The impartial voice of the greetings card industry
Oct/Nov 2019 Issue 1 Volume 21
Editor Rachel King
his is the first issue of Greetings Today with me at the helm and to say it’s been an exciting few weeks would be an understatement. As a newcomer to the greeting card industry I’ve been surprised at just how big and complex the industry is. Whenever I’ve walked into a store and picked up a card for someone, it never crossed my mind all the work that it takes to get those cards on the shelf. Nor did I realise just how many publishers, big and small, are out there. So, hats off to you all. Beyond learning about the card business in general, I’ve been lucky enough to attend some wonderful events to meet different people and uncover what we can expect for 2020. Retailers may well be into the Christmas spirit and getting windows displays ready and shelves brimming with gift ideas, but for publishers it is all about spring 2020 and all that entails. What trends are going to be big next year? At the recent annual general meeting of the Greeting card association, incoming President of the GCA, Rachel Hare of Belly Button designs, thinks “Hearts, presents and balloons will be there as they’ve always been. But unicorns have become llamas and they’re jumping over rainbows.” With people in the UK buying over 910 million single cards each year, that’s a lot of rainbows to be happy about. Incoming trends were on display at Insights-X and Brand Licensing Europe too. Check out our reviews on the events on pages 18 and 36. The most interesting thing I’ve learnt since starting here though has to be how questions about sustainability and the environmental impact of what we do are becoming bigger talking points at every event big or small. Ellie Bartle discusses some of the issues retailers are facing in regards to the naked debate and some of the options that are now on the market in On The
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Shop Front on page 33. The GCA AGM had a panel discussion on this very subject too with clever ideas being developed in all corners of the industry. Whatever 2020 may bring, we still have the tail end of 2019 to get through first but hopefully we can inspire some forward planning with this month’s magazine. If Spring is already on your mind, our Feminine/Mother’s Day feature is on page 20. John Ryan has some great tips for shop layout on page 12 and as always, retail expert Henri Davis has some hot ideas for the colder months on page 25. There are some new voices in Four Corners on page 34 and Sales Agent Neil Greenwood tells it how it is in It’s All About Sales on page 35. I delve into an ongoing news story that has wider implications for the industry on page 26 and you’ll find what’s happening On The Line on page 38. Of course, there’s more, but you will just have to turn the pages to find out. Happy reading.
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REGULARS 04 News 08 Spotlight 10 Talk Of The Town 12 John Ryan 16 Ward’s Words 25 Retail Advice 33 On The Shop Front 34 Four Corners 35 It’s All About Sales 37 Meet The Newbies 38 On The Line
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14 Cover Story 18 Insights-X Review 20 Feminine-Themed & Mother’s Day 26 Banksy vs Full Colour Black 28 Verse, Sentiment & Sympathy 36 BLE Review
Go to our website – www.greetingstoday.co.uk – for all the up-to-date news and new product information plus our Facebook and Instagram pages carry more photos from shows and events.
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At the heart of retail Greetings Today has a circulation of 6,076 Subscription per annum: UK £60 (free for people in the greetings industry), Europe £80, ROTW £100
inthenews Danilo Welcomes Angela Anderson
GCA AGM The GCA celebrated their 100th anniversary with a record number of attendees at the AGM at Westminster’s Central Hall. To mark the occasion, an exhibition has been curated by Creative Consultant, Geoff Sanderson and Helen Snell of Orchard House Design featuring cards from the past century. Separated into the different decades, the 100 cards depict the evolution of design in the industry and changing styles over time, as well as the many different publishers who have been involved. GCA CEO, Amanda Ferguson reported on the positive market report for the industry. The British public spent £1.7 billion on greeting cards in 2018 with encouraging signs form millennials (18-34 year olds) as they are sending more cards than the previous generation. People in the UK buy over 910 million single cards each year with Everyday products accounting for 77% of the market. Occasion and Relations categories are growing. Most attendees were keen to hear the panel discussion on the ongoing naked card debate, with representatives from The Art File, Sainsburys, House of Cards, Woodmansterne Publications and Waterstones discussing the steps their organisations are taking to reduce their plastic usage and becoming more environmentally friendly. There is no consensus on a single solution for the removal of cello wrapping, with participants admitting to some trial and error on different methodologies to combat the problem. The good news is that more people are trialling different options and there is more investment of both time and money being made on developing alternative products and improving the recyclability of cards, envelopes, wrapping paper and the associated packaging.
Angela Anderson joins Danilo Promotions Ltd as the new Sales Director. Starting in October, she has a wealth of experience from the greetings card industry having previously held a senior role as Trading Director at Hallmark and also worked for major retailer Tesco. During her time at both companies,
Gruffalo Anniversary Stamps To mark the 20th anniversary of the best-selling children’s book The Gruffalo, Royal Mail announced the release of 10 special stamps depicting characters from the tale. Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the book has sold over 14.5 million copies worldwide. Six of the stamps are from the original tale, and follow Mouse’s progress through the deep dark wood, introducing the other characters one by one. An additional four stamps are presented in a Miniature Sheet to complete the set. Royal Mail commissioned Axel Scheffler to create unique, new illustrations for the stamps. The brand-new, full colour work shows off the Gruffalo and the other wellknown characters (Owl, Snake, Fox and Mouse) in a composite artwork. The scene mirrors the main story with Mouse looking on knowingly, as the other characters react in alarm to the Gruffalo. Philip Parker, Royal Mail, said, “We celebrate 20 years of The Gruffalo with these charming stamps, and are delighted that Axel has taken us back to the deep, dark wood with his new illustrations of the much-loved characters.” The stamps and a range of collectible products are available to pre-order now at www.royalmail.com/thegruffalo and by phone on 03457 641 641.
Plastic Free Gift Wrap Packs
Greetings Cards in Aldi UK Aldi stores are to permanently display greetings cards. Talking Retail reports that after a successful trial in Yorkshire and the South West, Aldi is introducing a range of everyday greetings cards across its UK stores. Christmas cards and cards for other key occasions have previously been sold by the discount supermarket company but now they plan to have a permanent display of year-round cards in all UK stores. Retailing at 99p each, the cards will cover a range of occasions including birthdays and anniversaries, plus thank you and congratulations.
Angela worked closely with Danilo on greetings cards and worked alongside current Licensing Director, Dan Grant, at Hallmark. Daniel Prince, Danilo’s Managing Director said of the hire, “We are absolutely delighted to have Angela joining us. Having worked with her in her previous roles, I have always admired her professionalism and with the invaluable experience she brings, I know she will be a great asset to the Danilo team.” Commenting on her new position, Angela said, “I’m really thrilled to be given the opportunity to join Danilo. They have strong plans in place to succeed in a challenging retail environment and I’m looking forward to be playing a key role in the future of the business.”
Tim Johnson, a Cambridge-based inventor and print industry veteran, has developed a solution to reduce plastic packaging used for Gift Wrap packs. The first products have been launched through Offset Publishing and use a cardboard hanger with incorporated Gift Tags. Speaking about the product, Tim Johnson said, “Everyone is aware of the damage that plastic packaging is doing to the environment. Last year I started thinking about how I can make a contribution to changing this situation. I work in the greeting card market, so the obvious way would be to look at how the use of plastics in this area could be reduced. As an industry, I’m glad to say, greeting card publishers and suppliers have made great strides on reducing plastic from cards but no one had made a usable alternative for gift wrap packs. My gift wrap holder concept has been tested, refined and patent (GB1900062.9) duly applied for. The team at Offset have now created a great range of gift wraps utilising this system, with the aim of minimising the impact on the environment. There are at least 10 million gift wrap packs sold in the UK every year, and my ambition is to seriously reduce how many of these are packed in plastic.” The innovative design follows a zero-plastic approach, which could reduce plastic waste significantly for both retailers and consumers.
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inthenews Collins Pop Up In Covent Garden
Paperworld gets ready for 2020 Paperworld is now in five locations across the world and is firmly established in the market as a global trade-fair brand and the most important business platform for paper, office supplies and stationery products. Trade-fair participants benefit from high-growth markets at Paperworld trade events in Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Dubai, Shanghai and Mumbai. At a recent press event, organisers Messe Frankfurt detailed the themes for the 2020 exhibitions and the mega-trends that are set to make waves in the stationery, office supplies and paper industries. Group Show Director Consumer Goods, Julia Uherek and Marketing Communication Director, Margit Herberth, explained how increasing digitisation is changing the way we work and how shows like Paperworld are instrumental in unlocking new trends. “The globally interconnected industry of paper, office supplies and stationery needs trade platforms in key markets to link supply and demand. Our Paperworld trade fairs offer a perfect mix of unique product diversity, internationality, excellent service and forward-looking trends,” said Julia. The trends for next year’s Paperworld are Blazing Hotchpotch, Noble Barrique and Smooth Sorbet. These trends will be reflected in office furniture, accessories and of course, stationery and paper products. The exhibition will explore how the worlds of co-working and co-living are beginning to merge. Home offices, remote work and the working environment is just the first step in the ongoing evolution and the models of working behaviour are changing. Last year, 1,665 exhibitors from 64 countries presented their products to 32,340 trade visitors from 143 countries. This makes Paperworld the highlight of the year for the industry and a source of innovative business ideas for wholesalers and retailers, booksellers, the Internet and mail order sector, and commercial consumers. In addition, the wide-ranging event and congress programme provides inspiration and knowledge transfer for retailers, architects, planners, facility managers, as well as heads of educational and seminar facilities who are interested in the latest office trends and interior design concepts. A key feature of Frankfurt’s event will be the daily tours offered by designers, so visitors can get the most out of the experience.
To celebrate their 200th anniversary, Collins opened a pop-up shop in Covent Garden where customers could see a range of products on oﬀer and be inspired to put pen to paper. At the event to mark the store’s opening, Collins Debden Managing Director, Shahrazz Hayat said, “Stationery in its simplest form is self-expression.” With more than the traditional journals and day planners available, visitors tested the new Flex notebooks and could see all the colours and finishes that are setting the trend for 2020 with the Edge and Legacy ranges. In addition to the temporary store, Collins held a workshop on Bullet Journaling headed by Joanna Feast. The increasingly popular pursuit is potentially beneficial for mental health and Collins are now supplying products that cater to the healthy habit.
Widdop Debut Fringe Studio Widdop and Co’s brand new and exclusive lifestyle stationery and ceramics distributorship Fringe Studio is making its UK debut at Top Drawer. Straight out of South California, the stationery and premium ceramics collection reflects the carefree, easy-going vibe of its homeland.
Debenhams Appoints New Chairman Debenhams has announced the appointment of former House of Fraser and Game executive Mark Gifford as its new chair. The news confirms speculation around the appointment and is the first step in the department store’s turnaround efforts. Gifford will become a director and chairman of Celine Jersey Topco Ltd, the consortium of investors and lenders that took control of Debenhams earlier this year when it fell into administration.
New Gradient Sketching Pencils UK design company, Block Design, have announced the release of new Gradient Sketching Pencils. The set of seven pencils use a light to dark colour palette to guide through grades from 2H – 6B and is available in three colourways, pink, blue and green. Each palette was selected from single Pantone swatch cards to create a smooth and subtle gradient. The range of graphite grades encourage the user to explore drawing styles and techniques, from fine and precise to soft and free. Block’s lead designer and founder Tara Ashe said, “The idea for the Gradient Sketching Pencils was conceived during my weekly life drawing class. Searching through my set of grey pencils each time I needed a 6B in place of a HB or 2H, it occurred to me there should be an easier way to differentiate between them. The constant scramble for the required pencil slowed down my sketching, interrupting the creative flow.” The pencils are made in the UK by family business Chambers. Based in Nottingham, Chambers have been
manufacturing pencils for 100 years. The pencil sets include grade 2H, H, HB, B, 2B, 4B, and 6H. They have an RRP of £12.50 and are available online at www.blockdesign.co.uk
Jewellery & Watch Salon To Launch At Autumn Fair 2020
National Stationery Week 2020 sponsors A range of sponsors have been announced for National Stationery Week 2020. The companies, both big and small, are ready to bring the nation together in the celebration of stationery and the written word. Marple Stationery Supplies, Maped Helix and uni-ball were the first organisations to sign up to the annual campaign, with Moleskin, Derwent and Manuscript Pen Company following suit, with stationery giant Staples the latest to join with more to follow. Marple Stationery Supplies, the independent Cheshire retailer, returns to champion Stationery Shop Saturday, the themed day which encourages retailers of all sizes to open their doors to consumers and promote their stationery ranges. Alongside their role in the Seven Days of Stationery, Marple Stationery Supplies will be the first brand to play a key part in the tenth National Stationery Week and pushing the ‘Writing Matters’ message to stationery addicts worldwide. Maped Helix will throw its weight behind the campaign to get the nation writing in 2020 to help promote #WritingMatters and extol the virtues of using stationery in all its forms. It has been the stationery staple of classrooms, homes and offices for over 130 years and is globally renowned for the style and quality of its products. Lianne Fletcher, Marketing Manager of Maped Helix, said the historic firm was delighted to be a part of the campaign again, “National Stationery Week combines both fun and meaning into a campaign that encourages the nation to put pen to paper. We can’t wait to be involved again!” The world’s leading manufacturer of writing instruments, uni-ball, already has a lot to celebrate in 2019 alongside its partnership with the campaign which includes the launch of its brand-new plastic free packaging. The packaging marks a move away from traditional plastic blister cards to 100% cardboard, biodegradable, recyclable plastic-free packaging. Melissa Purdy-Cross Brand Manager said, “We are thrilled and delighted to be one of the headline sponsors of National Stationery Week 2020. Playing a key role and being a part of the campaign is really important for us from both a consumer and a retail point of view. Wheels already turning and our plans are already being formulated. Keep your eyes peeled!” Moleskine is seen as one of the bastions of the stationery industry and a world-renowned paper maker and product designer, with eye-catching, stylish and unique designs. Moleskine’s notebooks continue to be used by artists, creatives, musicians and note takers of all ages. Passionate about expression through the use of stationery, Moleskine has many exciting ideas for consumers to get involved with that will take place between October and the April event. Pencil manufacturer, Derwent, joins the campaign for the second year running, helping to support the annual event’s love of creativity, colour and art. Derwent will use the campaign to drive engagement and excitement around its 2020 innovation. Nicola Shepherd, Global Marketing Director at Derwent said, “I am a big advocate of National Stationery Week and it felt, as a brand, the perfect campaign to get involved with again. We’ll ensure that the tenth anniversary of the campaign is filled with colour and creativity.” Manuscript Pen Company will use the campaign to promote its selection of premium writing and creative tools to stationery addicts worldwide. Full of colour, innovation and variation, the Shropshire based company will be encouraging stationery addicts to ‘pick up a pen’ and discover their own writing style. Manuscript will also be celebrating its recent purchase of Lime Stationery and their new premium pen brands including Visconti, Pineider, Conklin, and Diplomat, as well as the launch of its innovative children’s writing and craft range, the Lionheart collection. Stationery titan Staples has been the latest to join the sponsorship line-up and hopes to bring a new vision to the campaign by offering a different outlook, solution and product proposition alongside its fellow sponsors. As a leading provider of business supplies and integrated solutions to businesses of all sizes, Staples knows a thing or two about stationery and have been the go-to office solutions provider for generations. Jeanette Bresitz, Head of Merchandising and Marketing, said, “Staples is a growing and changing business, much like our customers’ requirements. National Stationery Week presents the perfect opportunity to reaffirm ourselves as the leading provider of integrated solutions to small, mid-sized, and large businesses, offering customers everything their business needs to succeed. We are thrilled to be involved.”
Trade event Jewellery & Watch will launch a new ‘Jewellery & Watch Salon’ at Autumn Fair 2020, due to take place at the NEC, Birmingham, from September 6-9. This dedicated event space for brands and businesses in the jewellery sector will offer access to Autumn Fair’s audience of more than 20,000 visitors, including buyers, independent retailers, ecommerce giants and department stores. In 2019, 81% of buyers came to discover new products, services or suppliers at the show. Described as the most important home and gift marketplace of the season, Autumn Fair is ideally timed and located to offer buying opportunities at the start of the Golden Quarter – the busiest and most profitable shopping time of the year that incorporates the festive season. In its debut year, the Jewellery & Watch Salon will serve as an Autumn Fair hot spot for jewellery services and solutions, fashion, silver and semi-precious jewellery suppliers, designer brands and fine jewellery businesses. The Salon will take its place in Hall 9, which is adjacent to the Fashion & Gift Hall for complementary buying opportunities. Jewellery & Watch Event Director, Kirsty Broere, says, “We are incredibly excited to launch the Jewellery & Watch Salon at Autumn Fair 2020. We have been overwhelmed by requests from our current exhibitors to create a platform at this crucial time of year for Christmas sourcing and buying. We are proud to be able to offer this and meet demand.” Jewellery & Watch, part of Spring Fair, will take place from February 2-6, 2020, while the new Jewellery & Watch Salon will take place at Autumn Fair from September 6-9, 2020, both at the NEC, Birmingham.
New Retail Sales Director At Vent For Change The sustainable stationery brand that supports children’s education projects worldwide has announced the appointment of Lucy Heath in the role. Lucy comes with a wealth of experience in the retail sector, most recently as Sales Director at Gemma International where she worked for 11 years. “We are very excited to have Lucy join the team, her expertise and experience in the retail sector is going to help us enormously. The further she can spread the range nationwide the more support we can give to children’s education projects worldwide,” says Evan Lewis Founder VENT for Change.
Festive = Productive New research has found that implementing Christmas traditions in the workplace can boost productivity levels. A study carried out by Christmas Tree World, has found that 74% of employees are motivated to work harder if their employer embraces the festive period despite only 36% of businesses offering a Christmas party for their staff and 24% businesses avoiding Christmas completely. Productivity levels can dip to the lowest point in December, however 78% of those polled claim to work as hard or harder in December, with 22% saying it is so they can enjoy time off over the festive break. The research of 1,000 UK workers also revealed that 60% of employees are likely to be more productive if incentives such as bonuses are available.
It’s not just financial rewards which are proven to drive productivity with 74% of workers claiming office festivities, such as decorations, Christmas trees and Secret Santa traditions, boost morale and productivity. Christmas parties can also potentially enhance productivity with 39% of workers believing it improves teamwork and communication. Stephen Evans, managing director at Christmas Tree World commented, “It’s shocking to see the high number of businesses which are simply missing a trick in embracing the festive season as this research demonstrates it really does pay dividends in boosting staff morale, happiness and productivity. It’s clear to see from our research that bringing a bit of festivity into the office can go a long way to improving workplace productivity at this time of year.”
A selection of the latest greetings, gift and industry services releases
Enveco Meet Chiarina, she is the newest member of the Enveco Family. She joined Enveco in April this year, and some of you may have already had the pleasure of speaking with her or you may have met her at this year’s Autumn Fair. Chiarina is a part of the sales support team and is always happy to help you with your order or sorting envelope samples for you.
T: 01908 378866 www.enveco.co.uk
The Art File The Art File are absolutely delighted to have won two out of their three finalist nominations! Picking up the best Christmas Boxed product award for the third year in a row, and for our timeless Ink Press collection being entered into the Henry Cole Hall of Fame, for its consistent success over the past 10 years. The winners of The Henries 2019 greeting card awards have been announced at the historic awards event that took place at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London. Over 700 greeting card industry publishers, retailers and suppliers attended the event to witness the industry’s best greeting card ranges receive the top card publishing accolades. The Art File’s Luxury Christmas Boxes card collection are designed specifically for those wanting to send a higher quality Christmas card to those who are special in your life, and these elegant cards are just perfect for that. Each box contains 8 large, luxury cards. There’s still time to add these to your Christmas orders to further improve your Christmas card offering for the upcoming festive period. Karen Mace, Art Director of The Art File had this to say about the win, “We’re absolutely thrilled to have won this coveted award once again, our Christmas collection has performed very well this year, and this award shows our Christmas collection continues to go from strength to strength.” Ink Press has been successfully published by The Art File for 10 years now, being successfully sold in retailers large and small worldwide. The modern take on traditional letter press styling, combined with a loveable Inspector Clouseau type character and bold block colour gives this range a great commercial edge, and with simple captions (and blank cards) this meant the collection was destined to export well. Designed by Artist Robert Reader, who continues to assist The Art File in developing the collection further for our lovely customers. Managing Director, Ged Mace had this to say about Ink Press winning the prestigious award, “We are absolutely thrilled to receive the Henry Cole award for Ink Press, which is such an iconic range for The Art File. We knew from day one that the cards were going to be popular because they appealed to both male and female customers, and it was evident the range could sell equally as well across the globe.”
Emma Bryan If you love feminine and floral cards, you will find plenty across the ranges by Emma Bryan. Newly launched at PG Live 2019, the London-based publisher specialises in elegant contemporary designs on the ever-popular themes of blooms, butterflies and birds, all in her distinctive feminine colour palette, alongside heart-felt sentiments. New designs are available for Spring 2020, all printed on 127mm x 177mm beautiful matte board in the UK and complimented with a ribbed kraft envelope.
T: 07889 598606 www.emmabryan.co.uk
T: 0115 850 7490 www.theartfile.com
UK Greetings With the huge success of Disney’s Frozen movie back in 2013 and the second movie hotly anticipated to be just as big, it’ll be no surprise that UK Greetings have developed another showstopper range of greeting cards and gift dressings, featuring the films much loved characters. “We are so excited to launch our collection of Frozen 2 cards and gift wrap. Our creative team have done a fabulous job yet again with beautiful designs which really capture the magic of the film”, says, Susan Jones, Brand Licensing Manager, UK Greetings. The Frozen franchise has been – and remains – an incredibly successful property in greetings cards and gift dressings. Our product range includes Kids Age cards, which are always hugely popular with children of all ages. Also, female captions, as well as new innovative formats including magical pop up formats and 3D scenes. In addition, we have a new gift cardholder featuring the much-loved Olaf character. As well as taking care of those special birthdays we have developed a range of greeting cards and gift dressings specifically for Christmas. Our gift bags are large enough to accommodate any gift and feature the two iconic characters of the franchise. We also offer a 2m roll wrap and packaged wrap both cornerstones of our Juvenile offering. Easy pick-ups for busy parents and larger gifting. Olaf features on both these products to broaden the appeal and enrapture any Frozen fans.
T: 01924 465200 www.ukgreetings.co.uk
Laura Sherratt Designs Due to the success of our Pots of Love range, we have added 28 new 12cm designs to this popular card collection, which now has a total of 58 designs. Since launching, these cards have seen us take on many new stockists, in-particular Garden centres & farm shops, due to the natural, plant pot, biodegradable nature of the cards being so on trend right now. Beginning life as an occasion card range, Laura has added cards for male and female birthdays and special relative cards. All of the cute and quirky designs in this collection measure 12cm x 12cm square and come complete with a wooden plant pot embellishment and gems. Cards in this collection feature Laura’s signature small scale illustrations and on trend subject matter, as well as being hand-finished. The cards also come with a 100% biodegradable brown envelope. Titles include: Parents to be, Uncle, Son, Sister, Mummy, special friend, all birthday titles, occasions and more.
T: 01538 384566 www.laurasherrattdesigns.co.uk www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday
Talk of the town Greetings retailers tell it how it is....
Nicky Goodman, Paddock Wood Cards, Paddock Wood, Kent What’s the story behind your store? We moved into our new shop at the end of September after being in our old store for 19 years. We just outgrew it and knew we had a market for more gifts and balloons. Cards have always gone really well where we live, and I make sure I stay totally independent dealing with several card companies with a huge range of prices and nobody has any space saved so we have a good mixture. What’s in your window at the moment? Halloween which was done by my two talented Saturday girls.
Did you attend Autumn Fair or Top Drawer Autumn, if so what was your top find there? CGB Giftware at Autumn Fair. Our feature this month is Feminine & Mother’s Day – is there anything you’re planning to stock or restock for next year? Not yet as it’s all new to us but we are on the lookout for lots more lovely pieces to sell in the next few months. We love the new space and the ability to expand what we do.
How do trade mags like Greetings Today help you? It’s great to read and see how others are doing, to get tips and ideas and generally see what is out there. We all need to help each other to survive in these trying times.
What’s your biggest trend at the moment – llamas, sloths and unicorns are all generally popular, how about for you? You can’t beat a Unicorn although we are finding Flamingos are doing pretty well too. What’s the most surprising product, card or gift, that you sell – and what’s your favourite item in store? We have just tried a new gift company called CGB Giftware as we have larger premises now and their gifts are flying out the doorespecially the sentiment pieces such as heart stone magnets.
We would always try to order cards without the plastic packaging as this is a very important issue.
Sustainability, the reduction of single use plastic and cards “going naked” are a focus in the industry right now – what steps have you introduced in your store or are you looking to do to be a bit greener? We would always try to order cards without the plastic packaging as this is a very important issue. Most of our customers if they would like a bag are more than happy with recyclable paper bags. We also do a lot of balloons and have notices up about the environment with safe disposal and the fact we do not support balloon releases. Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? Nigel Quiney cards are one of my favourites as they are so pretty.
” Andrea Tripp, The Card Shop, Staple Hill, Bristol What’s the story behind your store? I bought it as a going concern 6 1/2 years ago. I didn’t change the name as I didn’t want to scare off the existing customers! But I did add the strapline ‘with gifts galore’. When I bought the shop, it was very much a card shop with some gifts, after just a few months now I’d transformed it into a card and gift shop. What’s in your window at the moment? One window is a mix of gifts for kids and grown-ups with the aim being to inspire people with ideas especially with Christmas approaching. The other window is mainly taken up with a jewellery cabinet with both male and female gifts. How do trade mags like Greetings Today help you? I use it to follow trends, source new suppliers and keep up with industry news. What’s your biggest trend at the moment – llamas, sloths and unicorns are all generally popular, how about for you? I am amazed that unicorns are still going as strong as ever, but we’re doing very well with a lovely range of bee related gifts, sourced from various suppliers.
What’s the most surprising product, card or gift, that you sell – and what’s your favourite item in store? I have a spinner of quirky cards, from lots of different suppliers, cards that don’t necessarily quite ‘fit’ in humour or other categories. It was an experiment this year and it’s proven really popular. My favourite item is bright yellow bee compact mirror, it makes me smile every time I walk past it. Did you attend Autumn Fair or Top Drawer Autumn, if so what was your top find there? I don’t feel the need given the number of agents who come to me, often with new ranges themselves, and of course reading Greetings Today! Our feature this month is Feminine & Mother’s Day – is there anything you’re planning to stock or restock for next year? A new range of beautiful candles, a perfect gift any time of the year. Sustainability, the reduction of single use plastic and cards “going naked” are a focus in the industry right now – what steps have you introduced in your store or are you looking to do to be a bit greener? We have as many of our cards as possible supplied ‘naked’, something we’ve promoted in store and on Facebook and we’ve had new customers as a result. Some customers try to only buy unwrapped cards. Of all the publishers you stock, which card would you like to receive for your birthday? Noooo, you can’t make me choose ... ah well I do love $5 shake!
Start 2020 with new inspiration for your product mix Discover at Paperworld an impressive and diverse range of products as well as the latest trends for paper and stationery products for personal use. The focus here is on the most important shapes, colours and materials of the coming season. Book your ticket to access Europeâ€™s leading business and dialogue platform for the sector. Network with key players and set new standards with your product mix in the future. Book your ticket now! paperworld.messefrankfurt.com firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. +44 (0) 14 83 48 39 83
England DU: 25.09.2019
The stationery trends.
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25. â€“ 28. 1. 2020 Frankfurt am Main
JOHN JOHN RYAN RYAN
Behind the Red Door
RETAIL ENVIRONMENT RETAIL
of your shop
Austin & Co
Getting your shop design and layout right is no easy feat. John Ryan suggests some ways to make sure you are enticing customers through your front door and not overwhelming them once they step over the threshold
hat makes your shop different? Can you honestly say that if somebody walked through the door they would remark upon the way in which you organise both layout and display and that there is much difference between what they see and what is apparent in the store a few doors distant? If the answer to the second question is ‘yes’, then turn the page and have a look at something else as you’re clearly doing everything that should be done. The key word in the question, of course, is ‘honestly’. Retailers and, sad to say, independent retailers have a talent for self-delusion that can leave their best efforts looking a little lacklustre. The plain fact is that you need to be tough on yourself, because your potential customers certainly will be. Even in the niche world of greetings card and small gift retailing there is an awful lot of competition and for the most part slat wall, tiered perimeter shelving and a mid-shop gondola remain the order of the day. The reason this is the case is because it’s what’s been deemed to work and if it aint broke… Well, it may actually be in need to some pretty radical ‘ﬁxing’ if you want to reach out beyond
those living working within a couple of hundred metres of your store. Windows, cash-taking, perimeter and mid-shop, all these are elements that you need to think about and just because it seemed to work last year doesn’t mean that if somebody does something more attractive down the road that it still will. A checklist therefore. Do your windows amuse/ divert/appal or just promote indifference? The ﬁrst three are all perfectly acceptable (although displays that appal do have a customer-limiting aspect), but if what you’ve done is just workaday, then think again. Now head for the door and pause as you enter. Good retail theory has it that there is a decompression zone, even within a very small store. So have you crowded everything at the front and is there space for the shopper to make sense of what’s on view? Almost certainly not, because who can resist the temptation to be a show-off? It’s hard not to cram all of your so-carefully-selected bestsellers (and you do only have bestsellers, don’t you) in the ﬁrst couple of metres of your store with everything thereafter being a mild afterthought. All of which means that you’ve succeeded in bypassing your customer’s attention completely
The plain fact is that you need to be tough on yourself, because your potential customers certainly will be
John Ryan is Stores Editor of Retail Week, a position he has held for more than two decades, and managing director of Newstores, a daily information service on what’s new in retail across the world. @newstores / www.newstores.co.uk +44 7710 429926
and from here it’s a slippery downward slope and one that is unlikely to be repeated by the shopper. But supposing that you have given the shopper room to breathe, can sense now be made of what lies ahead? An area for plush toys, the same for 21 Today cards, another for Happy Retirement We’ll Miss You (probably not) and so on? Well, maybe this works, but isn’t it what everybody else does? Yes it is, and you’ve clearly not thought about who your customers are, what they’re most likely to look for and made adjustments accordingly – bereavement/deepest sympathy cards do not merit the same amount of space as ‘It’s a Boy(!)’, but you wouldn’t know it to look at how many card retailers organise things. Finally (and there are quite a few things that I’ve missed out), is your store a good place to be or is it a ‘get in, get it and get out’ kind of environment? By deﬁnition, space may be limited in a card shop (the unit price and cost of rent tend to make this a certainty), but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about wall colour, ﬁxture height and lighting. A lot to do then and all this before you even manage to persuade somebody to extract cash from wallet. The festive season looms and you need to act quickly, there’s still time. Take a good look at yourself. You can do better.
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Jonny Javelin Turns 20
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Jonny Javelin Card Company and what a fabulous 20 years it’s been! Founder and owner Jonny Spears looks back on how it all started and how they got to where they are today.
t’s fair to say that when they started out, the husband and wife team of Mandy and Jonny Spears didn’t really have much of a clue (Jonny admits he still doesn’t really…but he somehow holds it together). “We made so many mistakes in the early days that it’s cringing to think back, but why wouldn’t we? I was an engineer and Mandy was a hotelier! The creative worlds of design, publishing, photoshop and printing were completely alien to us,” explained Jonny. “Our first big error was working on our initial range in RGB. No-one told me photoshop had a ‘colour mode’ called CMYK which was what the printing industry used. When the printers (and I think we chose the most unhelpful ones to be fair) dropped the proofs over for us to check, our jaws dropped too - the colours were awful. I recall spending about 20 hours that weekend painstakingly converting the colours to the correct CMYK values. But I dare say most startup businesses go through their fair share of mistakes and hardships and it’s all a learning curve in the end!” The first ranges Jonny and Mandy produced were down the humour route. Jonny would write his poems and then test them out at the The Bay Horse Inn, near Harrogate, which belonged to Mandy’s family. “The response
was usually quite positive, but thinking back, I used to read them out to the guests at about 10:30pm when most of them were legless and in the mood to laugh at anything.” But with all that positive feedback, it gave Jonny and Mandy the confidence to take the plunge. Back in those days digital printing wasn’t around (to any great effect anyway) and so it was a 3000-print run. “Why the heck we didn’t do a 1000 print run I don’t know. I think our helpful printer probably said 3000 was normally the minimum in the printing industry! So that’s what we did!” With 30 designs x 3000 cards, that equalled 90,000 cards plus 90,000 envelopes! That was a shedload of boxes, especially when you haven’t got a shed (or a dry garage), so storing boxes under the bed was the obvious place to start. “We had boxes everywhere - although I’m pretty sure every single person in the whole card industry can tell their own anecdotes about blummin’ boxes and where they’ve had to shove them in their time!” The humour range didn’t sell
Twingles Bling Graffix
Velvet at first. “It was a slog trying to cold call on shops. We did our first Spring Fair and got about 5 orders. I remember our first customer asking, ‘What’s your carriage paid order value to the Orkney’s?’ ‘Errrr … £75,’ I said. Little did I know it cost about £25 for a Parcel Force box of that weight. So yes, we probably made a loss on our first ever order! Brilliant!” The company’s big break came about 8 months or so later when some agents got involved. “We got the interest of a team of sales agents who were obviously clued up, clued in, knew the retailers and had influence. The fax machine started to ring. I’m sad to admit I got excited when the fax machine started ringing!” The funny cards started to sell, and the boxes started to empty. “I’m telling you, it’s a great feeling crushing down empty card and envelope boxes - not quite as exciting as the fax ringing, but close!” Jonny admits the second range wasn’t particularly great, but the third range was a winner. “Then one of the agents suggested we have a go at a more sentimental range. So we did, and it was a total success! The cards just flew out the door.” That was back in 2001, and since then the company has cemented its position as a verse-based company along the sentimental line, but branched out into other genres such as cute, juvenile and humour from time to time. “We started taking on staff and contracted the use of a wonderful family-run storage and despatch company, who seemed to love boxes more than we ever could, so we knew they were going to a good home! The team in the JJ office grew over the years and we now have a fabulously close-knit gang. We certainly wouldn’t be where we
The Jonny Javelin ranges
Fudge and Friends
are now without such a special group of people.” Over the past 20 years Jonny, Mandy and their team have built the business into a strong brand within their genre of cards. “It’s fair to say that words are a massive reason as to why JJ does so well. There are so many people out there who need the card to say the words they want to say. A blank card to them is simply no good. They know how they feel, but they’re just not sure how to say it. That’s when the superhero ‘words and sentiment’ companies come to the rescue!” And what does the future hold for the Jonny Javelin Card Company? “Will card sales diminish in the future as the outside pressures of postage, technology, recycling issues and paper sustainability increase, who knows? But for the immediate years to come, we’ll keep on coming up with the product that the word-loving card buyers seem to like!”
Our biggest and best-selling range is Velvet which has been going now for 7 years. This is a sentimental range which just keeps expanding. More titles are going to be released in January.
Velvet Moments is a complimentary range to Velvet. It’s a slimmed-down version but has expanded now to over 130 captions. There will be 12 new captions in January.
Fudge and Friends is our cute range starring Fudge the dog. Fudge is 6 years old now and although he’s been housetrained for some time - he’s still a puppy at heart! It’s a very popular range.
We released Signature this year and it reached the Henries finals in the words and sentiments category. More titles are being released in January.
Secret Garden Secret Garden is our floral range. This has recently expanded over the summer and more captions are to follow in January including additional ‘month of the year’ cards which have proved very popular.
Bling Bling is our multi-coloured foil range. It’s a bit trendier looking than the other JJ stuff, and it has a short verse or comment inside.
Fudge and Friends
Twingles Twingles is our funky juvenile range. It’s bright and colourful with lots of glitters and foils. It was recently refurbished.
Graffix Graffix is our youthful, ‘grungy’ graffiti range. It doesn’t feature verses but instead has just quick comments – after all the kids don’t have time to read four lines of verse do they!
W’SARD’S WARD WORDS WORDS
As we all become more socially and environmentally conscious, the kinds of gifts we buy and the packaging they come in are becoming a bigger purchasing consideration as the Giftware Association CEO Sarah Ward explains.
they are doing their part for the environment, he Giftware Association has the which I know will be a key strategy for the unique platform of having such a majority of companies within the giftware varied membership base covering world. the whole of the home and giftware DIY kits have also been very popular, world from toys and games, to candles to with people no longer satisfied with simply ethical gifts. We get to meet these members purchasing the final products, they want to get at Trade Shows, Meet The Buyer, Education into the act of making it themselves. Companies Seminars and through our Gift Of The Year such as BakedIN with their monthly delicious competition which enables us a unique insight baking kits, Ross and Ross with into the current trends and their sumptuous roast dinner the direction that the giftware Going plastic free kits with spice rubs and curing industry is heading. equipment and the awesome little Being socially and more is a buzz word for Den Kit Co, a kit designed for environmentally conscious is many companies kids to go in the wild and build a already a huge trend that we have looking inward makeshift camp with tarp, wooden seen creeping into the giftware hammer and information about world for quite some time. Going at what their surroundings are just a few plastic free is a buzz word for companies produce their of the ideas we’ve seen. We also many companies looking inward and what packaging have a cheese making kits and at what their companies produce beer making kits perform very and what packaging it uses. We it uses well in our competitions, because have seen card companies ditch who doesn’t like cheese or beer? the plastic and use innovative ways to keep A trend that myself and my team have seen the card and envelope together with the use at trade shows throughout the year is that of stickers or similar temporary fastenings. companies have opted for real stripped back Corn-starch, a biodegradable alternative, has stands with a more natural feel. Stands that are been used on cards and other products as an glaring with products or bright lights have been alternative to the plastic sleeve. Businesses are less commonplace and have been replaced with also promoting their various packaging options stands that offer a more relaxed environment too, allowing retailers to choose what works for for buyers to come in and browse products. I them at present. As the seas fill up with plastic, feel this new look makes the business and its land fill sites become more crowded and there products more approachable. The look and feel are worldwide protests against climate change, its time for all companies to react and show that is partly due to the sign of the times where we
Sarah Ward is Chief Executive of the Giftware Association which is at the heart of the gift industry supporting members by oﬀering invaluable advice and assistance. Coming originally from a retail background she then worked at Penny Kennedy gaining extensive knowledge in the card, wrap and stationery sector, and now utilises these skills across a broader environment. T: 0121 236 2657 T: 0121 236 2657 www.ga-uk.org www.ga-uk.org
have survived many years of austerity, but is also about being creative with what we have to create a nice buying experience. A lot of companies that follow this trend have come from Europe so its nice to see UK companies follow suit. The trend is filtering through to shop design and fitouts as people consider the buyer and their need to process what they see within the store. Being overwhelmed with products, lighting and signage may have been used in the past to attract attention, but now the focus is on the whole shopping experience and enabling customers to enjoy retail again. Colour will also be important, as always. Last year we had Marianne Shillingford from Dulux come and present the Dulux colour of the year 2019, which was Spiced Honey where we learned that there is much more that goes into choosing a colour, from the nations mood, the evolution of colour trends and its palettes, as no colour lives alone it needs a family of colours that can support it. The 2020 colour has recently been announced as Tranquil Dawn, a tone that is part green, blue and grey and mimics the morning sky. We are all very excited to see what this colour trend has in store for the giftware industry and what it will show of the incredibly challenging but exciting times ahead.
3D Advent Calendars
Insights-X goes from strength to strength as it enters its 5th year and continues to attract more visitors to the unique stationery event.
he fifth Insights-X, which took place in Nuremberg, Germany from October 9-12, once again underlined the success of the stationery expo’s unique concept. A trade fair for paper, office supplies and stationery, the event brings together leading brand manufacturers and suppliers of every size to the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre. An impressive 5,669 trade visitors from 85 countries flocked to the fair, representing a 3% increase on last year’s attendance. The timing of the event in Autumn provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to order products at the right time and find inspiration for their stores. Inspiration was in abundance from the 321 exhibitors who hailed from over 40 countries as they unveiled their latest trends and innovations in the office supplies, back-toschool and hobby sectors. With an extended support program and additional promotional activities, the organisation of the event was warmly received by retailers and buyers who attended, while exhibitors were full of praise for the atmosphere and the ability to develop quality contacts. Ernst Kick, CEO Spielwarenmesse eG, the event’s organisers, commented, “From the outset, our objective for
Insights-X has been to create a highquality event with a unique atmosphere. The solid result and the calibre of the visitors bear witness to the successful positioning of our fair for branded goods.” With 56% of exhibitors and 43% of visitors travelling to Nuremberg from overseas, the premium expo has clearly made its mark on the international stage. Well-known reputable companies and innovative start-ups reflected the diversity of the stationery industry across six product groups that were featured – Writing Utensils and Equipment, Paper and Filing, Artistic and Creative, Desktop, Bags and Accessories, and Stationery and Gift Articles. Despite the event’s ongoing success, it is still attracting new exhibitors each year. In 2019, recognisable German companies such as Marabu and Jakob Maul and Swedish manufacturer NPA Nordiskt Papper were among the newcomers to the fair. Market Development Manager Mariangeles Bravo felt that
the company’s first appearance at Insights-X had shown great potential, “The fair has a good concept. We are wanting to expand into the German market, and we will evaluate the fair afterwards. Assuming it is good, we will with high probability attend again in 2020.” The exhibitors at Insights-X value the key timing of the fair. Commenting on this decisive aspect, Gijs Verhaak, Director at Sima Europe, Holland, stated, “It’s the perfect moment for selling back to school. It’s essential to be at Insights-X.” Back to school is a booming market in Germany and other European countries and offers a great deal of potential for those wishing to tap into the recurring annual purchases for many families. From the extensive exhibitor list, 70 companies have been appearing at the fair
without interruption since its earliest beginnings and were honoured with an award at the fifth event. Among them was Colibri System, which this year almost doubled the size of its stand. Managing Director Alexander Brandt noted, “Insights-X is our main event and it’s becoming increasingly important for us internationally.” The majority of exhibitors praised the quality of the visitors. “Insights-X leads us to so many top-class contacts,” said Jürgen Zötzl from the eponymous company Zötzl. Besides forging new business relationships, the opportunity to showcase innovations is an important aspect
Insights-X 2019 in numbers 5669 trade visitors 321 exhibitors Attendance up 3%
for many exhibitors. Rolf Schifferens, Member of the Management Board at Faber-Castell, commented, “For us, this platform is perfect for unveiling new products and sales concepts and for giving our trading partners new ideas and inspiration.” Daniel Buchholzer, Chief Operations Officer at French company ExaClair, likewise, came to a positive conclusion, “We’re delighted with our appearance. We like the relaxed atmosphere at Insights-X which allows us to have informal conversations with our customers.” Independent retailer Lilja Gerber, who travelled to Nuremberg from the north of Germany, greatly appreciates the personal consultation: “At Insights-X, exhibitors take notice of me as an individual. They show and explain everything to me – basically, the
companies have time for me.” The expo’s supporting programme is, likewise, perfectly tailored to the visitors’ needs. Retailers and buyers got an overview of the latest product highlights and innovations at the new special area #Inspiration. Marketing Director Christian Ulrich said, “Rather than abstract trends featuring highbrow names, we prefer to give our trade visitors trend-setting, inspirational ideas that can be transferred to their own stores.” The popular workshops and creative sessions in the InsightsArena attracted as much attention as the new format InsightsTalks. The adjacent PartnerLounge was exclusively available to 20 participating associations and buying groups, joined for the first time this year by TÜKID from Turkey, “All the Turkish exhibitors were very pleased.
We hope that our partnership will increase with new ideas and projects,” stated SecretaryGeneral İrem Özkal. Likewise appearing at the stationery expo for the first time, German buying groups Prisma and Büroring, were able to take advantage of valuable synergies. Ernst Kick concluded, “Insights-X is a high-quality, hands-on fair that offers trade visitors and exhibitors the best possible synergies and services. We are committed to quality, which runs like a golden thread through our concept, a concept that will continue to be refined and expanded with
energy and dynamism. As we do so, the interests of our exhibitors and visitors will be given top priority.” Next year, Insights-X will take place from 14 to 17 October in Halls 10, 11 and 12 of Nuremberg Exhibition Centre. Further information can be found online at www.insights-x.com.
FEMININE & MOTHER’S DAY FEATURE SPRING SEASON PRODUCTS
It’s Not All Roses Poet and Painter
Flowers used to be the go-to motif when it came to feminine card ranges but now designers are getting braver in their image and text use, with nothing off limits anymore.
iamonds may be a girl’s best friend, and you can’t really go wrong with flowers, but the feminine card market knows no bounds when it comes to covering the interests and tastes of all kinds of women. Traditionally when it came to cards for the women in our lives, they inevitably were very soft and feminine featuring a pretty floral design and some sentimental text, but times have changed. The beautiful cards with bouquets and butterflies still have a place in the market and will continue
to be the card of choice for many of the wonderful women we know, be it a grandmother, aunt or teacher, but many designers are choosing to reflect the ‘reality’ of life as a woman in the 21st century with cheeky takes on parenthood, menopause and everything in between. In today’s world women are being seen as much more than “just” a mother or a wife and rightly so. There are cards to appeal to the sporty, academic, outdoorsy, baker, musical, animal-lover, gardener and many other interests. But that’s
What the retailers say... Oliver Guise-Smith, Cards & Gifts, Sheffield “My favourite has to be Cherry Orchard – always Cherry Orchard. We feel like family, they nurture us, and their range is just such a good standard. ICG is second favourite as they’re very up-to-date and good fellas. Our main customer base is women 40-80, not only to buy but to receive. Having the best feminine ranges is key when guys come into the store the day before Mother’s Day or a birthday and they have to buy something then and there.”
Andy Adamson, Caliope Gifts, Dorking “Feminine can end up with lots of variations but I like Wrendale as it’s not overly girly feminine but more cute. It’s very English countryside and is massively successful for us. It’s targeted to an older clientele and our customers love it, we started out with the cards but now carry about 10 categories. They’ve moved into lots of new product areas like water bottles which is great.”
Julia Keeling, Wishes of Cudworth, Cudworth, Barnsley “When it comes to feminine cards and Mother’s day, traditional and verse cards do well for us. Nannan is the most popular followed by Mam, it’s the dialect around here. But go 10-15 miles away and they’ll ask for something else.”
30 www.greetingstoday.co.uk 20
not to say the challenges of being a modern woman aren’t being honestly reflected in what products are available too. Poet and Painter has some honest views in their ranges that definitely are tongue in cheek.
In today’s world women are being seen as much more than “just” a mother or a wife and rightly so.
But whether it’s a card for a best friend that depicts her love of shopping and/or Prosecco, we know that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive and a bit of humour can convey our love as much as other words. Gin is starting to take over from Prosecco as the alcoholic beverage of choice in these designs, but whether a lady is a Rosé drinker or sticks to her Earl Grey tea, the right card is out there. Cards follow trends the same as everything else and while the fashion trend for 2019 has been for frills and bows in a lot of women’s attire, this translated into the greeting card market with embellishment and mixed-media items that had more than just a bit of flitter or glitter but really had some bling. We’ve seen the increased usage of reversible sequins in designs such as those by Redback cards and handcrafted finishes are appearing across the board. Nature will always be popular in feminine cards with different elements of the natural world
trend reflected with flowers, birds, butterflies and other small animals. Bees are becoming more apparent in both giftware and cards with Andrea Tripp of The Card Shop, Staple Hill stating some of her favourite items in the store at the moment feature the buzzing insects as the bright yellow “makes me smile.” Typically, pastel colours - beiges, pinks, greens - feature prominently in feminine ranges but it certainly doesn’t stop there. With the colour trends for next year being green/ grey/blue as per Dulux’s colour of the year, Tranquil Dawn, it opens up many opportunities for garden designs and landscapes, but also fashion and everyday designs. More colours tipped to be big in 2020 are brighter pinks and other sunnier shades that reflect Japanese Pop culture in anticipation for the Tokyo Olympics. Foils, laser cuts and etching are featured in more traditional Japanese-inspired feminine designs, but the Harajuku Girl and Anime styles that have stretched far beyond Tokyo, may translate very differently into the world of cards. Whatever the style, taste, career, hobby or interest it’s important we continue to celebrate and appreciate the women around us because as Beyoncé says, “Who Run The World – Girls!”
FEMININE & MOTHER’S DAY FEATURE
Dandelion Stationery Created by the amazing Amy Bradley at the Art of Brilliance, Dandelion Stationery’s newest additions for Spring 2020 are contemporary and playful, featuring pops of colour and a sparkling gold foil finish. Guaranteed to make Mum smile, these cards are printed onto luxury 300gsm board and finished off with metallic gold foil. They’re supplied with recycled kraft envelopes (because we love trees) & individually wrapped in cello wrappers. RRP £2.75. Spring Seasons 2020 is available to order now. Get in touch with the office to get your copy.
T. 01332 695359
Following on from the success of the recently launched ‘Fiori Rosa’ collection, Rosanna Rossi has created a gorgeous range of Mother’s Day cards for 2020. Featuring handpainted flowers, colourful brush strokes and floral patterns it’s perfect for the Spring season. Each card measures 150mm x 150mm and is printed with zesty pops of colour, beautifully embossed on a high-quality white board and presented with a complementing blue envelope. Alongside this are new additions to the Kirra collection including Kirra mini card measuring 125mm x 125mm. A popular extension to the Kirra range with charming, painterly illustrations covering birthday, get well, thank you and new home titles.
Redback’s stunning, feminine designs in their Shine and Pinata collections are the perfect way to remind the fabulous ladies in your life just how amazing they are. Shine offers vibrant peacocks and colourful watermelons that are sure to add some sparkle to your special occasion. The fun continues from Redback’s reversible sequin patches, to the charming enamel pins. Pinata includes playful rainbows and statement phrases such as ‘Super Mum’, making them a brilliant choice for Mother’s Day too! With both collections featuring reusable keepsakes, these dazzling designs are sure to make her day ‘Super’ special.
T: 01752 830482 www.redbackcards.com
T: 07900 698522 www.rosanna-rossi.co.uk
30 www.greetingstoday.co.uk 22
Janice Daughters Beautiful Bouquet Collection from Art by Janice Mothers deserve a floral tribute whether it’s for Mother’s Day or for their birthday. These special cards are adaptable for both events. The bright florals designed by Janice Daughters say more than just a bunch of flowers. With an array of other designs suitable for females.
www.artbyjanice.co.uk T. 07860 633490
Poet and Painter Poet and Painter make cards for everybody, but there will always be a special place in their work for the people who make it all happen – women! With women making up 85% of the card buying public, whether you need a card that really speaks to you about parenting, teenagers, menopause, cancer, or what a marriage really looks like, we’ve got something for that. We think that what resonates with us needs to be on a greetings card. So, whether it’s recognising what a single parent does or finding the humour in ‘the change’, that’s what we want to do. Because we know that if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry (if you’re not already with the hot flushes and the teenage tantrums).
T 07779 064894 www.poetandpainter.co.uk
Cinnamon Aitch As pretty as the springtime, Cinnamon Aitch’s Mother’s Day cards for 2020 are a charming mix of soft pinks, delicate ink drawings, and contemporary photographic elements. There are birds and bees, roses and peonies amongst the feminine themed imagery, hand decorated with sparkly gems and small satin bows. Inspired by the best-selling extra-large Piccadilly range, the cards are a generous 165mm square, £1.45 each, RRP £3.50. Luxurious and feminine cards for Mother’s Day and with a special range of four beautifully packaged soaps in coordinating wrap to go with them... just perfect for all those special Mums.
T: 0121 773 6833 www.cinnamonaitch.co.uk www.greetingstoday.co.uk 23
WITH HENRI DAVIS
It’s all to play for
Playing games with family and friends is a great way of relaxing and having fun, not only that but for those of us who are keen to put our phones down and forget about social media for a while they are a good solution.
n the past playing games was a normal part of a day particularly when it was too cold to play outdoors and television was only on 3 channels. Board games were a favourite but card games were great if there were just a few of you or time was short. A signiﬁcant change at the moment is the huge increase in the number of games being developed for adults that are not to be played on X boxes or phones but rather sitting down and spending time together. As retailers we are always looking for the next product to stock to drive sales, games and jigsaws tick so many boxes and if you haven’t done so already, I would seriously consider trialling a couple of key lines this Christmas. Wild and Wolf have been pleased with the growth they have seen from their games and puzzles this year. Ridley’s Puzzles are performing +70% and their original Games an astonishing +259%! Avocado Smash™, their fast-paced Avocado-themed take on Snap, is the single biggest selling product they have ever produced and translated copies are available in Hungary, Israel, Poland and Korea! New AW19 Games are already selling well and they have introduced party games too with Think Fast™ which is proving popular with millennials and families. This sales momentum will carry on into Christmas which is great news for their stockists. They believe this growth of games and puzzles will continue so they will launch more unique own-IP games as more and more people are
looking for real life experiences with friends and family, and parents are keen to limit screen time, board and card games are a perfect way to spend quality time together. Lagoon games are really beneﬁtting from this trend too as Director Heather Watherston tells me. “At Lagoon we are seeing growth in two main areas: family games and games with novel packaging. I think with the continued uncertainty in the market, staycations are becoming more and more popular and with Britain’s reliably unreliable weather, games that parents and children can play together while on holiday are becoming increasingly sought-after. Our David Walliams range is a good example and the 2019 Mega-Tastic Challenges Game and Plasticine Ready Steady Sculpt have also been favourites. In austere times, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a gift you just need something with a bit of WOW factor our “takeaway” range of games with novel food-style packaging, movie quiz in popcorn-style packaging and after dinner quiz in chocolate box-style packaging all have that.” Gibsons are having a very successful 100th year seeing huge growth as the mindfulness trend has really taken off. They see puzzles and games as the perfect way to ‘digitally detox’ as people step away from smartphones. There is often a natural decline in puzzle and games sales during the summer months but this hasn’t been as extreme this year as all ages are enjoying the humble puzzle whatever the weather! They are hoping for a very successful autumn/winter season as bad weather = peak puzzle time!
Henri Davis is an independent retail advisor to businesses in the cards, gifts, stationery and heritage industries, with 35 years of retail experience. She has worked for Habitat, Next, WHSmith and the National Trust and now advises small and medium-sized businesses, including retailers, visitor attractions, manufacturers and suppliers. She is the first retailer deputy chairman of the Giftware Association and the recipient of this year’s Greats Honorary Achievement Award. For more information visit www.henridavis.co.uk.
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Their new White Logo range is more design-led and targets a younger puzzler, the best-seller so far is ‘Avocado Park’ and they have also just launched ‘I Love Weddings’ a new addition to the award winning ‘I Love’ range by artist Mike Jupp which has sold over 1 million in the UK! Developing new games is a real art with 3,500 new games are launched every year. To ﬁnd an idea that can be explained easily, sounds fun enough to buy and is satisfying to play is a big ask, Big Potato are particularly good at this. The team realise that with all this choice, deciding on a new familyfavourite can be a tricky business so they always try to catch the customer’s eye by making their games look as friendly as possible. James Vaughan comments that “This year, two of our games have stood out in sales. Blockbuster, a movie party game that arrives in a VHS and provides an instant throwback for anyone who’s ever seen a movie. The second is Weird Things Humans Search For, an internet search game that you can understand just by looking at the box. With all our games, we treat the packaging the same way we treat the games inside – by making sure that they’re easy to understand and appealing to everyone.” Bubblegum Stuff are another company that are brilliant at coming up with innovative ideas and Weird Crushes – British Hunks is a great example of this. Business founder Courtney Wood says “We’ve all got one of those bizarre celebrity crushes that’s always shut down with a disgusted “Wait, what? Really?”. Now you can embrace all those guilty pleasures geeky heartthrobs, loveable personalities, diamonds in the rough, check. Move over Ryan Gosling, it’s time for some new sex symbols.” With winter coming and us all spending more time indoors games and jigsaws seem to be perfectly placed to be a great seller for us this year, I would say there is all to play for!
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BANKSY VS FULL COLOUR BLACK
Banksy vs Full It’s a case of David versus Goliath with card publishers Full Colour Black involved in a legal dispute with artist Banksy over a trademark application, but both sides are claiming to be the underdog.
eclusive graffiti artist Banksy recently hit the headlines when he opened a ‘shop’ as part of a campaign to secure a trademark application on his art. One aspect of the application is being opposed by card publisher Full Colour Black, leading to a legal dispute which has ramifications that could impact many in the greeting card industry and beyond. Banksy has claimed that after legal advice, he opened a homewares store in Croydon to avoid his trademark being used under EU law. The store called Gross Domestic Product has a range of “impractical and offensive” merchandise that can be purchased online. The online portal has just opened with prospective buyers required to register their interest in one item only and answer a tie breaker question in no more than 50 words by the closing date. An independent judge will examine the responses and choose the “most apt and original (in the sole opinion of the judge).” Upon the shop’s opening, Banksy said in a statement, “A greetings card company is contesting the trademark I hold to my art and attempting to take custody of my name so they can sell their fake Banksy merchandise legally.” In response to Banksy’s claims in the media, Andrew Gallagher the owner of Full Colour Black released a statement contesting many of the artist’s arguments. Refuting the depiction of the business as a corporate entity that was attempting to take custody of Banksy’s name, he said they are a small business with only three staff that legally photograph’s public graffiti to make available to the general public. The statement on Facebook said, “We make cards because Banksy never makes anything available to his fans. We all love his graffiti. He doesn’t want you to have it and he’s hoping to trick you into thinking that we’re hurting his business. We’re not. We don’t infringe
his rights in any way. We don’t use his trademarks or his brand name. We make cards that feature Banksy’s Public Graffiti. It’s a legitimate enterprise.” The dispute is ongoing with the hearing due soon, although Full Colour Black claims to have tried to find an amicable solution with Andrew stating, “We’ve written to Banksy, his team and his lawyers many times since 2010 to say that we want to pay royalties to him. He doesn’t want it.” In fact, despite trying to protect his rights in this case, Banksy hasn’t changed his position on copyright and said, “I still encourage anyone to copy, borrow, steal and amend my art for amusement, academic research or activism.” So, while this fight is being waged in the media and the courtrooms, ultimately it boils down to issues of trademark, copyright and Banksy’s secret identity. As John Coldham, Intellectual Property Partner, Gowling WLG explained, “This is an interesting dispute over the sale of greetings cards that feature “public artwork” (aka graffiti) by Banksy. The greetings card company is selling cards that reproduce his work. This could give rise to a claim of copyright infringement by Banksy, as he will own this automatically upon creation of the work. However, this dispute also seems to be about trademarks and I assume this is because, to start a copyright infringement claim, Banksy would have to reveal his real name on court papers.” Banksy protects and authenticates his work via a trademark registered under the name Pest Control Services Limited, which allows him to remain anonymous. However, to retain his trademark after the first five years of registration, he has to be seen to be using it in a ‘use it or lose it’ scenario. Complications arise in this instance over the timings of the use of the art under the trademark. “Banksy has been advised to start a homeware
Full Colour Black
shop to ensure his trademark is being used for the types of goods he has registered his trademark for. However, if he started that use after the greetings card company said it would attack the trademark for non-use, it will be too late to save the trademark. Banksy might be better filing a new trademark to restart the five-year period,” John said. “So Banksy has a choice – claim copyright infringement and lose anonymity or claim trademark infringement and risk losing his trademark for the goods and services he has not used for five years.”
Artists retain the copyright of the work upon its creation, even graffiti. “Graffiti is an artistic work so is capable of having copyright protection,” said ACID (Anti Copying In Design) legal affiliate Gavin Llewellyn of Stone King. “Generally, artists prefer to rely on copyright protection as there is no requirement to register this and pay for renewal fees. As a talented creator, Banksy is doing all he can to protect his intellectual property whilst remaining anonymous through the use of trademarks.” The artwork at the centre of this debate is Banksy’s Flower Thrower,
ll Colour Black with an item on the online store featuring the piece across three frames. ACID’s legal affiliate doesn’t believe this product will be enough to prove trademark use. “It is doubtful that this amounts to trademark use because the artwork is being used decoratively,” said Gavin. Of course, Banksy and his team would be hoping otherwise. But whichever way the court’s decision goes, there are ramifications for both sides. “If the trademark survives the attack, then greetings card companies will have to ensure they do not use the Banksy name in connection with their products. This is likely to cause difficulty in using the artwork either, as it is important that if you use a copyright work, you attribute it to the author. However, the person who would bring action in relation to this would be the owner of the copyright, which leads to the same issue for Banksy that he would have to reveal
his identity (as use of the artwork itself is an infringement of his copyright),” John Coldham adds. ACID says there are some very easy ways for both artists and greeting card companies (or similar businesses), to protect themselves against these sorts of disputes and claims, “The simple answer is that companies should obtain licences to use any intellectual property that is owned by someone else – this includes graffiti artworks. Companies can also hire their own artists to create greeting cards providing that in the artist’s employment contract the intellectual property is retained by the employer or appropriate assignments
are entered into with freelancers. Greeting card companies could be distributors of artist’s own cards if the artist manufactures their own cards. A commercial arrangement will ensure that all parties’ interests are covered and limit potential claims of infringement,” explained Gavin. It seems unlikely at this point in time that Banksy will choose to license his work to a greeting card company or anyone else. Andrew Gallagher has attempted to work with Banksy and does follow the licensing model with other graffiti artists. “I saw a fantastic graffiti of the Queen in a Betty Grable swimsuit in Camden a few years ago, so I called a few of my friends in the graffiti underworld and learned it was a young man who
“I want to reassure all our retailers that we have licensing on our images and their support to us is always welcome.”
goes under the name of Pegasus. I tracked him down and agreed a deal with him to make cards of his street art. He’s like a modern Andy Warhol. There’s even one card on our site of Prince Harry in the buff,” Andrew adds. “I want to reassure all our retailers that we have licensing on our images and their support to us is always welcome.” Whatever the final result of the trademark case, it poses a warning to everyone that licensing and having commercial agreements in place when using artwork of any description on any marketable products is definitely the best policy. Agreements are there to protect the interests of the artists and the business involved and can reduce the confusion associated with copyright and ownership. Banksy’s legal representative was contacted for comment but did not respond by the print deadline.
Statement from Andrew Gallagher, owner of Full Colour Black Dear All, You have probably read the news about Full Colour Black and Banksy and are wondering what is happening. Earlier this year I learned that Banksy’s management company made a Trademark application relating to some very old street grafﬁti. Trademarks can only be made if a person intends to trade with it. Banksy’s management have never made products available to the general public or through local retailers. Despite opening “a shop” in Croydon (an art installation in my opinion) I ﬁnd it highly unlikely that they will begin selling greeting cards featuring his grafﬁti to local retailers. My company Full Colour Black Limited is challenging just ONE trademark application: a street grafﬁti done over fourteen years ago seen around London, Bristol and in Bethlehem. Before I started my objection, I contacted Banksy’s management to explain that Public Domain grafﬁti was integral to my business and that we would not object to their applications and could we become an ofﬁcial partner. They did not respond. Now that the hearing date is getting close, they have begun a defensive PR campaign saying that we are trying to take his name. This is entirely inaccurate. We are NOT trying to take Banksy’s name. Our business Full Colour Black have been legally photographing Public Domain grafﬁti and using it on Greeting Cards since 2007. We supply many hundreds of gift shops, book sellers, museums and galleries throughout the world. Our business is a legitimate enterprise. If there was ever any legal issue, Banksy’s legal team would have contacted us a long time ago. We’ve been catering to Banksy fans with cards for twelve years now without issue. All of the 160+ images that are in our catalogue were either photographed by us or licensed from the copyright owner and are cleared for use. We have arguably the largest private, licensed collection of Banksy’s grafﬁti in the world. The news recently relates only to our objection to their Trademark application.
Full Colour Black
VERSE SENTIMENT FEATURE SPRINGAND SEASON PRODUCTS
Lost For Words
In times of heartbreak, loss or illness, finding the right words can be hard but that’s when people turn to verse and sympathy cards to say what they are feeling no matter what the trouble is.
ot everyone has the writing skills of Shakespeare or Jane Austen, or any other literary figure, but that doesn’t mean people won’t put pen to paper to try and convey their feelings to a loved one or friend who is going through a rough time. But saying the right words can be a challenge, so people turn to verse cards to express themselves more eloquently. Verses today can vary in length from a few poignant lines to several pages of moving text and each will try to communicate human emotions to describe our shared pain in times of
Words n Wishes
bereavement. A card can say what we can’t. Creative Consultant, Geoff Sa nderson (formerly of Moonpig) said in his address at the Greeting Card Association AGM, “The heart of the card is the words.” The words can be poetic, humorous, touching, tactful or even blunt, as long as it says what a person feels then it has achieved its goal. By their very nature, sympathy and sentiment cards are designed to make the recipients feel better,
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even if it is briefly. As Julian Royle of Royle Publications commented at the recent AGM, “We are in the happiness business, producing material that generally provides comfort and happiness for the recipient.” Happiness when someone is grieving is often in short supply, but the right card can still bring a smile. Of course, it isn’t just losing a family member where sympathy cards come into play, the pet market is a growth category for many animal lovers. For those that dote on their four-legged fur kids, be it a cat or a dog (and some other animals), there are now sympathy and sentiment cards for when they are poorly or sadly pass away. Pet owners will even buy cards from one pet to another, or from the dog to the other family members and so on. And while this market is continually expanding to cover more furry friends and pets, it isn’t completely comprehensive yet. When discussing this topic one retailer told the story of a customer who asked if he had a card for a hamster to give to the dog? He joked with the customer saying she was getting far too specific. In the age of personalisation and online ordering, cards to fit this purpose may not be far off, but the odds of small retailers carrying such precise designs might be a tall order when shelf space is at a premium. Another area that is evolving in this category is ‘Thinking of You’ which is beginning to merge with mindfulness. New sending occasions are being created
What the retailers say... Andy Adamson, Caliope Gifts, Dorking “That’s easy, my favourite has to be Dandelion. They have actually sat down and thought about it. They have lots of different occasions and variations. They made a Hanukkah card and they’re moving into all the occasions. Other companies do similar, but Dandelion have been brave. When it comes to the verse, they put a message that isn’t cloying but rather feels like someone has sat down and written it.”
as people are becoming more aware of themselves and others and stop to think of friends and family in all sorts of times of need. Mental health awareness and the attempts to remove the stigma associated with mental health problems are opening up avenues for discussion and a simple card to show you care, can go a long way with a friend when they are feeling low. “Emotions are the same for every generation,” according to Geoff Sanderson and whether the person is young or old, they can still be kind and considerate with a small gift or card. Death, illness, injury and other problems happen to us all at one time or another and we all know others who are dealing with the same worries. Showing sympathy or empathy through a card is a personal experience we all can share. Cinnamon Aitch
Ellie Bartle, Tigerlillys, Littleover “Stephanie Dyment has been doing really well. I’ve not been doing them long but they’re very simple and people like that. The Hidden Pearl Studio is another popular one. She’s an artist who does beautiful work with quite positive quotes. I really liked one that had ‘A Life Well Lived’ and really seemed to celebrate life.”
Paul Cheshire, White Mint, Berkhamsted “We carry the mini cards that say hugs or kisses or simple things to say, ‘we’re thinking of you’. Card Nest is good for those sorts of things, another one is Lagom Design. We also have flowery blanks cards from Whistlefish. It’s a tricky category to get right. It’s such a personal thing to say the right kind of sentiment. Of course, the category is open to interpretation as someone recently wanted a card to say ‘Thinking of You’ because a pet had gone missing. We haven’t got them yet but we’re considering some cards that say, ‘It’s going to be OK’ and are a bit more uplifting. It’s still sympathy for someone who is ill but a bit more positive.”
VERSE AND SENTIMENT FEATURE
Cherry Orchard Cherished is a stunning new sentiment range featuring 24 beautiful designs from Cherry Orchard. Each card has an insert of 8 pages, with 6 pages of contemporary sentimental verse. The artwork is finished with a luxurious fluted foil, giving these cards a lovely keepsake quality. Retailing at a code 150 price point (RRP £3.99), this is a card for those customers looking for something extra special and a product that has an elegant style in the designs and finish plus a substantial booklet insert of emotional verse.
T: 01684 295500 www.cherryorchardpublishing.co.uk
Cinnamon Aitch The Aurora range from Cinnamon Aitch is an uplifting little range of 12 notelet cards full of beautiful sentiments such as ‘Thinking of you’ and ‘Sending love and hugs’. Designs are finished in gorgeous antique gold foil against a creamy parchment background, 95mm x 125mm and 83p each, RRP £1.99. There are also many sentiment and sympathy cards in the best-selling Piccadilly range, with this simple yet beautiful lily design just one option to choose from, hand finished with a satin bow and silver foiled text, £1.25 each, RRP £2.99.
T: 0121 773 6833 www.cinnamonaitch.co.uk
Nigel Quiney Publications We have for a number of years produced an annual Sympathy package. Our range of eight bereavement cards are designed to reflect this sensitive time. It can sometimes be difficult to know what to say and you have a choice from traditional, sentimental and artistic sympathy cards and include a beautifully written verse to let someone know how sorry you are for their loss. Added to this there are four new Thinking of You and four Get Well cards to give a greater depth of product.
T: 01799 520200 www.nigelquiney.com 30 www.greetingstoday.co.uk
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VERSE AND SENTIMENT FEATURE
Words ‘N’ Wishes Words ’n’ Wishes have always been strong on words and sentiments and their popular range, ‘Thoughts Of You’ is no different. Comprising of 14 captions that cover both everyday and occasions, each card has a thought-provoking sentiment on the front as well as a heartfelt four-line verse inside. The range features delicate fluted antique gold foil and has an updated modern traditional feel with lovely watercolour artworks. Available in code 75 and code 50 price points.
T: 01942 233201 www.words-n-wishes.co.uk
Dandelion Stationery From the best-selling Words of Wisdom Collection these cards are printed onto luxury 300gsm FSC board. Each card is lovingly hand finished with subtle sparkles by a team of local people. Supplied with 130gsm rustic brown kraft envelopes which are made in the UK from recycled paper. Card dimensions are 114 mm x 162 mm & are available to order in multiples of 3. RRP £2.75. T. 01332 695359 www.dandelionstationery.co.uk
ON THE SHOP FRONT
VIEWPOINT FROM AN INDEPENDENT
Getting Greener Everyone wants to do their bit to reduce plastic and be more environmentally conscious but Ellie Bartle argues that there’s no one solution for the problem
e all want the world to be a better place and there are realistic things we can do to actually make that happen. The reduction of singleuse plastic is the current topic of interest. It’s easy for cynics to claim that this is just a trend that will lose its novelty value in a couple of months, but I don’t agree. I think the ‘we-need-to-be-more-ecoconscious’ switch was ﬂipped on around the time of the introduction of the ﬁve pence carrier bag charge. The matter was given so much publicity and caused such an uproar, I didn’t believe the initiative would last. But now, I appreciate the tactic of asking consumers to pay for something they had previously taken for granted as being free was the perfect trigger for change. Even though I don’t charge my customers for carrier bags I have noticed a dramatic decrease in my usage. I would estimate that at least 75% less carrier bags pass through my door. It’s not just plastic bags either but paper bags too. The majority of my customers come in armed with a plethora of foldup shoppers, fabric totes and supermarket Bags for Life. This highlights that consumer behaviour has altered, and not simply for ﬁnancial reasons, but out of a genuine interest in and concern for the environment. But is the independent retailer ready for the naked card movement and what that means for our businesses and customers? More and more of the greetings card suppliers are now offering a range of packaging options for their cards; some are recyclable, some are biodegradable and compostable, some use card clasps, and others are completely naked. Whilst I can’t praise the action being taken highly enough, and as much as my heart would love to jump on board with never having a wrapper on any card in my shop
ever again, it sadly isn’t that simple from a seller’s perspective. My main worry is the impact naked cards will have on carrier bag use. Customers often remark that they’re happy to go bagless because the card is wrapped and protected. Will unwrapped cards cause an increase in customers saying yes to carrier bags again and undo some of the brilliant work done by the carrier bag charges? Is it just a problem being replaced by another problem? There’s also the obvious concern of cards becoming torn, creased and getting generally grubby on shop shelves without a wrapping. Seeing customers have a good old riﬂe through my card offerings is an absolute joy and I don’t want to be inwardly screaming at them to be careful or hoping they haven’t just polished off a jam doughnut. I also don’t want customers to be too afraid of damaging cards to rummage through in order to ﬁnd the perfect item. Too much over-cautiousness is going to lead to empty-handedness. Utilising ﬂoor or counter-top spinners dedicated to naked cards is a possible solution. A spinner keeps cards straight in their pockets and easily showcases a variety of designs without clumping different ones together on a single shelf. I’m
is the independent retailer ready for the naked card movement and what that means for our businesses and customers?
Each month an independent retailer takes up their pen (or taps away at their keyboard) as a guest columnist for Greetings Today. This month we hear from Ellie Bartle, who runs Tigerlillys in Littleover, Derbyshire, www.tigerlillyslittleover.com www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday
trialling this method this season as my main open Christmas card supplier, Whistleﬁsh, has gone fully naked. I have a counter-top rack designated especially for my naked open Christmas cards. But shops only have so much ﬂoor space, and tiny shops will struggle to ﬁt in large spinners full of cards. It certainly isn’t a practical solution for displaying every single card this way. Recyclable wrappings are a step forward. Of course, they are preferable to non-recyclable wrappings, but as the aim is to cut down on singleuse plastic and, if some of our recycling still ends up in landﬁll and oceans, will this serve the cause much in the long-run? But, as a short-term solution whilst we all ﬁnd our feet, it is a positive change. Lastly, we have biodegradable and compostable wrappings. Made from corn starch, these wrappers can be put in your compost bin or general waste and are said to completely vanish within a year. Personally, given a choice, this is the option I would pick for the presentation of cards in my shop. They do the same job at protecting cards as plastic wrappings and they can be wiped clean if needed, but they are inﬁnitely more environmentally friendly. I make a small collection of my own greetings cards and I’ve switched over to using these biodegradable wrappings on them. I’ve found them to be cost effective for me, as well as being very well received by my customers. I would be interested to hear how other makers have found them as I have heard the issue of shelflife being raised as a potential stumbling block for some. Becoming more environmentally friendly in our work and home lives can be easy if we are eco-conscious, knowledgeable and intentional consumers. Ask yourself; why am I choosing this product over that one? Is there an eco-friendlier alternative that I can use instead? What isn’t easy, is being perfect at it. We need to rid ourselves of the guilt and the pressure when we do inevitably have to use and throw away a little plastic. Not everything is going to change overnight. We can’t adapt our routines, habits and practices instantly.
North, south, east, west, wherever you go, retailers know their business the best. Four shop owners from the corners of the UK give their opinions on this month’s Greetings Today features.
North - Denise Laird, Spirito, Glasgow Although we are pre-occupied at the moment with planning and preparations for which is hopefully going to be a busy run-up to christmas, I also have one eye open for the spring season ahead and thinking about the next big card buying occasions, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day. The Art File, fresh from their deserved double triumph at this year’s Henries, have a beautiful range of Mother’s Day cards featuring strong, bright, bold floral designs that really pop. In response to the desire to be more sustainable they also plan to introduce an option to receive the cards wrapped or unwrapped with a financial incentive to ‘go naked’ next spring. Other Mother’s Day ranges that have caught my eye for 2020 is Doddle Girl by Blue Eyed Sun designed by Marnie Marri which is hand finished with jewels and biodegradable glitter, and a particular favourite is a really cute card by Pigment Productions with the adorable wording “You Deserve the World! It just wouldn’t fit in the envelope”. As well as the big occasions, we also have a steady yearround demand for Sympathy cards. We find that customers take a great amount of care and time choosing the right card to say what the spoken word cannot at a particularly difficult time for the recipient. That doesn’t mean that customers are looking for traditional designs and two ranges that offer nice contemporary sympathy and thinking of you designs are Molly Mae with soft palettes and lovely botanical designs and Caroline Gardner which feature delicate, pretty pastel flowers.
East - Kathy Starr, Gifted, Thaxted, Essex While we are in the midst of getting things finalised for Christmas and preparing for upcoming half-term break, despite the hectic schedule we still have to think about the year ahead. The spring season is always a reason to stock our shelves and if the ranges we buy from offer a Mother’s Day card then we usually get it and will top up our order with everyday selections. In our area, our customers like more traditional styles and designs and we are asked for the customary ‘Mothering Sunday’ cards in particular. But just to cover ourselves, we ensure we have cards for Mum, Mummy and Grandma too – as nobody wants to get left out or forgotten (and nor should they)! The ranges that do well for us are ones from Thinking of Me, Belly Button and Cinnamon Aitch to name a few. Now back to my Christmas preparations!
South - Dave Hockridge, Present Surprise, Chichester Having shuffled things around to provide a good choice for the festive season, we are now in full Christmas mode. Because the shop is small, we have to think very carefully about what we can fit in at this time of year. A regular groan we hear is that “all the shops” remove their Birthday cards and “forget that people have birthdays at this time of year”. We try to make sure that we still provide a good choice of Feminine cards and keep our best sellers on display, keeping a supply of Bug Art, Nigel Quinney and Five Dollar Shake to tide us over. We’ve recently taken on two new suppliers in Angela Faulkner and Lola Designs – both sets of designs are striking and are selling well. It’s worth remembering that a couple of well-placed samples can make all the difference. Female drink related cards are always the biggest sellers and are often paired with gin or wine glasses. We’re not judging, but I do like their thinking. Flowery cards tend to be bought by older people and teamed with gardening gifts, while sparkly Five Dollar Shake and Nigel Quinney cards go with more ornate gifts. It’s always fun guessing what people are looking for and we can normally guess what the purchase is going to be - but every now and then there’s a rude Dean Morris card buy that surprises us. Generally, we stock blank cards so that they are suitable for any occasion and customers can add their own message. This helps us to provide a good choice and means customers can adapt their message to suit their requirements. There are still some customers looking for cards with words in them, but mostly, our customers seem quite happy with what they can get from us.
West - Chris Manship, The Card Shop, Cardiff BMA sentiment cards have always been very popular, however Cherry Orchard also have a few cards that we call “a hug for you” as sometimes customers just want to write their own words. With Mother’s Day it’s definitely “Mam” cards, us Welsh love a Mam Card and we find BGC and our locally crafted suppliers always have very good designs. We have also found that customers have started to be a bit riskier when choosing a Mother’s Day Card, last year Cheeky Chops filled that slot perfectly – more of their cards and gifts for us next year for sure! Sympathy Cards is a very difficult one as we try and use different suppliers all the time. The generation who send the majority of sympathy cards always look for something different and new, Simon Elvin and Cherry Orchard always produce a fine card that fits the bill.
ABOUT SALES Caroline Gardner
Very Sympathetic S
You Comfort & Strength’ by Caroline Gardner. ympathy cards are a big seller in the Most card companies will have one or possibly greeting card industry and although two sympathy cards in a range, but I even have one most publishers include at least one in company now that have produced a complete range each range, you can never have enough of 18 sympathy cards with lots of different sentiments sympathy. When I ﬁrst started in the industry on the front. The Handcrafted Card Company have the only options were either Deepest Sympathy everything from ‘You are in or Thinking of You. With the our thoughts and prayers’ to demand being so high for these Having a large choice religious verses, plus they have a cards (because let’s face it the only thing guaranteed in this of sympathy cards also card dedicated to the passing of virtually every relative possible. life if that none of us are getting helps agents tap into Having a range that will appeal out alive), some publishers are the ﬂorist market as to a variety of tastes and needs starting to get more imaginative often this will be one of with various captions and imagery with the captions. the products they will covers the spectrum of buyers Many people will know who inevitably buy the cards. someone who is suffering from require the most. Cinnamon Aitch, Laura Darrington a long drawn out illness so ‘Get and Museums & Galleries also Well’ soon doesn’t always cut it, as have a mix of designs that have wide appeal. sadly sometimes they may never get better but just There is even a market now for loss of a pet cards as wish to make the most of whatever time they have. many of us are dog and/or cat lovers, Caroline Gardner There are now some great captions that ﬁt this bill has a few pet-themed designs as do others. The loss of perfectly such as ‘My Heart Goes Out To You’ a pet or ‘fur-child’ can quite often be just as traumatic from The Handcrafted Card Company or ‘Sending
as losing a family member and so card companies are starting to tap into this market by designing cards featuring paw prints and animal graphics. Having a large choice of sympathy cards also helps agents tap into the ﬂorist market as often this will be one of the products they will require the most. Many people will send ﬂowers to grieving family members and a card is needed to go along with the condolences. If a publisher only has a few sympathy cards it can be difﬁcult to get enough cards that they need to make up a carriage paid order. As an agency we carry mostly hand ﬁnished card ranges so this can also be hard for designers to include a sympathy card in a range that has lots of sparkle or bright accessories stuck on the front. So often this is the title that is missed out from the range. This is possibly another good reason to produce a complete range that could include titles such as Get Well, Thinking of You, Sympathy and other sentiments and even blank cards with images that could be used when it’s hard to ﬁnd the right words that would ﬁll this gap. Quite often when sending a sympathy card, it can be really difﬁcult to know what to say as no words can really take away the pain of losing a loved one. While they say “it’s the thought that counts” when it comes to gifts, this sentiment is still true when it comes to sympathy, condolences and well wishes. Having a wider range of cards to choose from with different kinds of sentiment on the front make this a little easier. If the wording on the front pretty much says what you want to say, it can then just be a simple, ‘with love from…’ inside.
Neil Greenwood (Reil Agencies, T: 07766 736254) is an experienced independent greetings industry sales agent in the Northwest. www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday
Big Moves BLE visitor numbers grew in 2019 with a 3 per cent rise, with the move to ExCeL London opening up new opportunities for exhibitors and improving the visitor experience.
n 2019, Brand Licensing Europe moved to ExCeL London with more brands vying for attention and the all-important licensing deals. Over 8,000 visitors made their way to the exhibition centre in London’s historic Royal Docks to see the growing number of exhibitors which was up to 268. Split between three categories – Art, Design & Image, Brands & Lifestyle and Character & Entertainment, organisations big and small had everything from stationery to clothing, toys, gifts and more available for licensing opportunities. A small contingent of artists and agents mixed with the big boys to show off their designs, offering ideas for cards, calendars, stationery, artwork, homewares, linen and more. After her win at last year’s License This! competition Sarah Burman of Sarah Burman Design was busy with multiple meetings regarding her delightful animal illustrations which she has now developed into her own greeting card range. Located in the next stand, last year’s other winner in the Character & Animation category, Zara Picken, used the chance to promote her pre-school brand, Oddcats! to its full effect with brightly coloured merchandise. At Claire Louise Creative Studio it is watercolour art at the centre of the card designs that go from the ever-popular feminine themed shoes and accessories through to scenic
landscapes and cute critters. Sustainability was the overriding issue at the event, with seminars, new products and all manner of information available to help those in the industry to tackle the problem. It seems companies of all sizes are working on ideas to limit single use plastics, make goods recyclable or use recycled materials in the manufacturing process. There were some very clever displays and packaging is being reconsidered by many and the concepts of fast fashion and throwaway toys are not the priorities they once were. In the License Global Theatre, at the panel discussion on why the impact of sustainability can’t be ignored on licensing, Paul De’Ath, Course Leader BA Product Design Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts was optimistic about the licensing industry’s ability to overcome the challenges regarding sustainability and said, “People are having to be very smart in the creative industry to make things happen. To provide solutions requires clever innovation.” New ideas are being developed across the retail and manufacturing markets and as more people take up the challenge, costs are improving. Trudie Bishop, Director of Bee Licensing Consultancy believes, “Sustainability is not a luxury and it should not be a luxury, it’s a need.” In the Retail Trends Lounge, there were discussions on what to plan for
in 2020 and beyond. Founder and CEO of Trend Bible, Joanna Feeley and Senior Trend Strategist, Lauren Zayya suggested trends to look for in the coming months are Studio Kawaii thanks to the driving force of the Tokyo Olympics. With pops of bright colour, the Japanese influence will filter through fashion and homewares through to accessories and gifts. The natural world remains a current trend with the colour palette of muted tones of pink, beige and brown reflected in gifts, clothing and stationery. Watercolours, naïve artwork as well animals of every shape and size will continue to feature but upcoming trends are definitely zestier and more eye-catching. A popular new addition at the event were areas highlighting a whole range of brand licensing examples in the one setting. Beyond The Book showcased the licensed publishing products of some popular brands including May The Thoughts Be With You by Charlotte Reed. The Arcade was all about gaming, while Heritage X Interiors had a four-room set that displayed luxury interiors and products inspired by the artwork from a number of major museums.
Fresh Off The Runway presented FashionxLicensing collaborations at the five entrances. After the success of the eye-catching displays, event organisers are keen to utilise more runway opportunities the ExCeL location allows and have announced next year’s theme of Fashion. The 2020 event will live and breathe fashion licensing: apparel, footwear, accessories and beauty. The early stage plans include a live catwalk, with themed shows beamed onto every digital screen throughout the venue. The final day of the show saw the announcement of the winners for this year’s License This! Competition. After a closely fought contest, Carrot & Toast and My Little Opera received their awards from Chair Kelvyn Gardner. Carrot & Toast were created by Drew Bristow and are two best friends that are polar opposites who feature in a series of mini comics aimed at younger readers. Rosie Brooks took inspiration from the world’s greatest operas and ballets for the characters in her illustrations for My Little Opera. Not just for opera lovers, she’s hoping to bring the characters to a modern audience.
Brand Licensing Europe 2020 will be held at ExCeL London October 6-8, 2020. Find out more at www.brandlicensingeurope.com www.facebook.com/greetingstodaymag @greetingstoday
meetthenewbies Bewilderbeest Based in sunny Suffolk, Bewilderbeest is a fresh brand with a range of absurd illustrated cards, created by Iain Hamilton. Iain’s designs are highly detailed and feature a strong blend of traditional pen and ink drawings with contemporary subjects, and typical British humour. “The best things in life make you look twice. They’re absurd, they’re extraordinary, and they don’t always make sense…much like myself,” Iain jokes. Success at shows and events in East Anglia over the past two years has led Iain to scale up the business and really push the absurdity of Bewilderbeest on. His daft and subtly masculine designs have proved popular with his all-occasion range, and his Christmas cards are always in high demand. With endless new ideas springing into his head Iain is chomping at the bit to add to the collection, and is looking forward to his Top Drawer S/S, and PG Live 2020 debut! T: 07742 895 283 www.bewilderbeest.co.uk
Alex Sharp Alex Sharp has been a professional photographer for over 30 years but only transferred this talent into a greeting card range and online shop in the past year. “My ambition has always been to share my images, from my travels and the animals and countryside around us and take somebody away from their everyday life, even if it’s just for a few moments of their day,” explained Alex. Living in rural Worcestershire on an old farm with her husband and two huskies, nature is a common theme in her designs. “I try to capture natural moments from everyday life that I appreciate, in the hope that others will enjoy them too. I photograph a lot of horses and working dogs and due to the amount of positive feedback it seemed a natural progression to launch a greeting card range. Plus I love travelling and have visited over 100 diﬀerent countries from Antarctica to the Arctic and a myriad of places in between, so that is starting to feature too,” she added. Since launching the card range in 2018 it has been expanded to also include Field Sports, Farmyard animals, Worldwide travel images, British landscapes and Wildlife. “While the range of greeting cards continues to grow, I am also currently working on increasing the range of notebooks and mugs, plus bringing in wrapping paper designs to sell alongside them. By creating my range of cards and homewares, I hope to bring pleasure to people in a variety of ways.” www.alexsharpdesigns.co.uk
Sarah Burman Design Sarah Burman’s life and career has been a tale of two somewhat opposing halves to date, with an aptitude for both scientiﬁc and artistic endeavours. “At school I couldn’t decide between art and science and to my teachers’ great amusement I ended up doing both at ‘A’ level,” she said. At university she started in an Art Foundation course with plans to go into interior design or animation, but sadly after her father passed away from a rare form of cancer, she was persuaded to change tack and study Immunology and Cancer Biology. With a degree in science, her career followed this path until late 2018 when she embarked on a new venture. “For a couple of years I was planning to make the big career change and winning BLE’s 2018 License This! Brand and Design category was the impetus I needed to make the jump. I left pharmaceuticals in November 2018 and launched Sarah Burman Design (Greeting Cards) at Spotted at Top Drawer in January this year, followed by exhibiting at PG live in June.” “My passion for drawing never went away and I continued to draw outside of my scientiﬁc career. Combined with my love of animals this has led to my range of animal drawings which tries to capture their character together with a little bit of cheekiness thrown in.” “Currently I publish a range of my designs on greetings cards and stationery products and these have proved to be very popular. In particular, the stationery items have gained a lot of attention and I’m hopeful that this will be my ﬁrst product category within the licensing Industry and extension of my brand into other product categories.” T: 07713 641149 www.sarahburmandesign.com
ON THE LINE
Print Evolution I
n one of my earlier Greetings Today columns digital operations than from its print newspapers. I asked the question is print dead? Which It’s interesting that The Guardian’s website asks considering many of you will be reading this readers to support them by making a donation to in the rather lovely, still very much printed protect their editorial independence. It’s a different magazine, it is somewhat of a rhetorical question. approach to many other online news sites. Which So, no print and indeed the written word is not dead leads us neatly onto subscription services. but rather evolving. End of article. Well not quite, Paid subscription models are increasing popular as surely we need to delve deeper into the question online and I’m not just talking about Netﬂix and and what it means in 2019 otherwise this will be a upcoming Disney+ video on-demand services. very short column. Luminary is leading the way for podcasts with Why am I revisiting this subject now? Well it’s exclusive ad-free original podcasts locked behind been a print heavy year for us here at Wishes of a £6.99 subscription. Apple is looking to take a Cudworth, especially when you add in our various bit out the market with its News+ paid platform community projects. We’ve produced leaﬂets offering immersive and innovative digital for our consumers to pick up from our counter magazines. Sports website, The Athletic, recently and for volunteers to give out when fund-raising. created waves with the mass hiring of many of the We’ve created pop-up roll banners promoting the UK top sports journalists with a subscription-based Cudworth Bunny Trail and highlighting this year’s format. The buzzwords here are: “No Ads, No Cudworth Businesses & Community Together Pop-ups. High Quality Journalism”. The tricky part initiatives. Plus, don’t forget our is getting people to pay for written Cudworth Walking Maps and It’s all about the touch content online. It’s expected that Cudworth Calendars. It’s a lot of websites and podcasts are free and of the paper, the feel of print indeed. While many companies there lies the obstacle to overcome. the ultra-luxurious velvet What these companies are banking are dropping their printed catalogues lamination, the natural for online website portals, for us on is people willing to pay for indies, print Is still an important way ﬁbres in recycled card, the quality and that there is a hunger for to connect with our customers. long-form journalism with articles smell of the paper with It’s long been prophesied that featuring larger amounts of content notes of vanilla ﬂowers greeting cards, newspapers and and research. News websites and and almonds magazines are on the decline and blogs will continue to innovate when that websites and email marketing it comes to monetising its content, campaigns are the future. There’s also the oddity be it Paywalls, FreeWalls, pay per clicks, afﬁliate that Facebook has made everyone a journalist marketing or merchandise. It comes down to what and that our news comes from our social media is real value for money. Paywalls only work when feeds rather than broadsheet newspapers. Silly backed up with exclusive content that you can’t talk, of course and the ﬁnancial troubles of digital read anywhere else. media companies such a BuzzFeed mean blogs Talking of quality that’s why this magazine, and websites are having to adapt. No longer can Greetings Today, is still going strong. It’s not they rely on adverts and clickbait to generate just the wonderful insights into the greeting card income. Most digital news sites operate at a loss industry but the features, articles, interviews and with only few exceptions like Guardian News shop viewpoints. Them columnists ain’t bad too. & Media Limited earning more money from its I think we should congratulate Tracey, Simon and
Chris Fox is the digital content manger for greetings card and gift shop Wishes of Cudworth owned and run by partner Julia Keeling as well as the giftshophub.co.uk online resource for independent shops, small businesses and artists. Having learned how to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the internet and social media, he aims to pass on the online tips he’s discovered so far to help independent retailers boost their bricks and mortar businesses in the digital age.
the rest of the GT team for putting together such a fab mag and getting the editorial balance right. Well done guys! “Quick edit: After submitting this article I heard Tracey was leaving GT so I’d like to say a big thanks to Tracey for all the support over the years and a big hello to the new editor Rachel, who I’m sure will carry on the great work”. Back to our print here at Wishes of Cudworth and why the “On The Line” column writer is pushing a very old school message. It just is that print is still a useful marketing tool. Print is tangible and to many people more real than digital media. It’s all about the touch of the paper, the feel of the ultra-luxurious velvet lamination, the natural ﬁbres in recycled card, the smell of the paper with notes of vanilla ﬂowers and almonds. It’s kinda sexy. That one could agree that print is almost novel in today’s digital society and a great way to cut through the online clutter. Of course when partnered with digital tools, such as a website and social platforms the print is a personalised way of directing your customers to ﬁnd out more about your shop. Despite my ramblings, it must be ultimately noted that print and digital can work together and to quote a translated Latin proverb; while words spoken may ﬂy away, what is written remains.
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