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Leader

On The Cards “It’s all about the environment, it’s so important,” Mark Janson-Smith, co-owner of Postmark said to me when we bumped into each other at Top Drawer. I agreed with him and immediately launched into how the industry was on the verge of a major breakthrough which will see biodegradable glitter being available to publishers; that GFSmith’s new Extract board (made from upcycled used coffee cups) was a short-term solution to a bigger issue that was being addressed and that I had been assured that foiling on cards was completely recyclable and how like everyone else I still had the poignant words of Sir David Attenborough ringing in my ears about how “we have a responsibility to care for our blue planet. The future of humanity, and indeed all of life on Earth, now depends on us.” Then it was his turn to speak… “I was actually referring to the importance of creating an engaging store environment, not the planet! It doesn’t matter how large or small a shop is, the customer now expects to be inspired, feel special, as well as made to feel they belong in your store. Getting that right will be a challenge, but more within our grasp than sorting out global warming overnight, I grant you!” he quipped. We both had a laugh and agreed that there was something of a crossover, whether the ‘environment’ is contained within the four walls of a shop unit or the entire universe. As individuals and businesses we can only do so much, but now every little bit contributes to the greater good. The greeting card industry already has Top: Having appeared on Dragons’ Den on Boxing Day, Thortful founder, Andy Pearce allowed PG’s Jakki Brown into the online operator’s ‘den’ on London’s Strand. Above right: Glebe Cottage’s Sue Morrish started the ball rolling in 2015 when she started using board made from upcycled coffee cups by Lake District papermarkers, James Cropper. Left: PG’s Gale Astley had a ‘purrfect’ time at Top Drawer where she met Hello Kitty on the Jolly Awesome stand.

www.max-publishing.co.uk

EXHIBITIONS

strong environmental credentials, just as it already has retailers who create engaging places for customers to buy their cards. This year, like never before, pressure will be on at the macro and micro levels. It is reassuring to hear how trade suppliers - be it paper companies, printers or finishing specialists - are all going full-pelt to come up with ways of further improving the sector’s environmental track record, just as retailers, like Mark, are all considering ways of breathing fresh ‘oxygen’ into greeting card retailing. There will certainly be lots of ‘hot air’ at the NEC shortly, as publishers and retailers catch up at Spring Fair to mull over how Christmas went, the hunch about Valentine’s Day, who’s doing what to whom, and generally being in the trade fair ‘bubble’. And talking of bubbles, we’ll be there too, serving up a fair few glasses of fizzy stuff on our stand (Hall 3 L46) at the end of each day (from 5.50pm). Pop into our ‘environment’ for a chat!

ISSN 2515-8597

THE HOME OF MARKET LEADING TRADE MAGAZINES

@Prog_Greetings

THE HOME OF MARKET LEADING TRADE AWARDS

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

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Contents

What’s Inside With This Issue:

63

FOCUS ON CALENDARS

69 9-25

63-67

News

International Industry Focus

93-95

Kin-dred Spirits – Families Working Together

27-29

Over The Counter With David Robertson

69-71

31-33

73-75

Cardsharp

A Signature Touch With Rachel Hare

Shops Retailers Love

97-119

Spring Fair Innovations 121-125

Art Library Experts’ 2018 Trend Forecasts

35

The Paper Passions Of Debbie Wigglesworth

77-79

37-41

81-83

Card Retailers’ Viewpoints On Christmas 2017

A Helping Hand From Noel Tatt

43-51

85-87

The Retail Barometer Findings

In Conversation With... Thortful

53-57

89-91

The State Of The Nation

The Bonuses Of Diversifying Into Greeting Cards

Environmental Matters

127-128

What’s Hot? 130-142

Classified 143

Appointments

123

59-61

Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner’s Journal Progressive Greetings is a monthly business magazine. SUBSCRIPTIONS:

UK subscription:

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

Warren Lomax

Gale Astley

Michelle Board

Editor

Advertisement Director

Deputy Editor

News Editor

jw@max-publishing.co.uk

warren@max-publishing.co.uk

galea@max-publishing.co.uk

michelleb@max-publishing.co.uk

Copyright© 2017. 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.

SUBSCRIPTIONS ENQUIRES: maxsubscriptions@marketingreinforcements.co.uk Tel: 020 8943 9541

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

PG is the official magazine for the Greeting Card Association GCA: Sharon Little 020 7619 0396 Email: gca@max-publishing.co.uk www.greetingcardassociation.org.uk PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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NEWS TOP STORY

Santa Did Deliver For Most Single card sales up, but boxes generally declined Christmas was a mixed bag for all retailers – big and small – as footfall declined and customers left Christmas shopping to the last possible minute, but most fared OK in the end. Continuing the trend of the last few years, sales of single Christmas cards did well, while boxed cards declined. But as in most things in life and business, there were exceptions. John Lewis’ greeting card (and stationery) buyer Lisa Rutherford summed up: “It’s tough out there and we felt that the run up to Christmas was slow, but when our customers were ready they certainly went for it.” However, John Lewis’ sales of single Christmas cards ended up 7% down on last year, although its sales of boxed Christmas cards were up 4%.

Over at Paperchase, buyer Hazel Walker admitted, “Christmas kept us on our toes.” Sales started off well, but the warmer weather and Black Friday meant customers held back on purchasing in November. “However in December we saw a significant step up with strong sales on our packaged lines, as well as singles, and we ended up selling as many units as last year,” Hazel confirmed. At Sainsbury’s, card and wrap buyer Carly Pearson was pleased with the grocer’s cards and wrap performance, which “was in line with our expectations.” She continued: “It was great to see our customers trading into the newness that we offered which has given us some really good learnings to be brave and

continue to push ourselves on design for the next Christmas season.” Sales ended on par with last year for department store Barkers Northallerton. Card buyer, Sarah Lishman, commented: “Our boxed cards sales were down, but single card sales were up. Customers were buying top-end boxes, with Five Dollar, Belly Button and The Art File all doing really well. The new Noel Tatt boxes were very strong for us too – great quality and design at a good price point.” The drop in footfall definitely had an impact, as Scribbler co-owners John and Jennie Procter commented: “Footfall in major centres declined, as reported in the press. The high street was heavily discounted and, as a direct result, consumers were primarily interested in ‘sale’ items.” Summarising the sales patterns in Scribbler stores, they said: “Packs continued to decline and Christmas singles held their own.” While this resulted in Scribbler’s “top line sales being down as we sold a greater proportion of own brand cards, it is looking as if our bottom line improved.” How did Christmas fare for indies? Find out in Viewpoints on page 37 to 41. Top: Paperchase’s Tottenham Court Road store with a confident Christmas window. Above left: Boxed cards on display in a John Lewis Christmas shop. Above: Belly Button cards sold well for Barkers Northallerton.

Quotable marks its 25th anniversary Quotable, a pioneer publisher of quotation-based greeting cards, is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018. Founded in New York by Gillian Simon and Matt Fernandes-Vogel, Quotable first introduced its signature black and white cards to the market in 1993. These initial 48 cards not only defined the company, they inspired a completely new message-driven market within the industry. Today, Quotable’s iconic designs can be found on cards as well as on a wide range of gift products, including magnets, mugs, dishes, pouches, candles, pins, and more. In honour of its 25th year, Quotable is re-introducing two card favourites from the premier batch, including the very first Quotable card. Above: Quotable was ahead of the curve on modern sentiment cards.

BrownTrout relaunches Graphique de France Last year BrownTrout branched out into the world of everyday stationery in conjunction with Graphique de France, but it is now ramping up its plans with a relaunch, that will be evident on its stand at Spring Fair in Birmingham. “In the initial meeting with Graphique in the States, we talked about BrownTrout taking over the European distribution of calendars and diaries,” says BrownTrout’s managing director, Jack Straw. “But at the same meeting it became apparent that Graphique’s current distribution arrangement for its stationery lines was not working out for the company and we were asked if we would be prepared to take that over as well. The answer was a resounding ‘yes’. Knowing the strength of the product line, particularly in the US, it was an easy decision to make.” BrownTrout has relaunched Graphique with a range of over 250 items, including fashion journals, tumblers, glitter pens, list pads and a Christmas collection of tags and gift bags. There will be a follow up injection of new product in the second half of 2018 and regular releases thereafter. Above: Tumblers are new to the Graphique range.

Taking a gamble with Cardgains Visitors to Cardgains Village in the middle of the Greetings and Gift Hall at Spring Fair may just walk away with a little something extra. Cardgains will have a specially designed roulette table featuring several suppliers where Cardgains members can win free product money-off vouchers to be used against orders from the participating suppliers. Every Cardgains member registering on the Village will be allowed three spins of the wheel. All winning spins will receive a special ‘winner chip’ which they can then visit the relevant supplier to claim their prize. Non-Cardgains guests can be escorted to the table by a supplier and can have a fun spin. If the guest lands on 0 they will get a bottle of prosecco. The roulette wheel promotion will run Sunday to Wednesday from 9am until 5pm. Above: Cardgains’ joint md Chris Dyson is ready to welcome ‘spinners’ to the casino!

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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NEWS TOP STORY

Scribbler Uses Initiative Retailer speed dates Valentine’s Day As part of a new PR thrust, card retailer Scribbler has forged a relationship with dating service PlayDate London, in an inventive initiative to promote Valentine’s Day card sales. Scribbler is playing cupid by cohosting an interactive speed dating event with the award-winning matchmaking operator on Saturday 10 February (held at SAMA, a bar on London’s Southbank) which will involve ‘daters’ forging links through playing a game based on the Scribbler Valentine’s Day cards the retailer offers and then come up with new slogans for them, with prizes being tickets to a comedy club. Spearheaded by Scribbler’s new PR and social media manger, Vanessa Mallia,

this is a first in a series of events, initiatives and promotions that she explains “will promote Scribbler as well as greeting card sending in general, in a fun way.” Already attracting a fair amount of consumer press and public attention, the £25 ticket to the speed dating event will include refreshments as well as a Scribbler goody bag (containing some of the retailer’s own brand cards and gift products), plus drinks and nibbles. Above: Scribbler is co-hosting a speed dating event that will engage the participants as well as attracting media interest. Left: Scribbler is set to have some fun with its Valentine’s Day PR activity this year.

GCA supports Spring Seasons The GCA president and director of marketing of UK Greetings, Ceri Stirland, strongly urges publishers and retailers to pump up the passion for Spring Seasons: “A key concern for the industry is an increasing apathy towards seasons, especially the Spring events.” As she points out: “Seasons account for 25% of the single card Above: Valentine’s Day PoS from the GCA. market and so it’s essential that as publishers and retailers we support the seasons and continue to invest in them by producing great products that ensures everyone delivers profitable sales.” In support of this, the GCA has developed a whole suite of PoS for each of the Spring Seasons events, that are available to download from the association’s website. www.greetingcardassociation.org.uk. “The initial idea to develop the PoS came about as a result of a conversation with Cardgains’ joint md Chris Dyson and the buying group’s marketing director Penny Shaw a couple of years ago,” explains GCA ceo Sharon Little. “The UK Greetings’ studio has developed completely new and fresh designs for this year that we are delighted that retailers are downloading and using.” The artwork also incorporates the greeting card industry tagline 'Send a card, deliver a smile', which won a landslide victory at the polling station at PG Live last year. For each of the Spring Seasons there are landscape and portrait format posters across A1, A3 and A4 sizes, social media banner imagery for Facebook and Twitter as well as images for company email sign offs.

20 years of Little Dog The Little Dog, the Derby-based card and gift company founded by artist Anna Danielle and her brothers Gavin and Nathan Smith, is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018. There is an exciting collaboration with the RSPCA coming up and expansion in kitchenware for its Boy Wonder range.

Wrendale brings Sally Swannell into the fold The value of networking at industry events will be there for all to see on Wrendale Designs’ stand at Spring Fair, with the company launching a range of greeting cards, prints and stationery based featuring the artwork of illustrator Sally Swannell. Hannah Dale, founder and creative force behind Wrendale Designs reveals that it was as a result of “chatting at The Henries last year” that led to the new arrangement which sees Wrendale producing products featuring Sally’s signature style artwork under licence. Hannah said: “This was an opportunity that we felt was right for us at the moment and we see a lot of potential to expand the licence into other product areas which we will be focusing on in the short and medium terms, as well as growing our own brand.” Above: The Sally Swannell art adds a credible non-animal strand to Wrendale’s portfolio.

Fine and Dandy at Pigment Their art is revered the world over, and now both Kendra Dandy’s and Magda Archer’s work are gracing greeting cards in the UK, through licensing agreements with Pigment. “We keep trying to gradually broaden our Pigment portfolio with interesting and diverse content, great humour and trendy looks,” says Martin Powderly, creative director for Pigment. “So the art cards from Kendra Dandy, an American artist who comes from a fashion/printed textile background, and Magda Archer, who has been making uniquely witty, kitschy British Pop Art for years, really fit the bill.” The Kendra Dandy collaboration came about after Martin saw her Vans collection in the Vans store. “I thought it was really arresting and possibly relevant for cards,” says Martin. He contacted Kendra’s agent, Ian Downes (of Start Licensing) and voila! Magda Archer is one of Martin’s favourite artists and part of the British Pop Art lineage going back to Peter Blake and beyond.“I jumped at the chance to publish some of her cards,” says Martin.“The colour is outrageously strong, it’s fun, original and a bit mad. Martin continues: “It’s refreshing to look at artists outside the industry who are not preoccupied with ‘sending situations’ and all our other idiosyncrasies.” Above: Cards in the Kendra Dandy range.

Right: One of the best-selling cards from the Little Dog.

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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NEWS A caffeine fix

TOP STORY

Biodegradable Glitter On The Cards Trade suppliers rally on the environmental front With environmental issues very much front of mind - high in the public’s thoughts and the political agenda - the card industry is proving that it is not slouching on this front. Moreover, it looks set to ‘sparkle’ in a very environmentallyfriendly way, with trials underway on biodegradable glitter. Two of the industry’s specialist greeting card printers, Windles and Loxleys, are both trialling different variants of biodegradable glitter on their respective machinery, working with Powder Arts, leaders in the glitter field. While no trace of any particle of glitter from a greeting card has been found in the oceans - with the University of Plymouth major research project confirming this around British waters - coming up with a biodegradable alternative that is equally as effective is a progressive course of action. As Michelle Mills, business development manager of Windles, told PG after the first trials a few weeks ago: “It is all very well being able to affix biodegradable flitter by hand, but we need to be confident that this can be done by machine. It is all looking good though!” Meanwhile, up in Sheffield, Loxleys has also been running trials using slightly

different biodegradable glitters, the results of which are also encouraging. As Richard Bacon, md explained: “This is just part of our Loxleys4Life project. The UK greeting card industry’s environmental credentials are very good, but there is always room for improvement. It is the whole industry’s interest that we continue to raise the bar on this front.” Loxley’s trials include not only affixing the biodegradable glitter, but also encapsulating it in an environmentally friendly ‘varnish’, and with minimal loss of sparkle. Both Windles and Loxleys are working closely with Powder Arts on this. The long-established St Albans-based business (part of the Caslon) sources and mixes glitters from around the world (in 50 colours and countless mixtures). As well as being a leading supplier to the greeting card industry, it is also involved in other sectors, such as the cosmetic world and crafting trade. While Steve Davis, sales manager of Powder Arts, stresses it is still “early doors” and too soon to claim a victory with the biodegradable flitter, he confirmed that the trials were looking “positive”. “We just need to make sure that it works for the environment as well as commercially for the greeting card industry, so we can deliver a viable solution to our customers,” he said. Read more about the environmental credentials of the greeting card industry on pages 77 to 79.

BBC Breakfast, Radio 4’s Today programme, as well as national print press, gave considerable positive PR to a British made board, already being used by some card publishers, that incorporates fibres from upcycling used disposable coffee cups. The board, made in the Lake District by papermakers James Cropper, has been launched recently by GF Smith, and marketed under the Extract brand. John Haslam, md of the paper company, GF Smith said that he hopes that Extract is hopefully only a short-term solution to a current problem. “If we all stop using disposable cups then bingo, no reclaimed fibre,” says John. “We can then look at reclaiming paper plates, bowls and paper cartons.”

In the UK it is said we use 4,861 disposable paper cups a minute, which is over seven million a day, and less than one in 400 cups have been recycled. Extract came about as a result of papermill James Cropper setting up CupCycling, the world’s first recycling process dedicated to upcycling takeaway cups. Above: The window of GF Smith’s London Show Space fanfares Extract, the board made by James Cropper from fibres from upcycled used disposable coffee cups.

Top: The trials of biodegradable glitter signalled a ‘hooray’ at Windles, but it is too soon to launch at large. Left: Loxleys’ md Richard Bacon (left) and commercial director Tony Lorriman with some sample cards from its recent trials.

Helen’s natural partner Wood from the trees The serious message from Sir David Attenborough on Blue Planet II sparked greeting card publisher and designer, Linda Wood to take action and make her cards as simple for consumers to recycle as possible. As part of this she has made a commitment to abstain from including foil on her card collections in light of the differing recycling capabilities of councils. While cards with foil on are able to be recycled, with the mixed messages to consumers, as well as the various recycling policies, Linda feels there is a greater risk that these cards will go to landfill. Linda commented: “My main goal for the future is to make the planet cleaner and to hopefully try to cut down the amount of unrecyclable product our industry creates. I do feel strongly that steps should be taken to try to have as much easily recyclable product as possible for the future.” As part of her action she has decided to discontinue her foiled range of cards and associated products from now on, despite the fact that this is losing her business.

Inspired by her popular homewares collections, illustrator Helen Russell is launching a range of greeting cards with Natural Partners, publisher of quality fine art greeting cards and prints featuring original artworks by a host of talented artists and photographers. The initial range will comprise 30 cards and will be on show on Natural Partners at Spring Fair (Hall 3 Stand V31). Above: Blob Birds by Helen Russell.

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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NEWS TOP STORY

A Challenging Year For Card Indies Over a third saw a decline last year, but 40% are gearing up for growth ‘Challenging’ is the one word that independent card retailers feel best sums up the industry as they start 2018. The findings from the most recent Progressive Greetings/Cardgains Retail Barometer research survey highlight how independent card retailers were hit last year by the drop in footfall, the further shift to online shopping and continuing economic uncertainty.

How’s Bussiness Been 2017 v 2016?

The Progressive Greetings/Cardgains Retail Barometer is the only annual survey into the health and wealth of the independent card retailer. It involves the 1,000 rooftops that comprise the Cardgains membership. While 38% of indie respondents to the recent survey revealed that their business improved in 2017 (compared to the year previous), balanced against this, 35% admitted their business had experienced a

decline, with the remaining 27% managing to hold the line on their 2016 levels. Chris Dyson, joint managing director of Cardgains said: “Independent retailers are resilient, as the results of those who participated in the research show, but there is no denying that the last year has brought challenges that are difficult to counter, most notably the drop in footfall.” However, the outlook is far from gloomy for indies, with 40% gearing up for growth and almost the same percentage confident they will hold the line on 2017 levels. The research findings show that independent card retailers are embracing the challenging conditions and thinking outside the box on ways to boost business. More undertook promotional activity than ever before in the history of the Barometer. Over three quarters (77%) of respondents embraced some kind of promotional activity. This year it was loyalty-building initiatives that came out tops, beating social media into second place as the top mechanism for promotion in the last year, though many of the loyalty schemes worked in tandem with social media activity to communicate with customers in the last year. Read the more results from the Retail Barometer on pages 43 to 51. Above: Economic and political conditions are a challenge for business.

Angela Faulkner relaunches Cavania brand in the UK After being absent from the UK market for nearly eight years, Cavania returns to the market through a licensing agreement with Angela Faulkner. Cavania was the brainchild of the husband and wife duo Karen Sanders and Christian Watters in the early noughties. After the couple moved to Australia (back to Christian’s homeland) in mid-2010, it saw the brand fade in prominence in the UK, though it has been active in Oz in a number of ways. Now the brand is back, through a range of cards being published under licence by the Angela Faulkner Collection. The new arrangement kicks-off with 33 designs from Cavania’s Vintage Ages, Dimonte and Oh So Pretty ranges, with some signature butterfly cards joining in May and others to follow twice yearly. Angela Faulkner, the founder and designer behind the eponymous company, said that she had always admired Karen’s feminine art style. Angela had been on a quest to find an artist whose work would sit alongside her own to further broaden the company’s appeal when the inspiration came: “Sometimes in life you get that light bulb moment! I thought to myself, “Well, I need an artist that is in a class of her own and Cavania is no longer in the shops. I wonder if Karen would consider licensing her designs to me so I can resurrect the Cavania brand. After much detective work I managed to track her down and sent her an introductory email asking if she would be interested in an exclusive licence to reproduce her work. To my delight, she said yes!” Above: Angela Faulkner had a ‘light bulb moment’ over Cavania. Left: A typically feminine Cavania design.

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PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

Card Factory shares drop Card Factory had a tough ride in the City and financial press at the beginning of January when the announcement of its trading statement for the 11 months to 31 December 2017 period resulted in 20% being knocked off its share price. Despite the fact that Card Factory reported increased like-for-like store sales (up 2.7%) for the period and its card sales remained steady, analysts were quick to react to predict that its end of year profit figure could be down slightly to between £93 million and £95 million, from the £98.5 million the previous year. Ignoring the reasons given the exchange rate and higher wage costs rather than specific to the retailer’s operations, City analysts penalised Card Factory and the share price tumbled. The trading statement revealed Card Factory’s like-for-like sales growth (for the 11 months to 31 December) was driven primarily by lower margin non-card categories, such as gifts and dressings, but stressed that card sales were stable year on year. However, the latter point was ignored by many in the City who took any downgrading of profit estimates (unfairly) as a reflection of the greeting card industry. The Telegraph quoted analysts at Peel Hunt: “Card Factory’s Christmas trading statement is far more than a sales update: it gives us serious concerns about the state of the industry and the earnings potential of the business. The weakness in card sales at Christmas is disappointing, but worse still is the company’s view that this will persist.” Top: Card Factory’s like-for-like store sales were up 2.7%.

Avo go at a book Card publisher, Jelly Armchair has clinched a book deal with Penguin Random House for a humorous title to be published based on the avocado puns that have proved so popular on its cards. The book, to be published under the Ebury imprint in the UK and Andrews McMeel in the States, is due out in August. Above: Sisters Liz (left) and Cat Faulkner, co-founders of Jelly Armchair.


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NEWS TOP STORY

Birmingham Beckons Spring Fair 2018 Spring Fair returns to Birmingham’s NEC from 4-8 February with lots of product launches, a packed seminar programme and new features. Over the five days of the show some 60,000 visitors are expected to come through the doors of the NEC to do business with the 2,500 exhibitors. A jam-packed seminar programme includes sessions on social media, Google Analytics, digital marketing, as well as Henri Davis (of GA and Scribbler) speaking about managing stock more effectively, growing your sales and maximising profit. The majority of greeting card companies exhibiting will be in Hall 3, which will also incorporate the Cardgains Village - and PG’s stand! (L46). Returning this year is the Debut Area supported

Cardies in Gift of the Year

by the Greeting Card Association (GCA). Alison Graham, event director at Spring Fair, commented: “The greeting card industry continues to flourish and we’re seeing a huge amount of interest in greeting card products from all types of retailers as they look to increase sales by diversifying their offering.” Above: More than 600,000 people are expected at Spring Fair this year. Left: Henri Davis will speak about managing your stock more effectively, growing your sales and maximising your profit.

Prizes galore on Carte Blanche stand Visitors to the Carte Blanche stand at Spring Fair will not only get a chance to see the company’s brand new All Creatures plush concept, an updated look for Me to You and a new Tiny Tatty Teddy nursery range, but will also go into the draw to win some fantastic prizes! The biggie is a trip for two to Paris, which retailers will be entered into on ordering a Me to You plan at the show. Other prize draws include a chance to win a Longleat Safari Park weekend when retailers order a full complement of All Creatures plush, and a Red Letter Experience day when placing a card order. Visitors to the stand can see all the new gifting lines as well as card displays from BMA, Danilo, Gemma, Hotchpotch, Me to You, Wishing Well and Emotional Rescue. This will also be the first time a display of the entire Is It Art and Carte Blanche portfolios will be together, showcasing the diversity of what the CBG group can deliver. Above: A new mug from the Me to You range. Hall 3 Stand U02-V03

The Curious Inksmith gives Ling Design millennial appeal Ling Design has launched a new brand, aimed at millennials, designed by millennials. The Curious Inksmith brand debuts at Spring Fair with a collection of 48 everyday cards featuring bold, contemporary designs. Many of the publisher’s design team behind The Curious Inksmith are millennials themselves, so they know what this audience wants. “Having undertaken research into the tastes and expectations of millenials, our design team was given complete freedom to create designs that would chime with this important consumer group,” said Amelia Strawson, marketing manager of Ling Design. “Our research highlighted that millennials still want a beautiful card, but a simpler design that feels unique and special. Something they could share on Instagram was also a consideration.” The Curious Inksmith is the sixth standalone brand within the Ling portfolio. It joins Ling Design, Talking Pictures, Velvet Olive, Rainbow and on giftwrappings, Penny Kennedy, thereby covering all tastes, from contemporary and edgy to traditional. The Curious Inksmith will be on show on Ling Design’s stand at Spring Fair, Hall 3 Stand Q18-R21. Left: Some of the designers of The Curious Inksmith range.

Card publishers have done well in categories outside of the Greetings and Stationery product category in the Gift of the Year awards. Wrendale Designs is a finalist in the Fashion Accessory category with its scarves, Emma Lawrence Designs makes the finals in the Children’s Gift category with her Little Nature Explorers gifts, I Drew This is in the final four in Home for its giclee prints and Sara Miller is a finalist in two categories: Kitchen and Dining for her Portmeirion Chelsea Collection and Fashion Accessory for her silk accessories. Ilona Drew from I Drew This said, “I couldn’t stop smiling the whole day I found I was on the finalist list.” In the Greetings and Stationery category the finalists are: And Two Little Boys, Peace & Blessings, I Am A and Go Stationery. The winners of each category, as well as the overall winner, will be announced after the show closes on Sunday 4 February. Top: The Chelsea Collection from Sara Miller London for Portmeirion. Above left: One of the items from Little Nature Explorers from Emma Lawrence Designs.

Community spirit Never one to rest on her laurels, Beverley Heyworth, owner of Blue Rose Gifts & Balloons in Heywood, Greater Manchester, has been at it again, this time running a Christmas card design competition with the local schools. Children entered their designs, which were voted on before Christmas by customers. The winning design was then made into a card for customers to purchase from the shop. “It was a way of bringing new people into the store who might not have been in before,” said Beverley. “We went to the winning school and presented the winner with cards, a balloon and chocolate gift.” Beverley’s other recent claim to fame is that her sideline, a chocolate making business, Personalised Pieces of Pleasure, has resulted in her reaching the finals in the Gift of the Year competition in the Food and Drink category. Above: Some of the entries into Blue Rose’s competition.

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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NEWS NEWS IN BRIEF

TOP STORY

The Search Is On Retailers urged to enter The Retas 2018 The search is on with a vengeance to find the best greeting card retailers in the UK as The Retas 2018 greeting card retail awards are now open for entry! Now in their 13th year, The Retas are the UK’s only awards dedicated to celebrating greeting card retailing. The Retas greeting card retailer awards, organised and owned by Progressive Greetings, recognise and reward greeting card stockists right across the spectrum, from regional independents to multiples, department stores to garden centres and everything in between. The Retas also fetes employees of outstanding excellence. Entering is free and easy. Retailers should download an entry form at www.theretasawards.co.uk with the deadline being 23 March. “We urge all retailers to tell us what they have been up to in the last year – you’ve got to be in it to win it!” quipped PG’s joint md Warren Lomax. “We will also be canvassing hundreds of publishers and agents for their nominations for which retailers they feel have been the tops over the last 12 months.” The winners of The Retas 2018 will be unveiled at an oceanic-themed awards event to held at The Dorchester Hotel in London on the afternoon of Wednesday 11 July, where ‘sea-ing is believing’! Some of last year’s Retas winners share what it has meant to them to win one of these coveted awards: l “Winning our Retas award was fantastic. Hearing our name called out at the awards ceremony was an amazing

Below: Could it be you on stage this year with the award winners? Below middle: Spots’ Retas award has pride of place on the counter.

l As businesses look at innovative ways to stay ahead of the game, card publisher 1973 is now printing and distributing card designs from US brands, Egg Press and Ashkahn. Right: The new agreement with 1973 debuted at Top Drawer.

experience and provoked quite an emotional response from both of us. All the hard work was paying off. Since winning, we have appeared in our local papers and have had a huge positive response from our local community and beyond. Sales of cards have definitely increased together with footfall.” Nicky Stephenson and Claire Jarvis, The Tutbury Present Company, Tutbury, Staffs, Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - Wales and the Midlands. l “Our Retas win came at a great time for the publicity it brought the business. Both the local, national and business press all ran articles featuring the win, which was fantastic after we had invested so heavily. More important than this though was the recognition that the award brought our store and the title of Scotland’s Best Independent Card Shop of which we were are very proud. The award felt like a little gold star on what we try to do and has spurred us on to continue to contribute and hopefully innovate in the world of greeting card retailing.” David Robertson, JP Pozzi and Bijou - Buckie and Elgin, Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - Scotland.

Devine inspiration for Alison Hardcastle Alison Hardcastle, owner of the eponymous card company, has teamed up with the quirky British jewellery brand Tatty Devine to produce a range of cards. The cards combine iconic Tatty Devine pieces with Alison’s distinctive illustrative style. Tatty Devine is still owned and run by Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden, who started the business in 1996 having met at art school. They have built up a strong following for their distinctive collections of playful, fun and colourful jewellery, the majority of which is made from laser-cut acrylic. Elaborating, Alison told PG: “They felt that our styles worked well together - we have a similar design ethos of creating fun and original designs which are all about colour, art and culture. Our colour palettes and design styles marry really well too.” Left: Alison Hardcastle’s Tatty Devine range.

l A fan of Sooschichacha’s cards? Well, you can now decorate your home using wallpaper and fabric (in velvet and linen) featuring designs created by the company’s creative founder, Lucie Chatterton. Lucie has long supplied companies in the textile world with designs, but now she is launching products under her own guise, under the Lucie Chatterton brand. Above: Lucie Chatterton (standing) with agent Beth Robson with some of the new non-card products.

l American card and stationery company, Rifle Paper Co. has teamed up with toiletries brand, L’Occitane to launch a limited edition shea butter collection in time for Valentine’s Day. Featuring romantic botanical designs and fresh floral creations, the collection captures the whimsical world of Rifle Paper Co. as well as the light, beauty and richness of Provence. Right: Hand cream from the L’Occitane x Rifle Paper Co. collection.

l Having made her debut on The Apprentice judging panel last year, Henri Davis, head of buying and merchandising at Scribbler, and chairman of The Giftware Association, was invited back as a judge on finals week on the most recent series being filmed watching presentations by finalists IT recruitment consultant James White and Sarah Lynn, owner of a sweets gifting business. Above: Henri Davis on The Apprentice final (bottom right).

l Lanther Black has expanded beyond cards and is now offering coasters, badges, bookmarks and are on the verge of launching mugs too. Right: Lanther Black co-owners showcased the company’s new noncard products at Top Drawer.

l The Daily Telegraph ran a story before Christmas about the world’s tiniest Christmas card – 200 million times smaller than a stamp – being created by British scientists. The card, which is 15 microns by 20 microns, includes an intricate image of a snowman and a seasonal message despite being invisible to the naked eye.

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NEWS PEOPLE

TOP STORY

All Smiley A chat at PG Live sees Tache launch Smiley cards Among the madness of PG Live last year, Smiley’s CEO Nicolas Loufrani (son of the brand’s creator) and brand maestro Daniel McGeehan, made a beeline for the Tache Crafts’ stand to chat to the publisher’s cofounders, Pennie Bryant and Frank Nicholls. This initial chat has resulted in Tache branching out into licensing the iconic Smiley brand and producing a collection based on the distinctive yellow face! As Pennie recalls: “My initial thought when they told me who they were and their interest to collaborate with us was ‘how perfect!’ Tache is all about fun and colourful designs that are aimed to make you smile – even our slogan is ‘Designed to make you smile’. The excitement of the collaboration alone has put big smiles on our faces. How can you not want to smile all of the time when you are working with happy faces.” Working with Smiley was actually a very personal journey for Pennie, with the Smiley icons taking her back to her childhood. “Funnily enough my granny has been a Smiley fan for as long as I can remember – she even used to have a

l IC&G has appointed the highly popular Pat Teasdale as the company’s first ever full-time sales executive. Pat, who is covering the Yorkshire area, joins from UKG. Previously to this, IC&G has only served its retail customers via a team of agents. What prompted the change was agent Carol Stead’s decision to retire, after 42 years in the greeting card trade. Carol retires in June. Above: Pat Teasdale (right) has joined IC&G from UKG to take over from agent Carol Stead, who will retire in June.

Smiley keyring, which I stole and now use for my keys! ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ has been a family saying since I was little and the song with same title is one of mine and my grandad’s all-time favourites. It’s almost like this collaboration was meant to be!” Tache Crafts unveiled its new Smiley greeting card range at Top Drawer with two walls of its stand dedicated to the new range. An extension to the range will launch at PG Live on 5-6 June. Above: Pennie Bryant in Smiley mode with the new card range. Left: Tache and Smiley are the perfect marriage.

Greeting cards’ thankful task Almost half of the UK population (41%) said that a card or a letter was the best way to say thank you, with even more people saying they would rather receive no thanks at all than a digital thank you. These findings came to light following a research project commissioned by Clintons after Christmas to see how our habits on sending thanks have changed. Respondents are seemingly divided on the best expression of thanks. Some 34% of respondents said that they were most happy with a call or thanks in person, while 41% preferred to receive a greeting card or short letter. The remaining 25% said that they’d be happy with an email or text. It’s a trend echoed with indie retailers as well, with Emma Rogers, co-owner of Above: A Cherry Orchard thank you design. Special Occasions in Castle Bromwich, noticing that “we always have a good sell through for thank you cards whatever the time of year, but post-Christmas there is a higher demand for them, and this year’s pattern, thankfully, continues what has happened for many years.” Jayne Griffiths, owner of Sentiments in Whitchurch, definitely agrees with the Clintons’ research, but also adds that, “the card companies are missing a trick by not supplying packs of thank you cards specifically referring to Christmas. That would be terrific, maybe they should encompass them into their Christmas packages.” At Paper Salad the design team is constantly designing new thank you cards, with designer Jess Hadfield saying: “There’s definitely a rise on thank you cards, we’ve noticed that people seem to stock up on them in January. Our mini thank you packs are also very popular, we’re constantly designing new ones.” Helen Pallen, marketing manager at Cherry Orchard, added: “We’ve found that thank you cards are still strong sellers for us, after Christmas, but also throughout the year. It’s nice to think that parents continue to encourage children to send thank you cards and it’s so lovely to see the cards in pride of place when you visit friends and relatives.”

l Having been colleagues many moons ago at Athena and The Art Group, Stuart Williams is back working with ArtPress’ Janie Markham (and her codirectors Linzi Russell-Watson and Anne Vine) as he has become the export manager for the card publisher. Above: Stuart Williams and Janie Markham.

l Lizzie Batchelar (right) has been promoted to assistant buyer for stationery at John Lewis, taking over from Amie Scull who is on a sabbatical. Prior to this, Lizzie was the buying assistant for stationery. Her remit is cards, wrap and seasonal eventing (excluding Christmas). Lizzie has worked for John Lewis for three years and before this she worked for Jamie Oliver as part of his marketing team. l John Athwal (right), managing director of Premier Decorations, received an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for his services to business and charity. Commenting, John says: “Receiving an OBE in the Queen’s 2018 New Years Honours list is a fantastic tribute and I am overwhelmed to have been recognised and nominated by colleagues and peers.” l Industry stalwart, Mike Pauley (right) has joined Yorkshire Envelopes (part of the Pukka group) to work with Peter Rae to further develop the company’s envelope business with greeting card publishers. Mike previously worked for Regent Envelopes and prior to that, was with Hallmark. l Vanessa Mellia (right) has joined Scribbler in a new post of PR and social media manager. Vanessa brings with her a wealth of experience hones during her time in PR, working for a social agency as well as heading up 10,000 people events at the Emirates stadium. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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OVER THE COUNTER

Relax,

Breathe,

Believe Independent card and gift retailer, David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi in Scotland, takes a positive outlook and recommends to relax, breathe and believe in what you are trying to achieve for 2018. Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change… new years are usually about resolutions and promises to be fitter, faster, fairer, more fun, but in the end we usually fall (by the wayside) or fail (miserably) or forget (the way we felt) and end up in the same habits. Resolutions are often futile. Last year was a huge year for me personally as we completely changed our original store, Pozzi. Those three months of renovation really shaped and made 2017 a difficult one for me – the pressure on cash flow, the cost of rebranding and the difficulty of changing a mainstay of a small community - I heard the phrase “you have ruined Pozzis” on

more than one occasion. This takes its toll, and I have to admit that more than once I thought that maybe I had done the wrong thing. At the end of 2017 I wrote about how tough it was and how retail is changing behind all recognition. I spoke about ‘a gamble’ and perhaps hinted that I was looking for an out. In some ways I was maybe a bit more negative than I intended, and looking back, it didn’t feel like me. Negativity in life, or indeed anything, never gets you very far, and this month, with Spring Fair looming, I decided to look at how I can push forward positively in what will be our 30th year in business. Three decades of continuous, successful trading since its original inception 100 years ago. Previously, I wondered if we would see the likes of M&S and other long-standing businesses in the future or whether it would be lots of shooting star companies - burn bright for a short period of time and then disappear. The truth of the matter is that there have always been both of these types of companies, and there always will be. It is just in this modern day world of instant news that we know so much more of what is going on. Longevity in business, while reasonably regular, is not something that is usually associated with football management. Interestingly enough, Arsene Wenger has just become the longest serving manager in Premier League history having surpassed Alex Ferguson’s record. When asked about his longevity Arsene trotted out the usual ‘thick skin, work ethic, self-belief, positivity’ speech that

Above: Greet the new year with a positive state of mind. Below: Arsene Wenger is the longest serving football manager in Premier League history. Below left: David outside his newly refurbished Pozzi store.

I always believe are at the root of success, but he also pointed to something dramatic that has changed over his last 21 years in charge. Our society is now more demanding and more opinionated than at any time. The rise of the internet and access to vast amounts of information, podcasts, programmes and some would even say propaganda, have led to

people being better informed, better educated and perhaps more questioning than ever before. Nowadays everyone from a football manager to a doctor has to justify everything... and likewise, as a retailer, we are at the mercy of our customers. Perhaps asking ourselves: Is the stock not different enough or too unusual?; Is the product too expensive or staff not knowledgeable enough?; Is instore display inspiring or functional? These are just a few possible issues, and you simply can’t please everyone, and you won’t get it right all the time, so you just have to be honest enough and realise that being your own boss is the longest rollercoaster thrill ride ever. There will be times that it is a huge high and of course others when it is a huge, frighteningly steep low. The excitement of working for yourself will leave you scared, exhausted, confused and exhilarated all at the same time. The thrill ride of business is what we have all signed up for, and ultimately we know PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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OVER THE COUNTER that we will be able to get off at the other end having survived. To enjoy the ride even more though we have to acknowledge that being positive is essential in life. We need to be scared and worried, but ultimately be reassured that we will reach the end. Barbara Fredrickson is a psychology professor who has spent a great deal of time writing about positivity. Her years of findings can perhaps be best summed up as those that think positively have a greater capacity to take on board new information. This in turn improves a person’s perspective and ability to join the dots, meaning that they can tackle problems and obstacles in life much easier. One of the greatest endurance tests and problems that we as indies face is the annual pilgrimage to Spring Fair.

Spring Fair is officially 70 years-old this year, having started way back in 1948. It moved to its now spiritual home at Birmingham’s NEC in 1976 and was opened that year by her Royal Highness the Queen. For me Spring Fair is perhaps the real start of the year. Top Drawer is a fantastic show and has lots of different, smaller companies, but Birmingham NEC is where often the year ahead can be made, broken and shaped. The trade show, and its 20 halls, is daunting to even the experienced eye. The need to approach it with a fresh perspective, looking positively for what will and will not be the trends for the coming year, gets more and more difficult. But it is necessary for retailers to go out there and surround themselves with product and people so that they know what is going on in the market. This year, more than any other, I believe that this will be the case; it will be crucial. I have spoken to a lot of retailers that are hurting and worried, aware that they need to

dust themselves down and begin again, and Spring Fair is where the starting line is. The exhibition demands that you go with the right attitude, plan and thought process and then, and only then, will you get the most from it. Positivity, without doubt, builds resilience, creates and garners energy, improves decision-making, and, I believe, is also infectious. So being in a massive shed with lots of optimistic fellow retailers can only be a good thing - let’s hope. Make sure that when you are on the trade stands or having lunch that you speak to those around you. Find out what they have seen and what they are excited about. Take time to listen to those who are also in this ‘retail bubble’ because this is worth the price of admission in itself. This secondary, often overheard, information can be invaluable as it can help you to focus both on what will and perhaps won’t work in your store. There is no magic formula to buying. It is about you knowing your market and what your customers want and expect, but sometimes risks do need to be taken. Sometimes you need to be brave, and as long as the risk is not going to push you over an edge I would argue that trying something new is always worthwhile. Likewise, being in your store and being able to speak positively about a product that you believe in usually results in a customer trying or buying something. Sometimes when we are busy this is what we miss. We may understand the product but do our staff share that same optimism for it? Have we explained it correctly? Do they get it and know what it is made of? Or who designed it? What makes the board special or the design different? Details and knowledge help to fire that positivity. Sometimes we are simply too busy to really remember or share this, but we must.

Above left: Spring Fair is officially 70 year’s old this year. Above: A positive message on a Life Is Sweet from Icon.

There is lots of research that suggest that being positive releases a mirror state. You feel good and are positive to others and this carries on down the line with them mirroring your enthusiasm. Of course the opposite can also be true, so be aware. So being positive and having that attitude rubs off on those that work with and for you. Smiling is also infectious. I am trying to improve my boxing and training by doing a bit of yoga. My old creaking body and bad knees don’t lend themselves to this particularly, but it is a goal of mine this year to get better at it. If it is good enough for Ryan Giggs it is good enough for me! You can feel a bit silly as everyone else kinda bends in half and it is difficult to not look around and judge yourself against others in the room, but you just have to remain focused and concentrate on your own progress. As the teacher says, keep smiling and breathing and the body will relax and do more. She is right, and this is perhaps a mantra for 2018. Relax, breathe and believe in what you are trying to achieve. Positivity and believing in what comes with positive thinking may be the strongest single thing I do in 2018. I didn’t recognise myself at times last year as the pressure and problems changed my usual disposition and made me quick tempered. I changed my focus and became almost obsessed with numbers. And while things are no easier now I am determined to not let this shape me or the way I am with my colleagues. I want to be the example that sets the tone in my business. Lots of interesting opportunities are opening up this year and I intend to grasp them with both hands. To make the most of them I can’t show any negativity, I have to show that belief in both the individual business and the card and gift industry as a whole. Spring Fair of course is also always a ‘Super Bowl weekend’. The greatest coach in the NFL history was Vince Lombardi and he wrote the book on motivational quotes and positive thoughts. I want to share a couple of my favourites to inspire: “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” “Winning is not a sometime thing: it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.” The secret to all things is work hard, remain positive and give your best. Nobody can ask for more. To contact David email: jppozzi@btconnect.com PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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CARDSHARP Inset: Don't panic! Its not the end of the greeting card world.

‘Industry In Crisis, Christmas Card Sales Static!’ As Cardsharp was penning this column, the UK’s leading specialist card retailer, Card Factory released its latest financial figures and announced its second profit warning in four months. The headlines were predictable. ‘Card Factory dives 16% as decorations bring little cheer’, announced George Osbourne’s Evening Standard. One broker in the influential Investors Chronicle went one step further. Peel Hunt said that poor card sales prompted “serious concerns about the state of the industry”. Oh my goodness, perhaps all of us should all shut up shop and go home! But we shouldn’t! Cardsharp mentions these comments to highlight the difference between perception and reality. Christmas 2017 was always going to be challenging for our industry, and in fact virtually all retail sectors. When looking at the various results coming out about Christmas sales, Cardsharp feels they should be considered in the context of looking at everything that has been going on. The UK has had a year of stagnating wage growth, with inflation running above earnings that has served to subdue consumer confidence. The increase in the national minimum wage and the newly imposed costs of auto-enrollment has really hit retailers’ overheads. The surge in online shopping has had a marked effect on footfall. Cardsharp also recently saw a report that retailers going into administration has risen for the first time in five years, a 28%

increase on 2016 when there was a rise of 55% of high street chains going bust. So, now look below the headlines, implores Cardsharp. Actually, Card Factory reported that its sale of Christmas cards were largely “static”. Static means level, not falling or collapsing! In fact, Card Factory reported a 2.7% increase in sales in the 11 months to the end of December 31, and a solid performance over Christmas. What really affected Card Factory’s bottomline was the weak £pound and higher wage costs, nothing to do with

its card sales. Yearly profits will now be expected to be in the region of £93 million to £95 million, a drop from the £98 million a year before, but not by much. However, within hours of the results being released, over £193 million was wiped off the value of the retail chain PLC as its share price dropped by more than 16%, demoting it to near the bottom of the Footsie 250. Talk about an overreaction! So, what does Cardsharp take from these figures? It is hard to draw too many conclusions from just one set of results. By contrast, Clintons never releases and rarely comments on its Christmas trading. Paperchase claimed it sold as many card units as last year. Anecdotally, talking to publishers about return levels, WHSmith seemed to perform above expectations. Buying group Cardgains reported a reasonable level of Christmas card sales, though the drop in footfall put a dent in gift sales. Perhaps the big surprise was John Lewis reported a 7% decrease in sales of single Christmas cards. So Christmas 2017 was not exactly a record breaker, reflects Cardsharp, but certainly not the end of the greeting card industry as we know it, especially

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CARDSHARP in light of the BRC coming out with its statement that non-food sales fell by 4% this Christmas. Debenhams and Mothercare issued far more damning profit warnings than Card Factory, from a much less solid base, while department store chain, House of Fraser, has gone so far as to plead with landlords for a rent reduction. Interestingly though, it was the section in Card Factory’s financial release that revealed its sales through its personalised online site, Gettingpersonal.co.uk were ‘disappointing’, which brings Cardsharp to his next topic. How many readers like Cardsharp, slumped down on Boxing Day evening, full of wine and cold turkey, to watch BBC 2’s Dragons’ Den to witness serial entrepreneur Andrew Pearce pitch for investment in his online greeting card business, Thortful.com? To Cardsharp’s mind this high profile programme (that was also repeated in early January) was great publicity for the greeting card industry. And the fact that Andrew achieved the investment that he appeared not to really need, being a millionaire already, added further to endorsement about the sector.

In his pitch Andrew claimed to have spent £1.5 million on developing the Thortful app and claimed he already had a turnover of £1million pounds that would rise to £2.5 million in 2018 and then £6.5 million in 2019. Are we going to enter a new era where the future of greeting card sales is going to gravitate to online like so many other retail categories? Andrew was certainly plausible, although his claim that the online greeting card market was worth £1.6 billion was clearly a mistake as that covers the entire everyday card market, not just the online slug. Cardsharp has nothing but admiration for Andrew’s achievements in already building and selling two hugely successful businesses, but he did wonder about how

Above: Thortful’s Andrew Pearce went into The Dragons’ Den. Below: Debenhams issued profit warnings post Christmas. Bottom: Card Factory’s yearly profits are still expected to be around the £93 million mark.

he is to give the same ‘golden touch’ to Thortful, especially as Moonpig only achieved its financial success after years of staggering losses and a huge sustained TV advertising campaign. Funky Pigeon, owned by WHSmith, with its subsequent financial resources behind it, have had limited financial success or the retail PLC would have been shouting loudly about it in its results. And no other players have broken through successfully to any great degree in this market to Cardsharp’s knowledge. Cardsharp suspects that Andrew’s aim with Thortful is to build the business, by garnishing enough investment to spend on TV advertising. He suspects the aim is to become enough of an irritant to PhotoBox, who owns Moonpig, that it buys the business out. This is how it seems to work these days with digital brands. Businesses can sell for huge amounts of money without actually making much of a profit! Cardsharp wonders what Nick Jenkins, the

founder of Moonpig, and a former regular ‘Dragon’ on the Den thought of it! But back to the regular day to day job of selling greeting cards through traditional bricks and mortar retailing. What does 2018 have in store for the industry? For what it is worth, and that is not very much in this rapidly changing world, Cardsharp thinks that, although it will be tough, and although the sector is not immune to the conditions on the general high street, and in the performance of the UK economy, it will not be all doom and gloom. There are some positive head winds. Many millennials (females in particular) seem to enjoy buying and receiving paper products like greeting cards. The one-off increase in costs in the national minimum wage and as a result of the £pound’s devaluation will not be present in 2018. Household’s disposable income should improve, if, as predicted, the inflation rate drops below wage increases. Christmas 2017 was always going to be a tough one, and it would appear that we as an industry faired little better or little worse than could have been predicted. And on another positive note, unlike even in some of the so-called boom years, there have been no major post-Christmas greeting card retailing casualties. After years of years of sustained value growth in the UK greeting card market, Cardsharp suspects that sales this year may be akin to Card Factory’s this Christmas. In other words, pretty static! This may be no cause for celebration, concluded Cardsharp, but it is hardly Armageddon.

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Debbie Wigglesworth’s Paper Journeys

Letter Of The Awe By paper passionista Debbie Wigglesworth, founder of The Paper Collaborative and co-founder of The Paper Library.

An ambitious art installation entitled Letterspace, and typographer extraordinaire Anthony Burrill's new project Look and See are just two new fabulous lettering initiatives that are coming to fruition this spring, both of which amplify how paper together with type make inspiring bedfellows. Crossing the ts The final touches are being put to Letterspace, a real celebration of letterform in everyday spaces. The brainchild of Lucy Biggs, designer and educator at Manchester School of Art, Letterspace brings together the work of 26 designers who have each selected a different letter of the alphabet to design, inspired by their everyday spaces. The designers involved include some of the biggest names from the world of typography, such as Marian Bantjes (from Vancouver), Oded Ezer (from the Middle East), Paula Scher (from New York), David Sedgwick (from Manchester) and my good friends Jim Williams and the late Tony Forster (with the kind permission of his family) as well as three recent graduates. The Letterspace alphabet will be unveiled at The Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester on April 19, with generous backing from Macclesfield-based paper company Slater Harrison & Co. The ‘letters’ will each be screen printed by Dan Mather Screenprint in a limited edition of 26. Each designer has selected an ink of their choice, along with a paper from Slater Harrison's Poster and Centura collection, including its brand new Centura Matt (which was developed in conjunction with The Paper Collaborative and Top: Lucy Biggs, the visionary behind Letterspace. Following the launch event, individual letters will be is being launched at Paperworld available to buy at www.letterspace.co.uk. Above: An example of Marian Bantjes’ work, one of the 2018 this month). The Letterspace project will graphic artists who is participating in Letterspace. also form the basis of an educational workshop at The Whitworth involving schools throughout the North West of England with the aim of inspiring the next generation to study art and design at a higher level. Commenting, Lucy Biggs said: “At the heart of the Letterspace project lies a love of letterform, passion for education and a belief in diverse collaborative partnerships, spanning different countries and levels of experience. The project would not have been possible without the generous support of Slater Harrison and The Paper Collaborative, to whom I’m immensely grateful.”

Seeing is believing Man of letters Anthony Burrill’s latest project, Look and See typographical book, is not only significant for aesthetic reasons, but also for the way Anthony has gone about getting it funded. Look and See promises to be a beautifully designed and printed treasury of visual inspiration. It will feature a curated selection from Anthony’s private collection of printed matter gathered over his career as a graphic artist, featuring found typograpy and illustrative oddities from shop receipts to quirky newspaper announcements. The culmination is a celebration of the pieces of paper that surround our everyday lives, objects that we take for granted. Anthony, famed for his ‘no nonsense’ striking posters carrying simplistic positive quotes using traditional print processes, has teamed up with Volume, a newly-launched crowd-funding platform, for the promotion of Look and See. Potential backers have the opportunity to support the project at different levels, including: the purchase of the book, a specially designed print, a numbered edition boxed print through to attending the designer’s studio in Essex to spend the day with him (including a visit to legendary letterpress printmakers Adams & Rye). I've opted for the studio visit, which is due to happen in May! It would be great to see a few creative directors from greeting card publishers joining the small group too. Funding via www.vol.co for Look and See finishes on 11 February 2018. Top: Look and See is being funded via Volume, a new online crowd-funding platform designed to offer an alternative publishing model for creating, financing, producing and selling high quality illustrated and printed books. Above: Anthony Burrill in his studio.

More Library tickets The New Year is a great time for any business to take stock and I am so happy with the way The Paper Library is progressing. Moonpig is the first publisher to install a Paper Library in-house, thereby providing its growing design team (headed by design director Geoff Sanderson) instant access to paper inspiration. Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s Home is also working in collaboration with The Paper Library, while 2018 will see the continuation of Paper Libraries being installed into design departments within universities across the UK to be operational in 20 locations by spring 2018. Right: Debbie Wigglesworth (standing) with Moonpig’s Geoff Sanderson and some of the company’s designers in front of the new Paper Library installation.

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

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Boxing (Christmas)

Clever With a time shift in retail multiples’ sales and an increase in online shopping, each Christmas independent retailers are battling to hold their own... but they are a feisty festive bunch, and against the odds of snow, Brexitrelated economic uncertainty and consumers watching their (chocolate) pennies, indies came out fighting in this important trading period... and many won. PG goes into the retailer ring to find out if Christmas 2017 sales were a knock-out or punch drunk.

Sarah and Paul Henderson co-owners of 3 Wishes, five stores in Hampshire and Dorset: Performance: “Overall we were up, but down in a couple of stores.” Buying patterns: “We found Christmas sales generally were slow to take off this year with a higher proportion of people leaving it to the last minute. However, individual Christmas card sales were strong from early on. We didn't do as well with boxed cards due to a combination of suppliers repeating too many designs, increased price points and more consumers buying from the value sector and supermarkets. We find it increasingly difficult to compete with the supermarkets. They are able to source imaginative designs at a lower price than are available to independent retailers.” Star products: “Ling's individual cards were very strong. The publisher is going from strength to strength. Its everyday ranges were amazing in 2017, and UKG was strong as always. Paperlink also had some really strong designs with good sell through, and we had very little Paper Rose designs to return.” Christmas 2018: “During the tough times we are always happy if we can pay all our bills. That doesn't mean we won't be looking at new ways to boost our sales for this year. New year, new opportunities!”

Inset: Indies came out fighting at Christmas.

Emma Paisey owner of Daisy Park, South Molton, Devon: Performance: “Christmas trade improved on the previous year, which was tougher than expected, but a positive for this year. Our sales of Christmas captioned cards were up 1012%, but packs of cards were down 30%. We ended up approximately 20% up on the previous year.” Buying patterns: “Christmas card sales continue to grow, especially in captions. We found people were after more special captions like Daughter and Son in Law, and ‘Across the miles’ and ‘From our house to yours’. We did notice a drop in card packs and will probably reduce the amount we sell next year.” Mitigating circumstances: “The weather was kind, which kept customers visiting us in store. There is still uncertainty with the economy so spending is still subdued.” Star products: “Two Bad Mice was popular for general cards, and Mint, Caroline Gardner and The Art File were good on captioned cards. Roll wrap from The Art File and Penny Kennedy sold really well. We also had a big success with Christmas decorations, which was a surprise as I felt I had over purchased, but we were left with very little. Decorations from Gisela Graham and Shoeless Joe were as popular as ever.” Christmas 2018: “We are always be looking for new ideas and product. It won’t be major changes, more like tweeks to our offering.” Top and above: Festive decorations were a popular buy at Daisy Park.

Above: Single Christmas Cards from Ling were a star player at 3 Wishes.

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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VIEWPOINTS

Lesley Dunn owner of Feathering Your Nest, Rayleigh, Essex: Performance: “Christmas was very up and down this year. Some days were mega busy and others didn't seem to get fully going! Christmas the previous year was phenomenal for us, so we had big targets to beat. Overall, for the quarter, we were just slightly under on the previous year.” Star products: “We did very well with Hearts Designs and Caroline Gardner. However, I did reduce them to half price mid December.” Buying patterns: “Every year, I always ask my customers how their shopping is going and are they winning. Each year, little by little, they tell me they did some online. I am sad to say, this year, a high proportion said they had done most of it online. Added to this, the chain stores have continuous sales earlier and earlier into the season, when traditionally, sales used to begin on Boxing Day. To my mind, the combination of internet and sales can make independent retailers appear the more expensive option.” Mitigating circumstances: “Snow before Christmas is never good for any bricks and mortar retailer. The bitter cold December with snow and ice kept customers off the high street.” Star products: “Katie Loxton/Joma Jewellery was the star of the show for us. It’s become such a well-known brand now with a very strong following. WoodWick candles, Ashleigh and Burwood products, scarves, mugs and light up bottles were winners too.” Christmas 2018: “Hmm, hard to say. I held my nerve and didn't jump to do panic re-orders, which I have been guilty of in past Christmases. So our stock levels are just about right for post Christmas. I will err on the side of caution at Harrogate and Autumn Fair. I will always be on the hunt for the new trend and gift of the season, so some things will never change!” Above: The multiples and department stores were holding their sales even before Christmas!

Rohit Patel owner of Paper Art, Finchley, London: Performance: “Christmas trading for us was fractionally down, maybe about 2% on 2016, and that wasn’t a particularly good year. Most retailers around me say this was their worst Christmas ever.” Mitigating factors: “I think a combination of factors is affecting spending on our high streets. Increase in online shopping is certainly one of them. More people are also now buying groceries online so they have very little reason to come onto the high streets. The resultant decline in footfall is affecting surrounding businesses. Another reason could be a fall in public confidence in the economy due to the lack of clarity from our political leadership on the likely course we are going to take post Brexit.” Christmas 2018: “For the coming year we are hoping to increase our selection of upmarket party products. Apart from that, retailers just have to try to get in newer and different ranges of cards and niche gift lines to keep customers interested.” Right: Lack of clarity surrounding Brexit is reducing consumer confidence.

Victoria Robinson partner of Wishes, Cockermouth:

Below: Jelly Armchair had some ‘quacking’ Christmas cards.

Performance: “Card sales this year were very slow to start. We definitely noticed more ‘last minute’ buying this year. We opened on Christmas Eve and even though it was a Sunday it was definitely worth it - and it wasn’t all just male customers buying wife and girlfriend cards! I’d say overall we ended on a par with our expectations.” Buying patterns: “Apart from Husband card sales, which were up, we sold far fewer male relation Christmas cards, Dad and Brother particularly. Special captions sales increased again - particularly Son and Girlfriend, Grand-daughter and Boyfriend. We reordered multiple times on these titles.” Star products: “Jonny Javelin cards were our top selling Christmas single cards this year, across all ranges. In boxed cards Ling Design were the fastest sellers. We also sold a lot more humorous Christmas cards this year, with ranges from Jelly Armchair and UK Greetings doing very well.” Christmas 2018: “We will reduce the number of male relations designs we buy, being more selective about the designs we choose. We will also be looking for more good humorous Christmas cards!”

Mark Janson-Smith partner of Postmark, four stores in London: Performance: “Christmas trade was excellent this year, with like-for-like sales across the board up 10%, which is far higher than we expected. There was probably potential for a little more as we had sold out of so many lines in the last weekend, but it’s that fine balance of too little/too much stock.” Buying patterns: “Our Christmas packs rallied late on, and, despite dropping a couple of shelves of packs, sales ended almost identical to 2016. Strangely there was a drop in charity packs sales, which was picked up by the non-charity packs. Singles continue to get stronger and ended up 15% higher than last year.” Mitigating circumstances: “Early on the weather played a part and we definitely noticed a drop when the weather was bad, but the later on it got it seemed to not make any difference. Christmas falling on a Monday meant it felt like customers had an extra weekend, and, as expected, the final week was very strong.” Star products: “Special single cards did really well for us as customers continue to buy less cards but spend more on the ones that they do buy. Advent calendars rallied again for us after being a little flat the previous year. There is still huge demand for the more traditional Advent calendars.” Christmas 2018: “We won't change too much with our buying as it is still working as it is. We will continue to invest in Christmas packs but will keep levels around the same. They still make up just over 50% of or card sales. It will be interesting when singles overtake them, which I don't think will be too far away now. The quest for those special single cards continues to make sure we stand out, so I see a bigger investment in them, and also roll wrap, which we continue to increase our sales on year-on-year.” Above: Postmark’s Mark Janson-Smith.

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Ros Jones

Below: Snow forced people to ‘shop local’ two weeks before Christmas.

owner of The Celtic Company, Welshpool: Performance: “We ended up having a better Christmas than I had expected - 6% up on last year, so very pleasing. I think the heavy snow ended up being an advantage as it put people off travelling far to go shopping and we saw a spike in ‘shopping local’.” Buying patterns: “There was no particular change in buying patterns - with a Card Factory opening in town at the beginning of December I was expecting there to be more price resistance, but it didn’t seem to affect our customer base.” Christmas 2018: “Looking at the stock that is left, I would say the large and boxed cards are something that I’ll consider paring down for this year. I would have to reconsider the volume of cards I buy in if some of the suppliers act on the chatter about reducing the percentage of returns allowed, or even stopping seasonal sale or return altogether.”

Emma Roberts and Pauline Gillett partners of Special Occasions, Castle Bromwich: Performance: “We had a really busy and positive Christmas, the snow didn't hold anyone off from coming and our overall sell through of cards was exceptional. Our takings were up 8% from last December and were above expectations.” Star products: “Nigel Quiney Christmas cards proved to be very popular. UKG's product was of excellent quality and the designs were beautiful, and Words ‘n’ Wishes’ cards sold exceptionally well with minimal returns. The best gift line was LightGlow tea-light holders by Welink - they are a beautiful product and great price point. People were buying them in 4's and 6's and Welink also has excellent next day delivery so we were able to keep the selection topped up right up until Christmas.” Christmas 2018: “Our buying pattern will remain very similar. We are very happy with how 2017 worked so the changes we make will only add value to next Christmas.”

Nicky Goodman owner of Paddock Wood Cards, Kent:

Sarah Green owner of Spots, Southwold:

Below: Online gift buying figures rose.

Performance: “While overall sales were significantly down this year, our card sales bucked the trend and remained very robust. I think the balance has really tipped this year in favour of internet shopping. Obviously, this isn’t true of cards, where people want to choose them in a shop.” Buying patterns: “Charity cards and boxes sold exceptionally well. Special single Christmas cards also sold well - I think some customers chose to send an extra special card to a few people rather than send cards to everyone they know. Thank goodness for cards!”

Performance: “Christmas overall was good for us. Things are getting more and more last minute but we opened Christmas Eve this year as we had a lot of balloons being ordered and found we were really busy!” Buying patterns: “We seemed to sell a lot less money wallets and a few more gifts, so I’m guessing people are back in the game of gifting rather than just giving money. And our new Creation Express machine was busy making personalised cards and gifts. We found Christmas boxes and packs didn’t sell as well, with people wanting cheaper priced wholesale boxes, so we will be cutting down on the direct to retail ones for 2018. We found we sold a lot more cards at £2.99 and under but struggled (unless they were a Wife caption) on higher price cards. It’s frustrating, but we find a lot of younger people tend to not send Christmas cards anymore and give to charity, whereas the older generation still love to send a card. Personally, I would feel very sad at Christmas not to have any cards to put up! With this is mind it’s worrying times, but you just have to adapt your business to the growing trends.” Above: Paddock Wood Cards’ Nicky Goodman at PG Live.

Fiona Fabien director of Papyrus, Glasgow: Performance: “We were up on last year’s turnover overall. It’s hard to predict anything these days, so I was prepared for any scenario, always hoping we will see an increase in turnover.” Buying patterns: “Christmas card sales were up, which I wasn’t really expecting, with single Christmas cards for relations continuing to increase; a trend which keeps growing year-on-year. I would say that customers are quite savvy these days and we have to have an offer for all budgets - high-end handmade/hand-finished cards to more affordable ranges.” Mitigating circumstances: “This is our first Christmas with the new parking restrictions in force on Byres Road. Gone are the days of free parking. I was expecting a negative impact, however, with our footfall and turnover up I can only conclude that customers park for a shorter time, leaving a turnover of parking spaces rather than commuters parking all day, to take the subway into town to work and city centre shops.” Left: Christmas Jumper Day at Papyrus, raising money for charity.

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PG/Cardgains Retail Barometer

A Trump Card?! Last year kicked-off with Donald Trump becoming the leader of the free world and ended with the Markle effect from our soon to be Princess expecting to add sparkle to 2018 through a boost to tourism and optimism. OK, so we do still have the long tortuous process of leaving the EU and David Attenborough has rammed home the message of the planet’s fragile state, but hey, Strictly Come Dancing brought millions of families together and The Great British Bake Off is back. On the retail front, it was tricky with the drop in footfall, a further shift to online shopping and continuing uncertainty, but yet as the findings of the PG/Cardgains’ Retail Barometer showed, 38% of independent card retailers ended up in better shape than the year previous, though this was almost balanced by the same number experiencing a decline, with a quarter remaining stable, which is more than can be said for the US president. PG reveals more of the results of the only annual PG/Cardgains’ survey into the health and wealth of the independent card retailer. How’s Business Been?

Average Spend Per Customer 7% 37% 26% 19% 11%

Above: Are Indies holding a ‘trump’ card for 2018?

Increased Significantly Increased Slightly Remained The Same Declined Declined Significantly

Positive Vibes Rather than sitting back and moping, indies took matters into their own hands and set to promoting their shops, making improvements to their retailing environments and then telling customers all about it on social media like never before, as the top three boons to their business in 2017 shows in the barometer findings. There were three ‘new entries’ that made it into the top ten factors that helped indies’ business in 2017 - with suppliers receiving the ‘thumbs up’ for the first time, and balloons being recognised for having inflated sales for many. Encouragingly, in reflection of its louder industry voice, the Greeting Card Association (GCA) is applauded for its efforts to promote the industry (through PR, Thinking of You Week, Festive Friday, hosting Spring Seasons PoS and other resources for retailers) which many retailers cited as having helped to boost their respective businesses.

What main factor(s) have had a positive effect on your business this year? (Last year’s position in brackets)

1st

Promotional activity (2nd)

2nd Shop improvements (4th) 2nd Social media (5th) 4th

Staff (1st)

5th

Expansion into gifts (3rd)

6th

Local competition closing down (8th)

7th

Upsurge of new customers (6th)

7th

Refreshed card product selection (7th)

8th

Service from suppliers (-)

9th

Website (9th)

10th Winning an award (10th) The PG/Cardgains Retail Barometer is an annual survey that involves Cardgains’ members who account for over 1,000 retail rooftops. All surveys were completed by December 21.

10th GCA’s marketing efforts (-) 10th Expanding on balloons/partyware (-) PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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The Big Banes There is no denying that the retail landscape was tough for most retailers in 2017, indie card retailers included. A general drop in footfall, consumer and business uncertainty over Brexit, the continued march of the online operators, rising costs, competition from all and sundry, not to mention the perennial bugbears of parking, Minimum Wage and charity shops, all made it into the premier league of factors that had a negative effect on an indie’s business last year.

Top Ten Promotional Mechanisms Over The Last Year (Last year’s positions shown in brackets)

1st

Loyalty cards/loyalty initiatives (2nd)

2nd Social media (1st) 3rd

In-store ‘money off’/discount promotions (3rd)

4th

Charity fundraising (4th)

5th

Customer events and competitions (5th)

6th

Press advertising (7th)

7th

(joint) Gift voucher scheme (7th)

What main factor(s) have had a detrimental effect on your business this year?

7th

(joint) Collaboration with other businesses (9th)

8th

(joint) BOGOF (or similar) (6th)

(Last year’s position in brackets)

9th

Free gift promotions (8th)

1st

10th Leaflets (6th)

The UK retail economy (5th)

2nd Expansion of cards in supermarkets (6th) 3rd

Brexit decision (10th)

4th

Online activity (7th)

5th

Parking issues (3rd)

6th

Minimum Wage (1st)

6th

Business rates (2nd)

7th

Expansion of value/discount retailers (4th)

8th

Competition from multiples (9th)

9th

Charity shops selling greeting cards (8th)

What local organisations were your business involved with in the last year? The Magnificent Seven 1st Chamber of Commerce 56% 2nd Town centre retailing group 39% 3rd Schools 28% 4th Charities 22% 5th Federation of Small Businesses 11% 6th Business Improvement District 10% 7th Rotary 5%

10th Promotion of print-on-demand cards (11th)

Business Predictions For 2018

Going For Promotion Indies further flexed their marketing mettle last year. More undertook promotional activity than ever before in the history of the Barometer. Over three quarters (77%) of respondents embraced some kind of promotional activity, many experimenting with a number of different marketing mechanisms. This year it was loyalty-building initiatives that came out tops, beating social media into second place as the top mechanism for promotion in the last year, though many of the loyalty schemes worked in tandem with social media activity to communicate with customers in the last year. Remaining rock solid ways of engaging with their local community, charity fundraising initiatives, as well as collaborations with other local businesses, also scored well for respondents in 2017, while customer events and competitions continued to reinforce the relationships with those in their locality. Top: Uncertainty surrounding Brexit is a concern. Left: The Secret Garden in Borough Green, Kent, has come up with many wonderful ideas to engage its local community.

38%

Independent card retailers are less optimistic about the coming year than they were at the start of 2017, with over a fifth bracing themselves for a drop in business this coming year - 11% going so far as to admit they are expecting a ‘major decline’. On the up side though, 40% are gearing up for growth, only 1% fewer than participated in last year’s Barometer, while over a third (38%) are expecting to remain on a par with last year. However, looking further ahead to the next 10 years, while over a fifth of respondents feel positive, disturbingly 42% hold the view that the future of the independent card shop is weak. Continued on page 47

How has your business fared over the last year? PG looks back at the last eight year’s of PG/Cardgains Retail Barometer data. 2017 v 2016 Better 38% Same 27% Worse 35%

2016 v 2015 Better 30% Same 38% Worse 32%

2015 v 2014 Better 52% Same 44% Worse 4%

2014 v 2013 Better 48% Same 32% Worse 20%

2013 v 2012 Better 27% Same 43% Worse 30%

2012 v 2011 Better 38% Same 35% Worse 27%

2011 v 2010 Better 29% Same 28% Worse 43%

2010 v 2009 Better 30% Same 20% Worse 50%

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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PG Ling Feb 18 Advert.qxp 03/01/2018 16:13 Page 1

LING DESIGN

Christmas 2018

Come and see us at the Spring Fair 2018, Hall 3-3A, Stand 3, Q18-R21 TO SEE OUR FULL RANGE PLEASE CONTACT: Ling Design Ltd. 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent, TN12 6BE, UK +44(0)1892 838574 enquiries: lingdesign.co.uk www.lingdesign.co.uk

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PG/Cardgains Retail Barometer

How do you view the future of the independent card shop in the next 10 years?

How do you view the supermarkets’ expansion on the greeting card front?

0% 22% 37% 26% 15%

21% 63% 13% 3%

Very Positive Positive Neutral Weak Very Weak

Right: Indies can’t compete with the enviable footfall of supermarkets. Below left: Card Factory isn’t a threat to many independents. Below right: Indies describe the retailing landscape as ‘challenging’.

If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change about the greeting card industry? Among the most popular responses to this one were: l Remove deep value and discount card shops l Stop supermarkets/ M&S selling cards l Encourage everyone to join together to promote the industry as a whole l Ban sending virtual cards l Impose a charge for cellowrapping l Bring all price codes in line! l Reduce postage charges l Change the perception (fuelled by Card Factory) that card sending is an obligation to be met as cheaply as possible so that customers would appreciate the quality and creativity of the industry l Abolish VAT on greeting cards l Close down Moonpig and other online card suppliers l Reverse the Brexit decision

Do you feel the price of stamps affects your card sales? 8% Decrease Dramatically 63% Decrease Marginally 29% Not Affected

What is your feeling about the number of Christmas cards people sent in 2017 (v 2016)? 4% More Than 2016 21% Same As 2016 75% Fewer Than 2016

Threats And Opportunities When it comes to threats to an indie’s greeting card business, continuing a pattern of last year’s findings, it is supermarkets that top the poll, due to their enviable footfall, invariably free parking as well as improvements in their greeting card selection and display. Card Factory is still up there on the threat front, but it is almost as though indies have become more confident in the co-existence with the UK’s largest card retailer, with almost half of indies now feeling neutral about the card multiple (and 4% seeing them as a boon to business), confident that their selection and customer service differentiates their independent store with the value giant. Interestingly, although slightly less than this time last year, Moonpig (and other print-on-demand operators) are viewed as more of a threat to an indie’s business than multiples retailers Paperchase and Clintons.

Serious Threat Threat Neutral Bonus

How do you currently view Card Factory? 17% 37% 42% 4%

Serious Threat Threat Neutral Bonus

How do you currently view Clintons? 4% 9% 82% 5%

Serious Threat Threat Neutral Bonus

How do you view Moonpig, Funky Pigeon and other print-on-demand operators? 4% 31% 65% 0%

Serious Threat Threat Neutral Bonus

How do you currently view Paperchase? 5% 5% 90% 0%

Serious Threat Threat Neutral Bonus

How do you view texting, emailing or social networking sites as an alternative to greeting cards? 11% 57% 32% 0%

Serious Threat Threat Neutral Bonus

In A Word When asked what word they felt would best describe the UK greeting card industry today, top of the picks for the third year running was ‘challenging’. l The top five POSITIVE descriptors... Buoyant, Creative, Exciting, Positive, Resilient l The top five NEUTRAL descriptors... Challenging, Communication, Complicated, Flat, Stable l The top five NEGATIVE descriptors... Declining, Desperate, Moribund, Stagnant, Stale

Sourcing Matters Reinforcing the importance of relationships with the agents and reps, indies still rely on these industry sales people as a reliable and trustworthy source of information on products for their shops, with PG faring highly too! By all accounts it looks like indies are not looking to expand the number of suppliers they will deal with in the coming year, with a ‘one in, one out’ being the name of the game for 70% of respondents looking to ring the changes on the supply side in 2018. Continued on page 49

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

47


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PG/Cardgains Retail Barometer

However, publishers looking to save money by not producing catalogues or marketing material do so at their peril, as 58% of respondents see these marketing tools as ‘very important’. Online ordering, which was not even an option when the Retail Barometer started, is now very much part of an indie’s working life, with 45% placing orders online for a quarter of their products, a number that is set to grow further in the coming year. After a blip of interest in last year’s Barometer, indies seem to be discounting being supplied by a brokerage, with 83% giving it the thumbs down as a option, 4% saying they would consider it and another 13% undecided. The issue of geographical exclusivity of supply divides opinion, with over half (54%) saying they do not see it as an issue.

Top Performers Humour tends to flourish in the face of adversity and this is reflected in the Barometer findings with humorous cards topping the greeting card charts for indies as being the card category that showed the largest growth for them. Echoing the importance of a strong relations and occasions selection being the backbone of most indie card stockists, relations and occasions cards held onto second place on the sales growth front. While Valentine’s Day experienced a drop of four places over last year, Easter was in the ascendance, its shift as a family and friends ‘keeping in touch’ occasion boosting sales for some (but not all - see below).

Which card categories have you seen sales grow in your shop(s) in the last year? (Last year’s position shown in brackets)

How Do You Source Products?

1st

1st

2nd Relations and occasions (2nd)

From agents and reps

Humour (1st)

2nd From Progressive Greetings

3rd

Easter (5th)

3rd

From exhibitions

4th

Male (5th)

4th

From the Cardgains rep/newsletter

5th

Traditional words & sentiment (3rd)

5th

Looking in other shops

6th

Christmas card singles (4th)

6th

Word of mouth

6th

Handmade or Hand-Finished (4th)

7th

From the internet

7th

Christmas card boxes (6th)

8th

(joint) Feedback from customers

9th

(joint) Cards sent by friends

8th 8th

Children’s (5th) Contemporary words and sentiment (4th)

9th

Licensed (6th)

10th From publishers’ and/or Cardgains’ website

10th Valentine’s Day (6th)

As far as the number of suppliers from whom you order, do you expect to…

Dipping In

4% Increase the number 70% Remain about the same 26% Decrease the number

It was not a bonanza year for Spring Seasons sales for indies in 2017, with some of the love being lost for Valentine’s Day card purchases from indies seemingly. Cute is on a bit of a downer too it seems, though admittedly the line between what is cute and humour is increasingly blurred.

In the last year would you say that service levels from suppliers have? 0% 8% 79% 13% 0%

Improved Significantly Improved Slightly Remained The Same Decreased Slightly Decreased Significantly

Which card categories have you seen sales decline in your shop(s) in the last year?

Do you place orders for stock online? If so, roughly what percentage?

1st

45% 45% 10% 0%

3rd

Easter

4th

Cute

5th

Christmas card boxes

6th

Licensed

7th

Mother’s Day

8th

Children’s

8th 9th

Traditional words and sentiments Art

2nd Father’s Day

Under 10% Around 25% Around 50% And Above

Do you see your online ordering as likely to increase in the coming year? 64% Increase 32% Remain The Same 4% Decrease

Valentine’s Day

Top left: Increasingly, card retailers are placing orders online. Top right: Sales of humour cards are flourishing. A ‘great’ Tracks card. Above: Ian (left) and Simon Wagstaff of IC&G won the Gold Best Service to the Independent at The Henries 2017 awards. Above right: Cute humour are a winner for indies. A design from Susan O’Hanlon.

10th Handmade or Hand-Finished Continued on page 51 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

49


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PG/Cardgains Retail Barometer

Is The Price Right? Almost 10% of indies would like retail prices to increase, but the majority would like them to remain at 2017 levels and over a quarter would like them to reduce - not likely to happen! As for the real price ‘pressure points’, continuing the trend of last year, indie’s are most fearful of breaking through the £2.99 barrier, with £1.99, £2.25, £2.75 and £4.99 being the next most sensitive.

In the coming year would you like to see the Recommended Retail Prices (RRPs) of counter cards?

Into which product areas would you like to further diversify? 1st Stationery (3rd) 47% 2nd Gifts (1st) 41% 3rd Balloons (-) 29% 4th Chocolates/confectionery (4th) 24% 4th Giftwrappings (5th) 24% 5th Fashion accessories (4th) 18% 5th Impulse items (3rd) 18% 5th Jewellery (2nd) 18% 5th Partyware (-) 18% 6th Toys (6th) 11% 7th Calendars (5th) 6% 7th Children’s non-toy products (-) 6% 7th Collectables (-) 6% 7th Crafting products (6th) 6% 7th Home accessories (3rd) 6% 8th Food and drink products (-) 4%

Must Haves What would you see as the most crucial price point for greeting cards that you feel meets the most resistance if you go over?

When asked to cite the ranges of non-greeting card products they could not do without in their shop, the indies’ responses reflect a healthy diversity on offer in the market, with retailers catering for their respective customer base. Jellycat plush was a strong soft touch for sales for many as were Ty’s Beanie Boos, while Joe Davies’ Equilibrium jewellery kept them in a positive balance, with Joma and Carrie Elspeth continuing to add their lustre to sales. Providing more than just hot air, the Amscan and Qualatex ranges of balloons kept sales rising, while Xpressions’ Pots of Dreams continue to turn ‘dreams’ into reality in the tills. Many have a strong attraction to WPL’s magnet and keyring collection, while others are full of love for Widdop and Co’s Amore and Bambino collections, with Glick continuing to wrap up extra sales for indies.

By Other Means Above: Toothy Mutt plush from Jellycat. Right: More and more indies are using social media marketing.

£4.99

Future Product Plans Indies can sense that there is further growth potential on the relations and occasions front, with a call for a greater selection of some of the minor caption areas, especially Great Granddaughter, Great Grandson and those that reflect blended families (eg StepMum, relations and their partner), marking milestones (First Christmas in Your New Home, for example) and religious sends of Baptism and even Ordination. On the product diversification front it is stationery that is destined for a move upwards, eclipsing gifts and jewellery that took the top and second spots in last year’s survey.

As in so many other industries, technology continues to be a force for good for independent card retailers - as evidenced by a surging use of social media to promote their shops in the last year. lIn a rise over 10% since the last Retail Barometer, 71% of respondents are now using Facebook and Twitter regularly for business purposes. Of those not currently active on social media, 17% plan to do so in 2018. lAlmost half of the respondents have a website for their shops (43%), though only just over a third (36%) of these are transactional. lOf those who do have a website, four out of ten have definite plans to further develop it over the coming year, and another 15% have not yet decided whether this is on their priority list for 2018. lOf those who do not have a website, approaching a third (29%), they are intending to develop one in the coming year, with another 21% considering it.

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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State Of The Nation

The Cheers AndThe Buts Hurrah... last year saw the British public spend more money on greeting cards than ever before - with the GCA UK Market Report topline proclaiming a £1.7 billion worth of reassurance of the industry’s robustness, championed by a strong posse of publishers and widespread retail stockists. But... there are ‘buts’. Members of the GCA Council share their views on some of the challenges and opportunities facing the industry as well as highlighting some key happenings of 2017 that impacted on trade. Left: Emotional Rescue’s recent Christmas card mentioned the ‘B word’!

Spring Seasons apathy, Gen Z/Gen Y GCA president Ceri Stirland, director of marketing of UK Greetings:

Rising to the challenges: “A key concern is an increasing apathy towards the seasons, especially the spring events. Seasons account for 25% of the single card market and so it’s essential that as publishers and retailers, we support the seasons and continue to invest in them by producing great products that ensures everyone delivers profitable sales. Do we really need full shelves of seasonal cards until the very last minute? Is it better to sell out and develop a ‘must buy now before it’s gone’ culture? It’s tough at retail and it will get worse, not helped by the ongoing migration from bricks and mortar to online. How will this play out for our industry? It is more and more important for both the retailer and publisher to work on this together. On a real positive, our industry has been resilient to the pressures of online and digital alternatives and has not felt the impact to the same extent that other categories have experienced. Certain categories eg, vinyl and books, have been impacted by digital alternatives but are now seeing sales growing again. The tangible is winning through.” Opportunity knocks: “Even without Christmas boxes, the UK greeting card market is worth £1.7 billion and is still growing. We send over 870 million single cards plus a further 900 million multi-pack Christmas cards. We are a nation of card lovers and senders. We have to pursue opportunities to ensure this continues. And it is essential that we continue to engage with the younger generations and consider new retail outlets, new ways to display cards and fresh designs to appeal to them. Importantly, with all the negativity in the world, consumers love greeting cards and we need to continue to remind everyone that sending them is a perfect way to brighten someone’s day.” Top: GCA president Ceri Stirland with her UKG colleague Jayne Myers, its commercial director. Above: Prompted by a suggestion from Cardgains, UKG developed a whole suite of PoS for the Spring Seasons that are free to download from the GCA website.

Environment issues, copying

Ged Mace, managing director of The Art File: Rising to the challenges: “As an industry we have come a long way to ensure greeting cards meet the environmental credentials expected by the market. However, some of the finishes used on cards, like flitter, are likely to face further scrutiny about their recyclable qualities. Plastics are already a hot subject and as an industry we need to explore positive alternatives. Copying is another concern. On three separate occasions last year we (at The Art File) had instances where publishers had blatantly copied our design ideas - we litigated in each case. Protecting copyright is something that we all might have to do more of in the future as unscrupulous firms see copying as a cheaper alternative to investing in their own original creative talent.” Above: The clear message on Blue Planet II from David Attenborough was that we need to step up our caring for the environment. Right: The Art File’s Ged Mace with GCA ceo Sharon Little at the association’s recent AGM conference. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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ArtPress are the proud licensor for the Royal Academy of Arts. Come join us to celebrate the 250th birthday of this most revered art institute and select from our extensive ranges of single notecards, notecard wallets and boxes.

Hall 3 Stand N19, 4-8th February 2018 info@art-press.co.uk www.art-press.co.uk Š Donald Hamilton Fraser under license from The Royal Academy of Arts

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State Of The Nation

Next generation’s card engagement, GCA’s 100th anniversary

Sarah-Jane Porter, head of licensing of Moonpig: Recent key happenings: “We are living in volatile times with lots of ambiguity around the outcome of Brexit, with political and social unrest which I feel has impacted on how we communicate and in turn are affecting the type of cards we are sending. I've seen a lot more positive editorial, ‘non-occasion’ sends, emerging and seasonal sends becoming more diverse and encompassing, which is positive. Valentine’s Day is becoming more of a celebration of relationships with captions like 'Palentine’s' and 'From the Pet' as well as ‘children to parent’ sends becoming more popular, while Mother’s Day is turning into a broader celebration of women and acknowledging the maternal influences in your life.” Opportunity knocks: “One of the exciting opportunities I see for the GCA is for greeting card retailers and publishers to work together more to raise awareness of the importance of the category and encourage card sending through innovative marketing activity. The GCA’s 100th anniversary in 2019 will provide a great opportunity to engage the industry in some exciting projects that celebrate greeting cards and focus on their importance.” Above: Moonpig’s Sarah Jane Porter with fellow GCA Council member, Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner. Right: A Moonpig Galentine’s Day design.

Retailers’ rising overheads, social media marketing

Jeremy Corner, managing director of Blue Eyed Sun: Rising to the challenges: “Key challenges affecting our industry are the continuing rising overheads for retailers, the weakness of £sterling for those sourcing abroad as well the continued uncertainty over Brexit hampering consumer spending. What to do about them though? We need a magic wand. In the absence of that, we need to keep our belts tight and market well online.” Opportunities knocks: “Festive Friday is growing really well and the strong support for initiatives like this signal more opportunities for the industry and the GCA. We are also seeing improvement on the social media front with more companies sharing their greeting card related initiatives online, which is exciting. I completed The Greeting Card Project at the end of 2017 and garnered over 20,000 views online for videos about card sending. I’m excited to see if we can grow this in 2018, with the greeting card community getting involved. I think this has real potential to become something bigger in the coming year.” Above: It is in the industry’s interest that there continues to be specialist retailers, like Cards Galore that help maintain a high prominence of cards in the public eye. Left: Festive Friday is growing as an early Christmas card sending initiative.

Nurture the culture, embrace social media

Rajeev Arora, managing director of Davora: Rising to the challenges: “I've just returned from India (attending a big fat Indian wedding!), where I saw a noticeable decline in greeting cards since my previous visits. In a country with 1 billion people, known for strong family ties, you have to ask why the greeting card industry is not thriving there. It's easy to blame the advent of social media and instant messaging, but that can't be the full story, or we would have seen the same happen here in the UK otherwise. To my mind the big difference is how greeting cards are a strong part of the British culture - that's why we continue to do well with ethnic cards in the UK, even though they may be under pressure in their home countries. Our challenge is to continue to nurture this culture in the UK and beyond. One way we can do this is by embracing social media - Jeremy Corner's Greeting Card Project is a great example of this, as are initiatives like Thinking of You Week, Festive Friday and the #JustACard movement. Instant messaging is just that - an instant, fleeting message, but it can be used to promote how a greeting card has the power to create a long lasting memory for both the sender and the receiver. We need to keep looking for innovative ways to remind everyone of this.” Opportunity knocks: “From our point of view here at Davora I still think there's a lot of growth in the ethnic and minor seasons space. By targeting specific communities retailers of all sizes have an opportunity to bring new footfall into their stores. In 2018 we're looking at new ways to help retailers understand the key ethnic occasions thereby giving them the confidence to stock and sell cards for them. The GCA continues to go from strength to strength. The Speed Dating With Dragons event in 2017 was an amazing way of supporting smaller publishers, there are opportunities to build on this in 2018 and beyond.” Top: Raj Aurora (left) at the 2016 Henries Bollywood-themed event, of which Davora was a sponsor. Above: The GCA’s Speed Dating with Dragons event enabled publishers to pitch their ideas to retailers.

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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for Wrendale Designs Greeting Cards, Stationery and Prints

Spring Fair Hall 3-3A Stand 3S18 www.wrendaledesigns.co.uk info@wrendaledesigns.co.uk 01652 680253

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State Of The Nation

SOR, the Brexit excuse

Nigel Willcock, sales and marketing director of Paper Rose and The Art Group: Recent key happenings: “The word ‘Brexit’ became the buzzword to not do something, but ‘Fake News’ has to be my favourite of 2017, it sums up the world we live in!” Rising to the challenges: “Sale or return, particularly on Spring Seasons, is a huge challenge for publishers and is undoubtedly leading many to questions about how viable and ethical it is to continue to publish for these events with the amount of returned or wasted stock SOR agreements result in. While a ‘firm sale’ agreement would initially help the publishers, the fear then is that the retailer would become choked with the previous year’s stock. The answer has to lie somewhere in the middle with careful publishing and responsible buying… preferably closer to firm sale!” Opportunity knocks: “There is still a huge opportunity for new innovation, slick presentation and service for both publishers and retailers. The GCA now boasts a significant retailer representation which will strengthen its lobbying power to battle postage charges, negative press and to become an even louder voice of the industry.” Above: The ‘B word’ is still much spoken! Below: Paper Rose’s Nigel Willcock (right) with fellow GCA Council member Chris Houfe (GBCC) and Carly Pearson, card buyer of Sainsbury’s one of the retailers that has recognised it needs to play a part on the SOR front.

Mark Williams, co-owner of Brainbox Candy and Unknown Ink: Recent key happenings: “Has there ever been such a challenging year for retailers and publishers as 2017 was? - I’m not sure there has been! The ‘B word’, unrealistic business rates, the relentless march of the internet, plus people’s changing view of retail and what they expect from it set 2017 apart from other years.” Rising to the challenges: “Predictably Brexit is still at the forefront of most people’s minds. Businesses need to plan ahead and that is hindered considerably by the current level of uncertainty. Let’s be positive and believe that many of the issues will be addressed and the Brexit fog will clear in 2018, allowing businesses and individuals to look and move forward. Wages are lower than they should be in relation Above: (Left-right) Brainbox’s Mark Williams with fellow GCA Council members, Chris Bryant (Second Nature), Bill Greeno to inflation, which will have an (Paperlink) and former president and council member, David impact on retail, but Hicks (Really Good/Soul). relationships and sentiment (the ‘currency’ greeting cards rely on) can hopefully win through.” Opportunity knocks: “Cards are thankfully still standout performers for retailers and there are still real opportunities for the right product that stands out from the crowd.”

Maintaining growth, tightening of belts

Bill Greeno, sales and marketing director of Paperlink: Rising to the challenges: “One of the key challenges for 2018 will be maintaining and improving the growth in the industry. The GCA Market Report figures show how resilient as an industry we are. Provided we continue to champion new product and innovation this should continue throughout 2018. It will be interesting to see how things pan out regarding Brexit, and whether matters regarding interest rates/trade deals etc become clearer and more Above: Costs will be a major headache for consumers, retailers, publishers and gorillas! stable as the date for the exit A Paperlink Bottomline card. from Europe gets closer. It became apparent in 2017 that many publishers were ‘pulling out’ of seasons, with many citing that they just could not make them work with the demands of SOR. It is heartening to see that some retailers are becoming more aware of SOR and the overall negative effects this has on the output of some publishers. Hopefully in 2018 a more considered approach can be used to mitigate the scale of the returns. Another key challenge will be future increases in the Bank of England base rates and the general feeling among the general public that they have less money in their take home pay resulting in a need to tighten their belts still further.”

Maintaining relevance, new families Matt Critchlow, customer and category director, UK and Ireland, of Hallmark:

Recent key happenings: “The cost of inflation and an economic slowdown challenged all industries, however this also made us all look within our businesses and become more efficient and effective in growing the category.” Rising to the challenges: “In a crowded market and with busy lives, we as an industry will need to work harder to engage new entries into the market and ensure that our category remains relevant to those Above: Matt Critchlow on stage at The Retas last July. that ‘love’ sending greeting cards. I feel using events to highlight the positive emotional benefits of the category is key, and for us all in the industry. Plus, we need to promote greeting cards’ relevance to a younger generation and ensure that we have products that meet the needs of new families as their card buying opportunities increases.” Opportunity knocks: “We are in a phase of low volume growth and rising inflation. Cards are a simple sign of affection and recognition at a relatively low cost that can allow an emotional connection to the mass population.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Christmas Charity Collection 2018

Featuring beautiful new designs plus laser die cut and innovative

packaging our Christmas Charity collection is one of the strongest in the market.

We are proud to offer our Christmas collection in conjunction with

some of the leading charities in the UK, supporting good causes both at Christmas and all year round. This collection really makes a difference to the lives of people and animals in the UK.

Our Sponsored Charities Thanks to your support we have donated over ÂŁ3 million to our

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

Sweet

Marketing Jeremy Corner, owner of greeting card publisher Blue Eyed Sun, considers the power of personalised marketing. Last year I had the good fortune to see the entertaining speaker and author Geoff Ramm share some innovative marketing ideas with a packed audience at the Giftware Association’s Members’ Day. I’ve always loved marketing and enjoy seeing different ways of tackling the age-old problem of standing out from crowded marketplaces. Geoff’s a great speaker and I love his ideas for ways you can make your business outstanding for customers. Having a sweet tooth, on this occasion, one story resonated with me in particular:

The wedding tog Simon Jones of Bonjour Photography had the list of couples due to attend a wedding show he was exhibiting at. He took the trouble to contact everyone on the list and ask them what their favourite chocolate was. That’s it. No sales pitch, nothing to say how awesome he was as a photographer or how competitive his prices were. Just what chocolate they loved most. He then asked them to visit his stand at the show to collect a gift from him.

He purchased the various chocolates and put them together as a gift pack along with an album of his photographs for each couple. The results were remarkable. Nearly 90% of the customers he cold contacted shared their favourite chocolates. He successfully tracked them down, even an obscure chocolate from the US, and ultimately took £14,000 of bookings for an outlay of £400. I was bowled over by the hit rate on such a simple idea. I’ve thought a lot about this idea since. Why did it work so well? It’s not like chocolates are particularly expensive or, for that matter, very special (despite being occasionally delicious). Simon wasn’t offering discounts or mega deals either.

Above: Tasty marketing ideas help engage customers. Below: Geoff Ramm spoke at the GA’s Members’ Day about how to make your business stand out. Below left: Simon Jones of Bonjour Photography came up with a delicious idea.

Not only is the chocolate a personalised gift to suit their taste, it’s actually incredibly personal in other ways too. Our relationship with our favourite chocolate taps into our physical senses of taste, touch and smell, as well as past experiences of pleasure, and it evokes memories that undoubtedly make us smile. None of us like to be sold to and yet most of us like to buy. The majority of engaged couples attending the show

Why it works The first thing that’s most noticeable about this idea is that the call is not a sales call. In fact, even the most hardened anti-sales call person answering can’t help but be intrigued by such a simple request as “What’s your favourite chocolate?” It doesn’t cost them anything to share this information. It’s also quite fun. Those called don’t have to go to see the photographer at the show if they don’t want to. Even if they do, they already know it’s a bit of fun. They can just pick up their gift and leave. It doesn’t feel like they are being sold to at any point. They feel in control of the process. When they did visit Simon, they not only got their favourite chocolate, but they received it as a gift, wrapped up in a ribbon with a nicely bound copy of his work. The book shows his quality of work, the standard of his albums and contained a price list within. The gift aspect is a considerate personal touch.

needed a photographer for their wedding. Simon was showing them a lot about himself before they even looked at his work. He demonstrated consideration, empathy, a sense of fun, attention to detail and the personal touch. All of these are vital qualities the couple probably didn’t even realise they were looking for when choosing a photographer. Technical ability and price are actually secondary to their subconscious need for their wedding pro to deliver the images of one of the most important, personal and intimate experiences of their lives. Not only was Simon’s order book filled, but visitors spoke about him at the show, and Geoff Ramm included his story in his PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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s a m t s i r Ch Boxed Card Collection

UK Greetings have a wonderful selection of Christmas Boxed Cards and classic cello packs, once again this year. The range features an array of classic and contemporary imagery plus the very popular Snowman™ License, a favourite of all ages.

12 Cello Packs of Cards. 16 Boxed Cards. RRP from £1.50- £5.

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JEREMY’S JOURNAL marketing book and I’m sharing it with you now. All from one sweet and simple marketing idea.

Taking action Now I’ve been to a lot of talks over the years and felt inspired during many of them. I can’t always say I’ve done anything more after that. You have to take action to really benefit. As I watched Geoff share Simon’s story with over 100 delegates, I looked around the room and wondered how many would try this idea. I didn’t want to be one of a load of suppliers using this idea in our industry. If a lot of us do it, it loses its edge. Also, we were already doing little things like sending Brighton Rock sweets and handwritten notes in our orders. I almost talked myself out of doing it. As I sat there it occurred to me that the chances of nobody in the room talking this lesson on-board was actually quite high. I came to the conclusion that it was highly likely that I would be the only company in the room to try it out. So I did at the next show a month or two later. Here’s what happened…

Chocolate heaven We approached 72 customers who had visited us at the Autumn shows in the past three years and successfully discovered their

favourite chocolates. Of these, 33 shops came and collected their chocolates (with a gift sample pack) and ordered at the show or shortly afterwards with a total sales value of £11k (plus higher than average order values). Not bad for acting on advice given to us for the small charge of attending the seminar. Perhaps they might have ordered anyway. Who knows? Regardless, every customer enjoyed the experience and we loved doing it too. My colleague Will, in our office, enjoyed making the calls because he didn’t feel like he was selling. I loved shopping for the chocolates and we had a great time handing them out at the show. We also had fun taking photos and sharing the experience on social media and in this column. By the time you read this, Blue Eyed Sun will have used this marketing idea at four different shows. The idea has been done in our industry now, so you’ll have to think of something else. The lesson isn’t really about chocolate though. It’s about paying attention to your customers and going that bit further. What can you do to make your business stand out? What can you do that will exceed your customers’ expectations and blow them away? When you start thinking this way, your business changes and you begin to see opportunities everywhere to do better and take more time to consider your customers more personally. These are some further things we did as a result:

l Chocolate highs A few weeks later the major buyer of a large retail customer of ours mentioned their favourite chocolate in an interview with PG. We spotted it straight away as an opportunity to connect and sent a box of them along with a personalised thank you note saying how grateful we are for their business. Our customer loved it. l Gift packs I’ve started sharing gift packs of Blue Eyed Sun cards with customers and friends that I know love to send them. They often tweet and share images of the cards online. More importantly, I know they are taking pleasure in using our cards and spreading the love.

l Personalisation We always hand write the messages in our Christmas cards to our customers. This year we took it one step further by personalising the front of the cards too. The response of good feeling from customers was lovely. Many of the cards were shared on social media too. l Willie’s Cacao I recently met Willie Harcourt-Cooze who appeared on Channel 4’s Willies Chocolate Revolution. Last month we partnered with Willies Cacao to cross-market to each other’s customers with special offers and fun initiatives like including a gift of chocolates in Blue Eyed Sun’s Valentine’s deliveries to our retailers.

What about you?

Top right: Blue Eyed Sun has joined forces with Willies Cacao to reach new customers. Top left: Richard and Ann Gascoyne from Salhouse Garden Centre hold their favourite choccies. Above right: Spying some sweet treats, Liz Stephenson from You in Stamford. Above: House of Cards’ Nigel Williamson (left) and Miles Robinson are delighted with their chocolate treat. Right: Brian Wiseman from Present Company, Burgess Hill, is very happy with his bag of chocolates.

What are your innovative ideas for marketing? How do you create OMG! experiences for your customers? What do you do to stand out from the crowd and personalise the experience for them? I’d love to hear your stories. Tweet them to me @JeremyCorner or email me at jeremy@blueeyedsun.co.uk. I’d love to get you involved in sending more cards this year, please join my group at www.Facebook.com/groups/TheGreeting CardProject Read more on Jeremy’s blog at www.blueeyedsun.co.uk/blog Watch Jeremy’s videos at www.YouTube.com/TheGreetingCardProject PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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International Market Report

The United

Nations

While not ideal for the nation's fortunes, the weakening of £sterling has made UK greeting cards even more attractive to distribute or licence the designs for their respective markets. PG went globetrotting to find out how the 'currency' of greeting cards is faring in various parts of the world.

AUSTRALIA

John Simson, managing director of Simson Greeting Cards: The year that was: “A major change in ownership in the Australian card market has just been finalised in that Artwrap (IG Design Group) acquired Biscay Greetings, a 47 year-old highly successful veteran company that operates in the value channel. Another change that came into affect at the start of 2018 is that Carte Blanche Group, which established a subsidiary in Australia less than five years ago, made the decision to entrust its brands to us at Simson (for cards and packaging) and Jasnor (for gifts) through a combination of distribution and licensing partnerships to cover this part of the world. Other changes of note are that, over the course of 2017, industry market leader John Sands reverted to being a subsidiary of UKG and almost all its product development for the Australian market is now generated out of the UK. The familiar UK brands like UKG, Hanson White, Gibson and Carlton are now common ‘back stamps’ in Australia. Similarly, Hallmark (which is the second biggest player in Australia, behind John Sands) is also procuring more of its design content from the UK for its Australian subsidiary. These changes might look sensible through an accountant’s eyes, but greeting cards are about communication between family and friends. While the Australian

greeting card design is far more reflective of the UK design genre than that of the US, Australia has its distinctive colour palette that emanates more warmth than the often colder UK palette. Likewise, the text on Australian cards is similar to the UK, but a little bit different language wise. While we create about 50% of our design requirements in our Melbourne studio, we also resource a significant amount of designs from the UK. The difference is that we then tinker with these UK designs to ‘Australianise’ them, something that seems to be working well with Australian consumers.” The Australian card market: “Everyday greeting card sales in Australia are holding up pretty well. Minor seasons continue to be challenging, with Valentine’s Day being either a disaster or just plain old bad, depending on what day the 14th February falls. Christmas in 2017 started even later than usual, but then picked up significant momentum and my hunch is it ended up on par with previous years.

Above: John and Bindi Simson, co-owners of the Simson Greeting Cards. Left and below: Christmas card sales in Australia will be severely damaged once stamp prices increase, fears John Simson.

The biggest challenge however facing Australian greeting card publishers is Christmas postage. In 2016, Australia Post (the equivalent to the UK’s Royal Mail), in response to it making massive loses in letter post, raised the price of stamps from 70 cents to Aus$1 (58p). This has had little impact on everyday cards, of which 80% are hand-delivered. For Christmas on the other hand, 80% of cards are mailed and Australia Post’s concession was a two year moratorium on Christmas card stamp prices, seeing them kept at 65 cents. This reduction expires in 2018, and if the price of Christmas stamps rise to $1 and $2.30 (98p) to the UK, then sales of Christmas cards that are already under significant pressure from digital Christmas letters could be seriously and permanently retarded.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Hearts Designs

Oh So Charming A New Collection Of 40 Cards And Stationery.

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AUSTRALIA

Eulinid Stevenson, ceo of Henderson Greetings and Waterlyn: The year that was: “The Australian economy is relatively stable, however many predict a slowing down in employment growth and export and we are anticipating our dollar may become slightly weaker against the UK and the US. Consumer trends are quite similar to those in the UK; people are pressed for time and seeking as much convenience as possible. At the same time, the need to stand still and practice mindfulness is also growing in popularity. The need for businesses to consider sustainability and have an online presence both continue to grow in importance.” The Australian card market: “We continue to see a lot of change in the retail landscape in Australia. The lines continue to blur between what used to be a traditional newsagent, giftstore, bookstore or retail outlet, with many of these retailers diversifying their offer in order to capture more sales. In regards to greeting cards, we’re seeing wonderful growth in the boutique products on the market, which is helping to offset the growth of budget cards in the market. The net effect being flat growth in value. Also, gay marriage has recently been legalised in Australia and Top: Eulinid Stevenson is geared up for an exciting 2018. Above: This year sees Henderson produce a range of products we’re already seeing growth in demand for Mr & Mr and featuring artist Lisa Pollock’s work. Mrs & Mrs captioned cards. Henderson Greetings is a member of the marketing sub-committee for the Australian Greeting Card Association and we’ve most recently been focusing on articulating common industry goals and how we can promote new events as a total industry as per what we see in the UK. In 2018, we’ll be doing this for Thinking of You Week, Grandparents’ Day in October and maybe even Teachers’ Appreciation Day.”

POLAND

Darek Majewski, md of Kukarta/Passion Cards: The year that was: “We had a very profitable 2017. Our sales are up across the board, we have made new investments and things are definitely looking up. The political disputes have not had much impact on our business and we are noticing a steady growth of wealth among the Polish population in general, which is very good news for any Polish entrepreneur! As for the low points, there is the problem of the copycatting. As soon as we get a new, fresh idea on the market, someone immediately tries to copy it. We fight copies with Passion Cards through our quality winning through."

Above: Kukartka’s Darek Majewski proclaims himself to be the king of Polish cards!

SOUTH AFRICA

Basil Shapiro, owner of Shapiros: The year that was: “We had a fantastic year. We target the higher end of the market as South Africa is dominated by SA Greetings (the UKG of South Africa). The highlights for me last year was that we were able to bring lots of new looks to the market place even though they carry higher price points than we can usually achieve. I have found that if you are a little fearless, do things that nobody else is doing and it works, you get market acceptance.” The South African card market: “Living in South Africa politics change all the time but you have to go with the flow. Our card sales are showing a lot of growth because the designs that we carry are hitting the mark with the consumer. Not sure whether we are gaining a bigger market share or if the market is growing. Card size is a major problem for us as the South African market prefers a standard 5”x7” or squares. Humour remains a constant challenge as a lot of ranges would be seen as too weird here! For 2018 the new ranges that we are seeing from publishers already make me feel that our card market is in good hands. As for our country’s bigger political challenges, we will have to wait and see!” Above: Basil in summer mode! Left: Basil says that Portfolio’s Jaz&Baz range has been great but says they would do even better in a 5”x7” format.

The Polish card market: “The Polish card market is most definitely evolving towards quality over quantity. As a publisher, we are seeing a growing interest in occasions, such as baby shower or stag night, which were previously rather niche. At the same time, weddings, christenings and confirmations continue to be our bestsellers. As both a retailer and publisher we see the expanding trends towards more elaborate, unique and - as such - more expensive cards. The emergence of electronic cards and department store gift vouchers has been a blessing in disguise for us. It has forced Passion Cards to really focus on our customers' needs and let our creativity flow. We are now making the most expensive, intricate and gorgeous cards ever in our history and our customers love them. The challenge for 2018 is how the cards are displayed. Since we are shifting towards more luxurious products, the displays need to reflect this, however the market not yet ready for this. But after 25 years of experience nobody can say we can't rise to a challenge.”

Continued on page 67

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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International Market Report

FRANCE

Thierry Heinerich, managing director of Pictura Aquarupella: The French card market: “The market has changed a lot with fewer and fewer independent retailers. That means that we have to find new channels of distribution and to create products for these new channels. Overall our business is growing, but with less customers than previously. Where the market may have seen a drop in volume, it has been compensated by higher priced cards. The consumer buys these cards not just to celebrate something, but for other reasons too, eg as a gift, decoration, to add to a collection etc. If the consumer equates the price they spent with a good quality product, then I believe the market can continue to develop. Design wise, the strong trend continues for text on cards, featuring different typefaces to create sophisticated looks. We put a lot of effort to support our customers to help make their shops more interesting for their customers. In France, cards are mainly displayed on spinners, but I feel we need to find a solution to make displays more interesting than currently.” Above: Thierry Heinerich, md of Pictura Aquarupella, has found success in more upmarket cards. Left: One of the designs in PIctura Aquarupella’s Quai des Ecrivains range.

UNITED STATES

Nicky Burton, managing director of Calypso: The year that was: “2017 was a difficult year in many ways on this side of the Atlantic. The political climate has led to much uncertainty and caution among many, although on the upside, others have resolved to be stronger in the face of this upheaval. Natural disasters have also played a major role with terrible hurricanes affecting Florida and Texas, and wildfires devastating parts of California and Oregon, and of course these have had quite an impact on local retailers. 2017 has made it clear that connecting with people is more important than ever.” The American card market: “Chain stores are struggling in the face of online shopping, however more independent stores are opening and independent bookstores are thriving and on an upward trend compared to a few years ago. The greeting card market continues to be strong, with many retailers reporting that greeting cards keep them in business. This is more evidence that people are looking for connections out in the world instead of solely using social media.” Expectations of 2018?: “This year will see the introduction of Thinking of You Week in the US, which we are very excited about! It is still in its very early stages, but we hope many publishers and retailers will want to get involved, and the events of the last year suggest the US consumer will welcome the initiative.” Above: Nicky Burton feels that cards are playing a stronger role in making connections between people, such as through this Lagom card. Below: Calypso’s Nicky Burton (far left, with some of her team) is looking forward to being part of launching Thinking of You Week in the States.

SPAIN

Toni Renom, export manager of Busquets: The year that was: “The Spanish market is still in a deep process of change which affects not only the final customer but the channels of distribution too. A greeting card has become something exceptional and not seen as the traditional way for greeting people. Cards are now seen as a ‘gift concept’ instead of a traditional social channel of communication. That said, 2017 was a good year for us on everyday cards. We have grown due to the fact that we launched lots of smaller and different lines. We have seen a decline in very specific captions, Above: Busquets’ export manager Tony Renom says that it is a battle while other general between the virtual and the captions, related to tangible. Happy Birthday and Below: A sophisticated design from Busquets. Thank You for example, are blooming. Humorous cards are still selling very well, but so too are elaborate higher end cards, perhaps because there’s a much greater prominence of fine stationery companies in the market. Sales of Christmas cards in Spain though are in decline. Those with a charity connection are still doing OK, but such is the drop in sending is that in Spain, if you do receive a Christmas card in the post it is tantamount to receiving a bottle of Champagne, something highly valuable!" The Spanish card market: “Certainly, the market is being affected by the blast of the new technologies and the way people are communicating. New apps and social media channels are all seen as being more effective in delivering immediate levels of satisfaction than sending a simple card. Maybe because of this, greeting cards are evolving to be seen as special items. This is reflected in sales of our luxury cards, which are going up to the detriment of simple and less elaborate cards. These high-end cards are given with a gift rather than posted. The ‘Phantom Menace’ to my mind is not coming from the dark side, but the virtual side. The question for consumers is whether to choose to have something tangible in their hands or not.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Retailers On Retailers

Shops We Love The delights of Fortnum and Mason’s visual merchandising, the charm of a vintage bookstore, John Lewis’ incredible attention to customer detail, Graham and Green’s treasures and curiosities or the informed and friendly service of a local butchers, which retailer would be your favourite to browse and shop? Greeting card retailers and retail buyers reveal which department store, multiple or specialist independent they love and admire and what makes shopping there such a special experience.

Beverley Green, owner of Blue Rose Gifts & Balloons, Heywood: “My favourite shop is a book shop, such as Waterstones, but I like old second hand ones too. I used to read about six books a week when I was younger, but unfortunately working a seven days week (an empire doesn't build itself!) I don't always get the chance now. There's something magical about a bookshop. Firstly, there's the smell (of old books in particular) that draws you in. Once inside you are met with row upon row of books just waiting to be opened, each with their own unique story to tell, each waiting to take you to different worlds and introduce you to different characters. I think that this has helped me to be creative in my own shop. It is like a book, it’s that magical, fun, bright and lively place that you want to spend your spare half hour.” Left: Just like a book, Blue Rose in Heywood is somewhere to submerge yourself.

Denise Laird, owner of Spirito, Glasgow: "Whenever I am in London I make a special point of visiting Anthropologie. The stores have a relaxed atmosphere with helpful, knowledgeable staff, a cool vibe and a distinctive look. They are very spacious with expansive ranges of clothing, homewares, gifts and beauty products. I admire what they achieve with creative, inspirational displays. The stock is quirky and feels more personal because it does not follow convention. Additionally, the music playlists help to create a positive ambience, and I particularly love the fact that customers are welcome to bring their canine companions with them."

Carly Pearson, card buyer for Sainsbury’s:

Dan Cooper, Christmas buyer for John Lewis: “My favourite shops are Arrowsmiths and Kit in Broadstairs, Kent, where I live. They are both independent gift/card/clothing shops. The owners have great taste, know their customers and always have something different to offer. I spend my life making choices from vast amounts of stuff. When I’m not at work I appreciate someone else making most of the choices for me. They are also helping to revive the fortunes of our town and attract new visitors. Everyone who comes to visit me in Kent wants to spend time and money in these shops. Everything I can buy from Arrowsmiths or Kit I do, because I want them to succeed and I enjoy talking shop when I pop in!”

Below: Anthropologie's unique product of clothes, homewares and gifts is a favourite with retailers. Bottom right: You in Stamford has some gorgeous gifts.

Above: Arrowsmiths in Broadstairs is a treasure trove of beautiful things.

“My personal favourites are Oliver Bonas and Anthropologie. I like that these shops offer a variety of product types and are displayed in an aspirational way that makes me want to go home and recreate the look. From an independent perspective, I really love a shop called You where I live in Stamford. It offers a really lovely array of gifts I want to take home for myself, never mind give to other people, and also a shop called The Nest at No.9 in a town called Olney in Bedfordshire. It’s just a really cool looking shop with fabulous wallpaper behind the counter!”

Jenni Taylor, card buyer for Bentalls, Kingston: “Liberty of London is a store I admire. I love the character of the store, the interiors and the history.”

Jo Barber, owner of The Stationery & Gift Boutique, Ampthill: “While I’m a big fan of independents, my favourite place to shop tends to be The White Company. Its shops are always clean, spacious and merchandised well. Its opening hours suit my busy day, the smell as you walk in is gorgeous, the staff always say hello as you enter and the products are great quality. I admire the company as it gets it right in every store. It clearly invests in its staff, and when you give a White Company gift, it will always delight.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Lisa Rutherford, buyer stationery for John Lewis: “My fave shop at the moment is still kikki.K. What's not to love? Its innovative and thoughtful product is great for gifting, but also lovely for a treat to yourself. The minute you walk in you fall in love with the concept. The environment is calming and the product is both stylish and useful.”

Debbie and Jerry Brown, owners of First Class Greetings and Plum Green, Hadleigh: Jerry: “The initial appeal is normally the brand, but having then shopped in a store then what keeps us going back is a combination of product, style and personal service. My favourite store is Ralph Lauren on Bond Street. The staff know us personally and let us know when new collections are about to arrive. They always make sure that we get a warm reception and refreshments (normally with bubbles) to get you in the mood for spending. My other favourite clothes shop is an Italian brand called Slowear. The clothes have typical Italian flair with superb cut and comfort. The staff are always friendly and an espresso is always on offer.” Debbie: “I am also a great fan of Ralph Lauren on Bond Street. I also love Michael Kors and the Chanel Boutique, both on Bond Street. Here too we are greeted with bubbly refreshments and looked after by friendly staff who stay in touch via text and email to advise me when new collections will be arriving or to invite us to special events. As you can probably guess, shopping is our hobby!!” Above: Jerry and Debbie Brown looking glamorous at PG Live.

Helen Fisher, owner of SNAP, Roman Road, London: “Carnaby Street always delivers a great shopping experience. I love Monki, which is there, because it's so bright and caters perfectly to its audience. Loud music, bright colours, glitter, fur, mirrors, the lot. Perfect for picking something fun (as long as you don't go in with a headache as it can be full on!) And my shopping secret would be a trip around a really good hardware/bargain store: one of those shops that sell literally EVERYTHING. There's something about the bright colours, organised stacks of tins, tubs, tape, tinsel, whatever, that make me endlessly happy. I could mooch for hours. It doesn't matter what country I'm in I will always make time to visit if I spot one.” Above: Glitter, fur and fun, Monki in Carnaby Street.

Sean Austin, owner of Austin & Co, Malvern: “Liberty of London has always been a favourite. There aren't many mock Tudor facades that grab my attention, but once inside its Paper Room, it's everything I aspire my shop to be. But when it comes to much smaller independent card and stationery shops, my ‘favouritist’ shop in the whole wide world is Greer of Chicago. It's a collection of all things paper, and typewriters. I have visited many times and it's to its credit that being an owner of a stationery shop myself, I purchase stationery from there. The collection is spot on -high quality but affordable, different but not being way out there, and Chandra, the owner, is highly knowledgeable about what she sells. If you're in Chicago, I highly recommend a visit.”

Amanda Oscroft, partner of Love it, Stamford and Bury St Edmunds: “I absolutely love visiting an amazing independent hardware shop called Harrison and Dunn in Stamford. I know it doesn’t sound very glamorous, and I know I look like a fish out of water tottering in my heels, smelling of Jo Malone, marvelling at the array of industrial bits and bobs, but I am in heaven. The staff are marvellous; always ready to help even if I only want a 20p hook. The amount of stock is unbelievable! They have helped my little shop for over 18 years and I can’t send my husband in anymore because I don't see him for hours. It’s not a shop it’s a sanctuary.” Above: Heaven to Amanda Oscroft, Harrison & Dunn hardware shop.

Anne Borrett, head of buying for Papershop for Tesco: “One of my favourites is Anthropologie, that delivers on atmosphere and environment, plus you also start to see the early mainstream trends emerging. You see new finishes and ideas that could ultimately filter through into a card propositionI.”

Chris Beards, partner of Mantons Cards, Port Erin, Isle of Man: “Beans and Bagels, a Dutch independent chain that is more coffee shop than retailer but does a fantastic job of impulse sales at the counter. Also the service and product quality is consistently excellent, so there is always a retail lesson to be learnt every time I visit. In the UK, my favourite is suit retailer Charles Tyrwhitt. Once again the product quality and knowledge and service is fantastic, and it does a great job of encouraging impulse purchases. I also like how it captures customers’ details at the till to provide direct catalogue marketing.” Below: Charles Tyrwhitt’s clothing is beautifully presented.

Left: Greer of Chicago is a must visit store.

Claire Fitzgerald, buyer - cards, giftwrap and calendars for Waterstones: “My favourite shop is Oliver Bonas. I would buy everything in there if I could! The shops themselves always look inviting and everything is nicely presented and organised into the relevant product areas, which makes it easy to shop. I particularly love its glassware and jewellery ranges, which come in a lovely range of attractive colourways.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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In Conversation With... Rachel Hare

A SignatureTouch What started with a dragonfly was clinched by a jellyfish - and so, CoCo by Rachel Hare, a new subbrand of Belly Button Designs was born. The Belly Button Designs’ founder is widely acknowledged as one of the leading creative forces in the UK greeting card industry, yet until now, her name has never featured on any of the products the company has produced. Having debuted at Top Drawer, the ‘hero wall’ of the publisher’s stand at Spring Fair will fanfare the new upmarket sub-brand which Rachel Hare has very much given the personal sign-off. PG followed the mermaids, unicorns and peacocks to meet Rachel and find out more about the company’s anewed creative flourish. Over the last 25 years since she started the company, Rachel Hare has created many Henries award-winning and revered card ranges under the Belly Button brand. Though modest about her talents, she is rightfully proud of what heights the likes of the publisher’s Paloma and Platinum collections have achieved, and continue to achieve through their sustained development. However, it was when she was putting the finishing touches to a dragonfly design joining the Paloma line-up that Rachel had a eureka moment and one that led a shimmering path to the CoCo by Rachel Hare new brand.

Above: Rachel Hare in the studio, surrounded by her current inspirations and design influences. Left: The handwritten aspect of the new brand is in keeping with the styling of the Belly Button Designs branding. Below: The Dragonfly design for Henries-award winning brand Paloma that the creation of which sparked the idea for creating a new sub-brand. Bottom: The beautiful jellyfish design in the CoCo by Rachel Hare collection was partly inspired by a piece of glassware from Danish company Hubsch.

“I felt a strong urge to create a ‘space’ in our portfolio where I could go wild and explore; push design with the current trends for flamboyance and escapism, without having to fit in with any existing brand,” Rachel recalls. And so the idea for CoCo was born. Adding to a very personal touch, for the first time ever, her own name anchors the brand, the hand-scripted branding acting as a personal sign-off to the work in much the same way as an artist would sign their masterpieces. The inaugural CoCo collection, which debuted at Top Drawer earlier this month, includes lavish designs featuring on-trend jellyfish, unicorns, mermaids, peacocks, feathers, in many rich jewel tones, enhanced by hand-scripted captions, embossed foiling, printed on thick textured board and topped off by being accompanied by an on-trend teal envelope (in Marrs Green, the colour GF Smith pronounced as the world’s favourite colour). CoCo by Rachel Hare is very much the embodiment of a creative flourish that has been rippling throughout the company of late, most notably since Rachel divested herself of the bulk of the inevitable admin responsibilities of her business, that can absorb an inordinate amount of time and sap energy in order to concentrate on her passion - designing. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Velvet Joy is one of our 4 brand new ranges for Christmas 2018. Customers will be coming to your shop expecting the best! We wouldn’t want to disappoint them. Velvet Joy is the same fantastic formula, but with dozens of magical new images across 147 titles. Magical Moments - 34 titles Fudge Pudding - 61 titles

Tel: 01423 563740 000_PG_February 2018.indd 1

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Under the Mistletoe - 55 titles

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In Conversation With... Rachel Hare

“I now spend four days a week designing in the studio. We have great people in our team to take on all the other responsibilities,” says Rachel, explaining how moving the warehousing and despatch aspects of the company off site to a third party specialist has proved to be the right decision. Moreover, bringing industry stalwarts Riou Baxter and Mike Broad of Why Management on board to offer additional sales support has also proved successful. Rachel says it was after coming ‘back to work’ after taking maternity leave following the birth of her third child that led to the reinvigorated creative direction. “Any business can get a bit stuck in a rut if they just do what they have always done, and to a certain extent that is what had happened to us, luckily we were in a position of strength when this happened, but I just knew we could do an even better job for our retail customers by creating fresh new product that were different from anything else on the market, but are still commercial nonetheless,” said Rachel candidly. So, the ‘rule book’ was torn up and a new creative set up was put in place which has seen the Belly Button design team morph,

Above: The Belly Button Bubble collection now includes giftwrappings, mugs and stationery. Right: The inaugural CoCo by Rachel Hare collection celebrates the mystical, flamboyant trends. Below left: Giles, Rachel’s husband, has many talents, including being able to oversee a complete revamp of the company’s store in Manchester’s Burton Road in the West Didsbury suburb.

drawing on the talents of several experienced ‘Belly Buttoners’ (who now have the freedom to work either in the studio in the company’s Manchester HQ or from their homes on a freelance basis) as well as new skills from other freelance designers who are relishing seeing their creative ideas reach the end consumers through some of the world’s best retailers. While the CoCo by Rachel Hare collection will have pride of place on the

company’s new stand at Spring Fair, it will be flanked by a feast of new Paloma and Platinum incarnations as well as an expanded collection of giftwrappings, mugs and stationery from Bubble, the sister company Rachel set up with her co-director Kimberley Williams two years ago. While Rachel is clearly enjoying tapping into an abundant creative flow that is so apparent in the company’s current portfolio, she is however acutely aware of retailer customers’ needs - not least as the company owns several card and gift shops in the Manchester vicinity which have proved invaluable for customer feedback. “We really want to support our retail customers, especially independents, as it is them who got us where we are today,” says Rachel, delighted that, as a GCA Council member, that the trade association has placed helping retailers high on its agenda for the coming year. As Rachel elaborated: “Retailers are up against it with their increased costs and drop in footfall, but as publishers we have an opportunity to support them by creating products that we feel passionate about and believe will help ensure that consumers remain excited about buying and sending greeting cards – now that is certainly, in my mind, something worth putting my name to.” I should coco!

Up close and personal PG put Rachel Hare, founder and creative director of Belly Button in the hot seat and persuaded her to share some personal revelations… l What was your first job?: “Working in the card and stationery department at Kendals (House of Fraser) in Manchester when I was 16.” l What was the best piece of advice you have ever received?: “Take a little time to think. I tend to rush into things so now I have learnt to take a little or as long as I can over important decisions and if possible now I sleep on things.” l What business advice would you give to someone else today?: “Go for it! - You can do anything if you work at it and put the time in – nothing comes easily in business but if you’re prepared for that you can achieve anything.” l What words would your friends use to describe you?: “Energetic, passionate, innovative, productive and a chancer.” l What advice would you give to a young Rachel Hare looking to start out in her business journey?: “Make sure you are in it for the right reason – to enjoy it!” l How do you start and end your day?: “I’m up at 7ish, listening to Radio 4, while drinking a mint tea while checking my emails and Instagram. I love going into the studio early to get a bit of time to look at the design material on the studio walls. The end of day is grabbing a precious hour with Giles my husband after our three children are in bed, watching something on TV or reading, and probably checking Instagram. I am in in bed by 11 and I sleep for England!” l Where's your favourite place to go on holiday?: “Greece is my all-time favourite destination – the scenery and colour, people and food, I just love the small islands and fishing villages.” l Which one item would you take to a desert island?: “A juicer as I try to have one green juice a day – if I had Giles with me I’d have to get him to rig up some kind of solar power for it!” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Environmental Matters



  From greeting cards being printed on card made out of upcycled coffee cups to trials underway on biodegradable flitter; campaigns to use board produced in the UK to recycled cellobags being made into garden hoses and confirmation that foiling on cards does not harm the planet, the UK greeting card industry is taking its environmental credentials very seriously. PG presses the ‘green button’ to share some of the issues that are being confronted and debunks some of the myths. Blue Planet II was the most watched TV programme of 2017, with 17 million people tuning in to watch the BBC series. It ended with Sir David Attenborough delivering a poignant message: “For years we thought the oceans were so vast and the inhabitants so infinitely numerous that nothing we could do could have an effect upon them. But now we know that was wrong. It is now clear our actions are having a significant impact on the world’s oceans. They are under threat now as never before in human history. Many people believe the oceans have reached a crisis point. Surely we have a responsibility to care for our blue planet. The future of humanity, and indeed all life on Earth, now depends on us.” While caring for the environment has long been a concern for individuals, business, industries and politicians, the Blue Planet’s beautiful oceanic footage, coupled with the thought provoking words from the highly respected naturalist presenter, has pushed caring for our planet very much to front of mind.

Top right: Windles’ md Bruce Podmore at the Iggesund papermaking facility in Workington. Above middle: Environmental issues have always been top of the agenda for Glebe Cottage (this is one of the images from a calendar it published), but other publishers are giving it more careful consideration too. Above and right: The ‘War on Waste’ stretches to all industries.

‘May wages war on waste’, ‘Turn the tide on plastics’, ‘Gove takes his coffee green as he plots cup cull’ were just a few of the many newspaper headlines sparked by the government’s 25 year plan to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by 2042, as well as improve on other environmental scores. As major retailers share their current environmental policies and intended improvements, so suppliers too are being put

Get on board

Greeting card printer Windles sent out a loud rally cry to publishers at the end of last year, one that covered both environmental and cost concerns. ‘A board that helps save the world, by not travelling around it’, is the tagline for Windles’ new campaign that urges publishers and fellow printers to support a push to use UK-produced one-sided coated board from Workington-based Iggesund Papermill in order to help save the planet while being price neutral. The turbulence in the paper and board market recently, with costs escalating (by 7%) due to the currency fluctuations, had resulted in card publishers looking further and further afield for their one-sided coated board, which is a ‘staple product’ for the industry, with an escalating carbon footprint. Windles’ md Bruce Podmore’s explorations to come up with a solution - on the environmental, price and quality fronts - was not the other side of the world, but only a few hundred miles up the road. Iggesund Papermill has not only invested heavily in a state of the art Biomass plant (generated by locally grown willow trees, which provide funds to the Borders’ hill farmers), but has also been working diligently to adapt the recipe for its Incada Silk brand to make it ideally suited for greeting cards. Noel Tatt was the first greeting card publisher to start using the 240gm Incada Silk board, which only officially launched this month, but many others are considering it. Of the Come on Board campaign, Bruce stresses that this is not something Windles wants to ‘own’ and hopes other printers will also get involved. As he stresses: “It is not just important for the greeting card industry, but the whole country and the health of the universe that we seriously consider this solution that is so close to home.”

through their paces on ways and means of minimising their environmental damage. There are some ‘quick wins’, but other changes will take time. As Matt Genower, md of Five Dollar Shake summed up: “Yep, I think it’s fair to say the plastic packaging industries’ R&D departments are going to be flat out for a bit on this!” And the ‘green button’ has been pressed even more firmly in the greeting card industry PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Environmental Matters

too. Compared to so many other trades, the UK greeting card industry has high environmental credentials. Its prime component after all, paper, is completely sustainable, with the WWF, the world’s leading conservation charity, giving the industry a positive thumbs up for its widespread adoption of FSC board. The industry is well-blessed with specialist UK printers who have environmental concerns at the heart of their business and the accreditations to prove them. On the finishing front too, leading names that supply the foils and the cellobags for example have recycling schemes in place and work is well underway on developing biogradable glitter for use on cards (see News pages). That said, there is always room for improvement - through technical developments, inventive schemes (from suppliers, publishers and card retailers) as well as in the ways ideas and information are shared both within the industry and to the wider world.

In the bag

From carrier bags to drinking straws, coffee cups to sandwich packets, the lid has been lifted on massively reducing single use plastics as well as the responsible disposal and upcycling options. It is unlikely to be long before cellobags on individual greeting cards come up for discussion in the public debate on the environment – and continue to be a consideration for publishers and retailers. Do we need to individually wrap cards? Is there another option out there? Do we need them to be in bags or would a band be protective enough? While compostable bags (made from cornstarch) have been around for years, and are used to great success by a number of publishers - Glebe Cottage, Really Good and Jo Clark among them - the bulk of card companies use bags made from polypropylene, partly on cost grounds.

As the industry ‘voice’, with its 450+ membership and associated membership covering all aspects of the trade - from tiny publishers to multinational players, independent and multiple retailers, as well as trade suppliers - the GCA will doubtless play a part in this, with discussions already underway for additional resources to be added on the website as well as a possible seminar on the subject. President of the GCA, Ceri Stirland (who is also director of marketing of UKG), quite rightly points out: “As an industry it is essential that we continue to improve our environmental performance; to look for new solutions to increase the environmental positive impact occurring as a result of our activities. The key is going to be everyone working together to share best practice to reduce environmental impact while still delivering amazing product and giving great service to our customer base.” The environmental issue is clearly not going to go away, but what is good is that the greeting card industry will collectively work together to ensure that its products won’t cost the earth.

Stuart Yorston, md of Transrap, a leading supplier of ‘cellobags’ to publishers, stresses that these bags are totally recyclable, though accepts that “the government’s push for some commonality in councils’ recycling policies will make the situation a lot easier for consumers, while the round table talks that Michael Give has been having with packaging bodies will see further improvements on the product side.” Transrap has instigated its own recycling programme, whereby any excess material is sent to a nearby company who breaks it down and turns it into garden hoses and draining rods.“We are also open to taking back any unwanted cellobags from publishers, printers or fulfillment companies to be upcycled into these other useful products,” says Stuart. Top: GFSmith’s new Extract board includes pulp from upcycled used coffee cups. Left: Counting Stars (sibling company to Five Dollar Shake) is using Extract on its Crazy Stupid Life range. Above right: Stuart Yorston at The Henries last year, on which Transrap is a sponsor. Below: Some of the amazing foiled effects that FoilCo products can achieve, that are recyclable.

Foiled by foil?

FoilCo is a leading UK supplier of foil to the greeting card industry. The company is a committed member of the ‘zero to landfill’ campaign. In an effort to demystify some perceptions about foil, FoilCo’s ceo David Hornby shares his ‘magnificent seven’ facts... 1. Foil is a dry, solvent-free method of printing. Any solvents used are in a specialist production environment. The solvents are recovered for re-use or used to heat machinery and factory. 2. When applied to board or paper, the finished print can be recycled in the normal paper recycling. 3. In printing with foil, no solvents are required to clean machines of inks. 4. As the images offer high quality effects, they are not applied to the design in such large areas as inks. 5. Once printed, the polyester film is not detrimental to the environment, even in landfill. 6. Polyester (which is used as the backing to the foil during the production process, but is not transferred onto the card) has a higher calorific value than most polymers. The energy recovered (when recycled) is therefore higher. 7. When incinerated during the recycling process, polyester breaks down to components of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and water. The same by-products found in nature, when vegetation breaks down, so non-toxic. The ash is able to be used by farmers as fertiliser. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Up Close With... Noel Tatt

Help At Hand Reaching a milestone in life and business is generally worth celebrating, especially if it involves others in a positive way. This is most definitely the case, big time, with Noel Tatt and its relationship with Helpcards. An impressive £1.5 million has now been raised for the 32 charities involved in Help since Noel Tatt started producing the Christmas charity packs in 2001, £100k alone from sales in 2017. PG caught up with Michael Griffiths, Noel Tatt’s sales manager, to take stock on this rewarding success story. Sometimes in our industry we can lose sight of the good work that goes on as a result of greeting cards being published, retailed, bought and sent. A greeting card is a powerful product; a meaningful and tangible communication medium that forges stronger links in personal relationships with the feelgood benefits derived from receiving a card having been scientifically proven several years ago. However, if the cards being bought also have a charitable tie-up then even better, with their purchase not only helping to generate funds for all manner of worthy causes, but also raising awareness of the charity’s brand. And if the basis of the charitable arrangement is at no risk to the charity then all the better. Multiply that 32 times and by 16 Christmases (and counting) and you get Helpcards’ incredibly fruitful relationship with Noel Tatt. An astonishing £1.5 million has Below: Traditional fine art continues to score for Help. Middle: The ‘wild card’ in this year’s selection is this pug design. Right: Religious imagery still features in the line up.

Above: Noel Tatt has developed an FSDU for retailers to display the Help packs. Left: Michael Griffiths (left) with House of Cards’ Nigel Williamson (centre) and Lee Hartley (Noel Tatt) at the recent GCA AGM and Conference.

been shared out between the 32 different charities involved in Help as a result of the sale of specially designed packs of Christmas cards that are sold in Noel Tatt’s 1,500 retail customers’ shops every year. Commenting on reaching the £1.5 million charity donation milestone, Michael Griffiths, sales manager of Noel Tatt, accepts that it is a gratifying triumph. “It is wonderful to think that through our retail customers stocking them, and the consumers buying

them, that our Christmas cards have been able to do so much good, providing much needed funds for a broad reach of charities.” The charity stakeholders that collectively form and own Helpcards, include well-known charity brands (such as Barnardo’s, Macmillan Cancer Support and RNLI), as well as much smaller and less well-known causes, such as Treloar’s (a school for disabled children in Hampshire), The Docklands Settlements (a network of amenity centres in deprived areas of London) and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (a UK conservation charity that protects rare breeds of farm livestock). Michael has been instrumental in the Helpcards’ relationship with Noel Tatt since both parties started working together back at the start of this century. “We didn’t have a charity side at the time and so together with my colleague, our general manager Ian PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Up Close With... Noel Tatt

Hylands, we approached Helpcards which had been dormant on the retail side for a few years,” explains Michael. “Ian, who sadly died a few years ago, would have been so proud to have seen how the charity donations have grown year by year, as a result of the sales of our Help Christmas packs.” Michael believes that the diversity of charities involved in Helpcards is key to the success of the collaboration as it means that retailers and the consumer feel very comfortable about the beneficiaries. Likewise the design approach towards the packs is equally broad. “We create new designs every year, but always ensure we have a good

Taking the long view Having worked in the charity sector for many years, Peter Long had the right experience to become a non-executive director of Helpcards 16 years ago. As part of his role he liaises with the Noel Tatt team on the charity Christmas card front. So, when the media started to take pot shots at the industry over the percentage given to charities as a result of the sale of Christmas cards from high street retailers, Peter was only too willing to speak out in defence, drafting a statement for the GCA that he was happy to have used in the general media to put the record straight. As Peter wrote:“As the Christmas season approaches, every year the media, perhaps nudged by those with vested interests, start to criticise the greeting card industry on the way many charity cards are sold, with what they claims is only a small return being donated by the Above: Helpcards raises funds for its 32 member charities. publishers to the charities featured. The way that Helpcards are sold however, offers significant benefits to both the charities who own the Helpcards brand but also to the retailers who sell them and the customers who buy them. Helpcards is owned by 32 different charities both large and small with the Christmas cards being designed, printed and distributed by Noel Tatt who shoulder all the risks and costs of this operation. This also includes providing the retail trade with promotional material, which can include a specially produced free-standing display unit and also posters. Every sale of a pack of Helpcards, means that virtually all the donation of either 30p [for the £2.99 packs] or 40p [for the £3.99 packs] goes direct to the charities, as none of the very few people who run Helpcards are paid for their time. All the charity stakeholders in Helpcards, both national charities and the smaller organisations really welcome their annual share-out, which from Noel Tatt has now reached the magnificent total of £1.5 million. And this charitable income has come at no risk or cost to the participating charities.”

Left-right: This year’s Help range includes includes a broad selection from traditional scenes, contemporary depictions and humorous animals.

mix of traditional scenes, contemporary treatments, religious and animal imagery,” explains Michael. The 2018 collection that has just been launched, and will be given pride of place on the publisher’s stand at Spring Fair, is a case in point, comprising 62 designs, across two price points (a £2.99 pack and a £3.99 pack). “In line with consumer tastes, there is a slightly higher quota of gently humorous designs in this year’s collection - sheep and penguins wearing hats and our ‘wild card’ being a pug dog design - but we also made sure to include a nativity scene, a three kings design, plus traditional snowy scenes,” reveals Michael. As the collection is stocked by 1,500 retail rooftops - from garden centres groups to independent post offices and everything in between - Michael says it provides an insight into the nation’s Christmas card buying patterns. “What is encouraging is that the sales of our higher priced packs [which retail at £3.99 for eight cards] are growing over the £2.99 ones, which is all good news for the charities and our retail customers!” he says. Looks like Noel Tatt won’t need much ‘Help’ in reaching its next charity milestone, the British public is already on the case!

Keeping up with the Joneses Five years ago Lynsey Jones, owner of Great Barford Stores and Post Office, started dealing with Noel Tatt, and she hasn’t looked back since, with sales of the publisher’s Help Christmas cards being one of the retailer’s anchor products at Christmas. The independent retailer, which has been owned by Lynsey for the last ten years, is very much part of the community in the Bedford village of Great Barford where the store is based. “We have a lot of loyal customers and they now know they can rely on us to stock the Help range,” says Lynsey.“We placed a double order for 2017 as we sold out in 2016 – and will be doing the same this year,” she adds. As to the appeal of the card collection, Lynsey believes it is the combination of the strong and varied designs together with the broad reach of the charity beneficiaries that scores with the shop’s customers. Lynsey positions the Help products close to the Post Office side of the shop so that customers using those services will be attracted to the display. “People like supporting charities and the fact that Help benefits both well known charities as well as smaller ones is a strength,” believes Lynsey. Reflecting the trends tracked by other Noel Tatt customers, it was the £3.99 packs that proved more popular than the £2.99 ones last Christmas. Lynsey shares the industry’s frustrations of the few in the national media who have seen fit to criticise the greeting card industry for the huge sums it raises through the sales of charity cards, such as through the Help cards. “Our customers are only too pleased to be able to buy lovely designed cards that as a result of which a generous contribution is made to charities, with Noel Tatt taking all the risks and work in producing the cards,” says Lynsey. Above: Lynsey Jones (bottom left) with her shop colleagues during its annual fundraising push for Children in Need for which the retailer raises £2,000 annually through a number of initiatives. Left: Great Barford Stores and Post Office is just one of 1,500 rooftops that stock Noel Tatt’s Help cards.

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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In Conversation With... Thortful

At the age of 18, Andy Pearce decided that he knew more about business than his university lecturers so he left after three months and went out and proved it. From a wheelie bin cleaning service to call centre empire Inkfish, and then onto conference calling company PowWowNow, he netted £millions in the process. However, it was Thortful, his online greeting card concern, that attracted the attention of millions of consumers at the end of last year as Andy held his own on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den TV programme. PG visited the online retailer’s London HQ and delved into the thoughfulness as well as the bold aspirations of this plucky entrepreneur. The greeting card industry received something of a late Christmas present when the Boxing Day episode of the highly popular BBC TV programme, Dragons’ Den kicked-off with a pitch from Andy Pearce for his online greeting card business, Thortful. And, this was a gift that kept on giving, as in addition to being a popular watch on ‘catch up’, the episode was also repeated on terrestrial TV right at the start of January. Yet, however good news this coverage was for the industry as a whole, highlighting the importance of sending cards to those they care about to a receptive chilled-out nation enjoying their festive break, it was a big style ‘money can’t buy’ advertising boost for Thortful, now 18 months into its ambitious business plan.

As he demonstrated on Dragons’ Den, Andrew Pearce is no pallid, techno geek who would prefer to communicate digitally. His quickfire talking, open body language, perma tan (the result of a two year sabbatical kite surfing round the world topped up at regular intervals) and boyish enthusiasm is engaging. He accepts he doesn’t have all the answers, but you get a distinct feeling he is going to have fun trying to find them. And his track record, after all, is pretty good, having banked £millions as a result of previous business sellouts. Right: Having waited for over 13 hours ‘in the wings’ Andy Pearce had to rev himself up for the Dragons’ Den presentation. Below: The Dragons’ Den cast. (Left-right) Touker Suleyman, Jenny Campbell, Deborah Meaden, Tej Lalvani and Peter Jones.

Right: Andy Pearce is a born entrepreneur.

This makes it all the stranger that the Dragons’ Den episode in which Thortful featured starts with Andy being lost for words - was this just a ruse to get the sympathy votes going for this ‘boy wonder’? Apparently not. “They get you to the set at 6am and you are kept away from everyone. I ended being last on at 7.15pm - almost 13 hours later. By then, I really had forgotten what I was going to say,” he laughs. He made up for it though, with his subsequent confident delivery resulting in two investment pledges from two ‘Dragons’ (from the ‘vitamin king’ Tej Lalvani and ‘cashpoint queen’ Jenny Campbell) while not missing a trick to push the merits of the greeting card industry and Thortful’s place within it, both now and in the future. Andy clearly gets a buzz about building businesses (and then selling them for a profit), seeing his lack of knowledge about a sector as an advantage. “I knew a little bit about call centres when I started Inkfish, but knew nothing about conference calling when we set up PowWowNow,” says Andy, making reference to the last two business through which he netted £20+ million as a result of their respective sell offs. “And I really knew very little about the greeting card market before starting Thortful, apart from my own frustrations as a consumer.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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In Conversation With... Thortful

According to Andy it was a rather fruitless search to find a suitable Christmas card for his mum that prompted the idea for Thortful. “Like most men, I had probably left it too late to find a good card, but was not inspired by the selection on offer,” said Andy. While aware of the leading online greeting card operators (Moonpig and Funky Pigeon being the most notable), Andy fast tracked his ruminations on the potential of creating an alternative platform, which would place creative designs rather than personalisation options or photo uploads as the real driver for the customer engagement. Right from the start, recognising the power of having potent content on the site, Thortful cast its net wide into the creative community, trouncing the other operators with the royalty rate it offered to artists and card brands. It initially paid creators 50p for every card of that design ordered – as well as a branding opportunity for the artist’s name or brand to appear on the website underneath the depicted design. The cards, costing £2.99, are printed to order in Sheffield (by a printer that was not involved in greeting cards previously), bearing both the designer’s and Thortful’s branding, coupled with a grey GF Smith envelope, and dispatched the same day (if the order was placed by 3pm).

Now, some 18 months from Thortful going live (the customerbase having grown to 200k, the company turnover to over £1m and the investment costs in the region of £1.5 million), the royalty rate for the creator has dropped down to 30p per design, which is still attractive. Plus, the company’s ‘all inclusive’ policy still reigns, allowing all comers - from amateur artists to leading design brands - to upload their imagery from which Thortful customers can select and have printed on cards or the other affiliated

Above: Thortful’s best sellers feature designs from many who have never been published on cards as well as some recognised brands. (Left-right) Mrs Best, Doodle Dot, Dean Morris and Unknown Ink designs. Below left: Thortful did a bit of TV advertising last March and will probably do more in the future as well as other forms of consumer promotion. Below right: In addition to cards, Thortful also offers the opportunity for the designs to feature on postable gifts of ‘cards’ with socks, chocolate bars, or cake mixes inside.

product options of ‘cards’ with socks, cake mixes or chocolate bars inside. Katie Lillywhite, who acts as Thortful’s head creative ‘police’, sense-checking submissions before they make it onto the main site, estimates that there are “over 1,500 different creators” currently showcasing their work (not including the wave that were uploaded post Dragons’ Den), but reveals that “sales are mainly generated from 300 creators.” While the ‘best sellers’ area of Thortful’s site does include some recognisable names from the ‘bricks and mortar’ greeting card market - including Dean Morris, Redback Cards, Louise Tiler, Unknown Ink and Kissmekwik - these are way outnumbered by names and brands that are unknown in the ‘established greeting card world’. Like an optimistic explorer steadfast in his mission to discover a new territory, Andy is encouraged that Thortful has appealed to designers who have never ventured into the card market previously. And this in turn has bolstered his belief that Thortful will lure greeting card ‘virgins’ or lapsed senders into becoming converts, thereby not just building the business, but expanding the total card market too. Going all out on the designs as they stand (not offering a personalised option, which is a Moonpig USP), Andy not only has high hopes for Thortful’s selection, building a following among current card senders, but also enticing some of the most exacting and elusive breed of beasts into the ‘den’ - students. “We started last year on student promotional activity, including working with student unions and will be building on it this year too. It is sustained buyers we are hoping for though, those that buy cards from us five

or six times a year,” says Andy, recalling his own university student days, which he cut short three months into his business degree course to set up his own wheelie bin cleaning business. To him, it is all about keeping the circle of greeting card life going. “We have all grown up as children receiving and sending cards. Around 15/16 years old we start buying cards for our parents and close friends and then our friendship group changes when we go to college or uni. If we can help to nurture card sending among the 20 somethings then everyone in the industry wins,” says Andy.

To Andy’s mind, the UK’s online sales of greeting cards are way below where they should be compared to other product sectors. Exuding the same confidence that slayed the Dragons (though the negotiations are still ongoing), Andy said: “If it is true that only 5% of greeting cards are bought online then the growth potential for Thortful is enormous,” going so far as to wager a bet with PG (for a bottle of Laurent Perrier rose champagne) that Thortful’s expansion will see it accounting for 10% of the total card market. In the interim though, Thortful has not yet made a penny of profit, with the breakeven point expected to be reached either this July (if no further investment in brought in, either from the ‘Dragons’ or other parties) or July 2019 (if mega investment resulted in the marketing plans being racheted up). He certainly doesn’t seem worried either way and, at least his mum will have received a decent Christmas card this year. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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A Tasty Carrot Above: Greeting cards can be tempting ‘paper carrots’ for shops.

Teresa and David Coleman, owners of The Only Place For Pictures, Palmers Green and Islington, London: “We started selling framed pictures in 1996, initially in hotel function suites at a series of events we organised across north London and the Home Counties. After six months we found a temporary/ permanent home on The Green in London’s Winchmore Hill - where we started to learn about being retailers. Initially, we just sold pictures (hence our name!) and as we did this customers assumed we did picture framing and brought us their own artwork to frame - obviously we didn't say no, so we started being picture framers as well. Business was good at the weekend but slow during the week.” Card diversification: “Our two main print suppliers were Nouvelles Images and The Art Group, both of whom had great card ranges at that time, so we put in a spinner from each company and started increasing footfall and building business during the week. We opened our Islington store in Upper St just over 20 years ago, selling pictures, offering picture framing, adding a number of ranges of gifts and increasing our card ranges. We still use spinners as we need the wall space for pictures, photo frames and gifts, but now we have about a dozen spinners not just two!” Added attraction: “We still buy a little from The Art Group but alas Nouvelles Images is no more. We now cherry-pick our cards from over 20 companies, the main ones being: The Art File, Lagom, U Studio, Green Pebble, Museums and Galleries, Portfolio, Woodmansterne, ArtPress and many more. Upper Street is a busy London thoroughfare and we have the pleasure of serving customers who live, work or visit to shop there, and cards don't just encourage footfall, they account for an important proportion of our revenue, especially during the week days.” Top: Offering far more than art prints and framing, The Only Place for Pictures in Islington. Above: The Only Place for Pictures now has over a dozen card spinners instore.

Greeting card diversification can enhance, reinvigorate and complement cookshops’, giftshops’, art stores’ and even fashion and lifestyle retailers’ core business. Like little carrots (of paper) they can tempt shoppers into a store, grow sales and strengthen the shop’s brand... and if there’s a little story to ‘unearth’ about the cards’ origins to share with customers they can also build bonds and loyalty. With a huge variety of non-specialists planting greeting cards within their field of primary product, PG asked a lovely carroty bunch why they have added cards to their stores’ harvest? Cathy Frost, owner of Loveone, Ipswich:

Below: Cathy Frost outside Loveone in the Saints area of Ipswich.

“Loveone is a gift shop, we sell a very eclectic selection of products, including jewellery, toys, cards, wrapping, candles, homewares, stationery, chocolate, accessories and work from local artisans. We are located between our main town centre in Ipswich and our very picturesque Waterfront. I am part of thriving community of indie businesses and restaurants called the Saints and I have just celebrated my 10th birthday on the high street. Our customer base 10 years ago was very much the 'forever 40 woman', however with changes in the high street, internet shopping and the recession, our base is very much wider, not really age specific. We now attract customers who like something a little different or quirky, and we are getting more men shopping with us. I started life as an Environmental Health Officer but jumped ship from local government. I retrained as an interior designer and my self-employment journey started.” Card diversification: “I started selling cards mainly as a result of the recession in 2008/09. My homeware products weren't selling so I had to diversify and found PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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more and more people asking for cards. We became a one stop shop for gifts, and we are now selling a little more homeware as confidence is slowly returning, but still with an emphasis on the gift side of homeware. I have one wall pretty much given over to card racks with approximately 16-18 card ranges in store at any one time. Some of our best selling card ranges are by Wrap, Chase and Wonder, Art Angels, and new ones have included Maurice and Maude, Bird Brain and Mister Peebles.” Added attraction: “For me cards are an affordable product which draws people into the shop, especially if they are worried about entering a small shop. They are an inexpensive item, which most people are happy to purchase. They provide us with an interesting talking point especially if they are locally produced or we have met the designer/producer. We can also provide the one stop shop, having the gift, wrapping, tag, ribbon and the card. I think they have been pretty recession proof and have enabled me to diversify my business with smaller overheads than other product ranges. We also have the flexibility to change ranges frequently as well to add to the customer experience, especially to our regulars.” Above: Just a smattering of the lovely cards Loveone offers.

Ed Cowap, director, and The Barn team, of The Hollies Farm Shop, Little Budworth and Lower Stretton: “The Hollies Farm Shop began in 1959 as an honesty box on the side of the A49 in Cheshire, selling home-grown produce to passersby. When the honesty box was stolen one day, we developed a small wooden shed from which they sold fruit, vegetables and flowers.” Card diversification: “With the sale of Above: The Barn at Little Budworth and Lower Stretton offers gorgeous flowers, we soon realised that people often cards, gifts and homewares. needed a card and the first move into cards Below: About 20% of The Barn is dedicated to cards. came with a 48 pocket card spinner. Fast forward a few years and we now have two award winning farm shops, butcheries, delicatessen, self-catering forest lodges, coffee shops, a restaurant, a Highland hotel, and two dedicated gift and card departments.” Added attraction: “With us selling flowers, chocolates and a wide selection of gifts it made sense to sell cards to complete our gift offering for our customers. Approximately 20% of The Barn is now dedicated to our card ranges and a few of our top selling publishers are Alex Clark, Louise Mulgrew, Five Dollar Shake, Belly Button and Paperlink’s comedy designs.”

Jayandra Patel, owner of Mayford Post Office, Woking, Surrey: “The post office and store is based in a semi-rural location. Before buying the post office, I had a newsagent in north London. After I got married I needed to change my lifestyle so we sold that business and bought the post office in 2001. Originally it was fairly run down at that time. We saw that there was potential in the business and the area was pleasant for a business and the lifestyle that we sort after. The post office customer base is quite wide as there have been a number of post office closures in other villages. This has made us a central point to wide variety of customers and small businesses. We had been mulling over refitting the store for about two years, but with help from David Gold, retail consultant for National Federation of SubPostmasters, who inspired and confirmed what we envisaged, we cut down on shelving and made the store’s layout more open. Customers actually thought we’d had an extension when it was finished; the Above: Jay Patel proudly stands outside store now looks so much bigger. We his Mayford Post Office in Woking. Below: The fresh, new card display inside felt less is more, enabling customers Mayford Post Office. to see our offering more easily.” Card diversification: “We had been selling cards in the store before the refit, but the selection was a lot smaller. We decided to increase the range of cards as we noticed that over time the sale of newspapers and magazines were declining. This meant that we were previously wasting a fair amount of space by displaying them, which impacts on revenue and profit. We received a lot of positive feedback from customers about our previous restricted card selection, so we decided that it was worth a risk to expand the range. Now, just under half the store is dedicated to wall to floor displays filled with cards that are visible to every customer that comes into the post office.” Added attraction: “With the display of greeting cards that we now have, we feel that it uplifts the whole store. This makes the inside look a lot more pleasing to the eye and encourages customers to purchase more. As the post office is quite busy, the card displays were installed so the queue runs through the middle of the main display. As customers wait, they are able to admire the cards. This increases the likelihood of them purchasing a few cards or making a note for the future that we stock a very wide range. Only last week, we had a customer come to the post office to post a letter. They left the store after purchasing nearly £70 worth of greeting cards!”

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Industry Spotlight

Kin-dred Spirits Successful family businesses are numerous in the greetings industry. Hallmark and American Greetings (UKG’s parent company) are still family-owned and run businesses over 100 years since they started; the 2017 Henries Awards alone saw brothers in arms Rod and Trevor Schragger of Second Nature each presented with an Honorary Achievement award, having worked side by side for more than three decades, and the Gold winner of Best Service to the Independent was voted by indies to be IC&G, run by brothers Simon and Ian Wagstaff. And then there’s the Roger la Borde creative tribe, siblings Tim and Alison Solnick and Jenni Barnett, and so the list goes on... A trio of card retailer, publisher and agents broods share their respective stories that led to them working together or following in the family footsteps, the business roles they undertake, and the advantages and bug bears of keeping it in the family.

In the creative genes Donna and Holly Read, mother and daughter team and co-owners of small modern retro shop Crimson and Clover, Hither Green, London:

Collaborative route Holly: “It just happened organically really. Mum was bouncing around the idea of a shop conveniently at the same time I was departing university a little earlier than planned, so it seemed a perfect fit. We’ve always had a similar eye, easy communication and very good understanding of the way each other thinks; which helps obviously when working with your mother.”

Relative roles Holly:“It’s changed over time. Mum initially covered most of the business and buying ends, while my role revolved mostly around clothes, having lots of opinions and providing zero financial support. Like any daughter really! Now I’d say the decision-making and buying is pretty even. We talk everything over and having, shall we say, a differing generational viewpoint is a real plus.” Donna: “Holly has the vision to take a piece of work and recreate it, meaning we can sell more original pieces in the

future, which is exciting. She has great style, she sources beautiful vintage clothes which fly out and delights in styling the shop weekly, so it always looks very fresh.”

Tribe tops... and tails Holly: “High points are the extended holidays! That always gets me a disapproving look. Less-high points? Maybe that you take your work home with you on a major level and that there’ll always be an element of mother/daughter posturing, but we do just get each other so there are few grips. Even when we do disagree there’s the opportunity to prove the other wrong, which is a nice treat.” Donna: “Less-high points: I have to nag Holly something rotten. And she’s late about as much as she’s on time! However, she's very capable. Also I can trust her. We have a frank honest dialogue, which means things can evolve quickly - great for growing a business.” Top: A picture taken in 1921, when all of the Hall brothers were reunited when William Hall moved to Kansas City to work for the Hallmark company as office manager. (From left to right): J.C. Hall, brother in law, Louis Pence, William Hall and Rollie Hall. Above middle: Donna (left) and Holly Read. Far left: Crimson and Clover engages with its local community by holding various creative workshops. Left: Holly styles the shop weekly, keeping it fresh. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Industry Spotlight

Family following Richard Ashman has been an agent for many years, then, just over five years ago, his son Alex decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps. Both reveal how the agent landscape has changed.

Richard Ashman

Below: Richard Ashman (right) with his son Alex.

Agent area and what’s in the bag?: “I have covered roughly the same area for most of my card sales life – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Middlesex (or Home Counties North and West) and am currently carrying Words ‘n’ Wishes, Wrendale Designs and Country Cards.”

how hard he has worked to develop his business and I love hearing from retailers how much they like dealing with him. In the five years that we have both been agents, it is interesting to reflect how our working relationship has changed... no more advice required from me and a bit more of a competitive edge has developed! I do enjoy being able to share anecdotes relating to our work.”

Alex Ashman Agent area and what’s in the bag?: “I cover Herts, Beds, Bucks, Oxfordshire, Berks, Middlesex and North London. I carry IC&G, Jonny Javelin, Redback Cards and Xpressions 4 U (although Xpressions 4 U is only for a small portion of my area).”

Collaborative route

Collaborative route “I had spent many years as a sales rep, building up my territory and developing good relationships with retailers. When my son was small, I decided to become an agent so that I had more flexibility to share my parenting duties with my wife. When I started as an agent I took on many small companies – and was fortunate to receive a lot of support through my long-standing relationships with retailers. However, for the first 12 months the profit I made did not cover the cost of the car I had to buy. Then came a couple of breaks. First, Rod Brown, who was at Second Nature at the time, created a small territory for me, then I got a call from Ged Cleary (an agent in the North West) to say that Wishing Well was looking for an agent to cover my territory.”

Word from the wise “I notice that the greeting card industry is more competitive now, and the retail sector is under pressure from increased business rates and younger people’s card buying habits. If a young person was looking to become an agent in the greetings industry today, I would think they would find it very difficult unless they could afford to live through a lean year or two - or had a dad who could give them one of his agencies and give them help and advice! It’s tough in retail now and it’s more important than ever to build up strong relationships with your customers.”

Tribe tops... and tails “When my son said to me, “you seem to enjoy your job, do you think I would like it?” I was a bit shocked. But now, I’m very proud of

“I was a tennis coach prior, so I was used to working with people. However, towards the end of college in Loughborough I decided I wanted to separate my hobby from work and had noticed my dad seemed to enjoy his job, which involved working with people, so I enquired whether it would be possible for me to give it a go. (I have always been a self-employed agent, never a rep).”

Word from the wise “Having worked in the industry for only five and a half years it is difficult for me offer insight on the changing demographic of agents. But I don't come across many agents/reps my age (26). I'm fortunate to be carrying four very strong companies so luckily I'm usually needed. But this year things have felt a little tougher. I often find there is a lull in and around big political decisions. People get concerned about their pockets when they're unsure of the economy, and cards unfortunately aren't always at the top of people's priorities. I'm always positive though as things always improve after slow periods.”

Tribe tops... and tails “Initially, my dad was carrying IC&G, but directors Simon and Ian Wagstaff kindly allowed him to pass it to me as my first agency. Although we are technically in direct competition, it's all in good humour. As we are very friendly with our customers it's good to be able to poke fun at my dad behind his back! Particularly as embarrassing stories about me always find their way into people's ears!” Above: Alex Ashman with a couple of friends in Messages, Hertford.

Blue sky bond

Left: Clear duo, Vicki Prior and and Jane Edwards. Below: Birds of a feather, a design from Clear Creations.

Clear Creations’ creative director, Vicki Prior, has recently joined forces with her mum Jane Edwards, who is sales and marketing director for the publisher:

Collaborative route Jane: “Vicki had been successfully running Clear Creations for several years and enjoyed the challenge of heading it up alone, but after 10 years decided she wanted a business partner. At the same time I was feeling restless in my current role and wasn’t fulfilled. So both of us were looking to make changes at the same time, hence the opportunity to make the decision to work together. Timing is everything!”

Relative roles Vicki: “On a good day we laugh a lot, have loads of fun and get really productive! As it’s a new partnership, we’re still working it out, so that can be a little frustrating on both sides! However, we are mother and daughter first and this helps us to remember why we are here. We’re both passionate about Clear Creations and its success is really important to us both of us.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Innovations

Spring Fair A selection of new product launching at Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham, 4-8 February 2018.

Daydream Believer

Clear As Day Sabivo Design is launching Lucid, a collection of 35 contemporary hand-painted watercolour and hand-drawn lettering designs across everyday, occasions and popular female relation captions. The publisher proudly designs and manufactures its cards in England. They are competitively priced, 145mm square with kraft envelopes and individually wrapped in cellobags. Sabivo Design 01858433716 www.sabivo.co.uk Hall 3 Stand W18

Blue Eyed Sun is launching two new ranges for spring, both based on original watercolour artworks by textile artist Jo Corner. Charming is a hand-finished range of 48 160mm x 160mm designs, which are all handmade with decoupage mounted elements and handfinished with jewels, covering all everyday and occasions as well as Valentine’s, Mother’s Day and Easter. And Daydream, a new collection of 42 160mm x 160mm designs, includes cards for all major occasions and a good selection of birthday designs. All the cards are blank inside, barcoded and cellowrapped with a coloured envelope and printed on board from sustainable sources. Blue Eyed Sun 01273 823003 www.blueeyedsun.co.uk Hall 3 Stand X31

Blooming Lovely Uniquely Yours has launched a new range called Floral featuring the artwork of artist Graeme Hall. The imagery for the collection of greeting cards and homewares - including cushions, lampshades, ceramic mugs and jotters - are created from original photographs then redrawn using chalk brushes. The blank or birthday cards are size 150mm square, with eight designs in the range, and come with bright coordinating envelopes and are individually cellowrapped. Uniquely Yours 01207 528819 www.uniquely-yours.co.uk Hall 3 Stand L41

Sweet Treats

A Cottage Garden Eco-friendly card publisher Glebe Cottage has a beautiful photographic collection for the spring, including notecards, blank greeting cards and occasion designs. Drawing inspiration from the natural world, and the beauty of spring flowers, the seasonal collection is full of vibrancy and the promise of spring. The cards are FSC certified, 100% recycled and packed with brown envelopes in a compostable bag. Glebe Cottage - The Eco-friendly Card Company 01626 369269 www.ecofriendly.cards Hall 3 Stand U60

Brand new for 2018, Jessica Hogarth has a new fun and contemporary gold foiled range called Bon Bon, featuring 21 designs, including numerous birthday captions targeted at females, as well other occasions such as wedding, get well soon and sympathy. The 120mm x 170mm cards feature colourful patterns with hand-written text, printed on high quality matte board and come cellowrapped with either a neon pink or owl grey envelope. Jessica Hogarth 07786906648 www.jessicahogarth.com Hall 3 Stand L42

Hola Lola Lola Design has over 70 new designs as part of its Spring 2018 collection. Within this, its Wildlife Botanical range has been extended by 12 designs and its Hola Christmas ranges by a further 24 open and relations designs. Featuring flitter and holographic foil, Lola have done its upmost to make the Christmas occasion seem even more special in 2018. Lola Design +44 (0)1904 675514 www.loladesignltd.com Hall 3 Stand K49 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Innovations

Spring Fair A selection of new product launching at Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham, 4-8 February 2018.

Vintage Cool The Art Group’s newly launched male range Old Skool features classic male imagery, including old vinyl, man of the match, skiing and fishing… there’s a card design for every hobby! The 12 designs, size 170mm x 120mm, are all printed on textured board and framed with a kraft envelope to give them that ‘old skool’ look. RRP £1.95. The Art Group +44 (0) 115 986 0115 www.artgroupcards.co.uk Hall 3 Stand M10-N11

Flourishing Blooms Stunning new photographic additions have been added to Abacus’ BBC Countryfile range. Size 160mm square, the collection features animals, domestic foul, coastal and rural landscapes with factual information about the image on the reverse of each card. Also joining Abacus’ collections is Blooming Botanicals, a new contemporary floral range of illustrated 5” x 7” birthday designs. Abacus Cards 01638 569050 www.abacuscards.co.uk Hall 3 Stand L10-M11

Let Them Roll! Unknown Ink is launching Good Times, a range of 24 fun colourful range everyday and occasions designs will debut at Spring Fair, with more to follow. All the cards are printed on FSC accredited board in the UK and come cellowrapped with a kraft envelope. Unknown Ink 01702 815016 Unknownink.co.uk Hall 3 Stand T19

Felt Your Presence Enter the whimsical world of Felti Folks from Paper Rose, a gorgeous collection of photographed hand-stitched animals lovingly hand crafted by designer maker Philippa Phipps with the help of her cat Miss Kitty. Sized 120mm square, the cards are framed with a buff envelope and individually cellowrapped. Paper Rose +44 (0) 115 986 0115 www.paperrose.co.uk Hall 3 Stand M10-N11

Ornamental Rose Portfolio’s new Alma Rose delicate and pretty range is the publisher’s first splash into ‘decorative’ designs. The simple images are birthday related with balloons, presents, cakes and flamingos! (every girl needs a flamingo for her birthday). With a light touch of copper foil, the 12 155mm square birthday designs have a modern feel on a traditional theme. Portfolio 02089603051 Hall 3 Stand Q08

Cuddle Up A Little Hug is a brand new happy sentiments range from Louise Mulgrew Designs featuring lots of loveable joyful characters, beautiful bright colours and quirky captions in Louise’s handwritten font. There are 30 A6-sized designs in the range, wrapped with various different envelope colours and perfect as friendship cards, Valentine’s cards or specific occasions! Louise Mulgrew Designs 07810304414 www.louisemulgrew.com Hall 3 Stand V50 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Innovations

Spring Fair A selection of new product launching at Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham, 4-8 February 2018.

Sacre Bleu! Graphique de France Stationery is relaunching its line in the UK in 2018. Graphique has elevated the art of stationery and gifts by bringing innovative design into the daily lives of people everywhere, with modern charm and a nod to pop culture. BrownTrout 0117 317 1880 www.browntroutuk.com Hall 3 Stand M22

Sketch Marks Artige are proud to present its brand-new greeting cards collection Sketch’d. A trendy, 100% hand-lettered greeting cards collection with chalkboard art design, embossing and a beautiful gold foil finishing, the 17 120mm x 170mm designs cover birthdays (including milestone ages 18, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70), baby girl, baby boy, new home, love you to the moon and back, thinking of you, hug and brand new Mr & Mrs captions. The cards are made of highquality paper, come with a Kraft envelope and are individually cello wrapped. Artige +31 (0)314 378788 www.artige.com Hall 3 Stand S38

Out Of This World

Everything’s Still Sparkling

Clare Maddicott is welcoming some fabulous new Lemongrass designs. These beautiful contemporary 137mm square designs feature colourful florals, butterflies, and exotic birds executed in rich hot colours and complemented by intricate foil details evoking a tropical feel. Plus, some great new everyday and occasions designs have are joining the Harold’s Planet line-up. Clare Maddicott 01638 569050 www.abacuscards.co.uk Hall 3 Stand L10-M11

Rush Design is launching a brand new range of children’s age relations cards at Spring Fair, hand-finished with glitter and diamantes. Size 150mm square, the cards are cellowrapped and come with a kraft envelope. Additionally, Rush’s popular Everything Sparkles range keeps evolving and growing with lots of new designs for female open and relations, wedding and anniversary, baby and occasions. Rush Design 01788 521745 rushdesign.co.uk Hall 3 Stand V60

Paper Cutes

Pressed To Perfection

New from Laura Sherratt Designs is Cute Cuttings, a handmade occasions card range featuring 16 120mm x 170mm designs of embossed newspaper collage and hand-finished with pieces of fabric. These unique cards are not only finished with material, but also shell buttons and gems. The designs also come complete with a bespoke newspaper print envelope and cello bag. There’s 15% off on orders at Spring Fair. Laura Sherratt Designs 01538 384566 www.laurasherrattdesigns.co.uk Hall 3 Stand J44

LS20 Letterpress Studio continues to extend its offering by introducing six new tropical themed designs for the Spring Fair. This range includes a sprinkling of flowers, flamingos and fruit, all printed in-house using traditional letterpress and featuring neon inks. And anyone looking for some new additions to Easter should also visit the stand as it has come striking new designs for that occasion too. LS20 Letterpress Studio 01274 596925 LS20letterpressstudio.com Hall 3 Stand M47 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Innovations

Spring Fair A selection of new product launching at Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham, 4-8 February 2018.

Spring Loaded Clear Creations is clearly looking forward to spring! Its Love Birds Valentine’s range (of 10 designs) are hand-finished with Swarovski crystals, as are its 12 Lilly Bonello Mother’s Day cards. And there is more sparkle on the cards for Easter as the new six card designs, which champion a lovely lemon and lavender colour palette, illustrate. Clear Creations 020 8885 0009 www.clearcreations.co.uk Hall 3 Stand J47

Festive Decks The new ‘Deck the Halls’ Christmas card range from Wrendale includes 12 greeting cards, each supplied with their own Christmas decoration featuring Hannah Dale’s characterful illustrations with luxury gold foiling. The decorations each hang within a wreath which can be removed from the card to hang on a tree with rustic jute cord. The decorations are printed on extra thick card and each card is individually cellowrapped and supplied with a recycled kraft envelope. Wrendale Designs 01652 680253 www.wrendaledesigns.co.uk Hall 3 Stand S18

Silly Sausage Buddy Fernandez is launching Sillynyms, a range that is just “a wee bit of funny”, say the Fernandez boys, adding, “nicer, sweeter cards than we usually do.” Designed by Karen Mellor, the seven 133mm x 184mm cards, covering wife, husband, sister, brother, mum, dad and friend titles, feature cheeky wording that’s foil finished and come with a matching coloured envelope. They are ideal for the Spring Seasons, as well as general birthdays and the like. Buddy Fernandez 07541 171226 buddyfernandez.com Hall 3 Stand V65

Lots Of Bottle Beautifully engineered with hand-crafted perfection, Alljoy Designs’ new Message In A Bottle range comprises six layer dimensional cards. This 20 design strong range of handmade cards involves a patent-pending process for laser and die-cut paper techniques. Alljoy Designs +353 (0)1630 1213 www.alljoydesign.com Hall 3 Stand W39

Wrapper’s Delight New from Wraptious is the remarkably talented Olivia Hicks, a full-time vet who paints in her spare time. The Eagle Owl and Mallard designs are both lovely editions to her classic animalthemed card range, which currently consists of six designs. Coming in two sizes - 15cm square and 12cm x 17cm - the cards are blank inside, printed on premium thick 300gsm FSC board in the UK and barcoded. Each card comes individually cellowrapped with a choice of envelopes. Wraptious 0161 221 0109 trade.wraptious.com Hall 3 Stand T10

Glazing At The Flowers Due to popular demand, Rosanna Rossi is launching further additions to its Enamel Rose range. A beautifully designed collection, printed on the highest quality white board, the cards are heavily enhanced with gold foil for that extra special appeal. Each 170mm x 120mm design is exemplified with hand-embellished gems and sparkling flower jewels. The cards are framed with bespoke gold foil striped envelopes to complement each design. Rosanna Rossi 07900 698 522 www.rosanna-rossi.co.uk Hall 3 Stand W15 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Chinese New Year Confirmation / Communion Christening / Baptism Eid Rakhi Diwali Vaisakhi Jewish New Year Passover Hanukkah Jewish Occasions Halloween Thanksgiving Saints’ Days Easter Christmas

SPRING FAIR 4-8 February 2018 NEC Birmingham, B40 1NT, UK

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655

CALL 0161 641 0

! TO ORDER NOW

SAY HELLO AT:

Stand 3W40

PICK UP YOU

2018 CATALO

R

GUE

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Innovations

Spring Fair A selection of new product launching at Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham, 4-8 February 2018.

Badge Of Honour

Two By Two ArtPress’ Holly’s Ark is a wonderful menagerie of animals created by the extremely talented Holly Frean, whose imagination and versatility have led to coveted textile, ceramic and wallpaper collaborations with Anthropologie, Burberry and Paul Smith. Holly’s Ark consists of eight painterly designs, with each animal illustration wrapping the front to the back of the card. Each card is 170mm x 120mm, individually cellowrapped with an accompanying recycled kraft envelope. ArtPress Publishing 020 7231 2923 www.art-press.co.uk Hall 3 Stand N19

Redback’s Pinata range has launched with a Smash! Bang! Wallop! These 16 gorgeously foiled greeting cards include an enamel pin keepsake. Come and see this fun new range that includes rainbow cakes, party cats and pins that go ‘Boom!’, in all it’s glory at Spring Fair. There are also some great new additions to the ever-popular ranges Cloud Nine, Good Things and The Little World of Liz, who never fails to warm hearts with her witty and unique illustrations featuring slipper wearing bears and playful sharks. Redback Cards 01803 712793 www.redbackcards.com Hall 3 Stand U41

Sweet Wrappers New to Glick's everyday range for 2018 are colourful, bold and beautiful designs from Think of Me, comprising seven gift bags, four flat wraps and two tissue paper designs. Gold and silver foiling on the gift bags and flat wraps really bring vibrancy to the designs aimed at both the male and female markets. Glick 01274 655980 www.glick.co.uk Hall 3 Stand R08

Have Wings, Will Fly!

Up To Scratch Caroline Gardner’s new Hide And Seek range taps into the wave of excitement you feel as you eagerly rub away a scratch card to reveal (fingers crossed) a winning jackpot. Each of the designs in this new range incorporates a message hidden beneath gold foil that the receiver scratches away to reveal it. The range comprises birthday designs as well as those for anniversary, engagement, new baby, new home, wedding and congratulations. Caroline Gardner +44 (0)20 8288 9696 www.carolinegardner.com Hall 8 Stand D06

Catherine Kleeli Cards has developed wings! Continuing on the animal and wildlife theme, this popular Henries-nominated art card range is to be enhanced by the inclusion of not just more four legged beasts but also a number of beautifully crafted winged insects. Eight new designs are being added to the range derived from Catherine’s hand-crafted, stitched collages. Printed onto 177mm x 127mm heavyweight board and supplied individually wrapped with a complementary brown ribbed envelope. Catherine Kleeli Cards 07814 293155 www.catherinekleeli.co.uk Hall 3 Stand L40

Fabulous Dah-ling Award winning Pabuku presents 19 new quirky designs within its Fabulous line, including sympathy, thank you, birthday, new baby, wedding (including same sex), new home, and everyday cards with quirky captions, such as ‘You‘re the gold at the end of the rainbow’ and ‘In a world full of flamingos dare to be a penguin’. Magical occasions with modern messages, the cards are topped with striking neon orange accents. All the cards are blank inside, size 120 mm x 169 mm and sold wrapped with matching envelopes. Pabuku (+43) 664 88226655 Hall 3 Stand V32 www.pabuku.com Hall 3 Stand V32 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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THE 2018 COLLECTION

bags envelopes print print finishing wrapping

london transport museum

Celebrating the iconic art and design of the Underground and unique pictures of London, leisure, travel and nature — all life is here.

At the heart of the Greetings Card Hub since 1978. 01274 220 220

www.wrapid.co.uk

sales@wrapid.co.uk

Polypropylene & biodegradable bag specialists 01/03/2016 06:45

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Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hotfoiling also available

GREETING CARD Discover the NEW card and gift stationery range from London Transport Museum — just one of many new and great British arts brands in the 2018 Collection. See the full range at Spring Fair:

FRIENDLY, EXPERT ADVICE DEDICATED AND KNOWLEDGEABLE TEAM FAST AND EFFICIENT SERVICE HIGH QUALITY FILM BAGS

STAND N16–P17, Hall 3

sales@mgml.co.uk Tel: 01373 462165 www.museumsgalleries.co.uk

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T 01206 396209 E sales@badgerconverters.co.uk www.badgerconverters.co.uk

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Innovations

Spring Fair A selection of new product launching at Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham, 4-8 February 2018.

The Cat’s Out The Bag Meet Benny the Beaver, one of the new ladies on the scene at Stripey Cats. Benny joins Linda Llama, Sylvan Sloth and a whole host of eight super new friends to the award winning Wobbly-Eyed range. Stripey Cats Cards 07866 713 826 www.stripeycats.com Hall 3 Stand W61

Freshly Painted

O Christmas Tree

Tracks is proud to be expanding its Art Collection range, which includes pieces by artists Raoul Dufy, Jane Askey, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Vincent Van Gogh. There are 80 new designs available, with 24 printed on luxury textured boards with a matt finish, and others with a standard gloss. All are available 159mm square, individually cellowrapped with white envelopes. Tracks Publishing 01480 435562 www.tracksltd.com Hall 3 Stand P31

Second Nature has recently launched its 2018 Christmas Pop Ups, and they are better than ever! Not only are there eight newly created exciting designs, but there’s an even more dynamic way of displaying them. The Christmas tree shaped CDU can also be folded (like a transformer) into both a window and a rack display unit to maximise sales potential. Second Nature 01983 209590 www.secondnature.co.uk Hall 3 Stand P50

Play Tag You’re It! is a brand new range from Tillovision, with nearly 100 new designs launching at Spring Fair, all featuring hand-drawn type and simple illustrations. The range is very editorially focused, and is all about new writing for all occasions. The tone is mostly light and funny, but with a little bit of sentiment where the send demands. The cards have a bright colour palette, and are 110mm x 150mm. A metallic gold envelope complements the bold colours. Tillovision 07934 430029 www.tillovision.com Hall 3 Stand M45

Scandi-Style Lovelyday.gallery will be showcasing its new range of 'Skandachic' greeting cards, paper and textiles at Spring Fair. These designer Scandi-striped cards come in wordy-occasion and image-only versions covering Christmas and everyday occasions. Printed on high quality FSC board, the cards are supplied cellowrapped with manila envelopes. The publisher is also licensing friendly. Lovelyday.gallery 02088770361 www.lovelyday.gallery Hall 3 Stand K40

Fab-u-lous Dahling Dean Morris Cards have loads of new designs to its ever-popular Fabulous range, that continues to shock and entertain people in equal measure since 2006. Ten new designs have been added for Spring Fair, ranging from nice to naughty, but all with the trademark Dean Morris retro visuals and humour. Dean Morris Cards 01902 560247 www.deanmorriscards.co.uk Hall 3 Stand V64 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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CARDMORE q u a l i t y g r e e t i n g c a r d s a n d n e w g i f t ra n g e s

w: www.cardmore.co.uk e: info@cardmore.co.uk t: 01947 601604

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

Spring Fair Hall 3 stand 3L47

Visit us at the Spring Fair 2018 to see this new collection! Stand 3N17, Hall 3 (t) 0116 230 4197 (f ) 01536 401 031 (w) www.mint-publishing.co.uk

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

Jakki Brown Joint md & editorial director jakkib@max-publishing.co.uk

Twice weekly newsflash delivered to over 9000 inboxes

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The very latest news, views, articles and analysis

Digital issues of Progressive Greetings Worldwide

Dedicated pages for the GCA and The Ladder Club

Warren Lomax warren@max-publishing.co.uk

Up to date information on PG Live, The Retas, and The Henries

Tracey Arnaud traceya@max-publishing.co.uk

Michelle Board News editor michelleb@max-publishing.co.uk

Advertising, Recruitment and Sponsorship Opportunities:

News • PG Worldwide • Interviews • PG Live • Newsflash • Events Gallery • Jobs • Ladder Club • GCA

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Innovations

Spring Fair A selection of new product launching at Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham, 4-8 February 2018.

Winter Wonderland Artist Janna, of Deckled Edge, will be launching Natural Wonderland, a range of exquisitely sweet greeting card designs which feature the natural essence of an English Christmas. The designs feature doves, squirrels, field mice, holly, robins, and Christmas woodland bushes and berries, as well as horses in fields and donkeys. Everything we love about Christmas! The new 28 150mm x 150mm designs come with eco kraft fleck envelopes, are all individually cellowrapped and entirely British made. Deckled Edge 0800 771 0771 www.decklededge.co.uk Hall 3 Stand V17

On Safari Barley Bay has created the bright and cheerful Animal Fair range. The 24 designs (plus two mystical unicorns!) are themed as Country, Farmyard and Safari. Combining textiles and stitch, mixed-media and graphics in rich coordinated palettes on quality matt board, the cards are size 150mm x 150m with white envelopes and cellowrapped. Blank inside, the cards are suitable for all ages and many occasions. Barley Bay 07722136495 www.barleybay.co.uk Hall 3 Stand J35

A Krafty Combo Tache Crafts’ wonderful new range is called ‘Mashup’, and is a mixture of its popular Krafty Collection style but in a flat card format with lots of colour and special finishes. The size of the 35 brand new cards are 135mm x 135mm and the range will feature two finishes - lots of glitter and embossing. The range comes with various different colour coordinated envelopes depending on the design, including neon envelopes such as shocking pink. Tache Crafts 01202 691435 www.tache.shop Hall 3 Stand 39

Living In Luxury Penny Kennedy has launched a range of high quality, eye-catching gift packaging for SS18, including the return of the much-admired licence from Sara Miller London. Featuring luxurious and exotic flamingo, peacock, giraffe, parrot and leopard designs, those looking out for on-trend gift packaging will not be disappointed. Penny Kennedy 01892 838574 www.pennykennedy.co.uk. Hall 3 Stand R20

A Touch Of Sparkle All That Glitters from Go Stationery is one of its many 2018 catalogue ranges launched in the new year. Reflecting the allure of the metallic trend that has exploded across fashion and now stationery, All That Glitters features sequin, glitter and metallic finishes in journal, notebook and diary formats. GO Stationery +44 (0)20 8799 gostationery.net Hall 3 Stand L20-M21

Festive Treasures Leading greetings card publisher Ling Design will launch three luxurious Christmas charity boxes for 2018, raising funds for leading national charity Children with Cancer. The three boxes follow the success of two initiated in 2017, which met with great success, raising thousands for the charity. The designs feature the usual high quality, cheerful and traditional style that Ling is known for. Ling Design 01892 838574 www.lingdesign.co.uk Hall 3 Stand Q18-R21 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Cards Calendars Coasters Notebooks

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

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Innovations

Spring Fair A selection of new product launching at Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham, 4-8 February 2018.

A Royal Affair

The Cherry On Top Cherry Orchard has released the latest designs for its best-selling Down Memory Lane mugs range for 2018. With 24 stunning new male and female designs, the bone china mugs mark milestone ages from 16 to 90, showing both the year you were born and the milestone age. Design styles, iconic images and facts and events from the relevant years are shown on the mugs and they are supplied with an eyecatching free gift presentation box. Cherry Orchard 01684 295500 www.cherryorchardpublishing.co.uk Hall 3 Stand L10-M11

Lesser & Pavey is offering a superb quality collection of royal memorabilia. The exclusive Royal Heritage collection consists of photographic products that show Prince Harry and bride to be Meghan Markle in a loving pose. The happy couple were filmed outside Kensington Palace showing off the diamond engagement ring and Lesser and Pavey has captured this into its Royal Wedding collection by featuring a crystal in some of the range. This range will be limited and so it is highly recommended that orders are placed early to avoid disappointment. Lesser and Pavey +44 (0)1322 279 225 Hall 5 Stand D10/E11

A Triple Treat A trio of new ranges will be on Meraki’s stand at Spring Fair: Stitched - 10 floral and animal designs inspired by embroidered patches come to life with these rich, sumptuous tones, all embellished with gold foil; Just Peachy – 10 flirty, fun and sassy, this range oozes glam. Foil, flitter, pom-poms and tassels make this range a girl’s best accessory; and Unsavoury Thoughts – eight off the wall humour designs delivered in simple line drawings with spots of neon, making this quirky range a perfect modern send. Meraki 020 7582 8244 Hall 3 Stand M43

G-Force A graphic, graffiti, graphite grey collection! Jonny Javelin is introducing nine male code 70 relations cards into its Graffix range initially, plus a further 12 smaller code 55 open birthdays. The cards will be finished in silver foil and a ‘virko’ plastic effect. Jonny Javelin 01423 563740 www.jonnyjavelin.co.uk Hall 3 Stand R38

Small Is Beautiful Saffron Cards & Gifts is excited to introduce a brand new range of gorgeous birthday and occasions small cards which incorporate whimsical and fun illustrations. All the designs have been based on the up-and-coming blue print and blue denim trends found in fashion and interior design. These hand-finished cards are printed on a luxury linen board, embellished with a sparkly gem and are supplied with a luxury silver envelope making all the designs simply pop off the shelf. Saffron Cards & Gifts www.saffroncards.co.uk Hall 3 Stand L10-M11

A New Element Adding to its lovely ‘Gold Dust’ range, Paper Salad is launching 12 new occasion and female birthday designs! They are neon bright, finished with sparkly champagne flitter and come with a bespoke patterned envelope. Printed on textured board and individually cellowrapped, the cards are 155mm x 155mm in size. Paper Salad 0161 427 0001 www.papersalad.co.uk Hall 3 Stand U10 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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SPRINGFAIR BIRMINGHAM 4 - 8 FEB 2018 HALL 3-3A STAND 3V32

DISTRIBUTORS AGENTS WELCOME

GOLD PABUKU.COM | PABUKU INFO@PABUKU.COM | +43 664 88226655

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Innovations

Spring Fair A selection of new product launching at Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham, 4-8 February 2018.

In A Different Liege Inspired by all things mystical and medieval, The Art File’s new Mace and Mace male range is a collection of 12 cards paying homage to historic chivalry, knights in shining armour and all things honourable! The use of colour and the quirky straplines put them into a league of their own. The cards are finished with hot and cold foils and embossed lines and also have different coloured insides and details like the tiny embossed crown on the bottom right of each card. The Art File 0115 850 7490 www.theartfile.com Hall 3 Stand S07

Mood Board Marc Martin has illustrated a menagerie of characterful critters for Whoopsy Daisy, his brilliantly witty debut greeting card range for Roger la Borde. The format is simple and impactful: Set against block colours, boldly painted animals take on all sorts of human moods. Together with beautiful typography, they wish happy birthday, congratulations, apology and more. The collection includes eight Petite-sized greeting cards sold in individual cello bags. Roger la Borde 020 7328 0491 www.rogerlaborde.com Hall 3 Stand T51

A Marvelous Menagerie Fay’s Studio continues to develop the successful hand-illustrated wildlife range ‘In The Wild’. Inspired this spring by safari and the tropics, the collection now extends to more than 80 handfinished designs, with a lion, koala, zebra, toucan, sloths, elephant, otter, puffins, giraffe and monkeys, all adding to the glittery range. Each 14.5cm square design is printed onto a heavyweight embossed board and comes wrapped with a recycled brown fleck envelope. Fay’s Studio is also launching its ‘Primrose’ Easter range and Mother’s Day ‘Blossom’ collection. Fay’s Studio 07817 412086 www.faysstudio.com Hall 3 Stand W50

Care Bears IC&G has launched a new collection called ‘Just to Say...’. And as the range name implies, these are cards just to say..."hello, I love you, You are great, I'm Here for you." They are cards to show love, friendship, care and support. The collection, featuring four art styles, consists of 32 designs, individually cellowrapped, and all have a little sticker to seal the envelope – and all at an amazing code 45! IC&G +44 (0)1202 897 494 www.icgcards.com Hall 3 Stand L10-M11

Chic Boutique

American Dream

Bexy Boo is very proud of her new contemporary fashion range comprising of 14 designs. Inspired by Bexy’s drawings that she drew during her fashion degree, each card has been printed and hand-finished in the UK with beautiful sparkly crystals and lots of love and care. Size 127mm x 177mm, the cards are individually cellowrapped and come with a beautiful soft peach envelope. Bexy Boo 01565 830 546 www.bexyboo.co.uk Hall 3 Stand J29

Young American illustrator, Kendra Dandy, has become known all around the world for her quirky designs that tap into the millennial pulse. In the past collaborating with Nike, Bobbie Brown and Urban Outfitters, Kendra’s latest tieup is with Pigment on a range of 15 vibrant card designs with a black and red flitter finish. Euro size, each design is complemented with a pink envelope and cellowrapped. Pigment +44 (0)1423 520098 www.pigmentproductions.com Hall 3 Stand R26 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Now, this year we've got something new, with pleasure we present to you, bookmarks, coasters, badges too, so roll up, roll up, join the queue! Find us at Spring Fair on Stand: 3U32

Web: www.lantherblack.com

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Email: sales@lantherblack.com

Tel: 01277 549040

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Innovations PG showcases a collection of new product launches

Just A Little Sparkle New for 2018 from Just A Little Note is a modern nursery range of 24 150 mm square cards for new borns, parents and the special little ones in people’s lives. Featuring printed bold stamped letters finished with little handdrawn glitter elements, captions include ‘Yummy Mummy’s’, ‘Daddy’s Little Star’ and ‘Two Become Three’ – these cards were ‘Born To Sparkle’. Each card comes with a gunmetal grey envelope, is individually cellowrapped and finished with a heart sticker. Just A Little Note +44 7786 682381 www.justalittlenote.co.uk

A Modern Twist Saffie from NWH Greetings is a stunning contemporary, eye-catching new range designed by Angela Nickeas, offering 12 male birthday designs, 16 female birthday designs and 14 occasions and relations designs. All printed on luxurious pearlescent board. In two sizes – 150mm square and 195mm square - the cards come wrapped or unwrapped with brown kraft envelopes. NWH Greetings 01704 544746 www.nwhgreetings.co.uk

Inspirational Inklings Launching at Spring Fair, Typed Up is a new range from Tess Cards that puts a silly spin on motivational mantras and popular sayings. Suitable for any occasion and printed in cheerful vivid colours on Callisto Soft White 300gsm board, the 12 cards measure 150mm square and come with a white envelope. Tess Cards 01892 533413 www.tesscards.co.uk Spring Fair Hall 3 Stand K41

Feline Good Miko Greetings’ new range, The Cat’s Muse, is the purrfect range from artist Miko - who doesn’t love a cat? To give to your loved one for a ‘Puuuuurrrsecco Moment’, these 127mm x 177mm designs will raise a warm smile for every occasion. Printed on 280gsm quality board, the cards come with white envelopes and cellowrapped. Miko Greetings +44 2086931011 www.miko-greetings.com

Embellishments Galore Pooch Perfect Paper Bird Publishing’s adorable Pug In Clover is just one of eight designs in its new Bluebird collection of birthday and everyday cards. The decorative and playful designs are inspired by blue and white ceramics and feature cute animals and beautifully drawn pretty botanical patterns. The cards are individually cellowrapped with white envelopes. Paper Bird Publishing 0208 613 8085 www.paperbirdpublishing.co.uk

Jaab Cards is joined by a new sibling company, Bijou Cards. The company is debuting with three lavish hand-finished capsule collections, which sparkle and glisten with opulence. The Bijou Signature collection has a baroque feel with echoes of Lacroix textiles; Silver Stardust, as the name suggests, adopts a shimmering colour palette, while the Ruby Christmas range comprises sumptuous festive designs. All the designs are 150mm square and are accompanied by metallic envelopes. Jaab Cards/Bijou Cards 07921 460 286 www.bijoucards.com PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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PG_Half_page_advert_january_2.pdf

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

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Innovations PG showcases a collection of new product launches

London Baby! Capital Birthday is a new range of eight birthday cards from retro publisher Pennychoo that hopes to capitalise (geddit?) on this year’s Royal nuptials and London’s continued tourism boom. Using iconic images of 'Old London' – Routemaster buses, Beefeaters, red phone boxes – and illustrated in owner Sue Lee’s distinctive 1950s style, these 127mm x 178mm cards put a humorous spin on the idea of ageing and are sure to appeal to tourists and Londoners alike. The cards come with coordinating scarlet envelope and wrapped in a cello-bag. Pennychoo 07941 645018 www.pennychoo.com

To The Four

Sky Lights

Sadler Jones has four new collections: The Havana collection features colourful illustrations alongside hand-lettering and quirky captions, while the Malmo designs are full of wanderlust and love, finished with champagne gold foil. Meanwhile, The Reno collection focuses on trendy patterns and brush lettering, while the Santa Fe range incorporates rose gold foil, typography and neon pink envelopes. Sadler Jones 07792 230763 www.sadlerjones.com

Cath Tate’s new contemporary range Northern Light is a collaboration with artist Elisabeth Fredriksson. Her work is inspired by nature and this range reflects the magic and mystery of the Northern Lights. The 13 170mm x 120mm striking geometric designs with captions feature textured colour and gold foiling, and are accompanied with a white envelope, cellowrapped and printed on high quality card. Cath Tate Cards 0208 671 2166 www.trade.cathtatecards.com

The Scenic Route

Media Love Always Sparkle’s new range #sendacard features fun sentiments with hashtags below the message. The concept of the #sendacard collection is to encourage more people to send cards and share pictures of them on social media using the #sendacard to spread the card sending love! The 109mm x 155mm cards come in a range of candy colours and the text is printed using a sparkly iridescent foil to catch the eye. They come individually cellowrapped with a pale grey envelope. Always Sparkle 07940 726842 www.alwayssparkle.co.uk

I Drew This’ Landmarks range has recently been shortlisted in the Greetings & Stationery category and Home category of the Giftware Association’s 2018 Gift of the Year Awards! With six new Scottish Landmarks added to the collection last month, the plan is to expand the range onto more products in 2018. I Drew This 07813 005707 www.idrewthis.co.uk

My Happy Place Say hello to Pattern Boutique from Katie Phythian Design, a beautiful collection of over 76 bright and happy patterns and captions to choose from. Printed on textured FSC board, the designs are sprinkled with sparkle and handfinished with twinkly gems. Happiness is here for 2018! The 145mm x 145mm cards are cellowrapped with a pastel grey envelope. Katie Phythian Design 07780470457 sales@katiephythiandesign.com PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Innovations PG showcases a collection of new product launches

Animal Welfare Red Fox makes sure its The Planet Score range is not only good-doing, but also good-looking. Its gorgeous and yet elegant designs highlight animals that are endangered of becoming extinct and feature a wide and adorable range of patterns and motifs inspired by Zentangle. The black and white decoration of the 11 120mm x 168mm designs are additionally charged with sharp background colours and the smart envelopes are the cherry on top. Red Fox Cards 074455 75799 www.redfoxcards.co.uk

Laura Skilbeck is delighted to introduce two new collections that she has joyfully tipped her studio upside down for, as paint, print, pencil, colour and collage filled her sketchbooks to create the first new collection of 30 A6 size designs of hand painted wildflowers, singing bunnies and hand-drawn type with lots of gold foil. The next collection of seven new 150mm square designs, feature the photographs of artist Lowri Evans, perfectly celebrating the weirdness and wonderfulness of everyday life. Both ranges are printed on recycled board and wrapped in biodegradable cellowrap. Laura Skilbeck 01457 239415 www.lauraskilbeck.com

Golden Treasures Golden highlights with foil finishing and glitter varnish make Korsch Verlag’s card collection special. The hand-lettering style with a glossy look, individual black and white pattern mixes that are combined with fresh colours, make each of the 14 designs unique. Korsch Verlag 01438 820810 www.korsch-verlag.de

Creative Force

Feminine Fusion Paperlink’s new range Nolia combines classic with modern, and vintage with trend. The brave use of black is softened with blush pinks and foils, all given a twist with the use of modern language and subject matter. It is irresistibly pretty, but also has depth. Nolia’s combination of femininity and strength is intended to represent the woman of today. Paperlink 020 7582 8244 www.paperlink.co.uk

Winged Beauties Kali Stileman is launching a high-end collection of occasions and relations cards featuring butterflies and birds and showcasing the beautiful silver foiled writing by the talented calligrapher Kate Brockie. The cards have been printed on lovely linen finish paper and are sold with a lovely thick silver envelope. Size of 16cm x 12cm, there is matching ‘Best Wishes’ wrapping paper to go with them. Kali Stileman 01305 848899 www.kalistileman.co.uk

Motor Roller Clanna Cards is continuing to expand its Richard Partis Collection, including a notable ‘swerve’ into motoring designs. One of the latest designs to join the burgeoning range is a design that came about as a result of a collaboration with the Bugatti Owners' Club and the Bugatti Trust, both of which were incredibly helpful with the production of the card design. Clanna Cards 01242 575574 www.clannacards.co.uk PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Art Trends & Design Focus

THE

Big Bang

Amanda Hendon, agent for Advocate Art: Cultural springboard: “Much like this year, 2018 looks set to bring political and social unrest to much of the world. Last year we saw people react to this by escaping into the fantasy worlds of unicorns and fairy-tales, and I think this is set to continue. Mermaids and their fantastic, multi-coloured, holographic underwater worlds are one dominant trend we will see in paper products, as well as lush jungle landscapes far removed from reality. The immediacy of content-sharing Above: Mythological mermaids on an platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and illustration ‘singing’ at Advocate. Tumblr give designers and artists access to a Below: A graceful cheetah found at Advocate Art. multitude of inspirational images, from Bottom: A gorgeous little folk-style donkey available from Advocate Art. Fashion Week catwalk looks to the most Instagram-worthy food trends and edgy street styles from Tokyo to New York. The richness of this ever-changing digital mood-board is, I believe, more likely to inform stationery trends than any other single social or cultural happening.”

Three key trends for 2018: A siren’s call “I believe the ‘mermaid’ trend we have seen on everything from hair and make-up, to cupcakes and even toast, will make a splash across art and stationery products in 2018.” Brazen botanicals “Another key look will be bold, painterly jungle prints. Designers such as Gucci, Kenzo and Stella McCartney have all featured playful prints of zebras, tigers and panthers in their collections. This trend can be equally character-driven and also decorative, with more of a focus on lush jungle greenery and bold florals.” A folk art union “Lastly, perhaps as a move-on from the ‘Hygge’ look we saw dominating 2016-17, I believe we will see a growing interest in the colourful motifs of Russian and Eastern-European folk art. Handfinished elements such as embroidery, pom-poms and cross-stitch will give this look a cosy, homemade feel.”

Mysticism and mythology, tessellations and triangles and other celestial, ethereal and other-worldly inspired artwork and design will reach cosmic proportions this year as we delve deeper into the ‘spiritual big bang’, and ‘Ultra Violet’, the Pantone Colour of 2018, and mermaids will be joining the cluster. Gazing at the social and cultural happenings of 2018, a constellation of image library ‘astronomers’ reveal their informed theories on what will influence the visual trends sphere. Sue Bateman, director for Yellow House Art Licensing: Cultural springboard: “Charles Rennie Mackintosh has always been an inspiration for design and this is set to rocket as the influence of a major retrospective of his work launches at Kelvingrove, part of the Glasgow Museums. With the romance of the royal wedding in the air the modern and sophisticated blush colour palette will continue to be popular. The Winter Olympics in South Korea and the rapidly approaching Tokyo 2020 Olympics will see Oriental art and patterns gradually take precedence as the tropical trend begins to wane.”

Three key trends for 2018: Glasgow style “We will see Mackintosh’s influence in pastel colours, textured art and collaborative projects. Mackintosh’s colour palette pairs up nicely with today’s trends, and the applied art aspect of the work sits well with current interest in craft in the home.” Brexit and British retro “As Brexit continues to dominate the headlines I think we will see continued interest in UK themes. The retro photography relating to the time before the UK was so inextricably linked to Europe will continue to be popular and images of famous British landmarks, and of course all things royal, will dominate.” Eastern chic “As the world shifts its attention eastwards, interest in sophisticated and pared back Asian styles will gain traction. Limited colour palettes, pared back line work and typography, glamorous, but not overly feminine, modern and not fussy.” Above right: The May Queen by Margaret Macdonald from Yellow House Art Licensing. Above: Royal Guard by Sean Sims Yellow House Art Licensing. Right: The Edge of Grace by Tiffany Lynch from Yellow House Art Licensing. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Art Trends & Design Focus

Luci Gosling, sales manager for Mary Evans Picture Library: Cultural springboard: “There are two big historical anniversaries in 2018: the centenary of the end of the First Word War and of women finally winning the right to vote. We think the latter really chimes with the current feminist zeitgeist. The V&A is launching a fabulous exhibition on ocean liner style that we think will generate quite a few column inches too. But away from art and history, there seems to be a continuing lifestyle trend towards vintage and arts and crafts and a real nostalgia for the hippy-ish aesthetic of the 1970s. Nature is also a big theme, with many bestselling books over the past couple of years meditating on wildlife, trees and the countryside, and political turbulence around the world provoking people to seek out a more simple lifestyle.”

Three key trends for 2018: Retro rhetoric “The 1970s trend is prevalent in home interiors at the moment, so it makes sense that artwork from that period will make more of an impression this year. We have some lovely new retro illustrations from the Medici Society archive recently added to our website that really tap into this vibe – and of course they’re original.” Kooky collage “Also, thinking about craft and where this could go next, we reckon collage is going to be the next big thing. Quirky arrangements, Peter Blake style arty-ness or totally bonkers combinations, we can envisage DIY kits, as well as readymade designs, making an impact this year. Our Victorian scrap montages are an incredible example of early collage, or decoupage, but we think this year will see a real mix-up of styles and eras.” Wild for wildlife “The art of nature and the British countryside will be a big trend. We’ve already had great success with the linocuts of Robert Gillmor over the past couple of years, and the Medici Society has some wonderful nature illustrations by leading artists such as Charles Tunnicliffe (there has been a recent exhibition at the RA of his work) and Ethelbert White.” Top: Original retro artwork available from Mary Evans. Above: An intricate Victorian collage available from Mary Evans. Right: Ethelbert White’s beautiful country scene available from Mary Evans.

Hannah Curtis, senior agent for Bright Group: Cultural springboard: “After another year of unsettling world political and economic shifts, and an exponential growth in the role of the digital in everyday life, design trends for 2018 seem focused on recapturing a sense of what is tangible and secure, on reconnecting with both the external natural world and a sense of locating and reinforcing our own inner sense of self in the world, as well as foregrounding the importance of forging heartfelt personal connections. In the coming year, we’re expecting to see lots more hand-rendered, craft and print-based treatments in design - including tactile painterly and letterpress arts - that challenge the isolating effect of mobile devices by emphasising the ‘human’ in the creative process, constructing a sense of a physical connection between artists and consumers.”

Three key trends for 2018: Natural wonder “Increasing awareness of our impact upon the environment is promoting a reconnection with the beauty and wonder of the natural world. A return to wonderfully detailed, botanical designs that conjure the flora of tropical climes, and are somewhat reminiscent of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s mysterious The Lost World, evokes a sense of exciting discovery and new horizons, while also reinvigorating our artificially-constructed environments by inviting the wild, organic outdoors in.” Nostalgic charm “In a bid to escape the global climate of doommongering and the sparse, utilitarian chic of recent years, we’re also seeing a nostalgic return to childhood and sense of make-believe, fun... and colour! The high street retailer, M&S, notably adopted the iconic Paddington Bear for its major Christmas marketing campaign in 2017, and there seems to be a move to embrace the transportive magic of storytelling with character-led design, naïve illustration and a mischievous sense of fun to brighten the gloom!” Endless possibilities: innovation, mysticism, opulence “Transcending the chaos of modern life, Pantone’s Colour of the Year, Ultraviolet, embodies qualities of mutability and complex, almost galactic, possibilities beyond our pedestrian experience - suggestive of innovation, as well as a more mystical, almost spiritual reflectiveness and meditative calm. Its iridescent, glowing quality combines both the ethereal and the highly artificial, at once pointing to escapist magic, natural phenomena such as the aurora borealis, and the futuristic feel of UV light. We’re expecting to see a whole spectrum of purple hues permeating design this year: from the dream-like, transcendental qualities of overlaid lilac and indigo translucencies, reflecting that escapist impulse, to rich, velvety purples combined with touches of metallic - especially golds – for some seriously sumptuous design. And with another royal baby, and the much-hyped marriage of Prince Harry due in the spring, the colour’s regal connotations are sure to manifest!” Top: Alicia Perry and Rebecca Intavarant, create designs featuring keenly-observed leaves and ferns (available at Bright Group). Above: Available from the Bright Group, the exuberant painterly touch of Jen Khatun’s Paddington Bear World Book Day image. Above right: Sanja Rescek’s gorgeous, translucent florals (available from the Bright Group). PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Emma Gray, sales and creative manager for Image Source: Three key trends for 2018: Geometrics and triangles “Bold geometric patterns and motifs are trending across everything imaginable. Pantone has listed ‘Geometric’ as the #1 home trend for 2018 – so expect to see this feature in a big way across all products. Triangles seem to be leading the way - but zig-zags, stripes, multi-faceted shapes and tessellations are key elements to the trend - and of course you can mix them all up for a lovely riot of pattern. There is a wide mix of styles, from bold computer graphics to beautifully hand-painted tone on tone watercolour designs, and metallics will play a big role in enhancing the patterns form and structure.” Magical mermaids “In a bid to continue the fight against a bland monochrome world, unicorns may(?) be on their way out, but only to be replaced with another pastelcoloured mythical creature – mermaids! As our world gets more hectic and stressful, we need the escapism of these beautifully mystical creatures to make our day to day life feel slightly less drab. Historically, we have always shared a wondrous and whimsical notion that they are real and one day this ‘could’ be proven true. This may be a little fanciful... but nonetheless, artwork will be beautiful in gorgeous colour palettes.” Dark luxe “This story’s rich tones of midnight and deep navy blue will feature in 2018. Many dark colours feel too heavy for greetings and stationery, but navy blue works brilliantly and adds the same opulent impact as black without that Top: Geometric patterning on an illustration by sense of gothic gloom. Deep Nicola Gregory @ Image Source. midnight blues add a Above left: Making a splash, a mermaid design mysterious feel and when from Sue Reeves @ Image Source. paired with gold foils it adds a Above: Luxurious and opulent, a design from Claire Coxon @ Image Source. sense of decadent luxury. Intricate designs with refined detailing and rich decoration is key to adding that ‘oh-so-luxe’ aesthetic.”

Flora Spens, account manager for Bridgeman Images: Cultural springboard: “In 2018, all eyes will be on the Royal Academy’s Great Spectacle, celebrating the 250th annual Summer Exhibition. To mark the event the RA is highlighting key moments from its shows. Many RA artists will influence the design world with their images, forming the focus of an array of art inspired products. The 100th anniversary of the death of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt is set to spark interest. Ranging from his famous ‘The Kiss’ to the ‘Tree of Life’, a stunning collection of Klimt’s works will be the focus of attention. The 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, one of the classics of Western literature, will regain popularity. In January 1818, Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein was published and the image of the mad scientist still resonates today. The character of the monster recurs in contemporary art, from Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings to great science fiction films, and will return with a roar. This year is the 100th anniversary of votes for women in the UK. There will be an impressive line-up of events exploring the struggle for gender equality through the ages. The incredible collection of Suffragette memorabilia and a number of Suffragette artists will come out of the woodwork and be set to inspire the design world.”

Three key trends for 2018: Purple passion “Last year, Pantone and The Prince Estate announced new colour ‘Purple Reign’, inspired by the musician’s custom-made Yamaha purple piano. And with Pantone’s revelation that Ultra Violet is its Colour of the Year, the colour purple shows no signs of fading. The hue evokes a spiritual, magical quality. The colour is attached to mindfulness, providing comfort to those in need of escape in our overstimulated lives. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces is said to offer energy to communities that gather and inspire connection.” Creature chortles “Animal humour is going to remain a key trend in 2018, with a further wave of amusing interpretations of animals for stationery and cards. Birds are coming at all angles, and tend to be very Hitchcock-esque. From English Bulldogs to ‘keep calm and carry on’ penguins, to dogs doing yoga and then the more exotic – such as polar bears or flamingos – are the perfect inspiration.” A voyage of discovery “In 2018 we will celebrate 250 years since Captain James Cook set sail from England on board HMS Endeavour. Scottish artist Sydney Parkinson made a huge contribution to the records of the Endeavour voyage, being the first European artist to create drawings of Australia’s indigenous people, as well as Australian landscapes, from direct observation. These striking artworks will gain more attention from designers looking for something original.” Top: Suffragette Demonstration in London, from 'Le Petit Journal', 1908 / Private Collection / Archives Charmet / Bridgeman Images. Above: Northern Soul, 2014, (oil on linen), Watson, Gavin / Private Collection / Bridgeman Images. Right: New Zealand: A Maori chief with facial moko tattoo, Sydney Parkinson, 1769 / Pictures from History / Bridgeman Images. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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01638 569050 info@abacuscards.co.uk www.abacuscards.co.uk 000_PG_February 2018.indd 1

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PG asked a selection of card retailers for their ‘hot’ card sellers. Liz Stevenson, owner, and Jo Parker, buyer, of You, Stamford, Lincs A small shop in a picturesque town with a loyal locals and further afield customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range

Comments

Everyday

Wendy Jones-Blackett and Belly Button

Quicksilver Platinum

Cute

Horace & Nim

Across The Board

Humour

Rosie Made A Thing

Gin & Frolics

Art

Louise Mulgrew

Across The Board

Wrendale Designs

Across The Board

Contemporary

A Made Hand

Paperazi

Above: Things that make you go ‘ahh', the cute illustrations from Horace and Nim. Right: Ruth Jackson’s Pencil Shaving Cards are just so unique!

English Graphics

Across The Board

The Art File

Sara Miller London

Handmade/ Hand-Finished

Five Dollar Shake

General

Ruth Jackson

Pencil Shavings Cards

Both publishers’ ranges are well priced and create consistently good designs. A brand new find for us, hoping they do well. The little creatures are adorable. What can we say! A modern twist on modern day life… just hilarious. Fun and funky animal designs; a fab seller! One for the animal lovers; consistently a great seller. Stylish and feminine, a lovely girlfriends range. Classic designs with a contemporary finish of glitter. Bright and colourful with lovely foil finishes. Glitz and glamour, another fabulous range of designs to send to girlfriends. Quirky cards with a pencil shavings twist. Always a good seller for us and popular as children’s cards.

Gill and Mick Macauley, owners of Daisy May’s Cards and Gifts, Christchurch, Dorset A small unit located in a shopping village in a coastal town with a loyal locals customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range

Comments

Humour

Berni Parker

Ladies Who Love Life and Men Who Love Life

Photographic

Glebe Cottage

General

Country Matters

General

Waggydogz

General

Hart Deco

General

Contemporary

Nauticalia

General

Children’s

Twizler

Characters

It's the comedic value. The gentle humour reflects on enjoying the good things in life. We also offer the mugs, coasters and stationery, which complement the cards. Eco-friendly cards with terrific photographic images of nature and animals; and good blank cards for sending a little note. A homewares company with a lovely photographic range of rural scenes - many shot by Villager Jim - of Labradors and hunting dogs. The artist/publisher offers a very wide range of specific dog breeds in the range, that, combined with the mugs, are perfect as a gift. A lovely artist who paints cats (who are named on the cards) and attractive café images among others. A gift company that offers a card range (and key-rings featuring ship paraphernalia) that are nautical themed, such as fishing or sailing. They’re very good male cards, and, as we are located on a harbour, are themed nicely for us. A good selection of children’s age cards that are sensibly priced, as currently people are very price conscious.

Right: Waggydogz has an amazing array of dog breeds, all beautifully painted.

Art

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Jeanette Brown, owner of Forget Me Not, Faversham, Kent A medium shop in a historic market town with a loyal locals and further afield customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range

Comments

Humour

Splimple

Alison’s Animals

Splimple

Wordies

Berni Parker

Ladies Who Love Life

Country Cards

General

Art

Rothbury Publishing

General

Traditional

Cardigan Cards

Across The Board

IC&G

General

Words ‘n’ Wishes

General

Noel Tatt

Decoupage, All The Rage, Help For Heroes

Grass Roots

Jellybeans

Fun designs that capture the funny behaviour of animals that people can relate to with their own pets. Clever and funny and a bit tongue-in cheek. Appealing to more mature ladies and their friends. They’re lovely cards that just sell. Rural humour; the funny scrapes of country driving, farming and country life. Traditional style artwork of vintage steam trains, cars and planes. Good male to male sends. One of our best sellers, the quality cards have Above: Alison’s Animals from Splimple captures the nice inserts and lots of heartfelt words. antics and characteristics Customers feel like they’re getting good value. of our pets. The variety and prices are good and the service is great, but then so are all the publishers we deal with. The designs and expressions of the words are lovely and there’s a great chose of occasions and relations captions. These sell really well. First-rate designs, good value and customers like (on Help For Heroes) that some of the money from the sale goes to charity. From grandson, granddaughter to great grandson and great nieces (ages 1 to 10), there’s a fantastic offering of juvenile relations birthday designs.

Children’s

Maureen and Tom O’Connell, co-directors of Just Cards, St Ives, Cambridgeshire A medium shop in a picturesque market town with a loyal locals customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range

Comments

Humour

Woodmansterne

Spike Milligan

Photographic

Tracks

General

Art

The DM Collection

Across The Board

Contemporary

Dandelion Stationery

Words Of Wisdom

Traditional

IC&G

Born In

Children’s

Holy Mackerel

Ferdie & Friends

Best Years

Knitted animals and baby toys

Inoffensive and quirky humour from the famous comedian. From landscape scenes to planes and trains, this great photographic collection covers all subject matter. Colourful animal illustrations whose bodies depict the creature’s surrounding habitat. Found at PG Live, they are lovely small cards with big sentiment. Featuring interesting information about the year that people were born, the recently launched new designs are already a hit for us. The great card designs feature lovely children characters in a themed dress-up outfit, such as pirate or ballerina, that have been created by modelling clay artist Erica Sturla. Beautiful knitted dinosaurs (and crocheted baby toys) that we found at Harrogate Home & Gift; They’re one of our best sellers.

Above: Ferdie & Friends from Holy Mackerel is a bright and fun children’s range. Right: Best Years produces lots of ‘must have’ knitted or crocheted creatures.

Ancillary

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Publishers of quality blank greeting cards Tel: 0115 929 4776 enquiries@bugart.co.uk Order Online

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

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WATERWELLS DRIVE, GLOUCESTER GL2 2PH UK TEL: 01452 888999

PHO PHOTOGRAPHY TOGRAPHY g glebecottage.co.uk lebecottage.co.uk 01626 369269 E Established stablished 1993

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

development opportunities.

www.greatbritishcards.co.uk

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Silk Screened Retro, Pop & Classic Cards Inspired by Music and 1960â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s American Advertising.For all Vinyl & Rock nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Roll lovers

 L E T U S TA K E YOU BAC K 

For further details please get in touch.

info@vincentmcevoy.com

+44 (0)7779 578340

LING DESIGN

60 years

The UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading privately owned publisher of Greetings Cards and Stationery.

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

...The home for

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

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 enquiries@lingdesign.co.uk www.lingdesign.co.uk

Brand Names Daschund through the Snow...

Pizazz, Pizazz Gallery, Pizazz Jewell, Pizazz for Men, What a Picture, Time Out, Bon Bon, Marshmallow Cloudesley House â&#x20AC;¢ Shire Hill â&#x20AC;¢ Saffron Walden â&#x20AC;¢ CB11 3FB T: 01799 520200 F: 01799 520100 www.nigelquiney.com

Agents Wanted

AG E N T S WA N T E D :     Æ«   Æ«Ä&#x2018;Æ«    Æ«        Æ«Ä&#x2018;Æ«   Æ«        Æ«Ä&#x2018;Æ«    Æ«Ä&#x2018;Æ«  

To appear in the Product Directories simply contact

Warren Lomax on:

020 7700 6740

or email on warren@max-publishing.co.uk or contact

Tracey Arnaud on:

07957 212 062

or email on tarnaud@btinternet.com

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

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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

356 Kennington Kennington Rd London SE11 SE11 4LD 4LD London T 020 7 7582 582 8244 info@paperlink.co.uk www.paperlink.co.uk www.paperlink.co.uk P Paperlinkcards aperlinkcards

@paperlinkcards @

Exquisite Design, Beautiful Cards

To appear in the Product Directories contact

Warren Lomax

020 7700 6740 or email warren@max-publishing.co.uk or contact

Tracey Arnaud

07957 212 062

Key brands include Marzipan, Portobello, Mosaic, Daisy Patch, Aquarupella and Designers Guild, plus many more. Tel: T el: +44 (0)115 986 0115 Email: info@paperrose.co.uk www.paperrose.co.uk www .paperrose.co.uk www.artgroupcards.co.uk www .artgroupcards.co.uk PaperRoseCards TheArtGroupCards The_Art_Group

or email traceya@max-publishing.co.uk

originalposter.com

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.

Design-led Stationery, Gifts, Calendars, Diaries and Cards Brands Laura Ashley, Roald Dahl, Lily & Val, Vintage Ladybird, Caroline Gardner, Monsoon, Born to Shop, Flash Gordon, Boofle and many more. Our In-house design studio and established supply chain enables us to offer bespoke services.

THAT’S WHY WE’RE ORIGINAL!

01932 267 300 134

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

tel: +44 (0) 1225 329494 email: sales@porticodesigns.com website: www.porticodesigns.com


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Products: TM

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

Brands: Card Essentials Designer Collection Greetings Impressions Inspirations In Touch ,VDEHO·V*DUGHQ Planet Happy With You In Mind Greeting Cards that are unique & special with creative wit. Looking for top-notch agents to join our expanding team.

rosierobins.com 01992 536461

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

Method of sale: Wholesale Distributors

Simon Elvin Limited Wooburn Industrial Park, Wooburn Green, Bucks HP10 0PE Tel: 01628 526711 Fax: 01628 531483 www.simonelvin.com mail@simonelvin.com

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: sales@sensationsinternational.com 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.

PG LIVE STAND ª 684

LING DESIGN

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

T: 07767 896807 info@stationerytraffic.co.uk stationerytraffic.co.uk

Method of sale: Direct to Retail 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent TN12 6BE Tel: 01892 838574 enquiries@lingdesign.co.uk www.lingdesign.co.uk

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&GO 9:GML 9 @=DHAF? G> ;GDGMJ ;@9F?= ?A>LK OAL@ QGMJ ;9J<K Just food and their friends... greeting cards & contempoRary gifts www.redbackcards.com e: info@redbackcards.com t: 01803 712793

Foody puns and wordplay on greeting cards and gifts. www.the-taste-buds.co.uk info@the-taste-buds.co.uk 07906 367 663

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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

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DIRECT TO RETAIL & EXPORT

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

Tel: 01892 838574 enquiries@talkingpics.co.uk www.talking-pictures.co.uk

Wee offer W offfer f a COMPREHENSIVE COMPREHE

range of high hig quality Greeting Cards for Greeting Ca ALL

Occasions, Occasions,

CHRISTMAS AS and Spring Seasons. easons. Method of Sale: Dir Direct ect to Retail R



TEL: 01480 435562 FAX: 01480 450599

Email: il: info@words-n-wishes.co.uk inffo o@words-n eb: www w..words-n Web: www.words-n-wishes.co.uk

Tel: T el: e 01942 01942 233201 233201

www.tracksltd.com UNIT 2, 12 BLACKSTONE RD, STUKELEY MEADOWS IND EST, HUNTINGDON, CAMBS, PE29 6EF

&DUGV & DUGV & DOHQGDUV &DOHQGDUV & &RDVWHUV RDVWHUV 1 1RWHERRNV RWHERRNV

Market Leaders in

Verse

www.tomcatcards.co.uk w: www.tomcatcards.co.uk e: tomcat@tomcatcards.co.uk t: 01243 837300

& entimen

an extensive range of superior quality,

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

Stand 3K36, Spring Fair

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

www.cbgtrader.co.uk or call our customer services team on

+44(0)1243 792600

Top-notch British Greeting Cards for Thoughts that Count

01923 200600 | www.woodmansterne.co.uk 136

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DIRECTORY OF WHOLESALERS

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NATIONWIDE

MERSEYSIDE

WALES

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

MERSEYSIDE GREETING CARDS LTD

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

Email: info@abbeycards.com

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

LONDONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NO 1 GREETING CARDS STATIONERY PARTY AND BALLOON CASH & CARRY

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

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

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

HERTS & LONDON

SUMAN BROS

To appear in the Wholesale Directory simply contact

Warren Lomax 020 7700 6740

Stationery and greeting card wholesaler

Crown House Otterspool Way Watford WD25 8HL

or email on warren@max-publishing.co.uk

magnus RUPERT

T: 01923 200 900 F: 01923 200 909

Just off the M1 Junction 5

EUR EUROPEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ROPEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S LEADING LEADING G GREETINGS REETINGS CARD CARDS, S, PARTY GIFTS, IFTS, PAR ART TY PRODUCTS, PRODUCTS, G CANDLES, CANDLES, TOYS, TOYS, STATIONERY STAT TIIONER RY AND FLORIST SUNDRIES FLORIST S UNDRIES DISTRIBUTION DISTRIBUTIO ON CENTRE 75000 SQ FT

TRADING

LONDONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NO 1

Great deals Great location Plentiful parking

WEST MIDLANDS

GREETING CARDS STATIONERY PARTY AND BALLOON CASH & CARRY

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

Crown House Otterspool Way Watford WD25 8HL Tel: 020 8993 2231 www.rupertmagnus.co.uk

BESCOT CRESCENT CRESCENT, T, W ALSALL, WALSALL, WEST MIDLANDS. WS1 4NG

Wholesale and direct-to-retail greeting cards, gift wrap, gift bags, social stationery, partyware and gifts.

01922-646666 www .greetingshouse.co.uk www.greetingshouse.co.uk info@gr eetingshouse.co.uk info@greetingshouse.co.uk

Great range, competitive prices, excellent service.

MON,WED,FRI 8.00am-4.45pm TUES,THURS 8.00am-7.45pm SA AT,SUN , SAT,SUN 8.00am-1.45pm

NORTH WEST

& $ 3 6 &DUG 3DUW\6WRUH/WG ZZZFDUGSDUW\FRXN 1(: ,03529('ZHEVLWH IRUDOO\RXU(YHU\GD\ 6HDVRQDO &DUGVDQG3DUW\3URGXFWV 6DYH7LPH2UGHU2QOLQH,W V6R(DV\

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BLACK COUNTRY GREETINGS LTD â&#x20AC;¢

â&#x20AC;¢

â&#x20AC;¢ â&#x20AC;¢

Unit 16 Maple Leaf Industrial Estate, Bloxwich Lane , Walsall WS2 8TF.

â&#x20AC;¢ â&#x20AC;¢

Wholesale Greeting cards Gift wrap Gift bags Stationery Banners Badges Balloons Helium cylinders

â&#x20AC;¢

â&#x20AC;¢

E: bcgreetings@outlook.com T: 01922 610190 www.blackcountrygreetings.co.uk Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 9am to 5pm Wednesday â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 9am to 8pm Sunday â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 8am to 1pm TRADE ONLY PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Polypropylene & biodegradable bag specialists

GREETING CARD

Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hotfoiling also available

T 01206 396209 E sales@badgerconverters.co.uk www.badgerconverters.co.uk

GIVE Y YOUR OUR

BAGS

Manufacturers Manuf facturers of hi high igh qua quality lity fflexible l xible pac le packaging kaging 30 YEARS EXP EXPERIENCE PERIENCE - Q QUALITY UALIT A T Y SER SERVICE VICE EXTENSIVE EXT TENSIVE STOCK STOCK RANGE R - QUIC QUICK KD DELIVERY E ELIVE RY ASSURED

- HEADER BAGS WALLET -W A ALLET BAGS - ZIPPER BAGS THERMAL PRINTING PRINTING - FLEXOGRAPHIC, HOTFOIL & THERMAL www.transrappackaging.co.uk www.transrappackaging.co.uk sales@transrap.co.uk sales@transrap.co.uk

VIP

CALL ALL US TODA TODAY AY

TREATMENT TREA ATMENT T

01773 0 1773 7 537810 5378 810

HIGH CLARITY BAGS FOR GREETING CARDS, CALENDARS AND ARTWORK

ENVELOPES

ŏŏđŏ  ŏ ŏ ŏ ŏ ŏ FOIL BLOCKING EXTENSIVE RANGE OF STOCK SIZES AND BESPOKE MANUFACTURE WRAPPING SERVICE AUTOMA ATED T WRA PPING SER VICE NEW AUTOMATED

CALL US TODAY

01228 560526 www.fulcrumfilms.co.uk

FOR FOR ALL A LL Y YOUR OU R ENVELOPE EN V ELOPE N NEEDS! EEDS! L argest range range of Largest iin-stock n- stock ccolours olours Over 400 Bespoke Envelope Sizes 8 Sizes Permanently in Stock RECYCLED

Available v 100% Recycled Paper Available Stock & Bespoke Cello Bags Peel & Stick Envelopes Bespoke Service on Request

ORDER ON LINE AT: AT: www www.regentenvelopes.com .regentenvelopes.com 01274 583000 sales@r sales@regentenvelopes.com egentenvelopes.com

We’ve We’ve been producing bags of high clarity and high quality for over 30 years. 01274 220 220 www w.wrapid.co.uk www.wrapid.co.uk sales@wrapid. sales@wrapid.co.uk co.uk

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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

www.ukenvelopecentre.co.uk We will be delighted to help!

FLITTERING

LITHO OR DIGIT DIGITAL, DIGITA GIT TAL, WINDLES LES GR ROUP R O GROUP ALWAYS MAKES AL LWAY AYS M AKES THE RIGHT GHT HT PRINT IMPRESSION. RESSION. RE

FOR ALL YOUR FLITTER REQUIREMENTS

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

Contact DAVID JIGGINS Tel: 01245 400104 Email: david@abl-ltd.co.uk

WWW.WINDLESGROUP.CO.UK WWW W.WINDLESGR W OUP P.C . O.UK

PRINTERS

PJ Print (London) The Capitals only specialist Greetings card printer

Take the time to give us a call

W We ea are re proud proud to to be be recognised recognised as as the the specialist specialist U UK Ka and nd g global lobal manufacturer manufacturer for for the the greeting greeting ccard ard iindustry ndustry for for over over 40 40 years years

you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t regret it.

E-mail: sales@pj-print.co.uk The Print Works Colville Road, Acton, London W3 8BL tel 020 8993 5160 www.pj-print.co.uk

To discuss how we could work with you, contact Simon King 0115 928 77 66 sales@sherwoodgroupuk.com www.sherwoodgroupuk.com www w..sherwoodgroupuk.com

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

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Introducing a joint venture from

The home of greeting cards eting e r g adinugrer e l s ’ K ct The Umanufa card

Following new investments estm in our digital printing facility we can help you with short run prints, rapid stock replenishment, market testing, design sampling and promotional products. Our expert digital printing, finishing and packing facilities allow us to provide

150 50 1 .uk

Our specialist services include:

• high quality • fast turnaround • competitive pricing

Digital and personalised greeting cards Short-run print Flitter, foil, emboss, die-cut finishes Bespoke gifts including mugs, coasters, notepads and much more

2 .co 011es4@loxleys

Promotional items Marketing literature

sal

Exhibition graphics /stands Stationery any more ribution

If y you ou w would ould li like ke to disc discover over h how ow w wee could help y you, ou, please contact our sales team:

0114 250 1150 •

07974 133735 • sales@digitalhubuk.com

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

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

• Hand made and hand finished greeting cards • Boxed sets and acetate packs of cards / envelopes • Giftwrap and tag packs • Individually open and closed wrapped cards • 'Pop up' and cardboard engineered products • Notelets and social stationery • Specialised printing on plastics & lenticular For production enquiries, estimates etc., please contact our UK Agent:

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

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WAREHOUSING & DISTRIBUTION

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

T 01274 305832 E info@hellocards.co.uk www.hellocards.co.uk

Same day order turnaround Accurate fulfilment Value added only as you sell the product Exclusively Greeting Cards Dedicated Account Managers With an excellent reputation we work as an integral part of yourr team bringing QYGLQSVIXLERJYPǻPQIRX4YVGSWXMRKWXVYGXYVIMWWMQTPIERHXVERWTEVIRX ;IGEVV]SYXEPPEWTIGXWSJLERHǻRMWLMRKERHEWWIQFP]ERHTVSZMHI[LEXIZIV ; IGEVV]SYXEPPEWTIGXWSJLERHǻRMWLMRKERHEWWIQFP]ERHTVSZMHI[LEXIZIV EHHMXMSREPWIVZMGIW]SYRIIH4YVWIPIGXXIEQSJSYX[SVOIVWGEVIJYPP]LERH EHHMXMSREPWIVZMGIW]SYRIIH4YVWIPIGXXIEQSJSYX[SVOIVWGEVIJYPP]LERH [VETER]WM^ISVJSVQEXSJGEVHWYVKIRXP]4ZIVRMKLX [VETER]WM^ISVJSVQEXSJGEVHWYVKIRXP]4ZIVRMKLX ;IGEVIEFSYX]SYVTVSHYGXEWQYGLEW]SYHS&XXIRXMSRXSHIXEMP6(.WWYIW ERH.8WYTTSVXIHF]EGSQTVILIRWMZITETIVXVEMPJSVEPPWXSGOQSZIQIRXWEVISYV LEPPQEVOW4YVGERHSETTVSEGLQIERW[IEVILETT]XSWSPZI]SYVTVSFPIQW 4YXWSYVGMRK]SYV[EVILSYWMRKSTIVEXMSRVIPIEWIW]SYVXMQIXS 4YXWSYVGMRK]SYV[EVILSYWMRKSTIVEXMSRVIPIEWIW]SYVXMQIXS CREATE/MARKET/SELL/ CREA AT TE/MARKET/SELL/ MANAGE/GROW MANAGE/GROW THE BUSINESS BUSINESS =SYVFYWMRIWWMWSYVFYWMRIWWTPIEWIZMWMXSYV[IFWMXIERHWII [LEXSYVGYWXSQIVWWE]XLIRXSǻRHSYXQSVIGEPPLy ynda Raymond ERHTIVLETW[IGEREVVERKIXSQIIXERH HMWGYWW]SYVRIIHW.EQWYVIXLEX[IGERLIPT

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PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

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Tel: 01929 550085 Email: sales@westminsterwire.com Web: www.westminsterwire.com

FABULOUS OPPORTUNITY!

Home of the Wire Spinner Stand

PROFESSIONAL SALES AGENTS REQUIRED COUNTRYWIDE

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.

cardovation@btconnect.com TEL: 01954 260728 BON BON Publications Ltd CAMBRIDGE UK

To appear in the Classified pages simply contact

Warren Lomax 020 7700 6740 or email on warren@max-publishing.co.uk

APPOINTMENTS

A LEADING GIFT IMPORTER

Distributor of gift books and beautiful stationery

AREA MANAGER SALES EXECUTIVE

SALES REPRESENTATIVES Salary: Competitive, generous commission Type: Full-time or part-time Various locations, including: West Midlands Yorkshire North East Scotland Oxfordshire based Allsorted is looking to employee more and more ‘SUPERSTAR’ Sales Representatives across the UK, as our business grows exponentially, going from strength to strength. Candidates must have a proven track record as the best - or at least one of the top - sales reps in their previous team/s. You must be persuasive, honest, hardworking, positive, dedicated, smart, and highly successful. Contact: Lincoln Exley by email with CV for more information: lincoln@allsorteduk.com. Tel: 01923 474495 or 07740 148471 www.allsorteduk.com 142

PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE

2 positions are available. Area 1 covering SCOTLAND. Area 2 covering S.E. ENGLAND. Candidates must live within the area & have previous sales experience ideally within the gift or related industry. The role of Area Sales Manager is to primarily manage a territory of existing accounts. They must also have a positive and pro-active approach to business development, promoting our extensive portfolio of giftware. The ideal candidate will possess a skill set of commitment, organisational skills, drive and enthusiasm. A team player who is target driven and can work autonomously within an established area. Some overnight stays required and regular travel away from home so must be commied to the job role.

AN INDIVIDUAL WITH: • • • • •

Experience in the gift trade / garden centres / leisure parks / homewares / toys/ stationery. Ability to grow new business and develop existing accounts. An enthusiastic individual with a winning aitude. Good account management & organisational skills. Great communication skills with the ability to build rapport quickly.

Salary commensurate with experience + Bonus + Car + IPAD + Phone. Send your C.V. FOA the Sales Director, together with a covering leer telling us why you would be ideal for this position FAO Xpressions Sales Director. careers@xpressionsgifts.co.uk


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APPOINTMENTS

Business Development Manager KEY A ACCOUNT CCOUNT MANAGER MANAGER Are you an enthusiastic, approachable, energetic peoples person with a can do attitude, who loves the Greeting Card industry, its people, product and the joy and feelings it conveys? If you are, then we at Loxleys, The UKs leading Greeting Card Manufacturer since 1854, would love to talk to you about joining our Business Development team!

Employer: Emplo yer: Summersdale Publishers Category: Categor y: Publisher of gift & humour, lifestyle, travel and health and wellbeing books Salary: Salar y: DOE TType: ype: y Full Time Location: Chichester, West Sussex

Summersdale, one of the UK’s largest gift and humour publishers, presents a rare and exciting opportunity for a Key A ccount Manager with a proven and dynamic track record in key account management and business development. Reporting to the Sales Operations Director you will use your knowledge and continuing awareness of current trends to build and maintain outstanding strategic relationships with market leading UK high street, online retailers and critical wholesalers in the fast moving gift, lifestyle and fashion market. For further details and to apply for the role, please see the Summersdale website: https://summer https://summersdale.com/about-us/jobs/ sdale.com/about-us/jobs/

Working with an experienced, professional team, who have a passion for cards, take business very seriously, but not themselves, you will enjoy a rewarding career, helping to look after existing customers, researching and prospecting new leads, visiting clients and help our customers grow their businesses.

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If this is you, then please contact Alice Buck on 0114 2802342, or alternatively send your CV to alice.buck@loxleys.co.uk

Warren Lomax

020 7700 6740 or email on warren@max-publishing.co.uk

Loxleys, Kiln Street, Sheffield S8 0YS

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07957 212 062

SHORT RUN PERSONALISED DIGITAL PRINT

or email on traceya@max-publishing.co.uk

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

0114 250 1150 www.loxleys.co.uk

or contact

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