Progressive Greetings August 2022

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Valentine’s Day

Mother’s Day


Father’s Day

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From The Editor

ON THE CARDS I started writing this half watching the build-up to the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, but the emotions of anticipation, pride and joy that surged through me made me close my laptop and enjoy the moment, lapping up the hopes and dreams of so many people in so many countries. There have been other lovely moments recently. The Lionesses’ fantastic run in the women’s Euros got the whole nation’s hearts beating while, closer to home was our industry’s very own Retas’ greeting card retailing awards which took place a few weeks ago. The whoops of joy, elation and happy tears as the delighted and worthwhile winners made their way to the stage to collect their trophies made for a very uplifting and memorable afternoon. And what was especially lovely was that the winners’ jubilation was very much shared by everyone in the Grosvenor’s Ballroom, by their fellow retailers and publishers, irrespective of whether they were a supplier or not. There was a great real feeling of togetherness and reflected glory that percolated through. In keeping with the Mary Poppins theme, it was like a ‘spoonful of sugar’. There was no whingeing or bad sportsmanship, just goodwill. And there is nothing like that feeling of being buoyed by infectious optimism, enthusiasm and positivity, especially after what has been a pretty dark period for many. So, with our industry’s greeting card retailers duly crowned in The Retas, now it is the turn of those in our wonderful publishing community. As I write this, Warren, Jim and I are in PG’s offices, surrounded by boxes, parcels and envelopes full of hopefuls, as we are in the final throes of preparing for The Henries judging day. Having undergone the first round of judging online to arrive at the


Above: Carl Dunne (right) and Ollie Guise-Smith from Dronfield’s Cards & Gifts with PG’s Jakki Brown at the Mary Poppins themed Retas event. Right: (centre) Retas’ winner Roy Beswick, of East Molesey’s Card Collection with agent Richard Freeman (right) and PG’s Warren Lomax at The Retas. Below: (front) Lovely Libby’s (left) Libby and Tracey Holden enjoying sunny times at Harrogate Home & Gift.

shortlisted ranges, these will now go under the scrutiny of a whole host of retail buyers at what will be the first live judging of The Henries since 2019. I cannot wait to see the sheer appreciation of the contenders from the retail judges. A sure-fire highlight of the judging day will be looking at the submissions for The Lynn Tait Most Promising Young Designer or Artist category. The talent that exudes from these young creatives’ entries is incredible, demonstrating in no uncertain terms that the future of our industry is looking bright. So, as we hope for lots of medals in the Commonwealth Games, it is good to know that the UK greeting card industry is still at the top of its game. THE HOME OF MARKET LEADING TRADE MAGAZINES



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


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What’s Inside?




11-19 News


All the latest happenings and developments in the trade.

Green Machine


Scribbler and FujiFilm press the buttons with prospective buyers of their new card kiosk.

In Conversation With…

Over The Counter

You Can’t Always Get What You Want…


The lyrics of a Rolling Stones song ring true right now with David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi.

Retailer Reactions

The Popularity Stakes Retailers enthuse about what new ranges and publishers have caught their eye recently.

22-23 Cardsharp

Pigging Out PG columnist takes offence at a line in Moonpig’s current radio commercials.

50-51 Innovations Publishers’ new ranges and designs.




Art Source

Springing Forward

A Rader Reading

Publishers and retailers consider Spring Seasons and the direction of these card sending events.


Greeting card illustrator Meghann Rader shares her inspirations and why designing cards works for her.

54-55 What’s Hot?

Caught On Camera

A Supercalifragalistic Retas A photographic flavour of the Mary Poppins-themed Retas awards event.

A quad of retailers lift the lid on their best-selling ranges.

56-66 Sources of Supply

33-43 The Retas 2022 Winners

Winning Ways

Withi n this issu THE R e: ETAS 202 WINN 2 ERS

The winners of The Retas 2022 greeting card retailer awards.

Subscribe to Progressive Greetings from £60 (UK) to £90 (International). You can organise this quickly and easily online at our secure site: For assistance, please email

Jakki Brown

Warren Lomax

Tracey Arnaud

Tracey Bearton

Editor/Joint Owner

Joint Owner

Sales Manager

Features Editor

Joint Owner

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

Copyright© 2022. 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.

Ian Hyder

PG is the official magazine for the Greeting Card Association GCA: Amanda Fergusson 020 7619 9266 Email:



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Launching new look packaging

We’ve been working hard to make our products and packaging more sustainable

All of our BBC designs will be hand-wrapped with a choice of either: • Fully recyclable paper belly bands or • Nativia clear bio-based film bags (compostable, biodegradable and recyclable) All designs will be accompanied by a branded envelope

Shortlisted for the Henries 2022! BBC Springwatch for Best Photographic Range BBC Countryfile for Best Licensed Card Range |

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Tel: 01638 569050 |


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Emo Re-engages With Indies Words ‘n’ Wishes to provide salesforce support Never ones to follow the norm, Emotional Rescue has come up with a hybrid way of re-engaging with the independent retail sector on a direct basis. From September 1, the Words ‘n’ Wishes’ 26-strong sales team will be offering independent retailers a curated selection of 250 designs from Emotional Rescue’s bestknown ranges, such as On-The-Ceiling, Morphed and Virtual Safari. However, these orders will be sent directly to Emotional Rescue who will then pick, pack and despatch the orders from its own warehouse and invoice the retailer. Words ‘n’ Wishes will however be providing customer services support via a dedicated Emotional Rescue telephone number. This new way of working supercedes the agreement with Nigel Quiney Publications which has been representing Emotional Rescue for the indie sector for the last 18 months, which followed the two-year period when certain Emo lines were distributed by Carte Blanche Greetings, following its acquisition of Is It Art. Brett Smith, managing director of Emotional Rescue told PG: “Nigel

Left: Emotional Rescue’s coowners, Brett Smith (left) and David Greaves at The Retas last week. Below left: A topical design from Emo’s On-The-Ceiling range. Below: Rod Brown is delighted Words ‘n’ Wishes is working in association with Emotional Rescue.

Quiney has done an excellent job representing us in the independent sector. However, the great response to Emo products at the Spring Fair and PG Live has convinced us that re-establishing a direct relationship with the independent sector would be in our customers’ and Emotional Rescue’s best interests.” The ranges Emotional Rescue has developed in collaboration with Paper Salad will not form part of this new arrangement as these will continue to be represented by Paper Salad’s team of sales agents in the independent sector. Rod Brown, joint managing director of Words ‘n’ Wishes said: “I have the utmost regard for Brett [Smith] and David [Greaves] and the way they run Emotional Rescue, with their great attention to detail and diligent testing of their designs keeping them in that leading position for humorous cards.”

UK Greetings boosts pupils’ enterprise Engaging with the local community is a top priority at UK Greetings. The publisher was invited to support the Enterprise Day at Madni Girls’ Academy in its home town of Dewsbury. As UKG marketing assistant Alice Cass told PG: “We’re always keen to engage our local community so planned a fun and enterprising activity for the pupils to take part in. We had groups of Year 6 and 8 students putting their creativity to the test to design some beautiful cards in celebration of Eid. The designs were then judged by a judging panel of two Madni Academy teachers and our own Laura Roderick, Emma Harrison and Razina Laher.” Following a tough decision, the winning design was selected and the team who created it were given a tour around UKG’s nearby production facility, while their card design was being brought to life, using the publisher’s new digital press. The greeting cards were then sold to the pupils’ parents, with all proceeds being donated to Madni’s chosen charity, Benefit Mankind, a UK-based organisation that works to improve lives, alleviate poverty, transform and empower communities. Above: Community engagement - the pupils are told all about UKG. Right: Winning design - sales of this card helped Benefit Mankind.

Hilco believed to be eyeing up Paperchase It would appear that a new owner could be on the cards for Paperchase with prolific High Street investor Hilco believed to be joining the race to take over the greeting card and stationery retailer just 18 months after it underwent a pre-pack administration. Sky News reported recently, that Hilco Capital, which owns Homebase and recently snapped up the Cath Kidston brand and previously owned HMV, is among a small number of parties engaged in talks about a deal with Paperchase's owner. City sources told Sky News the discussions involving Hilco were at an early stage and might not lead to a transaction, and the names of the other bidders are not yet clear. The news also appeared in other media, including The Times. Permira Credit took control of the retailer as a result of a pre-pack administration in January 2021. Paperchase has also been expanding its estate, with a brand new store having opened in Birmingham’s New Street station – a second outlet in addition to the one on the first floor. This is part of a planned opening schedule of new stores in a similar vein. The buying team has also been on the move, with card buyer Tori Heath-Smith promoted to stationery buyer and Pollyanna Bell-Burke making the move into cards from gift buying with the company. Paying tribute to Tori’s achievements, Carlo Marinelli, senior buyer said Tori has “done such a fantastic job on cards over the past 18 months, getting us into a really strong and stable position after the postadministration upheaval. I’m very confident Pollyanna will continue the good work that Tori has started.” For Pollyanna, who joined Paperchase in 2015, it is something of a return to cards with the retailer. “I began my Paperchase career as a BAA on cards, so I’ve always kept an interest in our card offer. I like the way cards keep people of all generations connected and the sentiment that every card written has behind it, bringing so much joy to the recipient.” Top: Birmingham New Street station now has two Paperchase outlets. Above right: Pollyanna Bell has been promoted to card buyer.



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For poster-ity

Practically Perfect Retas Winners Card retailers are flying high after Mary Poppins-themed event The UK’s very best greeting card retailers right across the retail spectrum were officially recognised at The Retas 2022 greeting card retailer awards ceremony, which took place recently at The Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Mayfair. Among the many jubilant winners was House of Cards, with the Home Counties-based retailer not only winning the Best Greeting Card Small Multiple award, but also being presented with

the final award of the ceremony, the prestigious Greeting Card Retailer of the Year trophy. The ever-popular event, which this year was on a Mary Poppins theme, was hosted by comedian Sara Barron and attended by some 300 greeting card retailers, publishers and suppliers. Welcoming guests, Jakki Brown, md of Max Publishing (which owns and organises The Retas) paid tribute to the finalists and winners, saying: “Echoing today’s theme, we all know the song lyrics “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down” which is a very apt metaphor for us here today. With all the doom and gloom around, the cost-ofliving crisis, ongoing war in Ukraine,

political turmoil and supply chain disruption, we all need something sweet to take the edge of these modern day challenges. Greeting card retailers provide a welcome antidote to all this bad stuff with their bursting racks of colour and sentiment to lift the spirits of the nation’s greeting card shoppers.” The Retas once again benefitted from a strong roster of sponsors, all companies, who are all committed to rewarding retailing expertise. These included Abacus Cards, The Art File, Belly Button Designs, Carte Blanche Greetings, Cath Tate Cards, Danilo, Glick, Hallmark, Ohh Deer, Ling Design, Meraki, Museums & Galleries, Nigel Quiney Publications, Paperlink, Pigment Productions, Progressive Greetings Live, Second Nature, Sensations/Express Yourself, Spring Fair/Autumn Fair, UK Greetings, W Select and Woodmansterne Publications. (See The Retas’ pages 29-43) Above left: House of Cards’ co-owners (2nd and 3rd right) Miles Robinson and Nigel Williamson with Ged Mace, md of The Art File, sponsor of this award and host Sara Barron. Below: Kingfisher Card & Gifts’ Tiffany Leach (right) with her Retas trophy with fellow retailer Deborah Tingay of Southbourne Cards (left) and their mutual friend, South West agent Rosie Trow.

At first-time Retas’ winners Dee’s Cards in Leighton Buzzard owners Paul Mordecai and Hannah Rudder have already dressed their High Street window with a Retas poster. And their smart silver lady trophy is popping up regularly on Facebook posts with Hannah declaring: “Still can’t get over that we’ve won thanks to each and every one of you that comes in and supports our business. We couldn’t do it without you.” Below: Poster art - Hannah and Paul celebrate with a window display and Facebook posts.

Dandelion delivers thanks for Retas’ winner After winning the Best Greeting Card Retailer Initiative at The Retas, Sarah Laker, who owns Stationery Supplies’ two stores in Marple and Wilmslow, ordered 120 bespoke thank you cards from Dandelion Stationery to send to customers. Amazingly Dandelion’s founder Jo Wilson had the artwork created, cards printed, hand-finished, packed and dispatched all inside within 24 hours. “What a service!” Sarah told PG. “Jo is amazing, the cards are perfect and I love that she thought to bespoke the back of the card for me too.” The wording on the cards is ‘just to say thank you for...’ Explaining her rationale, Sarah said: “the idea is that we’re thanking our customers for their support and they’re passing the thanks along to someone in their life, so it could be a thank you for being an allround jolly good neighbour, or the lollipop lady for safe road crossings, or uncle Fred for always making you smile with bad jokes.” Photos have been posted on social media using hashtag #GivingBack.” Below: Top turnaround - Stationery Supplies’ bespoke cards from Dandelion Stationery.

Views on the news l Nick Carey, md of Abacus Cards: “The Retas Awards is a really good celebration of the

industry. It was a fantastic event that’s very much part of the greetings industry calendar.” l Sophie Bylina, relationship manager of Museums & Galleries: “Such a fabulous event. The

host Sara Barron was great, I really liked that her opening comedy routine included material relating greeting cards to herself, even namedropping Earlybird as where she buys all her cards.” l Alison Butterworth, md of Nigel Quiney Publications: “I love The Retas - we all get to meet up with the best of the industry. It’s just lovely being together with colleagues and retailers.”

The Retas’ grand finale praises House of Cards A fitting finale to The Retas awards ceremony was the presentation of the Greeting Card Retailer Of The Year award to House Of Cards. Introducing this top award, Ged Mace, md of category sponsor The Art File paid tribute to the home counties retail group, co-owned by Nigel Williamson and Miles Robinson: “In the good times and the not so good times, our industry needs retailers who remain totally focused on their business, who not only know their customers but consistently over deliver on product selection, customer service and retailing environment. On top of this we appreciate those retailers who remain fair and true to their suppliers, both large and small, as well as being fully engaged with wider industry initiatives - today we honour a business who has done all this and so much more. In what has been a successful, enduring partnership of the company’s two owners, they have not only invested in their store estate, prudently expanding with great aplomb, but also recognising the importance of nurturing and supporting their strong committed team.”



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Card Factory Hits Central London Significant store openings while cfo prepares to exit Card Factory has opened its first store within London’s central Zone One with a prominent position on Tottenham Court Road, followed swiftly by the opening of its third new format store, in Gtr Manchester. The UK’s largest greeting card retailer - which was crowned Best Specialist Multiple Retailer of Greeting Cards in The Retas 2022 - did not let the 39°C heat stand in the way of the opening day for its store debut right in the heart of England’s capital. Card Factory regional manager Maureen Whele posted on social media:

“So proud of this amazing group of ladies - merchandising our first new Card Factory in Central London on Tottenham Court Road. Regardless of the heat, these fabulous ladies delivered!” Saturday 23 July saw the opening of Card Factory’s third new format ’model store’, in the Crownpoint Shopping Park in Denton, greater Manchester. Adam Dury, Card Factory’s chief commercial officer said: “Investing in our new model stores marks a huge milestone in Card Factory’s future. We are responding

to the needs and wants of our customers - and the learnings we take from our model store trial programme will help to inform the roll out of store refurbishment programmes across our wider estate.” Other news from Card Factory headquarters is that it will be parting ways with chief financial officer Kris Lee after five years, but he will be staying in post working with the budget greeting card and gift giant retailer to identify his successor and help ensure an orderly transition, exiting once the new cfo has been appointed. Card Factory chairman Paul Moody thanked Kris for “his significant contribution over the last five years. In particular, he has worked tirelessly to deliver a successful refinancing in recent times and leaves the company with a solid platform to move forwards.” Above: Card Factory’s new Tottenham Court Road store. Above left: The new format in the refurbished Denton store has an improved store layout, signage and lower fixtures in order to increase accessibility and achieve greater visibility. Left: Kris Lee, Card Factory’s cfo is to leave the business.

Danilo’s winning duo

A serious and social GCA’s AGM and Conference Serious and social - the GCA AGM and Conference will cover both sides for members of the greeting card community with a stellar line-up of keynote speakers now confirmed as well as networking plans revealed. This year’s GCA main event will take place at Nottingham Trent University on Thursday 29 September with an agenda that is set to tick all the boxes for interest and relevance for greeting card publishers large and small, card retailers and trade suppliers. Among those all set to deliver great pearls of wisdom will be Ged Mace, md of The Art File; Richard Bacon, md of The Sherwood Group; Jon May, co-owner of Mooch Gifts and Home in Stourport-on Severn and Bewdley; Sir John Peace, Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire and chancellor of Nottingham Trent; industry stalwart and creative maestro

Geoff Sanderson - all of whom are based in or around Nottingham - as well as Ni Wang and Alex Bandini from research company Kantar. Experienced creative leader Geoff Sanderson will be revealing more about the GCA’s Graduate Open Call initiative, which is establishing links with universities. On the social front, anyone in the area the evening before is invited to join Paul Taylor, md of multiple retailer Cardzone, as he hosts a meet-up drink in the city centre from 5.30pm on September 28. Then The Art File’s sales and marketing manager James Mace will be leading those who want to continue socialising to a second venue. Above: Keynote speakers - (clockwise from top left) The Art File’s Ged Mace, Geoff Sanderson, Kantar’s Ni Wang and Alex Bandini, Sir John Pearce,

Left: Star quality - Danilo’s award from Paramount.

Danilo has been on something of a winning streak, clinching two awards in the last few Below: Cute calendar - every detail of weeks. The company was presented with the Best Paper & Gifting Partner award from global baby’s first year can be recorded. entertainment giant Paramount. “We’re delighted to have received the award,” Danilo licensing director Dan Grant told PG. “We’ve built a strong partnership with Paramount in recent years and this is set to continue for years to come.” Danilo has worked together with Paramount to create popular ranges with brands such as PAW Patrol and Baby Shark, as well as classic movies Top Gun, The Godfather, Clueless, Mean Girls and more. Danilo plans to grow its Paramount offer with the introduction of SpongeBob Square Pants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles products. Calling the Essex-based publisher a “much-valued partner”, Venetia Davie, vice-president consumer products UK of Paramount, Ireland, Israel, Australia & NZ, commented: “Danilo embraces the DNA of our brands, creating on-trend, relevant and fun products that enable our fans to celebrate with their favourite properties at key moments in their lives. They rise to challenges, embrace new ideas and continually drive the business.” Meanwhile Danilo’s Elmer The Patchwork Elephant Baby First Year Keepsake Calendar scooped a prestigious Silver Award from in the Gifts For New And Expecting Parents category of the online parenting publication’s recently-announced Baby & Preschool Awards. This official calendar is FSC-certified and plastic-free and includes 12 undated calendar pages to document details of a baby’s first year.



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Big Thinking For Thinking Of You Week

Below: One of the Ghana schools taking part in the initiative.

PR team, Schools Project and more retailers pledge support There are big things on the horizon for Thinking of You Week 2022, which takes place 19-25 September, as the GCA’s campaign to promote greeting cards to create a wave of love, caring and happiness, achieves a much broader reach. Now with PR experts on board, consumer competitions have been set up with Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping magazines and they’re also engaging with hundreds of vloggers and bloggers. Meanwhile, the list of leading retailers, publishers and organisations who are looking to support TOYW this year is growing by the day with Royal Mail, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Co-op and House of Cards among those to already be putting their promotional plans in place. However, what must rank as one of the GCA’s most ambitious initiatives to date is the Schools Project, which has been masterminded as part of the Thinking of You Week thrust by Adriana Lovesy, the GCA’s membership and marketing coordinator. This will see thousands of primary school children in Ghana and UK writing and sending specially created cards to each other in the third week of September. As part of this, special cards have been designed by Lottie Simpson, for the UK pupils to send while AfroTouch’s Georgina Fihosy has designed one for the Ghanaian pupils. Some 7,000 of each card design have just been printed by St Alban’s-based Graphite Creative as its generous contribution to TOYW 2022, on board

A-Z of Real & Exciting florals

donated by GF Smith with the envelopes donated by Enveco. “The Graphite team are amazing,” said Adriana who was on hand to see the cards coming off the press. “It was great knowing that they will soon be sending messages from children in Ghana to those in the UK and vice versa,” Adriana added. Adriana’s connections in Ghana have already forged links with 56 schools in the West African country, while 18 UK primary schools have signed up to the TOYW initiative, with more in the pipeline. A presentation which gives all the information and details on how to register is on the GCA website. A shipment of cards has now left the UK for Ghana, along with 4,000 pens that Ohh Deer has donated. “We were really keen to support this incredible project and we were delighted to be able to offer the pens for the children to use in Ghana,” commented Ohh Deer’s co-founder and managing director Mark Callaby. “Card sending and receiving is always very special and being able to link up during a Commonwealth Games year is even better, with Ghana taking part.”

Summer is in full bloom at indie retailer Alphabet Soup - helped by the talents of Real & Exciting Designs’ founder and creative genius Sarah Curedale-Raynor. Sara Ellis and Sue Freeman, coowners of the greeting card and gift store in Great Missenden, placed two orders with the Mint group at PG Live on the condition that Sarah let them have the impressive paper flowers she’d made herself by hand for the stand for their shop’s window display. Sara explained “We said if they wanted a home for them after the show, we’d have them. Sarah said if we placed orders we could have them - and the flowers arrived with the cards, which was lovely. And the cards have been selling very well for us too, so it’s a win-win!” Sophie Bylina, relationship manager for the Mint group, added: “We’re always happy to go the extra mile for our lovely customers, and if that means giving them part of our stand, that’s fine! Top: Sunny side up - Alphabet Soup co-owner Sara Ellis shows off the new window. Above: Creative force - Sarah snapped with her flowers at PG Live. Left: Adriana with Graphite’s Mark Steel, Andrew Patton, Stephen Hale, and Dave Parry printing the TOYW cards. Below: The special cards from Lottie Simpson and AfroTouch.

Mantons earns 30,000 thanks There are 30,000 reasons why Port Erin folk love the greeting card and gift store Mantons Cards, as that’s the total the Isle of Man-based indie retailer has raised for local charities and organisations - so far, with a mission to keep it going! Co-owners Chris and Debbie Beards are determined to keep the generosity going with events, donations of stock, and greeting card sales, and the latest effort saw £660 handed over to the Disasters Emergency Committee and Red Cross to help the people of Ukraine. “We’re all extremely proud to have been able to raise over £30,000 for good causes,” Chris said. “We’re also thrilled to have worked with and helped local organisations, such as Crossroads Care, Isle Of Man Arts Council and The Isle Of Man Post Office.” Left: The latest cheque with Chris and Debbie Beards, Lisa Walster, Olivia Leggate, Sophie Christian, and Esther Leece.



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Money On The Cards

Below: Some indie card retailers in Scotland’s second city can expect a welcome boost.

Glasgow’s indie card shops to benefit from £8.5m boost Buying a gift and card in Glasgow just got so much easier after the city council launched its own gift card - and pre-loaded 85,000 with £105 each for local residents, giving the Glaswegian public £8.5million of free spending. As part of the Scotland Loves Local scheme, the Glasgow Gift Cards are aimed at boosting businesses across the city, with a raft of greeting card and gift retailers participating. The Glasgowbranded gift cards can only be spent with businesses signed up to accept them within the city boundaries, meaning the money is locked into the area’s economy. Retas 2022’s award winner Penny Black is among the many greeting card retailers who jumped at the chance. Jo Marwaha, director of Penny Black, which has two shops in the city sees it as "a no brainer” to get involved. "Directing this post-pandemic recovery money to the high street sends a powerful message about what we value as a community and we hope as a business to see customers use the vouchers in-store and then return to our high streets instead of buying from supermarkets or other big - and perhaps discount - chains." Other notable card retailers involved include Papyrus, Maia Gifts, Stephen O’Neill Art, Ae Fond Kiss, Born In Scotland, Design Works, Downstairs Design, Hell Yeah, Hoolit Gifts, I Am

Nomad, Janet & John, Sunshine No1, Velvet Moon and Welcome Home. Commenting on the initiative, Fiona Fabien, owner of Papyrus told PG: "the Glasgow Loves Local card is a fantastic opportunity for Glasgow independent businesses to benefit from a cash injection. It is particularly welcome while household budgets are under huge pressure. The campaign encourages those who live in the city to support local businesses on their high street. The gift card can also be purchased, so this will continue to reinforce the 'Shop Local' mantra." The roll-out is an extension of the Scotland Loves Local campaign, Scotland’s Towns Partnership’s (STP) Scottish Government-backed drive for people to help their communities recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The preloaded cards will be sent out in August and to reduce the risk of theft, the cards will require activation via an individualised authentication process.

License This! competition now open for entries

Jubilee greetings taken to Buckingham Palace The greeting card industry has officially wished Her Majesty The Queen a fabulous Platinum Jubilee with the delivery of a whole box of special cards. The GCA/PG Cards For The Queen initiative saw publishers creating bespoke cards for Her Majesty, which were put on display at the recent PG Live. Also, as part of the show feature, visitors were invited to select a card from those on the stand, write their message, and pop it in the specially-created postbox, crafted entirely from cardboard by packaging and display company N Smith. Right: The GCA’s Amanda Fergusson and Adriana Lovesy at Buckingham Palace with cards for the Queen from the industry, schoolchildren and Brownie packs.

Hallmark’s art of history Brightening up the retail experience is always good for shoppers and Hallmark creatives have been part of a colourful new murals project unveiled in Harrogate recently. The Yorkshire-based publisher was called in by artist Jo Caswell, who is the project lead for HG1 For Everyone initiative run by the notfor-profit group Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID). “The town centre lies at the heart of our community, creating jobs and nurturing small businesses. However, the way we shop and the way the community is using the High Street is changing, with lockdown speeding up the process - shopping more online, making

Left: The character parade is a winner at BLE.

The broader greeting card community has historically fared well in the ‘Kelvyn Gardner License This!’ competition, held as part of the Brand Licensing Europe trade show. And entries are now open for this year’s License This! competition. A winner in last year’s License This! was Joel Mercer, coowner of Seedlings Cards and Gifts, with his Seedfolk brand; the year previous it was Tracey Colliston of Ginger Betty with her cute Owl’s Nest concept while in 2019 it was artist Rosie Brooks who romped home with a win for her Opera Little brand, designs of which are published on greeting cards by Holy Mackerel. So, the pressure is on for the industry to come up trumps by presenting their new licensable concepts. Brand Licensing Europe takes place this year at the earlier dates of 20-22 September at ExCel London. To be in with a chance to break into the £245billion ($300bn) global licensing market, card designers and companies can now enter the License This! competition from the BLE website ( The closing date is 5pm on 26 August. The finalists will pitch to the judges in a live finale at BLE on Thursday 22 September. The winners will receive a free exhibition stand at BLE 2023. Adding greeting card nous to the judging, the panel will include Danilo licensing director Dan Grant and Moonpig’s senior design manager Dale Boreham.

fewer big shopping trips and shopping little and often, primarily at supermarkets and retail parks. We realised we needed to create compelling reasons to build a thriving community within the town centre,” said Jo. Hallmark’s head of commercial Fiona Pitt explained the publisher’s involvement has been huge, from brainstorming the initial ideas through to visual interpretation of local heritage and issues. The company also covered the cost of paints, and provided a room for the creatives to work on the boards at its offices as well as giving them time off to work on the project. Above: Hallmark’s creative team with a HG1 mural.



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Right: David Robertson with his friend Kevin Goodbrand at The Rolling Stones concert recently. Below: Hiro helping his dad David in the home office as he recovers from Covid. Bottom: The Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett sheds light on the inspirations and experiences of several notable entrepreneurs.

You Can’t Always

Get What You Want...

I fully appreciate that in the last month I have done things that most new dads don’t get the chance to do. I visited London with two close pals to see The Rolling Stones in concert and spent a couple of days enjoying the city. I then followed this up with attending The Retas where I lapped up all the industry chat. When I got back, I caught up work wise and also caught Covid. As I write this, I have spent the last week in solitary confinement (upstairs in my house) sleeping, sweating, coughing and thinking. In fact, I have probably been thinking way too much. The tiredness and lack of achievement has made me mentally test myself even more. The highlight of each day has been getting out around 10pm to walk the dog in the local woods with no-one to bump into. Each evening on this walk I have been listening to the Diary of a CEO podcast by Steven Bartlett, the new young ‘Dragon’. It has made me realise how young or new business people now have 20


the opportunity to immerse themselves in the stories of so many inspiring people. Coming into our business in the 90s everything I did with my folks was on instinct. There were no real models or guides. We were just ordinary folk running a shop. Yes, there were business books, but I am not sure even where I would have started to look for the right things to read. Some of the big business successes of the 90s - Lord Sugar, Clive Sinclair, Rupert Murdoch etc - were all figures that seemed very distant. Back then we did not have the plethora of selfhelp books that there are now. Weakness, challenges, mental strength, manifestation were not discussed on a daily basis like they are now and the will to achieve was somehow looked at differently.

With a new baby many of you will no doubt be thinking that my column this month’s column will be all be about lack of sleep and dirty nappies. Suffice to say I feel a bit of a fraud as my wife has basically done all the hard yards since Hudson hustled his way into our lives, while I have been lucky to have been to London to see The Rolling Stones, unlucky to have caught Covid, but also had time to reflect on Mick Jagger’s lyrics, that while ‘you can’t always get what you want’, we will all keep trying. There was not the constant fanfaring of examples of businesses rising from nothing to something mega that seem to be so common on social media these days. Just think about Gymshark, Moonpig, Brewdog and so many other start-ups that have gone on to be something really special. The rise in tech-savvy young entrepreneurs who

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OVER THE COUNTER can monetise every part of their life is huge and I have to admit to being totally inspired by so many of these young business builders. When in London with my pal he was telling me about his nephew who was a DJ. He completed his degree in hospitality management, but then spent most of his time gigging to fund the lifestyle. This allowed them to go to various places around Europe and off the back of that they created a logo emblazoned bucket hat that they sold to fans. This sold out constantly, generating high five figure profits which they reinvested into more merchandise. I have also ‘clocked’ the massive rise in young business people who have got into wrist watch dealing, an area that exploded during the pandemic. These guys and girls, driven by YouTube and unprecedented demand, have created businesses and brands that not only sell the watches for commission, but they again have stretched the brand into general merchandise. The GOD TIER brand from young Dutch guy, Nico van der Horst is a case in point. Loud, brash and in your face, he has learned about

business and principles as he goes but his core messages of loyalty, trust and quality are all there. I love learning about new approaches to business and yet sense that our time is ticking away as shopkeepers, or middlemen/women. I don’t mean that our businesses are dead in the water, but to me the future looks more and more challenging. I have long believed how you need to have your own USP, your own product, your own brand and that is the only way to real success. It is interesting to see Scribbler grasp this within our industry and to be moving towards leveraging its brand in

Left: Gymshark’s success is legendary. Below left: Nico van der Horst has been a real influencer in the wrist watch sector. Below right: Brewdog never fails to surprise with its marketing activity. Bottom: Jim Collins’ best selling business book.

different ways (distribution in other retailers, the new card kiosks and of course its online activities). I believe that anyone who thinks that they can just carry on doing what they are now is crazy as the challenges and changes keep happening quicker and quicker. It used to be that in running a small shop the only aim was to make a bit of money and then sell it on. This is certainly what my parents thought but now everyone speaks about their long-term wealth. How are they going to have assets that generate incomes for them into their retirement whether that be to fund their lifestyle or to help their children? I am driven by a need to move forward. For a long time that used to be underscored by increasing turnover and adding new businesses. As that gets more and more difficult to do it is now more about how I can control the cost of business. How do I improve the bottom line and the efficiency of things as opposed to actually driving the numbers higher. One local business near me that is by definition a unicorn (a $billion start up) as Brewdog is located literally an hour from me. Its CEO James Watt was a skipper of a fishing boat. James was interviewed on the Diary of a CEO podcast. He has built a reputation as being a bit of a character. But then if you have been a disruptor of the beer industry and taken a product you were making in your garage back in November 2006 to what is now the largest craft brewer in the world with over 50 bars, it is going to change you. He started with £20k and a dream, basically doing whatever was needed to be noticed and to keep climbing. Drive a tank through Camden? Pose in a red-light district? Offend the Royals? One element that stood out for me was his mention of the

Stockdale Paradox, the most important factor in his business. James (Jim) Stockdale was an American Navy vice admiral who was captured and tortured in the Vietnam War. He was held captive and beaten for seven and half years. When held prisoner he created a coping strategy and this formed a large part of the book It’s Good to be Great by Jim C Collins. Stockdale believed that you could never confuse the faith that you will prevail in the end with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts about your current reality. So basically, no matter how tough business/life is; no matter how many challenges you may have - be it cashflow, staff, life generally you have to believe that you will get through it in the end. What it can’t do though is stop attacking and challenging the now. Hence the paradox. You have to juggle the now with the end. You have to acknowledge and deal with the problems but believe that you will get there. You have to have realistic optimism. Mr Brewdog uses this by choosing to focus on the three most difficult things facing key team members and then sets an agenda to deal with them. For us smaller businesses without a huge team around us it may be a case of focusing on the three largest challenges at any one time. I know I do this, I just I don’t call it the Stockade Paradox! James Watt also admitted that being a CEO is a lonely place sometimes and that he broke down wondering how he would pay his staff as the pandemic struck. You would think a company currently valued around £2 billion would not have those worries, but perhaps it is only the numbers that differ between his predicament and that of ours as small indies. My takeaway from it all is that we are all doing our best, we are all trying to get some Rolling Stones’ ‘Satisfaction’ from our jobs. I have come to the conclusion…you can’t always get what you want but ‘if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.’ I think that’s what Mick meant… To contact David email: PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Pigging Out “Are your greeting cards just bland fodder plucked from a drab shop display?” These are the words on a current Moonpig radio advert that Cardsharp has heard repeatedly on his beloved Planet Rock radio station and no doubt has gone out across the whole commercial radio network too. Appearing regularly on the station’s commercials loop this advert has driven Cardsharp to increasing levels of irritation. The most recent time he heard it, was just before the radio station played the Los Angeles glam metal heads, Mötley Crüe’s brilliant anthem, Shout at the Devil. How apposite thought Cardsharp, his heckles rising, feeling that as far as our greeting card industry is concerned, Moonpig felt like the devil. Cardsharp has mentioned his aversion to this distasteful campaign before, when it was first aired nine months ago. He hoped back then that was an ill-thought through aberration and gave the online platform the benefit of the doubt, that it was just an error of judgement from the marketing department. Obviously, Cardsharp was wrong, and this is part of a deliberate strategy. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Now Cardsharp is aware that Moonpig’s greeting card sales (not necessarily the company’s sales overall which include gifts and other items) have declined since the end of the Covid crisis. And it would appear Moonpig is finding it increasingly expensive to attract new



customers that will spend on its greeting cards. And having floated recently, the group is struggling to maintain, to what Cardsharp considers, a very overpriced share price. But in Cardsharp’s view, there is no excuse for this kind of dirty marketing tactics. Think about it. Moonpig is slating virtually all of Progressive Greetings’ readers. Every bricks and mortar retail outlet is being labelled as having a ‘drab

Top: Cardsharp is less happy than these piggies look. Above: Some positive billboard advertising from Moonpig last year when it introduced its new mascot. Below: Heavy rock legends Mötley Crüe’s Shout to the Devil struck a chord with Cardsharp.

shop display’ and every publisher is offering ‘bland fodder’ on those racks. Cardsharp is no dinosaur and has long recognised the merit in Moonpig. As the market leader in the online print on demand space, it has historically flown the flag for sending greeting cards, its marketing as well as continuous onboarding of new publishers and designs has helped to keep the greeting card sending habit fresh, and so has been a positive for the greeting card industry. Now though, in the light of this campaign, Cardsharp finds his view has changed somewhat. Think about it. The tack taken on the advert insults and denigrates every retailer of greeting cards in the UK. It also insults and degrades every publisher in the UK. And every artist, designer, wholesaler, printer and supplier that make our greeting card sector special. Frankly to Cardsharp’s mind, it stinks. Cardsharp recognises that some publishers, reading this may be in a pretty invidious position. Licensing royalties to publishers from Moonpig can be pretty significant, and in these tough economic times, they are not to be sniffed at. And publishing suppliers to Moonpig may rationalise this by thinking that this is not much different to the brokerage model, where smaller publishers in effect supply their main competitors which is a weird conflict of interest. But as Cardsharp notes, brokers

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have never in his knowledge, defamed retailers and their publishing partners. Nor crapped on the industry that has helped make them so successful. We need to think as an industry whether we sup with the devil or alternatively to paraphrase Mötley Crüe’s anthem, shout at that devil. Come on Moonpig, please get back to being a cute lovable piggie!

Inset: While it was a cute move to introduce Moonpig mascots, the line taken on the recent advert is not.

Exit! No Stage Left or Right Cardsharp can’t quite believe it is now 28 years since Andrew Brownsword sold his eponymous greeting card publishing business to Hallmark for an estimated £200 million. It seems like yesterday when the news broke, stunning many in the industry. But what exit strategy or likely riches can publishers expect these days, muses Cardsharp? The Brownsword sale was the largest of a number of big money acquisitions on the publishing side at the end of the last century. Hallmark had also paid £160 million for Creative Publishing and around £15 million for Tigerprint, Marks and Spencer’s own brand supplier. In hindsight this last deal seems to be by far the best of the lot. American Greetings also went on a spending spree buying Hanson White, Camden Graphics and Gibson Greetings for pretty tidy sums. Greeting card sales were then growing like topsy, retail prices were put up by 10% every year and accepted by retailers meaning the major publishers were all keen to expand their respective market share of this growing pie. Further down the pecking order, medium sized companies were also snapping up slightly smaller publishers with gay abandon right up into the noughties. There are too many for Cardsharp to list, but Carte Blanche’s takeover of Wishing Well comes to mind, as does Ling’s of Talking Pictures, and GBCC’s of Almanac Gallery. Simon Elvin also got in on the act, acquiring Paper Rose. The great thing about this was that anyone owning a publishing company with a reasonable turnover and profit, always had the chance of a decent financial exit. Multiples were high and many a proprietor could sail off into the sunset in considerable comfort. The other result was that the number of major and medium sized players in the market thinned out considerably. And all this activity certainly gave Cardsharp plenty to write about each month. The banking crisis and subsequent recession from 2008-2011 changed all that as did the decline in bricks and mortar retailing, the rise of Card Factory with its own brand business model and the demise of Clintons. The publishing supply side of the UK greeting card industry became smaller less and less profitable and margins were being squeezed more and more aggressively by the retailers. In the last decade, publisher acquisitions have all but dried up. The only major one of a publisher that was solvent at the time, that Cardsharp can recall, was Swan Mill’s acquisition of Ling Design about six years ago though the sale price was never revealed and David Greaves’ buy back of Emotional Rescue with Brett Smith from Martin Nevin. Larger publishers obviously now see little value in acquiring smaller publishers, so the days of the final big pay day for the owners seems to have gone. There seems to be no decent exit, stage left or stage right. There was also a realisation by larger publishers, that most successful smaller publishers’ real strength lies in the creativity of the owner proprietor, and if you lost that as you would inevitably would in a purchase, there would be little value in the business. And Cardsharp noted, on the publisher side at least, that there are no private equity players other than Clayton, Duilier & Rice (CD&R), the majority shareholder of UK Greetings. Private equity owned companies have to grow and grow quickly in order to ‘flip’ the entity on to its next owner, and acquisition is usually the way this is done. So, this is another lucrative potential exit blocked. Given this new reality, publishers have had to re-evaluate their future plans. Some have groomed their offspring to take over the reins of the business, with some considerable success. Some like Gemma and Great British Card Company, after holding out too long for an unrealistic purchase price, have seen their respective companies fail altogether, albeit the latter having been resurrected by Swan Mill. Others more pragmatically have wound down their companies by selling off all their assets (Blossoms & Bows and Really Good/Soul went down this route), or have come to a deal with their management to buy them out over a specified period of years. One thing is for certain, reflected Cardsharp, the days of big pay-outs for entrepreneurial card publishers appear to have gone off into the sunset, but then of course he has been wrong before!



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VIEWPOINTS Right: Bunnies and eggs signify freshness and the Spring Seasons that are so important in the greetings world.

Springing forward Ceri Stirland and Lois Holcroft customer & channel director and director of product management & insight, UK Greetings How important are Spring Seasons sales to you? “Spring seasons are very important to the industry as it keeps greeting cards front of mind with the consumer and the retailer. It is an opportunity to try new styles, new captions, new editorial. It is essential that all publishers invest in the seasons to drive engagement across the year.” Is there anything you feel retailers could do to further Spring Seasons? “We know from research that for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for those buying into the event, the number one purchase is a greeting card. Therefore, by bringing cards, gifting, confectionery, BWS (beer, wine, spirits) - ie affinity categories - together will drive engagement with the consumer.” Have you seen any extra occasions coming through and are there any you’re being asked for? “Yes, we’re definitely getting new requests for cards to celebrate Eid, Diwali, Galentine’s, and to also broaden our existing seasons to make them more inclusive, eg To My 2 Dads On Father’s Day, To Mum On Father’s Day, to and from the pet on Father’s Day, Braille cards - and, of course, we’re also creating cards which represent people from all backgrounds and ethnicities.” Top: UKG’s Ceri Stirland (left) and Lois Holdcroft (right). Above: Cards from the pet has been a growth area in Spring Seasons and generally. Right: Diversity and inclusion is a key consideration for UKG.



After several years of upheaval, card retailers and publishers were relieved to be able to trade normally for all four Spring Seasons, but what does the new normal look like for these significant card sending events? PG asks greeting card retailers and publishers about their Spring Seasons developments and what potential is out there for other occasions.

Daniel Prince managing director, Danilo Promotions What changes in design trends with Spring Seasons have you tracked? “A key trend that’s continuing to grow is the demand for cards from the pet. People in the UK love their four-legged friends so much that cards from pets are now big business. The boom in pet ownership under lockdown has helped companies Above: A Secret Life of Pets design from Danilo. to increase sales of From The Pet cards and this applies to key seasons such as Valentine’s Day. Not only does this work with pet-related licences, such as NBC Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets, but it also adapts well to lifestyle brands such as Brightside, where the caption Love From Your Furbaby has performed well for us. Galentine’s Day, held on February 13, has also become prominent over the last few years, and seems to get more popular each year. A day which celebrates female friendship and empowerment has shown us that friendship-style designs from licences such as Wonder Woman, Grease, Friends, Barbie and L.O.L Surprise! are becoming increasingly in demand. Another change in the greeting card industry revolves around increased sensitivity to loss of parents or being a single parent. To accommodate this, we’ve seen caption changes for Spring Seasons cards such as Mothering Sunday cards being made available for fathers. We’re continuing to incorporate this into our seasonal ranges and one way will be adding new captions to our ranges such

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VIEWPOINTS as a Brightside design which states Dad & Mum Rolled Into One on the front of the card.” Have you seen any extra occasions coming through and are there any you’re being asked for? “Three of the strongest themes coming through are World Book Day, Pride and International Women’s Day. Held on March 3 every year, World Book Day is marked in over 100 countries around the globe and aims to change lives through a love of books and shared reading - 2022 saw World Book Day’s 25th anniversary, celebrated with the key message for all children You Are A Reader. We have experienced an increasing number of retailers celebrating this great occasion and, as a result, taking our literary card ranges such as The Gruffalo, Guess How Much I Love You, Elmer The Patchwork Elephant, Roald Dahl, and more. Pride Month is celebrated each year in June and aims to recognise the impact LGBTQIA+ individuals have had on history. In recent years, online platforms have provided an outlet for global conversations and we’re seeing an increase in Pride-themed products coming through in the industry. We’ve been delighted with the response our Brightside Pride range has received, and we currently have a Looney Tunes left: A popular Brightside and Justice League Pride card ranges on Above design from Danilo. Above: Danilo’s Grease licence offer, which we hope will also see a lends itself to this Galentine’s card. positive response. Showcasing the ongoing rise in female empowerment, International Women’s Day is a global day held on March 8 and celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. With one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals being to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’, days such as this are experiencing more awareness and, subsequently, there are more greeting cards being published with captions that support this sentiment. We have developed a strong International Women’s Day card range with Barbie, which features wording such as Girls Will Save The World, The Future Is Limitless, There’s Power In Kindness and Do Your Thing! - all of which aim to promote kindness and empowerment.”

Liz Ellis studio manager, Abacus Cards How have you approached your Spring Seasons 2023 greeting card selection? “We have an abundant offering of fresh, stylish designs and captions which are now available to pre-order. The collection includes all four Spring Seasons as well as St. Patrick’s Day. A little romance always goes a long way therefore our fun and sentimental Valentine’s collection has been designed to put a smile on faces. Our collection includes hand-finished designs through to quirky humorous cards and everything in between. Our Mother’s Day selection includes designs for mum, grandma or wife, all spreading a little love and happiness. Whether they love flowers, afternoon tea, gardening, appreciate a good book or even a G&T we have ensured there is a card design to suit. We’re super egg-cited to showcase our cracking Easter offering which spans packs, single captioned cards and gift enclosure cards, including religious and non-religious designs with plenty of cute illustrated and photographic Easter bunnies, chicks and lambs. And, dads and grandads will not miss out with lots of designs celebrate this Father’s Day.” Have you seen any extra occasions coming through and are there any you’re being asked for? “St Patrick’s Day is a global celebration of Irish culture so we’ve let the shenanigans begin with our brand-new St Patrick’s Day offering for 2023. Designs feature fun, witty captions and are teamed with amusing images.” Top: Abacus’ Liz Ellis. Above: A cute and quirky Valentine’s design from Abacus. Left: A Father’s Day design from Abacus.

Mary Singleton-Jones owner Panda Cards, St Albans How important are Spring Seasons sales to you? “They’re very important at Panda Cards. They are a strong cash injection for us. Spring Season sales in 2022 were much improved after the Covid drought. “ What have you done differently this year and plan to do for 2023? “This year I’ve put more spinners outside my shop which has encouraged more customers to explore my selection.” What changes in design trends with Spring Seasons have you tracked? “This Father’s Day I ordered in Grandad and Grandpa cards for the first time in our 45 years in business! They were very well received so that’s a change I will keep.” Have you seen any extra occasions coming through and are there any you’re being asked for? “Panda Cards has always had a strong reputation for stocking ethnic cards therefore, generally, whatever my customers’ special event card needs are I already have them.” Left: Mary Singleton-Jones at the recent PG Live.



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John Barratt owner of The Card Centre, Felixstowe How important are Spring Seasons sales to you? “Spring Seasons are important to the business. They’re becoming ever more salient these days as they provide such a useful stepping stone with increased sales between the new year and summer. Easter arriving late works in their favour as it allows more sales time between occasions. However, the weather plays a big part as it does have a tendency to hamper sales.” What have you done differently this year/plan to do for 2023? “We decided this year to display Easter earlier than usual as a test run for 2023 which seemed to work well although more space is used for a longer period. We’ve also increased our suppliers for particular captions and this will be continued into the 2023 season.” Is there anything you feel card publishers could be doing to help you on Spring Seasons? “The two main things - more promotional material is needed and a larger selection for major captions would be beneficial.” Above: Retas winners 2022, The Card Centre uses its What changes in design trends with Spring Seasons have you tracked? “The main window to support Spring Seasons, but also to show changes that have been noted are more modern traditional designs coming through and less cute solidarity to those in Ukraine. designs. We’ve also seen a trend towards select captions becoming more popular, for example, From The Dog At Easter.” Have you seen any extra occasions coming through and are there any you’re being asked for? “Extra occasions are definitely on the increase. We now stock more of a range with the saints captions and also found Chinese New Year, Thanksgiving and Halloween are also being asked for more.”

Steve Jones-Blackett director, Wendy Jones-Blackett How important are Spring Seasons sales to you? “Spring seasonal sales, for both publishers and retailers, are an important source of post-Christmas revenue. Previously, Valentine’s Day has been the largest spring seasonal event, however, over the past few years we’ve noticed that Mother’s Day sales have caught up, with Easter and Father’s Day coming in third and fourth. I suspect the increased popularity of Mother’s Day may be an indirect consequence of the Covid-19 lockdowns where family members were unable to meet to celebrate events.” How have you approached your Spring Seasons 2023 greeting card selection? “As with previous Spring Season offerings, we use a mixture of traditional and contemporary imagery to provide a cohesive collection to our retail customers for all four seasons - Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Easter and Father’s Day - straddling a number of price points.” What changes in design trends with Spring Seasons have you tracked? “Design wise, traditional imagery - ie hearts for Valentine’s Day, flowers for Mother’s Day, etc - still seem to be the most popular with retailers and sell through better than on trend images.” Have you seen any extra occasions coming through and are there any you’re being asked for? “Demand for the more obscure occasions, like Halloween, St Patrick’s Day, Galentine’s Day and non-Christian religious festivals, has principally been from by larger multiples and supermarkets - the independent sector appear to have less of an appetite for these occasions.” Above: The heat is on for Steve Jones-Blackett. Right: Lovebirds from Wendy Jones-Blackett.



James Mace sales and marketing manager, The Art File How important are Spring Seasons sales to you? “The Spring Seasons are very important to The Art File, as more publishers are seeming to pull out of these categories we feel it’s important to offer our retailers a concise and eclectic offering for their customers. We have seen a steady The cup overfloweth increase in the categories - not including the Above: for James Mace. Below: A selection of pandemic years, of course!” Valentine’s cards from The Art How have you approached File. your Spring Seasons 2023 greeting card selection? “With a sense of excitement and vigour! Our design team take into account current trends, viral trends, topical colour patterns and, of course, those good old one-liners that’ll either make the recipient cringe, or lust over for Valentine’s Day cards. We also look at historical trends and sales to assist in informing our decisions on publishing new designs.” What changes in design trends with Spring Seasons have you tracked? “We’ve found the usual pastel colours that are associated with Spring Seasons, such as pinks and peaches, have progressed into a more interesting palette, including lilacs, soft lime/acid tones and fresh greens, which naturally lets your inspiration wander into more nature-inspired subject matters.” Have you seen any extra occasions coming through and are there any you’re being asked for? “In short, yes! We’ve been publishing St Patrick’s Day cards now for some time, and we’ve also licensed the fantastic Peace & Blessings Collection - which features all of the major religious festivals spanning most major religious and beliefs. We’ve seen a real upturn in this.”

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Roy & Julia Beswick The Card Collection, East Moseley

Below: On top of the world! Roy and Julia celebrating their 2022 Retas win at the O2 Millennium Dome.

How important are Spring Seasons sales to you? “Spring seasons continue to be a very important part of our yearly business and, year-on-year, sales have increased across them all. In particular Easter has seen the largest increase due to younger families realising the value of sending and receiving greeting cards. Also, Easter is the only event apart from Christmas where it’s possible to send a card and keep in touch with the whole family and tell them any news that has happened since Christmas. The downside of Easter is that, like Mother’s Day, it moves dates every year - it’s significantly more popular when it takes place in April rather than March.” What have you done differently this year/plan to do for 2023? “We’ve always adopted the same attitude of putting our seasonal cards out as late as we can. We feel it’s lazy retailing to put your Valentine’s display out straight after Christmas and then Mother’s Day/Easter straight out after Valentine’s Day. By doing this, customers feel bombarded and pressurised by card-buying events. If a customer is particularly desperate to buy and get a card in the post urgently then we’re happy to get a selection from our stockroom to give them a private viewing of the ranges we have.” Is there anything you feel card publishers could be doing to help you on Spring Seasons? “It would be great if publishers offered retailers bright, colourful header boards for our card racks. We appreciate a few of the larger publishers do this but it would be nice from a retailer’s point of view, to have a choice of whose headers we use from year to year. A more worrying trend is the news that some publishers aren’t offering a Spring Seasons selection at all for next year and some are offering a vastly-reduced range. As an independent retailer we’re now suffering the consequences of publishers not being able to make any money on Spring Seasons by having to offer full sale-or-return as well as discounted terms to the large retailers.” Have you seen any extra occasions coming through and are there any you’re being asked for? “We’ve always done really well with our New Year cards and it’s nice to see the selection of designs offered by publishers improving year on year. We always struggle to find St George’s Day cards and this year we weren’t offered any!”

Sarah Holmes

Below: Sarah Holmes has put a spin on her displays this year.

owner, Pencil Me In, Elgin How important are Spring Seasons sales to you? “The first four months of the year are much quieter for us and therefore Valentine’s Day and Mother's Day are important and I do really try to make the most of them. This year we went in on some really good additional gift ranges to complement Mother's Day which really worked, and I need to apply the same focus to Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day. I'd say Valentine’s hasn't changed much saleswise, but Mother's Day we’re definitely doing better with. Being in the north of Scotland, bad weather really impacts both Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day for us, we can easily have snow and storms into May and that can impact footfall.” What have you done differently this year/plan to do for 2023? “We tend to put out our displays four to six weeks before and they do tend to start selling immediately. We also have a dedicated section on our website, and this year we’ve been creating our own larger signage and posters for the windows and instore to remind people specifically of the dates for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as they change each year.” What changes in design trends with Spring Seasons have you tracked? “For Valentine’s Day people want more funny ones, Mother's Day is definitely more sentimental, but we need more middle-ground cards for those who aren't best mates with their mums and fewer Happy Mother's Day designs with flowers on. Father's Day - funny ones are always welcome, but lots of adventure-themed ones have been doing really well in recent years. Whisky themes always do well for us, being based in Scotland's whisky capital.” Have you seen any extra occasions coming through? “We carry a small selection for New Year, as Hogmanay is a big deal up here as is first footing. We stock a host of friendship cards so are covered for Galentine’s, and Hallowe'en is sometimes asked for.”

Laura Alcock

Left: Spring smiles from Laura Alcock.

owner and founder, Laura Sherratt Designs How important are Spring Seasons sales to you? “Spring season sales are really important to us, Mother's Day is our biggest season of all, apart from Christmas. A great start to the year in January/February collecting orders and sales for Spring Seasons usually signals for a good year for us.” How have you approached your Spring Seasons 2023 greeting card selection? “We’ve designed lots of bright loveliness for Spring 2023 with pops of colour, florals and pattern. As usual we have concentrated on Mother's Day. We have designed with a nod to trends like gingham, lilac colours, cute florals like the daisy flower and scalloped shape.” What changes in design trends with Spring Seasons have you tracked? “Our customers increasingly shop for cards suitable for seasons without the caption, that means retailers can be left with stock after the event. Our stockists have been increasingly buying cards with Mum, Nan, Granny, on them but without the Mother's Day title. It’s the same for Valentine's Day, we get shops asking for Husband and Wife cards that they can carry on selling throughout the year. We’ve also had lots of requests for the popular Mothering Sunday title, it’s traditionally British and this caption sells really well for us.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Caught On Camera


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Inset: Carl Dunne (left) and Oliver GuiseSmith of Cards & Gifts, Dronfield were suitably attired to fanfare The Retas’ one man band, Jake Rodrigues.


Inset: The Ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel was full of greeting card retailers, publishers and trade supplier last month at The Retas 2022. Below: Guests were treated to a champagne reception before they made their way into the main Ballroom.

Inset: “Gawd blimey Mary Poppins!” MiMi’s Lee Dowley with the retailer’s owner Julianne Moore. Right: The ‘practically perfect in every way’ finalists’ brochure for the event.

“Winds in the east, mist comin’ in, like somethin’ is brewin’ and ‘bout to begin” sang out Bert in the opening scene of the original Mary Poppins film. Last month, that ‘somethin’ was a glorious celebration of greeting card retailing excellence as The Retas 2022, on a Mary Poppins-esque theme was the ‘spoonful of sugar’ everybody needed! PG shares a flavour of the event…

Inset: The artist Amber Scarlett created the umbrella sculpture on stage and aerial kite installations.



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Caught On Camera

Left: In keeping with tradition a ‘Higher or Lower’ elimination quiz was a great start to the event, with the questions based loosely on Mary Poppins with the final few invited on stage to arrive at the winner. Below left: Kingfisher Cards and Gifts’ Tiffany Leach (far right), agents Beth Robson (centre) and Rosie Trow (second left) with Mint Publishing’s/Museums & Galleries’ (second right-left) Alan Williams, Debbie Williams, Sophie Bylina and Tom Williams. Below: ArtPress provided the delightful penguin menu cards for the event.

Below right: No. 14’s owner Jo Barber (left) and manager Kirsty Hammond measure up well! Below left: Brothers in arms… (right-left) Danilo’s Laurence Prince, Daniel Prince, Woodmansterne’s Andy Paterson and Watermark’s Paul Slater. Bottom left: Comedian Sara Barron’s witty repartee keep the pace going. Below: All Emo guests had extra treats from the publisher of a goody bag full of Mary Poppinsthemed treats and a parrot headed umbrella.



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Caught On Camera

Left: Magic does really happen. Hot on the heels of their gifts/homewares licensing collaboration, Raspberry Blossom’s co-owners Rebecca and Mark Green (right) was at The Retas with Widdop & Co’s commercial director Stephen Illingworth. Right: Waitrose’s merchandiser and planner Ross Gordon (left) was the winner of the Higher or Lower competition which saw Pigment’s sales and marketing director Steve Baker (right), sponsor of this fun elimination quiz presented the prize of a £150 dining experience at The Ritz and a Mary Poppins umbrella. Below left: PG’s Jakki Brown in Mary Poppinsmode with the new look Retas’ trophy. Below: Postmark’s Mark Janson-Smith (left) always says that big things coincide with PG events. The Retas saw him handing over £50 to House of Cards’ co-owner Miles Robinson who corrected predicted that it would be the day that PM Boris Johnson resigned. Below lower right: Medici Gallery’s Tim Reynolds with Snap’s Helen Fisher (right) and agent Beth Robson.

Below: The GCA’s Adriana Lovesy (right) and Panda Cards’ Mary Singleton-Jones drew the charity raffle that raised £4,000+ for The Light Fund. Bottom: Abacus’ md Nick Carey measures up with Longacres’ buyer Kim Lewis.

Inset: Happiness personified Retas’ winners Hugs & Kisses’ (far left) Caroline and John Ranwell (far right) with Presentation’s Andrea Pinder and PG’s Warren Lomax.



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The Retas 2022 Winners Inset: All the winners on stage with their trophies, joined by host Sara Barron (second left, on stairs) and PG’s Warren Lomax, Jakki Brown and Tracey Bearton.

Winning Ways The greeting card industry is well-blessed with some truly exceptional retailers, from plucky indies to special multiples, department stores to grocers, bookshops to garden centre maestros and so much more. The Retas 2022 winners reflect this card retailing excellence.

Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer

London (inside the M25) 2022 WINNER: The Card Collection - East Molesey Left: Mark Callaby, managing director of category sponsor Ohh Deer, at the lectern. Right: Roy Beswick (centre), co-owner of The Card Collection was delighted to receive the trophy from Mark Callaby, md of Ohh Deer, the sponsor of this award category.

Sponsored by Left: It was a Golden moment for Roy, especially as this is The Card Collection’s 25th anniversary.



Retas 2022 WINNERS GRID_New Backgrounds.qxp_Layout 1 01/08/2022 13:36 Page 34

Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer

Home Counties and South East 2022 WINNER: Dee’s Cards - Leighton Buzzard Far left: Fiona Pitt, Hallmark Cards’ head of commercial prepares to announce the winner. Left: Dee’s Cards’ directors Paul Mordecai and Hannah Rudder (second right) were presented with the trophy by Fiona Pitt, head of commercial for Hallmark Cards, the sponsor of this award category. Below: Paul Mordecai and Hannah Rudder at the champagne reception before they knew Dee’s Card has won an award.

Sponsored by

Initial Reaction: “It feels absolutely tremendous to have won, we haven’t stopped smiling since it was announced! Receiving the award has given us such a lift especially after the last couple of years. Our customers are just as ecstatic as we are, so it has given a real buzz in the shop. We ordered posters and balloons for our window to let everyone know on the high street. All our hard work has paid off and we are absolutely over the moon. I think we’ll be celebrating for the rest of the year.”

Hannah Rudder, Dee’s Cards

Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer

East Anglia

Sponsored by

2022 WINNER: The Card Centre - Felixstowe Left: The Card Centre’s director John Barratt (second left) and senior buyer Andrew Reid were presented with the trophy by Nicola Nash, studio and export manager of category sponsor, Abacus Cards.

Initial Reaction: “I initially felt quite overwhelmed but then overjoyed. I am so pleased for my wonderful and dedicated work colleagues and so proud that the shop in its 75th year has received this great accolade.”

John Barratt, owner of the The Card Centre

Left: Nicola Nash, Abacus Cards’ studio and export manager did the honours in announcing the winner. Right: A proud moment for John and Andrew, especially as this is The Card Centre’s 75th anniversary.



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Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer

South West 2022 WINNER: Kingfisher Cards and Gifts - Sidmouth

Left: Alison Butterworth (right) Becky Dobson, the managing directors of sibling businesses, Nigel Quiney Publications and Glick took to the lectern to announce the winner.

Right: (second right) Tiffany Leach, owner of Kingfisher Cards & Gifts was delighted to be presented with the trophy by Glick’s md Becky Dobson (far right) and Nigel Quiney Publications’ md Alison Butterworth, co-sponsors of this award category.

Initial Reaction: “WOW, I’m over the moon. I couldn’t quite believe we have won a Retas award two years in a row! I’m so happy all our hard work has been recognised and I couldn’t be prouder of our team at Kingfisher. We all love choosing such lovely cards, so really it’s also down to the amazing artists and suppliers that makes Kingfisher so special. Loving what you do definitely pays off. It was a lovely day and even lovelier to be coming home with the trophy Woohoo!”

Tiffany Leach, owner of Kingfisher Cards & Gifts

Sponsored by

Left: A delighted Tiffany kisses her trophy.

Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer

Wales and the Midlands 2022 WINNER: Hugs & Kisses - Tettenhall Left: As sponsor of this award category, (far right) Chris Bryan, joint general manager of Second Nature presented the trophy to Hugs & Kisses’ Caroline and John Ranwell.

Initial Reaction: “When I heard Hugs & Kisses being called out as the winner, I almost burst into tears there and then! It’s really does mean the absolute world to me and makes all the hard work so worthwhile. To win a Retas award has to be the absolute highlight of my 33 years in this wonderful industry. What an amazing day it was, even without winning it was absolutely wonderful. I am still on cloud nine and can’t quite believe it!” Left: Chris Bryan, joint general manager of Second Nature readies to announce the winner.

Caroline Ranwell, Hugs & Kisses

Sponsored by

Right: A super smiley Caroline and John Ranwell after the awards ceremony with the Golden Ticket they will receive to spend at PG Live 2023.



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Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer

North and Northern Ireland

Sponsored by

2022 WINNER: Bailey’s - Ainsdale, Crosby and Maghull

Above: Penny and Simon Bailey share a hug of happiness.

Above: Darren Cave, commercial director of UK Greetings was the man with the gold envelope for this award.

Initial Reaction: “We didn't expect to our third Retas’ award. We've now got one to proudly display in each of our shops. All the team are delighted. I couldn’t wait to get back to show them the very shiny, and very heavy, new trophy! I love being part of this industry. I try very hard to find a balance of offering fresh and new designs, alongside the tried and tested best sellers. To have what we do and love, recognised and rewarded is very special. So, thank you to those who nominated us and to all at PG for a practically perfect afternoon. It was fab to meet up with so many people and make some new friends along the way. I am still on a high, particularly after reading so many positive comments from our Facebook followers. We have such fabulous customers!” Penny Bailey, Bailey’s

Centre: Bailey’s co-owners Penny and Simon (second left) Bailey were very happy to receive the trophy, presented to them by Darren Cave, commercial director of UK Greetings, sponsor of this award category.

Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer Sponsored by

Scotland 2022 WINNER: Penny Black - two shops in Glasgow Bottom left: Rachel Hare, managing director and creative director of Belly Button Designs at the lectern about to announce the winner. Left: As category sponsor, Rachel Hare (right), managing director and creative director of Belly Button Designs presented the trophy to Penny Black’s directors, Jo Marwaha (second left) and Natalie Marwaha. Below: Jo and Natalia share the glory of winning!

Initial Reaction: Hearing the words Penny Black as the winner was such an incredible delight. Doesn’t everyone just think, I hope I don’t trip on stage?! We were blown away to have been selected as the winners, being up against such excellent Scottish businesses. The award really made the cancelled flights and delays worth the trip!!

Jo Marwala, Penny Black



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Best Greeting Card Retailer Newcomer 2022 WINNER: HBB Cards - Newport Pagnell Left: Richard Mortimer, national sales manager of Carte Blanche Greetings just before he announced the winner. Right: Hayley Bastable, director/owner of HBB Cards was delighted to make her way to the stage with her husband Bal Budesha (second left) to collect the trophy from Richard Mortimer, national sales manager of Carte Blanche Greetings, the sponsor of the award category. Far right: HBB’s Hayley Bastable was delighted to receive the shiny trophy.

Sponsored by

Initial Reaction: “I’m sitting in my kitchen staring at my award still in a bit disbelief and still a bit overwhelmed, emotional, a bit hung over, tired but very, very happy. THANK YOU for a wonderful ceremony, everything was just lovely, we all said how much we enjoyed the food, atmosphere, company, venue, it was all so fab. I am so delighted to have won. This award has given me the push that I badly needed. Recognition I did it and CAN do it.”

Hayley Bastable, HBB Cards

Best Independent Bookstore of Greeting Cards 2022 WINNER: Blandfords - Broadway Far left: Andy Paterson, sales director of Woodmansterne at the lectern with the gold envelope for this award. Left: Blandfords’ co-owners, (second left) Andrew and Elizabeth Blandford on stage, having been presented with the trophy by Andy Paterson, sales director of Woodmansterne, sponsor of this award category.

Initial Reaction: “It’s always an honour to be nominated for a Retas award, but to be at The Governor and win…well, things don’t get much better. The Retas’ is an amazing event; we had amazing hosts in Ling Design and it was amazing to win. What can I say…just AMAZING!”

Andrew Blandford, co-owner of Blandfords

Sponsored by



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Best Non-Specialist Independent Retailer of Greeting Cards – North 2022 WINNER: Utility - Liverpool and Manchester Sponsored by Left: Utility’s director Kate Cowie (second right) and senior retail buyer Steph Lloyd (second left) collected the award from Sandy Deasey, business development manager of Meraki and Paperlink, sponsor of this award category. Below: A triumphant duo!

Above: Sandy Deasey, business development manager of Meraki and Paperlink announced the winner.

Initial Reaction: “We were all absolutely delighted to receive our award. To be recognised in our industry by suppliers and competitors alike is amazing. We love what we do but to have other people tell us this by way of an award is really special. Thank you to everyone that voted for us. We’re a proud team in Liverpool today!!!"

Kate Cowie, director of Utility

Best Non-Specialist Independent Retailer of Greeting Cards – South 2022 WINNER: Mooch London - four shops in West London

Initial Reaction: “We were absolutely thrilled when we heard our names called as winners of our category. Just to be nominated was an honour, however, to win was pure delight. As we really champion independent card suppliers we felt the win was as much for them, our supportive customers as well as the Mooch team!”

Left: Mooch’s co-owners, Sandra O’Connell (second left) and Evelyn O’Flaherty collected the award from Steve Baker, Pigment’s sales and marketing director, sponsor of this award category.

Sandra O’Connell and Evelyn O’Flaherty, co-owners of London

Sponsored by Left: Steve Baker, Pigment’s sales and marketing director readies to reveal the winner’s name. Right: All smiles from Mooch’s Sandra and Evelyn.



Retas 2022 WINNERS GRID_New Backgrounds.qxp_Layout 1 01/08/2022 14:01 Page 39

Sponsored by

Best Greeting Card Small Multiple

2022 WINNER: House of Cards - seven shops the Home Counties Left: David Byk, ceo of Ling Design was happy to announce the winner. Right: House of Cards’ co-owners Nigel Williamson (second left) and Miles Robinson (second right) collected the trophy from David Byk, ceo of Ling Design, sponsor of this category.

Left: House of Cards’ Lisa Gilbert with one of the trophy’s the retailer won. Left: Miles Robinson, co-owner of House of Cards (right) shares a joke with Postmark’s Mark Janson-Smith.

Initial Reaction: “I was a little dazed with all the attention but was moved by the warm reception we received. I feel so honoured that we are considered one of the best greeting card retailers in the UK. I think my Dad [Derek Williamson] would be especially proud having worked in the industry for so many years. Who would have thought we would be winning these wonderful awards in such a great industry. Long may it continue.”

Nigel Williamson, co-owner of House of Cards

Best Department Store Retailer of Greeting Cards Sponsored by

2022 WINNER: John Lewis & Partners Right: John Lewis’ buyer Claire Taylor (second left) and Emily Lewis were presented with the trophy by Daniel Mayhew, event director of Spring Fair and Autumn Fair, sponsor of the award category.

Above left: Daniel Mayhew, event director of Spring Fair and Autumn Fair at the lectern. Left: A trophy-tastic moment for JL’s Claire Taylor (right) and Emily Lewis.

Initial Reaction: “We are of course absolutely delighted with our Retas win! It makes all the hard work worthwhile to be recognised by the industry and pushes us on to continue to be the very best for our customers. Huge thanks to all our supportive publishers without whom of course this just wouldn’t be possible!”

Claire Taylor, buyer of cards, stationery and gift collections for John Lewis & Partners PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Best Supermarket Retailer of Greeting Cards Sponsored by

2022 WINNER: Tesco

Left: A happy Tesco bunch!

Above: Warren Lomax, co-owner of Progressive Greetings Live prepares to reveal the winner.

Right: Tesco’s Samantha Ody proudly carries the trophy back to the table.

Centre: Warren Lomax, co-owner of Progressive Greetings Live, sponsor of this award category presented the trophy to Tesco’s senior buying manager Samantha Ody who went on stage with her colleagues.

Best Specialist Multiple Retailer of Greeting Cards 2022 WINNER: Card Factory Bottom left: Emma Young, managing director of Paperlink at the lectern. Left: Card Factory’s Adam Dury, chief commercial officer went on stage with colleagues Sam Bradley (second right) and Linda Booth (second left) to collect the trophy from Emma Young, managing director of Paperlink, sponsor of this award category. Below: Card Factory trio celebrate the golden moment.

Initial Reaction: “We are delighted to have won The Retas award for Best Specialist Multiple Retailer of Greeting Cards this year and it is extra special to be recognised within the greeting card industry among our peers. Winning the award is testament to all the progress we have made as a business and to the hard work and passion that our colleagues exude every day in helping our customers to celebrate their life moments.”

Adam Dury, chief commercial officer of Card Factory

Sponsored by 40


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Best Non-Specialist Multiple Retailer of Greeting Cards 2022 WINNER: Lark London - 10 shops in London Left: Rosie Tate, director of Cath Tate Cards did the honours by announcing the winner. Right: Lark London directors (second right) Priya and Dominic Aurora-Crowe collected the award from Rosie Tate, director of Cath Tate Cards, sponsor of this award category..

Sponsored by

Initial Reaction: 'We are ecstatic to have won our first Retas award especially as we have spent this last year fine tuning and expanding our card selection within all our stores, trying to use both large and small card publishers.”

Priya Aurora-Crowe, Lark London Right: Lark’s Priya and Dominic were delighted to receive the award.

Best Greeting Card Wholesaler 2022 WINNER: BGC Wholesale

Far left: Ade Longe, managing director of Sensations/Express Yourself, sponsor of this award category revealed the winner. Left: Budget Greeting Cards’ Ecommerce manager Kim Potter (second right) and procurement manager Holly Burns were presented with the trophy by Sensations’ managing director Ade Longe. Below: BGC’s Kim and Holly relish in their win.

Sponsored by

Initial Reaction: “For Budget Greeting Cards to be awarded Best Greeting Card Wholesaler for another year is truly an amazing achievement – we are delighted. I am extremely grateful and honoured for us to be recognised by the industry and by over 15,000 independent traders who we supply to across the UK and Ireland. Our teams at BGC Studios design our ranges with our customers' requirements at the forefront of our minds and this award is confirmation of that. I’m proud of the high service and standards we deliver here at BGC Wholesale and give thanks to all our team members who make that possible every day.”

Paul Lavery, managing director of Budget Greeting Cards PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


Retas 2022 WINNERS GRID_New Backgrounds.qxp_Layout 1 01/08/2022 14:14 Page 42

Best Garden Centre Retailer of Greeting Cards – Independent 2022 WINNER: Yarnton Home & Garden - Yarnton Right: Happy winners, Yarnton’s Celia Leeson-Cox, visual merchandising manager (second left) and Emma Baimbridge, supplier relations manager, were delighted to receive the trophy from Tom Williams, general manager of Museums & Galleries, sponsor of this award category. Below right: Yarnton’s Emma and Celia share the joy.

Initial Reaction: “That ‘wind from the East’ just blew us both away when we heard our name! There are simply too many reasons to mention here why this award means so much…it’s just FANTASTIC news for the whole team!”

Celia Leeson-Cox, visual merchandising manager, Yarnton Home & Garden

Above: Tom Williams, general manager of Museums & Galleries readies to open the gold envelope to reveal the winner.

Sponsored by

Best Garden Centre Retailer of Greeting Cards – Multiple or Group

Sponsored by

2022 WINNER: Dobbies Garden Centres

Initial Reaction: “I’m really delighted to receive this award on behalf of all the buying team here in Dobbies and with particular thanks to Matt Stringfellow, Kathryn Briggs, Kelly Auty and all the team at UK Greetings who have helped us to provide such a comprehensive card range to suit our diverse customer base. We are grateful to all the card publishers who have worked with us directly or via UK Greetings to deliver this range.”

Caroline Chatwin, buyer of Dobbies 42


Left: Sam Loveday collected the award on behalf of Dobbies from Mark Timlett, head of independent sales for Woodmansterne/W Select, the sponsor of this award category. Right: Mark Timlett, Woodmansterne/W Select’s head of independent sales was the man with the winner’s envelope for this category.

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Sponsored by

Best Greeting Card Retailer Initiative

2022 WINNER: Stationery Supplies, Wilmslow and Marple – for its Giving Back Charity Programme Left: Sarah Laker, owner of Stationery Supplies couldn’t hide her delight at the win, with the trophy presented to her by Daniel Prince, managing director of Danilo Promotions, sponsor of this award category.

Left: Daniel Prince, managing director of Danilo Promotions about to announce the winner. Below: Sarah proudly holds her trophy aloft.

Initial Reaction: “Our last year's Retas’ win was a truly amazing moment, but to be nominated for and win for a second time this year has absolutely blown me away, made even more special by the fact that the category we won was for our 'giving back to charity'. I've always believed that it's important to give back to the community around my shops. Independent shops aren't islands, we need support from the community to survive and in turn I feel we should give back by supporting community events and charities. I never for a moment thought I'd actually win an award for this.”

Sarah Laker, owner of Stationery Supplies

Greeting Card Retailer of the Year

Sponsored by

2022 WINNER: House of Cards - seven shops in the Home Counties

Above: Ged Mace, managing director of The Art File said a few words at the lectern about the worthy winners.

Right: House of Cards’ Angela Stargatt (left) and Leila Wignall with the retail group’s two trophies.

Centre: House of Cards’ coowners Miles Robinson (second left) and Nigel Williamson (second right) collected the prestigious award from Ged Mace, managing director of The Art File, sponsor of this category.

Initial Reaction: “Completely blown away to receive two Retas awards and especially the big one (and for the second time!). It is testament to our team, that we are still relevant some 15 years after the first one! Our team who attended and all the other members who were busy manning the stores are thrilled to bits to win not one but two trophies and we will be celebrating with all of them over the coming weeks.”

Above: Happy chappies

Miles Robinson, co-owner of House of Cards PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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In Conversation With...

The Green Machine

Below: FujiFilm’s Jonathan Difford (second left) with Scribbler’s (left-right) Tom Procter, John Byrne, Aisling Crosland and Andrew Webb. from the Scribbler kiosk.

With echoes of a Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory experience, having received their ‘exclusive invite’, a constant stream of leading retailers, leisure operators, educational establishments, shopping centre landlords and corporate business, were granted access through the mysterious doors of the Innovation Hub at FujiFilm’s impressive House of Photography in London’s Covent Garden. PG joined the queue to have a first glimpse of the brand new Scribbler greeting card print on demand kiosk that has been developed in conjunction with the leading technology print maestros. Scribbler is well known and revered for doing things a little bit differently. While it has less than 40 retail stores it has always punched above its weight in terms of consumer awareness, working hard to safeguard its reputation for offering a pithy selection of edgy, on-trend cards and gifts both from its bricks and mortar presence and online platform with constant refreshments and innovative marketing. Added to this of course is the agility it has shown in gaining an audience with other retailers, inaugurally Sainsbury’s, seeing

merit in expanding the reach of its design capabilities by taking it into other enclaves of the retail landscape. Plus its move to licensing designs from publishers and designers for its online activities as well as taking some of these designs into its stores on the same basis, with printing and shipping straight to branch, further indicates its penchant for challenging conventions. There had been murmurs for some time that the retail group was working on its next

Left: Scribbler’s head of design Aisling Crosland at the new kiosk. Above: Cards by Angela Chick and Quite Good Cards that are just two of the hundreds of designs available from the Scribbler kiosk.



disruptive move, and some of that was revealed last month. In what it sees as taking print on demand to a whole new level is the launch of its first instant greeting card kiosk, developed in partnership with photographic print pioneers FujiFilm. “We’re hugely excited to be working with FujiFilm, the Rolls-Royce of this technology, as well as our partner designers to launch what is effectively, a Scribbler store in a box,” summed up Scribbler’s co-founder John Procter breaking the news. Adding what the tie-up brings to the Scribbler party, John Byrne, chief operations officer at the retail company said: “The kiosk enables the Scribbler brand to scale up and be present in places we would not otherwise have a presence.” Combining the state-of-the art printing technology from FujiFilm with the immense

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In Conversation With...

greeting card design portfolio from Scribbler, the new machine allows for the greeting cards to be selected and printed using an intuitive touchscreen enhanced by quirky animations which keep the consumer engaged while the card is being printed. The footprint, design selection and speed at which the cards are printed is impressive. Taking up less than a metre square of floorspace, the Scribbler branded machine, in the retailer’s signature lime green surround has the wherewithal to offer 1,000 different greeting card designs (a mixture of Scribbler homegrown designs as well as those from publishers), which controlled remotely, can be tailored to each location. At this stage, all the cards from the kiosk are A5 in size with a holder for the kraft envelopes affixed to the side of the machine.

Jonathan Difford, group sales manager of FujiFilm’s Imaging Solutions revealed that the official launch new kiosk has been a couple of years in the making, with both parties having recognised the synergy have progressed to bring that relationship to life. “Put simply, we have the technology, while Scribbler has the content and greeting card knowledge,” said Jonathan at the launch event at FujiFilm’s flagship London base, which coincidently is almost next door to a Scribbler store, on Covent Garden’s Long Acre. This of course is not the first time a print on demand greeting card machine has been launched. Going back to the early 90s, Gary Lineker was the frontman behind UKG’s CreataCard, for starters. But it is not just the technology that has moved on immeasurably, from that huge clunking bit of kit that printed cards using ‘felt pens’ in CreataCard’s day, but also consumer behaviour, with touchscreen navigation becoming the norm. That said, greeting cards are widely available, both from all manner of retailers as

Right: Scribbler’s co-founder John Procter with his son Tom, who is the retailer’s brand director and head of business development. Below left: Some of the promotional material would-be kiosk holders received at the presentation. Bottom: FujiFilm’s House of Photography in London’s Covent Garden where the kiosk launch took place, next door but one to a Scribbler store.

well as online. So, is there an appetite for Scribbler’s new kiosk? “We’re delighted by the reactions we’ve received from the last two days of individual presentations,” said Tom Procter, the son of Scribbler’s co-founders John and Jennie, who has come on board as its brand director and head of business development, drawing on his experience in other consumer markets to spearhead’s the brand’s expansion into new areas. Tom, together with colleagues Aisling Crosland, Andrew Webb and John Byrne joined FujiFilm’s head of commercial development Chris Chater and Jonathan Difford to be on hand at the two launch days to explain the rationale behind the invention to the multifarious invited guests, encouraging them to trial the machine for themselves. As well as being pitched as an ideal addition to a retail store, be it within retailers who stock greeting cards as well as those who currently don’t, the FujiFilm and Scribbler teams also see potential for the kiosks to be sited in a huge number of other different types of locations. “Travel centres, garage forecourts, offices, colleges, busy offices, leisure parks would all lend themselves to have a kiosk,” suggests Jonathan. Within a retail environment, the customer will take the printed cards to the till to be scanned using the barcode while a chip n pin option is also being developed for nonretail sites.

While the technology side will be down to FujiFilm, the content side is in Scribbler’s lap as the team know only too well, that offering card designs that chime with the public’s tastes is key. “From our retailing and online experience we obviously have a lot of knowledge of what types of cards, design styles and captions are likely to sell, but the beauty of the kiosk technology is that we can adapt the selection almost immediately,” says Aisling Crosland, Scribbler’s head of design. While Scribbler’s online operation has seen the brand being able to offer topical designs from its digital platform on a daily basis, as Aisling rightly points out “the kiosk allows us to take that topicality right into bricks and mortar too.” Currently pitched at a retail price of £3.45, the cards offer the same margin to retailers as is the norm in the sector, but as Andrew Webb, Scribbler’s logistical manager highlights “with the kiosk there’s no waste at all and you will never be out of stock of your best sellers, something that cannot be said always happens in normal retailing!” With several kiosks now ready to go, and various commercial models available, it is likely to be sooner rather than later that the first ones will make their public debut. “This should be seen as a real step forward for the greeting card industry as a whole,” believes John about the kiosk. “It is good news for the publishers and designers who will derive royalties from the sales, but it is also positive for the sector as a whole as it has the potential to take greeting cards far and wide, to places they have never been before.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Retailer Reactions

The Popularity Stakes With the wealth of newness in abundance, retailers were spoilt for choice at the recent PG Live show that they were keen to rave about. Following on from last month’s Viewpoints, the good news keeps flowing as PG shares more buyers’ top picks that are now pepping up the product selection in their stores.

Above: Retailers enjoyed a feast for the eyes at PG Live, which was awash with thousands of new designs.

Adam De Wolff, director of The Indigo Tree, Streatham and Crystal Palace Top picks: “Emily Nash and Klara Hawkins stood out for us. Emily Nash’s cards were just delightful. We chose the Pattern Delight and the kids ranges from Klara Hawkins as we loved the fact that the cards popped out at us on the stand with their vibrant use of colour.” Showbiz: “We had a great time at PG Live. We placed several orders, but most exciting of all was to see everyone face to face again!” Above: The Indigo Tree’s (right-left) Adam, Harriet and Meg De Wolff with Klara Hawkins. Right: One of Emily Nash’s delightful card designs.

Greg Rose, co-owner of Maybugs, Eastbourne, Hailsham and Bexhill-on-Sea Top picks: “In Springboard, two companies really stood out for me. The first is Wild Lines, I love the beautiful illustrations with pops of colour and the second is The Comedy Card Company, just simply hilarious cards and so rude! In the main show area my top three picks would be Miranda B, for its beautiful foiled everyday designs; Soochichacha, for its quirky and humorous designs that stand out and Popsy & Plum, for its contemporary and funky designs, of which the new cactus one was my favourite.” Showbiz: “PG Live is one of the most important shows for us as we use it specifically to find new and upcoming publishers, and this year’s was the best ever! We placed 21 orders at the show, with 16 of these from the Springboard area with new suppliers. As always, the show continues to be one of our favourites, not just because of the density of high quality suppliers but also because it’s such a pleasurable experience to attend.” Above: Maybugs’ Greg Rose and colleague Joan Tippett at The Greats/Retas champagne drinks reception. Left: Greg loved the pops of colour on Wild Lines’ cards.



Anne Barber, owner of In Heaven at Home, Market Harborough Top picks: “I found three new suppliers that stood out for me. I spent my Greats’ voucher with Real & Exciting Designs, spent my Retas’ Sunshine ticket with Susannah Bleasby and loved Sea Glass by Archie. I will also be following up with two other suppliers who caught my eye.” Showbiz: “I honestly thought the atmosphere and my whole day at PG Live was the best at any trade show I have ever been to in my career. I met up with 16 of my current suppliers and placed orders with them all and found three new suppliers. To me it just felt special and magical and buzzing - loved every moment. A very happy day. I’ve put the PG Live 2023 dates in my diary for next year already!!!” Top: In Heaven at Home’s Anne Barber (right) with Susannah Bleasby. Right: One of the many designs from Real & Exciting Designs’ Voilà range.

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Retailer Leactions

Caroline Ranwell, owner of Hugs & Kisses, Tettenhall Top picks: “I loved Wendy Jones-Blackett’s new Acid Drops range with its fabulous neon coloured designs which will really stand out in the shop and sell really well. I loved Rush Design’s large cards in its New World range, particularly the specific relations in adult age cards. Rush also has a lovely new wedding range which is gorgeous. White Cotton’s new Stars everyday range is fabulous, subtle pastel leopard print stars and hearts with tiny wooden cut outs, really lovely and I know these will sell so well for me.” Showbiz: “We absolutely loved the show, it’s my favourite one of the year - the location is great and as a card buyer it’s brilliant to have so many fantastic companies under one roof, which makes it so easy to get around. I love that there is a Springboard section, as it’s great to be able to see new publishers. I love the buzz of the show, as well as the free lunches and even a champagne reception, that you don’t get that anywhere else! It is also a great opportunity to catch up with other retailers/friends; to chat and share ideas/experiences with others in the trade. And I placed quite a few orders! So, yet another fabulous PG Live, we’ll be there again next year with bells on!” Above: Hugs & Kisses’ Caroline and John Ranwell (both centre) were all smiles with Wendy and Steve Jones-Blackett. Right: Caroline is a big fan of Rush Design’s large relations and occasions cards.

Kaye and Emma Thurgood of Sincerely Yours, Hornchurch and Shenfield Top picks: “We were particularly pleased to see Widdop and Co and hear about all its very exciting news. We loved Raspberry Blossom’s bright vibrant products, what lovely people with a real passion for what they do. The Seed Card Company also stood out. What a great product that we can really make a feature of the story of these plantable cards in our shops, customers will love it. The William Morris stationery from GBCC was very eye catching and customers will identify with it immediately. Five Dollar Shake’s new wedding collection is, in our opinion, its best ever. Beautiful board and stunning designs, a real stand out product. It was also great to catch up with Lorraine Bradley from Rush Design. We discovered her ranges at PG Live 2021 and were very excited to see her new designs.” Showbiz: “We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to PG Live this year, there was a great atmosphere and lots of wonderful newness to take in. The show was a step up from last year, more exhibitors and an even more positive vibe. It was certainly a good use of our time we took away lots of info to digest at our leisure, We also filmed some great footage for our social media as our customers love to see us out and about sourcing new stock. We received a lot of feedback from them wanting to know what we had ordered for the shops.” Above: Sincerely Yours’ (2nd and 3rd right) Kaye and Emma Thurgood with The Seed Card Company’s directors Lewis Stevenson (far left), Kay and Jit Patel. Left: Some Raspberry Blossom designs.

Samantha Gibbs, owner of Nest, Stoneygate, Broughton Astley and Thurlaston Top picks: “I had two vouchers to use and was thrilled to spend one of them on The Art File’s wonderful Bear range, I have looked at it all year, and once I saw it in the flesh at the show, I couldn't resist. It’s a very quiet understated range which say what it needs to, without in some cases saying anything at all in terms of wording on the card. Blank cards are really hard to come by and this really ticks a box for Nest. We spent our other voucher with Paper Salad whose cards are so bright, optimistic and full of colour that our customers absolutely love. We needed a new range of men's birthday numbers and Paper Salad has really done this so well. I love their use of foil and embossing too; customers go away with a really beautiful card which is full of value in every sense. On our hunt for blank cards we came across and ordered a really lovely range of cards from James Ellis. They are plastic-free mini packs and although they aren't all blank they are packaged in such a clever way, and at under £5 offer customers great value.” Showbiz: “PG Live was so fresh, it kicked off the summer buying season with a great start. There is nothing like seeing the product directly and I am a huge advocate of in person trade shows, they are so important to us. We came away from PG Live really happy after such a productive day!” Top: Nest’s Samantha Gibbs (centre) was delighted to spend her Silver Ticket with Paper Salad’s Karen Wilson (right) and Ellie Wilson. Above: The Art File’s Bear display on the publisher’s PG Live stand. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


Right time, On trend, In stock. 48_PG_July 2022.indd 1

Organised by

Find out more at

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Retailer Leactions

Julianne Moore, director of MiMi, Hartney Wintney and Wokingham Top picks: “We awarded our £50 Greats ticket to Susannah Bleasby in the Springboard section. We all loved the colours of her cards and prints and placed orders for four of her ranges. We spent our Retas’ Sunshine ticket with Wendy Bell Designs on its beautiful ranges of cards to add to our male offering as well as fabulous jewellery and scarves that all three of us attending the show loved. We are excited to partner with Wendy and see where our collaboration will take us.” Showbiz: “It was fabulous to be back at PG Live! We placed over 10 orders, including with four new companies. I always bring some of the girls from the shop with me so they understand the process from ordering, delivery to arriving on our shop floors and it’s so beneficial for them to build relationships with suppliers. Tess, a new member of our team came this year. Having been a customer for 10 years she has joined as our manager in Wokingham. She loved the show and did not feel overwhelmed at all, appreciated the free lunch, chatted with suppliers and saw our name in lights at The Greats and The Retas wall of fame. She’s already asked if she can come again next year!!” Above: MiMi’s Julianne Moore (left) with Wendy Bell. Right: Two designs from the super talented Susannah Bleasby.

Tiffany Leach, owner of Kingfisher Cards, Sidmouth Top picks: “I spent my Sunshine ticket with Bewilderbeest on its really fun and colourful cards and my Golden ticket on a whole spinner full of lovely foiled cards from Wendy JonesBlackett for my new shop. I found and placed orders with Susan O’Hanlon and Citrus Bunn, both new companies for me.” Showbiz: “I had a fab time at PG Live, well worth the long train trip from Devon. I came back on the second day too (dragging my friend who I was supposed to be spending the day with) which wasn’t my intention, but there were too many lovely things I didn’t want to miss out on. The show is always great, smiley faces and a real buzz about the place. There were lots of new publishers and I ordered from a few new ones as well as placing top up orders with some of my existing suppliers.” Above: Kingfisher’s Tiffany Leach with Bewilderbeest’s founder, Iain Hamilton.

Celia Leeson-Cox, card buyer and visual merchandising manager of Yarnton Home and Garden, Yarnton Top picks: “One range that really stood out for me was the Shops collection by Joy Nevada: Oh my goodness… how clever! Beautifully illustrated the designs say ‘shop small and local’ to me - a heartfelt celebration of our High Streets, and an absolute gem of a range. We placed an order with Stormy Knight. I’m loving its BLOOM seed stick cards, meaning we have found our ‘hero’ sustainable Christmas card for this year. We also ordered from innovative Say it with Songs which we’ll be popping in to our new Yarnton Boutique…disco balls, neon lights and a cool quirky vibe, who says you can’t have that in a garden centre?!” Showbiz: “I am SO pleased we came to PG Live. The show was FAB. There was a real buzz about the place: the exhibitors were chatting, the buyers were chatting and it was a real tonic just to be there. It was really good to see so many cards and exhibitors in one place, giving us all the much-needed opportunity to meet the talented and inspiring people behind them. The human connection is so important - this after all, is what greeting cards are all about!” We saw some familiar faces and suppliers (Toasted Crumpet, Rosie Made a Thing, Caroline Gardner, Meraki) as well as finding some new companies to us too.”

Libby Holden, owner of Lovely Libby’s, Rayleigh Top picks: “My favourite at the show was White Cotton Cards, with whom I spent my Greats voucher. I absolutely love its new range, and we ordered Christmas too!” Showbiz: “I absolutely loved PG Live this year, there was a great buzz! And of course, it’s lovely to catch up with fellow retailers and friends in the business.” Above: Happy retailers (left-right) Libby Holden (Lovely Libby’s), Katrina Raill (Etcetera), Jo Weber (Jo Amor), Aga Marsden (Highworth Emporium) and Tabi Marsh (Papilio at Heritage) at The Retas/Greats drinks reception at PG Live. Below: Three designs from White Cotton Cards’ Leopard Print collection.

Above: Yarnton’s Celia Leeson Cox (right) and colleague Emma Baimbridge (left) were delighted to spend their Greats voucher with Say it with Songs’ Gillian Allen. Above: One of the Shops designs from Joy Nevada. Above: Stormy Knight’s BLOOM range has been extended into Christmas, including seeds to grow your own Christmas tree. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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A selection of new ranges and design launches from card and wrap publishers.

Wrap Attack Storigraphic’s range of bold eco wrapping papers continues to grow, with seven new design collections added, including a launch of its Christmas papers for 2022. Themes for the new collections include midcentury, 70s and 80s, art nouveau, optical art, textiles/yarn and letter-form. All products are plastic-free, recyclable and sustainably made in the UK, with 5% of sales profit donated to homelessness charity, Crisis UK. Storigraphic 020 4551 4722

Puns and Fun

Rays of Sunshine Dyson Design has extended its popular Nectar range which features colourful illustrations of flowers, bees and other insects teamed with feelgood messages. Now a selection of new designs with a wellbeing theme have been added to the collection, including those with messages including Sending You Sunshine, You’re Blooming Lovely and Sending You A Big Hug. Dyson Design 0116 285 5725


Animal Magic Lovable Animals is the new children’s age card range from Dolly Pepper Studio. The charming naïve and childlike designs, covering ages 1-5, were created using digital photoshop textures and brushes with a combination of hand-drawn mark making. The gender neutral A6 cards come with either a white or kraft envelope. Dolly Pepper Studio 07542675982

Full Marks Giftwrapping company Glick is quick off the mark with its Spring Season 2023 collection, that can be pre-ordered for delivery with payment not until next year. As well as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father’s Day and Easter packages there is also a Thanks & Congrats one. The latter is a celebratory and gratitude package covering Thank You Teacher and graduation, but can also work for the wedding season. Each package includes matching flat wrap, gifttags and tissue paper. All products are ordered on a sale or return basis. Glick 01274 655980

You’ll find puns, sun and animals having fun in Luminous, Garlanna’s brand new collection of 48 dazzling neon greeting cards. The contemporary designs showcase everything from unicorns to motorbikes, all set against full colour backgrounds, shiny foil borders and blind embossed elements with the cards’ rounded die cut corners and Veltique textured board adding to the premium appeal. Garlanna +353 0404 20528

Festive Felines Earlybird Designs has been getting in the festive spirit, with the launch of its Christmas collection which offers a blend of beautiful artwork, kitsch illustrations and a Christmas extension of its Super Fabs brand, fruits of the creative talents of Linsey Kelly, Emma Jayne Designs and publisher’s founder Dom Early. All the cards are printed on FSC accredited board and are carbon balanced. Earlybird Designs 01227 765372

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PG showcases a selection of new product launches.

Well Scripted The Inky Scripts is a brand new contemporary range from Bexy Boo. The collection comprises 18 designs, all of which are hand-finished with a wooden letter tile that is deliberately affixed at a jaunty angle. The greeting cards are all printed on luxury 350gsm board and each comes with a Kraft envelope. Bexy Boo 01565 830 546

Shiny Happy People

Christmas Past Bound to conjure up childhood Christmases past is Five Dollar Shake & Counting Stars’ new Trésor de Noël Passé collection. These vintage postcard images have been individually printed onto shimmering board and then hand-painted and embellished with crystals to create true keepsakes of the future. Five Dollar Shake & Counting Stars 01424 434062

Here Comes The Sun is a brand new range of female everyday birthday cards from Molly Mae. The range name is inspired by the shiny golden hot foiled style which enhances the beautiful illustrations. The designs, which span animals, flowers, cake, and gin, are individually hand-illustrated. In a new trend size of 125mm x 175mm, the cards are supplied with a cornflower blue envelope, either clasped, nested or cello wrapped upon request. Molly Mae 01455 557115

Natural Wonders Environmental Calling With environmental concerns front of mind, Abacus Cards has not only added new designs into its three BBC licensed ranges of Countryfile, Springwatch and Gardeners’ World, but has also developed new eco options as to how the cards are supplied. They will come either packaged with fully recyclable paper belly bands or wrapped with Nativia clear bio-based film bags, which are compostable, biodegradable or recyclable, accompanied by a branded envelope. The reverse of each card features relevant information, written by the BBC teams. Abacus Cards 01638 569050

National Geographic is a new addition to Hallmark’s licensing portfolio. The new range comprises 40 designs, including kids' cards full of fun facts, contemporary typographic ones with empowering sentiments alongside breath-taking imagery as well as those featuring beautiful blank photography that speaks for itself. Centred around the theme of ‘purchase with a purpose’, the range is 100% recyclable and intends to help educate consumers as well as celebrate diverse landscapes and cultures. Hallmark 0800 902 0900

A Growth Curve Inspired by beautiful summer flowers, Lizzie Parker, the artist and founder of Penguin Ink has been in creative overdrive as testified by the new clutch of designs that have just joined the publisher’s Flora collection. All sustainably letterpress printed onto 100% recycled board, made in the UK, the designs are available in both square and little notes sizes. Penguin Ink 07525 497122



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





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Art Source

A Rader Reading Born and raised in the rainforests of Canada’s Vancouver Island, Meghann Rader has become known and celebrated for creating feminine and sophisticated work that combines bold graphic influences with a touch of whimsy. Here she shares more of her life, loves and the attractions of designing greeting cards. “I am an illustrator who 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. As for my creative approach, I usually start by just sketching the subject matter I’m working on for a bit, then I’ll do a few thumbnail sketches to get some layout ideas going. For client work I like to do all of my sketching and mocking up of colour on my iPad. I hand paint most of my elements and then scan everything in, assemble it all before touching up in Photoshop. I just love creating art. Getting lost in the process of art making is one of my favourite places to be. It can be calming, but also incredibly challenging and satisfying. I especially love doing anything that involves drawing people. My first range of greeting cards was with the Australian company, What would your dream project be? “To illustrate a Jane Austen novel.” Left: Meghann shows her Austen aspirations with this one!


Above left: Meghann Rader enhancing her hand created work via Photoshop on her computer. Above right: The high-end letterpress process of Australian company, Bespoke Letterpress lends itself to Meghann’s design style. Left: New artwork that celebrates Meghann’s love of nature. Below left: A contemporary treatment by Meghann on a Christmas image. Below right: A delightful wedding card design for Lagom Design by Meghann. Bottom right: One of the designs Meghann created for Bespoke Letterpress’ 12 Days of Christmas project.

Bespoke Letterpress and I had the pleasure of creating a full line of cards, gift tags and gift wrap based on the Twelve Days of Christmas. It was an incredible experience as the company creates the most luxurious cards that are printed on antique cast iron machines. Since then, I’ve gone on to create a large range of cards for Lagom Design, a floral line for Zazous Editions and am more recently starting to licence single designs in the United States. I really enjoy designing greeting cards because they are a way to dip my toes into a story or narrative without having to commit to a long project. I can create something that will be meaningful and evoke an emotion in someone through a single image. I love it when the publishing companies I work with go the extra mile with materials and finishes like foil, embossing and beautiful card stock to make the cards a real keepsake. When I get messages from people who’ve been excited to receive my designs from their friends and loved ones the process comes full circle, and it makes my day!” l Meghann Rader is represented for licensing by Jehane Ltd.

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


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PG ASKED A SELECTION OF RETAILERS FOR THEIR BEST SELLERS. Helen Fisher, owner of SNAP, Bow. A popular card and gift shop in the vibrant enclave in the Hackney borough of England’s capital city. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range






Redback Cards



Museums & Galleries

Matthew Williamson; Tate



Own brand


Raspberry Blossom

Adult Ages


Wowsers; Zoopadoopa; New Age Modern Mister


Wrap Magazine



WXY candles



Adam Doughty

Framed prints

“Fun and bright cards that really stand out on the shelf - great for both kids and adults.” “The off-centre quirky humour has been a real standout this year from this humour card supremo.” “Great all-rounder publisher, but the bright colours and patterns of these two ranges are very popular with our customers.” “Inspired by my lockdown snaps of the local area. People really love how local they are.” “Bright and cheerful with lots of options.” “All of the publisher’s bright age cards continue to do well.” “Guaranteed bold, contemporary, colourful designs.” “An absolute winner. They smell gorgeous.” “These art prints with a strong London focus are very popular.” Top: Great touch from Redback Cards’ Zeppelinmoon range. Above: An Adam Doughty print.

Jamie Hinton-Wardle, owner of Magical Moments, Wombwell. A medium-sized cards and gift shop and soon to be post office, in a sizeable Lancashire town. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range








Children’s Cute

Cardigan Cards Kingfisher Cards IC&G

Wee-Nippers Aura Barley Bear


Cardigan Cards


Handmade/Handfinished Relations and Occasions

Five Dollar Shake


Words ‘n’ Wishes


IC&G Cardigan Cards Jackson’s Budget Greeting Cards

Fairlight Generally Own brand Glassware and mugs

“We have IC&G on stock control as the selection is lovely, especially on the traditional design front.” “Our customers just love the cards and they are incredible value” “All kids love the animal designs.” “A winner for the price.” “The ‘new kid on the cute block’ is performing even better since the new look.” “We do sizeable orders every 6-7 weeks.” “The crystals add that special touch.” “The sympathy and wedding captions are especially strong.” “These two publishers have a special design talent.” “Just incredibly good value.” “Brilliant sellers at great price points.”

Giftwrap Gifts



Top: A Wee-Nipper design from Cardigan Cards. Above: A Redrakoon design.

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Malcolm Adams, owner of Stationery House, Clevedon and Somerton. A duo of card, stationery, book and gift shops in two attractive Somerset towns. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Bug Art


Marina B


Noel Tatt Hype Associates

Generally Beatrix Potter; Golden Days; The Beatles

Paper Shed Design Pigment Peartree Heybridge Woodmansterne Museums & Galleries

Generally Generally Generally Generally Classics; Coast & Country Generally

“The sales are exceptional as customers buy them in bulk.” “Ordered at PG Live - something different.” “These sell very well for us.” “Proving popular and made for a great window display after Glastonbury.” “A PG Live discovery.” “Three standout companies whose cards produce the most laughs when customers are choosing.” “These continue to be popular here.”


Cute Humour


The Eco-friendly Card Company Relations and Occasions


Great British Card Company Noel Tatt Paperlink Pigment Ling Design Woodmansterne Wrendale Toasted Crumpet


“We have increased the selection we offer. They also do excellent notelets.” “GBCC and Noel Tatt are our main suppliers for R&O, but other publishers offer great additions to the selection.”

Top: Cuteness from Paper Shed Design. Above: A wild swimming design from The Eco-friendly Card Company.

“We have Wrendale in Clevedon and now have introduced Toasted Crumpet into Somerton, which is showing promise.”

Jill Riches, owner of The Little Card Shop on the Corner, Leigh-on-Sea. A popular card and gift shop which is also a designated Lampe Berger stockist, in the coastal Essex town. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Janie Wilson Hearts Designs Alex Clark Rosie Made a Thing Dandelion Stationery Brainbox Candy

Generally Mad Dots Generally Generally Generally Generally

Relations and Occasions Art

White Cotton Cards


Ling Design Museums & Galleries

Talking Pictures British Museum


Leonard Smith


Thinking of You

Holy Mackerel Desito Dandelion Stationery

Vinegar & Brown Paper Generally Words of Wisdom


Handcrafted Card Company Rush Design Wendy Jones-Blackett Rush Design Giftwrap UK


“Clean designs that stand out.” “We like a bit of bling in Essex!” “Sells so well.” “Two publishers who know how to make people smile.” “They’re local - and know where I live!!” “A massive stylish, well-made collection.” “They sell so well.” “The familiar images work well.” “Simple, clear images which suit a variety of occasions.” “I just love the tone.” “I love their little mice.” “Thoughts expressed so beautifully.” “Both do great condolence cards which mention the deceased’s Top: A design from Holy relationship.” Mackerel’s Vinegar & Brown’s range. “These two companies offer particularly Above: A cute design good ranges of large cards.” from Desito. “We do a rainbow range of tissues and mostly block colours for bags. We buy rollwrap for special occasions.” “We have recently started stocking these.” “A nice sentiment at a good price for ‘a little extra’.” “The hanging letters are always popular. We use a manzanita tree to display the lovely glass hearts and angels.” “When customers come in, they get the latest fragrance.”


Adult ages Giftwrappings


Brainbox Candy Compton and Clark A Winter’s Tale

Occasions Generally Generally Bags, tissue paper and rollwrap Ages papers Carded Charms Decorations

Maison Berger

Home fragrance



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To appear in the Product Directories contact Warren Lomax T: 020 7700 6740 email: or contact Tracey Arnaud T: 07957 212 062 email:

Publishers of quality blank greeting cards Tel: 0115 929 4776 Order Online

To appear in the Product Directories contact Warren Lomax T: 020 7700 6740 or contact Tracey Arnaud T: 07957 212 062 01565 830 546

Te l: 01638 5 6 9 0 5 0 w w w . a b a cu s c a rd s . c o . u k E ma i l : i nf o@a ba c us card s . co . uk

To appear in the Product Directories contact: Enquiries: or Tracey Arnaud





@BexyBooLtd or Tracey Arnaud

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Page 57



To appear in the Product Directories contact Warren Lomax T: 020 7700 6740 email:


Greetings Cards Plush & Giftware Gi G ft Dressings & Wrrap Gift


To appear in the Product Directories contact Warren Lomax T: 020 7700 6740 email:

1b-Ѳbv|v |_mb1 u;;ࢼm] -u7v "r; S end i n g YO Y OU OU


or contact Tracey Arnaud T: 07957 212 062 email:

or contact Tracey Arnaud T: 07957 212 062 email:

A w o n d e rf u l Eid!

Ch C hin nese ese HE IS








Also acting as the exclusive UK distributor fo forr Bl Blue Mountain M t i A Ar ts t

Order s can be placed on our tradeer site

www.cbgtrader w. or call our customer ser vices team m on

Polissh Po h

&$5'6 )25 :+(1 :+$7 6 ,16,'( &28176

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+44(0)1243 792600

Te T el: 0161 1 64 641 0 06 655 Email: m sales@daav sales@d

art ar rt car caarrdds

135 Hea 13 135 eaton Moorr Rd | Stockp ock kpor port ort SK4 4HY 4 4H HY

...worth keeping!


Bestseller th i kl li k w eekyc w. ychoppstrrade.ccoo..ukk phone: DDaanielle :07946 056571 email:wholesale@special-day l-daay

To appear in the Product Directories contact Warren Lomax T: 020 7700 6740 email: or contact Tracey Arnaud T: 07957 212 062 email:


Available online Wholesale & Licensing

To appear in the Product Directories contact Warren Lomax T: 020 7700 6740 email: or contact Tracey Arnaud T: 07957 212 062 email:




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Faulkner’s Gallery


Crocko Poo • Designer Puppy • Low Maintenance • Eats Anything • Can Be A Bit Snappy


Your Number One Supplier of Numerals, Name, Relation & Age Labels for Greetings Cards.

John Faulkner’s artwork probably represents some the mo distinc humor image availa today To view: which also includes trade information To contact:

Huge selection with immediate delivery. Buy direct or from your wholesaler. Listan Labels 3 Isis Court, Court Wyndyke Furlong, Furlong Abingdon Business Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX1 5JN Te T el 01235 465489 Fax 01235 532118

from the

Including firm favourites and brand new designs Brands include: Keepsakes, Words of Love, Jelly Beans, Bella Rose, Champagne and many more

To appear in the Product Directories contact Warren Lomax T: 020 7700 6740 email:

High Quality Greeting Cards, Gift Bags, Gift Wrap & Ta Tags for every occasion.

*GCF 1HƂEG +353 (0)404 20528 Email

or contact Tracey Arnaud T: 07957 212 062 email:

Tel: +44 (0)115 986 0115


CHARITY GREETING CARDS One of the UK’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.

Innovative high quality gift wrap, gift bags, tissue paper and accesssories galore for all seasons and occasions.

01274 655980 Glick Gift Packaging Ltd Unit 1 Allenby House European Ind. Park, Knowles Lane Bradford BD4 9AB

Hallmark Cards PLC Dawson Lane, Bradford, BD4 6HN UK&NI: 0800 90 20 900 ROI: 012 480 104




Impress Publishing Appledown House Barton Business Park New Dover Road Canterbury, Kent CT1 3TE Tel: 01227 811 611 Fax: 01227 811 618 email:

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Send Love e ( all year round )

To appear in the Product Directories contact Warren Lomax T: 020 7700 6740 email: or contact Tracey Arnaud T: 07957 212 062 email:


Exquisite Designs Beautiful Cards Key br ands include: Wr ite from the Hear t Ar tisan, Marzipan, Capisco Designer s Guild, Clare Tupperr Lucy Ledger plus man y more

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. We replace slow sellers and damaged stock free of charge. We merchandise regularly, so you don’t have to.

t: 0208 6138 085 u


01932 267 300

Tel:: +44 (0)115 986 0115 Te customer ser vices@paperrose www.paperrose

Greettiing g Card C ds

Great brands, Great service Bespoke planning We can help with all your planning l i requir i ements. From smaller displays to redeveloping complete card departments

ww ww.passelllpublisshin m iinfo nfo o@ o @ passsel ellpu lpu u blis sshin hin ng n m @pas ublis

p p paperlink... the home of fabulous cards!

@NoelT Ta attGroup 01227 811 600

An exciting and innovative range of quality Birthday, Relations, Special Occasions, Handmade, Art and Humorous greeting cards. Full range of Christmas and Spring Seasons merchandise.

B rand N ames a Pizazz, Pizazz Gallery, G Pizazz Limited Edition, E Pizazz for Men, Doodle, D A of Nature, Whatt a Picture, Art Designers Corner Cloudesley House, Shire Hill, Saffron Walden,, CB11 3FB

T: 01799 520200 F: F: 01799 520100 www.nigelquiney.c w ww om

To appear in the Product Directories contact Warren Lomax T: 020 7700 6740 email: or contact Tracey Arnaud T: 07957 212 062 email:

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

@ @paperlinkcards

Quality Greeting Cards 01423 876311


Peartree Small Ad.indd 6


24/02/2022 15:52

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Products: Greetings Cards, Gift Wrap, Gift Bags, Social Stationery, Partyware

Brands: Blossom & Bows Card Essentials Greetings Impressions In Touch Isabel·s Garden Planet Happy Sentiments With You In Mind Word Play

Method of sale: Wholesale Distributors

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

To appear in the Product Directories contact Warren Lomax T: 020 7700 6740 email: or contact Tracey Arnaud T: 07957 212 062 email:


The UK’s leading publisher of highest quality handmade Greetings Cards.

To appear in the Product Directories contact Warren Lomax T: 020 7700 6740 email: or contact Tracey Arnaud T: 07957 212 062 email:



6 Heron Trading Estate Alliance Road, Park Royal, London W3 0RA T: 0208 385 4474 F: 0208 385 4471 E:

Products: Greetings cards for all occasions, Christmas and Spring Seasons. Spinners and other retail displays available.


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: SENSATIONS – Direct to retail XPRESS YOURSELF – Now one of the leading wholesale publisher suppliers in the UK

Talking Pictures Cards Ltd 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent, TN12 6BE

Tel: 01892 838574

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Market Leaders in


& entimen

an extensive range of superior quality,

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

We offffer a COMPREHEN

range of high Greeting Cards f ALL Occasions,

CHRISTMAS an Season f Sale:

Method of Sale: Direct to Retail Orders can be placed on our trader site

mail: inffoo@words-nWeb: www We

Tel: 01942 233201

or call our customer services team on

+44(0)1243 792600

Enquiries: or Tracey Arnaud

Enquiries: or Tracey Arnaud



Enquiries: or Tracey Arnaud MON,WED,FRI 8.00am-4.45pm TUES,THURS 8.00am-7.45pm SAT,SUN 8.00am-1.45pm



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Polypropylene & biodegradable bag specialists


Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hotfoiling also available

T 01206 396209 E

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






01773 5378 810




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



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



01 90 83 78 86 6 01274 583000


‘we we make Envelopes and Stationery’



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

The simplest way to order your greetings cards


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

Contact DAVID JIGGINS Tel: 01245 400104 Email:

Powered by

Unit 8, Archers Park, Branbridges Road, East Peckham, Kent TN12 5HP Email: Tel: 01622 871449

we print

we finish

we pack

we deliver



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The Capitals Only Specialist Greeting Card Printer

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The Print Works Colville Road, Acton, London, W3 8BL


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Social Sta tationerry Printer of the Year

Award winning U UK & Global specialist manufacturer ffor the greeting card industry fo or over 40 years To discuss how we can worrk together, contact Richard Bacon: Tel 0115 928 7766 Email ric Hadden Court, Glaisdale e Parkway, Glaisdale Drive West, Nottin ngham NG8 4GP


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


Exclusively Greeting Cards Dedicated Account Managers

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


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Are you a Greetings s Cards Consignme signment Operator?

Farm shops / country stores / garden centres

Are you looking for an exclusive range of Everyday & seasonal products to distribute?

Splimple requires established Sales Agents to develop and maintain sales of our Alison’s Animals card and gif t range, in four territories:

• • • •


We’re expanding and looking to develop our network with the right calibre of people who share our passion for greetings s cards and are industry professionals.

South East England (Kent, Surrey y,, East and West Sussex, Hants) Scotland Nor th West England South Midlands (Gloucs, Oxon, Buck, Beds) Each territor y has a small established custo omer base but of fers considerable business development potential – par ticularly among Farm Shops and rural retail outlets. At tractive commission structure and reliable marketing suppor t . Discuss informally with Stuar t Caldwell, on 01386 872752 or email stuar t@splimple.c com

Interested? Then we’d love to hear from you. Contact Jonathan Waterson on 07854 776 307

Sales Agents 07-2022.indd 1

13/07/2022 13:14




Half Moon Bay & Shruti are looking for outstanding agents to enhance our established & successful sales team. You will be an expert in selling fantastic giftware to independents, garden centres and heritage centres and based on the South coast, North East or Scotland.

s seas

Please contact Ben Craddock at for further information.

Please contact Deb or Sally on 01234 381214 3 or email



Make Father’s Day your

BEST Dad Dairy Milk

Add EXCITEMENT and THEATRE to your displays!

Speak to your Second Nature Consultant about innovative confectionery gifts.

Contact our Customer Service team hello@secondnature | +44 (0) 1983 209 590 Or call your local Sales Consultant


29/07/2022 14:39