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On The Cards This is the time of year when greeting card indies especially are virtually tied to their shops, immersed in the frantic unpacking of boxes of last minute Christmas stock, working out staffing rotas, putting all their efforts into maximising this all important festive run up. There is a lot riding on this year’s Christmas and there is a fair amount of conflicting messages out there as to how it is likely to pan out. Sure, there is still the real concern over what really is going to happen business wise and consumer confidence wise next year. Echoing the many discussions that are abuzz in publishers’ offices with their sales teams, in card shops and buying offices with their suppliers and between agents at their meet ups, the ‘elephant in the room’ (that of cards’ price rises) was also flapping its big ears at the end of the second day at the recent Ladder Club seminar. One strength of this industry at consumer and retail level is that there has always been great diversity, both in the types and costs of greeting cards available – invariably within a retailer’s card display. Costs are going up, there is no doubt about it, but I would like to think that the sensitive price points aside, that we, as an industry, can stand a bit of a move upwards. It is just a bit of a waiting game at the moment. While we are waiting, I love the idea of snuggling up to the buzzword ‘hygge’, the Danish concept which is all about creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you, which Christmas and Christmas card sending play into.

Above: PG’s Gale Astley (second right) at the second day Ladder Club seminar with Megan Purdie (far right) and Gill Purdie (second left) with Janna Cossettini (Deckled Edge). Left: Card Factory’s ceo Karen Hubbard (left) with PG’s Jakki Brown. Right: The GCA AGM and Conference had a strong line up of keynote speakers, including (far right) Giles Andreae of Purple Ronnie/Edward Monkton/Happy Jackson fame, Dr Lynda Shaw (centre) and James Daunt, of Waterstones. Seen here with GCA’s Sharon Little (second right) and PG’s Jakki Brown. Below left: PG’s Warren Lomax with Little Paperie’s Lucy Sticka (left) and Heidi Richardson on the first day seminar at The Ladder Club.

As Ged Mace, president of the GCA and md of The Art File reminded us at the GCA AGM and Conference last month, the British public spent more on greeting cards in the last year than they have ever done - an incredible £1.7 billion). As Ged highlighted, many other industries would kill for the 5% increase in value of sales on everyday cards that we as an industry enjoyed. So in those scary moments and those frustrating times when unpacking another delivery, it does well for us all to remind ourselves of that - greeting cards actually boost footfall and reinforce the most important thing in life, human relationships. THE HOME OF MARKET LEADING TRADE MAGAZINES


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With This Issue:

What’s Inside



25 9-19





What’s Hot?




Over The Counter

Jeremy’s Journal

Lynn’s Lines

This Time Next Year

Meeting Up Together

Reaching New Heights

Independent card and gift retailer, David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi in Scotland, reminds us we can’t be ‘plonkers’ and ignore the changes in the retailing landscape.

Blue Eyed-Sun’s Jeremy Corner considers the value of attending the GCA’s AGM.

56-67 Classified

41 Debbie Wigglesworth’s Paper Journeys


Money Talks, But Paper Listens


Is The Price Right?

Debbie shares her latest paper art discoveries.

Cardsharp muses over topical events happening in the industry.



Retailer Face To Face

GCA Viewpoints

The Sentiment Strategy

Emotions Ran High The trio of keynote speakers at the GCA AGM last month.

Tesco unveils the first of its flagship ‘card shops within a shop’ as part of a 19 store trial.



Retailer Face To Face

Art Source

Keep Karen And Carry On


PG catches up with Karen Hubbard, the new ceo of Card Factory.

Progressive Greetings is a monthly business magazine. SUBSCRIPTIONS: UK subscription: One year £50 Two year £85 Three year £110 Overseas subscription: One year £75 Jakki Brown

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PG is the official magazine for the Greeting Card Association GCA: Sharon Little 020 7619 0396 Email: Use your smartphone app to scan the QR code to visit our website.

Copyright© 2016. 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.



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Tesco Trial Underway New Look Card Departments Are Kitted Out In 19 Stores The first phase of a radical new look to Tesco’s greeting card departments is now fully underway with all the 19 stores involved in what is being described as a “trial” now having been fully kitted out in a major collaborative project between Hallmark and the supermarket giant. In less than two months, selected stores of various sizes located the length and breadth of the UK, from Falkirk in Scotland to Hove on the Sussex coast, have

seen their greeting card departments revamped, giving them a more open layout, new fixturing, greater visibility of individual card designs, fresher photographic point of sale, affiliated product displays and an altogether more engaging feel. The supermarket’s Royston store was the final store in the trial to receive its makeover, completed in the second week in November. If successful, the plan is to roll out the new look across the estate in years to come. “This is a hugely significant development, not just for Tesco and Hallmark, but for all of the publishers whose cards we broker in as well as for the industry as a whole, as it raises the profile of greeting cards in the UK’s biggest retailer. We are aiming high!”, said Angela Anderson, who heads up

the Hallmark team that took over the category management of Tesco’s greeting card department officially just over a year ago. The new look incorporates greeting cards from the 36 publishers, which are brokered in by Hallmark, Tesco own brand cards as well as Hallmark branded designs. Where the new look really comes into its own is in the larger stores involved in the trial (in New Malden, Peterborough, Barnsley, Irvine and Yate) which have the space to showcase an airy wooden-floored distinct department concept, with curated ‘table collections’ of gifts and party items, as well as a giftwrappings ‘boutique’. “Greeting cards are seen as very important to Tesco, hence the reason this major project has received such support right from the top, from our senior management team,” Anne Borrett, head of buying at Tesco’s Papershop told PG. “The potential is huge, but then so are the challenges. Our customers are currently buying the vast majority of their greeting cards from elsewhere.” Following swiftly on from the installation of the new concept, this month (December) marks the start of a rolling programme that will see 65% of the card designs in Tesco being refreshed and replaced. (For more, see pages 43-45). Above: Tesco’s Anne Borrett (left) with Hallmark’s Angela Anderson (centre) and PG’s Jakki Brown in the Waltham Abbey store after the revamp. Below: Tesco’s Peterborough store was the first flagship to install the new look.

What's Trending At Paperworld When its doors open at Frankfurt-am-Main from January 28-31, Paperworld will be inviting visitors to look to the future of working practices and workplaces. Three new trends - Suitable Solutions, Curious Funfair and Solid Grade - will be providing some of the answers, say organisers Messe Frankfurt. The show combines stationery, writing materials and school requisites with commercial office supplies, alongside a new Future Office special exhibition, which will provide insights into tomorrow's working world. Retailers will also be able to visit Creativeworld, Christmasworld and Floradecora which runs from January 27-31. Visit:

Just Because Sending a card 'just because' is the theme of a brand new Feel Good Friday promotion being organised by Mark and Leona Janson-Smith, owners of three Postmark shops in London’s East Dulwich, Balham and Chiswick. "Our first Feel Good Friday in October went down really well and we're looking forward to our second which takes place on Friday November 25," confirms Leona. She adds that Postmark has had a good response on social media to the campaign to include a tweet from @eastofdulwich: “I did this the other week, and to my surprise, there's no catch... they even pay the postage and post it for you!" Continues Leona: "We've also had a fantastic response from suppliers wishing us well, including some, such as Lanther Black and Molly Mae, who having read about the campaign in PG, sent us cards and stamps to use during Feel Good Friday. How great is that?" Adds Leona: "We love cards at Postmark and Top: Morgan Dudley, head of think that getting one ops, and Gille Buckley, Postmark with their Feel Good totally out of the blue, Chiswick, Friday cards. for no other reason Above: Postmark's Feel Good than 'just because' is Friday poster. one of the best feelings in the world. Feel Good Friday is a genuinely noncommercial campaign to encourage more people to put pen to paper and send a random card of friendliness to someone they're thinking of for absolutely free." On the last Friday of every month, Postmark customers can now choose a free card from a special Feel Good Friday selection and have it posted Second Class anywhere in the UK at absolutely no cost. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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A Conference Call GCA AGM Brings The Industry Together “Our hope is that you’ll leave today feeling even more upbeat about our wonderful industry,” said Ged Mace, president of the GCA (and md of The Art File) in his welcome speech at the trade association’s AGM and Conference that took place on November 8 in the historic surrounding of One Westminster Place, home of the National Liberal Club. The strong line-up of keynote speakers alone - James Daunt, Waterstones’ ceo and owner founder of Daunt Books; leading neuroscientist and business psychologist Dr Lynda Shaw and ‘greeting card laureate’ Giles Andreae, of Purple Ronnie, Edward Monkton and Happy Jackson fame – meant the president’s aim was well and truly achieved for the 150+ attendees, made up of the GCA’s publisher, retailer and supplier members and associate members. Presenting the findings from the recently published GCA UK Greeting Card Market Report, Ged delivered the good news: “The latest report shows that in the

last year the UK public spent more on greeting cards than ever before – taking the market value up to an astonishing £1.7 billion at retail.” After the slide came up on the big screen showing the retail values for single cards, £1.489 billion, up 5% on the previous year, Ged remarked, “There are many other sectors which would absolutely love to be showing such a positive picture.” However, the AGM and Conference did not just provide reassurance as to the financial value of the industry, but the important emotional contribution it makes to society as a whole, as evidenced by the increasingly positive response to Thinking of You Week, a GCA initiative. In education too, great strides have been made, as the GCA’s ceo Sharon Little revealed how the GCA-commissioned card-centric lesson plan, Hurrah for Ra for

Below: The GCA’s Sharon Little (second right) with the keynote speakers at this year’s AGM and Conference. (Left-right): James Daunt, Dr Lynda Shaw and Giles Andreae.

Joining The Council

Key Stage 2 pupils “has received 5 star reviews and been downloaded by over 810 teachers since we uploaded it onto The Times’ education website… Teachers are spreading the word and I’m very proud to say that this is now being downloaded by a different teacher nearly every day.” She urged GCA members to get involved with their local schools to further strengthen links with the next generation. But it is not just with education that links have been strengthened, relationships have been reinforced with the Royal Mail (resulting in card-related stamp cancellation marks appearing on millions of items of post), as well as with the monarchy (which saw the GCA and PG be invited to Buckingham Palace to deliver a huge collection of special cards for the Queen’s 90th birthday). Plus, as evidenced by the strong retail attendance at this year’s event (with WHSmith, Paperchase, Waterstones, Scribbler, Moonpig and House of Cards among the audience), the GCA’s retail membership is growing every week giving the association an ever stronger voice. (See Viewpoints pages 25-27).

“We are very lucky to have a really great bunch of Council members, from a very diverse group of member companies. They all give of their time and resources at their own expense to help the GCA in its mission to represent, protect and promote the greeting card industry,” explained the GCA’s Sharon Little, before welcoming Mark Williams, co-founder of Brainbox Candy and Nigel Willcock, sales and marketing director of Paper Rose, onto the Council. Making reference to the fact that the event took place on the same day as the US election, Sharon quipped: “Unlike on the other side of the Atlantic, our Council elections are very amicable, with no mudslinging, suggestion of hidden emails or dodgy hairstyles.” Above: New GCA Council member Brainbox Candy’s Mark Williams (left) catches up with Paperlink’s Bill Greeno, a long serving member of the Council and former GCA President.

Above: (Left) GCA vice president Ceri Stirland, marketing director of UKG with Wendy Jones-Blackett, co-founder of the eponymous card publisher. Above left: Among the GCA’s retail members who attended the AGM and Conference were (right-left) Sasha Walker-Allen (Moonpig), Claire Castle (WHSmith) and Paperchase’s Frances Burkle, Tish Bas and Hazel Walker.

Experts Share The Knowledge A very successful element of this year’s GCA AGM and Conference event were the Meet The Experts workshop sessions on various subjects which took place in the afternoon, led by GCA Council members. Brokerage was led by Chris Houfe, sales director of The Great British Card Company; the session on Creative Development was led by Rachel Hare, md of Belly Button Designs; Negotiating Skills was led by Ceri Stirland, marketing director of UK Greetings; the Sales session was led by Nigel Willcock, sales and marketing director of Paper Rose; while GCA president and md of The Art File, Ged Mace, led a session on Strategy/Business Planning. Above: GCA president Ged Mace, md of The Art File, in full flow at one of the workshop sessions he ran on Strategy/Business Planning.



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NEWS The Sun Was Shining


Chic In Chicago Paperchase Opens Stateside Next March Chicago is celebrated for many reasons, from jazz to gangsters, but next March ‘The Windy City’ will add someone else to its claims to fame list – as this is where Paperchase is to open its first ever standalone store in the US. Timothy Melgund made loud noises in PG a couple of months ago that standalone stores in the US were on the cards “sooner rather than later” and was keen to secure the most appropriate sites. Two standalone stores are scheduled to open in Chicago in 2017, with Timothy Melgund saying that he feels confident that, based on previous experience, the brand will be a success. Currently, Paperchase sells greeting cards in America's Target and Staples outlets, while previously it was involved in

Below: Paperchase, Glasgow. The multiple is expanding into America with standalone stores. Below left: The Windy City of Chicago will be home to Paperchase’s first US standalone store.

concessions in Borders until the bookchain ceased trading. Frances Burkle, buying director of Paperchase, confirmed that work is already underway on developing the product mix for the Chicago stores, but that it was looking to incorporate some UK publishers’ cards into the selection as well as its own brand products. In addition, it is also to develop a dedicated Chicago-centric collection to add some local flavour. In its last full year, the company's UK sales grew by 11% to £114m, with 160 Paperchase stores and concessions in Selfridges, Next, Fenwick and House of Fraser. Overseas, the company has retail stores in France, Germany, Canada and the Middle East.

Personalised Video Greetings An array of well-known card brands and artists’ designs - to include Naf, Dean Morris, Miko and Rose Hill, as well as those from MGL Licensing - are currently being featured by Choosey, part of the Evode Group, which owns an innovation that allows any form of video content to be placed into the inside of a greeting card. Once a consumer has chosen their card, they record and upload their greeting via the Choosey app which is available for iOS and android. The card is sent to the recipient containing a QR code which is scanned to reveal the video message, which plays as if it is inside the card. "We enable friends, families, and colleagues across the globe to send a tangible greeting card containing a digital video clip of their choosing or making," explains digital marketing executive Laura Blagoev. "We work with a fast growing global network of independent card artists and designers as we want to support the arts and make sure that all of our designs are of top-notch quality." Above: How the The company is currently launching a series of promotional videos video card works. on YouTube - short promotional videos in which the company's cards are used to deliver awkward or bad news such as a break-up, being fired, the cat dying and so on. "The point of this series is to be entertaining while, at the same time, showing how our cards' video feature works." Laura says the series will help people see how Choosey combines the traditional with the innovative. "People love getting mail and cards but sending out 'simple' greeting cards can also sometimes be a little impersonal, which is why we think that our video feature is so brilliant," she continues. "We also offer almost unlimited customisation options, and our cards are only printed after a customer has bought one as we really care about sustainability."

For PG columnist Jeremy Corner, md of Blue Eyed Sun, October 31 was a very special day. Having attended a Queen's Award event at Buckingham Palace during the summer, he was honoured to be presented with a Queen's Award for International Trade by the LordLieutenant of West Sussex, at the company's new factory in Burgess Hill. Other dignitaries at the event included the High Sheriff of West Sussex, the Mayor of Burgess Hill, the Chairman of West Sussex County Council and the Chairman of Mid-Sussex County Council. “We are thrilled to have won this prestigious award and were honoured that such a distinguished group of local dignitaries came to celebrate with us, along with many wonderful customers, suppliers, family and friends of Blue Eyed Sun," enthused Jeremy. "The award is an amazing tribute to the dedication and hard work of our fantastic team.” Below: Jeremy and Jo Corner received the Queen's Award for International Trade from the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex at a special presentation ceremony at the company's new Burgess Hill factory.

Paper Power At Top Drawer Top Drawer's PaperAwards are back, along with PaperFest, in January. Following a successful debut at Top Drawer in September, the awards will again be hosted within Greetings & Stationery at the show. A shortlist of brands will be determined by an expert judging panel. The final vote will be put to the industry and the winners announced just before the show. PaperFest and the PaperAwards are sponsored by GF Smith, with the list of nominated brands and programme of talks from leading experts announced shortly. Among the exhibitors in Greetings & Stationery this year will be Wrap, Papercuts, Katie Leamon, The Art File, East End Prints, Think of Me, Five Dollar Shake, Artebene, Lagom Design, Jo Clark Design, Jolly Awesome, Imagination Illustrated, Ohh Deer, Roger la Borde and Belly Button Designs. Returning to the show will be Spotted, revealing over 40 companies, across all sectors of the show, showcasing their products for the first time. Also back are dedicated product trails to include Men Only and the UK Debut focusing on new international brands, and additionally, Product GB and Eco trails. Top Drawer takes place from January 15-17, 2017 at London Olympia. Visit:



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Card-tastic Christmas Indies Get In The Festive Spirit Well aware of the importance of making the most of the Christmas trading period, greeting card indies are pulling out all the stops to get the tills jingling early. Revealing her shop’s early sales patterns, Amanda Oscroft, co-owner of Love It shops in Bury St Edmonds and Stamford, confirmed Second Nature's Festive Cheer range has been an immediate stand out. "We put our Christmas cards out on November 1, the day after Halloween, and within a week we had completely sold out of the ‘To My Amazing Wife’ festive card. It goes to show that when blokes find something amazing that they really like, they buy it!" With Christmas Day falling on a Sunday this year, Amanda predicts it's going to be a crazy week. "It's always pretty mad in the run-up, with people meeting up at the local community markets in both towns to exchange gifts and cards. So we're expecting to be very, very busy." At London-based Postmark, which has shops in Dulwich, Balham and Chiswick, managing director Mark Janson-Smith held off putting out Christmas cards for as long as possible, usually trying to get as close to November 5 as possible, but customer demand brought it forward this year. "Customers started asking for Christmas cards in October, but we find we alienate more customers than we make if we put them out too early. Our website sales started much earlier, with packs and singles showing strong sales by mid November. Packs always start the strongest, with singles starting a little later." In addition, Small Business Saturday (which this year falls on December 3) is a really good one for Postmark. "Amex [the

Below left: Second Nature's Amazing Wife Christmas card from the company's Festive Cheer range. Below right: Not feeling the Christmas sparkle, a festive card from Rosie Made A Thing.

● The UK’s high street has finally started to grow again after a nine-month hiatus, according to figures released by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO reveal. BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker (HSST) recorded a year-on-year growth of 0.7% for October, ending a run of monthly sales falls that began with a -1.7% fall in February. ● Deckled Edge is delighted to be supplying its greeting cards and giftwrap designs to World Horse Welfare charity's four UK visitor centres.

sponsor] gives its customers £10 for spending £5 in our shop," confirms Mark. "I'm not quite sure how they do this but the event has been really popular over the last few years." For Lucy Sticka and Heidi Richardson, co-owners of Little Paperie in Ashbourne, Derby, single Christmas cards have started strongly, selling much earlier than last year, especially relations cards. "It's been a mix of cute for children’s cards, with cheekier adult relations such as Sooshichaha's," confirm Lucy and Heidi. Humour is definitely the biggest seller for Little Paperie, with designs from Henries award winner Rosie Made A Thing selling strongly. “Our boxed cards are also doing well, with people buying the more luxurious ones. The 3D boxed cards from The Art File have been really popular, and Studio Seed’s cards are really beautiful and selling well for us. The average spend on most of our luxury cards this year is £10 plus, and customers tend to buy a couple of boxes, or one luxury one and one slightly lower priced one." In Chigwell in Essex, as PG went to press, Christmas card sales were starting to build for Retas newcomer winner, Hallmark Celebrate. "Singles are more in demand this year than boxed cards," says owner Naomi Green. "So far, we're selling mostly traditional designs. While it’s only my second Christmas, sales seem to be on a par with last year."

● Card publisher Betty Etiquette will be holding modern calligraphy workshops. Email:

Harry's Magical Success Earlier this year, Marina Brook, founder of greeting card publisher Marina B Designs, based in Great Bowden in Leicestershire, was invited to organise a charity Christmas card competition at the Great Bowden Village Festival. Over 70 entries were received in two categories: aged 5 and under and 6 and over. Explains Marina, "The winner was Harry Robinson, 10, from Market Harborough, whose prize was to have his design of a magical Christmas stag created into a card to be sold this Christmas." There are six cards in each pack, which can be purchased for £3.99 from Solutions Gift Shop, Market Harborough, or via All proceeds are being donated to Great Bowden Academy. Below: Marina Brook of Marina B Designs is shown during a workshop with Florence Bibby, 6, Freya Bibby, 8, Philippa Harrison and Lilly Brook, 4.

Back To Black Friday Little Paperie in Ashbourne, Derbyshire were among the independent card retailers to take part in Black Friday and Small Business Saturday to add to their Christmas trade. "For Black Friday we offered 10% off everything in the shop as people do tend to come in and ask,” said co-owner Lucy Sticka. The retailer is also supporting Small Business Saturday with a sticker in the window in the run up to the event, using social media to generate interest. “We feel it's really important for us to get involved in Small Business Saturday as, for independents like us, it's getting harder and harder to compete with the retail giants and large department stores, so every little helps!" adds co-owner Heidi Richardson. Little Paperie also took part in a big, mid-November Christmas market at The Roundhouse in Derby. "It's our favourite weekend of the year because it's super busy and lovely to see so many thousands of people supporting the 100 plus independent small businesses that have stalls there," commented Lucy. Left: The Little Paperie stand at November's Christmas market held at The Roundhouse, Derby.



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NEWS Moonpig Rewards Loyalty


Card Factory Realities Sluggish Retail Footfall Affects Value Retailer Delivering Card Factory’s first set of financial trading results since she took over as ceo, Karen Hubbard was upfront in saying that the “challenging” general retail environment “with adverse footfall trends” had a dampening affect on the value retailer’s performance pedigree. While many retailers would be very happy with a 4.4% increase in like-for-like sales in the nine months to October 31, this represents a dip on Card Factory’s previous results. It reported a 7.9% increase for the same period in 2015. Continuing its march towards trading from 1,200 stores, Card Factory has opened 46 stores in the past year. Karen said that weekly sales patterns in the second half to date “continued to vary”, but said that sales of everyday ranges in Card Factory stores had improved since the start of October. "We remain wary of the uncertain outlook for consumer confidence, although we are pleased to note that, since the start

Below: Card Factory has seen sales slow.

of October, weekly sales patterns for everyday ranges in our stores have started to improve,” she said. Year-on-year sales performance at Card Factory's personalised gift website continued to be flat, with improvements in average spend being offset by lower visitor numbers. Card Factory's other transactional website, is continuing to grow from a low base. ● In her first interview with PG, Card Factory’s Karen Hubbard reveals all on pages 28-29.

Top Of The Shops A recent survey by the Local Data Company revealed that Poundland was the fastest growing retailer in the UK this year, having opened 258 stores with a growth of 47.6%. This reflects the company's acquisition of 99p Stores. Other notables included McColls in second place, which opened 65 stores, Card Factory at equal 6th place, which opened 43 stores, and The Works (now part owned by Card Factory cofounder Dean Hoyle) at equal 13th having opened 29 stores.

Moonpig is over the moon about its recently launched loyalty rewards scheme. "It’s the perfect continuation of our customer offering, and an industry first!" enthuses Armelle Guillet, customer experience director at Moonpig. Moonpig Rewards is featured on the company's ecommerce website as well as on the Moonpig app so that customers can collect stamps across all platforms, desktop and mobile orders. Other developments from the online greeting card retailer include the launch of stickers on the latest iPhone update, featuring emojis containing images and slogans from Moonpig cards, available on SMS and iPhone Messenger. Below: The Moonpig Loyalty Rewards card.

On The Road Again Hallmark is putting the final touches to its ‘road trip’ around the UK to showcase its new Christmas and everyday ranges at 18 different Roadshows being held across the UK and Ireland. The Roadshows (which take place 10 Jan-2 February) also kick-off the 30th anniversary celebrations for Forever Friends, previews Hallmark’s new online web-store and a sneak peak of the new Disney collection, latest itty bittys and its new Hand-Picked range.

Left: Poundland, the UK's fastest growing retailer.

Festive Friday Frenzy “With our combined numbers in the industry we can really get the Festive sending season started! Are you ready yet?”, enthused the GCA’s Sharon Little at the recent AGM and Conference, giving extra encouragement to join in with this year’s Festive Friday activities. Some publishers were fast off the mark to celebrate Festive Friday on November 25, with Team CM at Coulson Macleod for one getting into the spirit in good time. "The team dressed up for the occasion and wrote cards while eating mince pies and listening to Christmas tunes, with the company supplying the cards and paying the postage," said Mark Coulson, joint owner. Initiatives included a giveaway on Twitter as well as a Christmas card giveaway on Facebook, giving two people the chance to win 10 Christmas cards each. At Blue Eyed Sun, PG columnist and managing director Jeremy Corner, confirmed that the company's staff had written a whopping 600 Christmas cards at the close of November. UK Greetings also gave the initiative big support, installing a special postbox in the company’s reception for the cards with the publisher paying for the postage. Further amplifying its Festive Friday activity, staff at the Dewsbury offices were invited to bring in toiletries and small gifts as part of a fundraising effort for Leeds’ homeless charity St George’s Crypt. Above: Mark Coulson is in disguise at Coulson Macleod. Left: Getting into the Festive Friday spirit, members of staff at Blue Eyed Sun.

There will be a bunch of goodies and promotions on offer at each venue. All shows open at 10am and last admittance is 8pm. To book a place at one of the shows visit or contact its customer services team on Tel UK: 0800 90 20 900 (freephone) Tel ROI: 012 480 104 ● Hallmark’s itty bittys (pictured) made their TV screen debut recently. Itty bitty Star War characters are sponsoring shows on the Disney Channel, while over on Cartoon Network, the Itty bitty characters from DC Comics, the Wizard of Oz and Scooby-Doo are sponsoring afternoon shows. Itty bittys also recently featured in some national and online gift guides, including in the Sunday Times.



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BrownTrout Widens Its Net Distribution Deal With Graphique De France From January 1, BrownTrout will be responsible for the distribution of the entire Graphique de France (Graphique) line of calendars and diaries into the UK and European markets. In addition, BrownTrout will be launching ranges of Graphique’s greeting cards and everyday stationery lines at Top Drawer in January and at Spring Fair in February. "The calendars and diaries have been available in the UK for a number of years, so this will be an easy fit into the extensive line that BrownTrout already offers," explains BrownTrout's managing director Jack Straw. "The greeting cards and stationery offer a great opportunity to expand with the current BrownTrout customer base, as well as many new ones, both in the UK and across mainland Europe. There has been a limited range of the stationery lines on sale here but with modest distribution. The new plan is to expand the programme over time in terms of product lines and market penetration and even develop titles and formats specifically for this market." In addition, the BrownTrout team will be joined by the current

Graphique UK key account agent, Emma Tracey, who has a long involvement with the brand and the company's current customer base. She takes on the role of national accounts manager from December 1 and will be totally responsible for the sales into many of BrownTrout’s larger customers, as well as working closely with the BrownTrout team to ensure a seamless integration of the Graphique line. “We are very excited to have Emma working with us and to be able to really help expand this major brand into this market," states Jack. "Graphique is a major player in the USA and has many items that will work both here and across Europe. It will be a huge challenge, but it really feels like a great fit for us. It's the opportunity we have been seeking for some time to break in to the everyday market, and at the same time, securing such a prestigious calendar line on an exclusive basis.”

Sadly Missed

● Andrew Dine who, up until earlier this year had worked as an area sales manager for Xpressions 4 U in the South East and South coast, sadly passed away on November 17. Andrew was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour back in January of this year. Recently he had been in hospital due to an infection where he lost his battle. Peter Goodman, a colleague of Andrew’s for 18 years, both at UKG and X4U, said, "Our thoughts are with the family at this very sad time. Andrew was a fabulous guy, with a great sense of humour, an extremely successful area sales manager and undoubtedly the fittest man I know." Andrew had previously worked for UKG as a salesman and as national accounts manager. Above: Andrew Dine collecting an ASM award in 2014, being congratulated by his RSM Christine Harrison.

Something To Smile About We all know that smiling is infectious - in the nicest possible way of course - and it's also a great way to raise money for charity, as the IG Design Group has proved. The company has raised over £15k for charities across the world through a group-wide Smile Campaign. As part of the campaign, its employees all over the world were given a blank piece of a jigsaw puzzle and asked to depict something that makes them smile, either by painting, drawing, sticking or writing. "This special project reflects the sense of community we have engendered in the company and shows how the whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” commented ceo Paul Fineman.

Top: Greeting cards and stationery will be among the Graphique products distributed by BrownTrout from January 1. Above: Jack Straw, managing director of BrownTrout (right), is shown with GCA president Ged Mace, managing director of The Art File, at the recent GCA AGM. Left: Emma Tracey continues to represent Graphique de France, which is to be distributed by BrownTrout.

Double First For Crakel Aurora Digital Print (which also prints under Crakel) collected a second national award this year - as winner of the Creative Use of Substrates category - at the recent Digital Printing Awards held in London. The judges verdict? "Superb use of materials, giving extra value and quality to a personal message." Enthuses Lee Nelson, sales director: "The whole team are buzzing, especially as I discovered that it's rare for a new product concept, without huge financial backing, to collect two national accolades within six months.” Lee confirms that the company plans to take receipt of a new Ricoh printing press later this month to ramp up its print capabilities. "The challenge we then have is to offer our products to retail owners across the UK, so 2017 will hopefully be a period of growth." Left: Aurora Digital Print's sales director Lee Nelson is shown with ex international footballer Matt Le Tissier (left) who presented the award, along with Sham Ahmed, national digital sales manager of Antalis.



IG Design Group’s Smile Campaign saw a total of 944 employees take part at 13 locations in eight countries, including China, Australia and Hong Kong, with each country raising £thousands for their designated charities. All puzzles pieces were sent back to the UK and were then put together to create one large puzzle. The whole campaign was filmed from start to finish and the finished product will be shown to Design Group’s employees around the world later this month. The company agreed to give a nominated amount to a charity of each country’s choosing for every puzzle piece completed. Selected charities included Oxfam, War Child, Operation Smile, US-based Nicholas House and Australian-based Kids Uncover. Above: IG Design Group’s ceo Paul Fineman with some of the ‘jigsaw pieces’, with a representative from the charity Operation Smile.

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The Only Way Is Up Full House At The Ladder Club Seminars The recent two one day Ladder Club sell-out seminars saw “delegates leave with their brains buzzing, crammed full of ideas to put into practice for their publishing businesses, great contacts and a strong feeling of camaraderie that, going on past experience, will endure for many years,” commented Lynn Tait, who founded The Ladder Club (with PG’s Jakki Brown) some 17 years ago. The ‘first day’ was aimed at newbies or would-be publishers, while the second day was targeted at those publishers looking to climb up the next rung of the ‘greeting card ladder’. Jess Hogarth (of Jessica Hogarth Designs) covered licensing, Karen Wilson and Claire Williams (co-founders of Paper Salad) highlighted the trials and tribulations over the last 11 years since they started the company, Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner spelt out how newbie publishers should be costing out their cards, Mark Coulson, co-founder of Coulson MacLeod weighed up the pros and cons of taking on your own fulfillment, agent Ian Bradley explained the workings of an agent’s brand, while Paperchase buyers, Tish Bas and Hazel Walker, shared invaluable sales insights and demonstrating how supportive the retailer is of the 250 publishers whose designs it stocks. The ‘right from the heart’ finale of Hannah Dale, co-founder of Wrendale

Below: Among the speakers at this year’s Ladder Club included: (back row left-right) Sharon Little (GCA), Karen Wilson (Paper Salad), Mark Coulson (Coulson Macleod), Claire Williams (Paper Salad), Jeremy Corner (Blue Eyed Sun), Hannah and Jack Dale (Wrendale Designs). Front row (left-right) Ian Bradley (Midlands agent), Jakki Brown (PG), Lynn Tait (Lynn Tait Gallery) and Jessica Hogarth (Jessica Hogarth Designs).

A Date At The Palace Having instigated a massive 'design a 90th Birthday Card for the Queen’ competition for children earlier in the year (which resulted in 1,500 entries), PG's columnist Lynn Tait was invited to deliver a selection of the cards to Buckingham Palace last month. "The Queen apparently loves receiving cards as it is such a great way for her to communicate with the public," comments Lynn, who spent time with Christopher Sandamas, Chief Clerk at The Private Secretaries office at Buckingham Palace, when she delivered the cards. "It was such an honour to be able to explain about the competition." Below: Lynn Tait is shown outside Buckingham Palace with a basketful of 90th birthday cards for the Queen.

Designs confronted the issue of copying: “If you feel helpless against having been copied, the best advice I can give you is to put it right out of your mind and carry on regardless. I know from experience that it can really eat you up if you dwell on it too much. Remember that you are being copied because your designs are successful and that you will always be one step ahead of the copier. “ Reminding the audience of the power within the room, she said: “The Ladder Club is a growing and increasingly influential group in the greeting card industry. We have a great opportunity to lead from the front and set a standard of creativity and innovation for the whole industry by adopting the moral rather than the legal approach to copying.”

Happiness Out Of Sadness An exciting competition to help newbie Ladder Club greeting card publishers on their way has been launched by retailer House of Cards, which has six retail outlets in the Home Counties. The award winning retail group, has launched a special competition to give three of the attendees to the recent Ladder Club first day seminar the opportunity to have a sympathy card design published and offered for sale within all House of Cards stores. House of Cards’ co-owner Miles Robinson revealed details of the competition at the end of a talk he gave on Above: House Of Cards’ Miles Robinson at The the first day of The Ladder Club seminar, during which he shared Ladder Club seminar at which he shared what designs were the retailer’s best sellers. invaluable insight into what retailers look for from card publishers. Explaining why he chose a sympathy card, Miles said: “It is the biggest selling caption within occasions cards for us and therefore offers a great chance of exposure and sales for the winners." Ladder Clubbies (only from Day 1 of this year’s seminar) have until January 1 to submit their entries. A team of judges will then choose the best three entries, with each of the three winners receiving £200 prize money; plus the thrill of seeing their design printed (printing and envelopes will be provided free of charge by The Sherwood Group and Enveco). In addition, House of Cards will stock the design in every one of its stores for a year and will pay the normal trade price for these three winning cards and sell them at the publishers’ RRP, re-ordering as necessary direct with the printers, and paying the winners the trade price for any re-orders. Sales figures for each design will be published on The Ladder Club Facebook page. The Sherwood Group will provide, at House of Cards' cost, an additional 50 cards to each winner, with the publisher retaining all copyright and IP rights for their designs.

Everywoman Finalist Hannah Dale, founder and designer of Wrendale Designs, is being recognised as a brand of the future. The entrepreneur, who, in just four years has become a hugely successful brand, turning over £2m and exporting to 12 countries worldwide, has been shortlisted as one of 22 finalist in the prestigious NatWest everywoman Awards, now in its 14th year. Hannah finds out if she has won on December 7. “The ambition, success and humility of our finalists make them all strong accessible role models for other women and girls considering starting their own business," states everywoman co-founder Maxine Benson MBE. "Gender has never been a barrier to great ideas or initiatives and this year’s finalists bear that out. We live in one of the best countries for entrepreneurship and there is no better place for enterprise to flourish, as our finalists prove.” The awards have been judged by 19 of the country’s most successful businesswomen including: Cath Kidston MBE, Julia Hands MBE, Amanda Wakeley OBE, and Rosaleen Blair. The winners will be announced at a lunch reception at The Dorchester Hotel attended by over 300 leading figures from business, politics, the media and the City. Below: Hannah Dale, founder of Wrendale Designs, has been shortlisted as a finalist in the NatWest everywoman Awards.



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Over The Counter

This Time Next Year Independent card and gift retailer, David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi in Scotland, discuses the changes in the retailing landscape. “This time next year Rodney we could be billionaires...” This is how the highest audience ever for a single TV episode in the UK were left as the end credits rolled, and it is of course from one of the greatest comedy shows of all time, Only Fools and Horses. This episode is the one where Del finally finds the ‘magic pot of gold’ with the discovery of an old watch that is worth a fortune. This is after years of trying every get rich quick scheme in the book, but still leaves a buoyant Del not satisfied with the £6.2 million the watch was sold for, as he dreams of playing and winning on ‘the future’s market’. This episode will resonate with many retailers. A bit like Del we are all wheeling and dealing to try and survive, pay our bills and make a little money. Life is hardly ‘cushti’ for the majority of us. As it stands we may all have to dream of that little bit of luck, wondering if we will ever find a vintage watch at the back of the garage, as finding or earning a pot of gold in retail is more difficult than ever. This Only Fools and Horses episode dates back to 1996 – so it’s 20 years old. But the changes that have happened in the world since then are racing ahead faster than the FF button on an old VHS recorder. Back then, TV guides and planning your week’s viewing were essential. If you couldn’t catch the TV programme when it aired you had to hope that setting your video tape recorder would work. Now, two decades on TV viewing has totally changed. No one really watches TV ‘live’ anymore. Nowadays it is all about the SKY, iPlayer, Netflix, Firesticks and a million other devices and apps. We never worry about the tape not recording or a power cut as we can simply download it to one of our many devices; the way we consume television, even as a 40-something, is entirely different. The Millennials and the current crop of teens look 20


on how we used to watch TV as something Right: An Only Fools and Horses design from Danilo. that happened during the war! Below: Television was a far The changing ways of watching your simpler thing in the past. favourite TV programmes has huge can little old you or me find that right mix or implications for the TV networks, with blend or formula? advertising being a particular issue, with M&S is closing smaller outlets in what it knowing what to provide in terms of ad describes as “flagging towns and shopping content particularly worrying for them. And centres”. I am sure we can all relate to that. think about what we watch? The BBC’s Strictly Strong indie shopping areas are getting few Come Dancing is a huge hit and suddenly and far between and the big shiny mall with there are lots of dance shows. When restaurants, cinemas and other attractions also something is a success we tend to get lots of has to keep morphing to ensure that it is not similar type programmes. usurped by the next new shiny mall. This ‘new way’ of watching the The way that customers buy goods gogglebox has parallels with our industry, and today is very different and it is constantly the changes within retail. changing. As retailers, what we find may work to entice them into our shop this year may not work in 12 months time. Footfall is falling and that traditional Saturday trip to the shops can be seen almost as a chore these days rather than a fun thing. Saturdays are not what they once were. Thinking specifically product wise about our industry ten years ago, Carte Blanche smashed it with its grey bear Tatty Teddy, and suddenly everyone had a cute range. Fast forward to last year and it was all about the lightboxes and lit-up letters landing into the gift world, then, in 2016, lots of companies have them. Different price points, slightly different changes but basically the In this evolving retail landscape what do same thing. we provide for the customer that will make us Also, look at supermarkets’ own brand retailers busy and sustain our figures and our Christmas boxes this year and they scream the footfall? What do customers want and how design trends of leading publishers at a fraction do they want to actually buy it? How can we of the cost - the trends are moving through. continue to grow against a changing retail Our high street is morphing into backdrop that no-one really truly something that is basically all the same. It is so understands? Like the TV advertising execs, difficult to try and be different. It is such a leap our core customer is changing and it is our to be a little ‘out there’ because there’s a worry job to adapt. it won’t work. Understandably, indie retailers But if behemoths such as Next and play it safe. They try to stick to the tried and M&S are struggling to make stores work tested or at least to what they see as being with their endless budgets and experts how what the public wants.

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Over The Counter

As a business, (thanks to my mother in particular), we have always tried to push things, but recently when we have tried very different card and gift ranges they have been a little hit or miss. Maybe it’s our store? Maybe it is that we are too far ahead? Maybe it is our customers? I keep hearing that it is all about the deals - all about the promotions - and I get that, but it doesn’t excite me. ‘3 for 2’ and the dreaded and aptly named BOGOF is something I associate with mass market shufflers or market stall traders - sorry Del! I want to have people react to my store because they see things on sale that are different, but this has to be balanced with what sells. We all have rising bills to pay. So what is the answer? On this subject I must admit to having undergone some deep soul searching and pondering over the last few weeks and months.

Six years ago when opened Bijou I spoke about a destination store, one with food, shopping and great service. I didn’t invent this concept myself, indeed garden centres and farm shops and one-off retailers, such as House of Bruar, tore up the thinking that you needed to be where the footfall was years ago. They actually created places that brought the footfall to them. Some of them survive in obscure sites where simply it doesn’t make sense, but they can as they are a draw. Like a moth to a flame the public will go there as they can park, buy something and of course have lunch or a coffee. These are the places that continue to grow. These are where I see the real future of retailing cards and gifts. Of course there will be high street stores that survive. Look at the success of Aldi and Lidl, and, within our sector, of Card Factory. Huge successes! But if I am brutally honest it’s not what I want from a store. This destination store concept is what indie retailers need to be acutely tuned into, what is called the ‘experience economy’. People don’t just want a shop anymore. They want and demand more, yet this can be very,

very difficult for us to give them looking at what we sell and where most of us are located. Service is of course the leveler, and going that extra mile and helping people is the key weapon against the internet/big boys, but will it be enough? To truly understand how to survive we have to figure out who we are selling to. The new generation coming through, and even my generation, are moving away from owning things. In fact, that whole concept is changing. They don’t worry about renting, whether it is a house or car, as it allows them to have what they need without the huge commitment. They are used to subscribing to things like Spotify - who buys music anymore? Not the majority. They are interested in servicing their lifestyle rather than buying and accumulating stuff. With low interest rates, near zero inflation and rising employment and wages many people have a boosted household budget. Couple in the lower oil prices and its impact on fuel costs and supermarket price wars, and the claim is that the person in the street has never had more disposable income. Great for retail then. It means they can spend more. But that, quite simply, is not happening... whether it is on clothes or other products. A lot of the public are all bought out and now they much prefer to spend on experiences. Holiday sales have increased sharply in the last six years. Eating out has increased over 5% in the last year, according to VISA Europe, with a shift even in the types of restaurants and bars we like being evident. Spending £10 on a cocktail is not viewed as something we do just occasionally, it is almost the norm. Three or four lunches a week have replaced the big dressing up Saturday meal. Everything is changing and it is not like we can even plan for it as, a bit like Brexit, we don’t know what is truly going to happen next. Top right: Princess Charlotte and her Jellycat Fuddlewuddle puppy plush toy. Above left: The House of Bruar, one of Scotland’s most prestigious independent stores, is a must see. Its Scottish country clothing range includes traditional heritage tweeds and fine cashmere coats and it has gourmet offering from local food suppliers in its food hall and restaurant. Right: David’s Halloween costume was a take on Only Fools and Horses’ Del Trotter.

The buzzword phrase ‘omni-channel retailing’ is not some kind of dodgy knock-off perfume, it is where the consumer expects to be able to switch seamlessly between mobile, laptop and bricks and mortar shopping, but how can we indies provide this? This also links in with the rise of the endorser - the subtle salesman if you will. No longer will it be the open suitcase and the flirty banter. Whether it be a celebrity or someone with a huge online following, if they wear, speak or use something it can be a lot more powerful than a newspaper ad. Think about the coverage that a certain Royal child gave a Jellycat soft toy. This was unintentional and not paid for, but now more than ever this tactic is being used. The other interesting thing is that since I wrote about the issues that surrounded online retailing two years ago, many of the issues returns and delivery times - are being smoothed out, and the massive amount of new courier type businesses have eased the pressure, along with of course the ‘click and collect’ service and indeed collection points in general. Bleakly, the BRC has predicted that thousands of shops and almost a million retail jobs could be lost by 2025. Jobs could disappear as quickly as the TV viewing figures that have ebbed away from those of 20 years ago. No current TV programme has come close to the 20 plus million who used to watch shows like Only Fools and Horses. That 2015 retailing prophesy is less than 10 years ahead. As retailers we can’t be plonkers! We can’t bury our heads in the sand. We have to realise that ‘he who dares wins’ and that this time next year we may not be millionaires, but if we are surviving and making something we may well be classed as doing well, if not exactly cushti! To contact David email: PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Is The

Above: Host of The Price Is Right, Lesley Crowther.

Price Right? “Come On Down, The Price Is Right!!”, more seasoned readers of Cardsharp will probably remember the late eighties/early nineties game show, The Price Is Right! This was where the oleaginous (and suspiciously blackhaired) host Lesley Crowther asked a fanatical, hysterical studio audience to guess the price of various household items, with the contestant that came the closest winning the desirable(?) object in question. This reminiscing set Cardsharp thinking that the average Joe and Joanna Public would probably have a hard time guessing an answer to this subject with regard to greeting cards. Outside the retail environment, many people would find it hard to actually pinpoint an accurate price of a greeting card. A decent card bought from Card Factory could be 50 pence, while a handfinished, jewel-encrusted card on exquisite board could be upwards of a £fiver! Cardsharp discussed in last month’s column as to the possible effects of the £pound’s big devaluation, but since then things are starting to really hot up. The industry’s board suppliers have suspiciously, nearly in unison, all recently



announced that paper prices would rise, with figures being quoted varying between 3% and 10%, depending on board type and the paper merchant/broker/ papermaker in question. This increased board cost will obviously affect all greeting card publishers, whether they are printed in the UK, in mainland Europe or in the Far East.

Then of course, there is the large (almost 20%) increase in the cost of production to all those publishers that produce their cards in China. Cardsharp reckons that probably 50-60% of all greeting cards now sold in the UK are imported so this is a hefty financial supplementary cost that cannot be absorbed. The wholesale gift trade has reacted to the devaluation of sterling quickly and unequivocally. Most have announced price increases somewhere in the region of 10% as of January 1. Some have immediately added a ‘Currency Fluctuation Surcharge’ from immediate effect. The gift trade seems to be accepting that everyone is in the same boat and it is up to retailers if they want to pass it on to the customer. But for greeting cards, contemplates Cardsharp, it is not so straightforward. Certainly there have been no increases in trade prices for five years, although some publishers have managed to increase their trade costs by stealth by moving certain cards up to a higher price code, but there is only so far you can go down this path. With regard to 2017, as far as Cardsharp can gauge, most card

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CARDSHARP Left: The price of a cup of coffee is often used as the benchmark for the price of a card. Below: King Canute demonstrates he has no control over the coming tides.

publishers find themselves in a real quandary. They want and need a substantial cost price increase, but don’t know where to pitch it, and moreover are reluctant to be among the first publishers to announce one. Historically many have followed the Double Alpha Coding system used by The Great British Card Company, and look, somewhat unfairly, for GBCC to take the lead. Cardsharp feels for GBCC as it has forced a position of responsibility upon the company that it has never wanted. And, added to all this are the perceived super sensitive pressure points, with publishers being incredibly concerned about breaking through the all important price barriers of £1.99 and £2.99. Many feel that they are already pushing their retail price for a hand-finished square card to the limit at £2.99 and that going over the £3 boundary will be a step too far. While a pint of beer used to the benchmark, now the price of a cup of coffee in a high street chain is often used as the barometer. If the price of your skinny latte in Costa goes over £3.00 then perhaps a quality greeting card can too. Yet, certainly at the NEC for Spring Fair and your average motorway service station the price of a caffeine fix has already risen above that mark, so who is to say it can’t happen on greeting cards? Some retailers in the middle to upper market sector are pretty sanguine about trade cost rises. They recognise that a price increase might lead to a small reduction in volume, but a compensatory increase in

margin. Others, Cardsharp predicts, may well will dig their heels in to avoid one. Then there is the whole issue of the retail price. Already in the UK there are huge regional variations. Cards Galore, mainly based in London with around 60 stores, charges quite a bit above recommended retail price, and needs to given the extortionate rents in the Capital. So can Cards Galore afford to put its prices up anymore? At the other end of the scale, Card Factory, the value chain and the largest specialist greeting card retailer, is the cheapest by far, but given that most of its cards are produced in the Far East it surely must increase its prices to maintain its profitability and keep its shareholders happy. Some major players in greeting card retailing are already digging their heels in, trying to keep the waves at bay in a King Canute type fashion. Cardsharp has already heard through the grapevine that one very well-known high street stationery chain is steadfast in its refusal to discuss any price increases. Whether this is a negotiating ploy or it is serious only time will tell. The retailer in question has played hardball in the past and is notorious for keeping its costs down. But on the flip side, many publishers already find it very difficult to make a profit from this retail player so it could signal some quality suppliers cutting their losses and pulling away. There are always alternative suppliers waiting in the wings prepared to do a deal, mused Cardsharp, but at what price and cost? And for the multiple retailer chain in question, are the alternative suppliers as good? And in the competitive greeting card, giftwrap and stationery retail market, when it comes to sales it is all at the margins on product quality. Cardsharp predicts that in some instances there will be a bit of consistency in

“Some major players in greeting card retailing are already digging their heels in, trying to keep the waves at bay in a King Canute type fashion. Cardsharp has already heard through the grapevine that one very well-known high street stationery chain is steadfast in its refusal to discuss any price increases.”

the top level price negotiations, as has happened recently between Tesco and Unilever over Marmite. Cardsharp thinks the result will be similar with what happened, with Unilever demanding a 10% increase and Tesco saying “no”, but will ultimately result in a mid-way secretive compromise landing eventually at some point in between. Cardsharp reflects that some deals like this will become the norm in the greeting card industry: a ‘Mexican stand off’ so to speak! But for what it is worth, Cardsharp thinks that at present everyone on the greeting card publishing, and indeed retailing, side is keeping their powder dry. No one wants to be the first to increase publisher trade prices, even though everyone in their heart of hearts knows they really need to rise. Cardsharp suspects that there will not be any dramatic movement in January, but if the £pound remains weak and if no increases kick in at the start of the year then expect a lot of publishers to move upwards around April time.

Cardsharp realises, this is no bad thing. The greeting card industry, unlike many retail sectors, is doing okay at present. Retailers large and small need greeting cards to pull the punters into bricks and mortar outlets. Cardsharp thinks that perhaps the industry at large should be a little more bullish and recognise that greeting cards are a bit of a special product. Cardsharp concludes not with just Mr Crowther’s catchphrase that ‘The Price is Right’ but with a mantra of the founder of Clintons and the Godfather of modern day greeting card retailing, who used to say (albeit it was before the rise of Card Factory!) “You can’t sell sentiment cheap.” “Just come on down”!!!



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Emotions Ran High

Below: This year’s GCA AGM and conference took place at One Westminster Place, the home of the National Liberal Club, the foundation stone of which was laid by politician and four times prime Minster William Gladstone on 9 November 1884, some 132 years earlier, almost to the day.

Emotions were running high in the world on November 8. While those on the other side of the Atlantic went to the polls to vote on their future, over 150 of the UK ‘greeting card population’ pledged their industry allegiance at the home of The Liberal Club in Westminster where the GCA AGM and Conference took place. PG went along to witness a lot of good sense being spoken (at least on one side of the water) from a triumvirate of keynote speakers.

Un(Daunt)ted Performance With no notes or presentation on which to fall back on, James Daunt, chief executive of Waterstones and founder/owner of Daunt Books, delivered an erudite, insightful talk of which even the most accomplished politician would have been in awe. But these were not hollow words, but oratory based on facts, from a man who can demonstrate the necessity of confronting real challenges of shifting marketing conditions as well as the financial fruits that retailing greeting cards can bring if you get it right. Back in 2010 the outlook for Waterstones book chain looked incredibly bleak. The ravages of Amazon coming on the scene hadn’t helped, but book sales, having reached a zenith in 2007/2008, were on the slide. The chain’s salvation lay in the hands of Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut (who shelled out £53 million to HMV for the expiring book chain) who had the foresight to bring in book retailer entrepreneur James Daunt, who ran and owned Daunt Books, a well-respected group of then six bookshops. “The first year I was there [running Waterstones] we lost £34 million,” James confessed to an enraptured audience fully engrossed in this unusual retailing plotline. “Amazon had launched Kindle and paper book sales dropped by a third.” Calling for some radical change, not easy in a chain of 275 stores employing 3,500 Right: James Daunt, chief executive of Waterstones and owner/founder of Daunt Books with Waterstones’ card buyer Claire Fitzgerald at the GCA AGM.

people, James drew on his entrepreneurial beliefs that had stood Daunt Books in such good stead. This meant abandoning the ‘one size fits all’ approach to multiple retailing whereby all branches adopted the same planogram as well as placing greater emphasis on selling non-book products, with greeting cards near the top of the pile. Experience with Daunt Books had proved over and over again to James just how successful bedfellows greeting cards and books can be. He shared the stats, revealing how card sales in Daunt’s nine branches account for 3%-8% of a store’s takings, dependent on the branch, from a curated selection of designs selected from an incredible 58 card suppliers. While accepting that Waterstones, (being 50 times the size of ‘Daunts’) is taking time to maneouvre, the same ethos is evident, having moved away from brokerage to direct buying. “Cards are an emotional purchase. You go to a shop expecting to find the cards you want. If that greeting card display is plannogrammed with the same selection you are highly unlikely to achieve that emotional resonance. Customers in our store in a mass market shopping centre in Middlesborough are likely to have little in common with those going into our Harrogate store,” he said. James admitted that while a more curated approach was well underway – with its success recognised by Waterstones’ being proclaimed Greeting Card Retailer of the Year at The Retas



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VIEWPOINTS 2016 – “it is a slow process,” given that the stores range in size from 1,000 sq ft to 50,000 sq ft. “We will never be specialist card sellers, the core business is the juggernaut that sells books,” stated James, but with 18% of Waterstones’ sales now coming from non-book items (including gifts, stationery, puzzles and greeting cards) it is a juggernaut that has a more varied load than it used to have. Giving a supportive nod to Claire Fitzgerald, Waterstones’ card buyer (and former GCA intern) who was in the audience, he echoed the importance of developing “ever stronger relationships” with the 50 card suppliers from whom currently Waterstones buys. Given Daunt Books’ success on the card front, the bar is set high, with some way to go as currently greeting cards only account for 1% of Waterstones’ sales. “We have only just scratched the surface as to the opportunities,” stated James, revealing that its current plans include paying greater

Brain Food Dr Lynda Shaw is slight in stature, but goodness me this leading neurologist knows how to pack a strong emotional punch. Her talk at the GCA AGM left the audience tingling with pride that they were involved in an industry that is good for the heart and mind. Those who had heard Dr Lynda Shaw speak previously were bracing themselves for a treat at the conference – and they were not disappointed. This eminent cognitive neuroscientist and business psychologist first came into the industry’s orbit five years ago when she was invited by Royal Mail to appear on radio programmes with the GCA’s ceo Sharon Little to explain the then recent findings of an significant scientific research study that revealed how receiving greeting cards were good for the health, triggering far more positive reactions in our brains than a text could ever do. If that was ‘part one’ then the sequel she presented at last month’s GCA AGM went a step further into our psyche, highlighting the importance of writing greeting cards as well as the benefits derived from the selection process when choosing a card. Sharing her take on the future of greeting cards in the everevolving consumer market, in a quick-fire delivery Dr Lynda Shaw drew analogies from other industries. “In 1908 the first car was available to buy and everyone thought it would be the end of bicycles, but here we are in a bicycle boom. When televisions were invented they said it would be the end of radio and when computers came on the scene they heralded the end of paper. Paper is here to stay,” she stated, citing Above: Dr Lynda Shaw understands the workings of the brain and the value of selecting and writing greeting cards plays in its function. Left: Dr Lynda Shaw (centre) with Mint/Museums and Galleries¹ Debbie Williams (left) and PG¹s Jakki Brown.



Left: Greeting card sales at Daunt Books account for between 3%-8% of sales in each of the nine stores, Waterstones’ card sales account for 1% of sales, room for growth.

attention to the “furniture” as to whether the cards in each branch are better retailed on a wall fixture or on spinners, as well as what prices to retail them at (this varies from branch to branch). When pressed on the thorny issue of terms, James stressed the importance of being “fair”, accepting that “it’s not easy being a greeting card publisher.” He gave extra assurances that Waterstones would be keen to support small publishers, as to his mind without whom “you would choke off the lifeblood” of this industry. Just in case though any supplier saw Waterstones as a ‘soft touch’ where margins are concerned, he batted that back to publishers. “Broadly speaking I believe we should all work largely on the same terms,” expecting a “sense of fairness” if and when trade price increases come into play. “Waterstones is on a journey, you cannot change everything over night. This is my way of saying, bear with us.” Those in the audience were left with a feeling that this is a book with a happy ending.

the ridiculous situation that children are being given something that even looks like a traditional ‘pencil’ to use to write on their tablet computers in school. Having set the scene, she then went on to explain why handwriting is so important, as well as the real “emotional value of a greeting card.” Using the personal memory of her own grandmother, who never really recovered for being punished in school for being left-handed, Lynda stressed how handwriting is crucial for our brain development. “Writing uses our spatial awareness, our visual cortex and our memory. In short, writing helps us to learn and we are capable of learning until the day we die.” She even went as far as to state that the process of writing cards goes some way of staving off some dementias. She also highlighted that writing a card for someone we care about brings us pleasure which also has added benefits to health and wellbeing. “When we are in a pleasurable state, we are at our most effective; we feel more motivated to work.” Going back a stage, she explained that the process of selecting the card in the first place does us a lot of good. “We are not thinking about ourselves so we are opening up our vision. Just watch people as they are choosing their cards, they go into the zone of concentration,” entering a state of mindfulness which means they are not being selfish, but releasing feelgood hormones which also help to boost our immune system. She ended on a slide which had a palpable positive effect on the assembled audience which stated ‘Greeting cards enable and empower’. “This is why your industry is so fantastic,” she concluded. Sometimes, it is good to be reminded of these things.

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Giraffe Dancing ‘Everyone knows giraffes can’t dance’. This was the belief in the jungle before it was put to the test. And what do you know, Gerald proved them wrong. This funny, touching and triumphant picture book story is about a memorable character who finds his own tune and makes up his own steps, but as he displayed in his speech at the GCA meeting, there are certainly similarities between its author’s Giles Andreae’s early experiences in the greeting card ‘jungle’ before he was lauded as the ‘greeting card laureate’. Giles Andreae stumbled into the greeting card world three decades ago, but last month was the first time he has ever told his story (which has includes Purple Ronnie, Edward Monkton and Happy Jackson). Strange that, for a man whose words have sold 10 million books and 150 million greeting cards! “I’m here because there’s one particular thing I do - and have been doing - in this wonderful greeting card industry of ours for 30 years now. What I do, fundamentally, is write down odd thoughts and poems, and draw what you might generously describe as very “simple” pictures,” so began the charming tale of ‘giraffe’ Giles, which kicked off with Purple Ronnie, his Young Ones-inspired stand-up comedy alter ego. Purple Ronnie’s move from stage to card rack is something for which his mother can be blamed, Giles thinks. “My mother was one of those fantastic women who we all in this room adore – the kind that goes shopping for the family dinner and accidentally comes home with 28 greeting cards, and no idea yet who they’ll be for. And she’d stuff her desk to bursting with all these cards that she’d often just get out and read to us. Sundays in the Andreae family were a blast!” he remarked, already having won the audience over. But before the smiles had subsided he delivered the first of several poignant observations. “The point is that I grew up with a culture of greeting cards being a venerated and valuable medium of creative expression,” which meant it wasn’t long before Giles began to wonder about putting his “performance poetry” onto cards. But his inherited greeting card culture did not mean immediate business success - though Giles did soon reach the heady heights of selling enough of the quirky Purple Ronnie postcards featuring his stick men drawings and quirky poems to buy a couple of kebabs a week! While many of the 40/50 somethings in the audience were transported back to their student days when Purple Ronnie’s Bottom Burps postcards were affixed to their wall, Giles drilled down as to the possible reasons why this brand, and “why

Left: Giles Andreae at the lecturn at the GCA AGM and conference at which he told his story. Below left: Giraffes Can’t Dance is just one of the many children’s books Giles Andreae has written. Below right: One of the many Edward Monkton designs that Giles created (and published on cards by Really Good) that resonated with the public. Bottom: Giles Andreae enjoying the historic surrounding of One Whitehall Place with Paperchase’s (right-left) Frances Burkle, Hazel Walker and Tish Bas.

I think greeting cards - and particularly the way we use them here in the UK - are so magic”. He suggested that the amateurish nature of those early Purple Ronnie cards made people “warm to them” and he also feels that they were part of a new wave of greeting cards. “This was really ‘alternative comedy’ – but just not on TV.” He also cited the voice and the tone of Purple Ronnie striking a chord with the public, as it successfully straddled both cute and humour, enabling them to “say quite sentimental things to their loved ones, without being overly cloying and cheesy.” The ongoing success of Purple Ronnie (both on cards initially from Statics and lots of licensed merchandise) resulted in Giles selling the IP to licensing agents Coolabi in 2002. It was then that Giles turned his attentions to another alter ego, Edward Monkton. He thanked David Hicks of Really Good for being “brave enough” to publish this ‘unpigeonholeable’ collection, which somehow manages to delve unfathomably deeply into the psyche of human emotion. Giles quite rightly pointed out that their capacity to do that is usually completely unrelated to the level of technical skill that has gone into them. “If you take, for me, a Leonard Cohen, a Bob Dylan or a Johnny Cash song, the guitar playing is rudimentary, the singing wouldn’t get them into any choir, the chord structures and melodies are often very basic - but how they can make you feel is sublime,” Giles revealed, suggesting that this reaction has nothing to do with polish, production or commercial resource - in fact all these could mask their effect. “What they have is an ability to get inside you and make you feel things - with them - at a very authentic and human level.” Building to an emotional crescendo, Giles accepted that while greeting cards may not be able to reach quite to the same level, but believes “we can go a small way towards it because, as we know, if there’s one thing that greeting cards are all about, it is making a connection. And how amazing that we ‘emotionally repressed’ Brits are the best at doing this in the world!”



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Retailer Face To Face

Keep Karen

And Carry On Above: Karen Hubbard, ceo of Card Factory, is looking forward to her first Christmas as head of the value card retailer.

Richard Hayes, Card Factory’s long standing ceo, left some tough shoes to fill on July 1 when he departed the business of his own volition. The company’s former bank manager joined co-founder Dean Hoyle when Card Factory only had a smattering of stores and steered the value retail chain through its meteoric rise to a successful flotation on the stock exchange. Tough shoes to fill indeed, but Karen Hubbard, (Richard’s replacement) is well equipped on the footwear front, and she stacks up well on the business basis too. After her first stint of facing the City, spending a week meeting with analysts and shareholders in London and Edinburgh following the recent announcement of Card Factory’s trading results (see news), Karen revealed “I swopped my stilettos for hiking



Karen Hubbard, the new ceo of Card Factory, is proving she’s more than up for a challenge. She’s braved it with the City analysts, tamed some usually cynical newspaper journos, pledged to write and post at least 50 Christmas cards by the end of Festive Friday and on December 10 will take on the company’s operations director in a ‘store off’ competition, becoming ‘store manager’ for a day as both battle to sell the most. PG found out more about the woman who is now in the Card Factory hot seat. Left: The Card Factory store in London’s Westfield Centre in Stratford. Karen Hubbard is in no doubt that there is room for 1,200 Card Factory stores in the UK alone. Below left: Pug Story was featured in the Evening Standard. Below right: A new tier of premium cards has been added to some of the Card Factory displays taking the price points up a bit while extending the choice for its customers.

boots”, heading off to the Lake District with her husband for some ‘R and R’. But even then, she doesn’t take the easy route – ‘winding down’ with a 100km cycle ride! Now, a few months into her new role, Karen is definitely finding her feet, though she is holding back from revealing the vision for the business until next March, when the full year results are revealed, and its new look stores have proved themselves. “The most commonly asked question I am asked is what am I doing here?” she says with a cheery Antipodean lilt. “This is my 13th year living in the UK - and yes I do miss the warmth and the sunshine of Australia at times, but there are more upsides than downsides of living in the UK.” Karen was in fact born in the UK, but left when she was four years old when her parents emigrated to Australia.

While the UK is the other side of the world from her previous home in Melbourne, the journey to the top job in Card Factory was a logical route. “I have always worked in retail and love it. I love the people who work in retail, who give it their all. I enjoy the necessity to be totally customerfocused, to adapt in order to stay relevant to their needs. I also really like the challenge of delivering good results,” Karen sums up. While her retailing career until now has never crossed over into greeting cards, she has earned her spurs in the value retail space where Card Factory resides, latterly as chief operating officer of B&M. Prior to this

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Retailer Face To Face

Up Close And Personal Perfect Sunday: “I have recently taken up cycling. So I love the idea of going out cycling with my husband and stopping for a coffee at the halfway point. The reality is that I will look out of the window at the rain and cool breeze and opt for a bit of Sunday morning TV while reading the newspapers!” Personal Challenge: “There is a rumour that Card Factory is looking to put a team together for a charity cycle ride from Wakefield to Paris that I would be up for.” Business Challenge: “There are many, but one that springs to mind is The Card Factory Ashes. On December 10 I will compete with our retail operations director Ian McEvoy. We will each run a store each and see who sells the most. I do feel he has a bit of an unfair advantage as he has worked for Card Factory since it only had four stores, but I like a challenge.” As for what the winner will receive? “The prize is pride!” adds Karen.

she was an Asda board director (heavily involved in its acquisition of Netto) and previously was director of BP Retail, both in the UK and Australia. However, it is her experience at B&M that is the most relevant, a retailer like Card Factory, that has shaken things up with its approach to value retail. Karen has nothing but praise for the dynamic Arora family who founded B&M. “They run an incredible business. They are steadfast in that they do not want to sell junk to their customers. It is all about selling quality products at a lower price. And Card Factory shares the same ethos.” So, with the learnings from B&M, as well as her general retailing nous, Karen was an attractive candidate on paper as Card Factory’s new head honcho, but there was another reason she was appropriate - she is a greeting card fanatic! “I have always loved cards, I send loads of them, spend ages choosing them, write ‘war and peace’ messages inside them!” reveals Karen. “I was very promiscuous in my card buying - but only in my card buying! Now though it is Card Factory all the way!” Much as she enjoyed working with B&M, the opportunity to join Card Factory was too good to miss. “Who would not want to be part of this business? I understand the value proposition and appreciate the strength of Card Factory. The opportunity of leading Card Factory through another chapter of its history, ticked all the boxes for me,” sums up Karen. Added to her personal penchant for greeting cards, Karen says she has also gained so much business and industry knowledge from Dean Hoyle, who co-founded the business with his wife Janet and remains a non-executive director, despite having sold out several years ago.

Above: Card Factory has always been a major donator to charity, both through its involvement with Macmillan as well as donating the £thousands from the carrier bag charges to the British Heart Foundation, NSPCC and Alzheimer’s Society, the latter three charities chosen by the staff. Right: Karen Hubbard is adamant that Card Factory is a “value retailer, not a discounter.” Below: A diversity of card designs available from Card Factory.

“Dean has been a great mentor. What he doesn’t know about this business isn’t worth knowing!” Karen states. Taking an industrywide view, Karen feels confident about the role of greeting cards in society and believes that there is more market potential, and is in no doubt that Card Factory can grow to a chain of 1,200 stores (it currently has over 800). “It is a great industry and it is in everyone’s interest to not only keep it alive, but for it to continue to grow,” adding what role Card Factory will have in this. “We have an awesome design studio of 58 people. We need to continue our motto of creating products that no one else is doing, listening to our customers and their needs,” she said, citing the addition of the larger premium cards, which are now displayed on the top of Card Factory’s racks as a case in point.

While much of Card Factory’s financial success is down to its vertically integrated business model, whereby it designs and prints the majority of the cards it sells itself, it also bolsters these ‘home produced’ designs with other designs from other publishers, notably in the humour and licensed arenas. While unwilling to be drawn as to whether this is a route that is likely to be expanded, Karen says that it is just about giving the Card Factory customer “what they want and expect.” Her appreciation of product came to the fore during the recent results announcement when Karen was able to persuade a financial journalist on the Evening Standard newspaper to focus on the nation’s adoration of pug-related products in store rather than Card Factory’s recent results (which were solid, but not as eye-catching as the image of a pug card that the newspaper reproduced!). “There is so much innovation in this industry. Just look at The Henries invitations for starters,” Karen points out, referring to the light up ticket designed by Paper Rose and produced by Windles and SoundTech. With two teenage daughters, Karen is mindful of how social media has opened up other channels of communication, but does not see this as the death knell for the card trade. “Children of today have been brought up with the pattern that when they go to birthday parties they take a birthday card. This habit will not die out, despite the growth of Facebook, which lacks the personal touch.” Leading from the front, Karen has taken direct action, starting as she means to go on: “Now, when people send me a text to wish me happy birthday or say thank you, my new ceo mantra is “Please don’t text me, send me a card!” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Innovations PG Showcases A Collection Of New Product Launches

Life Of The Party The Party Time range from Laura May is being extended with four new designs, bringing the range to 12 cards. This range features Laura’s hand painted animal characters all dressed up in party hats. All the cards are sized 5" x 7" and come wrapped with a brown ribbed envelope. Laura May Design 07462886499

Proud To Be British Apple & Clover is launching a new male birthday range with a focus on men’s hobbies for Autumn/Winter 2016. Every card in the range is individually silk-screen printed by hand, making each one completely unique and a little bit more special. There are 10 designs in the range, sized 155mm, and sold wrapped with a kraft envelope and a ’hand printed in Britain’ sticker. Apple & Clover 07790 900976

Making A Splash Tony Fernandes’ latest range, A Splash of Wine, features 12 happy guzzlers and their favourite wines in his trademark style - created with pen, ink and a splosh of… wine! The artist has of course had to try each wine to gain true Bacchanalian inspiration. The cards are all blank, sized 5” x 7” and sold wrapped with a white envelope. Who just hiccupped?! Tony Fernandes 0114 2620899

Mellow Fruitfulness Recently launched is Cherry Orchard’s Autumn/Winter Collection for 2016, presenting 46 brand new designs across three price points. With many of these stunning new designs blending a fresh contemporary look and traditional styles, this collection will enhance your display with a whole new look from the Cherry Orchard portfolio. Cherry Orchard 01684 295500

On Safari Eloise Hall has added five new designs to her Africa range, created in her distinctive delicate style with soft blue and green backgrounds. The collection is inspired by the magical time Eloise spent working in a Zimbabwean safari park soon after leaving school. There are now 20 designs is the range, sold wrapped with complementing envelopes. Eloise Hall 01963 441187

By Scott! Eco-friendly card publisher, Glebe Cottage, has launched a new collection of 24 blank cards for spring. Featuring photographic images of flowers and wildlife by founder Scott Morrish, they will brighten up those dull January days with a splash of vibrant spring colour. All the designs are sized 159mm square and printed on a 100% recycled board. Notecards and occasion cards are also available. Glebe Cottage 01626 369269 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Innovations PG Showcases A Collection Of New Product Launches

Mustn’t Grumble Following on from its popular Fairy Tails & Whiskers collection, The Grumble & Co is excited to launch its Grumbleland collection. Grumbleland is a place where little black bears take rides on dragons and a little green Pug soars the sky on her broomstick. There are 20 beautifully illustrated designs, sized 6” square, sold wrapped with kraft envelopes. The Grumble & Co. 07712 639416

Roses Are Red… Saffron has added 12 new beautiful birthday designs into its Tawny Rose range of elegant and feminine cards with beautifully illustrated florals throughout. Each design is finished with glitter and pretty coloured gems to add extra sparkle. The cards are sized 160mm and sold wrapped with crisp white envelopes. Saffron Cards 01932 888338

A Paper Affair

Give Us A... Kissmekwik is launching nine new everyday cards into its best-selling Kmk range in the lead up to Christmas. All come with an eye-wateringly bright envelope and add to the hundreds of hilarious designs currently available. Kissmekwik 01273 571757

The beautiful and elegant Celebration Geisha is one of the new designs being added to the Confetti celebration range from Tigerlily. This paper art range has new intricately created characters including toy soldiers, cowboys and Indians and a Little Flute Player, all taken from the handmade paper art of Suna Sor. These pretty paper confections are beautifully photographed, printed on textured board and sold wrapped with a colourful sticker. Tigerlily 07835 893775

One For The Pun-ters

Rightly Royal

Have you ever wondered who would win in a fight between Donald Lump and Hilary Klingon? Or who might triumph in a battle between Miley Virus and Lay-Z? If so, at last you can put these thoughts to rest with Celebrity Puns, the ultimate compendium of pop culture gone weird by cult cartoonists The Ward Brothers. With these 42 cards you'll never look at celebrities in quite the same way again... Quite Good Cards 020 77296493

The royally inspired Heritage card range from Distinkt Cards features afternoon tea, cakes and flowers that were all the craze in the C19th and which Queen Victoria famously enjoyed, giving her name to a particular sponge. The range comprises eight beautifully illustrated cards, finished with gold ink, each with an historic description on the reverse. All the cards come wrapped with complementing envelopes. Distinkt Cards 01892 511678 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


Wishing You All A

Very Happy Christmas See Our Full

Christmas Collection At 34_PG_December 2016.indd 1

Hearts Designs

Spring Fair

Hall 3 T13 +44 (0) 1424 777491

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Innovations PG Showcases A Collection Of New Product Launches

Woodland Flavours Toasted Crumpet is extending its popular collection of notecards to include Britain's favourite woodland animals. This new launch includes squirrel, hedgehog, woodpecker, badger, pheasant, robin and fox designs, perfect for any occasion. There are six cards of one design in each set, accompanied by a lightly textured white envelope and neatly held together in a cellophane envelope. Toasted Crumpet 07841 433688


Musical Treats Miko Greetings is expanding its popular range All That Jazz, featuring the exuberant musical artwork of Mik Brown. Appealing to music lovers, gardeners and all in between, colourful flowers replace musical notes in a veritable symphony of colour. There are now 10 cards in the range, sold wrapped with complementing envelopes. Miko Greetings 020 86931011

You Animal! Dialectable has launched Animalistic, a new colourful and witty range of block printed animals with bright retro backgrounds, paired with punny captions. There are eight cards in the range, sized 120mm x 170mm, and sold wrapped with ivory envelopes. Dialectable 07766 734885

Nature Inspired Natural Symmetry is a brand new range of cards from Sandscript, designed by Caroline Yates. This range is inspired by nature and given a cool contemporary twist and comprises 12 130mm square designs, printed on high quality textured card and sold wrapped with brown recycled envelopes. Sandscript Cards 07860 569140

Fresh As A Daisy Lucy Ledger Studio is launching three new Spring Seasons ranges including this whimsical Mother’s Day collection. Each image features gorgeous gatherings of nostalgia incorporating fresh bright colours and the flowers of spring. The eight cards are hand finished with a rustic button, sized 150mm square and supplied wrapped with recycled brown envelope. Lucy Ledger 0114 438 7569

The World Beckons Dandelion Stationery is expanding its Henries award-winning range, Words of Wisdom. There are 12 new designs for December, including graduation related cards, which have been in high demand during 2016. This collection now boasts over 350 designs, all hand-finished and supplied with a rustic brown kraft envelope. Dandelion Stationery 01332 695359 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


Writing and paper products have never been so popular with consumers, and are a major sales opportunity for gift and greeting retailers. Don’t miss this two day stationery extravaganza... 1000s of products...100s of the biggest and newest brands from around the world, all in one place... top designers... new ideas... keynote presentations... great networking... there’s nothing else like it.

It’s where fashion meets function.

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RegisteR foR youR fRee ticket today @StationeryBytes

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Innovations PG Showcases A Collection Of New Product Launches

Essence-tial Viewing IC&G’s beautifully brushed Essence range is expanding for the new year. Bringing you even more luxury designs and bespoke, modern content throughout. With designs featuring handpicked sentiment verses, bold finishes and luxury touches, this launch is one not to be missed! International Cards & Gifts 01202 897494

Sea Shanty

Older... But Wiser?

Vintage Poultry’s new Seabird range brings a breath of sea air into its mix of card ranges. Introducing eight stylish new birds, characters include Marie the flamboyant oystercatcher, and Captain George the nautical Kittiwake. Capturing the colours of the seaside, these cheerful new characters have stepped from sand and sea onto the pages of responsibly sourced, high quality greeting cards. Vintage Poultry 07530624769

Whatever our age, we all have day-to-day reminders that we are getting older. You Know You’re Getting Older When from The Great British Card Company provides something for everyone with 16 funny concepts relating to the ageing process. Designed and illustrated by Hannah Twose and Alex Gunn, these colourful 158mm square cards are printed on textured art board and sold with a brown ribbed envelope. The Great British Card Company 01452 888999

Brighter Days The new Soul Shine range from Planet Feel Good combines colour therapy ideas with photography, highlighting beautiful places and aspects of life on planet Earth, with the hope and intention to touch and inspire, creating an ambiance of positive well being and inspiration. There are six cards in this range, bringing the Wellbeing series to 36 designs. Planet Feel Good 07964 282 483

Taking A Shine New from The Right Lines is Shiny Happy, a modern sentiment range of six cards covering romantic, thinking of you, congratulations and friendship messages in a classy, contemporary and understated style. Using a delicate hand scripted style font, the text is all foiled on lovely uncoated board with contemporary colours pairings including navy and rose gold, aubergine with silver and duck egg with warm gold. The Right Lines 07989 414567

From The Artist New publisher Iain Welch Art and Design is launching Wonderful Wildlife, featuring Iain’s pen, ink and watercolour depictions of British wildlife, mainly popular birds. There are 20 cards in the range, all sized A6, printed on lovely matt uncoated board and sold wrapped with offwhite envelopes. Iain Welch Art and Design 07792 475136



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

Meeting Up Together Jeremy Corner, owner of greeting card publisher Blue Eyed Sun, considers the value of the GCA AGM.

Below: This year’s GCA AGM, the beautiful Grade I listed building, the Royal Horseguards Hotel. Below middle: An Edward Monkton design created by Giles Andreae and published by Really Good. Bottom left: Two of the speakers at this year’s GCA AGM, Dr Lynda Shaw (centre) with Giles Andreae (right) and Jeremy.

For years I didn’t often attend the Greeting Card Association’s AGM. Life was always so busy with the business and one thing or another that I just didn’t prioritise it. I made excuses to myself that it was too far to travel or that the speakers didn’t seem that relevant to me. In the early days I might also have felt like an outsider that didn't know anyone. These days I don’t like to miss the GCA AGM and I’ve been thinking a lot about why this is. Last month’s event was an especially good one and so I wanted to share some of my thoughts on what makes the annual meeting so special and why you might like to consider attending next year. It’s not just for card publishers, so if you’re a retailer or supplier you may also benefit from reading further.

The Venues One of the things I like most about the GCA AGMs is the wonderful locations Sharon Little (GCA’s ceo) discovers for us to all meet in. They are always an adventure in themselves. Recent venues have included the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Design Museum, the Ironmonger’s Hall and the National Space Centre. This year’s venue was the magnificent Royal Horseguards Hotel in London. It’s an incredible Grade I listed building modeled on a French Chateau and steeped in history and opulence.

The Speakers If you really want to get to the heart of what we are as an industry, whether you are a retailer, a publisher or supplier, the speakers bring it all. I love hearing from leading retailers like Timothy Melgund (Paperchase), John Procter (Scribbler) and James Daunt (Waterstones). Publishers like Andrew Brownsword (Forever Friends), and others who’ve spoken, are so inspiring to all of us. I’m always hugely grateful that they have made the time to share their stories, thoughts and experiences with us.

The Passion The passion in our unique industry is infectious. Hearing Dominique Schurman (Papyrus and Clintons) last year and more recently Giles Andreae (of Purple Ronnie, Edward Monkton and Happy Jackson fame) really get to the essence of what we do in our industry is really moving. Our industry is all about emotional connection. Cards are used to help people to feel more loved, more 38


cared for, nurtured and supported in the world. It is a privilege to be a part of this and you can feel it in the air at the AGM.

The Community What other industry has such well attended ‘break out groups’ in the afternoon where experienced publishers share advice on key subject areas like sales and marketing, product development, brokerage and business development? These are businesses helping competitors within their industry, both large and small. It really warmed my heart seeing these groups contributing to one another after lunch this year. They were all buzzing.

Contribution Just by attending the AGM you are supporting and nurturing the industry. It’s also so important that our industry leaders attend this event, speak and share their stories and vision. If greeting cards are to survive and thrive it is essential that we nurture and

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JEREMY ’S JOURNA L support new generations coming through. It’s not just about the speakers though. It was so good to see retailers like Scribbler, WHSmith, Moonpig and Paperchase among the audience. Our association is for our whole industry and it’s vital we all work together to grow it successfully.

The People Then I first attended a GCA AGM I didn’t know anyone. It’s such a welcoming industry that it’s impossible not to meet one or two new people at the event. I’ve been fortunate enough to have made some lovely friends in this wonderful industry of ours - customers, suppliers and fellow publishers. It’s so nice to catch up with many of them at the AGM and hear how they are getting on. With my exploration into social media I have been using Facebook more and more for connecting with friends in business. It’s a great way of learning a little bit more about one another and for growing relationships.

Networking It’s a word that puts the fear of God into some people and I’ve had an on/off relationship with the idea of it over the years. The truth is networks are important to all of us. The broader and more wide ranging, the more opportunities come to you. Studies have shown that it’s often the weaker links that are most valuable and bring us more opportunities. Although networking tends to be more suited to extroverts, I’d encourage everyone to talk to strangers at these events. You never know where it could lead and what opportunities may arise from a few words with someone new.

Opportunities This year’s AGM highlighted several business opportunities for Blue Eyed Sun, as I am sure it will have done for others who attended. For some it might be a conversation with a new supplier, a buyer, an agent or a broker. For others it might be hearing the ceo of Waterstones observe that the proportion of greeting card sales is lower in Waterstones than in his independent group of stores (Daunt Books), signalling a focus on growing cards sales going forward. I’m looking forward to following our own opportunities up and am sure that the business generated will have been more than worth the time spent attending the event.


Face To Face

Attending the AGM also gives me a great chance to discover and share some great greeting card focused content on my blog and social media channels. My followers on Twitter love to keep up to date with what’s going on in our industry and I get likes, retweets and shares of my photos and posts from the event, as well some insightful information from the speakers, which I can use on my blog.

There is nothing like face to face meetings to grow your presence in a marketplace. If you want to be known within the industry the AGM is a must. So many of the key players within our business attend and grow their relationships and businesses from there as a result.

Video Recently I have helped the GCA out by videoing the keynote speakers at last year’s AGM and other events. If you missed any of them before I’d encourage you to visit: user/GCAClips to watch them online. There are some fascinating insights from key industry figures. My preference is hearing the talks live and being able to ask the speakers questions or chat to them afterwards, but if you can’t fit it in for some reason, the GCA YouTube channel is a great backup plan.

Golden Nuggets Sometimes it’s one small nugget of information or a passing comment that shifts your thinking on something. This year I found it incredibly useful to hear how Nigel Willcock from Paper Rose analyses the cost of a sales agent’s visit to a shop versus a sales rep’s visit. Hearing how much this costs a company on average has shifted my perspective on field sales and the way I think about them going forward. Above: Ged Mace, president of the GCA and MD of The Art File goes through some greeting card figures from the Greeting Card Market Report. Below: Nigel Willcock (centre) from Paper Rose was one of the ‘Meet the Experts’ at the GCA AGM’s workshops; Nigel’s was on sales.

Bellwether The AGM is also a great opportunity to get a sense of where our industry is at and what to look out for on the horizon. You can see highlights from the Greeting Card Market Report which is available to buy from £500 from the GCA (it’s free for members). I find it useful just to hear first-hand from other companies as to how their businesses are doing and how they perceive the current economic climate.

Attendance Is growing What’s most exciting about the GCA AGM is that attendance is growing. More and more members are getting involved and engaging with our industry to improve it. This is great for all of us and exciting to be a part of. Blue Eyed Sun has been a member of the Greeting Card Association since 2003. Our membership has been invaluable to us over the years, not least for the support and help from its ceo Sharon Little. What I love most about our membership, besides the great deals and benefits on offer, are the events: Moments in time where we stop working in our business and work on our business. Meetups where we look at the bigger picture and think carefully about the meaning of what we are doing. Places where we can carefully consider opportunities and threats to the card industry. Events where we can grow and learn. The GCA AGM has all of this and more. I hope to see you there next year. Read more on Jeremy’s blog at PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE



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Debbie Wigglesworth’s Paper Journeys

Money Talks, But Paper Listens By paper passionista Debbie Wigglesworth, founder of The Paper Collaborative and co-founder of The Paper Library.

Coming Into The Fold

By now we will have all experienced the new £5 currency. Love it or loathe it the new polymer material replaces cotton paper and its arrival has removed a certain tactility from our everyday lives. The new polymer material is heroed for its strength, longevity, cleanliness and security, but despite all this… it's still paper for me, every time! Along with the Bank of England, the Bank of Scotland is also introducing the new material into its currency, but I am so impressed with the consultative process behind the creation of what is described as ‘The People’s Money’. The Bank of Scotland, along with design consultancy Nile, worked with businesses, service and 27 of the country’s top designers to visually capture the voice of the nation through workshops, online communities and surveys to generate ideas and ultimately the design for the new currency. I spoke to typography designer and lecturer Edwin Pickstone of Glasgow School of Art, who took part in the design process of the currency, during a recent visit to the GSA. (The Paper Library is working in collaboration with this art establishment). He explained how the new notes are being seen as ‘pocket works of art’ that encapsulate the country’s ‘natural colour and light’, as well as its achievements and important elements (such as images of local flora and fauna, literary contributions and textile history). The notes may not be paper as we know it, but the design integrity is superb. Top: Debbie with Edwin Pickstone at Glasgow School of Art Letterpress Typography studio. Left: The beautiful illustrations on the rear of the new Scottish £5 and £10 notes.

I was recently invited to join a meeting held by The British Origami Society committee to discuss plans for its momentous 50th Anniversary next year. The organisation now boasts over 700 members, all of whom share a great passion and appreciation for the art of origami. The organisation’s mission is 'to advance Above: Debbie at a recent meeting with The British Origami Society committee to discuss its public education in the art of Origami and to 50th Anniversary celebratory plans. promote the study and practice of Origami in Below: Giang Dinh’s evocative kneeling woman. education as a means of therapy’. The organisation will host its bi-centenary celebration at a three day event on 1-3 September 2017 at the Crown Plaza, Stratford Upon Avon. (Members and non-members are welcome to purchase tickets to the event). Leading international origamists, include Tomoko Fuse (from Japan), Paul Jackson (UK born, now living in Israel), Giang Dinh (Vietnam now living in USA) and Robert Lang, from the USA, will be be in attendance, which promises to be a world class event.

Figuratively Speaking Vietnam-born Virginian architect and origami expert, Giang Dinh (one of the international artists who will be presenting at the BOS 50th anniversary event), has been impressing audiences in America with one of his latest works. On view as part of the Stories in Paper exhibition at the Japan Information and Culture Centre is his Figure#1 of a kneeling woman with her back to the viewer which demonstrates beautifully the art of wet folding, complemented by a tiny dry folded red bird. The works of arts are both striking yet elegantly understated and show how emotive paper folding can be.

Wing And A Prayer Can the ancient art of paper folding save six million migratory birds? Each year millions of birds flock to Donana National Park in Spain (including the Imperial Eagle) relying on its vast wetland to survive the epic journey across Europe. In a quest to halt the Spanish government's plans to dredge the river that surrounds Above: Get paper folding to save millions the national park and put six million birds at risk, WWF- of birds’ natural habitat. Spain has been urging paper folders across the globe to send their creations of birds via social media platforms, to help reverse the plan. Any shape or size of origami bird could be made and all will be featured in an art installation in Madrid to help save the treasured world heritage site. As PG went to press photos of the creations were being sent to #origamimigration before the deadline of Dec 1. To be part of the installation send your creation to Freepost RTGL-XRZUHHEZ, WWF-UK, The Living Planet Centre, Brewery Road, Woking, GU21 4LL.

If you are interested in any of the features in Paper Journeys contact Debbie Wigglesworth email or call Debbie on 07718619521. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE



28th January 2017

Cards of Culture View and buy online at Contact us for a full catalogue of designs 0161 641 0655 or sales@d 135 Heaton Moor Rd | Stockport SK4 4HY /DavoraGreetingCards

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Retailer Face To Face

The Sentiment

Strategy The last couple of months have been especially significant for Tesco. Yes, there has been the Marmite controversy, yes its head honcho has come out with a solid six-point strategy to regain ground for the supermarket giant, but the UK’s largest retailer has also put its cards ‘on the table’ by unveiling the first tranche of its flagship ‘card shops within a shop’ as part of a 19 store trial, which is expected to be rolled out to more of the estate over the coming years. PG went card shopping with Anne Borrett, Tesco’s head of buying for Papershop, and Hallmark’s Angela Anderson, who manages the category manager partnership, to see it in action. As the UK’s largest retailer, Tesco touches millions of people’s lives every single day, but it has high aspirations to play a stronger role in the area which best chronicles life’s events – greeting cards. “This is a hugely significant development, not just for Tesco and Hallmark but for all of the publishers whose cards we broker in as well as for the industry as a whole as it raises the profile of greeting cards in the UK’s biggest retailer. We are aiming high!” said Angela Anderson, who heads up the Hallmark team that took over the category management of Tesco’s greeting card department officially just over a year ago. There has been some mighty impressive ‘secret squirrel’ behind the scenes work to develop a totally new look, which has been delivered instore in a number of formats over the last couple on months. It is certainly a mighty undertaking for both Tesco and Hallmark.

All the 19 Tesco stores who collectively form the trial have now been transformed with the radical new look which includes a more open layout, new fixturing, greater visibility of individual card designs, fresher photographic point of sale, affiliated product displays and an altogether more engaging feel to the department. Gone is the intimidating vast ‘sea’ of cards, in its place a ‘wardrobe approach’ to break up the bays which encourages shoppers to browse the displays, find what they like and then linger longer to find more. Where the new look really comes into its own is in the larger flagships, with the Peterborough Tesco Extra store being the first

Above: The Tesco Extra store in Peterborough was the first large flagship to showcase the new look in all its glory. Below: (left) Tesco’s head of buying for Papershop, Anne Borrett, with Hallmark’s Angela Anderson, who heads up the Tesco team for the publisher in the Waltham Abbey store, one of the first stores involved in the trial. Below right: Hugsworth Bear is a Tesco exclusive character designed by Hallmark. Bottom left: The addition of ‘wardrobe’ bays add interest to the department and encourage browsing.

to christen an airy woodenfloored distinct department concept, with curated ‘table collections’ of gifts and party items enticing shoppers in, while a giftwrappings ‘boutique’ incorporating easy pick acrylic ‘dumpbins’ of rollwrap, topped by accessories as well as an extensive party area, completing this ‘one stop shop’. Certainly there is a lot riding on this, not just for Tesco, Hallmark and the 36 publishers whose products are being brokered in. Looking holistically this will also have a bearing on the greeting card industry at large. Before Card Factory started its march, Tesco was after all the largest greeting card retailer in the UK. Anne Borrett, head of buying at Tesco’s Papershop is not focused on regaining this prize. Instead, echoing the mantra laid out by Tesco boss Dave Lewis, she sees the ultimate aim to ‘serve Britain’s shoppers a little better every day’. “We see it as our job, working in partnership with Hallmark and our brokered publishers, to encourage our customers to have a look at what we have on offer while PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


15—17 January 2017 Olympia, London



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Retailer Face To Face

ensuring we have a product mix to exceed their expectations, ” said Anne. ‘We believe that by doing a much better job for our customers on how the card department looks and feels as well as continuing to improve the product mix, they will respond,” she added. Although still very early days of the trial, Anne’s knowing smile suggests that sales are ahead of expectations. Having spent 20 years with Tesco, Anne has a pretty good reading of the supermarket’s customers’ buying habits, no stranger to delving deep into the wealth of data gathered through its Tesco Clubcard and till transactions. This stood her in good stead when she moved across to the Papershop role 17 months ago to build her new team, taking up the baton from Angela Anderson, who moved to Hallmark to provide continuity from the supplier side when the publisher won the contract to supply the supermarket in May 2015. “Because what we are doing is very different to what has gone before at Tesco, it has been beneficial to have a new team on

board who had no preconceptions and were excited by the huge task ahead,” she said, paying tribute to her team mates Claire Joines, project manager; Sara Gibson, buying manager and Katy Strachan, head of merchandising. “Greeting cards are seen as very important to Tesco, hence the reason this major project has received such support right from the top, from our senior management team,” Anne explains. “The potential is huge, but then so are the challenges. Our customers are currently buying the vast majority of their greeting cards from elsewhere.” The new fixtures have fewer tiers, which means that there is much improved visibility of each design. “We have also halved the number of different sizes of cards to avoid a jagged ‘New York skyline’ effect, which is so off-putting to customers navigating the racks. We have also simplified the pricing, which not only eases the card selection but also builds customer trust,” explains Angela.

Left: Striking photographic PoS, wooden flooring plus feature displays help to create an airy, inviting look and feel to the new ‘card shops’ in Tesco. Below left: The giftwrappings selection incorporates flatwrap, accessories as well as easy to shop dumpbins for roll wrap.

In keeping with the three-pronged pricing strategy across the whole of Tesco to offer ‘good’, ‘better’, ‘best’ options, the Tesco and Hallmark team have crafted a greeting card portfolio to span this trio of needs, under the banners of ‘essentials’, ‘enhancements’ and ‘exceptionals’. While there is a great diversity in the size of the departments, from a small potent selection in the Tesco Metro right up to the flagships (which can accommodate 2,200 card designs), having the right ‘ingredients’ in the mix is imperative. Tesco’s own brand cards (which on average account for 33% of the displays) cover the bulk of the ‘essential’ buys), a Hallmark branded selection (which account for 39% of the designs) are seen as ‘enhancement’ purchases, while the myriad of publishers which are brokered in by Hallmark (and account for 28% of designs), make up the ‘exceptionals’.

“While statistically we would sell more ‘essentials’ and ‘enhancements’, the ‘exceptionals’ that our brokers provide really do add to the selection and satisfy customers’ special requirements,” says Anne. Following swiftly on from the installation of the new concept into the 19 stores selected for the trial, this month (December) marks the start of a rolling programme that will see 65% of the card designs being refreshed and replaced. This will help ensure that the product selection is even more in tune with customers’ needs and will maintain the interest of more frequent shoppers to the department. As Anne sums up: “Our customers trust us, what we want them to do is not only trust us, but find shopping for their cards at Tesco not only convenient but more enjoyable, so much so that they buy more and more of their cards from us.” With 20 million customers coming through Tesco’s stores every week, that definitely is a sentiment strategy worth pursuing.

Brokers meeting Friday 30 September 2016 was a big day for Hallmark and Tesco as it marked the first anniversary of the completion of the brokerage transition of 36 publishers to Hallmark. To mark the occasion, Hallmark hosted its third Tesco Publisher Seminar, led by Steve Wright (Hallmark’s ceo) and John Driscoll, Tesco’s category director. Commenting, Zoe Proctor, brokerage manager, said: “These events are a great platform for two way communication; to celebrate our successes and share our future strategies. Since the transition we have seen positive sales and on shelf availability and the level of support and commitment we have received from Tesco and our publisher base has been outstanding.” John Driscoll emphasised the significance of delivering a truly “shopper centric proposition” to existing Tesco customers, while highlighting the further potential reach with the advocacy of Tesco colleagues and supply partners.

Top: Hallmark’s ceo Steve Wright in full flow at the brokers meeting. Above: Some 70 publisher representatives attended the meeting. Left Tesco’s category director John Driscoll, shared insights and vision at the meeting.



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


Kelly Angelovic When working on a project that I’m really excited about I get this buzz... an electric current of excitement that lights me up from head to toe. Being an illustrator makes my soul sparkle. I have always been creative my mother was a graphic designer so I grew up in a household where artistic endeavors were encouraged. At the University of Colorado, I majored in business. A few years after graduating - finally heeding my own creative call - my husband and I moved from Colorado to Seattle, and I went back to school to study Graphic Design at the School of Visual Concepts. Two years later, we returned to Boulder. My creative studio was established in 2008, with a focus on graphic design. In 2011, my daughter Hazel was born and I started illustrating while she napped. A new world opened up and I fell head-over-heals in love with the art of image making.


Specialising in surface pattern design, lettering and illustration, I am grateful every day (even the hard ones!) to have the opportunity to follow the whispers (and bellows) of my heart and soul. When I'm not playing in my studio, I can often be found enjoying all that Colorado has to offer with my family. ● Kelly’s Agent: Jennifer Nelson ● Email: jennifer@jennifer-nelson- ● Web: ● Tel: 781-643-2002

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


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ART SOURCE Catherine Rowe

I am an artist based in Arundel, West Sussex, studying illustration at Cambridge Art School. My favourite subjects to illustrate are animals and wildlife. Although I love engraving and relief printing, I discovered the medium of scraperboard creates similar results with a much faster and less messy process. Scraperboard is card with a fine layer of chalk coated in (dried) black Indian ink – it is best known as the type with a multicoloured metallic layer under the ink used on children’s paint by number style activities. It’s rarely used professionally nowadays. Every original I produce is always black and white, which is how I kept things for a while. The response to my black and white work was good but it wasn’t until I started making fully coloured images that I knew I had found the perfect way of working. I now start with sketches, moving to black and white scraperboards, which are then carefully coloured using digital media. Graduating in 2013, my first job was as a jewellery designer for Timothy Roe Fine Jewellery but I knew it wasn’t where my passions lie. I now divide my time between being a professional freelance artist represented by Yellow House Art Licensing and working at the lifestyle store Sparks Yard in Arundel. ● Sue or Jehane at Yellow House Art Licensing ● Email: ● Web:

Carly Gledhill I am a British designer, and having lived in London for the past few years I have recently moved back to the North of England to the bright lights of Manchester. I studied textile design and then a Masters degree in children’s book illustration. I like to combine the two, using pattern and detail with unusual colour palettes and character design. I am inspired by great children’s book illustrators, particularly those who combine a sense of humour with great storytelling skills, such as Bruno Munari, Antony Browne and Oliver Jeffers to name a few. Working in a number of mediums; watercolour, handdrawn, Photoshop and collage. My strengths are in character design, hand-drawn type and hand-drawn florals. I have designed for children’s fashion, greeting cards, stationery and picture books for clients in Europe and the US, as well as for American Greetings’ brands, Paperchase and Lilipinso, with one of my designs for Madison Park recently winning a Louie Award for greeting card design. I also have my own brand called Corby Tindersticks, designing art prints, cards and height charts, that collaborates with other brands too, including recent work with Mamas & Papas on a clothing collection. I have joined the talented artists of the Bright Agency and look forward to receiving some new challenges, pencils at the ready! ● ● ● ●

Senior Agent: Hannah Curtis Email: Web: Tel: 0207 326 9140 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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PG asked a selection of card retailers for their ‘hot’ card sellers. Cat Armitage, manager of Give The Dog A Bone, York A medium shop in a city centre with a loyal locals (age 18-35) customer. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range






Cath Tate

History Notes

Modern Toss Dean Morris Cards Brainbox Candy

General General Across The Board

Whale & Bird Jolly Awesome Ohh Deer

General Across The Board General

We just keep selling out! Pusheen is a cute cat and the cards’ captions make you smile. We have even created a Pusheen window display. Serious images of famous figures from history combined with a funny or silly caption. It’s highbrow meets lowbrow. Sending these card publishers’ designs is a physical way to send a meme; I think people enjoy watching the receiver’s reaction. Quirky illustration - rather than photography - is on trend and customers are loving them.


Above: Cute with funny cat thoughts, Pusheen from Hype. Right: The queen of quirkiness, Gemma Correll published by Ohh Deer.

Michelle Goring, owner of Forget Me Not, Thrapston, Northamptonshire A medium shop in a market town with a lovely loyal locals customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Carlton (UKG)



Paper House (GBCC)

Eric The Penguin







Noel Tatt


Wishing Well


Nigel Quiney Talking Pictures (Ling)

Pizazz More Than Words

East Of India

Wooden Hearts and Porcelain Coasters

Since Boofle has been refreshed with a new colour palette and new captions sales have really picked up. Easy to laugh at; tame jokes told by cute penguin, Eric. Blank cards with stunning imagery in a square format; we have the collection on a spinner. New to me, but they are selling really well. The designs’ colours and Above: A stunning design from envelopes really pop and stand out. Ling’s Beautiful range. Very intricate pen drawings in a folk art style with bright colours and gems. For us the female designs with pretty illustrations are our customers’ favourites, and the price point is very good. Attractive designs; we just sell so many of them! We’ve had quite a few new designs come through with much brighter colours that seems to have regenerated the range. Ceramic coasters and hanging wooden hearts with fun friendship and inspirational sentiments printed on them.


Handmade/ Hand-Finished Ancillary



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Jane Richardson, owner of Arteria, Lancaster A small shop in a city centre with a loyal locals and visitors customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range




Paper Statues

Stripey Cats Cards

Woodland Googly Eyes


Belle and Boo Make Everything Better

Art Angels



Across The Board


Stop The Clock

Black and Flora

Handmade/ Hand-Finished

Five Dollar Shake



Stone Marketing

Loqi bags

Striking, mostly animals, cutout cards that stand up and that have cute expressions on their faces. Simple and fresh illustrations of forest fauna with googly eyes that add character. Beautiful designs featuring drawings of children in a naïve, simple style on brown kraft board and a touch of white. The quality of the board and print, well selected artwork, the artist’s sign-off at the bottom of the design and all at a good price, this collection ticks a lot of boxes! With a good mix of contemporary and traditional artwork and illustration there are plenty of designs to choose from. Black, a male range, and Flora, a sweet floral range, have done really well for us. The company designs unique, forward thinking and ontrend cards. We have offered this publisher’s designs since we opened. We tend to stock special occasions such as wedding and milestone ages, and customers do come in and ask for them specifically. A reusable, foldable shopping bag that sells well and quickly! There’s also a wide choice of designs.


Top right: Gorgeous in its simplicity, a Belle and Boo Make Everything Better card from 1973. Right: Quire’s Paper Statues range features cut-out designs that stand up.

Janet Kneen, owner of It’s Yours Gift Shop, Brampton, Cambridgeshire A small shop in a large village with a loyal locals and online customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range






Lindsay Davison



Louise Tiler Studio Seed

General Across The Board

Handmade/ Hand-Finished

A Made Hand The Handcrafted Card Company

More Than Words Everlasting


Caroline Gardner The Art File Cinnamon Aitch

Animal Parade General Hello Sunshine

Lots of gentle, mild humour cards from which to choose. The shop is located in a sleepy village so I am aware at how far I can go with the naughty/rude jokes. A lovely local lady who creates origami dresses and hearts from maps, and places them on cards. Both of these publishers are very on-trend with their colours and illustrations, and both use beautiful finishes. These two ranges use lovely phrases and words that speak from the heart without being over sentimental. Beautiful design-led cards that appeal to yummy mummies and daddies. Above: Contemporary and on-trend designs feature in Studio Seed’s collection. Right: Designer maker Lindsay Davison, founder of paper rocks design, uses vintage map material and repurposed papers in her stylish origami designs.



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Print it. Store it. Care for it.


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On the ball comments by retailer and publisher Lynn Tait of The Lynn Tait Gallery.

Reaching New Heights So we've just had the 17th Ladder Club seminar in sunny Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex, which was a frenzy of food for thought: Ladder Club delegates bonding, breaking new ground, laughs, decision making, thought provoking... and confirmation that we are all part of this magnificent industry. It is always such a joy to meet new card publishers at the first day seminar of The Ladder Club. This year, we had more delegates than ever before (and a healthy waiting list to boot), an indication of the continuing flow of new publishers wanting to give serious consideration to entering the card industry. We capped the number of Ladder Club delegates for each day at a maximum of 55 delegates for each seminar and we sold out a month before it was held. When newbie or would-be publishers leave the seminar at the end of the first day, having been bombarded with information, they are in little doubt as to whether this industry is for them, as many come to put a tentative toe on the first rung of card publishing. If, after a full day of speakers, hand-outs and discussions in the breaks, they leave feeling that card publishing isn't for them then as organisers we feel that we have done as good a job as we can. It may well be that life for them as a card publisher is not meant to be. Over the last 30 years I have seen a lot of heartaches with start-ups card companies, and while I am of the opinion that it is wonderful to have a go and follow your dreams and not to have to live with the ‘if only’ thought, there are some scenarios where it makes better sense to be part of the industry wearing a different hat. On the very first Ladder Club seminar 17 years ago (the only one not held in my home town in Essex), Berni

Inset: This year’s Ladder Club second day attendees and industry experts. Bottom: Midlands agent, Ian Bradley.

Parker and her lovely husband John came and afterwards said "we have had a lovely time thank you but it's not for us." So they went away and designed (very successfully) for another publisher and then, a decade later started on their own. John and Berni are now very successful with Berni Parker Designs and have one of the most beautiful trade stands at fairs and a well-respected company. I think when you are entering this industry, either as a new publisher or a retailer,

you have to have a very clear idea of what you want to achieve and where you want to be in the industry. Trumpers World is another company that came to one of the very early Ladder Club seminars. Director Ray Mulry, having given up a good job and with no experience with cards wanted a change. He and his wife Jo invested a lot of money into the company, and with a sound business background they formed a partnership with two lovely artists that he met at the seminar that day. These artists had decided at the seminar that publishing wasn't for them and met Ray and Jo, and now, some 15 years later they are still going strong, with a timeless card design style that has changed very little over the years. Ray and Jo knew at the start that the business had to support a family with three teenagers. Meanwhile for others, becoming a card publisher was all about just seeing their work in print but also enjoy feeling they are a little part of this wonderful industry. For me it’s never been about the bottom line, so as long as the businesses paid off the loan on the shop and the PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE



Still with the largest range of in-stock colours 8 Sizes Permanently in Stock

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23/11/2016 11:59

53_55_Grid 22/11/2016 16:00 Page 3

LYNN’S LINES Left: Lynn addresses the Ladder Club delegates. Below right: Ladder Club speakers, Paperchase's Tish Bas (left) and Hazel Walker (centre) with publisher Rose Hill. Bottom: Jess (right) and her mum Wendy from Jessica Hogarth Designs.

warehouse (an old bakery) and it paid for my photography that was the remit. One of the prompts made on the first day of The Ladder Club is for delegates to ask themselves how big they want their business to be? I think unless you know what you are aspiring to be then you can't plan, otherwise it can consume you, stress you out and lose you a lot of money. One thing card publishing is not is a 'get rich quick scheme', and quick growth can be fraught with problems with cash flow etc. It takes a long time and is a huge learning curve. One thing you can be assured of is that you will have problems and you will make mistakes, but this goes with the territory of having your own business. To be a publisher in 2016 it has never been more competitive. Card retailers are finding it tough, and with a lot of uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the certain knock-on effects of increasing paper and print costs, becoming a card publisher is not an easy path to travel. That’s why we set up The Ladder Club all those years ago. Initially we only had a one day seminar, but then as more and more card publishers who had attended the seminar were eager for more advice when they met the second wave of ‘things you need to know about’, such as brokerage, selling in volume, litho printing, licensing, export, employing staff, premises etc, we added a 'second day' seminar. Now we get the plea for a third day! So what The Ladder Club does now is have different expert speakers at the second day seminar, covering new topics, and we are finding delegates now come back every year as we woo them with new and inspiring talks. This year, Karen Wilson and Claire Williams from Paper Salad gave an amazing first day seminar talk, delivered as 'news readers' backed up with visuals, about their escapades during the last 12 years. On the second day of The Ladder Club we were honoured to have the lovely Tish Bas and Hazel Walker from

Paperchase give us a hugely helpful and insightful talk about the multiple’s sales and card buying. For me, it just demonstrated what great opportunities this retailer gives to new publishers. This is a company with a very clear idea of it brand and its ethos. We have had incredible feedback from the Paperchase talk and are so grateful to Tish and Hazel for giving up their time (and Frances Burkle, the buying director came too which was amazing). We were also so proud to have three previous Ladder Club attendees come back and give advise to delegates on The Ladder Club’s second day. Their talks were packed with information and very professional. Having Ladder Club members ‘giving back’ follows the ethos of the group and I know their talks resonated with the new publishers and felt very inspired by them. Jess from Jessica Hogarth Designs spoke about licensing and copying, Mark Coulson from Coulson Macleod spoke about his experiences in warehousing, and Hannah and Jack Dale from Wrendale spoke about growing a successful business and all the pitfalls they have encountered. We had some other fabulous speakers this year (as well as our loyal sponsors) who all gave up their time for The Ladder Club. These included Miles Robinson from House of Cards, agent Ian Bradley, Julie Brightley from Enveco, Sharon Little of the GCA, Mark Jessett and Adejoke Adedeji from GF Smith, Simon King and Nicky Marshall from Sherwood Press, Bob and Adam Short from The Imaging Centre,

PG/PG Live's Warren Lomax, Tracey Arnaud and Gale Astley and, the ever quirky Brainbox Candy boys, Mark Williams and Ben Hickman. So a few observations from the two days seminar. One of the most important parts of The Ladder Club is the camaraderie and help and support publishers give each other. Life-long friends are made at The Ladder Club. Two girls who came on their own met up at the meal the evening before and then stayed with each other throughout the following day and have already arranged to meet up. One is a year ahead in the card publishing journey and they are already helping each other. One thing I am noticing more and more is that there are a lot of mother and daughter teams attending the seminars: Megan and Gill from Megan Claire, Jess and Wendy from

Jessica Hogarth Designs and also a daughter and daddy team, Louise and Ian from Louise Mulgrew Designs. There were additionally a number of husband and wife teams on both days and a sister act as well. Even though some of the partners didn't come, they said they had the full support from them, which is essential. I felt so humbled this year listening to another round of exhilarating speakers and sponsors, seeing them give so much to the attendees. A big thank you to PG’s Jakki Brown and her team for taking The Ladder Club to new heights but still retaining the original ethos from all those years ago. l While holding The Ladder Club, attendees and speakers gave £250 in donations and sales of ‘Team Granny’ merchandise for the cancer charity Myeloma UK. Thank you one and all. I LOVE this industry! PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


Product Directory December 2016_NEW 23/11/2016 17:45 Page 56




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Product Directory December 2016_NEW 23/11/2016 17:45 Page 57




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PProducts: roducts: Everyday Everyday cards cards - birthday, birthday, blank blank & occasions, occasions, charity ch harity Christmas Christmas cards, bags, wrap, b ags, ttissue, issue, rribbon, ibbon, cards, gift gift wrap, hankies, hankies, napkins, napkins, paper paper plate, plate, candles, candles, placemats, placemats, crackers,invitations, crackers,invitations, placecards, placecards, notecards,diaries, notecards,diaries, address books, address b ooks, jjournals, ournals, advent advent calendars calendars and and bridge bridge gifts. gifts.

Method M ethod of of Sale: Sale: D Direct irect to to Retail Retail

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


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Product Directory December 2016_NEW 23/11/2016 17:46 Page 58







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

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


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

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M ETHOD OF SALE Direct to Retail

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Glick, Unit 1 Allenby House, European Industrial Park, Knowles Lane, Bradford BD4 9AB Tel: 01274 655980 email:

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Product Directory December 2016_NEW 23/11/2016 17:46 Page 59



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




60 years

Yo our N Number b O One S Supplier li off Numerals, Name, Relation & Age Labels for Greetings Cards. Huge selection with immediate deliveryy. Buy direct or from your wholesalerr. Listan Labels 3 Isis Court, Wyndyke Furlong, Abingdon Business Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire Oxfordshire OX1 5JN Tel Tel e 01235 465489 Fax 01235 532118

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

Products: Greetings cards for all occasions, Christmas and Spring Seasons cards, gift wrap and bags, charity cards, social stationery. Bespoke service for charities and other fundraisers. Ling Design Ltd 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent TN12 6BE Tel: 01892 838574

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


For further details please get in touch.

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Product Directory December 2016_NEW 23/11/2016 17:46 Page 60




Products An exciting and innovative range of quality Birthday, relations, special occasions, art and humorous greeting cards. Full range of Christmas and Spring Seasons merchandise. Comprehensive collection of handmade cards. Pizazz gifts.

Brand Names Pizazz, Pizazz Gallery, Say the Word, Carousel, Meadow Sweet, R&R for Men, What a Picture! Cloudesley House • Shire Hill Saffron Walden • CB11 3FB T: 01799 520200 F: 01799 520100

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

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. THAT’S WHY WE’RE ORIGINAL!

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Three great publishers, all under one roof, contemporary, graphic, humour, cute and photographic ranges with a fantastic range of occasions and relations cards. Key brands: V&A, Portobello, Spirit, Daisy Patch, Sugar Pips, Marzipan Toybox, Born to Stitch, Idols, Life, Sweet Tooth, Brights. Method of sale: Direct to retail, Export and Licensing. Riverside House, Centurion Way, Riverside Business Park, Nottingham NG2 1RW Tel: 0115 986 0115 Fax: 0115 986 0116 Email: Web:

paperlink... pap erlink... the home of fa fabulous bulous cards!

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Suppliers of humorous & contemporary Birthday, Christmas, Spring Seasons, Occasions & Relations cards Brands include: Bottomline, Bestie, Wrinklies, Hat Trick, Route 69, Bangers & Flash, Humdingers, Lacie, Sassy, Stay Wonky, Patisserie, Tinklers, Made With Love, and many many more! Method of Sale: Direct P Paperlinkcards aperlinkcards @paperlinkcards @ paperlinkcards



D e s i g n - l e d S t a t i o n e r y, G i f t s , Calendars, Diaries and Cards Brands Laura Ashley, Roald Dahl, Lily & Val, Vintage Ladybird, Caroline Gardner, Monsoon, Born to Shop, Flash Gordon, Boofle and many more. Our In-house design studio and established supply chain enables us to offer bespoke services. tel: +44 (0) 1225 329494 email: website:


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

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

Product Directory December 2016_NEW 23/11/2016 17:48 Page 61






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

Brands: Designer Collection, Feelings, Impressions, Inspirations, In Touch, Isabel’s Garden, Paper Wishes, Planet Happy.

Method of sale: Wholesale Distributors

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

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


To appear in the Product Directories simply contact

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The UK’s leading publisher of highest quality handmade Greetings Cards. Products: Greetings cards for all occasions, Christmas and Spring Seasons. Spinners and other retail displays available. Talking Pictures Cards Ltd 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent, TN12 6BE

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Product Directory December 2016_NEW 23/11/2016 17:48 Page 62





Market Leaders in


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Wholesale Directory December 2016_whole sale dirSeptember 2004 23/11/2016 16:34 Page 63







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


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SUMAN BROS Stationery and greeting card wholesaler

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



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Polypropylene & biodegradable bag specialists


Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hotfoiling also available

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




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

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Specialist UK and Global manufacturer for the greeting card industry To discuss how we could work with you contact Simon King Tel: 0115 928 7766 Email: The Pr int Works Colville Road, Acton London W3 8BL tel 020 8993 5160

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LB Warehousing (Women in Transport & Logistics Finalist)

S AME DAY order turnaround A CCURATE fulfilment and same day turn round V ALUE ADDED only as you sell the product E XCLUSIVELY Greeting Cards D EDICATED Account Managers With an excellent reputation we work as an integral part of your TEAM bringing much more than fulfilment. Our costing structure is SIMPLE and TRANSPARENT. We carry out ALL aspects of hand finishing and assembly and provide whatever ADDITIONAL services YOU need Our select team of outworkers carefully hand wrap any size or format of cards urgently, OVERNIGHT!

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

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We CARE about your product as much as you do. Attention to detail, QC Issues and IT supported by a comprehensive paper trail for all stock movements are our hallmarks. Our CAN DO approach means that WE solve your problems. Outsourcing your warehousing operation releases your time to CREATE/MARKET/SELL/ MANAGE/GROW THE BUSINESS YOUR BUSINESS IS OUR BUSINESS, please visit our web site and see what OUR customers say, then to find out more call Lynda Raymond and perhaps we can arrange to meet and discuss your needs I am sure that we can help. LB Warehousing, Units 1, 2 &3 Wayside Warehouses, Toseland, Near St. Neots, Cambridgeshire. PE19 6RX Tel 01480 880800 Fax 01480880900 Mobile 07889 399341


The Professional and Caring Approach..

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Home of the Wire Spinner Stand ... to 3rd Party Warehouse, Distribution and Hand Finishing needs. With over 25 years experience in the Greeting Card and Gift Industry, we specialise in providing a very fast yet efficient and friendly service to all of our customers. Our close links to the port of Felixstowe allowing excellent access for both UK and overseas business.

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

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