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On The Cards The morning PG went to press the news broke that the Government is looking to impose a 22p deposit (tax, fee, whatever you like to call it) on plastic bottles by the end of the year, redeemable from ‘reverse vending machines’. Like many others no doubt I was taken back to the days when my brother and I would look to swell our piggybanks by scouring the verges for glass Corona soft drinks bottles (containing carbonated drinks originally made by Thomas & Evans in South Wales, not the Mexican beer brand!) that we then took back to our local newsagents who then placed some pennies into our expectant little hands. It seemed like a very good deal to me - and was generally accepted by all. While, as with many things, the devil will be in the detail of the latest proposal, it does seem that for all the Climate Change summits that have taken place, Sir David Attenborough’s chilling words at the end of the BBC’s Blue Planet II is what has brought environmental concerns to the fore to be dealt with, before it is too late. Our industry is a lot better placed than many others on the environmental score - its core ingredient (ie paper) being completely recyclable gives us something of a head start, but after that it gets rather complicated. At an industrial level, all components can be responsibly dealt with, well-blessed as we are with dedicated trade suppliers who have long taken their environmental responsibilities very seriously. I have been assured several times over the last couple of months by leading printers with the highest environmental credentials that cards THE HOME OF MARKET LEADING TRADE MAGAZINES


@Prog_Greetings Left: Having taken over as ceo of UKG on March 1, James Conn has a lot on his plate, as he explained to PG’s Jakki Brown (see pages 26-27). Below: Now part of Britvic, getting money back on the Corona bottles was great pocket money for youngsters; they were not really thinking of the environment! Bottom: Gee Tee’s has just introduced The Card Room, its new ‘store within a store’ concept into its Westhoughton store. Buyer Yasmin Twist (right) showed PG’s Jakki Brown around (see pages 42-43).

with foiling, glitter and in cellobags can and are being recycled, with no risk of contamination. However, at consumer level it is a different story, and that is currently the problem. While many greeting cards, by their very nature, will be safely stored by the recipients as treasured keepsakes, if the public did want to recycle them, they need to wade through conflicting messages as to whether they can be included in their paper recycling in their entirety or whether they need to be stripped of any finishes and attachments. As for the ‘cellobags’, especially given that the public is unlikely to know what they are made from, there is nothing to suggest where or if they can be recycled or not. Thankfully, much cleverer people than I, plus the collective might of the GCA, are pulling together so that some guidance can be given on this front. This is likely to be in a number of directions, from descriptions on the products as to how to dispose of them to coming up with more environmentallyfriendly alternatives. The key will be that the advice and guidance should be clear, reliable and easy to action. The environmental issue is currently full of fizz, quite rightly, and unlike a bottle of Corona Cherryade (a drink of choice for many 70s youngsters!), it is not likely to go flat having been aired.


Max Publishing Ltd, United House, North Road, London N7 9DP Tel: 020 7700 6740 Fax: 020 7607 6411 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


every picture

a new range of contemporary quotation cards designed by

see the entire collection at

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What’s Inside? Within This Issue: FOCUS ON MALE CARDS




7-17 News 19-21 Viewpoints

To Wrap Or Not To Wrap? With plastic reduction front of mind in all industries, PG opens up the floor to members of the trade to air their views on improving our eco-credentials on cellowrap.



In Conversation With… James Conn

Jeremy’s Journal

James And The Giant Reach


UKG’s new ceo James Conn discusses developments within the company.

Jeremy Corner of publisher Blue Eyed Sun highlights the stigma surrounding failure and its shame for business owners.




In Profile: Ling Design


Ling Design’s spicy acquisition of Saffron Cards & Gifts.

Adding Spice And Colour

Spotlight Trend On Male Cards


Barber Shop Singers

Over The Counter

Into The Wrapping Realm Independent card and gift retailer, David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi in Scotland, talks giftwrap.

Dapper male designs inspired by the revival of the traditional barbershop and developments in male grooming.


Art Source 52-53

What’s Hot?

39-41 New Male Card Launches

24-25 Cardsharp

Give Us A Level Playing Field Cardsharp muses over topical events happening in the industry.

Alpha Mail


Rugged male card ranges fresh on to the market.

Classified 67



Retailer Face To Face

A Different Twist PG discovers more about Wigan-based Gee Tee’s new The Card Room with its buyer Yasmin Twist. Progressive Greetings is a monthly business magazine. SUBSCRIPTIONS:

UK subscription: One year £50 Two year £85 Three year £110 Overseas subscription: One year £75 Jakki Brown

Warren Lomax

Gale Astley

Michelle Board


Advertisement Director

Deputy Editor

News Editor

Copyright© 2018. While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this magazine was correct at the time of publication, the publishers cannot accept legal liability for any errors or omissions, nor can they accept responsibility for the standing of advertisers nor any organisation mentioned in the text. Views of contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the publishers.


Use your smartphone app to scan the QR code to visit our website.

PG is the official magazine for the Greeting Card Association GCA: Sharon Little 020 7619 0396 Email: PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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NEWS Saffron Cards and Gifts joins the Ling portfolio


Happy Bunnies Cardies report strong Easter sales As PG went to press (just before Easter), many retailers were reporting a growth in sales for this increasingly popular Spring Season. While much of this growth centres on the trend for Easter decorations, greeting cards, stationery and gifting have also seen a knock-on effect in growth. John Lewis’ stationery buyer, Lisa Rutherford gained great exposure for Easter cards, decorations, stationery and gifting in an interview which appeared in the Telegraph newspaper in the middle of March. Lisa revealed that “Our Easter sales have increased dramatically and it is easy to see why. Families are making a point of spending more time together and at Easter we have more holiday than we do at Christmas. Why not make your house feel spring-like and lovely?” In the article, entitled ‘Your complete guide to Easter decorations’, Lisa said that sales of Easter wreaths grew by 11% last year, elaborating that Easter gifting is a growing trend. Views on the news Independent retailers are also noticing a growth in sales of Easter cards and related products. l Rachael Barnes, co-owner of Dragonfly Cards and Gifts in Knaresborough told PG: “Easter has always been a good season for us because we attract a lot of older customers, and Knaresborough has a large church community too. We have definitely seen an increase in recent years from the younger generations however – both in Easter cards, and more so in Easter decorations.” l Easter is a Spring Season that is in

Above: An Easter tree in the window of Dragonfly Cards and Gifts.

growth, which bucks the overall Spring Season trend, according to Pete Whiteman, co-owner of DzoDzo, Woodbridge. “Ten years ago, Easter cards were normally a low value item, compared to other seasons, but now the average ticket price has risen with the quality of the cards available. There are many companies now that deliver great product and design – Wendy Jones-Blackett, Nigel Quiney and Noel Tatt to name a few. Easter decorations are also on the rise, and many households are decorating with Easter trees, these all need suitable adornments. The sales of soft toys are still big at Easter, but it is not just the Easter bunny, but lambs, chicks etc. Jellycat is particularly strong in this area.” l North-west agent Rachel Williams has noticed a significant increase in cards sold, especially those for relations, particularly grandchildren. “I have also sold a lot of little packs this year and Easter egg bags with the green straw tissue for eggs. I have even seen Easter wrapping paper, which is a first! I would go as far as to say I did nearly as much for Easter as I did Valentine's.”

Scribbler teams up with comedy club for Easter promo Scribbler has launched a partnership with Just the Tonic comedy club. The partnership kicked-off with an Easter Yoke Hunt on Thursday 29 March, with 40 tickets for Just the Tonic events hidden in four Scribbler London stores. Clues to the whereabouts of the tickets were to be given in riddles on social media on the morning of 29 March. “We wanted to do something that would resonate with the Scribbler audience,” says Vanessa Mallia, PR and social media manager for Scribbler. “Just the Tonic and Scribbler share a similar audience, and although we offer completely different products there is a synergy between comedy clubs and Scribbler stores. We are very much about the humour, as is Just the Tonic. It just makes sense for us to partner with them.” The Easter Yoke Hunt follows hot on the heels of Scribbler’s first successful foray into eventbased promotions. Its Valentine’s speed dating event (held in conjunction with Playdate London) was a sell-out success. Above: Scribbler is teaming up with Just the Tonic to offer tickets to comedy events around the UK.

Reinforcing its commitment to growing and strengthening its presence in the greeting card market, Ling Design has acquired the goodwill and certain assets of design-led brand, Saffron Cards and Gifts. The acquisition comes as a result of industry stalwart, Paul Steele, ceo and previous owner of Saffron, making the “difficult decision to retire from this great industry” after 40 years of his involvement in the card and gift trade. Saffron continues as an independent brand within the Ling ‘family’ with Viv Barlow, Saffron’s highly popular national accounts manager, joining the Ling team. (See more on Ling’s acquisition of Saffron on pages 46-47). Above: Paul Steele has made the difficult decision to retire from the industry after 40 years.

Cath Tate’s Woman’s Hour Cath Tate, a mainstay of the humorous card publishing scene, has notched up many great achievements to her name and at the end of March she added another one - appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, which has almost 4 million avid listeners. Cath, the namesake of the eponymous card company she runs with her daughter Rosie, was interviewed by Woman Hour’s legendary presenter Jenni Murray about her new book, entitled The Inking Woman, which celebrates 250 years of women cartoonists and comic artists, featuring many of the women Cath has published on cards and postcards over the years. Cath co-wrote the book with illustrator and graphic artist, Nicola Streeten, who also appeared on the radio programme. The book follows on from an exhibition at The Cartoon Museum in London last year. Above: Cath Tate and Nicola Streeten at the launch party of The Inking Woman.



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Counterfeit Clampdown Berni Parker leads charge to take on IP thieves Berni Parker, the artist namesake of Berni Parker Designs, is leading a charge to clamp down on counterfeit products based on many publisher’s artwork being sold by an international online operator. Berni usually loves the interaction she has with her consumer fans all over the world, but when an innocuous Facebook post lifted the lid on a site ( that is not only proffering products based on her designs, but many other artists and publishers too, the usually mild-mannered Berni became incensed by the IP theft. Berni told PG that she received a Facebook message from a member of a book club in Illinois, USA, saying how much she loved the ‘book bag’ that she had purchased from online operator, featuring Berni’s distinctive artwork. The fan attached an image of the bag, which depicted the ‘Read between the wines’ design from the

Below The photo Berni received from the book club member in the States that alerted her to the copyright theft.

publisher’s Ladies Who Love Life range. “Knowing that I had not produced tote bags or had any licensee I immediately went on the website and could not believe what I found - I counted 53 of my designs that were being offered for sale on all different products. I felt so upset that my designs had been stolen,” Berni said. Immediately recognising some designs from Bug Art, Church Mouse Press, Tom Cat Cards, Santoro and artist Marilyn Robertson within the hundreds of designs on offer, Berni made contact with them and established that these were also being offered without any agreement with Gearpassio. As PG went to press, Briffa, the GCA’s specialist copyright law firm partner, had agreed to help by sending a cease and desist letter to the perpetrators with evidence of the designs that were being proffered without prior agreement.

Marvellous Marvel from UK Greetings To coincide with the blockbuster cinema release of Marvel Avenger: Infinity War this month, UK Greetings has developed a 1ft shipper filled with best-selling Marvel product plus brand new designs from the new movie. To add further excitement the company is giving away two free cinema tickets with the first 200 orders of the Marvel Avengers: Infinity War shipper; with 400 tickets in total. Retailers can use the tickets themselves, or use them in a promotion. “The message is: get your orders in quick as they’re selling fast!” says Gabriella Peace, communications manager for UKG. “We ran a similar promotion for Star Wars in September last year which sold out at lightening speed.” l In April UKG is launching its Golden Ticket initiative where one lucky independent customer will receive a Golden Ticket in their order worth £500 or euro equivalent. Above: The Marvel shipper is bound to be popular with retailers.

Clawing back breach of copyright Having been alerted by Berni, Merv Thomas, who co-owns card publisher Tom Cat Cards with his wife Lynne, investigated the site. He was disgusted to spot designs from several artists that appear on its cards, which are also being used without permission on the same website. One of its artists, Kim Haskins has had this happen in her in the past so she has become a dab-hand at getting it sorted. “Her first line of defence is to notify PayPal, providing the website in question handles payment via PayPal of course,” says Merv. “They will investigate and if they find a breach of copyright Above: One of Kim Haskins’ has occurred will stop the website in question being able to accept designs that appeared on a PayPal. As you can imagine, a web shop unable to take payment is kind tote bag illegally in America. of stuck up the proverbial creek without a paddle to paddle with.” Merv has also done a bit of investigation on behalf of artist Vicky Mount and found that the offending website is hosted by Shopify. “I contacted them and they have also been helpful. I have finally managed to get each offending item taken down. I think we were lucky in that the site was hosted by Shopify and I guess they have a reputation to uphold so were willing to cooperate,” elaborates Merv.

Santoro’s Pirouettes go to the Oscars

Above: Yance Ford, producer of Strong Island with one of Santoro’s 3D paper sculptures.

The Oscars always bring together the best in glitz and glamour with international leading brands vying to be included in the stars’ goody bag and Santoro’s Pirouettes made the grade. The myriad of top celebs attending the red carpet Secret Room Luxury Lounge event in LA, that honoured the 2018 Oscars, were very enthusiastic about the Santoro 3D cards that were on display as well as in the goody bags. Oscar nominees Yance Ford, producer of Strong Island, and actor Sam Humphrey from The Greatest Showman were among those who were only too pleased to be photographed with the Santoro products. Commenting on the brand’s unexpected exposure to the glitterati crowd, Meera Santoro, who co-founded the company with her husband Lucio, told PG: “We are absolutely thrilled. Despite Lucio and I being in this business for 100 years (or thereabouts!), we never fail to be excited by experiences like this”.

Lace up your walking boots Over 20 plucky cardies have already signed up to take part in the annual Cardgains Charity Challenge, which this year is a 27.5 mile walk in the fabulous Lake District covering two legs of the Cumbria Way. The route for Cardgains’ ‘Kumbaya Cumbria’ is between Ulverston and Dungeon Ghyll and skirts around the famous Coniston Water. The challenge, which will take place on Thursday 21 June, is in aid of Cardgains’ charity of the year, the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Industry walkers so far include Penny Shaw, Chris Dyson and Steve Grocott (Cardgains), Alan Holmes (Icon), Alison Butterworth (Nigel Quiney), Carl Salt (Words ‘n’ Wishes), Chris Houfe (GBCC), Darren Cave (UK Greetings), Jackie Collins (Cherry Orchard), Jess Dawnay (Ascential), Mark Drury (Qualatex), Nick Carey (Abacus), Nick Davison (ITE Exhibitions), Nigel Williamson (House of Cards), Thomas O’Brien (Boxer) and Tony Roberts (IC&G). Request a registration form from Above: A bit wet - the intrepid walkers after the 2010 Windy Wander.






Exquisitely styled range of Gin Bloom Glasses, beautifully presented in an attractive, die-cut box, with copper foil detail.

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A Decade Of PG Live 10th anniversary for dedicated greeting card show When the doors open at PG Live 2018 this year (5-6 June) it will be the 10th time the dedicated greeting card trade show has brought the industry together at London’s Business Design Centre. Where have the years gone?! Astonishingly, there are almost 50 exhibitors at this year’s show who were also at the 2009 debut, and many of those have been present at each and every show over the last ten years. These loyal publishers include Wendy Jones-Blackett, Grassroots, Gemma International and Danilo. Even more impressively, The Art File, Paper Salad, Noel Tatt, Paperlink and Pigment have actually retained the same stands for all ten shows! Karen Wilson, co-owner of Paper Salad, remembers when Warren Lomax (joint show director) first approached the Manchester publisher about exhibiting at the very first PG Live in 2009. “We were a

little sceptical as there were already other established trade shows and we were only just starting up but we had a feeling this was going to be good. We loved the show right from the start and have stuck by it every year. Each time we exhibited PG Live got busier and busier and it is now our best show! We always come away with lots of new leads and lovely new customers.” Wendy Jones-Blackett says her first PG Live was fuelled solely by coffee! “The

first PG Live was just amazing, it was so exciting to be part of. I genuinely didn’t sleep a wink the night before and did the whole first day, plus the evening drinks party and taking customers out for dinner fuelled by coffee. Steve and I weren’t sure what to expect but there was what I can only describe as an avalanche of buyers and customers when it opened - as there were no giftware companies to compete with and buyers were 100% focused on cards!” PG Live’s Warren Lomax, says: “Thanks to the support from publishers, retailers and overseas visitors, we are so proud of what PG Live has become over the past ten years. Each year our exhibitors manage to go several steps further in terms of originality, imagination and quality, and this year’s offering really has to be seen to be believed!” In addition to exploring all the very latest card trends, visitors will also be able to relax and enjoy the famous PG Live hospitality, with a complementary twocourse lunch, endless tea and coffee refreshments (thanks to Fedrigoni) and a free drinks party on the first night (courtesy of GF Smith). Greeting card buyers, distributors and retailers looking to plan ahead for their visit to PG Live 2018 should register for their free tickets ( now in order to ensure they are part of the ten years celebrations.

Top: Paper Salad’s Karen Wilson is a regular at PG Live - you’ll find the company at the same spot this year as it was at the first show in 2009! Above: The free lunch is one of the many perks of coming to PG Live.

Me to You promo at Tesco Tesco joined forces with Carte Blanche’s Me to You range to make Mother’s Day memorable, with a competition offering customers the chance to win a fabulous spa break being run in 443 of the supermarket’s stores. The competition was being promoted (with PoS and stickers) across Me to You greeting cards, stationery, gift products, apparel, cakes, jewellery, cushions and food gift sets in Tesco. Left: The Me to You FSDU, which was in 443 Tesco stores.

Card Factory scoops Retail Week award Card Factory beat off tough competition from Moonpig, Birchbox, Conviviality Retail, Dreams, The Entertainer, Holland & Barrett, The Perfume Shop, Screwfix and TM Lewin to take the Retail Week Speciality Retailer of the Year award. The prestigious awards were announced on 22 March. “This is recognition of the ongoing success of the Card Factory business and for the team who built it and for those who are continuing to work within the business to ensure it remains as relevant in the future as it is today,” was how Karen Hubbard, ceo of Card Factory, summed up the accolade. As one judge observed: “There are so many people selling cards and gifts now, and there have been so many new entrants online, but still Card Factory has managed to stay profitable and keep market share.” Below: Card Factory’s ceo Karen Hubbard (centre) collected the trophy for Best Speciality Award at the Retail Awards 2018 event.

Jo Bennett’s new home Former Hallmark creative exec, Jo Bennett (below) has started with Card Factory as its studio director. Although the announcement was made in July last year that Jo would be joining Card Factory, she had to see out her contract with Hallmark. “It’s great to have finally started!” said Jo. “The studio are a fab team - talented and hardworking and everyone has made me feel very welcome. I’m very excited about the future - there are some excellent products coming through at the moment; the first samples of Christmas 18 are in and looking fabulous, and we are about to launch new counter card ranges and gift bags in store which look great. There are so many opportunities to build on the Card Factory success with further developments for the future!”



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NEWS Hallmark teamwork


Did It Mater? Bad weather dampened Mother’s Day, but it came good Snowy weather in the weeks prior to Mother’s Day did not help with the run up to this lucrative event, especially with the occasion being so early in March, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom, with many retailers clawing back lost sales to end up on the previous year. Megan Eyles, owner of Peppertrees in Northampton was relieved that she actually ended up 5% up on the previous year, though it was something of a white knuckle ride caused more by lack of awareness of the date than the weather, she feels. “I just don’t think people realised how early Mother’s Day was this year compared to 2017. People left it so late to purchase cards and gifts, even at 2 o’clock on the Saturday before I was panicking that it was going to be really poor moneywise for us, but thankfully it turned out well,” admits Megan. Heidi Early, of Earlybird Designs in London’s Stoke Newington, was another indie who was delighted by its sales, with social media proving invaluable in driving awareness. “Mother’s Day sales were exceptional for us this year - we

even sold through last year’s left over stock! The weather only affected our sales for a few days but then customers came out in their droves - we think everyone had become a bit stir crazy!” Sarah Lishman, card buyer for independent department store, Barkers Northallerton, was very happy with the upshot of Mother’s Day. “Fantastic!” was how she summed up the outcome. While Sarah admits that the weather “killed trade the week before, then the snow hit again on the Thursday, but the gaps in between the snow certainty made up for it. We had a fantastic Friday and a record Saturday. We were up on last year, with companies across the board all selling extremely well.” The books also looked good for Miles Robinson, co-owner of six House of Cards shops in the Home Counties. “We ended up being 9.5% up on the equivalent week last year (like-for-like) and actual sales of Mother’s Day cards were up just over 5%, so considering the week before was significantly down due to the snow it was a rather pleasant surprise!” Above: House of Cards made full use of the GCAinitiated Spring Seasons PoS for its Mother’s Day displays in its stores. Left: The Mother’s Day window display in Earlybird.

Mother’s Day goes all-inclusive Scribbler and Waitrose were applauded for their gender-neutral Mother’s Day cards on the front page of The Sunday Times in early March. The Sunday Times news item, entitled ‘Mother’s Day cards go gender-neutral’ was sparked by the ‘Happy You Day’ card design that appeared within Waitrose’s Mother’s Day display. The newspaper quoted the supermarket’s aim with the design to broaden out “who the cards can go to, whether it’s grandmas or transgender mums.’ The article went on to applaud Scribbler for its Mother’s Day offering, which included a ‘Two mums are better than one’ for samesex couples as well as a ‘Dad, thanks for being an amazing mum’ card. “Being featured on the front page of such a respected national newspaper must rank as one of the most significant pieces of positive publicity for the greeting card industry for years,” John Procter, coowner of Scribbler commented about the coverage. “It is absolute acknowledgement of just how entrenched greeting cards are in society,” added John.

Hallmark teamed up with Tesco and Cancer Research to create a capsule collection of six Mother’s Day cards inspired by women who have been affected by cancer. Cancer Research received 14p from each of these cards when sold. On the back of every card is one woman’s story about how she has been affected by cancer as well as how the charity is fighting cancer for everyone all over the UK. Some of the women involved have fought cancer personally, and some are raising funds and awareness in memory of a loved one. l Hallmark UK is bringing the production of all its roll wrap back to the UK. By late 2018 all of the publisher’s roll wrap will be manufactured at its Brighouse factory in West Yorkshire. Prior to this, Hallmark outsourced its roll wrap production overseas. This follows investment in the latest flexographic printing technology at the publisher’s in-house production facility. “It’s fitting that in the year Hallmark are celebrating the centenary of inventing giftwrap, that we are announcing our commitment to improvements that will help serve us for the next 100 years,” commented John Franey, Hallmark’s supply chain director. Above: Cancer Research received 14p from the sale of the specially designed Mother’s Day cards.

On The Ceiling in the Daily Mail again! Emotional Rescue’s On The Ceiling range scooped two full pages of coverage in the Daily Mail, featuring cheeky messages from its Mother’s Day range – reaching an estimated 7 million readers nationwide. Under the headline ‘Irreverent Mother’s Day cards to give the PC lobby a sense of humour failure’, the double page spread showed 14 funny messages from the new book The Wit and Wisdom of Mum, published under licence by Studio Press. It’s the second time that the new Wit and Wisdom range has featured in the Daily Mail; when the books came out in November the newspaper also chose to feature a selection of On the Ceiling artworks. Below: The spread in the Daily Mail just four days prior to Mother’s Day.

Left: A same-sex card from Scribbler.



Please contact your Sales Representative for our full range of Llama Gifts - +44 (0) 20 8756 7793

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Plastic Not Fantastic UKG takes a strong stance on reducing avoidable waste UKG has always taken the issue of the environment seriously, but its decision to form a dedicated Environmental Steering Group, which includes key personnel with different specialisms, demonstrates UKG’s deeper commitment to instigate environmental improvements in the supply chain and the industry at large. “Our Environmental Steering Group’s collective strengths mean that we can investigate possible improvements from all angles. We are reviewing end to end processes, including product, manufacturing and distribution to drive our ‘reducing avoidable waste’ project forward,” says James Conn, ceo of UK Greetings. “We are working with our retail partners to understand what strategies they are implementing to meet the change in government legislation on this front and are offering solutions to support their pledges.” UKG has already started making changes internally, with its Plastic Free Friday initiative, which forms part of its plastic elimination strategy. This ongoing campaign involves weekly activities to reduce the business’ plastic footprint. Starting with a ‘quick win’, all plastic cups have been removed from the publisher’s water fountains and canteen areas.

l Surrey artist and designer Katie Bell will be presenting her first collection at the British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF) Harrogate this April 8-10 (stand N10). Her dog and cat designs are painted digitally and came about after friends began requesting pet portraits. The idea developed into greeting cards, velvet cushions and prints. Above: New cards in Katie Bell’s collection on display at BCTF Harrogate.

Another #plasticfreefriday activity saw UKG employees all invited to buy a reusable thermos cup at a vastly reduced price, thereby eradicating the need to use the single use cups provided by the Costa Coffee operation within UKG’s offices, factories and warehouses. Commenting on the response from the UKG staff to the #plasticfreefriday campaign, Rachel Wood, UKG’s product development director for private label and member of the Environmental Steering Group said: “We have received lots of positive feedback and it’s great to see how everyone at UKG has embraced this positive change”. Above: Rachel Wood (left) and Liz Ramsden (both from UKG’s private label team) sold reusable thermos cups at the Yorkshire publisher’s premises as part of its #plasticfreefriday campaign.

Blue Eyed Sun is (bamboo) cup winner Card publisher, Blue Eyed Sun has signed a distribution deal with designled German company Chic Mic to distribute the BambooCup, SlideCup and BambooFriends brands of lifestyle giftware in the UK. Jeremy Corner, md of Blue Eyed Sun explained: “We have been working with Chic Mic for several years in Germany and Austria, where they distribute Blue Eyed Sun’s handmade greeting cards to hundreds of stores. Their BambooCup stand at Spring Fair was mobbed with retailers who were quick to recognise the fast growing product trend in 2018 for sustainable eco solutions to the problem of single use plastics.” Above: Blue Eyed Sun will be distributing BambooCup in the UK.

Here’s to Girl Power Several retailers hooked into the fact that International Woman’s Day fell just a few days before Mother’s Day and took the opportunity to highlight mums as inspirational women. At Paperchase, the window and instore displays fanfared both events, under the ‘Fierce Females’ theme, celebrating the real stories behind some of the sassy and powerful mums in history. As well as its Mother’s Day specific PoS, the retailer also promoted ‘GRL PWR’ backed up by a punchy collection of products that celebrate ‘sisterhood’. Scribbler also celebrated ‘Girl Power’ with a series of blog posts about some of its female card publishers. Suna Sor from Tigerlily was chosen as one of the publishers to be featured in the blog where she spoke about how she got started in greeting cards, her inspiration and how she juggles work and life. Right: One of the female-orientated messages in Paperchase’s window. Left: A new girl empowerment card from Tigerlily’s Hip Edition range.

l John Lewis has opened a 23,000 sq ft store at London’s Westfield at the end of March, bringing the total number of stores to 50. Right: John Lewis’ new store at Westfield in West London.

l My Dinky Bear has a new collaboration with educational resource company Pobble. Schools participating in the scheme have been sent a Dinky class mascot. Pupils are encouraged to take Dinky home and then write all about the adventures they go on together. The resulting stories are then posted and shared on Pobble’s online teaching resource site - which receives 150,000 user visits per month. Above: My Dinky Bear goes back to school with Pobble.

l The Art Group is launching a card range featuring a new artist - Angie Rozelaar from Yellow House Art Licensing. The inspiration for Planet Cat Studio (right) came when Angie took up an online challenge to illustrate 100 cats in 100 days. The project started to gather momentum and she soon found that one hundred was just the beginning! l The Hallmark brand was named as a Consumer Superbrand for 2018 for the third year running, voted for by 2,500 members of the British public and ratified by a voluntary council of senior independent industry experts against the three core criteria of a Superbrand: quality, reliability and distinction. l At Spring Fair 2018 Image Source held a prize draw on its stand, to win an original artwork by talented artist Nicola Gregory. The competition was won by Second Nature’s Nicole Schragger. Above: Nicole Schragger with the winning artwork.






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Pen Poised Moving towards London Stationery Show With the growing interest in stationery, London Stationery Show is ‘pen poised’ for the doors to open on the exhibition, which takes place at the Business Design Centre in London on April 24-25. A central display of products, entered for the Stationery Awards, will be among the new features. A ‘first’ at the show will be the launch of the Good Design Award, with a new area designated to showcase the products, which will also include a new On Trend product display curated by trend forecasters Scarlet Opus. This sector will focus on key global consumer and design trends. The On Trend display area will be supported by new Trend Tours highlighting eight to 10 products. Also new this year will be a series of quick fire presentations covering The State of Stationery from independent retail and ecommerce consultant Rebecca Saunders, formerly in charge of stationery, wedding and Christmas at Other speakers will feature Phil Pond of Scarlet Opus who will be discussing key trends - Ordinary, ECO 2.0 and Imperfect

l Eliot James (right), senior card buyer for Scribbler, has decided to leave the company. Eliot has been with Scribbler for 15 years and has decided it’s time to take a break. l Digital greeting card print specialists, The Imaging Centre has appointed Adam Short as managing director. Adam is currently sales director and has been with the Imaging Centre (the company his parents Bob and Jan Short founded in 1991) since 2012. Bob will continue as chairman. Above: Bob Short (left) with his son, Adam.

Beauty - along with Michael Weedon of EXP2 who will review what’s happening on the high street. Other highlights include Retail Masterclasses covering commercial planning, key decisions behind buying a range, and putting together a weekly marketing plan. Returning will be the Creative Stationery workshops, supported by the Association for Creative Industries. Topics include calligraphy, papercutting and giftwrapping, as well as the opportunity to test out inks and pens, with early bird bookers receiving a goody bag. l See page 35 for a taster of some of the products on show. Above: Visitors making the most of last year’s Creative Stationery workshop.

GOTY winner at Stationery Show Rani Moochhala, owner of giftwrap company Paper Mirchi, which won the Shirley Frost Award (for designer makers) in the recent Gift of the Year awards, will be at the London Stationery Show with her range of handmade artisan giftwrap sheets. Utilising traditional textile processes such as tie and dye, block printing, batik and hand marbling on recycled cotton paper, Paper Mirchi will be exhibiting luxurious giftwrap on its stand at the show (Stand GL882). Above: Rani Moochhala with her GOTY award at Spring Fair. Left: Luxurious giftwrap from Paper Mirchi.

LaunchPad winners launched at Stationery Show The 12 winners of the LaunchPad competition will be exhibiting at the London Stationery Show. The winners were chosen from just over 50 entries and are all companies/individuals who have not exhibited at London or Manchester Stationery Shows previously and do not currently sell the featured product through any UK national retail accounts or distributors in the stationery retail sector. Don’t miss How Funny, Not Only Polka Dots and Yo Boki - the LaunchPad winners featuring greeting cards. Left: Look out for How Funny, one of the winners of the LaunchPad competition.

l Wire Fittings Designs’ John Tait, known to many in the industry as ‘Jock’, has retired from the business after over 40 years of service. Jock (now 67) feels it’s time for him to take things a little easier, and enjoy his hobbies, one being metal detecting. Above: The team at Wire Fittings Designs bid farewell to Jock Tait (centre).

New chapters for UKG’s Gary and Amanda The UKG team gave a fond farewell to two of its stalwarts at the beginning of March – its chief executive Gary Rowley and national account manager, Amanda Scrivener. Gary served 44 years UKG and Amanda, 27 years. James Conn, who took over officially as UKG’s ceo on March 1, paid tribute to his two retiring, well-loved and greatly respected colleagues, giving two separate speeches, giving due deference to the high standing and immense contribution both individuals have made to the company. Responding, Gary paid tribute to “the many wonderful and talented people” that he has had the good fortune to work with over the 44 years he spent with the company. “Some are no longer with us but all left their mark and helped build this wonderful business to become what it is today.” Gary told how he feels “so incredibly lucky to have experienced such warmth, friendship and support from everyone I have had the pleasure to have worked with.” Top: Gary’s specially designed retirement card. Above: A unique retirement card for Amanda.



We had a lovely time and placed a lot of orders! The show was wonderfully organised, giving us the opportunity to catch up with existing suppliers, as well as finding several new designers to stock Chris and Debbie Beards owners of Mantons Cards, Port Erin, Isle of Man

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18_PG_April 2018.indd 1

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To Wrap Or Not To Wrap? Environmental issues remain very much front of mind - most specifically on the plastics front. While the UK greeting card industry is collectively investigating ways of further improving its eco-credentials, PG opens up the debate on the wrapping of individual cards as well as asking what other measures could improve the trade’s carbon footprint.

Jeremy Corner managing director of Blue Eyed Sun: To wrap or not to wrap?: “Higher priced handmade cards and their component parts do need protecting in stores as damaged handmade cards are costly to replace. I do think though that regular printed cards are better unwrapped and have noticed that several of the multiples do this. The key issue is changing the consumer perception of plastic wrapped goods as being better/more perfect than unwrapped.” Other measures: “The keys issues are education (understanding the issues and options), lobbying councils to recycle more and consistent, clear communication to consumers (by all publishers, suppliers and retailers) about what can be recycled and how to do it. This includes clear labelling on products, consistent communication on websites, in PR, editorial and advertising. We all need to work together on this to make real change. The GCA is perfectly positioned to facilitate tackling these important issues. Even small changes like moving from 40 micron cellobags to 35 micron bags will help reduce usage. Labelling these bags with the correct recycling/composting logos is essential though.” Above: Blue Eyed Sun is now distributing BambooCup in the UK, to try and combat the 2.5 billion single use plastic cups used annually in the UK.

Inset: Plastic reduction and improved recycling is something that is affecting all UK industries.

Ceri Stirland customer and channel director of UK Greetings (and current president of the GCA): To wrap or not to wrap?: “As someone who has been in the industry for a very long time I can remember the days when we never cellobagged product, in fact, a number of publishers and some retailers still don’t. Therefore, I would question why there is a need. Yes, it protects the product; yes, it keeps the envelope and card together and yes, there is something aesthetically pleasing about certain cards in a bag… however none of these are essential. It is up to every retailer, publisher and individual to make a pledge, however small or large, to make a difference.” Other measures: “I feel there are a few key things we, as an industry should be considering: l The majority of our product is recyclable, therefore every publisher should use the recycling symbol on the page 4 of their cards to educate consumers. l Every GCA Council Member and publisher member should write to their local council to lobby and ask them to improve recycling facilities to ensure our product (greeting cards) are actually recycled. l There should be more engagement between publishers and retailers to reduce avoidable plastic waste. Some retailers are further forward in their thinking and we are already talking to retailers about a variety of trials. l Consider seasonal buys to minimise waste - I am sure that there will be discussions over whether we really need full units in every pocket at the end of the seasons? As an industry it is essential that we continue to improve our environmental credentials. The key is to get everyone working together to share best practice to reduce our environmental impact while still delivering great innovative product and service to our customers.” Above: Ceri Stirland (left) at the GCA AGM last October, at which she became president. Pictured here with the GCA ceo Sharon Little and Bank of England’s Glynn Jones. Left: UKG has introduced an Environmental Steering Group, of which Ceri is a member. Part of this is the publisher’s Plastic Free Friday campaign.



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Sue Morrish md of Glebe Cottage/the Eco-Friendly Card Company:

Miles Robinson partner of House of Cards, a group of six card shops in the Home Counties: To wrap or not to wrap?: “The individual wrapping of cards is a really difficult one. In the past no cards were wrapped, even large coded intricate cards came unwrapped, but over the years it’s become the norm. Certainly, the overall wrapping in our industry could be reduced as there is no need to individually wrap each card and then to further wrap six designs together - what a waste! A simple paper band around six cards would be fine for a unit of sale, as some publishers already do. The downsides of having unwrapped product are in my opinion threefold. One, the product doesn’t look as pristine since good lighting reflects on the cellobags and enhances the look. Two, a further element of wastage would occur as damages will invariably increase, and thirdly, the matching envelope is likely to go missing. It is very common with unwrapped cards for envelopes to go awry with the consumer either coming to the till without an envelope or picking up the wrong one, which leads to increased serving time. Overall though, in my opinion on ‘normal cards’ the ‘price’ of all three of the aforementioned issues are worth paying for the benefits and positive message it would send out for the industry as a whole. Admittedly when dealing with handfinished/handmade greeting cards this is much more difficult as by their nature these cards could potentially be ruined very quickly when put out at retail and I don’t think there is an easy answer for this. However, I see no reason though why all non-hand-finished/handmade product couldn’t be unwrapped now. What about a reusable protector of some sort, perhaps provided by the publisher for transit purposes? Another upside to this of course is the significant cost saving to publishers if cards were no longer wrapped.” Other measures: “I think the single biggest waste our industry has to be sale or return. Without a doubt this practice encouraged laziness as there is no need for retailers to take responsibility as they can pass back any unsold stock. What other industry allows this to happen? If we’re not careful it could lead to the failure of many publishers. Surely this warrants a more serious discussion.” Top: Wrapped and unwrapped cards sit side by side in House of Cards’ Mother’s Day displays. Above: The FSC mark gives consumers the reassurance that the board is responsibly sourced.



To wrap or not to wrap?: “Some 20 years ago we would have some specialist card shops asking us to provide them with cards unbagged. this never happens anymore - I think the way that bags keep cards clean, together with the envelopes, and the way it enables cards to be branded, means it could be a hard sell to get all publishers to drop bags! But you can't get away from the fact that the card industry uses a shocking amount of single use plastic - and that this film can't (at present) be recycled by the public. We need to be careful about the messages we give about what is, and isn't, recyclable. In theory it is possible for the film that cards’ bags are made out of to be recycled - eg the manufacturers may be able to recycle their waste - that doesn't mean there is a way that the public can recycle it. The bag collections at supermarkets for example do not accept polyprop film, and councils do not offer it at doorstep level (as confirmed by Recycle Now). We have been using compostable PLA for our card bags for over 10 years as we didn't want to contribute to the mountain of un-recyclable plastic waste.” Other measures: “As an industry I think we also need to think of ways of reducing ‘hidden plastics’ and non-recyclable finishes on our products, eg through the use of plastic laminates, glitter and foil. Again, although in theory technology may exist to recycle foiled cards - it doesn't mean the public can. I think the industry should also ask itself questions about the amount of unnecessary waste that is generated through brokerage schemes - for example in supermarkets or garden centers. What happens to those cards unsold at the end of a season or re-plan - and who is taking responsibility for dealing with that product? What happens to it? How can this waste be reduced? It may seem like an easy option for some, but what is the environmental cost?” Above: Sue has always been at the forefront of the industry’s environmental push. Glebe/The Eco-Friendly Card Co was a very early adopter of compostable bags made from plant starch.

Hazel Walker senior buyer - cards and wrap of Paperchase: To wrap or not to wrap?: “We do believe in wrapping with a single bag, however we are working with all our suppliers on making sure they are either recyclable or biodegradable - definitely a work in progress.” Other measures: “Environmental issues are at the forefront of our mind at Paperchase and we are very conscious of our responsibility regarding this. Glitter is obviously going to be an issue this year and we’ve asked our suppliers for solutions. Ease of recycling should be priority and we need to make sure customers are aware of what can and can’t be recycled. On the back of our Evening Standard campaign [which resulted in stationery products made from recycled copies of the newspapers], we are looking at eco-friendly materials with a view to introducing some products using these in the future.” Above: Hazel Walker, buyer of Paperchase. Left: The Evening Standard campaign recycled newspapers into stationery products that were sold in Paperchase.

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Paul Woodmansterne ceo of Woodmansterne Publications: To wrap or not to wrap?: “Local councils are gradually converging on their recycling policies, so it should become clearer to the consumer how best to dispose of transparent polypropylene bags. We are looking into how we can assist in that aspect. As it stands, oriented polypropylene still appears to be the most practical and friendly way of presenting a pristine card and envelope to the consumer. Our retailers tell us that non-packaged cards are simply unworkable. If a suitable and more environmentally alternative material becomes available, we will be the first to embrace it.” Above: Councils need to converge on their recycling policies.

Nik Gornall owner of Romantica, three shops in Bristol: To wrap or not to wrap?: “We have already had quite a few customers asking us why we are still selling cards wrapped in plastic. They cannot understand why we can’t just wake up one morning and not have any plastic in the shops. So there needs to be some careful explaining that things will change, but it will take time. We try and lead the conversations to the card used, FSC labelling, the concept of biodegradable plastic and vegetable-based products. Once the customer realises we as an industry don’t have our heads in the sand, and that we as retailers have a certain level of knowledge, they are much happier and less confrontational. But just talking about it is not going to achieve anything in itself. So we give feedback to our reps and agents and in time we will need to have some answers as to whether the plastic used will be okay to allow us to continue to sell wrapped cards or whether we need to revisit our acceptable level of returns, based on damaged unwrapped cards. It is interesting to note that some of the customers that complain about the use of plastic have still brought a wrapped card to the counter to buy despite there being a reasonable selection of unwrapped cards on offer. With some time and effort, and above all the will to succeed, I have no doubt that there is a long-term solution within our grasp.” Other measures: “On a slightly different subject, we have just taken delivery of a large number of bamboo based reusable travel coffee cups. We have always sold a certain number of these but are now pushing them in a coordinated campaign along with most of the independent cafes and coffee shops on the Gloucester Road in Bristol, where two of our shops are located. They are offering generous discounts on take-away drinks for people bringing their own cups in and the idea fits in well with the ethos of sustainability that is prevalent in our area of Bristol. We also promote stainless steel and glass water bottles, whereby a donation is made to water aid for each one sold. We all need to take responsibility for our environment, whether as designer, producer, seller, buyer, retailer or customer. Talk to those either side of you in the chain and make decisions for the good of the planet, not for our personal wellbeing.” Above: Nik Gornall with some of the reusable drinkware.

Ged Mace managing director of The Art File: To wrap or not to wrap?: “As an industry we need to continue to inform and educate consumers that greeting cards have excellent recyclable qualities. Nevertheless, the humble cellobag still needs a little more work. I’m old enough to remember when most greeting cards were sold unwrapped. Having said that, it was also a time when most cards were printed on coated boards with an overall UV varnish. Wrapped cards look crisp, clean and neat in displays across the land, envelopes are accounted for and retailers, publishers and consumers accept that wrapped cards are the norm. It’s interesting however, that at all exhibitions we (The Art File) display our cards unwrapped so everyone can appreciate the different finishes we use. For the shorter shelf selling Spring Season events of 2019 we are planning to offer retailers the choice to either continue to have our Spring Season cards wrapped or to take them unwrapped. We will pass on the cost saving on the unwrapped cards to the retailer naturally.” Above: The Art File’s Ged Mace.

Tamsyn Johnston-Hughes nationals business partner - marketing of Hallmark: To wrap or not to wrap?: “This is indeed a complex question and something that we have been investigating for a considerable amount of time now. These things take time to work through responsibly to ensure that we are finding a true long-term answer that will work for the future, rather than reacting quickly and not fully understanding if what you are doing in the present fixes the issue of less plastic, but has the potential to cause another environmental problem with higher wastage or energy use. So where we are as it stands now is looking at two possible avenues: The first is to remove the cellowrap altogether, which we know has been done in the past. However, simply removing the packaging has the potential for higher levels of wastage and damage at retail. The second option is to use a cellowrap which is made from a more sustainable material. This is something that we have been trialing for some time now. What we have found to date is that the alternatives that are available in our industry don’t meet the functional and quality standards necessary and so are not a long-term solution. Never deterred on these matters, we moved to working closely with suppliers in the food sector to ensure that we are fully up to speed with any developments, which will provide a long-term sustainable solution.” Other measures: “We are looking at our total environmental footprint too. For example, we have been working on a full inventory of plastic we use at every touchpoint of the business. As an industry we all need to work to reaching solutions which are not knee jerking to current topics but getting to long-term solutions to help the industry sustain the environment and the category for the future.” Above: Hallmark is looking at all touchpoints of its business on plastic usage, including its Gold Crown programme.



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Into The Wrapping Realm Independent card and gift retailer, David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi in Scotland, gets rapturous about wrap. This past month has been an interesting one. We have seen Mother’s Day pass with moderate success and as I write this Easter is looming large… a bit like the Easter Bunny’s ears. We have fought through snow, wrestling what money we could from the Beast from the East, and in truth it felt more like December than March or April. Footfall of course continues to be the big issue and all the high streets are feeling the affects of that. Our sector, like many others, is looking for anything to get us going – ‘but what?’ is the question of course! Regular PG readers will have seen that I have taken on a new role with a large card multiple (Cardzone). Have I sold out? Did I need to do this? What is my motivation? These questions and more have been thrown my way since the news broke little over six weeks ago. The answer to them is simple. Firstly, I want to test myself and see if my theories and beliefs can work on a larger scale. Secondly, it is too good an opportunity to turn down; to work with a variety of highly skilled people. Finally, I hope that I can obviously do the job I am employed to do, but equally that it will improve me as a business person. So why me? Well I have always been vocal in what I believe in and that has got me in trouble, both in life and in the very pages of this magazine. But the reason I believe this column is still popular, and the reason I was offered the new job, is because of my brutal honesty. Also I believe that this is a fantastic industry to work in, and while as competitive as any other, there is a huge amount of support and respect between even competing brands and businesses. So despite the weather, new challenges, the high street woes, and everything else, the 22


one thing we can rely on is the excellent product our industry produces. From small one person start ups to large £multi-billion companies, such as UKG and Hallmark, the industry is literally littered with excellent designers and business people who are a rich talent pool of individuals who can bring fantastic choice, product and innovation to the market. So this month I want to look at product... rather than problems - more specifically giftwrap

The art of giftwrapping has been around since the 2nd century BC. At that time in China money was distributed to government officials in ‘chih poh’ - beautiful envelopes - not the brown ones of nowadays! In Japan, Furoshiki and Korea, Bojagi were traditional methods of wrapping gifts in silk or elaborate cloth to make them even more special. In the West however, we were slow to catch on, and it was not until well after the 1860s when the Christmas card become popular with good old Henry Cole that intricately printed papers, lace and ribbon were used to make gifts that little bit more special.

Above: A Korean beautifully cloth wrapped gift called Bojagi. Below: The Cardzone group currently has 111 stores.

It was 1890 when printing improved meaning that repetitive patterns could be reproduced on stiff paper. However giftwrap as we know it was produced somewhat by accident when the Hall brothers (of Hallmark fame) ran out of red, white and green tissue in Christmas 1917. As a solution they used French drawer lining paper, which they sold to great success. Two years later in 1919 they were printing and producing their own wrap and the industry has never looked back. Trying to find UK giftwrap figures for today’s market is not easy, but in the US it is estimated to be a $3 billion dollar retail market. Daniel Howard, a professor of marketing in Dallas, did the first and only major survey into the wrapping of gifts. He conducted various experiments and looked at it extensively. His key findings were: "Gift wrapping, through repeated pairing with joyous events in people's lives, has utility in cuing a happy mood which, in turn, positively biases attitudes.” In other words a wrapped gift makes you reminisce about childhood and happy times. It also heightens your excitement, and in the case of my gifts was always something to look forward to. My mum spent a great deal of time carrying a theme through her giftwrap and creating some incredible attachments, which she would lovingly tie onto each parcel. Every year this was a highlight and indeed I still have some of the adornments! So what is the current market like? Supermarkets and even the chains tend to keep this simple, with a small selection of single giftwrap sheets (if they have any at all), lots of bags, a limited amount of ribbons and bows and lots of roll wrap.

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OVER THE COUNTER Left: Trend-led wrap from Belly Button’s Bubble brand. Below: Just a colourful taster of Deva’s Essential collection. Below right: Tropical Rainforest wrap designed by Paper Salad and published by Glick.

This I believe is a real opportunity for indies to have a selection of giftwrap sheets and rolls that reflects their personal tastes and those of their customers. Now price is undoubtedly an issue for some, and with that the case the wholesale giftwrap players really can’t be beat. Eurowrap in particular is able to offer a selection at prices which are hard to beat. If possible, and you can stand the volume, it’s best to order direct and then you can really benefit greatly from the increased margin. Eurowrap is a great company to deal with but its wrap is more functional rather than design-led. The big two - Hallmark and UKG - are interesting when it comes to giftwrap: Hallmark - sometimes I really like what the publisher creates, especially its bags and wrap, and at other times I feel it lacks imagination. Christmas is usually when Hallmark brings out some really interesting designs and styles, but I do feel it could do even more. UKG - I also find frustrating. The publisher bought Collage, one of the leading design-led wrap companies a few years ago, but to my mind this has since been under utilised with a few false starts in terms of its development. I believe that this year there are big things promised and really both of these companies should be leading the way in giftwrap innovation and design. At present they are good but not great. They can offer solutions but not the wow factor… but believe me there are companies out there who do. Belly Button - its card ranges are probably as strong as any publisher’s has ever been. The breadth of its product range, the sell through and the fact that it is still driven and cared for passionately by its founder Rachel Hare shines through. Rachel has taken this ethos and applied it to giftwrap with her Bubble brand’s collections, which are simply stunning. It is very fashion-led and the colours and quality of the bags are great. In some respects it’s designs are very lifestyle

driven and it uses pattern and text to great affect. Commercial and having a broad appeal can sometimes be viewed as a negative, but not in Bubble’s case, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough. Deva Designs - has been a staple of our giftwrap offering for a long time, in fact it is so long ago that I can’t remember when we first stocked it! It is a collection which is comprehensive to say the least, and it is not the cheapest product out there. The company tries to innovate by using different materials and textures and it is never afraid to do something completely off the wall. The inhouse designers deliver at least two brand new ranges every year, offering over 70 giftwrap designs at any one time. Add into this its Designers Guild collection and other licenced brands, and this allows for a huge variety of papers. Its Essential range of matching bows, bags and ribbons is a must and the colour pop it brings to the store is fantastic. ArteBene - is also an interesting company. I can remember my mum literally dragging me to the stand one Sunday afternoon at Spring Fair, excited to secure this for our stores. The company’s ethos is very similar to Deva and it wants to innovate and wow.

I love its wedding selection in particular and its mixed rollwrap and boxes give retailers variety to offer their customers. Its value packs of gift bags also allow you to split them and sell them individually for good margin. The absolute key line for me is its gift enclosures (money wallets). This publisher’s are without doubt the most intricate and beautiful in the market and we find that with more and more couples asking for vouchers or money that these are an excellent option to make that present a little more special.

Glick - is a name that has been around a long time, and while no longer owned or run by the family that first brought it to prominence, it is a collection that continues to grow. Originally famous for the repetition of hearts and other shapes, Glick’s new ranges mix in-house designs with those from key indie card publishers through licensing tie-ups - Paper Salad, WJB, Stephanie Dyment, Pizazz and Think of Me to name but a few. I believe that the giftwrap publisher had its strongest Spring Fair this year for many years, and it does not surprise me as it was easier to choose the papers to leave out than keep in my selection when I ordered a few

weeks ago. The range was simply all encompassing and allowed for a great mix at a good price. Quirky designs like ‘Born 2018/Married 2018’ look great on the contemporary wrap designs Glick has teamed it with. And look out for the Confetti range and its bottle bags, which were perfect for wider bottles. Glick also offer a display management system where it helps tailor the selection or run of colours and papers for your store. This is great for those new to the industry or those who maybe lack confidence in coordinating, but personally that is the fun for me! I love to see the papers from all of the companies mixed and displayed because then you really do have a winning selection. Laying them out on the floor overlapping them and getting the mix just right is essential so please take the time to do it! Often with gifts you hear the phrase ‘the best thing about it was the wrapping’, and in the UK at the minute I can certainly believe that that would be the case. You know, its been really nice being positive in my column this month… now that’s a wrap! To contact David email: PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Give Us A Level Playing Field As Cardsharp sat down to write this month’s article, Radio 4’s Today programme announced that the retail chain Next had suffered an 8% fall in year on year sales. The chief executive was quoted as saying that the last 12 months was the “Most challenging in 25 years”. This prompted Cardsharp to consider the plight of high street retailers and how one online operator in particular is getting away with ‘murder’.

Next’s announcement follows Toys R Us news of the closure of all its 100 stores, because no buyer could be found, and also electronic retailer Maplin closing its 200 stores. There has also been a whole host of retail Company Voluntary Agreements (CVA’s), which in many cases just delay those companies’ inevitable demise. Cardsharp notices even the middleclass favourite, John Lewis is encountering difficulties. Profit was down 22% last year and the bonus paid to its 85,000 staff who own the business had to be cut for the fifth year in a row. All of those who publish greeting cards and sell them to retail or retail the cards to sell to the public, know that running shops and employing people is an expensive business. A retailer in a decent location pays very high rents, and then the local authorities take more in business rates, which sometimes can be as high as the rent. And to add insult to injury, the local authorities then make life even more difficult for retailers by keeping the public away by charging



extortionate parking charges. On top of this, central government takes another chunk, of what is in most cases a meagre profit, in corporation tax. And traditional retailing has become even more expensive. The government has in the last year added even more costs, such as the increasing the minimum wage and adding the National Pension employer’s contribution. Yes, reflected Cardsharp, local and national government policy has certainly not helped, but Cardsharp thinks the biggest Above: Next has suffered a large fall in sales. Below: Toy R Us is closing its doors.

wrecking ball is an organisation that no government can seemingly do anything about, namely Amazon. Amazon was only founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezoz, but is now the largest internet retailer in the world with revenues of $177 billion in 2017. It started selling books, but as we all know, there is virtually nothing you cannot get on Amazon. It is a gigantic Behometh! Cardsharp is all for fair competition and free markets, but Amazon’s competition is not fair or free. Government policy hands it huge advantages, and the results, Cardsharp thinks, taken to the extreme could mean the death of town centre shopping as we know it. Yes, it is cheap and easy to order from, but why? Firstly, it pays virtually no tax. In 2016 it paid only £15 million of tax in Europe, on a turnover of £19.5 billion. To put that in perspective, it paid no more tax in Europe than the turnover of a medium-sized UK greeting card publisher. That’s not really going to help pay for our National Health Service, our defence and our old age pensions, is it? The

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CARDSHARP irony that Cardsharp would find amusing, if it was not so tragic, is that many of the most ardent enthusiasts of Amazon shopping are also the most enthusiastic advocates of increased public spending. Amazon needs huge distribution sites, but these are cheaply located in open space, rather than in the towns and cities where we live. Subsequently, its business rates are a fraction per square foot of bricks and mortar retailing. Another huge and unfair advantage over traditional retailing. And while most traditional retailers dutifully observe their responsibilities to their employees, working conditions in these massive Amazon castles are said to be appalling. Much of the workforce is agency employed, so employees enjoy few statutory rights. A harrowing read for Cardsharp was a recently published book by an undercover journalist James Bloodworth entitled ‘Hired-six months undercover in low wage Britain’. Staff, or ‘Associates’ as they are known, are either on zero hours or no contracts. They are never ‘Sacked’ but ‘Released’. They are bullied and cajoled beyond endurance for very low wages. Amazon ‘Pickers’ can walk over 15 miles a day and can be reprimanded if they don’t fulfil hugely exacting targets. No one should have to work in the conditions that James Bloodworth experienced in the miles of corridors in Amazon’s gigantic Rugeley warehouse. Google the title and you will find in another delightful but tragic irony, ‘Available from Amazon’ is the top Google ranking for the book! If this were not enough, Amazon drivers are clogging up our roads with aggressive white van drivers attempting as many same day deliveries as mechanically possible. Ruining the very roads that Amazon pays virtually nothing towards the upkeep. Cardsharp also thinks there is another dimension. Every shop that Amazon closes is a win for it. The company’s business model crafted by its founder Jeff Bezoz is to

Above: Jeff Bezoz. Below: James Bloodworth’s book uncovers the appauling working conditions in Amazon and other businesses in Britain.

play a long game. Discounting drives out its bricks and mortar rivals, so that in the end if we want anything we will have to buy it from Amazon. And do you think Amazon will be so cheap then? You only have to see some of the results all around us. We have long got used to empty units and blighted high streets in many of our towns and cities outside the South East “bubble”. But even in many of our more affluent Home Counties towns, empty units are cropping up. There are more charity and pop-up shops, and there are only so many coffee shops that even our caffeine-addicted society can support. Cardsharp does not want to finish on complete doom and gloom. It may turn out to be a blip, but the February retail sales volume actually grew by 0.8%, beating the economists’ prediction of 0.4%. Inflation which has been running higher than wage increases, lowering living standards, is starting to fall, and over the next couple of months wage increases should rise higher than prices. The squeeze on consumers resulting from the fall in the value of the

The government, more worried about the potential damage to the tax system, than the wreckage on the high street, has been considering a change in the tax laws for digital companies.”

£pound after the Brexit vote is starting to ease. And yes, greeting card sales according to GCA figures are holding up well. But the fundamental problem of Amazon will still remain. And as an industry we do not operate in a vacuum. The vast majority of greeting card sales are reliant on footfall. As long as Amazon enjoys huge and patently unfair advantages over traditional bricks and mortar retailing, the decline in sales and profitability will continue until all our town centres are hollowed out tumbleweed strewn shells. The government, more worried about the potential damage to the tax system than the wreckage on the high street, has been considering a change in the tax laws for digital companies. There is talk of taxing turnover in the UK rather than profits, which can be easily transferred overseas in our global economy. Cardsharp has read that the Treasury has just released a paper called Corporate tax and the digital economy. It is asking interested parties to comment (don’t hold your breath!) by the end of the year. Let us hope it is not too late. Amazon’s low prices and ‘convenience’ are an illusion. A symptom of what happens when a robber baron like Bezoz takes control. The credit card invoice from Amazon is a disappearing tax base, bombed out town centres and the layoffs of thousands and thousands of retail workers who were in rewarding, real jobs and careers. There is not much as an industry we in greeting cards can do to change government policy, but we can all do our own little bit. Cardsharp’s view is that if we want our greeting card industry to survive, we as individuals should not buy anything from Amazon if we can possibly avoid it! Think before you click!



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In Conversation With... James Conn

James And The Gi nt Reach

In an industry sector not known for major structural changes, last month saw two significant events - and both within the same company - Gary Rowley retired as ceo of UKG after 44 years with the firm, and the majority shareholding of the publisher’s parent company, American Greetings, was formally acquired by US investment company, Clayton Dubilier & Rice. Having taken over as ceo of UK Greetings on March 1, James Conn was in prime position to talk to PG about the developments within the company as well as the opportunities and challenges he sees for the industry at large. For all its might, UK Greetings is what could be described as a ‘quiet company’. It gets on with the job in hand, that of supplying a diversity of UK retail customers - from major supermarkets down to tiny indies - with its broad cross-section of greeting cards and wrappings, published under its brands as well as through its private label. Added to this, its role as broker sees it deliver over 70 other publishers’ products into multiples. And then there is the Clintons relationship - American Greetings (UKG’s parent company) reluctantly acquired the chain back in 2012, and although happy to secure the business with the chain, to safeguard other retailer relationships, UKG has always treated Clintons as ‘another customer’ rather than an internal retail business. Sure there have been ups and downs along the way, major customer ‘wins’ as well as ‘losses’, but as UK Greetings has been an important and steady ship in the greeting card ocean, there has not been much reason or cause for it to really change tack. 26


So when two major UKG news announcements hit within weeks of each other - one that Gary Rowley, ceo of UKG was retiring on March 1 after 44 years with the company and the other (due to be ratified as PG went to press), that the majority shareholding of American Greetings was to

Above: James Conn (front left) joined with many of the UKG team, to pay tribute to Gary Rowley (front right) who retired on March 1 as ceo after 44 years in the business. Long-serving national accounts manager Amanda Scrivener (centre) also retired on the same day and also received a celebration. Below: AG’s #GiveMeaning campaign’s tagline line was ‘A card is just a card – but in the right moment, it means everything.’

move from Weiss family-ownership to US investment company, Clayton Dubilier & Rice it was bound to cause a few eyebrows to rise. On the first point, not to take anything away from Gary Rowley, he has been a superb ceo for UK Greetings. But his was no snap decision to retire, and having worked so closely with James Conn for over 30 years, it was always going to be a smooth handover. “We have been working towards this for the last 16 months since Gary decided he wanted to retire from the business, which has been really beneficial,” explained James. “Having the long run up to Gary’s retirement has meant that we have been able to form a strong executive team, bringing together experienced champions in crucial elements of the business - from commercial to creative, finance to production,” says James. “OK, none of us have Gary’s 44 years experience, but collectively we do have 165 years!” he adds. As for the change in ownership, although it is still early to tell what this will bring, as James explains, “The Weiss family are still very much involved and retaining a significant minority shareholding will still sit on the board.” Plus, the Weiss family also remain owners of Clintons, which is

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In Conversation With... James Conn

not included in the deal, so will continue as a UKG customer. Making a salient point, James adds, “Surely it is very positive that a company as respected as Clayton Dubilier & Rice recognises the value and has spotted the potential in investing so significantly in greeting cards. This can only be good news for UKG, our retail customers and the industry at large.” Although only a few weeks into his new role as ceo of UKG, James says he is “loving it,” his trademark pearly white smile reinforcing the sentiment. Having seen the business from so many different angles through his 33 years with the company, James’ breadth of knowledge, strategic vision, innate people skills and passion for the industry made him the perfect choice to take on the top job. When asked about his aims for the company, James looks pensive for a moment, but not for long.

“The business is very successful and part of my role is of course to ensure this continues. We need to find ways of making our industry more sustainable – not just on the environmental front, though this is an area we are prioritising, but also to make sure our products remain relevant to the consumer,” stresses James. Elaborating, he went on to explain how designs, captions and marketing should be reassessed on an ongoing basis to keep in line with trends, but how the essence of a greeting card continues to chime with today’s population loud and clear. “Our lives are very different to those our grandparents lived and our tastes will continue to evolve, but at its core greeting card buying and sending remains very strong. I was in a Clintons’ store in the run up to Mother’s Day, for example, and was listening to some young lads debating whether to spend £5 on a specific card for one of the boy’s mums. I loved the moment when the young lad dismissed his mate’s view, took the card and made his way to the till saying “My

Above: UKG recently received the Asda’s General Merchandise Supplier of the Year award for the successful delivery of the grocer’s new Celebrations department. Below: UKG is gearing up to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Boofle, its largest card brand. Below right: James Conn with Jeff Weiss, AG’s co-chief executive at PG Live.

mum will really like this one”. We just need to find ways of encouraging more moments like these,” suggests James, citing American Greetings’ #GiveMeaning campaign last year which included Tattoo, based on a poignant video of a girl getting her first tattoo in memory of her mum (based on the her Mum’s handwriting in a card) as a prime example. James is ever mindful that greeting cards’ availability at retail is pivotal to the sector and feels that publishers, including UKG, need to do all they can to help and support retailers in ensuring the card displays hold their own in store. “The consumer likes choice. It has served this industry well that greeting cards have enjoyed a high profile in supermarkets as well as in specialist chains and independents. As the size of some multiple stores shrink in size the challenge will be for us to ensure we can justify an arresting card display that delivers for the retailer as well as the consumer,” he says, buoyed by UKG’s recent triumph in the Asda supplier awards in recognition of the development of the new look Celebrations department. “Apart from the 6% of sales from online, greeting cards remain a bricks and mortar product, so it is in all our interests to do all we can to make the card displays as attractive and credible as we can, whether that is through developing specific PoS for indies, as we have done with the

GCA, or working with multiples to find environmental solutions for the greater good, it all adds up,” believes James. Having started as a member of the salesforce himself, James feels that the publisher’s 80-strong sales/merchandising team has a crucial role to play in supporting retailers, especially those in the independent sector. “Indies are crucial to this industry. They are at the heart of the communities they serve, dealing with challenges the scope of which have never been faced before, be it on costs, staffing and drop in footfall. There are some wonderful examples out there of great retailers who are rising above the challenges and winning. By working together and sharing ideas I do believe that the independent retail sector can grow.” Last year, as James points out, the UK public spent more money on greeting cards than they had ever done before in history £1.75 billion, but he warns we cannot take growth for granted. “The spend is up, and male card sending has never been higher, but it does look like the volume, primarily around Christmas, has dipped slightly over the last 12 months. Whether we can reverse the trend or hold the line will be up to everyone involved, from publishers to retailers. Certainly we will be working hard here at UKG to make the product both as relevant and accessible as possible,” assured the new ceo with the bit between his teeth!

Lessons learned…

Having been his boss since 1993, Gary Rowley taught James Conn a fair few lessons along the way. Here James shares just a few of them… Patience - “Gary always stressed the importance of being patient. That you do not need to do everything at once at a great speed.” Relationships - “Gary was a master of relationships. He reinforced my belief in valuing relationships, whether with retail customers, work colleagues or friends.” Respect - “Mutual respect is crucial in any business. Right from the start, Gary always made a point of treating his work colleagues as he would like to be treated, with courtesy and respect. It is something which rings true with me.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE



ful t h g i l rds! 20 de a c n i p enamel

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

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Mad Menagerie Wraptious has a new range of cards by Adam Barsby. Adam won Wraptious’ autumn competition, and his vibrant animal cards are sure to stand out on a shelf. His latest collection of 11 cards sees him exploring a wide range of interesting animals – from a donkey to a Schnauzer dog. Brimming with humour and personality, the 15cm square cards come in packs of six, with a choice of either kraft or silver envelope. WRAPTIOUS 0161 430 2310

Simply The Best All The Best Cards is proud to unveil its new range of watercolour greeting cards. The Watercolour range features Britain's favourite woodland animals, including the deer, badger, fox, rabbit, squirrel and kingfisher – plus a design that features them all. After all, we all know, there ain't no party like a woodland wildlife party. The cards are perfect to say ‘happy birthday’, congratulations or for any occasion.

Dog-Gone Pemberly Fox and artist Susanna MacInnes unveil the ‘Man’s Best Friend’ notecard collection. Available in six individual designs, the cards are perfect for anyone dotty about Dachshunds, crazy for Cockerpoos, loopy for Labradors, soppy for Spaniels, joyous for Jack Russells or tempestuous for Terriers. Each set features six luxurious, textured 350gsm notecards and tissue lined white envelopes, in a Pemberly Fox box, costing £19.95.

ALL THE BEST CARDS 01572 820549

PEMBERLY FOX +44 (0)207349 7225

Sunshiney Day Say “Shello!” to Tattyhead Design’s latest Quirky Characters range. Fun, colourful and refreshingly witty, they complement the easy-to-love Funny Farm Animals and the wonderfully sublime Fine Art ranges. Deliciously refreshing, and bursting with brightness and wit, the cards urge customers to spread their joy to those they love. With sunshine yellow envelopes and blank messages, the designs will lighten and brighten the dullest of days! TATTYHEAD DESIGN 07478 275399

When Dogs Go Bad

Taste The Alphabet

After the sell out success of Jo Clark’s fabulous award-nominated 'Naughty Dogs' Calendar 2018, comes a new greeting card range featuring the chaotic but adorable antics of our beloved dogs. ‘Naughty Dogs’, a bright and colourful range of six designs is perfect for all occasions, are A6 size, are blank inside and come paired with a recycled envelope and wrapped in a biodegradable cellobag.

New from Alphabeti Yeti, featuring designs by the company’s owner Shelli Graham, The Culinary Collection is a series of 26 card designs featuring the letters of the alphabet and celebrating a fruit or vegetable beginning with the same letter. The illustrations are created using watercolour and each alphabet card comes with a unique twist: every card also includes an exciting, easy to follow recipe that pays homage to the fruit or vegetable featured for each letter. Each 210mm x 148mm design comes cellowrapped and with a green envelope.

JO CLARK DESIGN 07886193734



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Blank Inside

Inspire your customers by browsing fabulously fashionable stationery and gifts at this year’s London Stationery Show. The Natural History Museum is a world-class visitor attraction and leading science research centre. It cares for more than 80 million specimens and uses its unique collections and unrivalled expertise to tackle the biggest challenges facing the world today.

Fill your shelves with great gifts, irresistible treats and smart essentials that will add style, colour and Indian Elephant plenty of reasons for customers to visit again. (Elephas maximus indicus) Artwork adapted from images and objects held within the collections of the Natural History Museum. © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Sales of this product support the Natural History Museum



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Design © Museums & Galleries Ltd 2018 Email: Tel: 01373 462 165

Designed and made in Britain Printed on board from responsible sources

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The Natural History Museum is a world-class visitor attraction and leading science research centre. It cares for more than 80 million specimens and uses its unique collections and unrivalled expertise to tackle the biggest challenges facing the world today.

European Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus) Artwork adapted from images and objects held within the collections of the Natural History Museum. © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Sales of this product support the Natural History Museum



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Design © Museums & Galleries Ltd 2018 Email: Tel: 01373 462 165

Designed and made in Britain Printed on board from responsible sources

This exciting new range of greetings cards, notecards and gift stationery offers a kaleidoscopic mix of beautiful animal and floral imagery. Welcome to the amazing world of the Natural History Museum!

Make it a date and register now

Contact your local agent, register online or call our sales team for more information about our collection.





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Candy Store Papagrazi has just launched 25 fresh and vivid designs in to its brand new Candy Allsorts range with designs for a variety of occasions. Inspired by a little sweetshop nostalgia and a playful liquorice effect on the foiled lettering, the candy stripe cards pop with fun and colour. Size 120mm x 170mm, the cards are printed on premium 350gsm board and cellowrapped with a white envelope. PAPAGRAZI 07775 833065

Female Force

Words Of Wisdom

Claire Maddicott is excited to announce the launch of a brand new collection. GRL PWR, the perfect range for strong, independent women everywhere - a striking collection comprising 12 beautifully presented feminine designs, featuring feisty captions. The 160mm square designs feature bold metallic foiled typography, which is complemented by animal prints created in soft, delicate colour palettes, and accompanied by metallic gold envelopes.

Coulson Macleod has extended its Wise Words range, based on thematic lexiconography. The 31 new designs brings the range’s total to 85 designs. Among the new subjects covered are skateboarding, photography, football, new job, smile, hangovers, beauty, tattoos, surfing, rugby, cinema, sailing, yoga, university, writing, boxing and motorbikes! COULSON MACLEOD 01536 419944

CLARE MADDICOTT 01638 569050

Positive Thinking

Ink Pot

Introducing Mrs Lovesy’s new ‘Positive Animals’ range. The range consists of eight beautiful designs based on handdrawn animals framed with a positive and motivating quote. All card designs are 150mm square and printed on luxury textured card, and all the cards are hand-finished with Swarovski Crystals to add that extra bit of elegance.

GroovyART’s latest Ink Range, created by an artist Martynas Juchnevicius, covers ink brushed famous cartoon Scottie characters. The range includes 12 designs - from crowded to stand alone characters - with specifically picked titles and printed on a textured board. The range uniquely stands out from the rest in the collection.

DESIGNED BY MRS LOVESY +44 (0)203 764 2850

GroovyART 07412050478

London Calling 'London Traditions' by Jennifer Rose Gallery is a new collection of 12 designs capturing London icons such as Big Ben, a London bus, a red telephone box, post box, St Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace guards and London Bridge, painted in a loose watercolour style. The cards - size 7”x5” and 6”x6” - are printed on a luxury board, perfect to show off the watercolour textures and comes with a complementary baby blue or grey envelope and cellowrapped. JENNIFER ROSE 07857422152



forg t ’ n o D



15th June 2018

CALL 0161 641 0655 TO ORDER NOW! or email

OR order on our NEW WEBSITE!

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on to Su lin the bs c e at new rib PG s e Bu flas zz h .n et

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From the team behind Progressive Greetings Worldwide, PG Live, The Retas and The Henries, has launched as the new online central resource for the greeting card sector online...

Jakki Brown Joint md & editorial director

Twice weekly newsflash delivered to over 9000 inboxes

Regularly updated jobs-board

The very latest news, views, articles and analysis

Digital issues of Progressive Greetings Worldwide

Dedicated pages for the GCA and The Ladder Club

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Advertising, Recruitment and Sponsorship Opportunities:

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News, Editorial and Content Opportunities:

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The Tourist Claire Louise has painted a series of watercolour illustrations capturing different cities and cultures around the world. So far there are 18 155mm square designs in this range, which are blank inside. Each card comes cellowrapped with a grey coloured envelope. CLAIRE LOUISE 07715 373344

Go Ape! Introducing Monkey Do, eight lively additions to Paper Bird Publishing’s Littlewing children's collection. For birthdays, ages 1, 2 and 3 and three blank for all those other days, this little monkey will be included in the Plumette notecard selection too, perfect for party invitations. The cards are 150mm square and cellowrapped with white envelopes. The notecards are 120mm square and come singly or in packs of six.

Woodland Wild LS20 Letterpress Studio has just introduced a new art range consisting of six beautiful new designs by Catherine O’Hare. ‘Nature’s Morning’ features woodland scenes with birds, foxes and a hare! The designs are truly unique featuring etching and lino-craft to achieve a wonderful creative finish. Of course, letterpress printing on a soft white 300gsm board adds a further touch of luxury, complemented with a recycled kraft envelope and cellowrapped.


Shiny People


Brainbox Candy is launching a hilarious new range called Quotish and simultaneously is causing wildlife mayhem in Leigh on Sea. This stunning gold foiled range is so shiny shiny that all the local magpies were fighting over them, and not just the cards but the beautiful bespoke foiled envelopes too. Square cards with rounded corners, printed on a gorgeous uncoated board featuring 14 captions to make you guffaw! Just watch out for the magpies! BRAINBOX CANDY 01702 716643

All Wrapped Up

Blooming Great

Ribbons is a fresh new range from Lucilla Lavender. Using crisp photography of dancing ribbons, coupled with stunning gold foiled detail, each design has a different joyful idea. Satin textures and jewel-like colours stand out beautifully against crisp white board. There are 24 designs, covering both birthdays and occasions.

The popular Vintage Matchbox range has been extended with new animal and figurative designs, and a whole new Floral range has bloomed in the ArtPress garden. There are eight everyday images, along with Spring Seasons and occasions offerings. The flowers represent a retro sensibility that chimes with the stylistic and colour trends of today. Each card (170mm x 120mm) is individually cellowrapped with an accompanying china white envelope.

LUCILLA LAVENDER 0203 405 1410



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Small Is Beautiful Earlybird is expanding its popular MINI card range by 24 designs that include some niche relations cards. Its customers were asking for titles like Goddaughter, Cousin and Step Parents, so Earlybird decided to fill that gap. Relations card are a growing market, and what makes these so good is that they can be for a birthday or blank, and, because of their mini 120mm x 90mm size, can also sit on cards shelves perfectly in front of other cards taking up less space. From Nanny to Papa and Step Mum to godson, Earlybird has tapped into a market that is still fairly small but growing.

Keep Calma Llama

EARLYBIRD 01227765372

We all love a llama even if they do spit in our faces, but let’s face it, spit happens! Luckily for you, Boxer Gift’s Grow A Calma Llama is a llama with no drama (apart from growing up to 6 times its size). Simply pop this little guy into water and watch it grow. Make sure you check out Boxer’s amazing new additions to their ‘Grow A’ range.

Winged Things

Decorquecards has extended both its Natural Wildlife Collection and its Tropical Wonder of Nature collection. The new designs in the Natural Wildlife Collection feature unique imaginary British wildlife scenes - The Patient Heron, Kingfisher, Dabbling Ducks and Swans Lake all have habitats created in Photoshop. Size 150mm square with buff envelopes and individually wrapped, the new additions to the range include ‘The Koala World’ and ‘A Bamboo of Pandas’, depicting some more of popular wildlife from the Asia Pacific region.

There are six new designs in the extended Flicker Wings’ Fairies range, with a romantic fairytale feel coming into play, and covering a number of occasions, from engagement to grand daughter’s birthday. Additionally, the new Flicker Wings’ Bears range has nine designs with lots of ‘beary’ captions, ie ‘On Your Beary Special Day' and 'I can't bear to be without you'. Both ranges’ cards are size 150mm square, and come with a matching coloured envelope and cellobag.

DECORQUECARDS 44 (0) 1865 841689




This beautiful new incarnation of the Whispers range captures the essence of Me to You from Carte Blanche. Gentle touches of colour enhance the elegant simplicity of the artwork, giving it a truly timeless quality. The warm, gentle sentiment that Me to You is known for stand out clearly within the simplicity of the design. There are 12 9” x 5” designs in the range, topped off with a statement coloured envelope. CARTE BLANCHE GREETINGS 01243 792600

BOXER GIFTS 01133 955 595

Into The Wild

Whispering Gallery

Solid Gold Lucy Ledger has launched a new occasions range called the Power Gold collection. The range is made up of 28 150mm square cards beautifully finished with mirror gold foiled text and details. The cards have a contemporary feel and on-trend botanical style incorporating chalky pastel colours and a modern typeface. A wide range of occasions are covered, including relations birthdays, wedding, engagement and a full range of age cards from eighteen to one hundred. All come cellowrapped with recycled rustic brown envelope. LUCY LEDGER 0114 438 7569

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A selection of products launching at London Stationery Show BUSINESS DESIGN CENTRE, LONDON (24-25 APRIL 2018)

Heaven Sent A Gift From The Gods is an exciting lifestyle brand of stationery and accessories, developed by one of Stationery Matters Thirty under 30 star choices. Following the success of the initial stationery collection of A5 and A6 notebooks, A5 journals, weekly planners and spiral bound notebooks have been added to the collection in four distinct, yet complementary design stories - A Gift From The Gods, Calligraphy and Hearts, Dream Odyssey and Get Your Goddess On. A GIFT FROM THE GODS 0207 9873844 STAND M610

Flametree are excited to be adding many new licenses to its notebook range at the Stationery Show! – special mention to the National Gallery with Bosschaert the Elder: ‘A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase’ and ‘The Wilton Diptych’; National Galleries Scotland’s Samuel Peploe: ‘Pink Roses, Chinese Vase’; and Ashmolean Museum with the beautiful ‘Embroidered Hanging with Peacock’.

Tales Of Adventure Nuco’s latest adventure is the launch of its Nu: Journal range, which is a stylish yet affordable selection of journals to suit all. The Spectrum range, which was inspired by a bright colour palette, comes in eight colours, is teamed with a simple, subtle design and is available in A5. And the Linen range is a fashionable yet functional A5 notebook in a tactile design and quality finish and is available in a selection of six natural earthy colours to choose from.


NUCO 01676 524500 STAND M701

Paper Station Santoro have recently launched an eclectic mix of new stationery pieces! Find adorable additions to the Poppi Loves collection, including animal shaped notebooks, pens with 3D ears and a theatre playtime set, perfect for creative fun; Gorjuss Cityscape is a new capsule range with a sweet travel theme; and colour-popping and stylishly designed, Santoro’s new Tropical Collection features colourful sloths and dressed to impress toucans, neon notebooks, pom pom pens and quirky sticky notes for the most vibrant of stationery needs! SANTORO 01709 518100 STAND M341

A Taste Of Brazil Bringing a ‘taste of Brazil’ to the London Stationery Show for the very first time is Otima - a publisher and producer of stationery and giftware products, based in Curitiba since 1986. The Otima product portfolio embraces planners, sticky notes, journals, notebooks, rigid boxes, clipboards, card and envelope sets and desktop items - presented in a variety of impactful design themes, including the brand new ‘Noir’ collection. Further information is available from Derek Burles, Redworth Products, who represents Otima in the UK and Ireland E: OTIMA 01304 852030 STAND M742

On Fire!

Busy Bees The Busy B Dated Collection has grown by 80% in the last four years and now includes 18 products across different diary and calendar formats. The Stationery Show marks the largest ever range of dated products from Busy B. The new 2019 Dated Collection includes a new Goals Diary, Pocket Diary and Busy Life Calendar, as well as more beautiful design options of Busy B’s best sellers, such as the Busy Life Diary, To Do Diary and Perfect Planner Diary. BUSY B 0131 556 4394 STAND M631 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Spolight Trends On Male Cards

    With the popularity of the man bun now ‘winding down’ - the buzz-cut waiting in the wings - and a 1980s nostalgic wave bidding sayonara to the full beard and welcoming the return in 2018 of the tache (with a clean shaven chin) - think Magnum PI-era with Tom Selleck - it looks like the traditional barbershop, quality razors, shaving paraphernalia and aftershave balm will continue to rise in popularity in the male grooming market… and of course, male greeting card illustrations are reflecting the tools found in the male grooming armoury, as well as some classic gent attire such as bow-ties and brogues. PG talks to some sharp-eyed publishers cutting into this masculine trend. There’s a revival of a predominantly male space in town. A cosy place of luxurious pampering with comfy vintage armchairs and a hint of Victorian side show - it's the tattoo parlor and barbershop combo. Helped by the rise of the boho hipster culture, the traditional barbershop follicle experts have joined forces with talented tattoo artists to create social hubs that fuse male grooming with craft beer, artisan coffee, music and retail. “There has been a general and increasing interest in and awareness of men’s grooming, particularly on social media - from facial and body products, hair, moustache and especially beard products… soaps, lotions, scrubs, gels, concealers and so on,” explains Jan Taylor, creative director for Mint Publishing. “The statement beard has 36


Right: A new Debonair design from Rosanna Rossi. Below: The complete set of grooming tools on a card from UKG. Below left: The ‘Man Salon’ design from Mint Publishing. Below right: An ‘Adventures in Type’ design from Card Nest.

been a big trend for men for the last couple of years. There has also been a big resurgence in men’s hair and grooming salons, where a man can go for more of a ‘pamper experience’, such as a hot/wet shave, haircut, beard wash and trim, a nail trim, a facial, and, while he’s there, a drink if he wishes,” she adds. From face fur oils to hair shampoos, styling putty and pomades, research from Mintel reveals that by 2020 the men’s haircare market is forecast to grow 11% to reach £94 million, and the whole male grooming market is predicted to be worth approximately £45 billion, according to Euromonitor. Men are spending more time and money on their appearance and hair than ever before, thanks to social media, blogs and a plethora of dedicated grooming brands, and greeting card designers are picking up on this dapper drive. “We were aiming to create a range of cards in high street which would include a strong male appeal as this is a notoriously thorny area. We homed in on popular and topical male pursuits and interests, thus of course including a strongly designed and coloured ‘Man Salon’ design encompassing classic grooming elements and signage, with wide age appeal,” explains Jan. Dedicated followers of fashion, and that includes following male fashion and trends very closely, Nicci Gower, creative director for Hammond Gower, has noticed how “men are really starting to adopt their own tastes and uniqueness to how they look, shop and present themselves in general.” For example, with the prominence of bearded men so Nicci has reflected that within the publisher’s ranges when depicting a male design.

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Spolight Trends On Male Cards

Barbershop hey-day

“But look closer and the resurgence of streetwear is really pushing the envelope in what is fashionable, acceptable and how men want to be perceived now,” she expounds. “This isn’t surprising as the ‘bearded male’ look was a staple feature from the tattoo, barbershop and bike rider growth, rebelling against a ‘clean-shaven norm’. For us now, we’ve already seen the next step in male appearance, and it’s rebelling again with a more groomed look.” And men taking more pride in their appearance can only be a good thing. “I think men are the new women. Beards are the new eyebrows. Brogues are the new Jimmy Choo’s. Tattoo sleeves are the male equivalent of makeup contouring. Women work hard to get a booty like Beyonce - men are just as fickle, they just don’t like to admit it,” says Jo Wilson, director of Dandelion Stationery, who believes the beard trend stems from icons such as Tom Hardy and other famous beard wearers: “Wolverine/Pitt/Gyllenhaal/Clooney/ Beckham have all sported beards at some point, and grooming, brogues, suits etc have been spotted on the lovely Tommy Shelby in the BBC’s Peaky Blinders.” And it seems the tools of the follicle trade, such as shaving brushes and soap, retro style razors, moustache wax and retro aftershave bottles, are a perfect source of inspiration for male card designers. Jo says, “The greeting card industry is fantastic at picking up trends, so it’s only natural for us publishers to offer designs that cater for emerging and popular trends. And why does it work so well on male cards? Well surely any opportunity to have a giggle at the blokes’ expense should not be wasted?” The growth in luxurious male grooming tools and products, and the indulgent experience of barber and tattoo shops, is a perfect pool of pampering paraphernalia for male card designs, which historically has been a tricky area of the card market. David Nichols-Rice, brand manager for Card Nest, agrees: “Something that comes up time and

The golden age of the barbershop ran from late Victorian times to the beginning of World War II and rivaled pubs and taverns in popularity. A place to catch up on topical news or meet friends, the traditional barbershop was a place for men to socialise and hang-out as well as receive a shave or haircut, many on a weekly or daily basis. The barbershop revival of today reflects the one of old, providing a space just like hundred years ago. While indulging in a classic wet-shave or clipper haircut in a vintage barbershop chair, great stories, banter and jokes are shared, and debates on current affairs bandied about. And often, today’s vintage style barbershop will offer a nip of whisky to lubricate the good company, paying tribute to the golden age of barbering, when getting a beard trim was a full-service affair.

Top far left: A ‘Brother’ design from Kingfisher Cards. Top left: Jonny Javelin has gone for the rugged look on this Graffix card. Left: A Knight Cocktail design from Hammond Gower. Right: Moustache montage on a The Art File card. Below: A beardy design from The Curious Inksmith. Below right: Hipster homage from Dandelion Stationery. Below left: Shaving paraphernalia on a Cherry Orchard card.

time again in conversation is the difficulty retailers face in finding ‘great cards for men’. We aimed to fix that with our new range ‘Adventures in Type’, all with the modern gent in mind. Among the collection are designs illustrating men’s razors and hairdressing equipment, representing today’s generation’s man about town, and is a refreshing alternative to sports that often feature heavily. The illustrations and the copper foil are a wonderful pairing to create a contemporary, yet classic aesthetic.” Male cards are notoriously difficult to succeed with. “Scope usually tends to focus around standard, stereotyped male interests such as sport, thus making life difficult when trying to play in the less crowded part of the market”, states James Mace, sales and marketing manager for The Art File, who feels that new trends, such as male grooming, have really given the industry different choices to work off when it comes to male cards, making the offering much more diverse and appealing to customers. And he adds, “With the male grooming trend I really believe that due to the amount of specialised male products on the market today, it’s really given ‘us’ (men) a sense of pride to take care of ourselves!” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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New Male Card Launches

  PG ‘posts’ some of the new male greeting card collections being delivered by card publishers. l Knight Cocktail is a brand new male range from Hammond Gower. Concentrating on alcoholic beverages, the imagery is strong and masculine on grey marble backgrounds enhanced with gold foil captioning and highlights. The range comprises of general birthday, as well as ages and relations designs, and is available in size 6” x 6” with a quality white envelope.

additions feature strong colours of dark blues with teal tones and the clever use of gradient effects have given the age cards greater depth to further enhance the emboss and metallic finishes that are synonymous with luxury - what the Paloma collection has become known for. l The Royal Air Force celebrated its

l Following the success of the recently

launched Retro Lifestyle square open cards, Cherry Orchard has now extended the line with the addition of 15 new male captioned Code 60 cards (RRP £1.99). With eye-catching retro-style artwork of sports, beer, whisky, grooming products and potting sheds, the cards are luxuriously finished with illustrated inserts, flitter, foil and embossing. l Just for Blokes!, Pink Pig's

'blokey' male range, really stands out on the shelf, with bright bold colours, contemporary fonts, and fun characters. There are 57 cards in the range, which include open birthday, relations and occasions, plus an extra 25 fab new Father's Day cards… four of which can be also personalised with your town name! l Introducing Palladium from International

Cards & Gifts. This fresh and contemporary range features captioned and open birthday designs across codes 75, 65, 60 and 50, paired with a china blue envelope. All IC&G’s designs are finished with foil and embossed details to make these designs feel extra special. l Belly Button Designs’ Blue Paloma male

collection was created as a result of customer demand. Now, in 2018, the publisher is reaching for the 'stars' and has developed firm faves within its range of clear male icons and geometric graphics. These latest design

Centenary last month and to help mark this occasion artist Richard Partis has depicted its most famous battle - The Battle of Britain. This is one of the new designs in the Clanna Cards portfolio and is part of a new range of vintage motor racing cards, which includes Le Mans, Silverstone and the Isle of Man TT. The 7” x 5" cards are available either blank or with Happy Birthday. l Jonny Javelin has launched a new male range called Graffix. There are nine titled cards in a code 75 (£1.99) and 12 open birthday cards in a code 60 size (£1.69). The style is graffiti, grungy and graphic, so there’s lots of ‘GR’ going. l Many new designs have been added to Country Cards’ strong country male range. There are lots more dog and farm animal images as well as country related scenes. All new designs have a white margin round the image and come with a silver/grey envelope and cellowrapped, are 7”x 5” and available in blank or Happy Birthday. l The much-loved male Slice of Life range from Ling Design has recently added eight new designs. These contemporary classics, painted by Darren Dearden, celebrate the everyday male hero in a recognised quirky style but with a fresh new twist! There are over 50 male cards in the Slice of Life range, in varying sizes, RRP from £1.90. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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New Male Card Launches

l Marina B is extending its brand-

new Jack Spratt transport range after it caused such excitement at Spring Fair. Capturing the fun of everyday life and celebrating those special milestones, the range is inspired by the love of the outdoors and bright colours, and the designs convey the carefree spirit of adventure and so are sure to capture the imagination of boys, big and small, as a result. All 12 150mm square designs are individually hand-drawn, printed on a luxury 350 gsm board and come individually cellowrapped to ensure they stand out from the crowd.

designs - a camper van, a bike, gardening tools and a record player with embossing and metallic foiling. Size 155 mm x 155mm, the cards are supplied with a coordinating envelope and individually cellowrapped. l Let’s raise a glass to the Drink To That

collection from Hallmark! The elegant illustrations are complemented by striking, vibrant watercolours and sparkling editorial and cover a variety of captions. In fact, the Drink to That range is ideal for celebrating all those memorable occasions in life. l New from Kingfisher

l Redback’s newest range

Pinata features a fun enamel pin card for the men in your life. Be it your relative, partner or your bezzy mate, sometimes you just need to tell them they’re a ‘Total Ledge’! The quality pins and foiled GF Smith board makes this range a real knock-out, and what’s more with a retail price of only £3.99 it means everyone’s a winner! l Inspired by all things mystical and medieval, The Art File’s Mace & Mace male-targeted collection of 12 cards pays homage to historic chivalry, knights in shining armour and all things honourable! As male cards go, these couldn’t really be more male. The use of colour and the quirky straplines put them in a league of their own. The cards are finished with hot and cold foils and embossed lines, different coloured insides, and other details such as embossed crowns on the bottom right of each card to really give them that unique feel. l Classic and contemporary, timeless

and trendy, The Great British Card Company’s Paper Gallery brand’s new male range Fit For A King perfectly combines witty visual puns, strong masculine colours and classic letterpress design. And with 13 cards from which to choose there’s something for kings of all ages! l Molly Mae has over 100 new

designs as part of its Spring collection. Within this, its Flutter on the Breeze range has been extended by over 30 designs, including female and male age cards, sympathy cards and general birthday cards. The male general birthday cards have four strong new

Cards is the fantastic Fontastic range. It has a retail price of only 99p, but uses top quality board and foil finishes. With 66 captions, covering relations, ages and open birthday, the collection includes contemporary images to appeal for every age group. l Laura Sherratt Designs has new additions to its Talking Buttons range, including designs for men. The new designs feature Laura's signature style illustrations and are hand-finished with buttons and gems. The cards measure 15cm square and come complete with a blue envelope and cellobag wrapper.

l Uniquely Yours’ Classics Galore is a colourful range showcasing classic vehicles. There are 14 classics in the range, including the Mini Cooper, the Dino, Aston Martin and Corvette. The 150mm square designs have been digitally painted to create artwork that stands out, cello wrapped with white envelopes, and each image is now available as mounted prints and ceramic mugs. l Lola Design is extending its popular Rocky Male collection by a further 10 designs for Milestone ages, ranging from age 18 to 100. Featuring a matt gold foil for a premium and manly finish, each card is individually wrapped and supplied with a contrasting grey envelope.



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Retailer Face To Face

A Different


Gee Tee’s is a force that has long defied the parametres of retailing pigeonholes, stocking everything from household cleaning fluids to upmarket wardrobes. Last month the Wigan-based family owned mini group installed The Card Room, a new look card and wrappings department into its Westhoughton store, nurturing its position as a destination card retailer. PG caught up with Yasmin Twist, card buyer of The Card Room, to find out more about this new ‘twist’ to Gee Tee’s. Having been a fixture in Pemberton, Ashtonin-Makerfield, Fleetwood, Bamber Bridge and Westhoughton for decades, Gee Tee’s local customers know that the shops are where they can come for all manner of products – for the home, garden or gifting. And while greeting cards have long featured in the Gee Tee’s product line-up, last month saw the final touches being put to The Card Room, Gee Tee’s new ‘store within a store’ greeting card shop that has been installed in its Westhoughton branch, near Bolton. Next up, its Bamber Bridge store is to receive the same treatment and, all being well, it will be rolled out into its other three stores in due course. “Greeting cards have always featured in our stores, and thanks to Yasmin’s watchful eye and natural affinity for the product, we have built up quite a following as a destination for cards. They really do bring people into the stores,” explains George Twist, founder of the company paying tribute to his wife Yasmin’s greeting card bent. “Our commitment to The Card Room is the next stage in our development on this front,” adds George. 42


When Yasmin joined her husband in the business 16 years ago, leaving behind her career as a nurse, she freely admits she “knew nothing about cards”, but felt it was an area that had potential. “What made it possible, right from the start, was that the people in card industry are just lovely. Everyone was, and still are, so helpful,” says Yasmin. “Progressive Greetings was invaluable, I learned so much from reading the articles, using the adverts to source products and introduce publishers,” says Yasmin. Back at the start, it was Hallmark, UK Greetings (especially Hanson White), Excelsior Graphics and Grassroots that were the main suppliers, but over time Yasmin has considerably broadened the publisher base

Above: The new card selection includes trialling some new looks, such as this contemporary neon collection, which brings together designs from different publishers. Below: The large Gee Tee’s varietal store at Westhoughton which is debuting The Card Room ‘store within a store’ concept. Bottom: Yasmin and George’s son Jordan, a graphic designer, has created the livery for the new department, which UKG has produced.

without alienating the loyal local customers who buy an impressive number of cards from the stores. “You would never believe the huge sales we generate from our Pemberton store, for example,” says Yasmin. “Sadly, being in an area with a lot of older customers one of our best selling areas is our sympathy cards display which justifies its own unit. You have to cater for your customers’ needs.” Leaving behind the bustle of the high street based Pemberton store, a short drive away on a small retail park in Westhoughton is Yasmin’s ‘new baby’ - The Card Room. This high-ceiled airy store has lent itself beautifully to trail-blaze Gee Tee’s new card concept, which features contemporary fixtures, focused ‘wow areas’ of highlighted ranges and fresh PoS. “It was our son Jordan who came up the name as customers always refer to our

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Retailer Face To Face

By George!

greeting card areas as “The Card Room”. As a graphic designer he then came up with the logo and all the PoS designs, which UKG kindly produced for us,” explained Yasmin. As to the greeting card selection, while there is some commonality throughout the Gee Tee’s estate, as Yasmin hand selects each design, she has been able to curate the display in the Westhoughton store, successfully trailing some more contemporary collections. “The new Belly Button ranges, for example, have gone down very well in Westhoughton as the new fixtures and enhanced lighting enables us to highlight them,” says Yasmin. “And we are trialling some new looks from Woodmansterne too.” Working closely with her colleagues Pippa Kelly, (based at Gee Tee’s Wigan HQ, Yasmin’s ‘mock shop’ enable the card displays to be created) and Norma Tomkinson, who manages the card displays in the stores,

Yasmin feels they are well-placed to continue to evolve the selection for customers. “We are trying some new lines out, seeing how far we can push it on humour. You can’t really tell until you put it on show, but it is great to receive such positive feedback from customers,” says Yasmin. With plans now underway to give the Bamber Bridge The Card Room treatment, they give new meaning to serving up ‘Gee Tee’s with a twist’! Top: George and Yasmin Twist upstairs in the Pemberton store, the very first one George opened, many moons ago. Above: The product selection stocked by Gee Tee’s ranges, from household cleaning and toiletries right through to a range of wooden furniture that George imports. Left: Anchoring the left-hand front of the shop, The Card Room in Gee Tee’s Westhoughton store features a different combination of cards to the retailer’s other stores.

You only need to be with George Twist for a few moments to appreciate he is an irrepressible entrepreneur whose verve far belies his septuagenarian status! George is a retailing legend in the Wigan area; he knows the customers, most of the staff have worked for him for over 20 years and he can calculate a profit margin on any of the thousands of products the Gee Tee’s stores sell - from a dish scourer to a wardrobe, a sledge to fabric rose! Although he very much leaves the greeting card side of the business to his wife Yasmin, George together with his son Jonathan and the rest of the Gee Tee’s team look after the running of the five Gee Tee’s varietal stores and wholesaling business. Thinking back to his early heady days in business, George says, “I had started on the markets selling household cleaning items and toiletries. As for my dream, to be honest my ambition was just to exist!” However, it was when he moved into wholesaling, selling products to retail customers from all over the North West, that George’s appetite was whetted for expansion, which included growth as a retailer. His very first shop is one that continues to trade today – in Pemberton, though that original little Gee Tee’s shop has since expanded into adjacent units on both sides and also up to the first floor. “I call downstairs ‘the force’ and upstairs ‘the seduction’,” quips George, referring to the everyday household products stocked downstairs and the alluring array of decorative items, furniture and faux flowers that greet you at the top of the stairs. When asked about what he feels have been the biggest changes he has witnessed as a retailer since he started out back in the 1970s, George does not hold back: “It has to be the decline of the number of independent retailers. The change in Sunday Trading laws didn’t help on that score.” He also cites ‘technology” as being right up there. “When I started it was all cash! I clearly remember seeing my first ever fax machine, I could not quite believe that you could send a message on a piece of paper from the UK and, at the touch of a button it would arrive the other side of the world” And is George hankering to open more shops? “Yes, we would like to open a couple more shops,” reveals George. “We have the infrastructure to cope with it and a strong team of people, but as has always been the case with retail, it is all about finding the right location, but I have my eyes and ears open.” You bet he does!



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JEREMY’S JOURNAL Business blogging by publisher Jeremy Corner of Blue Eyed Sun.

Shame Jeremy Corner, owner of greeting card publisher Blue Eyed Sun, looks at shame. Everybody loves hearing stories of successful businesses and entrepreneurs. Most business owners aspire to sail their own ship with the hope of financial gain. And yet, even the best laid plans so often go awry. Around 300,000 businesses die every year in the UK (while 400,000 are born). Competition is fierce and it takes focus, determination and luck to succeed in a world that seems to change at an increasingly rapid pace each year. The transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau famously wrote that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Currently it appears that many retailers and suppliers are silently struggling to cope with poor sales, increased costs, lower profits and the threat of potential failure.

harm, pain and suffering to themselves and those around them. They may lie to conceal the reality of the situation, they may cheat in a desperate attempt to fix things and in the most extreme cases they may even take their own lives. Most people in these situations don’t want sympathy. This only makes it worse. They need empathy. They need someone who can see the world from their perspective in a non-judgemental way. They need to feel heard. It’s so important to understand each other’s feelings and to let them know.

have of yourself or that others have of you. Certain people, situations, words or self talk will trigger the feeling for you and it’s important to be aware of what these are. So often we feel like it’s all us; we are the only one in this situation; it’s my fault; something is wrong with me. Because of the expectations of ourselves and others we can often place ourselves under incredible pressure, making the situation even worse. It helps to take a step back.

Reality check The truth is we are almost never alone with any given situation. We are not the only ones who suffer from expectations. The world at large affects all of us. If you are caught in a storm don’t blame yourself for the weather.

Shame of failure Failure in itself is not the biggest issue for business owners though, it’s the stigma of shame and the suffering that might come with it that most find hardest to bear. This sense of shame can have damaging consequences on health, confidence and well being. Ideally we’d all have a sense of detachment from our businesses and the objects in our lives that are achieved through financial success. However, more often than not we don’t. We identify ourselves with our status and get attached to an idea of ourselves (our ego). This is not surprising when we’ve poured blood, sweat and tears into our business endeavours and associate this with who we are. When faced with failure people can choose to act in ways that cause even more 44


If you know of someone in a situation where they might be experiencing a sense of shame, a card is a great way of reaching out and letting them know that you care and that you are there to listen to them when they need it. A phone call or coffee together is even better.

Identifying shame If you are finding yourself in a difficult situation with your business right now and you feel ashamed about it, the first thing to do is to recognise that feeling. It’s most often linked to expectations you Top: The personification of shame in a statue of Cain, Henri Vidal, 1896. Above: Often it’s hard to see that there are many others in the same situation. Left: Sharing and listening, a card from illustrator Nibby Williams.

I recently attended a talk by an economist on the future of the British economy. With Brexit, squeezes on living standards, increased costs, low income growth, low GDP growth and the retreat of consumers it’s continuing to be a challenging time to be a business owner, particularly in the retail and wholesale sectors. Make sure that your expectations are realistic. Normalise your situation and be aware that you cannot control how others perceive you. Taking your focus away from yourself and seeing the bigger picture can be help to alleviate your sense of shame.

Connect and change Sharing our stories also helps to normalise situations and feelings connected to shame. You need to be brave to practice this one as it can make you feel vulnerable.

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JEREMY’S JOURNAL Because I often write about positive stories and subjects in this column I am very much aware that I could come across to readers as some kind of know-it-all that has it everything sorted in my business and my life. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have good times and bad. I get some things right and have made spectacular mistakes which have cost me £thousands. I try to help others as much as possible and I know that sometimes I have inadvertently ended up causing suffering. I have experienced hardship in both life and business and have at times felt truly ashamed of myself. To deal with this sense of shame it’s important to reach out and share your feelings with someone that can empathise. They don’t have to be an expert. They just have to hear you. Next you need to create change. Take an action that will help to change the situation you find yourself in.

Above: Hiding away won’t help your problems. It’s better to share it with others. Maybe they can help. Below left: An illustration by the Harold’s Planet brand, whose cards are published by Clare Maddicott. Bottom: Take back control – a design from Eastend Prints.

Be aware of the triggers. Change the subject or avoid seeing them and then make sure you spend time with those who are great at empathising. Become a good empathiser yourself and you will draw more of this into your life. You can help others by being compassionate. Avoid blaming others as this promotes shame in the world. Shame is a cruel tool that does more harm than good. No matter what anyone says, you cannot shame people into altering their behaviour. So don’t do it.


Asking for help Have you ever noticed that no matter how lost a man is he will rarely ask for help? It’s such a classic stereotype that I chuckle whenever I see it or catch myself doing it. We often don’t ask for help when we need it and there are people out there who are happy to give it to us. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we don’t need it and then get angry with our loved ones for not reading our minds and giving it to us. It’s so important to express how we feel and ask for what we need. Sounds easy enough, right? Sometimes we feel ashamed to ask. Asking somehow solidifies the situation we are in. The truth is you can’t hide from it anyway. It won’t go away. So be brave. Ask for help if you need it. You are braver for asking than not.

Support Are there people in your life who trigger shame in you when you speak to them?

I’ve described how shame can cause suffering when things are difficult in business. Though this can be extended to a whole load of other things in your life that you might have shame triggers for. Your body, a relationship that didn’t work out, your role as a parent, your career… the list is endless. Shame and suffering are invariably caused by our expectations and desires. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that they

belong to us. We’ve picked them up from somewhere or someone else. Keep your expectations realistic. Know were they come from. Are they really yours? Then try to not identify your expectations with your own sense of self. Mindful detachment will mean less suffering and pain in the long run.

This will pass I can safely say that every time that I have found business or life tougher (and felt like a failure) it has led to a new phase of growth both personally and in business. If you are finding it difficult remember that this too will pass. Be grateful for all of the good things in your life. Practice self-care by not being too hard on yourself and giving yourself a break. Take action to prevent things getting worse. Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. No matter how bad things may feel someone else will have experienced it too. Take comfort in this and remember to ask for help if you need it. *This year Mental Health Awareness Week is focused on Stress (14-20 May 2018). According to the campaign’s website ‘Research has shown that 16 million people experience a mental health problem each year, and stress is a key factor in this.’ Go to ental-health-awareness-week on how to get involved with the Week’s ‘Curry and Chaat’ fundraising event. Read more on Jeremy’s blog at Watch The Greeting Card Project weekly videos at Read more on this subject in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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In Profile: Ling Design

Adding Spice And Colour While Ling Design’s recent acquisition of certain assets and goodwill of Saffron Cards & Gifts may not have scored as the largest or most significant purchase in the publisher’s lifetime, it nonetheless serves as further proof that it is serious about growing its presence in the greeting card market. And it seems there’s more to come, with David Byk, ceo of Swan Mill Paper Company (which owns Ling), holding out the bait, telling PG “Yes, we always have our antennae out for new acquisitive opportunities!” Saffron is not an especially strongly flavoured spice, but it makes its presence felt through a richness of colour that seems impossible from such a small entity. Perhaps this is what Swan Mill is hoping from the card brand of the same name that it has just welcomed into its Ling greeting card portfolio. Certainly, while the acquisition is not crucial to Ling Design group’s profile, Saffron nonetheless adds another strand to the publisher’s reputation, slotting in to its increasingly impressive roster. “Through Ling, Talking Pictures, Rainbow, Velvet Olive, Penny



Kennedy and our recent millennial-aimed brand, The Curious Inksmith, we cover a lot of card retailers’ and card consumers’ needs,” explains David. “Saffron further bolsters our offer. It has strong international business, good distribution in nationals and attractive product ranges, such as those from The London Studio, which strengthens our position on the humour front”, elaborates David on Saffron’s appeal to the growing group. Above: David Byk’s first job with the company was as a sales rep in South Wales. He has been ceo for the last 18 years. Far left: Saffron Cards and Gifts is the 7th main brand within Ling Design and Penny Kennedy. Left: Ling’s diversification into Advent calendars was well received by retailers. Below: Ling’s Spring Fair stand.

This was an opportunistic purchase, which came about as a result of former owner, Paul Steele, making the decision to retire from the industry after 40 years. Saffron’s compact size - some 600 SKUs - made the takeover relatively quick and simple. In fact, the only big stumbling block was that the appalling weather conditions saw Paul Steele being stranded at his home, unable to sign the contract due to all electricity being cut off! “It delayed the deal by a day, but we soon got round,” said David.

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In Profile: Ling Design

Left: The artists and designers of The Curious Inksmith brand: Dulcie Price, Cordelia Hutchison, Malgosia Piatkowska, Zoe Damoulakis, Darren Dearden – designed by millennials for millennials. Below: Last month marked the launch of 300 new relations and occasions designs from Ling. Bottom: The company’s Velvet Olive brand works well in contemporary stores.

As Saffron had been represented by Is It Art? for the independent channel up until six months ago, it had no long standing relationships with agents. Following a smooth handover, Saffron’s offices in Hersham, Surrey, were closed down little over a week after the deal was signed and Saffron orders started going out to customers, including those overseas within days.

Providing extra continuity, Saffron’s popular national accounts manager, Viv Barlow, has joined the Ling team and, according to David, “Is enjoying not having to do absolutely everything herself as we have a few more support staff in the team to help her!” While still early days, David said that work has already started in further curating the Ling portfolio so that each of its now seven brands caters for different strands. “Our portfolio is a bit like one of those Venn diagrams you used to draw at school - remember

Byk to work When out shopping with his children, David Byk, ceo of Swan Mill, admits that from time to time he challenges his offspring with the question: “Guess which products that are on sale here Daddy makes?” It is pretty good game as the Byk children have a decent chance of coming up trumps, such is the diversity of products that the £60 million Swan Mill group now has a hand in. The Byk kids have a lot to choose from – be it paper plates or napkins, Christmas crackers or tinsel, Christmas decorations or Penny Kennedy giftbags, or of course greeting cards from any of its seven brands. David has earned his passage to play the game. If he had been asked that same question by his own father (who took over running the business in 1947) it would have been a much simpler task, but less fun. David himself started sweeping the floor of the Swan Mill factory in Swanley in his school holidays, and then joined the business in 1992, earning his spurs as a rep covering South Wales. He progressed to become managing director in the year 2000 following the death of his father. At that time the company had a turnover of £26 million, less than half of today. Nowadays the catering products side of the business accounts for £30 million of its turnover. “I still find it hard to believe that we produce 5 billion napkins here!” says David, incredulous at the sheer numbers. The other half of sales can be divided in three tranches – Ling Design (roughly £10 million), Swantex Asia (the overseas side that oversees the production of wrap, bags, cards, decs and crackers) and £10 million of own label business (working with a myriad of wellknown high street names across a diverse range of product). With different locations in the UK (including the Ling distribution centre in Paddock Wood, the creative hub in Bath, the manufacturing plant in South Wales and Swanley), not to mention its Far Eastern operation, David’s trips to the shops with his kids must be under a bit of pressure these days? “It can be a bit hectic - this week alone I started in Wales checking on crackers and wrap production, then went to Bath to poke my nose on the creative hub, then here in Swanley to oversee the napkins business and then off to the Far East at the weekend,” says David. “But I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

The artistry of the matter

In a show of faith to the Ling Design team, last year the decision was taken that the whole group’s creative thrust should be moved to the Bath studio to come under the curated direction of Rebecca McCulloch, creative director. The advantage of this move is that the Bath creative hub is well-blessed with incredibly skilled artists and designers, “each of which bring a unique hand to their designs,” points out Rebecca, highlighting how working across a very wide product range results in a fresh approach. And now with Saffron in the portfolio, Rebecca says it gives the studio “even more opportunity to show the broad scope of what we can do.” Rebecca says that only three months in, 2018 is already lining up to be “a transformational year for us, what with the launch of The Curious Inksmith (our collection aimed at millennials), innovations in the finishes we use for Talking Pictures, including new designs using cold foil techniques, 12 Ling Design Advent Calendars, which were a first for us, plus more besides. There’s rarely a quiet day!”

them? A series of slightly overlapping circles. There will be some inevitable cross-over between some of the brands’ customers, both at retail and consumer levels, but what we will avoid is unnecessary duplication,” says David. Certainly, the company’s creative and marketing hub, based in its Bath studio, is already underway, with a major ‘customer mapping project’ creating a ‘brand X-ray’ for each of its card publishing strands that covers their respective roles, their target audience, design attributes, down to the very character of the brand (including even their celebrity incarnation). “We are not just collecting brands, we are doing something with them!” assures David, citing the successful diversification into Advent calendars under the Ling Design brand as a case in point. That said, when asked if he would be up for further acquisitions in the card sector, David is in no doubt: “Yes, definitely, but they have to be something different to what we already have - and we are covering a lot of bases now!” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE





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Art Source PG helps to paint a pretty picture of freelance artists, designers, verse writers and photographers’ worlds in order to promote their talents to publishers and, conversely, make it easier for publishers seeking artists.


Ian McGowan I wanted to be an illustrator from as far back as I can remember. By the time I left school however, traditional illustration was in steep decline, so I opted instead for landscape architecture as a career. It was a fortunate choice, since design studio work led to specialist gardening illustration, which in turn led to new commercial opportunities. That was forty years ago. Today, I illustrate a wide range of subject matter - vintage transport, people, romantic fiction, wildlife, landscape and aviation. My typical workload comprises mostly artwork for magazines, books, greeting cards, product packaging, fabrics and wallpaper. The key influences on my style have been the early twentieth

century American illustrators JC Leyendecker, Winslow Homer and Norman Rockwell, and the British poster artists Norman Wilkinson, Jack Merriott and Frank Sherwin. This has given my work a retro character, which suits my traditional way of working with brush and paper. My preferred media are gouache and watercolour. Using pure watercolour as an illustration medium in the digital age might sound unusual, but there exists a steady demand throughout the greeting card industry for the freshness and intimacy that watercolour images can provide. The same may be said too for the magazine industry. I currently supply all the watercolour byline portraits for New Statesman magazine. Other recent and present clients include Otter House, Cherry Orchard, Nigel Quiney, Riverside Cards, Robert Kaufman Fabrics and the media companies Immediate and Global Media. l Email: l Tel: 07751 725345


If you are an artist, photographer or verse writer and would like to be considered to appear in Art Source, please contact PG’s Emma Cain on This is an editorial feature and as such is free of charge. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE




ARTSOURCE PG_Half_page_advert_january_2.pdf






Enveco Ltd Sunrose Place Michigan Drive Tongwell Milton Keynes MK15 8HQ 01908 378866

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Pe be rfec an spo t bo hig d av ke to und h e ail c no nd abl usto teb fin e in me ook r ish . es a w spe Full . m ide cif y ad ra ica e i ng tion nt e he of s UK

Visit us at Spring Fair – 4th to 8th February 2018 / Stand 3T64 / Hall 3-3A


29/03/2018 11:16

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Art Source

Megan Rader

I like to think of myself as a natural born illustrator. My work has been described as enchanting with a softness of touch and delicate colours - I try and bring a magical quality to each character, pattern, and design I create. I am known for creating work that is feminine and sophisticated with a touch of whimsy - combining bold graphic influences with my background in realism. I was born and raised in the rainforests of Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada. I graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 2006 and spent several years showing and selling my original artwork before discovering that illustration was my true calling. Since then my work has been featured in several magazines and books including Flow Magazine's Lesebuch and Carolina Amell’s Illustrated Maps. Clients also include Bespoke Letterpress and Case Station. I am thrilled to have joined the Brighton-based agency Jehane Ltd and am now exclusively represented by Jehane for licensing and commissions. I am open to new commissions and have a strong collection of existing work immediately available to license. My work is receiving a wide range of interest from clients in a variety of product areas and is highly suitable for greeting cards, stationery, surface pattern, and book publishing. Please contact my agent Jehane Boden Spiers for more details on my work. l Email: l Web: l Tel: 07703 185413

Ruth Hydes I grew up in Manchester, going on to study Art at Birmingham and Stokeon-Trent, and after 25 years of making art I still work very traditionally with paper, pencil and paint. My drawing tools have been pared down to the basics for ease of use. An A5 sketchpad, which fits in a hand bag, HB pencil (I never pay less than one £pound for one) eraser and sharpener. This allows me to draw in cafes and public places without anyone being aware; it’s very important to me to be anonymous when I am drawing, so there are no distractions and I can concentrate and relax while I work. Day to day I find my inspiration everywhere; anything which fixes my attention - from the colours on a found piece of wrapping to the shapes between buildings, interiors, glimpses of rooms lit up in the early evening and my sketchbooks. I also have a collection of scrapbooks that contain inspiration, images, magazine pages, papers, postcards which I have collected over the years and still add to, and a pin board of things that fix my attention. These are quite often a prompt for creative thoughts. Winning the AOI award in 2002 was a career changer, bringing me recognition and new commissions. In 2012 I won the Gold award for Advertising 2012 in the Best of British illustration category with the Association of Illustrators. I joined The Bright Agency in 2017 and have recently created a female artist focused poster project for The London Transport Museum, which you can read about on its blog. l Tel: 0207 3269140 l Web: PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


52-53.qxp_46-47 27/03/2018 13:17 Page 52

PG asked a selection of card retailers for their ‘hot’ card sellers. Kristan Miller, owner of Cadeaux & Co, Wells, Somerset, and Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire Two medium stores in a city and town with a loyal locals and destination visitors customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Dandelion Stationery

Words Of Wisdom


Louise Mulgrew



Raspberry Blossom


Molly Mae

Across The Board

Think Of Me

Across The Board

Always Sparkle Stop The Clock Designs

Neo General

Wendy Jones Blackett


Five Dollar Shake

Across The Board

We have two spinners of these cards and we still can’t keep up! The collection appeals to a wide demographic and there is a huge variety of sending occasions, from the loss of your dog to going through cancer treatment… and although many have beautiful words, many designs are also funny. Lovely and quirky watercolour images of mainly animals. Good quality, foil finished contemporary designs in fresh, strong pastel colours, and at a good price point. We’ve stocked this publisher for over seven years. The designs in the ranges have wide sendability for many occasions and its sympathy cards are beautifully worded. Currently this publisher is on top form. Its retro-inspired designs are bright, young and fresh and the finishes are absolutely stunning. Lovely wordy, smaller size cards with a nice foil finish. Really lovely ranges that are bright and cheerful and integrate textile patterns into the artwork. We concentrate on the Quicksilver range as the smaller size designs fit the spinner. They are a great pick-up; customers tend to find the stand and go no further…. buying handfuls. Top of the range, quality cards. For special occasions cards for special people it's the go-to brand.

Top: Beautiful holographic foiling on a Raspberry Blossom design. Right: A Neo design from Always Sparkle.

Handmade/ Hand-Finished

Melinda Scarfe, owner of Thinking Of You, Denby Dale, West Yorkshire A medium shop in a village with a lovely loyal locals customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range








Paperlink, Pigment Green Pebble Stop The Clock, Black Olive Jonny Javelin Belly Button, Tracey Russell, The Handcrafted Card Company Paper Rose and Rachel Ellen Intelex Warmies

General Across The Board General

I’ve just had in this new range; the designs are guaranteed to make you say 'ahh'. We sell a lot of humour. We've recently been introduced to Redrakoon and its cards have really really made me laugh! Also Paperlink and Pigment continue to make the world a happier place! Loads of choice, with lots of art styles, that will cover any occasion. Both publishers’ ranges consist of simple and stylish designs, and personally are some of my favourites. Constant sellers… and with every title known to man! There are always incredibly stylish collections from all of these publishers, and Tracey also creates personalised cards.

Right: Fantastically funny cards from Redrakoon.

Art Contemporary Traditional Handmade/ Hand-Finished Children’s Ancillary



Across The Board Across The Board


Bright and cheerful designs.

Heatable plush

I placed about four repeat orders before Christmas. I'm astonished how well these have sold.

52-53.qxp_46-47 27/03/2018 13:17 Page 53

Jane Knowles, owner of Just So, Malvern, Worcestershire A medium high street shop in a historical town with a loyal locals and destination visitors customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Two Bad Mice

Across The Board



Hysterical Heritage


Katie Phythian


Stop The Clock Designs

Burst my Bubble

Blue Eyed Sun

Across The Board





Across The Board


We Are Thought

Bamboo Socks

Rex London

Bamboo Travel Mugs


Light-Glow lamp

So lovely! The cards perennially sell and suit many different occasions. Clever, good humour. In fact many of the publisher’s humour ranges are on-trend and aware of the social zeitgeist. Pretty and quirky designs with a dainty gem that are a bit different. Clean and sharp illustrations with some fantastic captions, such as ‘Have an otterly splendid day’ featuring of course an otter. I have to mention this company as it’s really good at occasions cards… and they sell all the time. A sweet and pretty range that are nice spring cards, and the price point is good. From basic wrap to stylish, now with designers’ artwork and the variety of add-ons and tissue paper, and all at a great price. For men and women, these socks are soft, bang-on trend and environmentally friendly. Customers are much more aware now about recyclable coffee cups and are big on recycling. Simple and pared down plug-in linen shade table lamps that sell for under £20.

Top: A gorgeous mermaid Paintbox design from Katie Phythian. Right: A new baby design from Blue Eyed Sun’s Day Dream range.

Debbie Wild, owner of Wild’s Cards, Hyde, Greater Manchester A medium shop in a town with a loyal locals customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Carlton (UKG) Gibson (UKG)

Boofle Lots Of Woof



Wrinklies, Bottom Line, Humdingers


Bug Art

Across The Board


Jonny Javelin

Across The Board

Simon Elvin


Words ‘n’ Wishes

Across The Board

Boofle cards sell right through the ages, from 0 to 90! Whilst Woof is popular for occasions such as Good Luck and Thank You. Long-standing ranges that are kept fresh with new additions, but Humdingers is currently the best seller; its jokes are a bit cheeky but not rude. These are absolutely flying out! We display them on a spinner and customers can by two or three at a time. This publisher wipes the board; the cards have been amazing for me! I cherry-pick the designs, which sit nicely with the other ranges, and look great and sell! We tend to choose the ages, relations and open birthday designs from the company, and now it distributes Quitting Hollywood we have some humour too.

Top: A gorgeous peacock from Bug Art. Right: A Stitched With Love design from Simon Elvin.



54-61_Product Directory NEW2.qxp 28/03/2018 15:06 Page 54




To appear in the Product Directories simply contact

Warren Lomax on:

020 7700 6740

or email on or contact

Tracey Arnaud on:

07957 212 062

or email on

Abacus Cards Limited t: 01638 569050 e: w:

To appear in the Product Directories contact

Warren Lomax

020 7700 6740 or email or contact

Tracey Arnaud

07957 212 062

or email

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Stand 160 Springboard extra

To appear in the Product Directories contact



Warren Lomax

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or email 54


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54-61_Product Directory NEW2.qxp 28/03/2018 15:06 Page 55




Witty, gritty, switched on humour. Cards and gifts with a real difference. Unit 1, 45 Morrish Road London SW2 4EE Tel: 0208 671 2166 Fax: 0208 678 1119

Caspari Ltd Linden House, John Dane Player Court

East Street, Safffrron W Waalden Essex, CB10 1LR Teel: 01799 513010 T Faax: 01799 513101 F Email: ww ww

Products: Everyday cards - birthday,

Publishers of quality blank greeting cards Tel: 0115 929 4776

blank & occasions, charity Christmas cards, gifftt wrap, bags, tissue, ribbon, hankies, napkins, paper plate, candles, placemats, crackers,invitations, placecards, notecards,diaries, address books, journals, advent calendars and bridge gifftts.

Method of Sale: Direct to Retail



54-61_Product Directory NEW2.qxp 28/03/2018 15:06 Page 56




The UK No. 1 in etings Licensed Greetings

Colour House Graphics made with great imagination


Overr 30 licenses nses including: including D Disney, y, Peppa Peppa Pig Pig, He Kitty Hello Kitty,, Mr Men a d Angry and A Birdss

York House, 2-4 York Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk IP11 7QQ T: 01394 271668 F: 01394 275114 E: Online Shop

t: +44 +44 (0)1264 388400 e: nati ona w:

01892 838 574

CARDS â&#x20AC;˘ WRAP â&#x20AC;˘ PARTY â&#x20AC;˘ GIFTS





G RASS R OOTS INTERNATIONAL A U.K owned Greeting Cards Publisher. Our everyday ranges for all occasions and relations include traditional, contemporary, cute, humour and photographic designs. We also have a full range of Christmas and Spring Seasons. All products are designed and printed in the U.K on the finest quality board.

BRANDS â&#x20AC;&#x153;Write from the Heartâ&#x20AC;? brand includes; Corsage, Sentiments, Champagne, Celebrations and Jelly Beans.

M ETHOD OF SALE Direct to Retail


Welsh and English cards

Units 4 - 4A Valentines Buildin g Ra cec our se Bus in ess Par k Aintr ee, Liver poo l, L9 5 AL Tel: 0151 52 3 9600 Fax : 015 1 523 494 9 e-m ail: s ales@ writefr om th ehear

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Lovely greetings cards & other paper stuff

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WISHES Ç&#x2C6; 07815 153582

agents wanted

A w o n d e rf u l Eid!

Colneis Marketing York House, 2-4 York Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk IP11 7QQ T: 01394 271668 F: 01394 275114 E:

Gift Wrap & Ta Tags for every occasion.

Ch C hin nese ese HE IS



*GCF1HĆ&#x201A;EG +353 (0)404 20528 Email



Online Shop

High Quality Greeting Cards, Gift Bags,

Beautiful greeting cards from contemporary British artwork Polissh Po h

Te T el: 0161 1 64 641 0 06 655 Email: m sales@da sales@d av 135 Hea 13 135 eaton Moorr Rd | Stockp ock kpo port ort SK4 4HY 4 4H HY



54-61_Product Directory NEW2.qxp 28/03/2018 15:06 Page 57




Eye catching, luxurious Gift Wraps, Gift Tags, Gift Bags, Roll Wrap, Tissue Papers & Ribbons for all occasions Glick, Unit 1 Allenby House, European Industrial Park, Knowles Lane, Bradford BD4 9AB Tel: 01274 655980 email:

AR RT TISTS CARDS 01626 369269 Esta ab blished 1993

Market leaders in Humour, Art, Photographic, Occasions and Relations cards offering a full planning service with merchandising and retail


CHARITY GREETING CARDS One of the UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading publishers of Charity Greeting Cards. Impress offers a wide collection of images, including fine art, graphic, photographic and cute. We also offer a bespoke design service for bulk orders and/or mail order fulfilment. Impress Publishing Appledown House Barton Business Park New Dover Road Canterbury, Kent CT1 3TE Tel: 01227 811 611 Fax: 01227 811 618 email:

development opportunities.




54-61_Product Directory NEW2.qxp 28/03/2018 15:06 Page 58




Silk Screened Retro, Pop & Classic Cards Inspired by Music and 1960’s American Advertising.For all Vinyl & Rock n’Roll lovers


For further details please get in touch.

+44 (0)7779 578340


60 years

The UK’s leading privately owned publisher of Greetings Cards and Stationery. ...The home for

Your Number One Supplier of Numerals, Name, Relation & Age Labels for Greetings Cards. Huge selection with immediate delivery y.. Buy direct or from your wholesalerr.. Listan Labels 3 Isis Court, Wyndyke Furlong, Abingdon Business Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX1 5JN Te T el 01235 465489 Fax 01235 532118


Products: Greetings cards for all occasions, Christmas and Spring Seasons cards, gift wrap and bags, charity cards, social stationery. Bespoke service for charities and other fundraisers.

Daschund through the Snow...

Ling Design Ltd 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent TN12 6BE Tel: 01892 838574

Agents Wanted


01892 838 574



54-61_Product Directory NEW2.qxp 28/03/2018 15:07 Page 59




p p paperlink...

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

the home of fabulous cards!

Brand Names Pizazz, Pizazz Gallery, Pizazz Jewell, Pizazz for Men, What a Picture, Time Out, Bon Bon, Marshmallow

Cloudesley House â&#x20AC;¢ Shire Hill â&#x20AC;¢ Saffron Walden â&#x20AC;¢ CB11 3FB T: 01799 520200 F: 01799 520100

All our cards are supplied on consignment, so you only pay for what you sell. We also supply card fixtures and spinners free-on-loan. AG E N T S WA N T E D :     Æ«   Æ«Ä&#x2018;Æ«    Æ«        Æ«Ä&#x2018;Æ«   Æ«        Æ«Ä&#x2018;Æ«    Æ«Ä&#x2018;Æ«  

356 Kennington Rd London SE11 4LD T 020 7582 8244 k Paperlinkcards

@ @paperlinkcards

We replace slow sellers and damaged stock free of charge. We merchandise regularly, so you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to. THATâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S WHY WEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;RE ORIGINAL!

01932 267 300 Exquisite Design, Beautiful Cardss Key brands include Marzipan, Portobello, Mosaic, Daisy Patch, Aquarupella and Designers Guild, plus many more. Tel: +44 (0)115 986 0115 Email: PaperRoseCards TheArtGroupCards The_Art_Group

TRADE WEBSITE:                 Ä&#x2039;   Ä®    Ä&#x2039; 01780 763 368

LUXURY GIFT PACKAGING Design-led Stationery, Gifts, Calendars, Diaries and Cards Brands Laura Ashley, Roald Dahl, Lily & Val, Vintage Ladybird, Caroline Gardner, Monsoon, Born to Shop, Flash Gordon, Boofle and many more.


01892 838 574

Our In-house design studio and established supply chain enables us to offer bespoke services. tel: +44 (0) 1225 329494 email: website:



54-61_Product Directory NEW2.qxp 28/03/2018 15:07 Page 60




Products: Greetings Cards, Gift Wrap, Gift Bags, Social Stationery, Mugs and Glasses, Partyware

Brands: Card Essentials Designer Collection Greetings Impressions Inspirations In Touch ,VDEHO·V*DUGHQ Planet Happy With You In Mind

Method of sale: Wholesale Distributors

Simon Elvin Limited Wooburn Industrial Park, Wooburn Green, Bucks HP10 0PE Tel: 01628 526711 Fax: 01628 531483

Uk publisher of Greetings Cards with an extensive range of quality Birthday, Relations, Occasions and Seasonal product... available from

Sensations International Ltd Unit 6, Quad Road,East Lane Business Park,East lane, Wembley,MIDDLESEX HA9 7NE Tel. 0208 3854470 Fax: 0208 385 4471 Email: PRODUCTS: World’s leading publisher of high quality plastic greeting cards. Also an extensive range of quality greeting cards covering Everyday, Occasions, Christmas and Spring seasons. BRANDS: Cherished Thoughts, Sweet Sentiments, Buddies Always, Symphony, Thinking of You, Style, Special Wishes, Special Times, Young Editions, Groove Sensations, Forever Blessed, Grey Skies, Classics. METHOD OF SALE: Direct to retail.



Our Brands: Laughter with Animals, Sporting Fun The Funny Side of Life.

Method of sale: Direct to Retail 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent TN12 6BE Tel: 01892 838574

greeting cards & contempoRary gifts e: t: 01803 712793

T: 07767 896807

2@= 29KL= M<K Just food and their friends....

5=N= ?GF= ?J==F All greeting cards printed with vegetable inks on recycled boards/envelopes, including biodegradable packaging... 07906 367 663 60


54-61_Product Directory NEW2.qxp 28/03/2018 15:09 Page 61


The UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading publisher of highest quality handmade Greetings Cards.




Products: Greetings cards for all occasions, Christmas and Spring Seasons. Spinners and other retail displays available. Talking Pictures Cards Ltd 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent, TN12 6BE

Tel: 01892 838574

We offffer a COMPREHE

range of hig Greeting Ca ALL

Occasions, AS and easons. Sale: Direct to R

TEL: 01480 435562 FAX: 01480 450599

il: inffo o@words-n eb: www w..words-n



Market Leaders in


w: e: t: 01243 837300

& entimen

an extensive range of superior quality,

design-led Greeting Cards for all occasions, Spring Seasons & Christmas.

Method of Sale: Direct to Retail Orders can be placed on our trader site or call our customer services team on

+44(0)1243 792600

Top-notch British Greeting Cards for Thoughts that Count



62_Wholesale Directory 2018_NEW_whole sale dirSeptember 2004 28/03/2018 17:17 Page 62







UNIT 4, THE ARGENT CENTRE, SILVERDALE ROAD, HAYES, MIDDLESEX, UB3 3BS TEL: 020 8573 2975 / 1768 FAX: 020 8561 2349


Merseysideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Largest Greeting Card Distributor


Due to our massive buyer power, we are able to offer you the best prices and also take a pride in our friendly service.


Greeting cards â&#x20AC;¢ Gift ranges â&#x20AC;¢ Pocket money toys â&#x20AC;¢ Balloons â&#x20AC;¢ Badges â&#x20AC;¢ Banners â&#x20AC;¢ Soft toys â&#x20AC;¢ Stationery â&#x20AC;¢ Collectables , including dolls â&#x20AC;¢ Photo frames

Trading Hours Our Opening Hours are: MON, TUES,WED & FRI 9.00 - 5.30pm THURSDAY 9.00 - 8.30pm

Always something different Check us out now!!! Mon, Tues, Wed and Fri 9.30 till 4.30pm Thursday 9.00 till 7.30pm Sunday 10 till 1.00pm Tel: 0151 227 2555 Fax: 0151 227 2556 25 Dickson Street, Liverpool L3 7EB



To appear in the Wholesale Directory simply contact

Warren Lomax 020 7700 6740

Stationery and greeting card wholesaler

Crown House Otterspool Way Watford WD25 8HL

or email on

magnus RUPERT

T: 01923 200 900 F: 01923 200 909


LONDONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NO 1

Great deals Great location Plentiful parking Just off the M1 Junction 5



Trading Hours Our Opening Hours are: MON, TUES,WED & FRI 9.00 - 5.30pm THURSDAY 9.00 - 8.30pm SAT CLOSED SUN 10.00 - 4.00pm UNIT 4, THE ARGENT CENTRE, SILVERDALE ROAD, HAYES, MIDDLESEX, UB3 3BS TEL: 020 8573 2975 / 1768 FAX: 020 8561 2349 Email:

Crown House Otterspool Way Watford WD25 8HL Tel: 020 8993 2231 Wholesale and direct-to-retail greeting cards, gift wrap, gift bags, social stationery, partyware and gifts. Great range, competitive prices, excellent service.




To appear in the Wholesale Directory simply call



Your One Stop Shop

on 020 77006740



63-66_Classified 2018_Layout 1 28/03/2018 18:15 Page 63












Polypropylene & biodegradable bag specialists


Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hotfoiling also available

T 01206 396209 E








01773 5378 810





0122 1228 228 2 28 8 56 5605 60 052 26 6 www.fful ulcrumfilms. ulcrrum mfillm ms s uk

FOR ALL YOUR ENVELOPE NEEDS! Largest range of in-stock colours Over 400 Bespoke Envelope Sizes 8 Sizes Permanently in Stock RECYCLED

100% Recycled Paper Av Available


Stock & Bespoke Cello Bags Peel & Stick Envelopes p Bespoke Service on Request

ORDER ON LINE AT: 01274 583000

We’ve been producing p bags of high clarity and high quality q for over 30 years. 01274 220 220 www



63-66_Classified 2018_Layout 1 28/03/2018 18:15 Page 64












Quality Bespoke Envelopes! From 5,000 quantity to many millions we can produce excellent quality envelopes for you. Plain, printed, coloured & textured finish. 100% recycled & FSC available. Please call us on 0843 5066684 with your enquiry or visit our website We will be delighted to help!




ABL Foil Ltd Unit 1, Industrial Estate East Hanningfield Chelmsford Essex, CM3 8AB

Contact DAVID JIGGINS Tel: 01245 400104 Email:



PJ Print


The Capitals only specialist Greetings card printer

HOME OF THE LASER CUT GREETING CARD We are proud to be recognised as the specialist UK and global manufacturer for the greeting card industry for over 40 years

PJ Print (London) The Capitals only Greetings card printer

PJ-PRINT E-mail: The Print Works Colville Road, Acton London W3 8BL tel 020 8993 5160

E-mail: The Print Works

To discuss how we could To d work with you, contact Simon King 0115 928 77 7 66 www

Colville Road, Acton, London W38BL tel 020 8993 5160



Hadden Court, Glaisdale Parkw Parkway, way, Glaisdale Drive West, Nottingham, NG8 4GP

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Introducing a joint venture from

Following new investments in our digital printing facility we can help you with shortt run prints, rapid stock replenishmeent, market testing, design sampling and promotional produccts. Our expert digital printing, finishing and packing facilities allow us to provide • high quality • fast turnaround • competitive pricing

Our specialist services includ de: Digital and personalised greeting caards Short-run print Flitter, foil, emboss, die-cut finishess Bespoke gifts including mugs, coasters, notepads and much moree Promotional items Marketing literature Exhibition graphics /stands Stationery Brochures... and many more Pick, pack and distribution

If you would like to discover how we could help you, please contact our saless team:

0114 250 1150 •

YOUR MANUFACTURING PARTNER FOR VALUE ADDED PRODUCTS English speakingproduction team,pricesquoted insterling...andonly 3daysdelivery toTHEUK...

Really... andtheres noVATtopayor customsprocedures either...that'sa greatdeal!

• Hand made and hand finished greeting cards • Boxed sets and acetate packs of cards / envelopes • Giftwrap and tag packs • Individually open and closed wrapped cards • 'Pop up' and cardboard engineered products • Notelets and social stationery • Specialised printing on plastics & lenticular

07974 133735 •

DISPLAY AND SPINNERS Tel: 01929 550085 Email: Web:

Home of the Wire Spinner Stand

The Wire Spinner is proven to be the most cost effective method to display and enhance products. We also offer sheet metal, wood, acrylic and cardboard solutions or a combination of materials.

For production enquiries, estimates etc., please contact our UK Agent:

Rob Pearson 07710 132 232 FSC accredited (BV-COC-002485). Audited member of SMETA. Printing to ISO12674-2 standard.

To appear in the Classified pages simply contact

Warren Lomax 020 7700 6740 or email on PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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SPECIALISTS IN SHORT RUN MULTI IMAGE PRINT s Foiling Services without the need for dies s Wiro bound notebooks, no minimum quantity s In House Fulfilmment Services

T 01274 305832 E

Same day order turna around Accurate fulfilment Value added only as you sell the product


Exclusively Greeting Cards Dedicated Account Managers

Litho Print


Digital Print







Tel:0127 e 4 4531828 Email: info@herbertw o uk


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As always, this is the best show of the year by far! If we only had to choose to go to one exhibition, PG Live would be it. Jerry and Debbie Brown co-owners of First Class Greetings and Plum Green, Hadleigh

The Greatest Collection Of Greeting Cards In The World Celebrating ten years of showcasing design excellence, PG Live 2018 is the only UK trade show dedicated to the global greeting card industry. Buyers will be spoilt for choice with thousands of brand new designs and innovative ranges on offer from more than 250 publishers, artists and designers.

PG Live 2018 Tuesday 5 - Wednesday 6 June Business Design Centre, London +44 (0) 1635 297070 @PGLiveLondon

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Be InspIred Book Your Tickets Now

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27/03/2018 15:47

Progressive Greetings - April 2018  
Progressive Greetings - April 2018