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Gary Leadston




Come and see our NEW collection at Spring Fair NEC, Stand 3U02-V03 Hall 3

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(Cyan) (Magenta) (Yellow) (BlacK)

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A collection of 32 designs, code 45, boasting a selection of exciting finishes such as black and gold flittering and multi-level foiling. All wrapped with a logo sticker!

progressive greetings awards

Gold winner 2017 Over 70 new and updated designs

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New for January 2018, our quirky humour captions are sure to make you smile! Embossed and foiled with full colour inserts, 11 designs available, all code 75.

We are exhibiting at Spring Fair 2018 -

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

In the Cardgains Village - Hall 3-3A, Stand L10/M11 Stop by to see our new ranges & designs.

ne w fo r

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13 code 45 open humour designs, making witty observational comments on modern life!

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PAV I L I O N A fun yet sophisticated photographic range, blank inside for your own message. 12 designs, code 50.

A lovely range of open Birthday designs featuring playful colour palettes and stand out finishes. 13 designs available, all code 60.

progressive greetings awards

Quality and Service you can depend on Untitled-2 1

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w e’re very pleased to reveal Our most impressive christmas range yet

Our Christmas range is looking particularly festive this year! With over 260 new designs across


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On The Cards As I write this 11 days before Christmas Day, the nation’s greeting card publishers and retailers are feeling somewhat akin to an average six year-old at this time of year, who is hoping and willing that Father Christmas brings them everything they want down the magical chimney. They will be convincing themselves that they have been suitably wellbehaved the bulk of the year to justify their wishes being granted, but have the frustration of having to wait until Christmas Day morning until they know for sure. Christmas 2017 trade sure is a hard one to call. The media has been full of doom and gloom about consumer confidence being very bruised and retail footfall even more so. Even PG’s most optimistic retail chums are feeling rather uneasy (see David Robertson’s column on pages 39-41). However, as I switched on to watch the BBC Breakfast programme this morning to see GCA president Ceri Stirland (and director of marketing of UKG) do a sterling job on behalf of the industry by highlighting the importance of sending Christmas cards, and, like a festive panto, the proof was ‘behind her’. The filming took place in a Royal Mail sorting office in Manchester where the cameras panned to show a sea of red, silver and white envelopes, all carrying Christmas cards far and wide with festive messages.


Left: (Right) GCA president Ceri Stirland (of UKG) with Julian Royle (formerly of Royle Publications) and PG’s Jakki Brown, at the recent GCA Past Presidents event. Below left: PG’s Jakki Brown with WHSmith’s senior buyer Claire Castle in the retailer’s new look store in Reading. Below: The GCA’s Raquel Lopez (right) in full Festive Friday mode with happy participants.

Admittedly it was the busiest day of the year for our postal operator - and the Manchester sorting office does serve a major conurbation. However, seeing all those cards did dash my doubts and raise my hopes that just maybe all would come good in the end, and that, having got fed up with the souless searches online, that the public would take to the high streets in a last festive frenzy, splashing out to buy those important single cards for their nearest and dearest. The industry really does deserve a good finale; it behaved itself throughout 2017. Here’s to starting 2018 on a strong right foot. THE HOME OF MARKET LEADING TRADE MAGAZINES



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


i really want to behave, but sometimes there are too many other options...

Life Is Sweet: quirky, award-winning friendship cards, designed by order online: T: 01242 679800 / email:

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What’s Inside 81







Brand In Focus

In Profile

Rebooting Happiness

Wrapping Up A Century

With a recent reboot of the Happy Jackson brand, co-creators Heather Flynn and Giles Andreae share some delighted thoughts.

Hallmark celebrates the 100th anniversary since the company invented giftwrap as we know it.

35-37 Viewpoints

What The Year Served The aces and the ‘faults’ served up to indie retailers in 2017.

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In Conversation With…The Art File


Paper Journeys

Keeping It On File

Over The Counter

Making It A Date

Poker Face

Debbie Wigglesworth’s paper passions.

Nottingham-based publisher The Art File marks its 21st birthday.



Top Drawer Innovations

Ladder Club Publisher Spotlight

Some gorgeous new greeting card product launching at Top Drawer.

Wise Cracks

Independent card and gift retailer, David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi in Scotland, discusses the current ‘cards’ dealt to independent retailers.


A ‘nest’ of fledgling card publishers reveal how advice from The Ladder Club has helped then ‘crack’ the card market.



Paper Chase On Paperchase

Trends Spotlight

Hanging Out


Cardsharp muses over topical events happening in the industry.

How sloths on cards are being welcomed with long open arms.

Art Source



Jeremy’s Journal

Behind The Scenes

Better Together

Shout From The Rooftops


Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner examines the power of groups.

A look back on the 27 years of Emotional Rescue’s On The Ceiling range.



What’s Hot?

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Retailer Face To Face

WHS Lights Up The Love Take a peek at WHSmith’s new retail concept in its Reading store. Progressive Greetings is a monthly business magazine. SUBSCRIPTIONS:

UK subscription:

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

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Advertisement Director

Deputy Editor

News Editor

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


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

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


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PG Apr


New range of 13 cards. Embossed with gold foil.

BUG ART The sales, warehousing and distribution of our products is undertakenby A La Carte Business Services Ltd:

Tel: 0115 9294776

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Jewels - embossed with two foils Amy’s Cards - embossed with gold foil & varnish

Please note - we are not exhibiting at Spring Fair 2018

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BBC Breakfast Boosts Festive Cards GCA president, UKG’s Ceri Stirland champions Christmas cards BBC Breakfast’s seven million viewers were given extra prods to send Christmas cards on December 14 as GCA president, Ceri Stirland, was interviewed at a Royal Mail sorting office by presenter Ben Thompson, appearing in two different slots on the prime-time TV news programme. “As a nation we absolutely love Christmas cards,” said Ceri enthusiastically, backing up the statement by telling BBC viewers how the British public sends 900 million Christmas cards a year. And the evidence was there for all to see, with the sorting office staff hard at work on what was traditionally the busiest day of the year for Royal Mail. Providing extra reassurance to the public it was confirmed on air by Royal Mail’s Tony Baxter that there was no threat of a postal strike in the run up to Christmas, with viewers reminded of the last posting dates and the importance of correctly addressing their cards.

Animal instincts from CBG

When asked about changing habits of Christmas card sending, Ceri highlighted how there is more of an emphasis now on sending ‘special cards’ to family, friends “and even to the dog!” Although Ceri, UKG’s director of marketing admits she was nervous about appearing on the high profile news programme, she told PG, “It was a great experience to be able to speak about our wonderful greeting card industry at this important time of the year.”

Card retailers hoped for last minute rush

Above: Ceri on BBC Breakfast. Left: BBC Breakfast incorporated film footage from a Manchester sorting office. Below: Having snow close to Christmas didn’t help to encourage early sales.

As PG went to press, 11 days before Christmas Day, greeting card retailers were holding their nerve as the consumer trend for buying later and later hit a peak. With Christmas Day falling on a Monday, giving the impression of an ‘extra weekend’, it meant that even those all important and lucrative single card sales shifted further into December. Echoing the views felt by many retailers, Philip Downer, managing director of respected retail group, Calliope Gifts told PG: “They say Christmas is later every year, but this year is really proving the point. Having Christmas Eve on a Sunday makes it very odd – some schools aren’t breaking up until 20th/21st, and when will civilians stop working? How big will the final rush be?” With the high street challenges of falling footfall and a drop in sales, the UK consumer left their Christmas shopping to the 11th hour in a bid to bag a bargain as retailers out played one another with aggressive pricing strategies. And while there were offers to be had on the greeting card front, it has been more the shift in shopping patterns that has had an impact on card stockists, relying as they do on the footfall. The early December snowfall was far from welcomed by retailers, the poor road conditions in some areas of the country dissuading shoppers from venturing out. As PG went to press, retailers up and down the country were hoping for a last minute rush on sales, many leaving little to chance by extending opening hours right up until the end of Christmas Eve.

Record spending on Small Business Saturday It was another successful year for Small Business Saturday (2 December), with a record £748million spent at retailers across the UK, and the campaign trending on social media. The amount spent with small retailers was up 4% from the £717million spent in the previous year. The number of local authorities taking part rose from 80% in 2016 to 87% in 2017, and more than 115,000 tweets were sent, reaching over 115 million people. Michelle Ovens, campaign director of Small Business Saturday, said: "In its fifth year, Small Business Saturday has once again seen a boost in spending with Britain's small independent businesses. There's been a phenomenal response from small businesses in communities across the UK again this year, so it's fantastic that a record amount was spent with them this Small Business Saturday." Above: The 2017 Small Business Saturday was the most successful yet.

Carte Blanche Greetings has launched a generic plush range called All Creatures, created by Paul Haines, brother of company’s founder Steve. The new brand debuts encompassing 18 animal characters, translated into two sizes of plush as well as a plush keyring, available on a specially created FSDU. “I’ve created All Creatures because I wanted to put Carte Blanche Greetings back on the map as one of the best plush creators/producers in the UK,” says Paul. Significantly, the All Creatures collection of plush animals has no association with Me to You, Tatty Teddy or My Blue Nose Friends. Paul’s 30-year pedigree in plush is matched by his credentials on the animal front as a result of his own menagerie on his Devon farm, which has resident sheep, alpacas and chickens. As to the range name, Paul says All Creatures “evokes awareness, and feelings, that many of us have for all the animals and creatures that we are still fortunate enough to have all around us in this country in particular.” He cites the huge viewing figures of TV programme Countryfile as further proof of this. Above: A special FSDU has also been developed as part of retailer support for the launch of All Creatures.

Cherry Orchard to raise more money for WellChild Cherry Orchard’s owner Jackie Collins and creative director, Beverley Fisher, raised over £3,000 for the WellChild children’s charity last summer when they undertook the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge. It’s a charity that Cherry Orchard has supported for many years, giving royalty donations on the sales of its popular Story Time cards for children age 16, among other fundraising efforts. After an inspiring and humbling evening at the WellChild’s Children’s Award ceremony recently, Jackie was determined to find ways of further supporting the charity and so set about instigating a royalty donation arrangement on the sale of the age 16 design within its Down Memory Lane card range. Above: A royalty from the sale of the age 16 Down Memory Lane cards will go to WellChild.



Stunning New Range

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Festive Friday frenzy Record number get involved in the Christmas card kick-starter Santa’s helpers in the greeting card industry led the charge to get festive by downing tools and picking up pens to write their Christmas cards in support of Festive Friday, which fell on 1 December. “As evidenced by the traffic of posts on social media, awareness and participation of Festive Friday increased massively in 2017,” commented the GCA’s ceo Sharon Little, about what is only the 5th anniversary of the GCAinspired initiative to kick-start Christmas card sending. The Belly Button Designs team prepared for the ‘big day’ over the course of the week preceding, decorating the publisher’s Manchester offices in readiness for the company’s card writing event. ‘It’s official, ‘tis the season to send, send, send. Come on everybody and get in on the action’ was one of its rally cries on Twitter. Meanwhile, the festive feeling was equally high elsewhere in the UK. At Carte Blanche’s Sussex offices ‘Mince pies, chocolate logs, festive hits and Christmas card writing a plenty – we’ve had a great

Hello Kitty in ‘purrfect’ collab with Jolly Awesome

time celebrating Festive Friday’, read one of its enthusiastic posts; Wendy JonesBlackett ran a competition to pep things up for its Festive Friday antics, offering free cards; Glick shared comedic pictures of its team in card writing mode, while Laura Darrington HQ was keen to share the proof that there had been some frenetic Christmas card writing going on in its offices. At UKG headquarters in Dewsbury the team held a bake sale, wrote their cards and brought in donations for St George’s Crypt in Leeds and the RSPCA. Down at GCA London hub, the day started with a visit to the Age UK Drovers Activity Centre where a group of its members could not wait to get stuck in writing Christmas cards that had been donated by publishers. Then, the pace picked up as The Depot, a bar next to the GCA/PG offices became Festive Friday ‘central’ as people from the neighbouring offices and local residents in piled in to participate in the festive fun. Above: Belly Button’s ‘elf’ was very busy! Left: Members of the Age UK Drovers Centre were keen to get stuck in writing Christmas cards that had been donated by publishers via the GCA.

Stationery and greeting card publisher Jolly Awesome has teamed up with Sanrio to produce a collaborative range of Hello Kitty greeting cards, notebooks and art prints. Jolly Awesome founder, Matt Nguyen, revealed that Sanrio approached the publisher asking them to “inject the humour, trend and sassiness Jolly Awesome is known for and make Hello Kitty appeal to a new, millennial audience.” The brief also extended to Gudetama - the lazy egg, one of Sanrio’s newer cult characters. Recognising the responsibility of “doing designs for such a valuable and recognisable global character icon,” Matt said how gratifying it has been knowing that “Sanrio trust and value the Jolly Awesome brand so much and that it is not just purely a simple licence, but they're side by side co-branded.” And Matt and his wife and business partner Katie have got to know Hello Kitty personally! “Once Sanrio found out we were going to Japan as part of our month-long honeymoon, they arranged free tickets to Puroland - Sanrio's version of Disneyland. When we got there, we were treated like royalty! We had a private meet and greet with the icon herself - Hello Kitty - she even baked us a cake!” The new collaborative range debuts with 26 luxe foiled greeting cards designs, as well as notebooks and art prints. Above: One of Jolly Awesome’s new Hello Kitty cards. Below: Jolly Awesome’s Katie and Matt Nguyen in Japan.

Brits love their Christmas cards Nine in 10 UK adults came out firm in their belief that sending a Christmas card is the most fitting festive greeting; half of UK adults are devastated if they receive their Christmas greetings by social media rather than in a Christmas card; 80% said they would be incredibly sad if technology took over from sending actual Christmas cards, with two thirds admitting they would feel offended if their friends or family sent a Christmas missive by text, festive photo filter or seasonal status update electronically rather than in a card. These are just some of the findings that have come to light as a result of a study commissioned by Oxfam. Poignantly, one in ten of those polled said that a Christmas card arriving staves off a feeling of loneliness, with 83% believing that more thought and feeling goes onto the written word than a speedy social media post or text message. Left: Nothing beats a Christmas card!




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The Children’s Society British Heart Foundation

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Multiple Sclerosis Society



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Over £1.5M now raised for these 32 UK based charities:

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Action for Children

Macmillan Cancer Support

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Action on Hearing Loss

Mental Health Foundation

The British Polio Fellowship

Action Medical Research

Multiple Sclerosis Society

The Children’s Society

Asthma UK


The Children’s Research Fund


Rare Breeds Survival Trust

The Dockland Settlements


Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability

The Leprosy Mission International

British Heart Foundation

Samaritans Central London

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Disability Rights UK

Samaritans Worthing

The Sheldon Trust

Housing the Homeless Central Fund

Shaftesbury Young People

Treloar Trust




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NEWS Hotel promotes card heritage


Read All About It Greeting cards came out on top in the media Christmas card sending and receiving cropped up on the media radar in many different ways in the lead up to Christmas. Coverage ranged from the ‘scandal’ of charity Christmas cards and the rudeness of cards, to the huge benefits of sending them - and generally speaking, it is all good publicity for the industry, reinforcing their importance. Touching on how our tastes in Christmas cards change as we age, Evening Standard columnist Laura Weir reflected on how she has progressed from a penchant for humorous cards in her 20s to settling on ‘simple cards’ that show ‘warmth and love’. She also made the point that there is merit in retailers doing more to appeal to

under 30s to send greeting cards. Laura says in her column: ‘Christmas symbolises warmth and togetherness - and when Donald Trump is tweeting Kim Jongun fat jokes, and the world is going to pot, there’s no comfort like focusing on the simple things we can control - like sending a Christmas card.’ The Sunday Times and the Mirror newspapers both made digs at the industry prior to Christmas. Under the headline: ‘The shops selling ‘charity’

Below: The Daily Mail focused in on charity cards. Below left: The ‘washing line’ of charity cards that The Times featured in its piece.

Christmas cards, but only 10% is actually going to good causes’, the Mirror cited Cards Galore, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and WHSmith as being ‘the worst’ for ‘handing over a fraction of proceeds from the sales’, belittling the 10% that is donated to a great number of charities from the sale of the cards, ignoring the huge sums that are generated as a result of sales through these high footfall stores. Next’s and Clintons’ 15% contributions put them a step up, with Aldi’s 25% contribution being hailed the high street angel by the newspaper. Not comparing like with like, the article urged readers to buy their cards in Cards for Good Causes pop-up stores, which claims to give 70p in the £1 back to the charities. However the article ignores that, in this instance, the charities take the risk and costs of production, plus the pop-up stores have nothing like the footfall of mainstream retailers. Having got wind of the article being penned by the Mirror, some quick reactions from the GCA, Cards Galore and Sainsbury’s did at least mitigate against a totally onesided article on the Mirror Online. Tricia Corner, buyer of Cards Galore, quite rightly pointed out: “Few charities can sell cards through their own outlets, therefore the shelf space retailers give is invaluable. In a nutshell, 10% of something is better than 10% of nothing.” Sainsbury’s was also able to get across its point about the huge sums that are raised by mainstream retailers. However, the negative tone of the piece did lighten and went on to highlight the variety of charities that benefit from the industry’s tie-ups.

Political leanings As ever, leading UK politicians’ choice of Christmas cards attracted media interest. PM Teresa May made a wise choice in that she ran a competition among school children to design her Christmas cards, while Jeremy Corbyn opted for a design that is a take on his Labour manifesto. Meanwhile, Ed Miliband came in for some ridicule for his choice, which featured adopting a James Dean pose on a motorbike clutching a bacon sandwich, a nod to his appearance on Channel 4’s Last Leg in which he lip-synched to Take On Me. Above: The PM’s festive cards, designed by children. Left: A tongue-in-cheek card featuring Ed Miliband.

Nestled in sunny South Devon, Orestone Manor Country Hotel promoted itself prior to Christmas as the birthplace of the Christmas card, giving away luxury packs of cards free to all guests staying or enjoying dining at the hotel in the run up to Christmas. The founder of Orestone Manor is artist Sir John Callcott Horsley, who, back in 1943 was commissioned by Sir Henry Cole (namesake of The Henries) to design what was the first ever commercial Christmas card. To celebrate the birthplace of the Christmas card, the hotel’s family-owners produced a modern day Christmas card based closely on the original design. Below: Orestone Manor Country Hotel.

Paperworld comes to town Paperworld, the Frankfurt-based trade fair for stationery, office supplies and writing instruments, opens its doors 27 - 30 January. Over 1,500 exhibitors from all over the world come to the show. Many Brits make the trip to visit and exhibit, and one company making the trip to exhibit for the first time is calendar company BrownTrout. Managing director Jack Straw says: “The reason for showing at Paperworld is entirely motivated by our massive expansion in personal planning products and diaries. In addition, we have taken our diary line and trebled it in size to over 60 different titles across various formats and new finishes. We are very excited about this and will be showing the whole range prominently at both Top Drawer and Spring Fair.” Below: See the latest trends in stationery at Paperworld in Frankfurt.




All New

For Spring

Handmade In The UK with REAL Fluff!

To the one I love on


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A board that helps save the world, by not travelling around it.

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Transport via shipping costs our environment dearly owing to the CO2 created, and highly polluting sulphur from ship fuel. Incada is made locally at the Iggesund mill in Workington, which has its own self-generating Bio-mass plant. Willow is grown to fuel the plant which also brings prosperity to local hill farmers. The British paper and board industry is making a huge difference to increasing forestry in the UK. Incada as your preferred one sided coated board will have positive impact on carbon footprint and the environment.

Incada Silk is one of the premium one sided coated boards. It is considered one of the whitest in the market, with the smoothest surface, and with the recent development work at the mill, it’s rigidity is like no other. A designer’s dream, where compensating for yellow shades of board will no longer be an issue. Incada brings high quality and consistency of product which is on the doorstep.

There are huge benefits to using a UK manufactured board. British publishers pride themselves on knowing their product inside out, from start to finish, something simply not possible when made in another country. Uptake of Incada will enable you to proudly brand your product Made In Britain.

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NEWS Business Booster


Top Drawer Backs Just A Card Independent retailer campaign receives support from exhibition The passion, honesty and generosity of spirit exuded by Sarah Hamilton, founder of the Just A Card campaign, when she gave her speech at the recent GCA AGM and Conference, was infectious. Not only did it prompt publishers and retailers to wholehearted applaud Sarah’s campaign that champions supporting independent shops and galleries, but resulted in the Top Drawer team going several stages further. The show (which takes place January 14-16 at London’s Olympia) has not only donated a stand to the Just A Card campaign, but retailers will be able to pick up free vinyl window decals to display in their stores to further raise awareness of the initiative, which encourages consumers to support indies by ‘just buying a card’. The window decals, that also feature the GCA logo in recognition of the association’s support of the campaign, are being produced free of charge by print company, (which is also exhibiting at the show). In addition, news of Just A Card will feature on the show’s website, in its preview, show catalogue and as part of its social media activity. Sarah, who is a talented artist and author of the House of Cards book, runs

Left: Retailers will be able to pick up a free Just A Card window sticker at the Top Drawer exhibition in January.

the Just A Card initiative in her ‘spare time’, helped by supportive volunteers. She is absolutely delighted by the support being offered by the Top Drawer team to spread awareness and heighten engagement in Just A Card. “I had a dream that one day we would have window stickers in shop windows to tell the public about Just A Card - and now we will!”, exclaims Sarah. It was Alejandro Campos, event director of Top Drawer, that has made it all happen. “I was very inspired by Sarah’s speech at the GCA AGM,” Alejandro told PG. “The Just A Card campaign encourages diversity in the high street and we all need to do all we can to maintain a healthy retail landscape and protect the independent retailers who are so vital in adding the colour and interest.” l Top Drawer ( incorporates the Paperfest seminar theatre within the Greetings and Stationery area as well as a feature display of new card designs from exhibiting GCA members. See Innovations pages 61-71 for just a selection of products that will be on show.

Simson Cards becomes Carte Blanche distributor in Oz Carte Blanche Greetings has appointed Simson Cards as distributor for its greeting card brands in Australia (starting on Jan 1), with Australian giftware distributor Jasnor taking on the sales and distribution of Carte Blanche’s gift and plush lines. As a result, CBG is to close its own Australian subsidiary that has been trading for the last five years. This change of approach and move to a distribution model follows “a strategic review” of the Carte Blanche Group’s operations “both in the UK and Australia.” Commenting on the Melbourne-based company that is run and owned by husband and wife team, John and Bindi Simson, Carte Blanche Group’s commercial director, Gerard O’Mahony said: “Simson’s energy for new and innovative product with that Australian ‘touch’ for colour and text appealed to us and we have great confidence they will help build business with our brands.” Established in 2012, the Carte Blanche Australia business ceased selling and distributing on 31 December 2017 and Simson assumes effective control of the Carte Blanche brands. Thanking the CBG Australia team for working hard to “represent, maintain and build our brands in the market”, Carte Blanche group chief executive Officer, Alister Marchant said: “We believe it’s the right time to build on this foundation and develop our brands further with a different model.” Above: Me to You and the other CBG brands are up for change in Oz. Left: John and Bindi Simson will be custodians of CBG’s card distribution from 2018.

Hundreds of creatives entered the competition to win a prize package including a printing package, business advice and an exhibition stand at January’s Top Drawer. Out of a shortlist of four, voted on by the public on Facebook and judged by a panel including’s founder Nick Green and designer Veronica Dearly, the two winners have Top: Ted & Kip’s card range. been announced as Ted & Above: Designs from The Kip and The Completist. Completist. Ted & Kip creates fun and quirky geometric print animal illustrations on a range of products, including greeting cards, prints, enamel pins, woven patches and button badges. Specialising in bold, bright designs and tongue in cheek messages, The Completist launched earlier this year and is already expanding from greeting cards into giftwrap and other printed goods.

The Light Fund shines If you’ve ever been to The Henries or The Retas you will have purchased raffle tickets in aid of The Light Fund. This is the industrywide charity that was the brainchild of PG’s Jakki Brown back in 2004, and through widespread trade support and development by an active committee has raised over £1.1 million. Almost £110,000 alone was raised by the industry charity throughout the last year, with 23 charities having been given the greenlight for a diversity of projects to help men, women and children across the world getting the go ahead for support. The projects receiving donations from The Light Fund as a result of the 2017 fundraising including: Alzheimer’s Society, Baby Lifeline, Bliss, The Brain Tumour Charity, Bowel Cancer UK, Challenge Africa, Children’s Brain Tumour Charity, The Children’s Trust, Children with Cancer UK, Dogs for Good, Maggie’s, MIND, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Multiple Sclerosis UK, New Horizon Youth Centre and New Life Special Babies Unit among others. Top: A Thank You message from The Children’s Trust! Above: The Light Fund events raised £110,000 in 2017.











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Ohh Deer Publishes Hello!Lucky Licensing arrangement brings expansion for US and UK publishers Launching at Top Drawer, Ohh Deer is publishing a range of 36 everyday designs from Hello!Lucky as part of a licensing agreement with the American letterpress publisher, founded by sisters Eunice and Sabrina Moyle. A similar arrangement sees Ohh Deer launch a range of Sapling Press humorous designs into the UK market. “Sapling Press and Hello!Lucky are two of my favourite US greeting card brands and I think they’re both going to sit perfectly with our other ranges. Sapling will be heading up our humour and Hello!Lucky will be heading up our fun illustration-led ranges,” Mark Callaby, md of Ohh Deer told PG. The arrangement came about as a result of the Hello!Lucky team approaching Ohh Deer initially to talk about a possible distribution deal, but out of this conversation came the opportunity to print the cards instead of via the normal distribution route. “This was perfect for us and has allowed us to bring the price point down from nearly £5 RRP to a respectable £2.75,”

explains Mark. “In order to get to the lower price point we have removed the letterpress element of the range, but we’ve added in additional finishes, including changing some of the colourways, using neon inks, embossing and foils, which has given the collection a fresh look.” The new set-up has been trialled through a limited exclusive with Paperchase for the last six months, which has seen nine Hello!Lucky designs being sold by the retail chain, but now a wider range will be on general release from January with more to follow. The arrangement is to extend into a stationery collection that will initially launch via Ohh Deer’s subscription box arm, Papergang Stationery, and then go on general release. “Although it might seem like a re-focus for Ohh Deer, we’re not forgetting our roots and are still developing on our own in-house ranges and working with other great artists,” Mark added. Above: Ohh Deer’s co-founder and md Mark Callaby with the company’s sales manager Laura Wells at the recent Henries. Left: Although not letterpressed, the new arrangement sees the Hello!Lucky designs being printed using neon inks and finishes.

IG Design Group on the hunt for acquisitions A little over three years ago, IG Design Group did not produce a single counter greeting card – now the global player is on course to publish well over 100 million of them in a single year – enough to cover over 350 football pitches. The group recently announced its interim results (for the half year to October 30) which showed its turnover and profits were up year on year. Paul Fineman, ceo of the group, described it as a “robust performance”, though accepted that “cost headwinds are undoubtedly stronger than ever.” While its UK sales were up 4% and profit stable in the six month period, this was trounced by performance elsewhere in the world. Its US business, buoyed by the acquisition of Lang (a calendar, stationery and giftware company), was up 18%, while its Australian side, where it is bolstering its greeting card presence through its acquisition of Biscay Greetings, showed a healthy 13% increase in sales. Turnover from continental Europe was the star of the show, up 19%. Having clawed the group’s fortunes back from being a heavily debt-encumbered business not so many years ago through agile thinking, shrewd investment and strategic acquisitions, Paul said he was enjoying the buzz of the business. He also said that the group is “proactively” pursuing acquisition opportunities, and is currently considering a few companies that include greeting cards in their product line-up, though would not be drawn as to which country they operate.

l Australian stationery and gift retailer, Typo opened three more stores before Christmas. The stores in Bluewater, Cambridge and Bath join the two other Typo stores in the UK in Westfield Stratford City and The Bentall Centre in Kingston. Right: Typo is up for expansion.

l The Cardgains’ office had a very special visitor in December: Cyril, the guide dog puppy sponsored by Cardgains, popped into the office with Keith, his puppy walker, and Jackie Boone from Guide Dogs. Penny Shaw, marketing director says: “Cyril was very well behaved though a little excited with all the attention he got from the Cardgains staff at the head office in Sheffield.” Cardgains will present a cheque for £20,000 to Guide Dogs at Spring Fair to help fund Cyril’s next round of training. Above: Cyril was very well behaved on his recent office visit, if not a little excited.

l Blue Rose Gifts & Balloons in Heywood never shies away from taking part in any local community event and of course, Christmas is no different. Owner Beverley Green put together a 40ft float for the town’s Christmas festival and lights switch on, with Beverley taking the role of Virgin Mary. The stable and manger were both made from cards and baby Jesus from balloons. Above: Greeting cards were recycled as props for Blue Rose’s festive float.

l Calendar publishers Perkins & Morley sold more than 300 units of its Collective Nouns 2018 calendar in a weekend after it was featured in the Guardian Weekend’s coveted Christmas Gift Guide. The product placement in the popular national newspaper grossed over £1200 in calendar sales alone on the online shop. Right: Collective Nouns calendar as seen in the Guardian

l Award-winning independent greeting card retailer, Romantica joined forces with multiple retailer Next as part of an initiative to boost Christmas trade for both parties through a Christmas ‘market’ at Next’s Cribbs Causeway store in Bristol in December. Romantica was one of 12 businesses asked to participate. Below: Indie Romantica went in with Next pre-Christmas

Above: IG Design Group’s ceo Paul Fineman (left) and finance director Anthony Lawrinson.



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Splimple’s Veterinary Practice Alison’s Animals’ reinvents All Creatures Great And Small Greeting card publisher Splimple has been working with the family of writer James Herriot (real name Alf Wight) and the Thirsk museum, where the TV set of All Creatures Great and Small is one of Yorkshire’s top tourist attractions, to create a new collection of cards and gifts, illustrated by Alison’s Animals cartoonist Alison Lingley that are launching this month. Founder of Splimple cards, Stuart Caldwell explains how the collaboration came about: “Some 12 months ago our Yorkshire representative sold a spinner of Alison’s Animals cards into the gift shop at the World of James Herriot museum in Thirsk. We realised that they’d never linked up with a card publisher and we thought we’d be a great fit as their audience is similar to those we reach with our Alison’s Animals and Barking at the Moon ranges.” An approach was made and a meeting was set. “I took Alison Lingley, the illustrator of Alison’s Animals, to the meeting with me - and it was only on the drive north that she told me how the Herriot books had been her childhood favourites and helped foster the love for animals that’s made the card range so successful, for so long (14 years now).” Stuart pitched the idea to the museum’s managing

director Ian Ashton and a few weeks later presented rough visuals to the late author’s daughter and son, Rosie Page and Jim Wight. “They were taken aback by Alison’s knowledge of the books, and Rosie commented that it was the first time she’d met anyone who knew the books better than she did!” Illustrator Alison has loved working on the project. “I first picked up the Herriot books when my dad started reading them. Anything with an animal theme always drew me in and the early paperbacks were illustrated by Thelwell, another hero of mine. I was quickly hooked and devoured each book as it came out.” Splimple is donating 10% of the sales from the cards to the James Herriot Foundation Trust, which supports student Veterinary Nurses in their vocational studies. Above: 10% of the revenue of Splimple’s card collection will go to the James Herriot Foundation Trust, which supports student Veterinary Nurses in their vocational studies. Left: Alf Wight and his dog

PG Live registration is open Retailers and overseas distributors can now register for the 2018 PG Live trade exhibition, which will take place on Tuesday 5 June and Wednesday 6 June at London’s Business Design Centre. Above: Registration for the 10th PG Live This year buyers have the option to register for the show via is now open., through social media channels (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+), by email or by picking up a phone (and dialling +44 (0) 1635 297070). “We have simplified the online registration and it works really well, but for those who prefer to speak to a real life person, there is always someone at the other end of the phone. The greeting card industry is a people business after all,” marketing manager Jacqui Parr summed up. Jacqui is also excited by the addition of registering via social media channels. “It is really clever – buyers can invite colleagues too, and it creates a visitor hub so they can track who decides to come,” says Jacqui. The 10th PG Live is already lining up to be a real humdinger, with the exhibitor list reading like a ‘whose who’ of leading brands – including UKG, Hallmark, Wendy Jones-Blackett, IC&G, Paperlink, Gemma, Abacus, Icon Arts, Nigel Quiney and Emotional Rescue - while the ever-popular Springboard area for newbie publishers is burgeoning with ‘waiting to be discovered’ names.

l The Bright Group’s founder Vicki Willden-Lebrecht (right) appeared in the ‘Day in the Life’ column of RED magazine in December. Vicki – who founded the literary agency in 2003 – gave an insight into a typical day, which starts at 6am when she gets up with her son, and is non-stop until her head hits the pillow at 10:30pm. Vicki is quite in demand at the moment, with another interview coming out in January’s Harper’s Bazaar magazine. l Daniel Prince has become managing director of Danilo from 1 January 2018, taking over the role from his father Laurence, founder of the company, who continues as chairman and chief executive. Daniel, who has been operations director of the company for many years, is certainly no stranger to the business, having started with the company in 2001 and been instrumental in the launch of Danilo’s first sound card ranges and (the customised card aspect). Above: Laurence (left) and Daniel Prince.

l Stuart Middleton, creative director and major shareholder of Card Factory, has become chairman of Warrington Wolves rugby league team. Stuart joined the board of Warrington Wolves in 2015 and has invested more than £1 million in the club since then, helping in areas such as funding transfer fees and stadium renovations. And he has pledged to spend a further £1 million over the next four years. Above: Stuart Middleton (left) with vice chairman of Warrington Wolves, Steven Broomhead.

l Julie Brightly (right) has joined The Imaging Centre as sales development manager. Julie has a wealth of experience in the greeting card industry, starting out 25 years ago as a merchandiser for publisher Statics. She went on to become Paperlink’s first rep in the South West, before joining Hammond Gower and then The Art Group. After a spell outside the industry, four years ago she joined envelope company Enveco as a pivotal member of its sales team. Ed Starling (right) has also joined The Imaging Centre, from printer Offset Impressions to take on the role of production manager. l After 14 years of loyal service, Ron McGee (right), Widdop and Co.’s territory manager for the East Midlands retired at the end of December. Sue Speirs joined the company at the beginning of January, having latterly worked for Yankee Candle as part of its sales team for the last 7½ years. She joined with over 20 years of varied sales experience, including Coca Cola. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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NEWS In the (Little) Mix


The Calies Make It A Date The first UK Calendar Awards get off to a great start The winners of the first ever Calies, UK Calendar Awards were revealed at a buzzy awards event held recently at the historic Stationers’ Hall, in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, attended by over 150 retailers, calendar publishers, diary manufacturers, licensors and trade suppliers. The Calies, the successor to The National Calendar Awards, were organised by Max Publishing (owner of PG), with the support from the calendar and diary sector. The award categories recognised and rewarded excellence right across the spectrum - from retail calendar titles to B2B bespoke creations and diaries to Advents. The award ceremony was hosted by comedian Tania Edwards, with Danilo’s founder Laurence Prince and BrownTrout managing director, Jack Straw sharing their insights on the market in two snappy preawards talks. Among the delighted winners were Allan and Bertram, Allsorted, Andrews McMeel UK, Carousel Calendars, The EcoFriendly Card Co, Flame Tree Publishing, Moving Stationery, Pomegranate, Portico Designs, Roger la Borde, Rose Calendars, teNeues, Turnowsky and Universe Publishing. It was an especially emotional evening for Gary Beck, co-founder of Calendar

Below: The winners of the first ever Calies awards.

Club/Carousel Calendars and Danilo’s founder Laurence Prince, both of whom were presented with a prestigious Calendar Ambassador Award. “I love this industry, it has been very good to me,” said Danilo’s founder Laurence Prince, having been presented with the first ever Calendar Ambassador Award. When gestured to the microphone having been presented with his award, Gary Beck said “How extraordinarily surprising and a tad embarrassing. This is something I might well treasure forever!” Right: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle receiving their special engagement card in Nottingham. Below right: The glistening card design by Paper Rose incorporates quotes from the newly-engaged couple.

Who’s buying Putin’s calendar? In a very strange bit of #fakenews, British media covered a story about the Russian media covering the story of the success in the UK of Vladimir Putin’s 2018 calendar. Only problem seems to be that it hasn’t been a success over here. Moscow's TV5 said the calendar was "selling like hot cakes in Great Britain, where it became popular with buyers almost immediately", but it did state that only the online vendors were calling it a bestseller. "Reviewers of the merchandise are in awe of the Russian president's way of life and suggest that buyers share the positive emotions," one newsreader said. But when the BBC contacted 10 of the biggest retailers, no one was selling it. And it only seems to be available online through eBay and Amazon, with only a couple of hundred sold. Jack Straw, managing director of BrownTrout, chuckled at the story and commented: “I have not come across this particular item but I have no doubt that it exists. If it is being bought here, it can only be in an ironic sense in my view.” BrownTrout has dabbled in political calendars in the past and in fact its 2018 Trumpisms has been a sensational success at retail and online. “We had a lot of reorder activity and total sell outs before the end of November,” says Jack. Left: Putin’s 2018 calendar hasn’t quite been the hot seller as reported in Russian media.

Girl band, Little Mix came out ‘top of the pops’ where calendars are concerned, though Harry Potter has clearly been working his magic on the calendar front, jumping five places since last year, claiming second position in Danilo’s Official Top Ten Chart of its entertainment titles. Stalwart Cliff Richard still pulled in the punters, taking the third position in the table. Released to the media in early December, to prompt the public to buy calendars, the Danilo Top 10 are charts compiled from sales data from Danilo online, HMV, Tesco, Calendar Club and Amazon, together with retail chains and independent retailers around the UK as well as overseas. For the first time ever, Danilo revealed a separate sports calendar Top 10, which showed that Manchester United is top of the league, demoting Liverpool (last year’s winner) into second position with Tottenham Hotspur in third spot. Above: YouTube sensation JoJo Siwa was a new entry in Danilo’s entertainment Top Ten reaching 9th place.

Royal Engagement cards When Prince Harry and his fiancée Meghan Markle visited Nottingham on December 1 in their first official outing since they announced their engagement, they were presented with a beautiful bespoke engagement card from Paper Rose. The ‘one off’ card was commissioned by BBC Radio Nottingham and presented to a delighted Prince Harry and Meghan shortly after they arrived in the city. Within 24 hours of having received the brief from the BBC radio station, the design studio of Nottingham-based Paper Rose had not only created a very special card, but also appeared on BBC Radio Nottingham talking about its design as well as giving a plug for Festive Friday, taking place the same day! Paper Rose designer, Sarah Tanser explained that the handmade card featured “an add-on 3D ring incorporating Meghan’s favourite colour gold.” She reveals that incorporated into ‘the ring’ motif were quotes from the BBC interview the Royal couple gave when they announced their engagement a few days previously “including about how Meghan tripped and fell into his life and that he instantly fell in love with her.”



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‘Come On Board’ Urges Windles Call for industry to support UK produced one-sided board Specialist greeting card printer, Windles is fronting a campaign that urges publishers and fellow printers to support a push to use UK-produced one-sided coated board from Workingtonbased Iggesund papermill in order to help save the planet while being price neutral. Launching officially in January, the Windles-instigated campaign, entitled Come on Board, with a tagline ‘A board that helps save the world, by not travelling around it’, is the brainchild of Bruce Podmore, managing director of the Oxfordshirebased printer. “There has been so much turbulence in the paper and board market over the last year or so. The fluctuations in currency has seen paper prices rise by 7%, and when you think that 40% of the cost of card is the paper, this is significant,” explains Bruce. He estimates that the UK greeting card industry uses 15,000 tonnes of one-sided coated board over the course of a year. As Michelle Mills, business development and marketing manager of the company added, card publishers and their printers “were looking further and further afield to source their one-sided coated board, a staple of this industry, in the hope of finding economical solutions, but the quality did not necessarily match expectations and the carbon footprint was escalating.” Bruce’s explorations to come up with a solution – on price, quality and

Left: Bruce Podmore, md of Windles in front of the Iggessund papermill in Workington. Below: The new mix of Incada Silk is “eminently suitable” for greeting cards, claims Windles’ Bruce Podmore.

environmental counts 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. “I am so impressed... it’s cleaner, whiter, crisper and stiffer,” Bruce said, referring to the 240gm Incada Silk substrate, which he says, due to its bulk is “eminently suitable for greeting cards. It provides a reliable price-neutral option as it will not be affected by currency fluctuations and has a minimal carbon footprint.” Of the Come on Board campaign, Bruce stresses that this is not something Windles wants to ‘own’, but has instigated it as “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.” The board has already been adopted by some card publishers and Bruce feels certain others will follow suit in the new year.

Brainbox Candy links up with David Shrigley In what is its first tie-up with a major named artist, Brainbox Candy is launching a new collection featuring the musings of Turner Prize nominee David Shrigley. David's work conjures up ironic comments on everyday situations and human interactions – with his boldest statement being the thumbs up sculpture on the top of the plinth in Trafalgar Square. His perceptive drawings and texts are typically deadpan in their humour and reveal chance declarations like snippets of over-heard conversations. “We were delighted when we were approached with the offer to collaborate with David as he is one of our favourite artists,” said Mark Williams, co-founder of Brainbox Candy. “We jumped at it like mad things. We literally dropped everything (which was messy) and now here we are with a fantastic collection of cards, postcards, mugs, coasters and notebooks.” The range launches with 50 cards and 50 postcards, plus nine mugs, 12 coasters and six notebooks with other gifts launching in January. Above: One of David Shrigley’s new cards for Brainbox Candy.

The changing face of Christmas cards Robins appeared on fewer Christmas cards than ever before, bears continued their increased presence, Father Christmas held his own, but has been on a diet. These are just some of the findings from research commissioned by Clintons in December involving hundreds of Christmas card designs on the market. In the last decade, Clintons’ Card Index shows that Christmas card designs featuring robins have declined by 29.2%, in contrast to their real-world equivalent population, which has grown by 49% since the 1970s. Wider analysis of the animals depicted on Christmas cards this year has yielded several surprises. There are virtually no donkeys. Reindeers have been unaffected by fashion shifts, appearing on 10% of cards in this latest Christmas card clutch. But the surprise fourlegged feature is the bear, which featured on 32% of cards this year. Depictions of Father Christmas continue their slight downward trend (3.6% over the decade) but his fashion influence remains strong, with 8.3% more characters on cards wearing his trademark red hat than this time ten years ago. Creatures wearing the Santa hat this Christmas included dogs, cats, teddy bears and rabbits. Father Christmas appears to have lost around 12kg in the last decade. However, despite these changes, Christmas card designs’ traditions remain strong. While many people seem concerned that the true meaning of Christmas has been forgotten, it seems that at Christmas, people still stick with tradition. Victorian street scenes remain as popular as ever, with holly bushes, bells and stars all apparently here to stay. Above: Robins are down, bears up!

Solving a mystery card Staff at Stamford Hospital in Lincolnshire have a mystery at Christmas when every year since 1960 an anonymous card turns up signed from a ‘grateful patient in 1960’. The hospital told the BBC that the card appeared "every year without fail" on the matron's desk, with the same message of thanks. It is addressed to nursing staff at the now disused Exeter Ward and has a postal mark for the South East Anglia Mail Centre in Chelmsford, Essex. The North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust said the "once busy" Exeter Ward was an all-male ward, so staff know the patient is a male. In the card, he said he was a "grateful" patient in 1960 and was "still going strong."



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What The Year Served Wimbledon, Pimms and summer picnics in the park seem a far cry at the moment, but, looking back over the past year, was it a good ‘rally’ of a year for indie card retailers and their businesses? Some independent players reveal the highlights and lowlights of 2017, and, what are their ambitions and hopes to be ‘served’ for the coming 2018 ‘match’.

Above: A Slice of Life design from Ling Design. Below: The Canal Festival in Skipton brings flocks of visitors to the area. Bottom right: Retas award-winning store, Present in Edinburgh.

Pete Hall owner of Halls, Llandaff: The year’s game: “I am not a great one for looking back over the year, the only time I seriously look back is when I attend one of our many trade shows and get out my tatty little black note book to see what I bought the previous year. Now, with little black book in hand, pen in gob and armed with coffee I get very mixed feelings as I browse the pages, thinking on one hand how studious I was for buying a certain product, or I am giving myself a silent bollocking, calling myself a "complete tool" for even considering such a dumb purchase. "Where was my brain?", I say under my breath, and continue to mumble away until I can catch another gulp of expensive cold filtered coffee.” Aces and faults: “On a business point of view, my high point of 2017 must be Jeremy Corner’s video on us for his 'Greeting Card Project'. It really made my day to be considered for his nationwide project to understand the country's love affair with the ubiquitous greeting card. The low point in 2017 continues to be the constant small independents’ battle against the online retailers, large supermarket chains, increasing commercial rates and poor parking facilities, but heyho, we are Welsh and we Welsh love a good old moan. On a personal note (not including my kids) the high point must be the British and Irish Lions drawing the series against the All Blacks back in the summer, and the low point has to be Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un comparing dicks.” Tournament 2018: “I cannot wait for 2018 to get started. We want to improve our depth of cards, introduce some new ideas and probably change some of the racking to get us towards 6000 pockets. In 2018 it will be our 39th year of trading, and Brexit a-side, I think we've seen it all. So onwards and upwards. You will no doubt find me at Top Drawer Olympia, coffee and Black Book in hand, as another year of mumbling to myself starts all over again.” Top: Pete Hall at last year’s Henries Awards judging day. Above: A low point of 2017 has been Donald Trump.

Tina Botterill owner of Cool! Cards and Gifts, Skipton: The year’s game: “The year 2017 in general has not been a good year for us. Almost every month has been slightly down on last year and customers have been a lot more restrained in their spending.” Aces and faults: “Highlights of the year were the special weekends in Skipton. Such as the Canal Festival and Puppet Festival. These events bring in thousands of visitors who we hope will return through the year. Lowlights have been the negativity of people surrounding Brexit and politics in general.” Tournament 2018: “Looking at 2018, I am hoping to increase turnover by joining the ShopAppy online scheme which is being launched in Skipton soon. Several other towns are already up and running and say it is increasing sales and people's awareness of their businesses. We hope it will initiate a lot of interest in locals and tourists and introduce them to our fabulous range of cards, gifts and service.”

Sue Butcher partner of Present Boutique, Edinburgh: The year’s game: “2017 has been a great year overall, we are lucky to be located in a part of Edinburgh where people are seeking out something just a wee bit different and sales have remained strong with continued growth. We try to source new and innovative stock throughout the year which ensures our customers will always find something different each time they visit.” Aces and faults: “We can't quite believe how quickly this year has gone but we've had a great one - our highlights include welcoming PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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VIEWPOINTS some new exciting independent businesses to our historic corner of Edinburgh, sourcing some truly unique new suppliers via craft fairs, as well as the larger trade fairs and of course The Edinburgh Festival and Fringe, which just keeps growing year on year and brings so many people together from all over the world. A couple of the one man band designers who supply us, and do well here at Present, have had to scale back during 2017 due to lack of opportunities to gain a wider retail footing, and this is sad as we find customers really do appreciate finding a card that is truly different, but it's very difficult for many small designers to gain momentum with enough shops to sustain a full-time living.” Tournament 2018: “We are looking forward to expanding our quirky card ranges and have plans to dedicate more space within the shop for this, and we are also very excited to be working with several new Edinburgh designers who are working on designs especially for us which will showcase our beautiful city on new products for all of our 2018 visitors.” Below: The Edinburgh Festival and Fringe keeps growing year on year with visitor numbers.

Trevor Appleton director of Heaven Sent Cards & Gifts, Walsall: The year’s game: “The mild winter helped early 2017 to start steadily, but poor weather during Mother’s Day week knocked sales down by around 20%. Our customers are mainly in the pensioner age group, so Valentine’s and Father’s Day are not big sellers for us, but, on the other hand, being based in a converted church building, Easter was good and continues to grow year on year." Aces and faults: “On the down side, 2017’s sales will probably finish on a par with 2016, but with increased utility bills and Living Wage rises, along with Brexit uncertainties, heading into 2018 means a close eye will have to be kept on expenses. However, on a personal level this year, we had several highs, the first being in April when eight week old Max, the cocker spaniel puppy, joined our family alongside Chloe our other cocker spaniel. After a few sleep-disturbed weeks Max has settled in superbly. Secondly, I celebrated my 60th birthday (yes, I know I don’t look it!) with my wife in sunny Sorrento. We hope you all had a merry Christmas and a prosperous 2018.” Above: Unusually, Heaven Sent in Walsall is set within a converted church. Right: Trevor's gorgeous pooches, Chloe and newcomer Max.

Lesley Dunne owner of Feathering Your Nest, Rayleigh, Essex: The year’s game: “2017 has been good to us so far. Although we are up on the previous year, which is always our aim, we aren't up as much (so far) - but we are up and that's the main thing! Taking Christmas aside, last Christmas was phenomenal for us, so I knew I had a big mountain to climb. Overall, we were nearly there with some weeks up and others down. We hadn't had heavy snow in this region before Christmas for around seven years, so that affected sales for sure. To my mind, many shoppers now wait for last minute bargains, and chains these days have sales all the way through the shopping season and internet stores take more than their fair share. Lastly, dare I mention the dirty ‘B word’... Brexit! With so much negativity in the news, the future is worrying for us all, but I feel it put a real damper on the spirit of Christmas.” Aces and faults: “Highlights for FYN was winning The Greats award category for Best Independent Retailer for East Anglia 2017, I'm still in shock. Also, having our mini makeover and adding a Katie

Loxton - Joma shop within our shop is a gorgeous addition. Our customers are very hungry for the product, which continues to delight, and we love getting them excited. Our card section had an overhaul too. It looks crisp and fresh with sales up and customers returning for our “different" cards from everyone else. Lows was losing a long-standing member of staff to retirement. We still miss her. However, we took the chance to move hours and staff around and add three new fabulous staff members. We now have a stronger-awesome team FYN!” Tournament 2018: “Looking to 2018 is all about stepping back from the shop floor and tending more to the back end of the business by getting all those little jobs done! Ordering smaller but more frequently and of course finding the right products for our customers through trade shows.” Above: Feathering Your nest’s owner Lesley Dunne (centre) and manager, Lisa Dean (right), received a Greats Award from Simon Anslow, exhibition organiser of Harrogate Christmas & Gift, last May. Left: Uncertainty surrounding Brexit has been worrying for retailers and consumers.



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

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Poker Face Independent card and gift retailer, David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi in Scotland, discusses how difficult it is to play your trading hand in the current retail landscape. When I was at Uni some 20+ years ago I shared a room with a guy who went on to become a very good friend. I have many, many stories of those days, but perhaps the thing that sticks most vividly in my mind was Harry’s love of music everything from The Eagles to Doris Day, Sinatra and the sweeping country tones of one Kenny Rodgers. ‘The Gambler’ became, and still is, my karaoke tune, and in what has been a difficult few weeks for me recently the song has been kind of stuck in my mind. The song tells the story of a train journey and a gambler giving a troubled soul some advice. He professes that every gambler knows: ‘You've got to know when to hold 'em Know when to fold 'em Know when to walk away And know when to run You never count your money When you're sittin' at the table There'll be time enough for countin' When the dealin's done That the secret to survivin' Is knowin' what to throw away And knowin' what to keep 'Cause every hand's a winner And every hand's a loser And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep’ As we start 2018, many of you reading this will be questioning what bet you want to lay next. Many indie retailers will have faced a difficult 2017. The drop in footfall, rise in core costs, lack of innovative product (cards being an exception) and the continual rise of the internet retailer have all squeezed our margins and in truth have probably squeezed our spirit even more so. These are difficult cards to deal with. We are all playing with a public that doesn’t know when to buy as there is always

a deal, always a discount. We have a public that is being brainwashed by the internet. Every store assistant these days seems to utter the line you can get it online, and the stores themselves are shedding buildings and staff at a frightening rate of knots. There are exceptions as there always will be. Niche players, the destination garden centres/themed stores, multiples with better margins, and those who are willing to adapt and change their strategy will survive. However those in the middle may well have to fold and go out of business or, if they are lucky, sell out to someone who can make it work. Is this negative? The basic facts are we can’t all be shiny happy people. I am renowned for telling people as it is, often to my own detriment, and this is how I really feel so I write it here so that people perhaps realise that they are not alone. Every business I believe has a historical arc. This arc charts the history from its beginning through its development to its Above: Hold your nerve and don’t let your eyes betray you. Below: At around 220 years old, Johnstons of Elgin is still going strong.

successes and possibly ultimately its demise. That arc might start with one person and end in a sale to another, or it may end the way it began, but each arc is unique and this is without doubt the most interesting part of any business. I am fascinated by why some businesses survive, some fail and some really never amount to much. In some cases survival and just getting by is the name of the game. For a great number of small businesses that is enough, but for me that struggle or return on investment would simply not be worth it. Longevity in business is a relative concept, its importance is determined by the industry sector you are in and the type of business you are running. Close to me we have an institution of British manufacturing called Johnstons of Elgin. This 220 year-old business has just secured the Walpole award for commitment to British manufacturing. Johnstons as a business takes the very best of raw materials (cashmere) from around the world, its finished product sits alongside other luxury brands such as Bentley and cutting-edge businesses such as Farfetch. Under the current leadership the company is transforming into a fashion house in their own right while nurturing long-term business relationships with Hermes and Mulberry, to name but two. Johnstons’ age is key to its story, but equally its willingness to change has resulted in it being more relevant than ever. Other industries, such as technology, often rely on shorter lifecycles linked to the pace of innovation. Nokia was once THE name in phones but now you rarely hear it mentioned. These PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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OVER THE COUNTER companies burn bright, go on and hot streak and then fade. Then what are we? Most of us indie retailers are really just middle-men who don’t create or innovate. We simply resell for profit. This is perhaps the most difficult thing to grasp as this makes us the most vulnerable. Indeed, most high street retailers fall into this category and this is what makes us transparent and at risk to companies selling direct, usually online. Perhaps 2017 didn't see such big retail losers such as BHS, but we have seen bank after bank announce closures from our high streets. In December the wholesaler Palmer & Harvey went bust after 90 years of trading, Toys R Us pulled the plug too on many of its stores, and other national stores are looking to reduce their high street footprint. We have seen the emergence of vaping shops, ironically yet more bookmakers, and the continued rise of coffee shops as the supposed secret to all retail and footfall problems on the high street.

So where does that leave us? Well, if you have maybe one or two stores in decent locations that you own or are not too expensive to rent with a good regular local trade you will survive. How much you can actually make is open for debate, but let’s get one thing straight, each year is going to be more of a struggle. In the greetings industry’s land of the multiple it is a mixed bag, with value retailers such as Card Factory, The Works and Cardzone aggressively opening and being driven forward through sure fire ‘bets’ (offers). They are experienced operators who know exactly what does and does not work, who can hold their nerve and can afford to lose a hand or two and still trade very profitably. Whereas middle ground operator Clintons, is without doubt still vulnerable, and there are always rumours of what is happening at other smaller card retailing groups. So, the interesting question is of course is how long is too long? At what point should you fold your hand and stop retailing? And, will anyone even care if, for example, Card

Left: A vintage picture of the JP Pozzi store in Elgin. Below left: ASOS has eclipsed the market value of Marks and Spencer. Below: Kenny Roger’s The Gambler - David’s karaoke tune.

Factory closes its doors… other than the guys that are making the money from it? Will it leave a legacy on the high street? When does a company become part of the community? I would say rarely. A few weeks ago, 17 year-old ASOS hit the jackpot and eclipsed the market value of 133 year-old Marks and Spencer. This really is crazy, but it is a fact. What is even more incredible is that M&S’ new chairman Archie Norman described it as drifting for 15 years, maybe more. How on earth can that happen? Of course it is not just M&S, Tesla overtook Ford and Amazon is worth nearly twice as much as Walmart, and this is just the beginning. The January Blues are often discussed and it is likely that some among us will lack the fight or funds for another year ahead. January should always be a month of new hope, of wishes and dreams. Most gamblers are eternal optimists but I, like most of you, will wonder what is to come. I must admit for the first time in my business career I have started to ask myself further questions: Will there still be retail in 1015-20 years? Will commercial properties hold any real value if city centres continue to face a downturn? Will Alexa or Siri or Echo simply get what we command and continue to bolster the bottom line of Google, Apple or Amazon? Will shops become pretty much obsolete before returning as a cool trend a bit like vinyl records? Last year we embarked on a massive year of investment and change, taking our core business and upgrading and moving it on to the next level. We took risks and placed bets on physical and stock holding changes. In truth, this was a complete re-imagination of our original building, with new branding and look to all our stores. We invested a huge amount of ourselves to make these buildings a success, never mind the money that went with this to hopefully make it a winning hand. Why? Well our arc actually is 30 years-old this coming June. My parents’ gamble was simple in 1988 - buy what was a very old-fashioned

newsagent, turn it round and then sell it, using the money from the sale to retire. This was against massive odds of 15% interest rates! My plan has been to buy and invest heavily in my shop buildings, making them the best I possibly can. In this sense I am all in, hoping that they will be my pension or realise the best price when I do decide to sell. So if you feel like this when should you sell? Well there are a million reasons. It may be you have taken your business as far as you can or as far as you want to. It may be that you want to walk away like ‘The Gambler’ and collect on all that blood, sweat and tears. It may be personal circumstances such as illness or simply a change of pace of life that dictates a sale. What is without question is you should try and sell on the upslope or, as things are, at least steady. You also have to be able to let it go without a feeling of guilt or regret. No what ifs! Hold your nerve and don’t let your eyes betray you.

Now selling is not an easy thing. I considered it before the complete reinvention of our stores, but ultimately I am not ready to step away from this gambling table. I may have taken a suspect shuffle of the pack, I may be carrying a few knocks, but I have a lot of fight in me with lots of opportunity to get better at what I am doing. What is my end game? God knows but what I do know is that I will keep striving because the freedom and satisfaction of the risk is something that is addictive and hard to replicate. Ladies and gentlemen may all your gambles in 2018 pay off handsomely! To contact David email: PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Paper Chase On Below: Paperchase celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

From a business perspective Paperchase seems to be top-notch when it comes to its ethics, which undoubtedly filters down from the top from its long-standing ceo, Timothy Melgund. Although a major national (and international) retail player, it champions and supports up and coming greeting card publishers. And, almost unique of retail chains, it logs every card sample sent to the buying office, and views every one. Paperchase buyers are some of the first in to PG Live’s Springboard section, trying to source the next new wave of designer talent. What is more, Cardsharp hears that suppliers are treated with courtesy and respect, which again is something of a rarity for major retailers. This year Paperchase celebrates its 50th birthday, (oddly enough as does another

Cardsharp loves Paperchase! Both from a personal shopping point of view and from a business perspective. The chain is one of Cardsharp’s first points of call for buying greeting cards, gift stationery or even for impulse gifts. Its sales assistants are invariably friendly and its window displays are engaging and welcoming. Not surprisingly, it consistently ranks highly in terms of customer experience satisfaction polls. high street greeting card chain, Clintons, its milestone covered in last month’s PG). Although the chain has faced some difficulties in its long history, 2018 finds Paperchase in good health. Sure, the impact of the £sterling’s devaluation has hit its profits and like everyone else it has not been immune to the problems of the high street and bricks and mortar retailing, but it now has 130 stores and is once again eyeing up fresh opportunities in the United States and elsewhere in the world. To Cardsharp’s mind, Paperchase has creamed off a lot of customers from Clintons at the top end in large metropolitan areas. Paperchase may never open a store in Barnsley, yet a few miles north in metropolitan Leeds and you can bet your bottom dollar the Paperchase store will be buzzing.

Paperchase, Cardsharp recalls, has enjoyed something of a pretty rollercoaster history. The first shop was started by two exart students, Judith Cash and Eddie Pond in 1968. In 1985, it was actually acquired by WHSmith, but in 1996 it was sold to the current management team, led by Timothy Melgund with backing from a private equity company. Many of its outlets were concessions in book retailer Borders, and so the chain was dealt a huge blow when USowned Borders went bust in 2010. But with new financial backing from investors, Primary Capital, Paperchase bounced back stronger than ever, with more freedom to locate standalone sites. A couple of years ago, on the back of some good financial results, Primary looked at capitalising on its investment by selling it



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CARDSHARP on, but although there was genuine interest from a number of parties (and even rumours of a possible Card Factory take over), no deal ever materialised, but that has not hampered Paperchase’s continued growth subsequently. All hunky-dory one would think, but an incident a month ago showed Cardsharp how careful you have to be in today’s climate, where every news headline is considered a crisis. In a Saturday edition of the Daily Mail in the run up to Christmas, Paperchase ran a promotion offering readers two free rolls of wrapping paper. Innocent enough one would think. The Saturday Above: Unfortunately Piers Morgan won’t be shopping in Paperchase anymore. Left: Paperchase advertised two free rolls of giftwrap in the Daily Mail. Below: The Sun newspaper, known for its anti-PC polemic.

edition has a huge, predominantly female readership and so, Cardsharp thought at the time when he saw it, the promotion seemed to make perfect sense. However, an extreme left-wing lobby group called Stop Funding Hate, whose aim is to pressurise advertisers to boycott newspapers that do not share its political views, orchestrated a Twitter and Facebook campaign against Paperchase (that

amounted to just a couple of hundred postings) calling for a boycott of the retail chain. The campaign group objected to the editorial stance of not just the Mail, but the Express and Sun too. While most retailers like John Lewis and Marks and Spencer have just ignored the threats, but for some reason Paperchase panicked and panicked big time. It cravenly apologised via social media issuing a statement in which it “Promised not to do it again”. The reaction to this reaction caused ructions. Piers Morgan, the TV Daybreak programme anchorman who has a huge

Twitter following, tweeted that he would no longer buy his Christmas cards from Paperchase but Clintons (while hardly a major concern to Timothy Melgund and his team, it nonetheless gained some public attention). And then the newspapers hit back, with perhaps one of the most vitriolic responses coming from the Sun’s Rod Liddle. ‘Bought your cards yet? Here’s a tip, don’t buy them from Paperchase.’ He writes about the Stop Funding Hate activity. ‘These people want to decide what you are allowed to read in your newspapers,’ he stated about the campaign group. ‘It doesn’t like the Daily Mail because it doesn’t agree with its politics, so it should be put out of business. Unbelievably instead of telling Stop Funding Hate to get stuffed, Paperchase apologised. Spineless and immoral. Also, its cards are crap.” Rod Liddle is one of The Sun’s top columnists and was formerly a producer on Radio 4’s flagship Today programme. Richard Littlejohn another acerbic, but highly popular columnist in the Daily Mail also had a pop at Paperchase’s reactionl. Both are well known for their anti-PC polemic, but combine The Sun’s readership with the Daily Mail’s and you are talking between a third and half of the adult population of the UK. Many of them needlessly irritated.

You can’t win ‘em all As if to further emphasise the pathetic infantile banality of this new interactive, multimedia ‘echo chamber’ world, another news piece in the London Evening Standard caught Cardsharp’s eye which once again focused on his beloved Paperchase. The multiple retailer, in an attempt to appeal to the Scottish shopper, has brought out a range of greeting cards featuring caricatures of local Scottish celebrities like tennis’ Andy Murray, James Bond’s Sean Connery and Taggart’s Mark McManus. Good positive news story north of the border so you would think? However, it motivated Sue John of the Glasgow Women’s Library to comment: ”Please do get in touch if you would like some advice on depicting some of Scotland’s iconic women on your cards as well as our men!” Well Sue, the 16th century, Mary Queen of Scots could have been one for consideration, but Cardsharp doesn’t think a cartoon depiction of her beheaded torso on a greeting card would sell particularly well to the snowflake generation. Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP Scottish first minister or Ruth Davidson, Scottish Tory leader could have been options, but then no doubt Paperchase would have been accused of firstly bigoted nationalism and then supporting right wing rampant capitalist exploitation of the Scottish masses. Cardsharp did think about The Krankies, but a graphic depiction of a small mature lady dressing up as a young school boy might smack a bit of pedophilia? Or be sizest? Or be seen as mocking serious transgender issues? Perhaps Paperchase should have played safe and gone for a depiction of the wholesome Moira Anderson, who used to sing all those lovely highland songs on New Year’s Eve on BBC when Cardsharp was a small kid. Non-contentious and safe, the only disadvantage being that probably the only person who remembers Moira is Cardsharp, and even he can’t remember what she looks like!

Cardsharp thinks it just goes to show in this mad cap social media world, it perhaps pays not to react too quickly to every little Twitter or Facebook storm. Sometimes it pays just to take stock. Ultimately though, Cardsharp doesn't think the media furore that resulted will have affected Paperchase long term. It was bad publicity in the buildup to Christmas and also took a bit of the edge off what should be a joyous time for the retail group in the run up to its 50th anniversary celebratory year. All this however was caused because of a knee-jerk reaction to a couple of hundred extreme left wing political activists. Paperchase deserves better concludes Cardsharp!



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

Better Together Jeremy Corner, owner of greeting card publisher Blue Eyed Sun, considers the power of groups. It’s easy to think that we are alone in this world, trapped inside a bag of flesh and doing our best to survive. The truth is far more beautiful than that, for we are all profoundly connected with each other and with our environment. Self-made myth We love the idea of the self-made man or woman. The idea of the leader or visionary that saw the future and led us all to it. Such people are lauded as heroes in magazines, films and books despite it not being the whole truth. In his commencement speech at the University of Houston, Arnold Schwarzenegger reminded the audience that the idea of the self-made man is a myth. None of us can get anywhere on our own. Every person who put him up on their sofa in the early days when he had nothing, everyone who helped him with his training or English or who gave him a break at a different points, all contributed to his finding success later in life. There’s a wonderful image from the movie ‘Straight Story’ by David Lynch, which really sums this up. The central character, Alvin, recounts how he used to give kids a stick and tell them to break it, which they did easily. He’d then ask them to tie a bundle of sticks together and try and break them. They couldn’t. “That bundle… that’s family,”

he’d say. To illustrate my point, that’s the power of the group. As soon as you understand that you got where you are with a lot of help from your groups, you realise that it’s time to help others. Time to work together to build something greater than all of us. Group power I understood this idea a long time ago, which is why I agreed to help the late Lynn Tait with her Ladder Club seminars back in 2004, and have been speaking at them for free every year since. I’ve also been an active member of both the Greeting Card Association (GCA) where I am currently treasurer, and the Giftware Association (GA) where I will become chairman this year (I give away 10% of my time each year to helping various groups). We need groups like these to help our industries to thrive, to help those who need to grow and to help those who are less fortunate (through benevolent funds and the like). More importantly, these groups need us. Yet, so often, many of us are pushed for time or strapped for cash and we hold back on getting involved, because we are looking out for our own interests. Speaking from experience, what’s most interesting is that the Top: A bundle of sticks are hard to break - a great analogy about working together. Above left: The self-made person is a myth, there will always be people who have helped them - the mythological unicorn on an I Ended Up Here design is real though! Above right: Jeremy shares his time and thoughts to help those in the industry and beyond.

more you give, the more you receive. It’s like love, the more you love the more love appears around you in the world. Like the brightest star, loving beings lights up the darkness around them. Groups that are full of generosity and giving are like the brightest of galaxies, like a Milky Way lighting up the sky at night. It’s the same with teaching, the more we teach, the more we learn (the Roman philosopher, Seneca, observed this almost 2,400 years ago). Every year, after returning from The Ladder Club seminars I say to my team, “OK. These are the words of advice I’ve given others, are we still practising this ourselves? If not, why not?” Every year we improve a little from doing this.

The protégé effect Researchers have found that students that tutor others work harder to understand the material, recall it more accurately and apply it more effectively. Scientists have called this ‘the protégé effect’. Student teachers score higher in tests than those studying just for their own sake. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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JEREMY’S JOURNAL Left: One of the classes of 2017 at The Ladder Club, a group to support rising card publishers. Bottom left: Let’s be twigs together this year to build The Greeting Card Project. Below: Network thinking means being open and supportive of others.

Similar studies have concluded that first-born children are brighter than their later born siblings due to time spent showing them the ropes. Cascading mentoring programmes, where students teach others all the way down the education system, can help everyone in groups get smarter as they progress. These days we are always learning, but are we always teaching too? What are our contributions? Where do we sow what we have reaped? Online groups Social media can feel like busy marketplaces full of noise and shouting, without much listening. For me, one of the most exciting areas of social media has been the groups that I’ve been involved with online: primarily with Facebook and WhatsApp (although I have tested group tools on LinkedIn, Telegram, Slack and Allo). Good online groups can be very supportive environments for niche subject areas in order to learn and grow. One of the reasons Ladder Club publishers have been so successful in recent years is the Facebook group that alumni can join for year round support and encouragement. I’ve answered hundreds of questions in this group and it’s so lovely to see how other members (who were previously students) are now answering a lot of questions for others themselves. The group as a whole has grown in strength as a result. I’ve also been involved in several networking groups on WhatsApp and have developed and grown friendships that have opened all sorts of interesting opportunities, lessons and personal growth over time. Network thinking I’ve written before on the importance of fully understanding Network Thinking (which is open, random and supportive) over Institutional Thinking (which is closed, selective and controlling). You cannot be the latter and ignore the former online, especially not in groups. People can sniff out self-interest a mile away. Most importantly, it erodes trust. They say of trust that it is won in inches and lost in miles. So take care when building it online. Building trust through being open, random and supportive takes time. You have

promoted Blue Eyed Sun in the videos. The experience has completely changed me and how I see greeting cards. It’s opened my eyes to the life of retailers, publishers and card buying consumers. I want to invite you to join the next stage of this project’s journey so that you can experience all of this too.

to be open to all comers, it’s random so you cannot simply pick and choose who you respond to based on how it will benefit you personally and you have to be supportive of others instead of just looking out for yourself. It sounds easy when I say it like this, but it takes time to adjust. My friend, Thomas Power, who first articulated this distinction and who spoke on the subject at the GA Members’ Day a couple of years ago reckons it can take up to ten years to make the change from CSC institutional thinking to ORS network thinking. Practicing network thinking When I first watched Thomas speak on the subject I understood what he meant as I have instinctively operated in a similar way for many years. Last year, I decided to test myself on this to see if I really had the stomach for fully adjusting to it. Buying and sending other publishers’ cards on The Greeting Card Project felt like madness at times (from the CSC perspective) and yet it was totally essential to encouraging more greeting card sending overall. It would not have worked had I

Join my group The fact is that I can’t continue to do it alone. I’m like the twig on it’s own in the earlier analogy. I’m at breaking point with it and I need your help to grow this project. It was only meant to be for a year, but I feel at over 20,000 views on social media, that this project has some momentum and could help our industry as a whole if more people get involved this year.

It’s too much to ask any one person to continue to make videos every week on card buying and to share them online. Collectively however, we could do more as a group. Perhaps not just with videos, but with images and hashtags as well. So, if you have been at all inspired by The Greeting Card Project last year and want to get involved in sending more cards this year to make it even bigger and better, please join the group at ardProject. This year let’s all be twigs joining together and spend some time supporting each other to strengthen our industry. Read more on Jeremy’s blog at Watch The Greeting Card Project weekly videos at CardProject PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE



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Retailer Face To Face

A neon sign proclaims the love, the rest of the store affirms a passion that arguably has not been seen from WHSmith for years. PG met up with Claire Castle, the retailer’s experienced senior greeting card buyer, for a tour of its Reading store which fanfares a radically different new retail concept and one which places greeting cards and stationery in prime position. Henry Walton Smith and his wife Anna had a hunch for a new approach to retail newspapers. They went for it and in 1792 the couple opened what was to go on to become one of the world’s best-known retail chains WHSmith. Sadly, Henry died a few months after the couple opened their first store in London’s Little Grosvenor Street, but over the ensuing 225 years their conception has ridden the storms like few others, giving good cause to celebrate the retail group’s momentous milestone. WHSmith’s 225th anniversary has been marked in a number of ways, not least by an impressive charity fundraising programme (pledging £2million to charity), but as evidenced by a radical new look that is now being trialled, this retailing stalwart is investing in its future, and cards and stationery are very much part of it. What must rank as the most significant development from WHSmith on the card and stationery front, since the launch of its Funky Pigeon, Cardmarket and Paper & Script retail brands, is the debut of its Reading store

recently. And subject to continued success in the Reading store further trial stores are being scoped for a transformation. “You can see straightaway that we love stationery,” and “cards is one of our big areas,” Rachel Russell, WHSmith High Street’s business unit director of general merchandise told Retail Week journalist Emily Hardy in a video interview when the new look was unveiled. Rachel’s message is spelt out in a neon lit sign

Above: WHSmith’s Reading store, where the new look debuted, is the third largest in the estate. It benefits from having two entrances. Below left: A neon sign shows WHSmith’s love of stationery! Below: Some of the funky fashion stationery on display near the front of the store. Bottom: The card department in the Reading store benefits greatly from the improved retail environment.

on the wall near the entrance as you enter the busy store from one direction, with bold signage beckoning customers through to the card department. Enter from the other end of the store and you land right in the large greeting card department. “We have always done very well with cards in this store, but the new store environment makes it more enjoyable for our existing greeting card customers as well encouraging new younger customers to the displays, something that is being reflected in the sales patterns,” reveals Claire Castle, senior greeting card buyer of WHSmith’s High Street division, which sells cards in 570 of its stores. Having started buying cards for WHSmith in 1996 (with a few breaks along the way), Claire has witnessed many store reincarnations, but cannot hide her enthusiasm for the new look. “The first thing that strikes you is the fascia. Customers can see right into the store, which has a modern, uncluttered, well-lit feel. We now have new wooden floors; the new lights make such a difference while clever approaches to fixturing means we have PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Retailer Face To Face

been able to do away with most of the spinners,” Claire summarises. Paring back on the promotional posters on the front windows means that passers by are enticed into the store, greeted by the brand new Techexpress (technology products) area flanking one side with the funky fashion stationery on the other. Using multi-level ‘tables’ for stationery and gifts, rather than the harsher metal fixtures, provides a more boutique feel and encourages pick up. An expanded Art & Craft ‘department’ is an instore emporium that caters wonderfully for creative adults’ and children’s needs. “We have 23 metres of products for adults and another 10 metres for children,” explains Claire, with everything from decoupage to scrapbooking, painting to colouring-in covered. While WHSmith has long been a destination for stationery products, what the

new store does is champion its strength with style, such as through the addition of a pen area that looks akin to an upmarket make-up shop, as well as exclusive ‘island’ displays for Moleskine products and personal organisers. Meanwhile, a ‘Design Your Workspace’ lifestyle set peps the interest on the home office front. While there are less dramatic changes to the sizeable greeting card department than other areas in the store, Claire cites a tweak to the point of sale, the lowering of the height of the card displays, as well as the improved lighting, as having contributed to altering customers’ perceptions. “Customers think that we have more cards on show, but it is because the whole instore environment is

Above right: WHSmith’s senior card buyer Claire Castle (left) with colleague from the Travel division, Rachel Hevicon with The Retas trophy WHSmith won at last summer’s awards event. Above left: The Design Your Workspace area in the new look store. Above: Store manager Andy Dever in the second floor book department, which is the last area to have received an overhaul. The store has continued to trade throughout the refurbishment. Left: Joan Hanlonn (left) has worked in the greeting card department of the Reading store for 28 years and her colleague Carole Henderson (right) has clocked up 14 years. Below: The extensive Art & Craft area.

That figures WHSmith’s most recent preliminary results for the year (to 31 August 2017) showed how its Travel side of the business has, for the first time, eclipsed its high street strand, in both sales and profit. Its Travel business, which is now the largest part of the Group in both revenue and profit, saw sales rise by 9%, while like-for-like sales were up 4%. While trading profit on WHSmith’s high street stores was held on a par with last year’s figure (£62million), turnover dipped by 5% and like-for-like sales were down by 4%. WHSmith treats greeting cards as part of its stationery offering on the financial report front. In his official report, Stephen Clarke, WHSmith’s group chief executive, praised the performance of the category. Reaffirming commitment to cards and stationery, he said: “Our strategy to build on our market leading position in stationery remains unchanged… Stationery remains an attractive category for us with good economics and growth potential.” While WHS’ stationery revenue was up 3% like-for-like, Stephen admits that gross margin was slightly lower than last year. He highlighted how cards and stationery have benefitted from additional space towards the front of stores as well as range improvements. “This additional space, combined with our range development initiatives drove good like-for-like revenue growth over the Christmas period (in categories such as calendars, single Christmas cards, wrap, diaries and decorations) and at back to school.”

Some Claire thinking Claire Castle shares some of her personal thoughts about life and the industry… It’s now 21 years since you joined WHSmith. l When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?: “I always wanted to be a farmer - I still love the outdoors.” l What do you like best about the industry?: “The creativity within it as well as the people. These two factors are the main reasons why I have never wanted to move to another product area.” l If you had a magic wand, what would you use it for to benefit of the industry?: “I would make all car parks free and add more close to the high street to help all retailers.” l What is the biggest change you have seen in the your time as a card buyer?: “It would have to be the use of EDI which has meant we can really track the public’s taste in greeting cards by design.” l What do you think drives the consumer’s taste in cards?: “The cross over from the fashion world is more evident than it has ever been. Plus, the proliferation of humour - both imagery and text - through social media channels has had an impact.”

so much better it encourages people to browse,” Claire suggests. This month (January) marks the start of the retailer’s annual replan, instigated by Claire working with UKG (its category partner) to create a selection from 30 different publishers. “We need to ensure that we continue to have cards that appeal to our core customers as well as continuing to grow our sales to younger card buyers, as evidenced by what is happening here in the Reading store, through the increased sales of our more alternative humour designs,” she reveals. Having got off to an encouraging start, the button has yet to be pressed to roll out the new look to other stores (though a handful of additional locations have been earmarked). Echoing the views held by WHS director Rachel Russell, Claire feels that the new store look is very much part of continuing the WHSmith legacy. “We want customers who come to buy one of our sequinned unicorn pencil cases today to be bringing their grandchildren here in 40, 50, 60 years time to buy their greeting cards.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Brand In Focus

Who wouldn’t welcome a bit more happiness and honest uplifting thoughts from people they care about? Put this in a tangible form with an explosion of upbeat colour thrown in and you have the new rebooted Happy Jackson collection from Pigment. PG shared some very happy thoughts with the brand’s co-creators, Heather Flynn and Giles Andreae, about the Happy Jackson reboot, five years since it first launched.

It was very big news on a number of counts when Happy Jackson burst onto the scene five years ago with its bright and breezy uplifting sentiments and fashionable graphical design treatment. Firstly, Happy Jackson caused some ‘oohs’ as it was the shared ‘brainchild’ of two highly respected creatives – Giles Andreae (the man behind Purple Ronnie, Edward Monkton and countless books) and Heather Flynn (the first ever winner of The Henries’ Most Promising Young Artist Or Designer award who went on to carve out a career with UKG and Hallmark before striking out on her own, with the Alice Scott brand among others). Secondly, Happy Jackson was a big marker for the new breed of sentiment messages, which echoed a conversational style, offering alternative solutions for existing card sends as well as new ones. The launch of the card range by Pigment was also significant in that it prompted something of a step-change in retailers’ perception of what has become a ‘must have’ card publisher for retailers of all sizes, who have come to trust a growing agility to 56


publish collections that are far broader than the company’s humorous heritage. Happy Jackson launched with a bang on cards (through Pigment) and gifts (through Wild and Wolf ), but what is more impressive is how the brand has grown in stature, maintaining its presence on the card racks through ongoing design refreshments to appeal to both sexes as well in other areas Top: Some of the new look Happy Jackson cards from Pigment featuring the neon colour palette and new design treatments. Above: Heather Flynn and Giles Andreae, the co-creators of Happy Jackson at The Henries awards. Right: Selected retailers received a ‘sneak peek’ of the new look in a ‘goody box’ recently, just prior to the launch.

through a curated licensing programme (managed carefully by Giles and Heather) taking it to other products, from toiletries to confectionery, baby products to pet care. Having given some retailers a ‘sneak peek’ in a ‘Boom! Colour Explosion’ goody box last month, January sees the official launch of a rebooted Happy Jackson greeting card collection from Pigment, the designs of which celebrate an eye-popping new colour palette, encompass some quirky tweaks to the design format as well as updated phraseology.

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Brand In Focus

“We knew we wanted to take Happy Jackson on, but were also determined that it would remain true to the upbeat voice of the brand,” said Giles, while Heather reveals that she must have looked at “over a thousand different colours and numerous design ideas,” before deciding on the new look that is debuting on 18 new open birthday designs with 40 or so relations and occasions designs following shortly. Elaborating from Pigment’s side, as Martin Powderly, creative director of the publisher recognises: “There’s always a risk in meddling with something that isn’t broken, but together we felt it was time to explore what a reboot could look like.” As Heather explains, it was not an easy process as they wanted to come up with a look, that while different, was still obviously ‘Happy Jackson’, thereby continuing to meet the expectations of the brand’s existing fans as well as appealing to new ones. “We have some designs, including in key captions, that sell loads, but you would be unlikely to buy the same card for your husband on his birthday, however much you liked the Happy Jackson design for his birthday last year,” Heather points out. Having plumped to come up with a new aesthetic incarnation of Happy Jackson, Heather’s creativity went into overload. “We mocked up designs with different typefaces, different boldness of font, different shapes, different finishes. When we laid them all out on the table, what we saw were some great ideas for card ranges, but they were not Happy Jackson. It some ways it is easier to Top: The licensing programme for Happy Jackson includes stationery and gifts from Wild and Wolf. Above left: One of the new captions in the collection. Above right: The card inspired by Heather’s son William.

create something brand new than look to take something on that has been successful in its original format as your judgment is clouded by what has gone before.” One element that has always been a key recognisable factor of a Happy Jackson design is colour saturation, so Heather worked closely with Pigment’s printer and new colour mixes galore were concocted before arriving at hues that go under delightful names, which include ‘mango fizz’, ‘happy days’ and ‘coral reef’. While not looking to change the format of the Happy Jackson range, the new look does include some extra quirks. “We have brought in a bit more white which works well against the brighter colours, added a few

Personal connections Happy Jackson is very much a result of the close working relationship of Giles Andreae and Heather Flynn. Both very different characters, at slightly different stages of their lives, separated geographically, yet both equal custodians of Happy Jackson. While simplistically Heather is the designer and Giles is the writer in the Happy Jackson relationship, in actuality there is a fair crossover as both elements have to be in harmony for a design to really work. “We ping emails back and forth and have lots of chats on the phone, but we are always at our best when we are together ‘riffing’ with words and ideas,” says Giles, drawing a music analogy. “We can sit and analyse a caption for hours, throwing words and phrases at each other until we are both happy,” says Heather. The wording on one of the new baby boy designs - ‘You smashing little man’ has a special poignancy for Heather, as it was inspired by the arrival of her son William into her life and into the Happy Jackson world. “It just summed up how I felt about him and reckoned other people would feel it too!” said Heather. Left: The ongoing development of Happy Jackson has forged a strong friendship between the two creators, Giles and Heather.

speech bubble shapes and some black ‘cartoony’ borders to add a bit of variety, while still remaining true to the essence of the brand’s look,” explains Heather. Less drastic and more of a continuation is the editorial voice of the range. As Giles explains, “Happy Jackson has always scored as it includes a balance of different sentiments – some designs need to just shout ‘hello lovely’ while others cover key sending occasions, but in a way that people talk to each other,” he reveals, using the new ‘Happy Birthday you old sausage’ design to illustrate the point. While Giles has written bookshelves full of different children’s books (Giraffes Can’t Dance and the Sir Scallywag series and Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs titles, to name a few), he is very proud to oft be referred to as the ‘greeting card laureate’. “Greeting cards have a very special role to play in helping people communicate and I feel privileged to be part of that through Happy Jackson,” says Giles. While Giles acknowledges that there are many more contemporary editorially-led card ranges on the market now than when Happy Jackson first launched, he sees this as healthy for the nation. “It is pretty scary out there at the moment. The fact that people are more honest about wanting to say how they feel about their friends and family through greeting cards is a good thing. If we can help do this through the combination of words and the new designs, then Heather and I will be very happy,” said the Happy Jackson-ite himself! PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE





W E A R E L A U N C H I N G O V E R 5 0 B R A N D N E W E X C I T I N G D E S I G N S I N B E A U T I F U L D A Z Z L I N G G O L D F O I L AT T O P D R AW E R S TA N D Z 4 9 W W W. M E G A N C L A I R E . C O . U K / 0 1 5 3 6 5 6 0 3 4 5 / H E L L O @ M E G A N C L A I R E . C O . U K

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Debbie Wigglesworth’s Paper Journeys

Making It A Date By paper passionista Debbie Wigglesworth, founder of The Paper Collaborative and co-founder of The Paper Library.

The brand new 2018 calendars being given pride of place in homes and office is another great example of wonderful paper at work! As the good news spreads that the first ever Calies, UK Calendar Awards were a big success (I was so delighted to have been part of the judging panel), my antennae has been even more alert than usual for other fabulous dated products.

Left: Debbie Wigglesworth in judging mode at The Calies. Below left: Each of the 12 huge pages of the Stendig calendar are perforated and can be re-used as contemporary giftwrap. Bottom left: The 365 calendar book from Fedrigoni serves as an innovative piece of paper promotion that will appeal to the discerning designer. Below: Each calendar piece in The Good Morning Puzzle calendar covers two months.

Work of art The Stendig calendar has been published since the 1960's. Designed by Massimo Vignelli (and published by The Cromwell Company Nashville Tennessee), 50 years on it remains a classic piece of excellence in modern graphic design today, as evidenced by it being the only calendar in the Design Collection in New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Measuring a dramatic 3ft x 4ft, this huge retro yet contemporary giant gives a sense of style to homes and commercial studios alike. Now available to all retailers, it earned instant fame and recognition being accepted by MOMA NY.

Year ‘bound’ inspiration Another stunning calendar that has caught my eye is 365, which is the result of a unique collaboration between Italian paper company Fedrigoni (which supplies many card publishers with board) and 365 different creatives. The result is a calendar ‘book’ that must have taken some co-ordinating! A limited edition run of 500 are being sold for Make A Wish and are available to purchase online from in support of the charity.

iF a calendar is worth 1000 words… To my mind, Tokyo-based Good Morning design company were worthy winners of an iF Design Award (the globally recognised International Forum Design accolade that received 5,000 entries) for the team’s inventive 2018 Puzzle calendar. This playful interactive calendar comprising patterned squares, triangle and circle shapes can be assembled into any shape, simply by slotting into each other.

A taste for creativity Ensocoat has been a favourite one side coated board for many greeting card publishers over the years. Manufactured by Stora Enso, it is Scandinavia's leading provider of renewable solutions and creates products for several different markets. To celebrate its prominence within the packaging market, the company has launched a global competition entitled Taste is Visual for creatives in industry and education. The brief challenges creatives to rethink kids' food packaging, remembering taste is visual, and promoting healthy eating. There is generous prize money to be won - first prize is 5,000 euros, second prize 3,000 euros and third prize 2,000 euros, with additional opportunities to win further prizes with the public’s vote and kids’ vote! The award ceremony will be held in April 2018 where the amazing trophies, that mimic giant pencil shavings, will be presented. The deadline for entering the competition is 31 January 2018, with the voting period starting on 7 February 2018. Above: An Ensocoat fry up! Left: The ‘pencil shavings’ awards trophies for the Stora design competition are award winning in their own right.

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


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

charity partners in the last 10 years

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Top Drawer

A showcase of products on display at Top Drawer Spring, 14-16 January 2018, Olympia, London.

Down To Your Smalls Crumble & Core’s Underwear range is bound to attract attention! The designs feature original watercolour images by Jilly Mercer, covering everyday sends as well as some occasions, such as Good Luck, Sorry, Friendship and Valentine’s. Printed on luxury textured paper, the cards are accompanied by a kraft envelope, measuring 130mm x 130mm in the envelope. Crumble & Core 07767 778446 Stand T56B

A Mane Event

Clair Thinking

In addition to its existing ranges of literature pun cards, Cat Litterature for cat-lovers and Very Ball Stories for dog-lovers, Giddy Sprite is launching a range for horse lovers. There are six literature pun designs in the Racy Tails collection. A6 in size, the cards are accompanied by a brightly coloured envelope. Giddy Sprite 07807 979 311 Stand ZA46a

Top Drawer sees the launch of four brand new ranges from Cinnamon Aitch, plus lots of new additions to existing collections. The Claire Picard range features the vintage-inspired illustrations of the talented namesake artist, evoking feelings of warmth and nostalgia through beautiful rich colour, luxurious metallic foiling and embossing – and hand-finished with sparkly gems. Also on show will be quirky, fun ranges Going Potty and Custard Cream as well as Christmas 2018. Cinnamon Aitch 0121 7736833 Stand X46

Just Purrfect Offering a quirky addition to the popular cat theme, Kittens & Bows is a new range from Kapelki Art. The designs feature charismatic tomcats and cute kittens prancing around on brightly coloured backgrounds. Available with or without greetings on the front, all cards are blank inside and printed on high quality board. Special offer: free UK shipping on any orders placed at the show. Kapelki Art 07761778144 Stand ZB56

Seeing Double The 16 designs in Pavilion Prints’ Double Fronted range allows the card sender to choose which side of the card to be the front (with the information that usually appears on the reverse of a card featured inside). The designs feature Japanese florals and tropical foliage enhanced by subtle metallic foiling. The cards are 12cm x 17cm and are supplied with a brown ribbed envelope. Pavilion Prints 01603 304011 Stand X68

Going Exploring The Grumble & Co is building on its reputation for cute animal illustrations (which saw it reach the finals in last year’s Henries awards) by launching Little Explorers, a new children collection. This collection is sure to be popular with little ones as well as ‘young at heart’ adults! The Grumble & Co +44 7712639416 Stand Y37 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Top Drawer

A showcase of products on display at Top Drawer Spring, 14-16 January 2018, Olympia, London.

Adding To The Atmosphere Jo Clark Design’s Happy Atmosphere range is certain to spread warm fuzzy feelings. The new range is inspired by the world’s atmosphere with the quirky illustrations enhanced by universal messages of love and happiness. The A6 sized cards are printed onto FSC 300gsm board. Jo Clark Design 07886193734 Stand ZB51

Sugary Sweet

Patch It Up Hotchpotch has come up with a great take for its new male greeting card range – Ironing Man. The 12 designs include an iron-on/sew on/glue on patch! Other new ranges include Plastic Fantastic (which incorporates a funky necklace with a neon pink cord), Shake Your Pom Poms (which, as the range name suggests, includes mini pom pom elements) as well as Summer Daze (a tropical blast of colour on a collection comprising cards, wrap and tags). Hotchpotch 01243 792600 Stand X54

Stephanie Dyment is launching a deliciously dinky new range called Sugar Press. Comprising 21 designs, the 108mm x 139mm cards feature gold foiling on a soft textured ivory board accompanied by a candy pink envelope. Stephanie Dyment 01494 581775 Stand U51

To Be Blunt Blunt Instruments is Go La La’s new craniumsmashing range of 16 cards, the designs of which are rude without being too crude for those who can take irreverent humour. The cards measure 120mm x 170mm and are on a beautiful textured board with a stylish hammered effect and a white envelope to mask the acerbic wit contained within. Go La La 01458 830913 Stand ZA59

Nautical But Nice! The British seaside provided the inspiration for Lou Mills’ new nautical greeting card range. Fishermen, mermaids, boats and lots of seagulls feature on these vibrant vintage style square cards. Printed on a high quality textured board, the designs mimic the weathered look of the UK’s charming coastal areas. Lou Mills 07977 747138 Stand Z42

Words To The Wise Dandelion Stationery is bolstering its hugely successful Words of Wisdom collection by launching an additional 65 new designs to the range. The designs, as ever, combine heartfelt words and sentiments with the occasional splash of humour, individually hand-finished with subtle sparkle. The cards come with a rustic brown kraft envelope. Dandelion Stationery 01332 695359 Stand Y49 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


Beautiful PAPAGRAZI cards are designed to make friends and loved ones feel special and show them just how much they mean to you ...

SEE US AT TOP DRAWER STAND Y34 PAPAGRAZI are launching exciting new ranges at TOP DRAWER S/S 2018. We are looking for opportunities with retailers, distributors and agents.

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Top Drawer

A showcase of products on display at Top Drawer Spring, 14-16 January 2018, Olympia, London.

Pop Art Bonanza U Studio Design’s new Cut and Paste collection, by designer Katy Welsh, pulls inspiration from the catwalk as well as heroes of art and design to create a bold and vibrant range. The designs embrace the spontaneity of mark making and naive collage, using a special varnish effect to highlight painterly details. U Studio Design 0117 944 5050 Stand U37 (cards) and Stand M47 (gifts)

Up In The Air

Small Is Beautiful Due to the popularity of Kali Stileman’s Tiddly Widdly range, the publisher is launching a range of mini cards especially for children. The collection includes gold foiled designs covering from age one – ten and ten animal birthday designs. Also new is a collection of 24 occasions and relatives cards featuring birds and butterflies, printed on linen board, finished with silver calligraphy and accompanied by a silver envelope. Kali Stileman 01305 848899 Stand T50

A Capital Idea Brand new from Rocket68 is London Calling, a London-inspired cards and prints range exploring the capital’s architecture, city life and communities that live there. The 15 vividly coloured designs have been created by Rocket68's designer and founder Jill White, with the artwork carrying on to the back of the card. The cards come with a gunpowder grey envelope. Rocket68 01935 829015 Stand ZB33

A Day To Remember

One of Jemma Banks Design’s new ranges being launched at the show will be Balloon Talk. The designs are bursting with delightful characters, patterned balloons and unique hand typography, all in the company’s signature soft colour palette. The range spans a range of occasions, from new baby to wedding. Each card comes with a grey or mustard envelope. Jemma Banks Design +44(0)7747033129 Stand ZB50

Cath Tate Cards has teamed up with the immensely talented Charlotte Day to create a range of beautifully hand-painted everyday and occasions cards. The range is made up of 16 floral designs that frame gold-foiled lettering and are illuminated against a midnight blue background. The cards are 170mm x 120mm. Cath Tate Cards 0208 671 2166 Stand U33

Keep It In The Family Rosie Made A Thing is spreading the love of its Gin & Frolics range with the addition of a relations collection. The same quirky illustrations and barb humour feature on the new additional strand to the brand, but now you can include your grandma and other ‘rellies’ in the fun! All sized 14.5cm x 14.5cm, the cards come wrapped with a pebble coloured envelope. Rosie Made A Thing 07971 426556 Stand Y45 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Top Drawer

A showcase of products on display at Top Drawer Spring, 14-16 January 2018, Olympia, London.

Feline Good Kitty-corner is the new range of greeting cards, boxed notecards and matching wraps from design-led stationery brand, Purpose & Worth etc. Channeling a retro-illustrative style and muted colour palette, the range (comprising 29 card designs, boxed notecard sets and wrap) was inspired by the poses and stretches of designer Daphne Diamant’s pussycat muse, Billy. Purpose & Worth etc 07779657477 Stand ZB47

Three Not Of A Kind Earlybird has a trio of launches planned for the show. It has extended its offering of contemporary artist Eloise Renouf onto matt wrapping paper to complement the publisher’s card range. In addition, it is launching 36 new MINI cards as well as bolstering its eye-popping neon Ink Sandwich collection with additional card and wrap designs, including a neon mermaid. What's not to like?! Earlybird 01227765372 Stand Y44

Creature Comforts Adept at combining imaginative design with light-hearted illustration, I Ended Up Here has added a clutch of new designs to its Colourful Creatures range. The latest array of distinctive stylised animal and bird graphics and stunning saturated colour are delivered on high quality, uncoated board and come with a matching envelope. I Ended Up Here 07831 537889 Stand ZB44

The Feeling’s Nuptial Happy Ever After is Berni Parker’s new Wedding range that includes 14 engagement, wedding and anniversary designs. The designs have a soft three-dimensional look with the artwork created by using a mixture of handmade paper, watercolour and coloured pencils, enhanced by subtle foiling. The cards are 152mm square and come with a pearlescent envelope. Berni Parker Designs 01299 406098 Top Drawer Spring Stand Z41 Spring Fair Stand 3U15

Just Your Type Bexy Boo is extending its Font Fancies range to include 29 designs. Each card (150mm square) is foiled and hand-finished with a signature vintage letter tile, laser-cut-out shapes and lots of sparkly crystals. Birthdays and occasions are covered, including ‘Good Luck - Lucky Pants’! All come with a brown kraft envelope. Bexy Boo 01565 830 546 Stand Y47

All My Heart Hearts Designs’ new Oh So Charming collection is a unique hand-embellished and contemporary style range that uses a variety of gold metal worded charms. The designs are printed on luxury board in soft pastel colours and gold foil patterns and are accompanied by luxury envelopes in pink or white. The size of the card with the envelope is 158mm x 132mm. There are currently 21 designs in the collection, each card cellowrapped, with new additions coming soon. Hearts Designs 01424 777491 Stand V35 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


Stand back for some‌

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Top Drawer Stand U33 She had discovere h nal yout ter

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W: E: T: 0208 671 2166

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Top Drawer

A showcase of products on display at Top Drawer Spring, 14-16 January 2018, Olympia, London.

Past Presentations The Pattern Book Press is growing its stylish Colour Theory and Vintage Science ranges with eight new curated designs for Top Drawer. These include two designs for chocolate and wine lovers, adapted from a beautiful French colour swatch book from the 1900s. The new designs are printed in the UK on a carbon neutral press and cellowrapped and come with a recycled kraft envelope. The Pattern Book Press 01392 495567 Spotted, Stand SP202

Sparkle & Shine Finished Funnies

Always Sparkle will be launching an exciting new design-led card collection at Top Drawer called ‘Neo’. The Neo collection features stylish typography coupled with on trend copper foiling and sleek grey envelopes. The collection includes 18 designs covering birthdays and occasions. The cards are 105mm x 150mm and come individually cellowrapped. Always Sparkle 07940726842 Stand Z40

Frankie Whistle is breaking new ground at Top Drawer with Paper Rocks, its first humour range that includes two special finishes - embossed gold and spot varnish. Modeled on retro enamel slogan pins, the 18 designs appeal to both men and woman - or even dogs (of course! this is Frankie Whistle after all). Frankie Whistle 07816 286885 Stand Z50

Feeling Fruity?

Hall Of Fame Eloise Hall has launched an exciting new product range that includes therapeutic room diffusers and natural wax candles, to complement her beautiful Botanical card range. An all round retreat for the senses, the home fragrances perfectly complement her recently extended floral collection of cards, with designs including agapanthus, poppies and fennel. The cards are available in blank, Mother’s Day and birthday designs. Eloise Hall 01963 441187 Stand 069

Megan Claire is launching two brand new ranges at Top Drawer. Tutti Frutti is a quirky range of 18 designs featuring a sprinkling of colourful confetti on a cream board with dazzling gold foil typography, while All That Sparkles... features 18 simple, yet sophisticated, designs in an elegant gold foil finish stamped into a luxury cream board with bespoke gold dot-lined envelopes. Megan Claire 01536 560345 Stand Z49

Pocket Rhymes Marina B is bursting with excitement as it is set to launch its brand-new range 'Lucy Locket' to celebrate the start of 2018. Inspired by colour, beauty and a dash of nostalgia, these cards convey cheerful energy and excitement. The range comprises of 10 designs, covering traditional special events like birthdays, new homes and babies, and are individually handdrawn, painted by watercolour and finished with a dash of flitter. Size 150mm x 150mm and printed on a luxury 350 gsm board, each card comes individually cellowrapped with sparkly matching envelopes Marina B Designs 01858 434462 Stand T38 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE






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

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Innovations PG Showcases A Collection Of New Product Launches

In The Ledger Powder Gold is just one of the new floral and botanical ranges that Lucy Ledger is launching this month. The range (pictured) comprises 18 soft pastel-toned floral designs, which include a striking mirror gold finish on the lettering. The 150mm square cards cover birthday, occasions and ages from 30 to 100. (The range will be on show at Scotland's Trade Show). Lucy Ledger 0114 438 7569

Under The Spell

Ariba Ariba

Enchantment is a brand new feminine range from Cherry Orchard Publishing. The 14 square designs feature pretty pastel images of butterflies and florals, enhanced by coloured flitter, foil and an insert. The cards are accompanied by coloured envelopes. Cherry Orchard 01684 295500

Fiesta is Juniper Tree’s exuberant new range, with the 70+ designs covering birthdays, ages and occasions. The colourful uplifting cards are printed on textured board and come with recycled envelopes. Juniper Tree Co 07854 247 554

Sumptuous Luxury Lux is Abacus Cards’ new luxurious text-based card range. Specially designed with females in mind, this contemporary range of birthday and blank designs features striking inky watercolour backgrounds combined with intricate metallic foil and emboss finishing. These colourful 5” x 7” designs are accompanied by lavish metallic gold envelopes. Abacus Cards 01638 569050

Quick As A Flash The ever-popular Quicksilver range from Wendy Jones-Blackett continues to evolve, and the 80 brand new designs will keep it ever fresh. With a new font and a host of great motifs (including an adorable sausage dog!), the new additions cover all of the important occasions as well as an extensive open birthday selection. As ever, the cards are hot foiled on a Heidelberg press and entirely manufactured in the UK. Wendy Jones-Blackett 0113 288 8468

It’s A Dog’s Life Heritage Art & Design is barking up the right tree with its new Totally Pawsome range. With artwork by artist David Blake (of Lavabed Studio), the initial collection comprises eight large square doggie card designs coupled with adorable humorous captions. Heritage Art & Design 0330 223 1644



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Trends Spotlight

Hanging Out Observed hanging around on card designs, it seems publishers have been embracing the reputably slow but gentle sloth with their very long wide-open arms. With this gradual trend picking up speed, a ‘bed’ of sloths (the group collective!) card passionistas share their thoughts on this animal’s steady appeal. When you're a male pygmy sloth and you hear the seductive sounds of a lady sloth of course you must go and greet her calls... however long it may take to reach her. Captured by a very patient camera person for footage viewed on the Planet Earth II series televised in 2016, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, the lonesome sloth’s search for a mate sees him swim between mangroves on the island of Escudo, and he goes unexpectedly swiftly… for a sloth. It was at this heartwarming point that the programme’s audience fell a little bit in love with the excellent little swimmer - who knew! But the sloth trend has been very gradually making its way on to cards. Of course we had already embraced Sid the sloth, the daft but kind character from the Ice Age movies, but he is animated. And Sofawork’s ad breaks during the TV show Gogglebox reveals Neil, the couch-potato sloth, just chilling out, while a 60 minute film launched for Three’s ‘Go Binge’ mobile service shows a dolph-a-sloth having the time of his life. However with the sluggish tree dwellers spending most of their time sleeping and eating in the steamy rainforests of South and Central America, sloths are more than likely a tropical player in the Latin American trend on greeting cards, joining the collective combo of alpacas, llamas, avocados, pompoms and piñatas on greeting cards. Although, it could be said, moving at a rate of about 40 yards per day through the canopy and with an exceptionally low metabolic rate, having to spend 15 to 20 hours per day sleeping, sloths are the perfect symbol of mindfulness, a relaxed ‘live in the moment’ state we aim to achieve in a fast-paced world. But with their naturally ‘smiley’ face, big brown eyes and strange long-arms, they are also super for sloth puns and word play on cards. Top: After the BBC's Planet Earth II in 2016, our love of sloths grew. Above: Katie Abey has some wonderful sloth humour within her collection. Above right: A ‘Philo-slothical’ birthday design from Paperlink. Right: Joining Stripey Cat’s ‘herd’ of wonderful animals is Sylvan the Sloth.

Emma Young, head of art & production for Paperlink: “On Paperlink’s greeting cards, sloths are represented with affection as snuggly homebods who just want to chill. We are teasing the recipient, but not taunting them… happy to acknowledge that we all have our ‘sloth moments’ and that’s okay. There are often different animal trends in the industry and each animal represents human qualities we regard as important. Unicorns and flamingos represent fabulosity, pugs prove that cuteness does not mean stereotypical beauty etc… and sloths tell us it is OK to be laid back. Sloths - odd, cute, unique and lovably lazy… and let’s not say lazy like it’s a bad thing! In the current climate of being constantly pushed to `achieve` and `do well`, who doesn’t yearn to be allowed a little bit of `me` time vegging out on the sofa in front of Netflix, or simply doing nothing at all? We feel that sloths tap into the trend for mindfulness and `zen`… stop, enjoy the moment and don’t rush through life ignoring the view. You don’t have to be a fast paced go-getter to be valued and loved.”

Jonathan Crosby, ‘top cat’ for Stripey Cats: “Sylvan the Sloth had to join the Stripey Cats team who’ve welcomed him with ‘long’ open arms! I added Sylvan to my range as I thought sloths are extremely cute and adorable; I guess being exposed to them through adverts and nature programmes you begin to see the appeal that they have, and the popularity they gain from this exposure. I don’t know who sets these trends or where they come from - I’d like to know what’s next round the corner! - but with our ever-increasing animal collection hopefully we’ll have it covered. My Sylvan card design will be unveiled at Top Drawer with a host of other new animal designs.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Trends Spotlight

Capella Andrean, designer for Redback Cards: “From the delightful mind of Simpson’s animator Liz Climo, the sloth character in The Little World Of Liz range comes from her illustrations that focus on animals and their everyday problems. Naturally each animal has a distinct set of characteristics. The adorably chilled sloth with its only identifiable super power being incredible slowness leaves lots of scope for the heart-warming humour that Liz is so well known for. Maybe some of the reasons why sloths have risen to the heights of pop culture are videos such as ‘I believe I can fly’. This viral video features a sloth crossing a road to the well-known song by R Kelly and was viewed by over 7 million people. Or surprisingly, how we learned that the painfully slow sloth can actually reach quite high(ish) speeds when they get a whiff of a female love interest, as we saw in David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II, just another reason to be endeared by these beautiful creatures.” Above: A sloth’s ‘to do’ list on a The Little Word Of Liz range from Redback.

David Nichols-Rice, brand manager for Nest: “Not only are sloths one of the most adorable creatures in the rainforest, they encompass everything that’s wrapped up in the hashtag ‘#lifegoals’. They have captured the hearts of the world because they are just so slow, appear to do the bare minimum, and all the while have a huge smile on their face as if they’re having the last laugh. They raise a smile because everyone wishes they could spend 20 minutes chowing down on a green bean, like sloths can. Did you know it takes a sloth an entire month to digest one single leaf? In a generation of fast-paced lifestyles, we yearn for slow living, and the sloth is the antithesis of this! It helps that they are so darn cute, so when we began to expand our best selling Animal Kingdom collection, we knew we had to bring a pair of sloths into the fold. They’re already proving to be a popular pair in the crowd and our ‘Birthday Hugs’ design is now a firm favourite.” Right: A sloth would give a great hug! A design from Nest.

Sarah Ray, founder of Sarah Ray: “There’s always an animal that seems to be on trend, and somewhere along the line, sloths made it big! I saw an Attenborough documentary on sloths a few years ago and that’s when I thought about drawing them. I hope they ‘hang’ around! I personally like sloths and I’ve always liked to draw the more unusual animals. The way the sloth is so slow gave me the idea about being slow to say 'Happy Birthday', and then forgetting half way through. The sloth’s personality gives me lots of ideas for card designs; it’s gentle and strange but cute, friendly yet quirky, which is appealing, and their unusual appearance appeals to us humans who like to be a bit different (hence my ‘Let’s be weird together’ card). They are fascinating creatures and I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of them.” Left: Sarah Ray plays with the sloth personality.

Above: Woolly warmers for these sloths on a Santoro design. Above right: Chilling on the river, a sloth on a Hutch Cassidy design.

Hannah Dale, founder of Wrendale Designs: “Sloths are so gentle with their slow and steady behaviour and smiling faces - they are so unique and I don’t think it’s a surprise that people are drawn to them. The trend may have evolved from the tropical animal trend along with the colourful flamingo and alpacas. I think starring appearances on films such as Sid the Sloth in the Ice Age movies and David Attenborough’s Planet Earth are bound to have helped as well. One of my favourite card ranges is our Zoology collection - it’s so bright and vibrant and full of quirky humour that really makess you smile. The sloth was a natural addition to the range as they seem to be enjoying a bit of a boost in popularity at the moment.” Above: Wrendale’s Zoolology design illustrates a smiling, happy sloth.

Sarah Jackson, founder of Stormy Knight: “The return of Planet Earth thrust the sloth into the limelight and it's been pretty popular since. I also really enjoyed them in the animated film Zootopia - they were the highlight of the film for me! Sloths are odd, but also a bit relatable - I think we've all got a bit of inner-sloth and would love to just hang around all day relaxing. Plus their little smiley faces are really cute! I wanted to design a range of fun pun-based animal designs that were based around love and friendship but weren't your obvious lovey dovey ones. As soon as I thought of the sloth pun ‘I like hanging out with you’ I loved it - not too cheesy and a really nice simple sentiment that would appeal to many. This is the most popular card in the range now, which goes to show how popular sloths are at the moment.” Above: A ‘relaxed’ sentiment on a Stormy Knight design. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE



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Behind The Scenes

Shout From The

Rooftops What started as an ‘off the wall’ idea has gone on to become one of the most successful and sustained humorous greeting card brands of all time. Over 100 million On The Ceiling greeting cards have been sold since the range was introduced to the unsuspecting public by Emotional Rescue in 1990. Now, as a result of an expanding licensing programme, On The Ceiling looks set to raise the roof further still. PG got the low-down in black and white from Emo’s md Martin Nevin and creative director, Jennie Rutter. It is not every day that an everyday greeting card range justifies two pages of editorial in the Daily Mail, but On The Ceiling is not a ‘normal’ brand. Since it launched, 27 years ago, the instantly recognisable ‘black and white 1950s’ cards have been bought in their millions, the combination of the monochrome figurative photographic image juxtaposed with an observational comment made funnier by an old-fashioned tone of voice striking a chord with consumers and retailers alike.

Top right: The most recent On The Ceiling design, the 3,823rd. Above right: Martin Nevin, md of Emotional Rescue. Right: The Daily Mail dedicated two pages to the brand when Kings Road Publishing launched the books in November. Above: One of the titles of the new On The Ceiling books.

On The Ceiling received some high profile publicity recently, from an unlikely source. At the beginning of November it was the focus of a double-page spread in the Daily Mail, which the newspaper’s 1.5 million readers could not have failed to notice. Under the headline ‘Battle of the Sexists’, the visual editorial spread (which would have cost £thousands had it been paid for advertising) highlighted the publication of six new Wit and Wisdom books, which had just been published by Kings Road Publishing as a result of a licensing agreement with Emotional Rescue.

The book launch forms part of what Martin Nevin, md of Emotional Rescue, describes as “a very defined plan for the development of the On The Ceiling brand”. While the publisher is continuing to develop On The Ceiling (OTC) on the greeting card front the 3,843rd design has just been published! - the brand is set to make its presence felt on a growing number of other products through an orchestrated licensing programme that is being controlled by the publisher. “We have licensing arrangements with partners Danilo (for calendars and diaries); Xpressions 4 U (for gifts, including mugs, glasses, composite sets, chocolates and plaques); and the range of gift books, produced by Kings Road Publishing and online personalised products with Moonpig and Funky Pigeon,” explains Martin. Clintons and Tesco have both committed to exclusive gift products for Father ’s Day, while WHSmith and Sainsbury’s are also upping their commitment to On The Ceiling for spring seasons, including FSDUs that will help to cross-sell the books and the cards. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Behind The Scenes

On The Ceiling’s creative fire is continually stoked by Jennie Rutter, Emotional Rescue’s creative director, who has been involved with the brand for the last 23 years, innately ensuring that the core values are upheld while deftly moving the designs on. “On The Ceiling is very indicative of the culture of Emotional Rescue, and this helps with the success and longevity of the range. It really does come from the heart, it’s in our DNA!” states Jennie. Having developed almost 4,000 designs now for the range, the OTC image archive is vast. “We own the majority of the images and source them from all over,” Jennie explains, revealing that she is contacted from time to

“The flow of new designs keeps OTC fresh, but if the sales rates justify it, some designs remain in the range for years.” Left: Topical references, once they are part of common parlance, often make their way into On The Ceiling designs. Middle left: Jennie Rutter, ER’s creative director, has been involved with the On The Ceiling’s evolution for the last two decades. Below right: As well as books, the brand has been translated onto other products through licensing, including mugs with Xpressions 4 U.

time by people who are delighted that their mum/dad/auntie may be featured on the cards. “I explain that the images come from America which invariably discounts the possibility of it being their relative,” Jennie adds. The editorial copy is a result of a constant stream of ideas being submitted by Emotional Rescue’s team of writers. “We read loads of material from them each week,” reveals Jennie. “We work very closely with them to ensure they ‘get’ the core values of the range and carry that through into their ideas.”

The lightbulb moment Invariably in the middle of most ceilings is a lightbulb, the ‘switch on’ for the On The Ceiling range came about as a result of a visit to a local radio station. Tony Spooner, the founder of Emotional Rescue was inspired by the off the wall designs by Glen Baxter that were very popular in the late 80s. However, while Glen Baxter’s designs were illustrative in nature, Tony thought a photographic approach would work well. Various looks were attempted, including the now defunct Locker Room, but it was when together with the company’s then co-owner, David Greaves made a trip to a local radio station (in which they had shares) that the creative solution was found. “I spotted a retro black and white image catalogue sat on one of the creative bod’s desk and knew instantly that this was the look I had been searching for,” revealed Tony. “It was designed to look retro, and we were keen to keep it simple. There was a lot of colour out there on the racks and so felt that black and white would stand out from the crowd,” added Tony. It certainly has, becoming the worthy winner of a Henry Cole Classic award in 2008, thereby joining the ‘greeting card hall of fame’ for ranges that have stood the test of time through their continued evolution. Above: The very first On The Ceiling design, almost 4,000 have followed since this one was published by Emotional Rescue. Left: There are some On The Ceiling designs that have stood the test of time and are still in the range.

She astutely points out that the language used, plus the 1950s imagery, “distances any personal comment” thereby avoiding them to cause offence, “in a similar way that a cartoon does.” As Jennie explains, over time the range has evolved from its ‘off the wall’ starting point into a more commercial send, designed with specific relationships in mind and peppered with a healthy smattering of topical references. Martin Nevin’s favourite OTC design falls into the latter category, a design which launched six years ago that includes the word ‘chavs’ which became common parlance around that time, but has continued as a strong seller ever since. Elaborating on the rate of sale, Jennie says that the flow of new designs keeps OTC fresh, but if the sales rates justify it, some designs remain in the range for years. The ‘ringing doorbells’ design that is in the High Age Range is a case on point. It debuted in the original range that was launched in Clintons all those moons ago, but has held its own against many newer designs. In the introduction in its recent editorial feature, the Daily Mail made a barbed comment about the non-PC nature of some of the designs, while accepting the humour value. It stated: ‘Yes these pictures are so politically incorrect, but we defy you to look at them without laughing’. As Jennie points out there is “such an even mix of designs that take the mickey out of both of the sexes that the range is clearly not making a political point.” As she sums up, On The Ceiling “is a great reflection of British humour. It is just funny.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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In Profile

Hallmark has pulled out all the stops for its new giftwrappings collection, and with good reason - it marks the 100th anniversary since the company invented giftwrap as we know it. PG unwraps the historical lineage of this thriving product sector, while Claire Warren, Hallmark’s gift packaging product manager, shares insights on today’s wrappers. The UK population can be defined in many different ways, but few will have heard about the ‘Three Cs’. However, it is this triumvirate of consumer groups that has been front of mind for the Hallmark creative team who have developed the new giftwrappings collection, which is being launched to mark the 100th anniversary since the publisher ‘invented’ the giftwrappings sector as we know it.

“The current UK population are made up of three types of people - Convenience Wrappers, Co-ordinated Wrappers and Confident Wrappers,” states Claire Warren, Hallmark’s product manager of gift packaging. “Our job has been to ensure that our new collection meets the needs and expectations of each of these groups of people,” adds Claire. The Three C groupings came to light as a result of Hallmark’s ongoing consumer research as well as specific giftwrappings workshops.

Introducing the three types of giftwrapping ‘shopper’, Claire summarises: “A Convenience Wrapper is someone who is likely to be time-pressured and is looking for an easy solution. She may be a mum of a seven year old who goes to 30 parties of school friends a year. She just wants something colourful that will do the job.” Claire highlights the bright, fun graphics on its juvenile gift bags as being designed very much with Mrs Convenience in mind. Next up is the Coordinated Wrapper, who is someone who cares more about how the giftwrapping is perceived by the recipient. “They like to make a bit of a statement with their wrapped gifts, and will be looking for some co-ordination, of say the tissue paper with a giftbag. They probably have a bit more time in their life, maybe the mum of a late teen child or pre-family, who

Above: This historic design from the Hallmark archives has been the inspiration for one of the designs in the new range. Inset: Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark, back in 1911, six years before giftwrap was invented. Below: Giftwrappings as we know it started with patterned envelope liners being resold as wrap by the Hall brothers in Kansas City in 1917. Below middle: Giftwrap was advertised to retailers for the first time in 1935 in Hall Brothers’ Handy Book. Below left: The new giftwrappings collection from Hallmark covers all sends and consumer types, including co-ordinating rather than matching items. Bottom: Selected retailers were sent a surprise ‘goody box’ containing samples from the new collection.

would be keen on prolonging the gift giving experience through their enhanced giftwrapping approach,” says Claire, who points to the fact that the reverse print on the new collection’s rollwrap lends itself to this perfectly. “The Co-ordinator would look to include a fold to show the reverse design or maybe if wrapping a collection of gifts would so some using both sides,” adds Claire. Lastly, there are the champions – the Confident Wrappers! “These are likely to be people who have an artistic streak, are enthusiastic about using their skills to create something special with their giftwrapped gifts,” explains Claire. “This typically would include those who either prechildren or post children. They are PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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In Profile

The wrap timeline

looking to take their wrapped gifts onto another level, are very confident in their use of twine, ribbons or other attachments. And, rather than looking for ‘matchy matchy’ they would be looking for a complementary items that would be on the same colour palette.” Claire elaborates that while the ‘Three Cs’ were very much in mind when the team was developing the latest giftwrappings collection, what makes it more interesting is that individuals can swap between these groups depending on the relationship of

the person to whom they are giving the gift or the occasion. “Our giftwrapping shopping patterns tend to alter as our lifestyles change or according to the event being marked, so that busy Convenience Wrapper mum may become the Confident Wrapper if she is looking to give a gift to her closest friend,” sums up Claire. While it was decorated tissue that effectively launched the whole giftwrappings scene (see separate breakout), it has been the development of the giftbag that has played a major part in the sector’s evolution. “Since we first launched giftbags in 1987 they have become the most favoured Above: The rollwrap has a co-ordinating design on the rear offering more options for the wrapper. Left: Giftbags are now the favoured option for wrappers. The new collection includes co-ordinated patterns on the gussets. Right: Not sure what the Halls would make of some of the icons on this design aimed at a teens.

A historic retail solution

The foiling, flittering and funky designs that appear on Hallmark’s new giftwrappings collection have come a very long way since a then ‘new card publisher’ and retailer found themselves with an unfortunate ‘out of stock’ situation which called for an entrepreneurial solution. “Giftwrap, or gift dressing as it was called, in the early 20th century, was very simple,” reveals Samantha Bradbeer, historian of Hallmark Cards. “People often used brown packaging paper or newspaper to wrap their gifts. Retailers, like Hallmark, sold green, red or white tissue paper, and if there were designs, they were simple festive icons such as holly or wreaths.” However in the run up to Christmas in 1917, Hallmark sold out of the traditional tissue paper that it was selling at its Halls store in the heart of Kansas City in America. So, Hallmark Founder J.C. Hall’s older brother Rollie searched the company’s manufacturing office and found some recently imported French envelope liners that were brightly coloured and highly stylised. These liners were then taken and sold as giftwrap for 10 cents for five sheets and quickly sold out. The following year, Halls stocked up heavily and sold out once again. The brothers knew they had a hit on their hands, so they began designing and manufacturing their own giftwrap shortly thereafter. This move into giftwrap was also significant in that it marked Hallmark’s first diversification from greeting cards.

1917 - Patterned envelope liners were sold as ‘giftwrap’ in Hall’s store in Kansas City, marking the launch of the giftwrappings sector we know it. 1930s - The Hall Sheen ribbon (the shiny kind that sticks to itself when moistened like a stamp) was developed. 1970s - Hallmark introduced its first jumbo gift bags for large items. 1987 - Hallmark introduced its first paper giftbags with handles. 1994 - The publisher introduced its curl cascade bows (ribbons that are curled and gathered together). 2006 - The introduction of gift bags and boxes with sound technology. 2008 - The introduction of Christmas giftbags with motion-activated sound technology and fibre optic lights. 2010 - Launched peel-and-stick trimmings as an alternative to the traditional bows. January 2018 - The 100th anniversary giftwrappings collection launches, including some designs that have taken inspiration from the Hallmark archives.

giftwrapping option,” reveals Claire. “But the expectations of what constitutes a giftbag continues to offer more creative and production opportunities,” she adds, pointing to the flittering, interesting affixed tags and different ribbons that appear in the latest collection. “We have incorporated a matt finish, diecut tags, contrast patterns on the bag gussets to add extra value,” says Claire, using the pizza wedge-shaped tag on one of the teen boy designs that features funky depictions of gaming consoles, chips, mobile phones as iconography on the bag and matching wrap. “The consumer today looks for those finishing touches,” she adds. As to what she thinks the Hallmark founders would think of the latest collection, a century after they first ‘invented’ giftwrap as we know it, Claire laughed: “I think they would accept it has definitely moved with the times!” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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In Conversation With... The Art File

Keeping It On File W

hen you are walking up a steep hill, it does you good to turn around and appreciate how far you have come. You can enjoy the view for a bit before carrying on, knowing that your efforts are likely to be even more rewarded as you ascend. Business can be a bit like this, which is why there is merit in marking milestones, providing as they do an opportunity for reflection, for celebrating with those who have been instrumental in the journey thus far while becoming energised for the future. This year is the 21st anniversary of The Art File, and if any UK card publisher has cause to celebrate the achievements of its upward trajectory achieved through continued investment in fabulous products, listening to customers and going for opportunities with aplomb, it is this impressive Nottingham operation. It is looking to mark its ‘coming of age’ anniversary in different ways over the coming year. Certainly there will be a few corks popped on the publisher’s stands at both Top Drawer and Spring Fair for starters, while visits are being made to say thank you to retail customers who have been there since the company’s beginning. However, most of all, the

Some 21 years ago, on a tiny weeny stand, The Art File made its trade show debut with its inaugural 40 greeting card designs carrying the hopes and dreams of one day becoming a leading purveyor of contemporary cards. Now, launching 300 new everyday cards across 14 collections, its seventh Henries award trophy nestled next to the company’s recent Queen’s Award for International Trade, sizeable stands at both Top Drawer and Spring Fair and an international retail account base that reads like a whose who of indies and multiples, those early hopes and dreams have become a reality for the Nottingham-based publisher. PG put Ged Mace, md and co-founder of The Art File on the spot about the company’s evolution. Above: The new Cool for Cats collection will be a feline challenge to the doggy

Key pointers in The Art File timeline Ged highlights a few key highlights in The Art File’s evolution. l The Henries - “Winning our first Henries award was a huge shot in the arm to receive the accolade.” l Building the sales team - “We have been so lucky to have built a strong sales team of agents,

many of whom have been with us for 15 years.” l First big order - “Three years after we started, we received what was for us, a huge order from US

retailer Crate and Barrel. It took some planning!” l Buying our building - “Five years ago the opportunity came up for us to buy our

Nottingham premises.” l The Queen’s Award - “Being awarded the Queen’s Award for International Trade in 2017, in

recognition of our international growth was wonderful. I can’t quite believe that our products are now sold in 30 different territories and counting.”

Frank range, named after Ged’s sausage dog. Left: Ged Mace, md of The Art File with his son James, the company’s sales and marketing manager at an event at Buckingham Palace in connection to the publisher being awarded a Queen’s Award for International Trade. Below: The year The Art File will be celebrating its 21st anniversary in different ways. Below left: A new wrap addition to the Frank brand. Below right: The new Stamp range adds an artisan print look to the portfolio.

celebration will be through its products. And what an explosion of newness it has just unveiled - 300 brand new everyday designs (across 14 new collections) as well as wrap, boxed notecards and letter set boxes. “Product is king. You have to make your product so good they can’t ignore you. You need your customers to say “cor” when they see your new ranges. I learned this early on and it remains my driving force to this day,” commented Ged Mace, managing director of the company that he co-founded with Karen Mace. (While Karen and Ged are no longer married they continue to work together as directors of the business). By ‘early on’, Ged admits that he lucked out when he joined the industry back in 1985 as the East Midlands area sales manager for Accord, a hugely successful card publisher. “I had the good fortune to work with Richard Horton [founder of the company], Jack Straw [now md of BrownTrout] and Riou Baxter [now co-owner of Why Management] - who were my true mentors and collectively gave me a strong PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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In Conversation With... The Art File

grounding in what was important in business and in this industry in particular.” Of all the lessons he learned from these three men, Ged said that the most important one, is summed up in a word - “Listen”. As Ged revealed, “Richard Horton explained that even in tough times, there are always opportunities, providing you listen.” Ged clocked up a fair few years working for other publishers - namely The Ink Group (no longer trading in the UK) and Portico Designs (that he joined as sales director in 1992), before setting up as a consultant helping other publishers. As he revealed when Dominique Schurman (ceo of Schurman Retail Group) came to speak at a GCA AGM a few years ago, it was listening to a talk she gave 22 years ago that inspired Ged to set up The Art File. “I clearly recall sitting in the audience listening to Dominique sharing her infectious passion for developing greeting cards, and I thought ‘I want the freedom to produce cards

that people will really love’. That was the moment when I knew The Art File would happen,” said Ged. And happen it did. “I knew that I had enough experience on the selling side, but was rather lacking on the product development side and working with designers.” Having spotted the wall art of Adam Barsby and Simon Bull, both of whose work was represented by DeMontford, Ged felt these artists would give The Art File its launchpad and two card collections of 20 designs apiece were developed. “We booked a tiny one metre square stand at Spring Fair - it was so small I couldn’t even fit on it!” recalls Ged, which is just as well as he had to man another stand at the show for a company he was still consulting for. Karen rose to the challenge. “We really hoped that we would take £7,000 worth of Above: As well as expanding on the cards front, The Art File has bolstered its wrap offering, including this Jewel Chic collection. Left: Ged Mace (left) popped in to see London retailer David Colman of The Only Place For Pictures, one of The Art File’s first ever customers, to say thank you for the support over the years. Below: Top Drawer sees the launch of the I Like Birds card range that is being published under licence by The Art File.

orders over the duration of the show. Karen hit that target by lunchtime on the first day,” recalls Ged of the day The Art File was born. Where The Art File has really gone on to score over the years is in its diversity. In an industry where there are many ‘me too’ ranges, as the latest clutch of new launches testify, The Art File draws from a wide net of creative talent – both close to home (from its own in-house studio) as well as respected artists from ‘outside’. Already home to Sara Miller London through a licensing agreement, Top Drawer marks the launch of its first cards under a licensing collaboration with I Like Birds as well as an extended Natural History collection, featuring art from the talented Ben Rothery. With The Art File anchoring two massive stands at Top Drawer and Spring Fair, contrary to the company’s first exhibition outing, there should be room for Ged and his growing team to the enjoy customers’ plaudits in its ‘coming of age’ anniversary year.

Up close and personal... l As a little boy, what did you want to be when you grew up?: “I wanted to be a fighter pilot, but I became too tall for that! I then wanted to become an architect.” l What is your guilty pleasure?: “Chocolate Hobnobs, dunked!” l What is your fave things about the industry?: “The creativity, the warmth of those who work within it and the opportunities it offers each and every day.” l What one thing would you like to change about the industry?: “To do away with SOR.” l Who would you most like to have dinner with tonight?: “Peter Ustinov and my Dad, who is sadly no longer with us.” l What would be a magic wish that would benefit the trade?: “Everyone sooner or later in life appreciates the value of sending greeting cards; I wish that people discovered the joy sooner rather than later.” What are the best business lessons you have learned?: “There are three that stand out for me: 1. Listen - something Richard Horton my first boss in the industry instilled in me. 2. It is a good idea to include the words ‘Happy Birthday’ on a card! We didn’t do this for the first three years until Trevor Gibbons of Mayther persuaded me to do it and I realised how silly we had been. 3. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. We started out printing long thin cards that were different in format to the norm. Alan Harnick, president of US distributor Notes & Queries, pointed out that if we published 5” x 7” cards many more retailers would take them. Boy, was he right!”



Cavania is back!

Now under exclusive UK and European license to

Angela Faulkner

We are recruiting new Agents. Please apply to:

For full details of our exclusive Cavania and other Angela Faulkner product ranges, please contact us, or visit our website for further details. Angela Faulkner Collection:

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Ladder Club Publisher Spotlight

Cracking into the greeting card industry with their fresh card designs, a ‘nest’ of emerging fledgling card publishers who attended one of the two Ladder Club seminars last September reveal their past, present and future trails into greeting cards, what information they garnered from the seminar and their ‘flight path’ for Top Drawer and beyond. Anastassia Neislotova, director of Forever Funny: Life before cards: “Before I started my greeting card business, I had been working full-time as a painting assistant to Damien Hirst. I never planned to work in the greeting cards sector until I started making hand-drawn cards to my colleagues at work, making them incredibly happy. I really loved the fact that I can make someone smile with just a card. At some point I realised that I run out of people I knew to make cards for! Almost every single person I knew had had a card from me. This is when I decided to start making cards for a wider audience and started my own business.” Ladder Club gleaning: “I attended the Day Two of The Ladder Club seminars and I would say that every single word by every speaker was like a piece of gold! So much valuable information, useful advice and inspiring stories! I learned a lot from The Art File’s Ged Mace’s talk on business strategy. It was a great lesson, and I am using all his advice and tips on a daily basis. Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner’s Business MOT talk helped me to ‘check’ my own company, identify and assess things I could improve, avoiding breakdowns in the future. I’m so grateful for the chance to attend the seminar.” Future card plans: “I’ve planned a few trade shows for 2018. The next one for me will be Progressive Greetings Live 2018. Currently I am working on lots of new and exciting ranges and also constantly revising and updating existing ones. I am developing a range with some hand-finished elements (this is very new to Forever Funny) and I can’t wait to launch it!” Above: Anastassia Neislotova previously worked with Damien Hirst. Above left: A Forever Funny sweet treat.

Cath Jones, director of Sadler Jones: Life before cards: “I have worked in the industry for about nine years for various companies, but last June I took the leap into setting up my own company. I launched officially at PG Live and have barely stopped since then!! It’s hard work but totally worth it.” Ladder Club gleaning: “It was so great to attend The Ladder Club and catch up with new friends from PG Live. It was really good to learn about export from McMillan Cards’ Jenny Cummins, and Scribbler’s John Procter gave a really interesting insight into developing change within the industry. It’s definitely worth making the trip if you are new to the greetings industry and it’s always nice to meet other companies in a similar position to you.” Future card plans: “My next show is Top Drawer in January which I am really excited about. I am launching some new card ranges alongside lots of new exciting products – stationery, desk pads, enamel pins, kids’ clothing and prints. I can’t wait to catch up with all my lovely stockists and will hopefully meet some new ones too!” Top Drawer stand ZB39 Above: Sadler Jones’ Cath Jones. Above right: There will be lots of Sadler Jones gorgeous goodies at Top Drawer.

Jenny Morrison, director of Paper Sole: Life before cards: “Before Paper Sole I had a business that provided graphic design and marketing consultancy to businesses. I loved working as a designer but my passion was designing cards and wedding stationary for friends and family. Two years ago I was in a serious car accident in which I was left completely broken - Above: Jenny Morrison ‘chief doodler’ of Paper Sole. literally my neck, spine, collarbone, ribs, chest plate and hand, I was in a mess. This meant that I was stuck in bed for months recovering. I felt so determined that I would take something positive from the experience that as soon as I was able I started to be creative. I PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Ladder Club Publisher Spotlight

would sit and draw in bed for hours on end; sleep, eat, draw repeat! That is how the first ranges began. One of the first trips out of my house was to take the card designs to a local shop to show what I had done and see if they were marketable. Thankfully the owner loved them and she called an agent and it has all snowballed from there. Good things really can come from something bad!” Ladder Club gleaning: “You are not alone! I was pretty nervous starting out in a sector I knew very little about so to have a network like The Ladder Club was incredible.” Future card plans: “I am exhibiting at Top Drawer and I'm really excited about it. I've visited the show many times and I love it. The thing I've learnt so far at the shows is just how important the exposure is; I just want to seen and hopefully remembered! Meeting people, other publishers, agents, retailers and making connections is the key to any business and the shows are the best opportunity for this. It also it means I'm not just hanging out in the studio with my dog for a week (sorry Marley)!” Above: Poor Marley the dog will be left behind when Paper Sole exhibits at Top Drawer. Top Drawer stand Z59

Michelle Gemmel, designer/owner for Memelou: Life before cards: “I was lucky enough to get a job straight after graduating designing fashion in-house for various UK importers. After seven years I then wanted to try something new so I became a homewares designer. I love all areas of design, and can design almost anything, but in the back of my mind I always had this strong desire to design greeting cards, that was what I really wanted. It sounds silly but it became all I could think about. I decided I would become a freelance designer so that it would allow me the time to build up my own brand of greeting cards and have the freedom to design in my own style.” Ladder Club gleaning: “I have learned SO much from The Ladder Club. I realised that everything I had been doing with my brand beforehand was wrong. Learning about pricing, brokerage, exporting and other peoples’ card journeys has been really useful.” Future card plans: “This will be my first time at Top Drawer and I'm so excited about it! I hope to get some more distributers, maybe some agents, lots of new customers and contacts and catch up with all the lovely publishers out there. We are also launching our new kids’ range ‘Party Animals’ at the show. I feel I always learn so much when doing a trade show. I come away thinking next time I’ll do this. It’s a great experience.” Top Drawer stand ZA57 Top: Michelle Gemmel from Memelou. Above: Some fabulous designs from Memelou to be found at Top Drawer.

Jo Clarke, founding artist of Toasted Crumpet: Life before cards: “I have always enjoyed art and being creative at school, however at the time I struggled to see how I could make it into a successful career. After studying business at university I spent 12 years working as a chartered accountant for one of the big accountancy firms in London. I absolutely loved working in the City however running my own business was something that always appealed. After painting a few pictures for friends while on maternity leave, I decided that it was the perfect time to start my own business.” Ladder Club gleaning: “The Ladder Club was an amazing opportunity to network with businesses at all stages of their development, whether a fledgling company or having been in the trade for 30 years. Listening to experienced greeting card publishers and hearing about their early days first hand was a fantastic insight.” Future card plans: “We have three new everyday greeting cards ranges launching in 2018, together with corresponding giftwrap and prints, and we cannot wait to show these all off at PG Live and Harrogate this year.” Top: Jo Clarke had big success at last year’s PG Live. Above: New Toasted Crumpet card ranges, wrap and prints are launching for 2018.

Amy Warburton, owner/designer of Amy Louise Design: Life before cards: “From an early age I have always enjoyed being creative and loved painting and drawing. Before I began designing greeting cards I worked in my local card and gift shop and had completed a foundation degree in Art & Design. I was encouraged by my employer to design my own range of cards to sell in the shop, and following their success I began to expand the range and exhibit at Harrogate Home & Gift as well as PG Live. My cards have recently been distributed to New Zealand as well as being sold here in the UK.” Ladder Club gleaning: “In September I attended The Ladder Club Day Two seminar, which was extremely useful in helping me to learn how to grow my business, and meeting other young designers like myself was encouraging.” Future card plans: “I will be exhibiting at Top Drawer this January with my newest range which features gold foil detail, along with some other recent designs that have been popular. I will also be painting live at my stand to demonstrate how my designs evolve and hopefully generate further interest in my cards.” Top Drawer stand ZA45 Above right: Amy Warburton of Amy Louise Design. Left: See Amy’s designs with your own eyes at Top Drawer.



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01234 740 051

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


Sharon Steel I can honestly say that I think I was born with ideas and aspirations of being an artist – there was never a thought to be anything else! Creating ideas in a visually tangible format is a very cathartic and liberating experience for me. The aesthetic nuances that can be achieved by both traditional mediums and technology are an endless source of wonderment. In short – I simply love creating, painting and drawing! I carry a sketchbook and

pen everywhere and I sketch non-stop to log the smallest of ideas or colour inspirations. My family life is wonderfully colourful and pretty much everything I see in life inspires me in some way and I love to incorporate those ideas into my art. My style is very mixed as I love creating variety in my work as it keeps me energised and my ideas fresh. My agent [Image Source] encourages me to explore styles and different mediums, which is brilliant – I would hate to be pigeon holed into only one style. I don’t think I have a single ‘look’ to my work and I hope that my diverse approach and ability offers a huge positive for most publishers. I love working from scratch in a real hands-on way with inks and paints – but I then love to edit digitally and fine tuning the details and quality – my Wacom is my best friend when it comes to adding those special little touches at the end! l Image Source - Art Licensing l Email: l Web:


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


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

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My name is Miriam Bos and I’m an illustrator and pattern designer from the Netherlands - interesting trivia: my last name is Dutch for ‘forest’. I love creating art that brings a smile to your face. It sure works for me! I am a big lover of nature! I live in Apeldoorn, a city that is surrounded by forest ‘bos’ and heide ‘heath’. On sunny days I love taking long bicycle trips with my husband while exploring the area, a perfect environment to harness my creativity and explore new ideas using the different colours and textures nature offers us. I started out as an illustrator of children’s books and magazines, but in 2012 I jumped into pattern design and put my heart into developing new illustrations and surface designs for a whole different market. Now I am a fabric designer with Birch Fabrics and have two fabric collections in my name. I like to create in both traditional and digital techniques, and I like to mix them together, which gives my artwork a distinct and quirky style, and also gives me flexibility to show a versatile range of work. My clients include Cottage Door Press, Demdaco, Design House Greetings, Flow Magazine, Auzou, BBDO, Crocodile Creek, American Greetings, Birch Fabrics, and many more. l Email: l Web: l Tel: 781-643-2002

Ag Jatkowska I live in Bath and work from home in my cosy studio. I studied graphic design and illustration and gained a Master of Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, Poland. Growing up by the Baltic Sea, reading books and drawing whenever I had the chance, I always carried around a sketchbook as a child. Eight years ago I moved to the UK and immediately fell in love with this beautiful country - its amazing culture, art and design. After many years of working as an in-house artist for Ling Design I pursued my career as a freelancer, illustrating children’s books and creating designs for greeting cards. I am very experienced and versatile in painting and drawing in all kinds of mediums and illustration styles. My artistic style combines my hand-drawn work with digital to create fresh, vibrant and uplifting designs. I’ve illustrated numerous children’s books and greeting cards – I especially loving to create Christmas designs and using watercolour illustrations. I get inspiration from so many places: vintage children’s book illustrations, interior patterns, art and nature. I love British trends and styles. I spend my time creating colourful, whimsical and sophisticated designs and have created and worked on many successful best-selling greeting card ranges, charity greeting cards, gift packaging, stationery and children’s books. For me art and design is my way of life. I believe my artwork also reflects the people I am drawn to in life. I am constantly seeking new sources of inspiration, from art galleries to travel and long countryside walks with my family. I am represented by The Bright Agency. l Tel: 0207 3269140 l Web:



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PG asked a selection of card retailers for their ‘hot’ card sellers. Alison Allen, owner of Conway Cards, Garstang, Lancashire A small shop in a large market town with a loyal locals and visitors customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range






Brainbox Candy



Fleet Street



BBC Countryfile



Eclectic Collection


Rosanna Rossi

Enamel Rose


Paper Rose

Bluebell Wood

Nigel Quiney


Handmade/ Hand-Finished Children’s

Rush Design

Everything Sparkles

Words ‘n’ Wishes




Gorjuss pens, lip balm, mugs, notebooks.

Bought for female and male sends of all ages, the designs are cute but not soppy. A little offensive but we display them on the top shelf with a ‘risqué’ sign. The jokes have good cheeky punchlines that aren’t overly rude. The images of domestic and farm animals and rural scenes are popular because of the shop’s location, and the TV show’s brand helps with their appeal. Different and a bit on the quirky side, the designs keep up with the trends. Really pretty designs on bright white board, with white and gold envelopes that really sets them apart. Flittered everyday designs, suitable for females of all ages. One of the very first ranges I had when I first opened the shop… and it remains one of my best selling collections. Lovely simple illustrations with lots of glitter. The large cards for milestone ages and weddings have done very well. The captions and ages come in a pack so you can personalise the cards for both boys and girls. This just sells and sells! You can’t go wrong with this collection.

Above: Beautifully finished, an Enamel Rose design from Rosanna Rossi. Right: A Countryfile card from Abacus featuring a sweet hedgehog.

Sue Miller, owner of Joyce’s With Best Wishes, Lingfield, Surrey An independent shop selling greeting cards, handmade Belgian chocolates and with a traditional tea rooms, in a village with a loyal locals and tourists customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Wendy Jones- Blackett

Across The Board


Mac Classic


Stripey Cats Cards



Rambling Mansion Peartree Heybridge

General Tottering By Gently and Spring Chicken


Green Pebble

Across The Board

Contemporary Traditional Children’s Giftwrap Ancillary

The Art File Medici Cards (GBCC) Twizler Special Impressions Green Board Game Co.

Sara Miller London Across The Board General General Traditional games

Apples to Pears

Gift In A Tin

Just beautiful quality cards that just sell and sell! Beautiful classy cards that cover all kinds of interests. Quality colourful designs with wobbly eyes that seem to be a favourite with all ages. Appeal to a wide range of customers who spend time just Above: Time to squeeze those lemons! chuckling at these ranges’ cards and then A Rambling Mansion designs. tend to buy several cards at a time to stock up. Strong product that sells consistently well helped by the constant launch of new artists’ artwork keeping product fresh. Bright, vibrant and simple designs. Good ranges with a wide variety of designs that appeal to all. Bright and colourful with good children’s themes. A beautiful range with matching tags and cards. They make great, fun presents for children, yet all have an educational element. A good range of tins for all ages and interests at affordable prices.



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Rachael Williams, partner of Best Wishes, Ramsey, Cambridgeshire A small shop in a small rural town with a loyal locals customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Emotional Rescue (distributed by Is It Art)

On Safari and On The Ceiling


Frank By Name

Quitting Hollywood (distributed by Words ‘n’ Wishes)

Across The Board


Noel Tatt



Paul Laugier



Nigel Quiney


Noel Tatt


Jonny Javelin, Words ‘n’ Wishes, Piccadilly Greetings Blue Eyed Sun

General General

We’ve introduced these ranges into the shop and our customers absolutely love them! Appealing to our mature customers, the designs are colourfully framed black and white photos making fun at getting older. We have recently taken the entire package as we have stocked Words ‘n’ Wishes’ cards from the time we took the shop a year ago, and we think this collection will have big appeal. They sell like mad and look and feel like a quality product in the photo genre. Local artists are very popular with customers as it’s something different and not mass produced. Cambridgeshire based art director Laugier collaborates with his wife on the cards, and a local Reverend’s cards have all sold out without even reaching the racks! We have ordered the new designs coming out this month, but all year round the current collection has sold well. A pretty female range, featuring florals, butterflies etc, with a rose gold foil embossed finish. The majority of our customers really love a good Above: A beautiful foiled Blush design from Noel Tatt. wordy card.


Handmade/ Hand-Finished

Vintage Too, Allotment and Enchantment

The designs look so real, like they are each actually hand-embroidered.

Kate Mackenzie, owner of The Cat’s Miaou, Edinburgh A small shop in a city secondary site with a varied customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Two Bad Mice

Across The Board

Katie Abey

Across The Board

Rosie Made A Thing

Gin & Frolics

The Grey Earl

Stars Braw


Hannah Longmuir

Wild Months



Mini Cards

A range that has been around for decades and it still remains a strong seller. The animals and captions reflect all sorts of people; there’s something for everyone. Really colourful and quirky with lots of puns. The designs have mass appeal and the matching pick-up items such as coasters, badges and mugs are fun too. Simple and quirky illustrations of everyday situations that are laugh out loud funny. Featuring Star Wars characters but almost always with a Scottish element… very funny! Beautiful pencil drawings of nature and Scottish wildlife with a hint of colour and some hand-written notes of little facts about the creature and the month. People love them. They have a Scandi illustration feel with simple repeat patterns and animals.

Right: Hannah Longmuir’s Wild Months set of 12 cards feature drawings and notes about what to look out for each month in nature. Below: Just one of many of Katie Abey’s wonderful puns.




98-105_Product Directory NEW 14/12/2017 16:23 Page 98




To appear in the Product Directories simply contact

Warren Lomax on:

020 7700 6740

or email on or contact

Tracey Arnaud on:

07957 212 062

or email on 


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98-105_Product Directory NEW 14/12/2017 16:23 Page 100




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


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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 or contact

Tracey Arnaud on:

07957 212 062

or email on



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

98-105_Product Directory NEW 14/12/2017 16:24 Page 103




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

356 Kennington Kennington Rd London SE11 SE11 4LD 4LD London T 020 7 7582 582 8244 P Paperlinkcards aperlinkcards

@paperlinkcards @

Exquisite Design, Beautiful Cards

To appear in the Product Directories contact

Warren Lomax

020 7700 6740 or email 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: www www PaperRoseCards TheArtGroupCards The_Art_Group

or email

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.


01932 267 300

tel: +44 (0) 1225 329494 email: website:



98-105_Product Directory NEW 14/12/2017 16:24 Page 104




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. 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

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



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

T: 07767 896807

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

2@= 29KL= M<K

&GO 9:GML 9 KA<= GJ<=J G> ?A>LK OAL@ QGMJ ;9J<K Just food and their friends... greeting cards & contempoRary gifts e: t: 01803 712793



Foody puns and wordplay on greeting cards and gifts. 07906 367 663

98-105_Product Directory NEW 14/12/2017 16:26 Page 105




The UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading publisher of highest quality handmade Greetings Cards. Products: Greetings cards for all occasions, Christmas and Spring Seasons. Spinners and other retail displays available. Talking Pictures Cards Ltd 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent, TN12 6BE

Tel: 01892 838574


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

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

Tel: T el: e 01942 01942 233201 233201

well done!

Market Leaders in

Verse w: www e: t: 01243 837300


& entimen

an extensive range of superior quality,

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

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

+44(0)1243 792600

TEL: 01480 435562 FAX: 01480 450599

Top-notch British Greeting Cards for Thoughts that Count UNIT 2, 12 BLACKSTONE RD,

01923 200600 |




106_Wholesale Directory January 2018_whole sale dirSeptember 2004 14/12/2017 16:33 Page 106







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


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


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


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

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

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



To appear in the Wholesale Directory simply contact

Warren Lomax 020 7700 6740

Stationery and greeting card wholesaler

Crown House Otterspool Way Watford WD25 8HL

or email on

magnus RUPERT

T: 01923 200 900 F: 01923 200 909

Just off the M1 Junction 5



LONDONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NO 1

Great deals Great location Plentiful parking



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

Crown House Otterspool Way Watford WD25 8HL Tel: 020 8993 2231


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

01922-646666 www info@gr

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



Your One Stop Shop 0DQFKHVWHU5RDG%XU\%/6: 106




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



E: T: 01922 610190 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

107-111_Classified January 2018_Layout 1 15/12/2017 13:15 Page 107












Polypropylene bag specialists


Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hot-foiling also available

T 01206 396209 E sales



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





01773 0 1773 7 537810 5378 810





01228 560526

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 01274 583000 sales@r

We’ve We’ve been producing bags of high clarity and high quality for over 30 years. 01274 220 220 www sales@wrapid. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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




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

Contact DAVID JIGGINS Tel: 01245 400104 Email:



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: The Print Works Colville Road, Acton, London W3 8BL tel 020 8993 5160

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

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



107-111_Classified January 2018_Layout 1 15/12/2017 13:15 Page 109











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


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 •

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 FSC accredited (BV-COC-002485). Audited member of SMETA. Printing to ISO12674-2 standard.



107-111_Classified January 2018_Layout 1 15/12/2017 13:15 Page 110












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

01274 305832







107-111_Classified January 2018_Layout 1 15/12/2017 12:54 Page 111












Tel: 01929 550085 Email: Web:


Home of the Wire Spinner Stand


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

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


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

News, Editorial and Content Opportunities: Jakki Brown Joint md & editorial director

Twice weekly newsflash delivered to over 9000 inboxes

Regularly updated jobs-board

The very latest news, views, articles and analysis

Digital issues of Progressive Greetings Worldwide

Dedicated pages for the GCA and The Ladder Club

Warren Lomax

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

Tracey Arnaud

Michelle Board News editor

Advertising, Recruitment and Sponsorship Opportunities:

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

24_PG_June 2017.indd 1


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Progressive Greetings Worldwide - January 2018  
Progressive Greetings Worldwide - January 2018