the smaller publishers but they often don’t have a huge range and you find you’re constantly ordering the same stock. Because the others have grown as companies, it’s very each to tick all the boxes with the occasions. We do small companies like Rosie Made A Thing, which is nice for humour, and Ruth Jackson’s Pencil Shavings Cards. Stooshie Design are doing very well, they have small people and animals in the middle of a square card. We really do try to get these companies in but they aren’t our core, they’re our little top-ups.” Jackie Humphrey, Dragonfly, Cheam, Surrey “For handcrafted we have Wendy JonesBlackett, soime Belly Button, Handcrafted Card Company, Janie Wilson, Five Dollar Shake, Blue Eyed Sun big cards and small ones, Second Nature and their pop-up cards. Five Dollar Shake have a particular following although some have bought Janie Wilson instead due to price.” Gillian Farrelly, Bonjour, Barnoldswick, Lancs “I have MeriMeri cards which are gorgeous, Rachel Ellen Cards are nice, Mad Dots too. People are definitely looking to hand-finished for something different. If you’re buying a special card for somebody you wouldn’t go for a flat printed card, you want some glitter and interest.” Jo Kraemer-Dent, Birdie’s Perch, York



HAT’S the difference between handmade and hand-finished? That is the question!

At Yoojoo, a small card and gift company run by Julie Ashworth, she pondered: “This topic runs the fine line of terminology doesn’t it? “I think my Birdies and Plectrum Cards ranges count as hand finished – or maybe they’re technically handmade since I also make all the components too rather than buying them in and simply sticking them on.” And that’s the definition most people in the greetings industry are happy with – hand-finished is where the cards are printed up then have extra decoration and accoutrements added, while for handmade there’s little or no printing involved. Given that Julie collects plastic store cards to upcycle herself as the guitar plectrums, and folds her origami bookmarks out of pages from old books, handmade really does fit the bill for her, and she ensures there’s life after the birthday too. “I try to make all the additions to my cards useful as well as pretty,” added Julie, who won the first ever Greetings Award at the British Craft Trade Fair in April, “and they’ve also been designed with postal costs in mind so the cards sit flat in the envelope avoiding the costs for large letter stamps.” In her Birdies range, which was shortlisted for the Gift Of The Year in February, each mischievous birdie is completed with a handmade origami beak which transforms into a corner bookmark. And the Plectrum cards do exactly what it says on the tin as they have a handmade removeable guitar plectrum that can be used to make whatever music you prefer. Blue Eyed Sun are a bigger operation than Yoojoo, byt they have specialised in handmade and handfinished cards since their launch 16 years ago. MD Jeremy Corner said: “The category is still as

relevant today as it’s ever been. It’s a great way for retailers to benefit from higher price points, particularly in the loved ones and relations categories where people are happy to spend more money on an extra special card for the people they value most in their lives. “Our handmade cards do very well in the design-led gift shop sector where retailers are looking to stand out from the crowd and consumers are hunting down that extra-special gift and card. “It also helps that all of Blue Eyed Sun’s cards are handmade and hand finished with love here in the UK. Particularly in the post Brexit period where more Brits will be wanting to buy British to support the UK economy.” “Social responsibility is becoming more and more important for businesses which is why our cards are made using FSC boards and printed by an FSC-certified printer. This means all of the trees used to make our cards are replaced and the forests are sustainably managed. “Independent retailers and gift shops are hugely important in the handmade sector as they’re the treasure troves of gorgeous products in the UK. They are the ones working hardest to find new special things for their customers and their customers are, in turn, doing the same for their loved ones.” Glitter, glue, holographic dust and stars are just some of the bits to be found in Wendy Jones-Blackett’s Chapel Allerton studio near Leeds. “We have lots of card ranges,” Wendy said, “but Paper Diamonds Deluxe has the most amount of hand finishing, and it’s all done entirely at our busy studios. “Gems, glitter pens, holographic dust and stars are all used to give the cards that extra bit of sparkle – with a lot of patience and a steady hand! “Because these large cards are all digitally printed at the studios, captions can be altered to suit the occasion, or even left blank for shops to personalise for their customers with a bit of fancy calligraphy – truly completing the hand-finished look.”

A lot of patience and a steady hand @greetingstoday


Unfussy style is on trend Clue is in the name THE clue really is in the name at The Handcrafted Card Company where they pride themselves on their hand-finished cards. Every process, from guillotining to hand finishing, is handled by their own team in The Potteries, the creative heart of Stoke-on-Trent. They pride themselves in the diversity of their ranges and the wide variety of titling in all everyday and seasonal cards. While the Handcrafted Card Co always make sure they introduce a new male-focussed range each year, they launch several everyday ranges

and, with all the gems, crystals, bows and glitter, they are usually very feminine or certainly bright and cheery. When it comes to our lovely mums they don’t hold back, usually launching two new Mother’s Day ranges a year. With new branding, new ideas and the everpresent glitter they’re good to go for 2017!

T: 01782 639733 www.thehandcraftedcardcompany.

ON-TREND details and an unfussy style are the hallmarks of Hello Geronimo’s style with handfinished accents completing the designs. The modern happy anniversary features a striking monochrome love arrow design printed on textured kraft card, with each one completed with hand-applied gold foil love hearts and paired with a black envelope and address label to complement the card design. Hello Geronimo’s new baby collection is a fresh take on a classic for stylish new parents who like their design on the subtle and playful side. The cards feature a bold monochrome bunny design which is hand-finished with a colourful 3D felt balloon – two for twins – that breaks away from the traditional pastel palette, with bright pops of colour against a textured kraft background, and a pale grey envelope.

T: 07867 585965

Heartfelt romance

Exciting team talk THE Talking Pictures team are very excited about the launch of three brand-new handmade ranges this October, all using fabulous tip-ons, gems, sequins, foil and flitter which are always one of their features. Each range has been designed by a different member of the talented team, therefore they have very different styles. The first is Little Snippets, inspired by the recent craze for colouring books with the delicate foil work echoing this perfectly, giving a gentle calming feel to the designs.


Next is Nouveau, featuring vibrantly-rich foil colours and beautifullydrawn icons, from hot air balloons to flamingos, and last but not least is Fontilly range, inspired by the current typography trends and quirky captioning. All are available to order from the beginning of October.

T: 01892 838574

SHEER Indulgence features beautiful handdrawn illustrations with watercolour finishes giving a romantic feel. The Hallmark range conveys loving greetings and is a striking signature across both male and female captions with price codes ranging from 75 to 125. Finishes include flat foil, tip-ons and gem embellishments, along with an insert to convey a heart-felt message.

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


Putting on a contemporary veneer Sew very sweet THE UK Greetings Button Box range has always been sew sweet, but the new refresh ensures that it’s far from frumpy! Delicate lemon, juicy pinks and on-trend navy feature in the fresh, bright, yet refined colour palette, and foil finishes, glitter highlights and bright pink sequins add an extra colour pop. Classic iconography is collaged in a modern way, keeping the range current and very appealing. The all new Button Box range has the beauty, luxe and uniqueness of a tailor-made garment, but in a style and price that fits all.

T: 01924 465200 @greetingstoday

THE contemporary Veneer card range from Cinnamon Aitch uses hand-finishing to strikingly modern effect. The designs are delicately hand threaded using white embroidery thread, forming graphic straight lines that dissect the abstract imagery underneath. Contrasting wood grain patterns and asymmetrical cut-outs complete this sculptural effect. A finalist for best handmade or hand-finished range in this year’s Henries Awards, Veneer’s minimalist design packs a bold visual statement. The 130x130mm cards are £1.25 each, RRP £2.99, sold in sixes and hand finished in the UK.

T: 0121 773 6833 49


Charmingly bejewelled BLUE Eyed Sun have just launched a new range of handmade Valentine cards called Charming based on original watercolour artworks by textile artist Jo Corner. The 12 designs are all handmade with découpage mounted elements and handfinished with jewels. All Charming cards are 160x160mm and sold in sixes, barcoded, cello-wrapped with a coloured envelope and blank inside. The range is printed on beautiful thick FSC board from sustainable managed forests by FSC

accredited printers. You can order online through the tradeonly section of their website, alternatively you can request a visit from one of their agents across the UK or order from their latest brochure. Be sure to follow their blog and keep up with their special offers and industry news on their blog or by subscribing to their monthly emails.

T: 01273 823003


AT LAURA Sherratt Designs they only produce handmade cards and have a huge collection for all occasions. Every design is hand-finished here in the UK with embellishments of all kinds, including sequins, bows, buttons, gems and flowers!

T: 01538 384566

Sprinkle of fairy magic

That extra bit of sparkle GEMS, glitter pens, holographic dust and stars are all used to give the cards at Wendy Jones-Blackett that extra bit of sparkle as they are entirely hand-finished at their busy studios in Chapel Allerton, Leeds. Paper Diamonds Deluxe is the range with the most amount of hand-finishing – and it’s also up for two Henries Awards this year. Because these large cards are all digitally printed at the studios, captions can be altered to suit the occasion, or even left blank for shops to personalise for their customers with a

Embellishing a huge collection

bit of fancy calligraphy. There are 65 designs in total covering all the major occasions plus Christmas, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Easter with the cards retailing at £6.99, £2.79 trade.

T: 0113 288 8468

THE Porch Fairies continue to develop their range of hand-finished illustrated greetings cards, with recent additions including Baby Shower and God-daughter, as well as more girls’ birthday ages and occasions. The 160x160mm cards come cello-bagged with lavender envelopes, with an RRP of £3.50. If you like fairy magic – and a sprinkle of glitter and gems – you’ll enjoy this exclusive and beautiful collection. Every time you look, you see something new!

T: 01603 661179 @greetingstoday


Quirky gift on a card THE unique collections of handmade cards from Yoojoo saw the Birdies range shortlisted for the 2016 Gift Of The Year awards. Each of the 12 quirky birds is set against the backdrop of a printed book page and completed with a handmade origami beak which transforms into a corner bookmark. When you’ve finished with the card simply remove the beak/bookmark then recycle the card, put your feet up and read a book. A card and useful little gift combined, Yoojoo’s highly original plectrum cards come with an electric or acoustic guitar image plus a plectrum gift that you can keep to play your instrument after you’ve recycled the card.

Handmade from upcycled plastic store cards, every plectrum is different according to the plastic acquired and saved from going to landfill. Repeatable versions are now available along with a Christmas tree design and festive-themed plectrums.

T: 01274 621419

BRITISH CRAFT TRADE FAIR FOCUS ● HEIDI Meier Textiles have two ranges of handmade cards which they showed at the BCTF’s first London show. Heidi’s embroidered fabric keepsake cards are individually handcrafted and each is a unique frameable piece of textile art. She also presented her popular Mini-Monsters range – colourful fluffy fun characters who are as individual as we are.

● A CARD or a gift to someone who matters t s iis sa thought made solid, and the more beautiful and well-made it is, the more it will mean. At Curio Prints they are a family of artists and printers who design and make beautiful hand-crafted cards, art prints and silk scarves, using only the best techniques – such as letterpress and hand-foiling – and materials. They believe you just have to feel the texture, heft and lettering of their cards, to know they’re objects of real substance.

T: 01206 240933

● SOPHIE Court Designs create these cute and quirky cards from paper and wood. Each design is either handwritten or handstamped to make a sophisticated collection with custom cards also an option. Sophie developed her cards from her love of simple and elegant design, with a twist of colour, and each is different as they are laser cut from patterned paper and finished by hand.

T: 07813 673452

T: 07875 172005 ● EACH piece of Katie Almond’s work is a canvas for decoration and collage as she combines drawings with found vintage ephemera. Originally working with porcelain pieces, creating unique one-offs using a variety of slip casting and hand-building techniques, Katie has expanded her portfolio to include hand-finished collage greetings cards with a £2.50 RRP. Old seed packets, tea and cake, kitchen memorabilia and afternoon teach were the inspirations behind her Garden, Dresser, Kitchen Pot and Oxo designs.

● DESIGNING and making jewellery is the main focus of Yu Lan, who said: “I love doing this and my greeting cards seem a perfect upcycle of this craft.” “Using handmade bougainvillea and cornflower long-fibered cotton rag, the colour threads pick up beautifully the vibrant colours of my anodised aluminium jewellery. “The results can vary immensely from simple, warm, loving hearts designs to an engaging, abstract art piece on a card!”

T: 01702 475007 @greetingstoday

T: 07528 368043 ● INSPIRED by the surrounding countryside and waterways of the small Pennine town where she is now based, Sarah Heath’s work starts with a sketch and then each design is cut by hand. Sarah is able to use her grandad’s collection of butterflies and photographic legacy as a reference for much of her cards and pictures for Paperlilac. The current collection of 12 foil-printed cards featuring British wildlife is being extended to feature a small range of festive designs. 51

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

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

Stunning ranges, fresh innovation, fun and fabulous cards covering Everyday, Occasions, Relations, Spring and Christmas. PO BOX 2161 The Boulevard Watford WD18 1BJ Tel: 01923 200633 Fax: 01923 200636

INDEPENDENTLY AUDITED & LARGEST CIRCULATION To find out how Greetings Today can help you just call 01442 289930 52 @greetingstoday


A selection of this month’s latest releases

● CLARE Maddicott Publications have just introduced Hafferty, the most delightful collection of new occasion cards. Featuring the adorably cute and stylish Hafferty characters, which have been created and photographed by the talented Sarah Gardner, the 160x160mm cards are printed on art board with foiled captions. The cards are accompanied by white cartridge envelopes and are left blank inside for the sender’s own message.

T: 01638 569050

● FOLLOWING on from the success of the Story Time square children’s cards, Cherry Orchard have now launched a further selection of kids’ designs, with 12 bright and cheerful age cards for boys and girls aged 1-6 all at code 30 with a 99p RRP. The cards feature loveable colourful cartoon creatures including unicorns, lions and owls and a big number to show the age. There’s also a range of 10 children’s relations cards with the same cheerful designs, all at code 60.

T: 01684 295500 ● COMIC book humour is the basis of the new True Terror Tales range of cards from, also available through Star Editions. This unique range, created by Huddersfield designer and writer Matthew Stennett, combines tongue-incheek comedy with retro 1930/40s comic book covers to poke fun at all manner of topics including hipsters, internet dating, middle-age – and avocados. True Terror Tales offers cards for all occasions and audiences, including birthdays, Valentine’s day, Christmas, Weddings and general celebrations.

● AMGUEDDFA Cymru – National Museum Wales and independent Welsh publishing house Graffeg have joined together to produce a range of stationery celebrating the Impressionists and coal-mining collections of the museum. The Impressionist Collection includes packs of 10 notecards, 20 postcards and a calendar featuring works from celebrated artists including Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Cézanne, part of the 260 artworks donated by sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies and forming one of the finest collections in Europe. Black Gold is the name coal is known by in Wales, and its mining and export of made the Principality the first industrial nation in the world. The Black Gold collection of notecards, postcards and calendar, each retailing at £8.99, celebrates Wales’ industrial heritage, and commemorates the men, women and animals who worked in the mines. @greetingstoday

● LE MANS 24 Heures is the first in an exciting new series of motoring and transport designs by artist Richard Partis which will increase this men’s range from Clanna Cards to more than 40 designs. The famous Bentley Blowers won Le Mans five times between 1924 and 1930 and this card is designed to capture the unique atmosphere of the event in its heyday. Richard is currently producing several more designs including Aston Martins, Isle of Man TT, great Italian cars, steam engines, emergency vehicles and vintage air travel. All are 7x5in cards printed on textured FSC board and supplied with coloured FSC envelopes at 65p trade price, £1.75 RRP.

T: 01242 575574 53

print services


We specialise in providing high quality print for short to medium runs, incorporating multiple images. Go to our website for prices, alternatively call or email us for a bespoke quote.

T 01274 305832 E W


Polypropylene & biodegradable bag specialists


Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hotfoiling also available

T 01206 396209 E

54 @greetingstoday



A selection of this month’s latest releases






01228 560526

● IRISH surface pattern designer Shirley Copperwhite continues to strengthen her portfolio with the release of two new greetings card ranges and a collection of new children’s designs. Both the Birthday and Christmas cards are full of colour with images inspired by Shirley’s love of Scandinavian design and folk art, while the new children’s collection is packed with bold, colourful animal prints.


● THE first Christmas range has been released by Kapelki Art with new designs by founder Galina Pagliaro on Accent Callisto Soft White 300gsm board, with a light blue envelope. Full of Christmas spirit these 148x148mm cards bring smiles to faces and should really contribute to one’s festive mood.

T: 07761 778144

BAGS from

Wrapid Producers of high clarity, high quality bags for over 30 years direct to the greeting card and stationery trade 01274 220 220

● CAPTURING the last-minute retail buyers going into the busy autumn-winter season is the aim of these sparkly new Christmas cards from Fay’s Studio. These cute seasonal animal images have been designed and hand-illustrated by founder Fay Miladowska in the heat of the summer weather.

T: 07817 412086 @greetingstoday 55

gifts spotlight

● THREE new ranges of illustrated stationery plus wrapping paper have been released by longterm Royal Horticultural Society licensees Frances Lincoln Publishers. The RHS Exotic range has notecards with envelopes, a journal and a notebook and there’s wrapping-paper books with a Rose notebook as part of the company’s global licence. All the products in the three ranges feature original botanical illustrations, hand-picked from the RHS Lindley Library, the world’s finest collection of botanical art.

● SIMPLY Chic and Blossom By Jennifer Rose are two new ranges launched by Lesser & Pavey – the first designed in-house and the second a licensed collection. Simply Chic came from the design department with glamorous gold, black and white stripes and dots on numerous gift items and tableware, including wine cork box, perpetual calendar, coasters, wine glasses, notebook and shopping bag plus matching gift bags. The licensed Blossom By Jennifer Rose collections features subtle pastel florals on a fine china mug, cup and saucer, tea for one and mug in tin, plus a travel mug with silicon lid. There is also a range of stationery and bags, wallets and wash bags along with umbrellas and clip bags.


T: 01322 279225

The latest gift releases and deals

● HOLIDAY Party is the glittering new festive range from Yankee Candle which promises shimmer and sparkle to enhance the Christmas season and add a finishing touch to any special celebration. Driven by in-depth consumer insight the new collection ranges from classic Christmas red tones to a luxurious touch of gold with four scents, All Is Bright, Festive Cocktail, Macaron Treats and Star Anise & Orange. With a new advent calendar, there are also gift sets including a 10 tea light compact set and a luxury Large Jar Candle set, plus party-inspired accessories featuring gold glitter swirls, classic detailing and traditional designs.

T: 0117 316 1200

● PASSIONATE E about sta stationery, atio Flame l me Tree’s notebooks notebooks, pocket books nished with foil and emboss covers, and sketchbooks are finis ver and the they are high quality and practical. magnetic closure show th Sensibly priced available with quality merchandising solutions, iced and av choose from three formats and more than 200 designs ranging from Gaudi to Lowry, peacocks to dragons, guitars to circuit boards and sunflowers to almond blossom. Flame Tree’s 2018 calendars and diaries are also now available – ranging from beautifully flittered wall calendars to practical 18-month planners, they have a wide variety of formats and subjects. New titles include Angie Lewin, the Eden Project and Dancing Girls alongside bestsellers Erte, Mucha, William Morris and Klimt. The Flame Tree Heritage Series regional titles are great for gifts too.

T: 020 7751 9650 @greetingstoday

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 / for more details.

â—? THE RECENT opening weekend for the newly-restored Flying Scotsman locomotive attracted 10,000 visitors on the first day at the National Railway Museum, a clear testament to the popularity of this British icon. Now Carousel Calendars are on board with a 2017-dated range, including a Square Wall calendar and a Deluxe A5 diary, with both combining beautiful images of the locomotive throughout its lifetime with facts and figures about its dramatic story, from its origins in 1923 to the present day.

T: 01392 826482 @greetingstoday 57


Window on Eyes are the windows to the soul, so they say – in retail reflect what’s going on inside the store. Here we chat to face to the world. If you’d like your store included,

Karen McLoughlin, Coopers Chemists Marske-by-the-Sea, north Yorkshire We probably change the windows once every six to eight weeks – we now have a handbag window, a homewares one, a medicine one, one with cushions and picture frames in and a very small Yankee Candle one. We have a lot of windows! The wedding one that Cardgains took a picture of was only changed last week to handbags. Our favourites are always our Christmas ones because the whole village waits to admire them. It’s like Fenwicks but smaller as we’re only in a small village – people are coming in already and asking when we’re doing our Christmas windows. It will be on October 29 and 30 when we work on them all through the night. Liz Willard is our main buyer and she goes to the Harrogate Christmas Fair trying to get a little bit of inspiration from there, and we look on Pinterest. We get together to have a discussion about what we want to do and we make mood boards. There’s Liz, Jenny Lowery and myself, we’re the three main people who do the windows through the year and a couple of the other girls help out at Christmas. We don’t tend to use the cards in the windows to be honest, more gifts and props but some of the ones we stock are Artebene, Mint, Molly Mae, CardMix and Tracks Publishing. They’re generally themed around the seasons and because we have so many windows we always try to include a medicine one as we’re allied to a chemists. The shop started as a chemist then they had a few gifts, then knocked into next door, then knocked through in to the next shop too and it’s grown from there.

Gary Wilson, Celebrations, Blythe, Northumberland At the moment it’s a normal wedding window, with kids’ product to one side, christening gifts etc. I probably change it about every six to eight weeks with the different seasons, so we have weddings, Christmas, Mother’s Day, that sort of thing and when the local football team do well I’ll put a Blythe Spartans one in there. In August it was the first time we had the Tall Ships race come to Blythe, it’s probably one of the biggest occasions we’ve had so I did one for that. I put in a dummy with an admiral’s outfit on and some shops. It took me a day, we got a mannequin from Burtons down the road and dressed it up. My father goes round to Pickering Castle and places for their 40s days and that sort of thing so had a uniform which I borrowed – he was only born during the war but he and my mum enjoy the era. We had shops, lighthouses and globes in there too. I meant to take a picture and promised Karen Rathbone, the Cherry Orchard agent, that I would but I completely forgot! We got some really positive comments, I was one of the few shops that did something and people were commenting that it was nice we had taken the trouble. I also had bunting on the

outside so it looked nice – I really wish I’d taken pictures! I put it in about a week and a half before the ships arrived, but once it was over I changed in straight back to weddings, so it was only like that for a fortnight. It was very nice but the Christmas windows are always my favourites and I’ll be doing them in a couple of weeks so am looking forward to that. Mostly it’s seasonal, we’re predominately a card shop with about 30 per cent gifts but I tend not to use cards in the displays – our bestsellers are Jonny Javelin, and we have Cherry Orchard, Wishing Well, some wholesale cards from Budget , Grass Roots, IC&G and Words ’n’ Wishes – it’s more about the products, when we get something new we put it in the window to get people’s attention.


the world it’s the other way around as the windows themselves greetings and gift retailers about how they present this please email

Alison Allen, Conway Cards Garstang, Lancs

Julia & Mick Baines, Mothergoosebaby Darwen Market, Lancs We’re a market stall with displays rather than windows and I’m always moving things around so I probably change the displays three or four times a week! I don’t change where the cards are, female cards, male cards, etc, because people know where they are, but sometimes I take cards off that have been slow sellers and put something else in to keep a different choice. I’m already on Christmas for my displays, the Christmas selection is already out and the boxed selections, tags and bags. There are a few more things that we have to put out but it’s mostly all there. My favourites are always the Christmas cards, they’re beautiful and very unusual – customers love them. My inspiration is very much the product, I think with the nice products you’re more inclined to show them off whereas if you have a more boring card you haven’t got the same inspiration. But there’s a market for them all – and the Christmas cards have started selling already. We provide a really personal service, if an elderly person comes in with bad eyes or they can’t find the card they want, we’ll spent ages rooting around for something suitable and read out the words for them. We make sure we help everyone. We’ve been at the market for two years, starting off with baby clothes and gifts and expanded. Then the lady who did the card stall before us finished and I’ve always wanted to do cards, I love reading them all, so we decided to start from scratch with greetings 12 months ago. Our bestsellers are Grass Roots, Cherry Orchard and Carte Blanche – we specialise in their 3D range and are the only stockists in DArwen. They are all very good sellers.

We have a Bake Off theme at the moment because the Great British Bake Off is back on the television. There’s a lot of Wrendale stuff, and Nigel Quiney with their Pizazz aprons, cake tins, bunting, a cake stand, napkins, Alex Clark apron and oven gloves, Wrendale recipe tins. There’s also a company I spotted at Harrogate in July, Mad Beauty, with their cupcake-themed nail files, and I’m hoping the rest of my order hits us soon because that has cake-themed bath salts which I want to put in there – and I have to change the window soon! We usually change it about every three to five weeks, it depends on the season as well as the next events coming up, and it does get turned around more quickly during the spring seasons. We have a window display contest for the Garstang Show each August and we won second prize this year so have a lovely blue rosette in the window at the moment. We had the new Wrendale cushions with the dogs and stags on, and the Abacus Countryfile range of cards with the tractors, sheep and animals on – it’s an agricultural show so it was very much a country theme. The next event is Halloween which is the first Monday of half-term, where we have a bit of a competition going, the Turn Garstang Orange Campaign, so we’ll do our window for that and some of the shopkeepers dress up. We have trick or treat for the children too. Our inspiration is a combination of the season and the product. We had the Nigel Quiney baking products in so we did the Bake Off window – although we were worried we’d miss it as the product wasn’t released much before the show started. The windows can be product led, it depends on the time of year and if we have a lot of baby items in the shop we’ll have a new baby window, or we may go for a wedding theme. I do like to do a spread of Santoro’s Gorjuss if I’m honest. I can do that at any time, and especially in the autumn because I have different colour voiles that I use to dress the window and the darker colours in the designs bring it all together and is always a good attention-puller. We have the Victorian Festival in the town on December 12 and 13, which is a Monday and Tuesday where the shops stay open until 8pm and there’s street entertainment and lots going on. We’ll do our Christmas window ready for that as it’s a huge event here. Our bestsellers are Wrendale, constantly, Alex Clark, constantly, Abacus’ new Velvet Ink range is selling very well – I love it – Saffron Cards Nicely Said is going quite nicely, and the new Silver Leaf from Janie Wilson has just come in. The cards are beautiful so I’m thinking they’ll be the next big seller.

Profile for Lema Publishing

Greetings Today  

October 2016

Greetings Today  

October 2016