Progressive Greetings January 2022

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published by published by Monochromatic version

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Calendars, Cards, Wrap & Bag Range published by

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Brighstone is a new collection of Relation & Occasions cards from IC&G. The beautiful watercolour illustrations are enhanced with delicate foil and glitter details. Each card has heartfelt editorial to compliment the design and is accompanied by a bespoke printed envelope.

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Introducing new age relations from IC&G’s Make Your Wish range. The playful, fluid illustrations capture the essence of modern style, appropriate for younger audiences and each design is enhanced with high quality embossing and foil finishes with coloured inserts.

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IC&G’s new Christmas ranges! Delightfully illustrated watercolour designs, exploring a new range of traditional scenes for Christmas. Each design is finished with delicate foiling, flitter and blind embossed.

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IC&G is here with Christmas cheer!

Christmastime always brings the most preci ous things to mind, like having you as a Daughter, So loving, cari ng and kind.

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From The Editor

ON THE CARDS So, our emotional rollercoaster ride continues! As retailer David Robertson states in his column (pages 28-29), none of us thought we would be embracing the third January in succession not knowing exactly how things are going to pan out at the start of our brand new year. I have to believe though that thanks to the success of the Booster programme, things really will get better, and quickly. I feel for the organisers, exhibitors and planned visitors of Top Drawer and Scotland’s Trade Fair, with the current variant prompting the postponement of both shows to late February and March respectively. Plan for the unexpected continues to be the name of the game. As PG went to press, a few days before Christmas, card retailers were bracing themselves for the usual last minute surge of frenzied buying, acting as a lucrative top up to the early sales banked when the media was full of scares of supply shortages and rumblings of possible lockdowns. Nothing like a bit of uncertainty to nudge us back into thoughts of safer times and joys of the past. I have heard it said that ‘nostalgia ain’t what it used to be’ - piffle! I loved the shared experience of writing Christmas cards with my 85-year old Dad, talking about the memories sparked by the people in his address book. In keeping with this, of all the news stories in this edition, one that really touched me what that of Roseleen Harrison who has received the same Simon Elvin Christmas card from her son Jay every year for the past 30 years, an enduring family tradition anchored by a tangible greeting card. (Read about it on page 25). Echoing Roe and Jay’s personal tribute to the value of greeting cards, the BBC delivered a blinder of a Christmas gift in dedicating the majority of the Christmas Special of the popular THE HOME OF MARKET LEADING TRADE MAGAZINES



Above: The GCA’s Past Presidents event brought together members of the current Council as well as those to have played a part in the association’s history. Left: Printmaker extraordinaire Angela Harding (left) in her studio with PG’s Jakki Brown. Below: PG’s Jakki Brown enjoying writing Christmas cards with her Dad.

Inside the Factory programme to a Woodmansterne’s Christmas card’s journey from inception to birth. I so loved it at the end of the programme that had seen the self-assured presenter Gregg Wallace embracing all the stages in the card’s coming to life in Woody’s Watford and Milton Keynes premises acknowledge the wonder of how Woodmansterne “turns a sheet of paper into a Christmas card that will bring a little bit of joy to millions of us.” And talking of joy, I cannot tell you how much I loved this edition being the great excuse to visit my lovely friends, printmaker Angela Harding and her husband Mark Dyas (who I have known for donkeys years) to rejoice in the success of Angela’s book A Year Unfolding as well as how my advice to her to share her artwork on greeting cards (with Art Angels) and other selected products (such as calendars and jigsaws with Flametree) really was a good way of sharing her art. (See pages 72-73). Who knows, in two decades time, maybe there could be another story about a modern day Roe and Jay joined by the exchange of her lino and silkscreen printed delights! Which brings me to a toast to friendship, family and our greeting card community, from Warren, Tracey, Jim and I. May 2022 bring you happiness, success and some incredible new memories!


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


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What’s Inside?




11-27 News

59-61 Retailer Perspective In The Zone A catch up with Cardzone’s directors Paul and James Taylor.

28-29 Over The Counter An Olympic Effort David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi on his ‘training plan’ for 2022.

62-63 In The Making A Winning Recipe Cooking up the Nadiya Hussain Woodmansterne collection.

30-31 Cardsharp A Kick In The Teeth

65-69 Industry Issue Art Of The Matter

PG columnist takes exception to Moonpig’s ‘dusty card shop’ slur.

The plight of freelance artists and designers.

70-71 Talking Shop Catching The Worm

35-41 Viewpoints Taking Council Some GCA council members share their views on the industry’s recent challenges, significant happenings as well as the opportunities and wishes for the coming year.

43 Opinion: Diversity The Hear and Now

How Stoke Newington indie (and publisher) Earlybird has been stoking things for the better.

72-73 In Conversation With…Angela Harding Her Year Unfolding A chat with printmaker Angela Harding.

75-77 Indie Focus Hive of Activity

Out of the Box Cards’ Jenny Baker on representing disabilities (visible and hidden) on its cards.

The Bean Hive in Kettering and Falmouth.

45-53 Innovations

79-81 Art Source Aesthetic Bellwether Readers

Publishers’ new ranges and designs.

Artists agency and picture library execs predict trends.

55-57 Publisher Focus

82-83 What’s Hot?

The Theme Park Pigment’s six key life themes for 2022.

84-95 Sources of Supply Subscribe to Progressive Greetings from £60 (UK) to £90 (International). You can organise this quickly and easily online at our secure site: For assistance, please email

Jakki Brown

Warren Lomax

Ian Hyder

Tracey Arnaud

Editor/Joint Owner

Joint Owner

Joint Owner

Sales Manager

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

Copyright© 2021. 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.

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



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Greeting Cards, Gift wrap, Calendars & Diaries published by published by


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Christmas Cracker? Fingers were crossed for the last sales surge As PG went to press, a few days before Christmas, all was still to play for, with card retailers hopeful of the last minute surge, and the usual string of requests for ‘wife’ and ‘mummy’ cards! “Truthfully none of us will know the full picture until we close the doors on Christmas Eve,” commented Paul Taylor, managing director of Cardzone. “The last time Christmas Day fell on a Saturday was 10 years ago, and life was a lot different back then, so you cannot really make a useful comparisons.” With many indies, especially those out of major town and city centres having clocked up healthy early sales as shoppers got prepared fearful of stock being in short supply or further lockdown restrictions. Echoing the experiences of others, Jo Sorrell of Cardies in Stevenage shared that while customer flow “went a little quieter just after the announcement of minimising contact, luckily things bounced back the next day, possibly with people coming to us rather than using the bigger stores which may have been busier with people.” As she added, “I’m sure like all other card retailers, I feel grateful that, having been forced to shut on December 20 in 2020, at least this year we were able to stay open right through to the big day!”

Below: The Ponks, Jo Sorrell’s extended family of Labradors are well loved by Cardies’ customers, especially as they embraced the Christmas spirit.

Jumper-ing for joy at House of Cards

According to retail trackers Springboard, footfall over the Christmas trading period in 2021 generally was far more muted than forecast, with an average week on week increase of +1.8% across the UK from week beginning 21 November until the end of week preceding Christmas, versus its forecast of +5.8%. “However, despite the introduction of Plan B guidance and the drop in UK footfall, as the week progressed footfall rose by +5.5% from the week before,” with footfall across the UK on Monday and Tuesday of the Christmas week increasing noticeably, prompted it to conclude “that shoppers were avoiding making trips over the weekend to avoid possible crowding” but then ventured out to the shops following this.

Christmas card cheer from the BBC

Recognising that there’s nothing like a bit of inter-branch competitiveness to bring the best in its team, House of Cards set a festive competition to see which of its six shops could create the best Christmas window display and also who could pull out the stops on the Christmas jumper front, with wonderful prizes up for grabs. With the high calibre of entries, deciding the winners was tough for co-judges Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA and PG’s editor and co-owner Jakki Brown. Announcing the winners, Miles Robinson, co-owner of the Home Counties retail group revealed that all branches had really gone for it in their entries for the Best Christmas Window category “It was very difficult to choose an outright winner and in the end it was a tie between Thatcham and Woodley, so both win,” said Miles, with a £300 Hotel Chocolat hamper being sent to each of these two branches to share out. In the Best Christmas Jumper Group category, the votes were “unanimous” with the Wallingford team clinching it with their “great inventiveness!” incorporating Christmas baubles into their attire, earning them £100 Love to Shop vouchers as the prize. There were two winners in the Best Christmas Jumper - Individual category. “Pat Rampton from our Thatcham branch, for her total embrace of the festive season and Jayne Thomas from our Kidlington branch.” They each receive a £50 Love to Shop voucher.

The BBC’s Christmas Inside the Factory programme, that aired on December 22 really did deliver a wonderful Christmas gift to the whole greeting card industry, and showed Woodmansterne Publications in a very good light. Top: The Christmas window of House of Cards’ Through the film footage, shot at Woody’s Watford HQ as Woodley branch. well as its Milton Keynes warehouse, matched by engaging Above right: House of Cards’ Wallingford team festively dressed for success. and insightful dialogue between presenter Gregg Wallace and various members of the Woodmansterne team, a positive message was delivered of the care, attention and effort that goes into producing a Christmas card. Over the course of the hour long episode presenter Gregg followed The Red Stag, one of Woodmansterne’s best selling designs through its journey, from its creation by designer Amy Eastland, the lorryload of quality board arriving from Italy through the printing process, being hand-finished with gems before being packed and shipped to retailers and distributors all over the world. “I have never ever considered how my Christmas cards were made. I have never considered there would be an Amy here drawing them!” admitted Gregg on the highly watched episode. The publisher’s commitment to sustainability featured strongly, with Adam Osborne, operations director stressing how 55 tonnes of plastic is saved a year through its switch to paper banding and smart sealing alone. “Buying a card is a nice thing; it’s a nice shopping experience,” said Gregg. “Because virtually every time, you are buying something for someone you like.” In his conclusion, sharing what really hit home, Gregg said it was “the incredible precision that goes into every part of making of these cards…with specialist skills and a little bit of festive fun, this factory turns a sheet of paper into a Christmas card that will bring a little bit of joy to millions of us.” Above right: Gregg feeling a sense of pride that the design is now printed. Above: Woodmansterne’s Red Stag design that enjoyed star status on the BBC 2 programme. Right: Adam Osbourne explaining about Woodmansterne’s packing process



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'Magenta and Mauve Sparkle' "I lose myself when painting, completely absorbed in my happy bubble, enjoying the colours and shapes forming on my canvas. It's that uplifting feeling I want to capture and share. I use acrylic paint, inks and glitter for a touch of magic and take my inspiration from the wild hedgerows and cottage gardens in the beautiful Somerset countryside around my home. I turned a lifelong love of painting into my dream job in 2013 and now have a studio in Ilminster, selling to galleries across the UK and beyond."

Original artwork by Jane Morgan ©

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Top Drawer Postponed To February 2022.

Below: Top Drawer s/s 2022 has shifted just over a month to Feb 20-22. Middle: Top Drawer’s show director Russell Rule.

Covid variant prompts decision to shift the show Responding to the increase in the Omicron Covid-19 variant cases, Clarion Events has taken the decision to postpone Top Drawer Spring. Initially due to take place January 16-18, the show will now happen 20-22 February 2022, still at the original venue of London’s Olympia. “We are committed to bringing Top Drawer S/S22 in a safe environment that you can feel comfortable attending for your yearly buying needs,” stated show director Russell Rule. “With this in mind, we feel it’s the right decision to postpone to a later date in the same buying season,” he added believing that a safe

and successful event can be run in late February 2022. The Clarion team spoke to as many exhibitors as possible prior to making the announcement on December 22. “I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the industry for its patience, understanding and support in these challenging times,” said Russell.

The Art File partners with Pabuku Debuting at Top Drawer, adding another dimension to its greeting card portfolio, The Art File has forged a partnership agreement with Pabuku, the Austrianbased brand that is the brainchild of Ulla Klopf and Ute Baurecker. Pabuku is known for its distinctive quirky designs, which combine Victorian style illustrations with a contemporary twist and a pinch of subtle humour. Prior to the agreement with The Art File, Pabuku’s greeting card range was distributed in the UK for a couple of years by Northlight Design, with Ute and Ulla also supporting the brand by exhibiting at PG Live. In addition, the brand’s presence has been augmented by an expanding licensing programme, managed by This is Iris. “We have always admired what Ulla and Ute have achieved and love the personality of their card designs,” commented Ged Mace, managing director of The Art File. “Pabuku fits in well with The Art File portfolio and we look forward to working with this highly talented couple.” An inaugural collection comprising 20 greeting cards, includes current best sellers as well as some new designs. As Ute and Ulla pointed out: “Working with The Art File feels a bit like coming full circle as Ged Mace was one of the speakers when we first came to the UK to attend The Ladder Club back in 2016. We are proud to be represented by an industry leader to spread the bold, loving and passionate spirit of Pabuku around the globe.” They also pay tribute to Sarah Lawrence and her team at This Is Iris, which has been the company’s licensing agency since it reached the finals of LicenseThis! competition in 2018, citing this as another important step in Pabuku’s growth. Sarah, who brokered the licensing arrangement with The Art File, cited why this is such a good fit for both sides. “The Art File completely understand the importance of the artist behind their collections, investing a huge amount of time working with each one to create their stand out ranges. We're so excited to be extending the Pabuku licensing programme and look forward to sharing further announcements on this front in the new year.”

The PaperAwards’ shortlist Organised by Top Drawer and sponsored by paper company G.F Smith, the shortlist of nominees for the PaperAwards S/S22 were unveiled last month with Raspberry Blossom, Cath Tate Cards, Roger la Borde and Alphablots among the card companies feted in the four award categories - Exciting Use of Colour, Emotive Design, Engaging Print and Best Stationery Design. Those in the industry were invited to cast votes online for the companies they feel should win. l EXCITING USE OF COLOUR finalists: Alphablots, Cath Tate Cards, I am Roxanne, Kali Stileman Publishing, Raspberry Blossom and Sisterpaper Co. l EMOTIVE DESIGN finalists: Cath Tate Cards, Katarina Sophia, Raspberry Blossom, Ricicle and Wanderlust Paper. l ENGAGING PRINT finalists: Alphablots, Natalie Alex Designs, Raspberry Blossom, Roger La Borde and Type & Story. l BEST STATIONERY DESIGN finalists: Coffe Notes, Crispin Finn, Elvira VV Designs, Paperkin and Wanderlust Paper. The judging panel who decided on the shortlist included GF Smith’s Abbie Ross, Mark Jessett, Emma Oliver and Janet Stevens as well as Samantha Gibbs (Nest); Mark Janson-Smith (Postmark); Emma Hawkins (Fortnum & Mason); Sarah Holmes (Pencil Me In); Craig Kilmartin and Fran Webberley (Five & Dime); Preena Patel (The Design Museum); Sarah Sevier (V&A); and Victoria Suffield (The Hambledon). The winners’ products will be displayed at Top Drawer (20-22 February 2022, at London’s Olympia) beside the RetailFest stage. Top: Raspberry Blossom has reached the shortlist in three categories. Below: Natalie Alex Designs attracted the eyes of the judges.

Above: Ulla Klopf and Ute Baurecker, the co-founders and owners of Pabuku. Left: A Pabuku design that will be form part of The Art File’s range.



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Liverpool FC Tops The Calendar League

Below: Liverpool FC is ‘Top of the Klopp(s)’ in Danilo’s calendar league table.

Danilo’s Top Ten features Friends and Cliff Richard Danilo Promotions has announced what was ‘top of the pops’ on the calendar front, revealing its 11 bestselling licensed calendars for 2022, with Liverpool Football Club being the ‘top scorer’, taking first place for the third year in succession. Meanwhile, the unexpected arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo helped push Manchester Utd into second place in the annual calendar ‘league’. While these two sporting giants head the leader board, the remaining eight slots are music, entertainment, talent and gaming licensed brands. As PG went to press Danilo Promotions was on track to sell more than 3 million calendars by Christmas, from its vast portfolio of officially licensed titles that reflect popular culture. Danilo Promotions’ Top 11 (with last year’s position shown in brackets) 1. Liverpool Football Club (1) 2. Manchester United Football Club (3) 3. Friends (4) 4. Sir Cliff Richard (2) 5. Minecraft (new entry) 6. BTS (new entry) 7. Pokemon (new entry) 8. Star Wars (5) 9. BBC Landscapes (new entry) 10. Kelly Brook (10) 11. Squid Game (new entry) With so much time spent at home in 2021, TV and gaming titles rose up the rankings on the calendar front.

Popular calendars of TV programmes making the top 10 are Friends (3rd place), BBC Earth Landscapes (new entry at number 9) and Netflix’s Squid Game sits just outside the top 10 at number 11. Minecraft (in 5th place) and Pokémon (in 7th) are both new entries for 2022, reflecting the increased popularity of gaming. Despite Sir Cliff Richard saying he would never do another topless shot, his calendar remains hugely popular evidenced by the extensive media

coverage of the title - still holding the 4th slot near the top of the charts. BTS recently winning Artist of the Year at the AMA’s (American Music Awards), has brought the popular South Korean boy band in as a new entry at number 6 while the enduring popularity of the longstanding Star Wars franchise, including The Mandalorian on Disney+, kept the official licensed calendars in the top 10, at number 8, proving that Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 have aged well, despite now being 45 years old.

Getting fired up for GCA’s Dragons’ Speed-dating Greeting card publishers and retailers are getting ‘fired up’ at the very thought of the GCA Dragons’ Speed-dating 2022 event, with bookings now being taken and participation confirmed. Buyers from Waterstones, Cardzone, Funky Pigeon, Postmark, Card Factory, Red Card and Austin & Co have been among the first to commit to being ‘Dragons’ for the sixth ever GCA Dragons’ Speed-dating event, with other retailers now being invited to put themselves forward to participate. Set to continue a formula that has worked incredibly well for both the attending publishers and participating retailers, the afternoon event will see publishers make one-to-one quickfire 10-minute pitches about their products and their companies to different retailers, including multiples, small groups and indies. In addition to the pitching, the event will also include an advice panel session during which leading industry experts will share the benefit of their experience and knowledge across all manner of pertinent issues and subjects. “The event was due to take place on February 22, but due to Top Drawer moving to 20-22 February as well as other Covid restrictions that may of course come in, we will be rescheduling the date for this event in the new year when the picture is clearer hopefully,” assured Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA.

Above left: The Mirror featured the Cliff Richard calendar. Above right: Danilo’s Squid Game calendar.

Spring Fair’s award of the century Spring Fair has received the prestigious Trade Show of the Century Award at The AEO (Association of Event Organisers) Centenary Party & Awards. Commenting Julie Driscoll, divisional managing director for Retail, Engineering and Manufacturing, Hyve Group said: “I'd like to thank everyone who currently works on Spring Fair and everyone who has ever contributed to the show. This award goes to all employees and suppliers who have helped keep this brilliant exhibition delivering for its customers over the last 75 years.” Having made its debut in 1950, Spring Fair went on to become the first show to take place at the NEC, Birmingham which was officially opened by HM The Queen in February 1976. Spring Fair 2022 is to take place February 6-9 at the NEC. Right: The Spring Fair team received the AEO Trade Show of the Century Award.

The online booking ‘office’ on the GCA’s website however is now open for publishers, with each dating place costing £125 + VAT. Commenting, Amanda said: “Dragons Speed Dating is such a fantastic opportunity for publishers to meet key retail buyers and vice versa. The networking is great and it’s fun to boot. A great way to generate business as well as build and reinforce relationships.” Any retailer wishing to be a ‘Dragon’ should contact Amanda directly by emailing her on Top: A pitching session in action at the recent GCA Dragons’ Speed-dating event. Above: Publishers prepare to be taken into the ‘Den’ by retailers.



Christmas Charity Packs Fantastic choice of designs, proudly supporting these commendable charities

Christmas Bumper Boxes Offering excellent variety and value, each box contains 27 Christmas cards, 9 cards each of 3 designs

Luxury Christmas Boxed Cards Exquisitely finished with emboss and foil details, each box contains 10 luxury Christmas cards of 1 design

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Single Christmas Cards Get 2022 Christmas wrapped up with our fantastic range of occasion and relation cards now available to pre-order Tel: 01638 569050 | Email: HALL 3, STAND M10/N11

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Wrendale’s Hannah Dale Inspires Publisher wins a NatWest Everywoman Award Hannah Dale, the founder and creative director of Wrendale Designs has won a prestigious NatWest everywoman Award in recognition of her inspirational entrepreneurial talents. At an awards ceremony, which took place last month at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Hannah was delighted to receive the Athena Award, given to the most inspirational woman running a business that has been trading from six to nine years. Hannah was one of 19 inspirational women, selected from several thousand nominees, to receive an award, with celebrated Paralympian Kadeena Cox and respected fashion entrepreneur Anya Hindmarch CBE among the other winners. Hannah started Wrendale Designs nine years ago as a greeting card company based on her own watercolour painting of the natural world,

and it has blossomed both through expanding its own product portfolio, as well as through licensing, growing into an international brand with an £8 million annual turnover. Commenting on her award, Hannah told PG: “I was totally delighted when my name was called out, I had met lots of the finalists throughout the day and they were all absolutely amazing and inspirational women so it felt like a huge privilege to win the award. I couldn’t wait to share the award with the whole of my Wrendale family - I haven’t done it alone and am so lucky to have such a brilliant team.” Top: Hannah Dale’s inspirational and entrepreneurial talents were feted in the NatWest Everywoman Awards Left: A Wrendale Owl Together greeting card design that will debut officially at the Spring Fair.

Best bacon from Moonpig With the retail lockdowns having played very much into Moonpig’s hands last year, easing its launch on the stockmarket, all eyes were on how the online operator has fared since all bricks and mortar greeting card and gift retailers have been able to trade. The answer was there for all to see when it revealed its half year results for the six months to end of October 2021, which did reflect a return to the high street, causing a dip in Moonpig’s turnover and profits, but not by much. Group revenue decreased by 8.5% year-on-year to £142.6m, with Moonpig seeing a 10.2% reduction while Greetz, the group’s Dutch-based equivalent, dipped only 2.6%. However, the greater rate of year-on-year reduction at Moonpig reflects the fact that the brand’s trading was particularly strong during summer 2020. The group impressively delivered some 19.5 million orders in the period from Moonpig and Greetz, more than double the year before. The results statement detailed that Moonpig experienced ‘elevated rates of customer purchase frequency’, which were higher than expected at the start of the financial year but then saw a monthon-month decrease as lockdown restrictions were progressively relaxed. Moonpig has continued to invest in its greeting card offer with its global design platform now featuring over 33,000 card designs. It underwent a significant ‘onboarding’ of new publishing partners and designers as well as committing to several new licensing properties, including exclusive partnerships with Team GB, the British and Irish Lions, Peter Rabbit and Warhammer. Highlighting some key greeting card developments, Nickyl Raithatha, ceo of Moonpig stressed how it has “leveraged the breadth in our card design range to launch campaigns offering free cards to consumers for missions that are currently of relatively low order volume, to drive purchase frequency and raise awareness of our offering in these areas. We saw a 180% year-on-year increase in orders of Diwali cards this year, and a free Thank You card campaign drove year-on-year orders growth of 360% for this mission during August.” However, real growth has come on the gifting front with Above: To tie in with the new Bake Off series, Moonpig’s edible greeting cards, almost half (48%) of all its sales being on gifts. sold out in a few days. (See Cardsharp pages 30-31)

PG Live 2022 open for registration Registration for Progressive Greetings Live 2022, is now open. Taking place on Tuesday 7 June and Wednesday 8 June in Islington's airy Business Design Centre in the heart of London, PG Live 2022 will showcase thousands of incredible greeting card designs, exciting ranges and exclusive offers. Retail buyers, international distributors and licensees have already started to book their free tickets. “Everyone seems eager to have something to look forward to a few months into 2022 so we brought forward our registration date,” explained Warren Lomax, show director of PG Live. “The 2021 PG Live was such an uplifting event, with buyers and publishers enjoying being together after such a long time, and this coming June’s show will really build on this,” added Warren. The rollcall of exhibitors for PG Live 2022 is growing by the day. It already features loads of great names, such as The Art File, Paper Salad, UK Greetings, Emotional Rescue, Woodmansterne, Belly Button Designs, Danilo, Ohh Deer, Ling Design, Abacus Cards, Wendy Jones-Blackett, Hallmark, Paperlink, Pigment and IC&G as well as many, many more, including a host of exciting newbies and brand-new sparkling start-ups. Above: A cheers from retailers Libby Loves, Baileys, Olive Branch and Sincerely Yours for PG Live!

Show business A meeting for PG Live exhibitors and would-be exhibitors has been rescheduled to take place in the morning of Wednesday 23 March at the Business Design Centre. This meeting (which is free to attend) will cover handy tips and hints for making the most out of exhibiting. Bookings for this meeting should be via Jim Bullough, operations director of PG Live by emailing him on

























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NEWS Christine Harrison retires


Enduring Appeal Mother and son’s 30-year exchange of a Simon Elvin card Every greeting card publisher loves to receive positive feedback as to how their cards have brightened someone’s day, but few can lay claim to the fact that one of their Christmas cards has played an active part in a mother and son relationship for the last 30 years. Roseleen Walsh, an NHS worker living in Chirk, Wrexham recently wrote to Simon Elvin to pay tribute to the quality of the cards he publishes, well one Christmas card in particular, as it has been passed between her son Jay and herself for the last 30 Christmases. “Some 30 years ago, I received a Christmas card from my son, who had saved his pocket money to spend on a £1.00 card, which was the earth to us 30 years ago. He was 10 years old at the time and I was very happy to get it,” said Roe, little did she know then that that was the start of a family tradition which continues to this day. “The following Christmas he handed me the same card, and has done so every year since,” she continued about the Mum card which features a cute pussycat and mouse. “The card has become a big part of our family Christmas traditions, but I'm not going to lie - I don't like cats! and after 30 years I'm still wondering why on earth he picked one with a picture of a cat! but hey ho!” she admitted. Struck by how “the card has endured numerous house moves, the endless handling of children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren, it's a either a minor miracle or testament to the quality of your cards,” she wrote, wanting Simon to know about the part this card has played in her family’s life. “I thought you might like to know that you can certainly advertise durability on any future advertising campaigns!” she suggested.

Antalis’ green accolade Antalis, which supplies many greeting card publishers with its board, was delighted to receive the reputable Sustainability Advocate Award at the Independent Print Industries Association (IPIA)’s recent Expo and Recognition Excellence Awards event. “This award endorses our systematic work to achieve a sustainable substrate offering and corresponding practices which enable customers, and their clients, to meet their own environmental objectives,” commented Simon Fisher, commercial director for Antalis Print. As part of its ongoing sustainability commitment Antalis has developed the Green Star System to aid the selection of sustainable media. Above: Antalis’ promotion of its Green Star System.

Above: Roseleen Harrison with her son Jay and the Simon Elvin Christmas card she has received every year for three decades. Below: A close up of the design.

As soon as he received the email from Roe, Simon responded saying how delighted he was to hear such a “positive story in the current gloomy climate” and immediately recognising the design made contact with Kevin Sheppard, the artist who painted the original card who was “chuffed” to hear the news. “Kevin is now producing fine-art prints, mainly of animals; not cats though!” Simon told Roe. While Simon was clearly very touched that one of his cards has been a thread in a mother and son relationship for three decades, his business sense hopes that this does not become the norm. “Thank you very much for writing to us, although I don’t think we will be encouraging the habit of re-posting cards for 30 years or we will be out of business in no time!” Simon quipped.

Ever popular Christine Harrison, latterly sales director of Xpressions, has just retired after 42 years in the industry. “I have worked in the gift and card industry since I was 21 off and on - spending almost 20 years with Xpressions in its various guises. I have had some great times and laughs in the trade and met some wonderful people,” Christine told PG. Recounting her working career, Christine explained she started with Richard Cook Chertsey, importers of basket and wickerware “when everyone ate chicken out of a basket. I then I came out of the trade and ran my own hotel in Devon with my husband for 15 years. Having sold the hotel I went for a fateful interview with Peter Goodman and Mike Apicella and the rest is history as they say, spending almost 20 years with Xpressions. I went from area manager to regional manager in four years at UKG. Kishor Shah then bought Xpressions in 2011 Peter proposed me as sales director when he left a couple of years later.” As for the plans for her retirement, Christine is not going to take up knitting. “I broke my arm very badly a couple of years ago roller skating. I’ve just bought an electric bike for my retirement...what can possibly go wrong?!” Above: Christine Harrison with former colleague Peter Goodman at The Retas a few years ago.

Rays of Sunshine from Clintons Clintons’ welcomed a special ‘celebrity’ to its Stevenage store recently - Kasi Dhar, creator of the winning design in the retailer’s annual Christmas card competition, which formed part of its ongoing support for the Rays of Sunshine charity. Rays of Sunshine is a children’s charity that brightens the lives of seriously ill children and their families, by granting magical wishes and providing ongoing support within hospitals. Every year, the charity invites the children and families it supports to take part in a competition, judged by an expert at Clintons, to design the front of a Christmas card. It was talented 10-year old Kasi’s portrait of a festive penguin at the North-Pole that won the judges’ votes. As a result it was printed and packed into a box of ten cards and put on sale in all Clintons stores, with 15% of the sale price (excl VAT) being donated to Rays of Sunshine. Kasi enjoyed a VIP trip with her family to Clintons’ Stevenage store to see her winning design on sale and to be presented with some gift vouchers as well as a supply of her very own, selfdesigned Christmas cards. Above: Kasi in Clintons, in front of the FSDU featuring her Christmas card design. Left: The winning design in this year’s Clintons/Ray of Sunshine Christmas card design competition.



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NEWS TOP STORY Below: The composite logo features both awards’ programmes’ well recognised branding.

UK Gift Awards To Unite The Industry The Greats and Gift of The Year awards’ joint event Marking a significant unified step forward for the UK gift industry, Max Publishing’s Greats gift retailer awards and the GA’s Gift of the Year (GOTY) product awards are to join forces, with the winners of both awards programmes to be announced at a shared lavish black tie evening event on Thursday 12 May 2022, held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. The ownership and running of the Gift of the Year product awards, now in their 45th year, will remain under the stewardship of the Giftware Association while The Greats gift retailer awards, now in their 20th year, will continue to be wholly owned and run by Max Publishing (publishers of Progressive Greetings, Progressive Gifts & Home magazine,, among others).

“After everything we have all been through over the last 22 months, an event which brings the whole industry together in celebration and camaraderie is much needed and will be warmly embraced,” commented Sarah Ward, ceo of the Giftware Association. While the GA will continue to organise the entry and judging process for the Gift of the Year awards, Max Publishing will continue to manage The Greats gift retailer awards. Max Publishing is also undertaking the sponsorship side of both awards programmes as well as the organisation of the awards event itself, (including the ticket booking), drawing on the expertise of its affiliated Max Live Events team. Hyve Group (which owns and organises Spring Fair and Autumn Fair) had no hesitation in coming on board as the headline supporter for the UK Gift Awards event, and will remain integral to the Gift of the Year Awards, with the live judging of the 2022 GOTYs scheduled to take place during Spring Fair 2022. A new, centralised website ( has been created for The Gift Awards 2022. The closing date for entering The Greats is 31 January 2022. Left: The Highworth Emporium was among the winners in The Greats 2021 awards.

The Eco-friendly Card Company’s carbon balance Ever keen to find new ways of reducing its environmental footprint, The Eco-friendly Card Co has forged a new collaboration with The World Land Trust to enable the greeting card publisher to carbon balance all of the paper used in its products since May 2019. A paper becomes ‘carbon balanced’ when the average emissions associated with its production are offset by the global conservation charity World Land Trust (WLT). Commenting, Sue Morrish, director of The Eco-friendly Card Co said: “We’ve had a long-standing commitment only to use 100% recycled papers but wanted to go further, so we are delighted to be working with the World Land Trust to carbon balance all of the paper used in our products since 2019. We wanted to backdate this so retailers and consumers can be confident that any product they buy with The Eco-friendly Card Co name uses carbon balanced paper.” The publisher has also extended the offset to cover all bespoke Christmas cards and calendars it has printed. This, combined with its stock line greeting cards, calendars and stationery, means the total offset is 67,000 kilos over the three years. this s is to ce cer rt t y tha tif at t

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Above: One of the three WLT certificates The Eco-friendly Card Company has received. Left: One of the latest designs from The Eco-friendly Card Company.

Scotland’s Trade Fair postponed until March Following the introduction of Scottish restrictions for events Scotland’s Trade Fair Spring has been postponed until 27-29 March 2022, taking place at Glasgow’s SEC. As Mark Saunders, Scotland’s Trade Fair director, explained: “Although new restrictions are, at this stage, only in place until 16 January, we have no way of knowing if they will end then and the Show was due to take place from 23-25 Jan. As Q1 buying patterns are going to be uncertain we feel a postponement would be helpful to the trade, not least in providing a better trading environment but also a much safer one giving buyers confidence to attend.” A selection of key exhibitors were sounded out over the move in dates with the majority expected to participate in the show in March.

Indie Best Wishes trumps John Lewis Indie card shop, Best Wishes in Bishop’s Waltham was brimming over with festive cheer, not only was its last burst of Christmas trade among the strongest in the retailer’s 10-year history, but it was pronounced Retailer of the Year by the respected Hampshire newspaper, the Southern Daily Echo. “What a way to end what has been an amazing year!” exclaimed Russell Payne, who co-owns the independent specialist card shop with his wife Yvonne about the award. “We have been overwhelmed by the reactions from customers who have come into the shop, several giving us congratulations cards.” As Russell explained, “We were delighted to make it into the finals, especially as it was totally reliant on the public’s nominations. And then for customers to collect and post off coupons they collected from the newspaper to vote for us as the winner is incredibly gratifying. I never thought we would win over John Lewis, but just goes to show how much people appreciate personal service from retailers in their community,” added Russell. Above: The Best Wishes team are feeling extra festive after the award!



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An Olympic

Effort January is a fresh start; a fresh page to turn and a sense of optimism. Our last three Januarys however have started with a cloud. In 2020 we didn’t know what was to come. In 2021 we had the optimism of the vaccine and a belief that ‘it’ may be coming to an end, but in 2022 we simply don’t know, but I’m thinking that it could be time to put a new ‘Olympic’ training plan into action.

We are all rather tired of adapting, changing, moving, fighting and somehow it feels like we may be back to the beginning again. Our businesses and more importantly our minds have been resilient, but I don’t know anyone who isn’t worrying about what is to happen. I am writing this on 19 December with BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year on in the background which somehow this gives me a little reassurance of normality as I remember watching it from a young age with my dad. The first year I remember the winner was Daley Thompson, way back in 1982. Daley won because he was the Decathlon champion at consecutive Olympic Games and quite simply an amazing all rounder, who could run, throw and jump. As retailers I think we forget just how amazing we are. We too are ‘decathletes’. We literally do it all and we should never forget that. Harking back to reassuring childhood memories is something that you do as you get older, especially in these uncertain times. Thinking about comforting memories helps, whether it was watching the A-Team on a Top: To triumph in 2022 David to putting in an Olympic effort. Above right: You can buy this Daley Thompson poster, hand signed in marker pen from A1 Sporting Memorabilia’s website for £17.99. Right: The 2021 SPOTY presenters on stage before Emma Raducanu was pronounced the winner.



Saturday night or bashing the buttons on my ZX Spectrum pretending to be Daly playing the Track and Field game. All of these things stir feelings of family, normality and fun that we all need. As indie retailers we live by the calendar, with so many key events dictating our buying and how our shops are. We should be gearing up for Top Drawer and Spring Fair, but right now there is that feeling of not knowing and not being able to plan for certain, of having so many jobs to do and not completing them. With the constant disruption to normal life and the constant distractions, I feel I am achieving less and less. It feels like I am trying to win the game, but keep falling short. So, my New Year resolution is to figure out how to achieve more and tonight I have started on my journey to do just that. Now everyone knows that to win an Olympic gold like Daley calls for more than a few training sessions, it needs a strict programme. Without doubt my daily list of things will need to evolve.

No more will I be able to simply write anything and everything on that ‘to do’ list hoping that at least some of it will be achieved. I am now going to split my list into different groups with a focused approach to each day and week ahead. I thought I’d share my thinking in case it helps you. Quick wins - These are the things that you can do in minutes or hours and give you that feeling of satisfaction. For example, review that new card range, change your window display, answer that niggling email. The consumption of the task - Where you finish things that you have started to read or watch. It may be

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Left: David Robertson drawing up his training plan with his furry mate. Below: Put those glittering prizes in your sights. Below right: David is looking forward to meeting his new training partner this coming June.

listening to the end of the podcast about making decisions, it may be about finishing the chat with a colleague or it may even be watching Peaky Blinders, but whatever it is, it should make you feel good about doing it. These things are often the unseen things that can make a difference. Working on your mental strength and health to make sure that when you tackle the bigger tasks you are fully focused. You can’t always be thinking or talking about work, so knowing when to relax is key. The Gold medal - The major goal that will be worked on at various times and may not be finished in a day or a week. To win the ultimate prize needs thought and defined time spent or set aside; a true commitment to the goal. One example of this at the moment for me is our website and social media. Both look good and have positives, but both lack the long-term strategy and person to really deliver them. You simply can’t just line up at the start of the race and go. Not even the most naturally talented athlete can do that. Everyone needs to work on the long-term goal. The Crossroads - With every medal there will come a decision to turn one way or another. Tasks and pressures you put yourself under have to be considered and sometimes quite simply deciding “no I am not doing that” or “I have spent too much time on that” or you simply are not enjoying it, is the brave decision to make. Naturally all of us want to finish what we start, but sometimes that is not the right decision. Sometimes it is braver to simply walk away and try something else entirely. Adapting and changing your training - Each day you need to decide your strategy. I am going to try and do this each night before bed so I know what I have planned and can start fresh each morning. Perhaps it is going to be focusing on one single project. Perhaps your day

dictates that you don’t have a lot of time so you fit in what you can. Perhaps it is doing something different that will have an indirect effect on your work that day. An absolute ‘must do’ in 2022 for me is to cut down on the pointless scrolling. Whether it is work social media, my phone is too easy a place to lose 20 minutes on Instagram, Facebook or on any other platforms. Also, by selecting the focus the night before it will avoid dithering over where to start. With this it can help to have a ‘coach’ or a trusted colleague that can guide you a bit if you feel that you are losing focus. Daley would have perhaps picked an event and then narrowed it down to maybe the start in the 100metres. Think of each task and day as the event in your gold medal performance and work on it until you can see the difference. Finding the short cuts - At this point you know you have the training schedule worked out and know that there is a lot of hard work but there will undoubtedly things that can help you complete a number of tasks at the same time. Perhaps you can send a group email. Perhaps you can arrange a meeting by Zoom rather than in person. Perhaps you can utilise a colleague to help you work on something. Delegation is without doubt a skill most self-employed people find difficult to master.

Avoid the temptation to start adding new tasks until you have finished the ones at hand. Jumping from throwing the javelin to the long jump is not a natural thing so don’t expect to be able to do that and be successful at both right away. The training of course never really ends but we need to focus on all events, even the ones that we don’t like to make sure we are successful.

Getting on the podium - Now getting to the end and winning that medal is not something that happens easily, but with each day that you complete it can be a step in the right direction. My current projects involve some truly daunting tasks. The redevelopment of my restaurant to make it a leading destination retail space is right at the top of my ‘need to get right’ list. To me, in some respects this will be not only winning the Gold medal but breaking the record time as well. As the year draws to a close all the many things that I wanted to achieve/tried to achieve/started to achieve were in sharp focus and the fact that I have not got the planning consent or my restaurant project weighs heavy, but I can’t allow myself to let this get me down.

Covid or not, my goals for 2022 are clearer than ever and I simply must have the focus of an Olympic athlete to keep them all on track and moving forward. I know what I want to do and I know that I did achieve a lot in 2021 and sometimes you can be so focused on the medal that you forget the massive steps you have taken towards it. Finally, one piece of other news is that in June of 2022 I will be adding a new ‘training partner’ into the mix with the arrival of my first child. At the age of nearly 48 I am not sure if this is exciting, daunting or my biggest challenge to date. All I do know is that my complicated life is going to get even more complicated and probably 2022’s biggest achievement will have nothing to do with retail! I am also not sure that nappy changes and night feeds constitute quick wins, but they may find themselves on the training list. Wishing everyone a successful and safe New Year. To contact David email: PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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A Kick In The


Below: Some festive Moonpiggies on the TV advert. Below middle: A Warhammer photo upload card from Moonpig.

Have you seen the TV adverts for Moonpig wondered Cardsharp? They feature a lovable cuddly pig puppet called ‘Molly Moonpig’ and it really goes to town on the schmaltz factor in trying to get you to buy Christmas cards via the mobile app. But it’s harmless enough and if it encourages greeting card sending generally thought Cardsharp, then fair enough. Molly pig from Moonpig is not quite in the same class as Boris’ favourite, Peppa Pig, and Cardsharp can’t see it having a longterm impact like those irritating Meerkats puppets, but it is certainly a change in approach. Interestingly all the emphasis on Moonpig’s Christmas advert was on ordering via its mobile app which it obviously sees as the way ahead, something reinforced in the online operator’s recent half year results. However, Cardsharp’s hackles were really raised by another Moonpig advert, a radio one this time that has been aired repeatedly on commercial radios, including on the very un-cuddly Planet Rock. The radio advert implored Christmas card buyers not to waste their time trawling through card racks in ‘dusty card shops’,

but to go online and buy them from the Moonpig App. This is just what bricks and mortar retailers and their publishing and wholesaler suppliers, really needed to hear in November and December, their critical trading period reflected Cardsharp. Cardsharp has uneasy feelings about this advert. Not only is it blatant ‘knocking’ advertising, the kind of which he really can’t abide, but for the first time, Moonpig is somehow undermining its own greeting card industry; an industry which needs to thrive if Moonpig is to. We need a healthy industry where everyone is encouraged to buy and send greeting cards, through a multitude of channels. Moonpig, by airing this advert, and Cardsharp will give them the benefit of the doubt that it was probably its advertising agency who came up with such an approach, it is nailing its colours to the mast as a technology company and not a greeting card company. Left: A cute still from Moonpig’s recent advert.



Cardsharp knows a lot of retailers who were furious when they heard the advert, and quite rightly so. Many publishers were as well, although much of this outrage was privately vented, given that so many of these publishers have received sizeable royalty payments from Moonpig for the licensed use of their designs from the site. There is no denying that Moonpig has earned its place at the table. It is now effectively a retail giant (and a FTSE 250 company), pulling in more than 50 million orders in its last financial year. When Moonpig floated in February with a £1.2 billion valuation, investors were excited that it was a Covid winner, which enjoyed soaring sales in lockdown. At the end of the first day of trading, the company was valued at almost £1.5 billion and was seen as highly rated for growth. In June, the shares hit a high of 488 pence, but since then it has drifted downwards to 325 pence. This

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Left: Nicky Raithatha, ceo of Moonpig. Below left: Moonpig’s advertising promotes ordering via its App. Below right: There’s no ‘snout’ about it, Moonpig is a disrupter, but Cardsharp hopes it stays the right side of the greeting card industry ‘fence’. Bottom: Gifts now account for 48% of Moonpig’s revenue.

still values the company at 30 times its last annual pre-tax profit of £32.9 million, which to Cardsharp’s mind indicates that it is still ridiculously overpriced, but ho hum. About 54% of Moonpig’s revenue currently comes from cards, and the rest from gifts. During lockdown, not surprisingly Moonpig did well while high street shops were closed (as did the publishers whose designs it licensed). So, no wonder then that its recent results show that its revenues jumped by 113%.

Now restrictions have ended, it has not surprisingly struggled to retain this momentum. Ironically if the Omicron variant leads to further restrictions and spooks shoppers, (admittedly unlikely at this stage) it could help Moonpig, in the short term at least, thinks Cardsharp. The rate of growth in the frequency of customer purchases versus the prepandemic level has been steadily declining. Revenue over the six months to the end of October declined by 8.5 %

on the same time last year. Cardsharp thinks the multi-million dollar question (literally) is how much of the prepandemic era gains it keeps in a retail climate that is free of restrictions. Even optimistic forecasters predict it will be 2024 before Moonpig returns to last year’s profits. It will have to spend out big time on marketing to win new customers as well as invest constantly in new technology, which again will not be cheap. There are likely to be no dividends nor any prospect of a return of cash to shareholders. Not so many silk purses from this sow’s ear for a while then, thinks Cardsharp! But in the meantime, City sentiment seems to have cooled on Moonpig. Sabah Meddings, the Sunday Times’ share tipster said it was a share ‘to avoid’, although she showed a distinct lack of knowledge by stating “The long-term trend for greeting cards being sent is falling over time”. And City analysts Davey’s criticised its anaemic equity performance since its listing saying, “The risk reward is not compelling”. Original investors who got involved at the time of the float will certainly have a very long time to wait before they see a return - they might have to even wait until a pig actually lands on the moon! But Cardsharp hopes that in its attempts to gain new customers, our sector’s biggest online

operator does not resort to more knocking of traditional retailers. Strangely enough the Moonpig share price rose by four pence after its recent trading announcement. Ironically Card Factory, the UK’s largest bricks and mortar specialist greeting card chain, who also put out an encouraging trading statement not so long ago, saw its share price drop by about the same amount and is languishing around the 50 pence mark - an incredible six times less than Moonpig’s current share price. Yet even last year with ‘the piggy’s’ record results during the pandemic, it has never made anything like the profit Card Factory was making prior to 2020. Either Card Factory is tremendously under-priced or Moonpig is tremendously overpriced. Cardsharp thinks both are probably true.

No doubt, the huge advertising campaign that Moonpig embarked on before Christmas, both on TV and radio, was an attempt to reignite its sales and increase its market share, but Cardsharp thinks there are better ways of attempting to do this than resorting to shabby knocking tactics. As anyone who has spent time in a sales arena knows, you demean your own product offering when you demean someone else’s. If Moonpig continues down that route, it does not deserve future success, concluded Cardsharp. Moonpig faces a choice. Play by the rules and stay part of the greater greeting card community or become a fully-fledged ‘tech’ company that disrupts in a negative way. Greeting cards are all about sentiment, and it should show a little bit more positive sentiment when it considers its marketing strategy, oinked Cardsharp.



If you answered ‘yes’, then read on and see how you can benefit from Cardgains membership! Would you like to enjoy preferential trading terms from top card and gift suppliers? Would you like to have access to unique product trials and promotions? Would you like one monthly direct debit payment to one source? Would you like an end of year retro bonus on your total turnover? If you answered ‘yes’, then we are sure Cardgains membership will be beneficial for you! Get in touch today by visiting and click on ‘Contact Us’ or call 0114 249 0333. We’re exhibiting at Spring Fair 2022 - right at the front of hall 3 and we'd love to meet you.

Please come and see us there to find out more!

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The GreATesT COLLeCTiOn OF GreeTinG CArDs in The WOrLD

Here’s what people thought of the 2021 show! Well, that has to be the best come back show of all time! We have definitely missed the excitement of PG Live! Miles Robinson, co-owner of House of cards, seven shops in the Home Counties

We had a wonderful time at PG Live. It was really great to be out meeting brands again and seeing new ranges in person! Steph Lloyd buyer for Utility

SAVE THE DATE Don’t miss PG Live 2022

Tuesday 7 - Wednesday 8 June Business Design Centre, London +44 (0) 7734 111633 @PGLiveLondon #pglive2022

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What a warm and welcoming show. PG Live was the perfect kickstart to trade shows for us. Mark Janson-Smith, managing director of Postmark, a group of five shops in London

The FuTure OF GreeTinGs Book your frEE TickETS now

17/12/2021 15:15

Top Drawer Stand O53, 16 - 18th January 2022

ArtPress are delighted to announce their exclusive collaboration with The Courtauld Collection comprising 30 single cards, 14 everyday notecard wallets and 14 Christmas wallets featuring classic works of art. The Courtauld cares for one of the greatest art collections in the UK, presented to the public at The Courtauld Gallery, London. Although most famous for its iconic Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces – including Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, the Collection also features renowned works from the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the present day.

Tel: 0207 231 2923

© ArtPress Publishing under license from The Courtauld

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Council With the ambitious title of ‘The future of our industry and why cards are more important than ever’ the GCA’s incoming president Chris Bryan, general manager of Second Nature delivered a memorable speech at the association’s recent AGM and Conference, highlighting the significant role greeting cards play in society, reflecting the good times as well as the tough ones. Here, Chris and some fellow members of the Council share their views on the industry’s recent challenges, significant happenings as well as the opportunities and wishes for the coming year.

Chris Bryan president of the GCA and general manager of Second Nature

Below: A topical Boris design from the Politically Incorrect range that is distributed by Second Nature.

Top: Chris Bryan giving his inaugural presidential speech at the most recent GCA AGM and Conference. Above: The majority of the current GCA Council as well as Paul Woodmansterne (Woodmansterne) and Jeremy Corner (Blue Eyed Sun) who have just ‘retired’ from the Council.

The GCA Council 2022

Opportunities in 2022: “A huge amount of the British public fell in love or President - Chris Bryan, Second Nature rediscovered their love of sending cards during the last couple of years and it’s Vice President - Darren Cave, UK Greetings now a question of matching the supply to the demand. Many bricks and mortar Treasurer - Daniel Prince, Danilo retailers have now expanded into online sales and/or have taken the opportunity Secretary - Raj Arora, Davora David Byk, Swan Mill Group to refresh their stores. The public want to return to normal, but are looking for a Mark Callaby, Ohh Deer nice, safe shopping experience so stores which fully cater for this should do well David Falkner, Cardology and with many vacant high street premises, there’s the potential for new retailers Rachel Hare, Belly Button Designs to emerge. We’ve already seen shoots of growth in card retailing so 2022 could Adriana Lovesy, Mrs Lovesy be a very exciting year.” Ged Mace, The Art File Challenges and happenings: “As we Fiona Pitt, Hallmark all came out of lockdown and furlough Sarah-Jane Porter, Moonpig wound down, the challenge for retailers Brett Smith, Emotional Rescue and publishers alike was to manage costs Tineka Smith, Huetribe as sales started to rebuild. The added Carolyn Verderame, Caroline Gardner Publishing complications of supply chain issues, both Karen Wilson, Paper Salad Seth Woodmansterne, Woodmansterne Publications globally and locally has not helped but l Amanda Fergusson is ceo of the GCA things appear to be evening out now, so l Jakki Brown and Warren Lomax, Max Publishing it’s a question of putting our best foot are co-opted members of the Council forward into the New Year with new and exciting product.” The wishlist: “Obviously paying for the business support over the pandemic comes at a huge cost, which means there are some potentially horrendous budgets coming up. I would urge the government to go easy on trying to claw back the deficit too quickly; many businesses are just starting to recover and could do with being nurtured over the next 12 months. In terms of sustainability, I’d like a government-led national approach to recycling that’s clear and workable for all industries, with agreed standards with which to work. To have local authorities operating different policies is ludicrous. There needs to be a major investment in recycling infrastructure across the country if we’re to meet the headline statements/targets on sustainability.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


New for 2022

We’ll be at the following trade shows... hope to see you there!

TOP DRAWER | Stand P70 SPRING FAIR | Stand 3S25

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Rajeev Arora

vice president of the GCA and commercial director of UK Greetings

treasurer of the GCA and managing director of Davora Opportunities in 2022: “The current GCA Council is highly motivated and engaged. The new sub-group structure has allowed council members to really get involved and add value in areas they are passionate about. This energy will permeate into 2022 and I expect to see a lot more engagement from GCA members too. I expect new GCA Local meetings to spring up around the country to help members feel like they belong to a community. All of this will bring opportunities.” Challenges and happenings: “The GCA has been a great facilitator of the environmental debate and many in the industry have stepped up to the challenge. Sustainability is not just about cello bags and glitter. We need all the players in the industry to look at their working practises if we are to reduce waste. There's so much more to do, and this challenge will continue into the future. The last two years have been an eye-opener for greeting card retailers. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many bricks-and-mortar shops successfully switching to selling cards online. It was a clear reminder of the demand and appetite for physical greeting cards. Even after lockdown finished, these online shops have continued to thrive while their physical shops returned to some kind of normality. Those small businesses who successfully pivoted to the online model now have an additional revenue stream to complement their shops. Online and physical shops are not mutually exclusive. They work best when they co-exist. The GCA AGM and Conference coming to my hometown of Manchester in October was my personal industry highlight of the year. I so enjoyed teaming up with fellow Manchester-based council members, Rachel Hare (Belly Button Design) and Karen Wilson (Paper Salad) to make this a reality!” The wishlist: “That the coronavirus mutates into a selfdestructing variant and dies off around the world completely, leaving us free to get back to complaining about Brexit and the weather again!”

Opportunities in 2022: “For the industry in general, a full calendar year with uninterrupted trade for retailers would be most welcome! In addition, the industry must continue to embrace sustainable practices and ensure our industry is seen as fit for the future in the eyes of the consumer. As regards the GCA, we need to continue to find ways to engage with the consumer of tomorrow and encourage them to buy into our category.” Challenges and happenings: “Sourcing and supply have been incredibly challenging. From the cost of freight rising exponentially to the availability of drivers to transport containers from the ports, it’s been a year like no other. The winter lockdown, the grounding of the Ever Given in the Suez Canal, some significant decisions by key retailers in respect of their chosen category partner and the GCA AGM are all memorable moments of 2021!” The wishlist: “Our category has played such an important role in keeping people connected and sharing joy in what’s been a challenging couple of years. I’m wishing and expecting to see the consumer continue to buy into greeting cards in a big way and support the UK greeting card industry in what I hope will be a bumper 2022.” Above: Darren Cave with Helena Mansell-Stopher, founder of Products of Change, the sustainable membership organisation, on the panel at the GCA AGM and Conference. Below: Tesco starts 2022 with UKG as its greeting card category partner.

Above: The idea of GCA Local is for publishers, retailers and suppliers in an area can meet up. Above: Raj Arora with fellow Manchester-based Council members (far left) Karen Wilson (Paper Salad) and Rachel Hare (Belly Button Designs).

Carolyn Verderame sales director of Caroline Gardner

Left: (right-left) Carolyn Verderame with Lisa Smythers (The Illustrated Saying), Kate Nelligan (Morleys) and Amanda Fergusson (GCA) at September’s Dragons Speed-dating event.

Opportunities in 2022: “Over the past few years we have seen a real shift back towards sending cards; so opportunities for 2022 lie with maintaining and building on this shift over the coming year. As ever, newness sells, the introduction of new designs into the market keeps people enticed and will keep the industry prevalent and growing. Linking in with this, a great opportunity for the GCA in 2022 is to further encourage the growth and development of new publishers that will help generate and invigorate newness within the market. Events such as Dragons Speed-dating this February are perfect for new publishers wanting to get a foot in the industry, enabling them to gain a firm understanding on how the industry works, as well as meeting key players within the UK greeting card industry.” Continued on page 39



Gary Leadston

in store April 2022 Me to You and Tiny Tatty Teddy gifting range

now available to order.

It’s easy to order: Via your Business Development Representative, our Customer Services team on 01243 792600 or online at

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


@carteblanchegrp @carteblanchegrp

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VIEWPOINTS Challenges and happenings: “The ever-growing cost and availability within the supply chain, including the rising cost of raw materials has meant that we have seen a huge impact on costs. Environmental awareness has remained at the fore this year with even greater shift towards naked cards and the removal of single use plastic from the market. Greeting card publishers have led the way with innovative and novel methods, such as Caroline Gardner’s use of an eco pouch on our festive packs. which is made from recycled bottles, which helps open great opportunities for industry exposure.” The wishlist: “While we at Caroline Gardner already manufacture our cards exclusively in the UK, there has been a noticeable shift of card production back to the UK from the Far East, which is a fantastic opportunity for growth and progression for the UK greeting card industry into 2022! A big wish is that the industry is able to thrive with this shift and that publishers and printers are able to flourish and maintain growth for the year ahead! A wish for steadying of cost prices on raw materials wouldn’t go amiss either!”

Daniel Prince treasurer of the GCA and managing director of Danilo Opportunities in 2022: “We all need to grasp opportunities to come together as an industry in key aspects that will affect us all, from sustainability, global freight issues as well as collaborative activities to keep promoting the sending of greeting cards.” Challenges and happenings: “Key challenges have been the shifting retail patterns and consumers’ shopping behaviour with lockdowns forcing consumers to buy online or from those retailers that were able to remain open. This obviously left those specialist retailers unable to trade throughout with an unfair disadvantage. The shift to more ‘working from home’ has and continues to present a challenge to many retailers located our major town/city centres with footfall down (though conversely has benefitted others located in residential vicinities). From a publisher standpoint managing stocks to cope with changing demand has been tricky. The delays to supply caused by shipping and global freight problems, as well as rising material and labour costs affecting us suppliers are still ongoing. As for key positive happenings, well there’s been some fantastic PR for the industry. Sainsbury’s Black History Month greeting card initiative, for example, was excellent and very well executed at retail.” The wishlist: “Top of my wishlist would be for the government to help manufacturers and publishers with costs of containers from overseas.” Top: Daniel’s father, Laurence has appeared in the media (on TV and on radio) highlighting the huge upheaval the shipping issues have caused to companies such as Danilo. Above: Daniel Prince (left) with Rod Brown, md of Words ‘n’ Wishes which distributes Danilo products to independents.

Above: Caroline Gardner Christmas cards in an eco pouch.

Fiona Pitt head of commercial at Hallmark UK Opportunities in 2022: “Emphasising emotional connections and ensuring that our industry remains at the core of enabling those connections. Greeting cards are relatively low cost so will play an important role in an inflationary environment. Another big opportunity is for us as a sector to continue to help in the nation’s mental wellbeing.” Challenges and happenings: “Inflation and the need to keep the category accessible will be a challenge in all categories. We need to stay relevant and price competitive - and we will need our supply and retail partners to work with the industry to support this. As far as key happenings. On the negative, the impact of the lockdown on consumer confidence and behaviour. On the positive front, despite the challenges the category has seen some bounce back remains very relevant in this changing world.” The wishlist: “My wish for the Government is that it offers support around controlling inflation while I would enlist the mystical fairy to sort out some endorsement from social movers and shakers in a social media world about the importance and joy of sending and receiving cards.” Above: Fiona Pitt. Left: Influencer Katie Piper took to social media to promote the sending of personalised Hallmark Christmas cards.

Ged Mace managing director of The Art File Opportunities in 2022: “As younger generations continue to embrace greeting cards, it’s been evident throughout the year that greeting cards remain relevant and hold value to the great British public, perhaps more so than ever before. Despite all the challenges that still face us all, our industry represents such a rich and diverse community of designers, publishers and retailers that I feel we could see a golden period of greeting card giving. This will naturally lead to even more creativity, more originality, more choice and more value for’s to 2022!” Above right: Ged Mace (left) talking retail with indie David Robertson of JP Pozzi at the recent GCA AGM and Conference.




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VIEWPOINTS Mark Callaby head of the GCA’s Diversity and Inclusion Sub-committee and managing director of Ohh Deer Opportunities in 2022: “I'm really confident that the industry has opportunities to continue our progress on sustainability. I believe it's got a little wild with everyone trying to find solutions to removing singleuse plastic when ultimately just nesting the envelope in Above: Mark Callaby on stage at The Retas (of which Ohh Deer is the card is probably the best solution (definitely when a sponsor), about to announce the winner of its sponsored looking at costs and additional materials). However, category. Below left: As head of the GCA the clasps, bands, corner clamps have been useful Diversity & Inclusion Subtransitions for everyone. committee, Mark Callaby has drive progress within the I also think we have a really good opportunity to helped industry. He was instrumental in the Sainsbury’s x GCA Black push inclusivity further as well and the work that the History Month competition, with GCA has done here/will do on this front will help. this being one of the 26 designs that won. It's at the forefront of everyone's minds at the moment, which should only help our industry further. For the GCA, I'm really excited with what this looks like now. In just two years since I joined the council it has changed significantly and we have a really engaged council who are helping shape the industry. Kudos to Amanda especially for setting up a structure that gives us all focus on key areas. I'm excited to continue leading the Diversity Sub-committee and I'm equally excited to see what the AGM looks like in 2022 following the success of the recent one.” Key challenges and happenings: “It's got to be the perfect storm of Covid-19, Brexit and shipping. It's hit us hard at Ohh Deer and I know that's echoed across the industry. Our costs have been incredibly challenging to control, let alone feeling like we're letting customers down due to delays that we've just not been able to control. I think the best thing that happened this year was the ability to get back together and seeing how bricks and mortar stores have bounced back strongly. After a really tough year, it allowed us to appreciate everything even more. While so much bad happened, I think most people have seen the benefits of online selling or shopping locally.” The wishlist: “There has to be regulations introduced on shipping. While costs have probably gone up, it looks like shipping companies are basking in profits that they've only ever dreamed of before. Shipping seems to be driving prices up for everyone even for products made in the UK (as the material often needs to be imported to the UK in the first place).”

David Falkner director of Cardology Opportunities in 2022: “We’re an industry whose primary purpose is to enable our customers to reaffirm relationships and emotional connections, so the ongoing barriers reducing people’s ability to physically meet up certainly hasn’t and won’t dampen demand. Likewise, the GCA consumer research has highlighted that some key groups across the UK population have told us that our industrywide offering could be expanded, so there’s scope for growth there.” Challenges and happenings: “Primarily, it’s been about getting product across to us at the right time to sell it (global shipping crisis) as well as our ability to meet new suppliers. Thereafter it has been about ensuring product was in the channels that consumers could actually access it, both domestically (store lockdowns and re-openings as well as transparency when managing B2C/B2B convergence) and internationally (where Brexit has been predictably painful for our planned EU B2C sales expansion).” The wishlist: “Here are the highlights from the note I sent to Santa… a. International buyers are able to plan visits to Spring Fair and PG Live with certainty. b. Shipping costs returning closer to pre-pandemic levels. c. If it is required, that any lockdown solution is genuinely fair to all retailers. d. Less political posturing over Northern Ireland - I really don’t want to start seeing tariffs creep onto EUbound product. e. Oh, plus 100% sell through and zero returns.” Above: The joy of trade shows. David Falkner (second left) on the Cardology stand at PG Live with co-director (left) Kripa Shah and East Grinstead Bookshop’s John Pye and Krystyna O'Brien.

Right: David Byk.

David Byk ceo of Swan Mill, Ling Design, GBCC, Waterwells and Penny Kennedy) Opportunities in 2022: “After everything everybody in the industry has been through, it really is a case of having to crack on. There are opportunities out there if we ‘keep the faith’, do not stint on producing great quality cards and support the good retailers, as well as those who are suffering. I have no doubt that we will see an increase in more retailers moving to planned displays or indeed brokerage as they recognise these are ways of reducing the hassle and costs while still offering a strong selection of publishers’ designs to their respective customer bases. People are communicating better, they love cards and with any reduction in uncertainty, any upturn in the feelgood factor will bring opportunities for all.” Challenges and happenings: “A key challenge for retailers and ultimately publishers has been the drop in high street footfall. The dramatic cost increases have certainly impacted significantly on publishers’ profitability - the price of cardboard alone went up by another 15% recently and that is on top of the much-publicised swingeing increases inboard shipping and freight costs.” The wishlist: “Stress to Boris the importance of being honest and upfront and urge him to think more about the business community. I would also dearly love the mystical good fairy to sprinkle some of her magic dust so we can all return to a ‘normal’ life in which we can see all best laid plans coming to fruition. What about a free magical Booster (with no side effects and 100% efficacy) with every greeting card bought - now wouldn’t that make for a great 2022?!” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Opinion: Diversity

The Hear And Now Rose Ayling-Ellis competing in and ultimately winning Strictly Come Dancing not only brought immense joy to millions in awe of her dancing talents, but also gave a voice to the deaf community. Jenny Baker, one of the founders of Out of the Box Cards was invited by PG to share how the publisher has made a commitment to reflect disability on its greeting cards as part of the industry’s progress on diversity and inclusion. “There is no doubt about it, Rose Ayling-Ellis being on Strictly has raised a lot of awareness of those living with disabilities and like millions of others, I have experienced a real sense of awe watching her dance. When we first got together to dream up Out of the Box Cards, we said that one day we'd like to create cards that reflect disabilities. There are 14.1 million people in the UK with disabilities, and that one word is used for a huge range of conditions, some of them are visible and some of them are hidden.

Over several months, Grace [Rae, who co-runs the card publisher] talked to people who describe themselves as disabled to find out more about their experience of buying cards or being sent cards and received some insightful responses. Here are some of the things we heard… l One woman who uses a wheelchair said that she doesn't always see herself as disabled. She enjoys adventure and likes to push boundaries. She once abseiled down a tower and the most difficult part of the day was the journey across town to get to the tower. Sometimes the most disabling thing is other people's attitudes or the lack of inclusive planning. l There was huge respect for Paralympians, but an acknowledgement that sometimes

Above: Strictly winners Rose AylingEllis and Giovanni Pernice dancing their Couples Choice which included a silent segment to raise awareness for the deaf community. Left: The Rocket Chair card design from Out of the Box Cards’ birthday range created in response to a young disabled girl’s observation. Below left: Jenny Baker (centre) with Out of the Box Cards’ team mates, Grace Rae (right) and Daisy Mojave Holland.

people with disabilities are expected to be superheroes. Most are very ordinary! Other times they are seen as victims, scroungers or in need of charity. l Many people disliked 'Get Well Soon' cards. 'There's so much ‘hurrying up’ on cards, rather than the empathy of sitting with someone.' Some people with disabilities frequently spend time in hospital or at numerous doctors' appointments. They may be living with chronic illness and won't 'recover'. Those with learning difficulties have them for life. They can adapt but there is no 'getting better'. There were requests for cards that recognised getting better might be a wiggle rather than a straight line, and that enabled people to express their support for the long term. l Someone reflected that she had never been given a card when her mental health has been poor, whereas cards are common when someone is physically unwell. She talked about the hierarchy of disabilities and that representing mental illness on Above right: Helen Keller (inspirational deaf and blind activist) features alongside Mum Shirl (committed to justice for Aboriginal Australians) and Yayori Matsui (women’s rights campaigner) feature on this Out of the Box design. Right: An inclusive design for girls in Out of the Box’s portfolio.

cards could be really difficult. A good question to ask is 'what is wellness?' She felt honoured to have touched the darkest parts of life through mental illness and had found that out of this, comes hope. It's a challenge to translate all of this and more onto cards, but we have made a start. For example, we were contacted by a mum whose four-year-old daughter Lily uses a powerchair. Lily had asked her why there were no cards with girls like her on them. We were delighted to create a design for her taking on board Lily’s suggestion that there should be rocket boosters and flames coming out the back of the powerchair - that is now part of our range.

We also included Helen Keller [the American author and disability rights advocate who was blind and deaf] on a Three Wise Women Christmas card. A new card encourages people to ‘Take Your Time’ with a fabulous poem on the back by Helen Seymour (a disabled artist) about slowing down, which could be sent to someone who's coping with illness or disability. So we have made a start and have made a commitment to reflect disabilities - the visible and the hidden.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE




IMPORTANT CLEAR SPACE “Do you realise that you REQUIREMENTS BLANK INSIDE put that plastic bottle in the wrong bin?”

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Top Drawer stand O29 T: 0208 671 2166 E:

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New Dates: 20-22 February at London’s Olympia

A selection of products that are to be showcased at Top Drawer.

Quirky Creations As part of a worldwide licensing agreement with Pabuku, The Art File is launching its inaugural collection at Top Drawer. Known for its distinctive quirky designs, which combine Victorian style illustrations with a contemporary twist and a pinch of subtle humour, the first Pabuku range from The Art File comprises 20 designs, including current best sellers as well as some beautiful new designs. The Art File 0115 850 7490 Top Drawer O48

Mini Monster Fest! Lil Monsters is the latest children’s card range from Tache. It spans 24 designs featuring illustrations of cheeky creatures and lovable dinosaurs in vibrant colours. Each card is handmade, featuring 3D elements and foiling with the range covering everyday designs as well as some occasions.Printed on FSC certified high-quality board the cards come together with patterned envelopes which have been designed specifically for the range. Tache 01202 691435 Top Drawer Stand J39

Super Duper Designs Earlybird has been a busy bee, with 24 new eye-catching Super Fab designs which deliver a big colour bang! These birthday designs are all printed using neon inks enhanced by subtle embossing. Earlybird Designs 01227 765372 Top Drawer Stand Q40

Delightfully Delicate Paper Raven Co is the latest range from Ricicle Cards. The charming illustrations are full of florals and delicate lettering, all of which done by hand. There are 14 cards in this range - mostly birthday cards, but with a few choice captions, such as engagement, anniversary, new baby and sympathy. All the cards are A6 in size and are paired with luxury white envelopes. Ricicle Cards (0)7850757676 Top Drawer Stand Q76

Conscious Creatures Cath Tate Cards has published a new range by illustrator, muralist and collage artist, Nikki Pontin. Each card in the range is created using hand-crafted collage techniques with the 12 designs featuring a mix of wildlife and characterful creatures. All the cards are printed on 100% recycled paper and come with a recycled kraft envelope. Cath Tate Cards 0208 671 2166 Top Drawer Stand O29

A Precious Perspective ArtPress fell for the bold graphic artworks and then fell even deeper when the story about their creation unfolded. Woodism is a glimpse inside the beautiful mind of Woody, a young autistic boy. It’s a collaboration between him and his dad who has turned some of his unique phrases into linocut artworks. Woodism supports the charity Ambitious About Autism. The inaugural collection consists of eight everyday blank card designs (120 x 170mm) with an accompanying China white envelope. ArtPress Publishing 020 7231 2923 Top Drawer Stand O53 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 45



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New Dates: 20-22 February at London’s Olympia

A selection of products that are to be showcased at Top Drawer.

Join The Fold Introducing Happy Hour! a brand-new range of concertina-formatted funnies from Rosie Made A Thing. The smile-raising range consists of six fold-out scenes that are printed in the UK on a high-quality FSC board and come packaged in a bespoke, plastic-free, fully recyclable envelope. Rosie Made A Thing 0116 4062000 Top Drawer Stand O52

High-brow Humour

The World Around Us Carpe Lumen will be showing its whole range of over 150 photographic cards at Top Drawer. The collection includes many UK subjects, selected Europe and worldwide locations as well as landscapes, wildlife, woodlands and cities. There are also ‘amuse-yeux’ cards that do not necessarily fall into any specific genre. The blank cards, all 150mm square format, are printed on sustainably sourced stock and come with recycled envelopes and either bio-bags or bands. Carpe Lumen 07305 045593 Top Drawer Stand R50

Poet and Painter will be launching 22 spanking new designs in two collections at Top Drawer, in bold bright colourways with its usual off-beat observational humour. All the new Motley and Spring Seasons cards are 150mm x 150mm and are printed on FSC-rated high quality matt 350 gsm stock, with white envelopes. All of Poet and Painter’s cards are available naked, with eco clasp or with a fully compostable cornstarch bag and label. Poet and Painter 07779 064894 Top Drawer Stand M60

Childhood Reflections Dicky Bird’s latest 12 cards reflect owner Liz Temple Wells’ desire to inject a little joy into these frankly weird times. For the new designs’ inspiration, she looked back to things she loved as a kid - toadstools, platform shoes, cherry pie, roller boots, balloon dogs and portable cassette players – a celebration of the simpler, joyous times of our past! Dicky Bird Top Drawer Stand O67

Picture Postcard Perfect I Drew This will be showing off a very much extended Landmarks range, including six new Kent designs as a result of owner Ilona Drew working with Broadstairs retailer Arrowsmiths to create. Based on colourful geographically flavoured artworks, with a particular slant towards architecture, these designs could interest any retailer who does well with local landmark illustrations. There are now over 200 designs (all measuring 133mm x 184mm) in the range and they come with a recycled kraft envelope. I Drew This 07813 005707. Top Drawer Stand M80

People Watching Rumble Cards has further expanded its Artist Series through a collaboration with Oxford-based illustrator, Amelia Flower. Amelia’s drawings are inspired by observing people in their daily lives, looking at what they’re wearing and where they might be going. Rumble Cards Top Drawer Stand Q48 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 47

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New Dates: 20-22 February at London’s Olympia

A selection of products that are to be showcased at Top Drawer.

Beauty in Full Bloom Having been years in the making, Penguin Ink has just unveiled the first clutch of designs in its new Flora range. Lizzie Parker’s designs of yellow daffodils, pink tulips, snowdrops and bluebells are all letterpress printed on a 100% recycled paper which has a beautiful high-quality finish. Penguin Ink 07525497122 Top Drawer Stand N81 / Spring Fair Stand 3C31

A Touch of Excellence

Animal Magic A dozen new designs will be welcomed into English Graphics’ menagerie, featuring several new creatures from the animal and floral kingdom, from a kingfisher to a badger, cute duckling to a beady eyed frog. Believing the idea of a world without sparkle is unthinkable, all of English Graphics’ cards only feature biodegradable Eco-glitter made from plant cellulose and the cards are packed in Biotin ‘cellophane’. English Graphics 01590 672778 Top Drawer Stand Q39

Flourishing Florals Alex Sharp Photography will be unveiling a whole new Fabulous Florals range of greeting cards, coasters and placemats, gift wrap and tea towels. Each design in the range combines both colour and black and white photographic imagery, all by Alex, which bring out a new dimension to the flower designs. The range includes parrot tulips, dahlias, a pink lily, various roses, hydrangeas, a peony and many more. Some of the flowers were grown in Alex’s garden while others were home grown by her local florist. Alex Sharp Photography 07885472010 Top Drawer Stand P90

Raspberry Blossom is launching over 100 new designs, including four new collections and a new card packs range. Featuring in this newness is its Midnight collection, Raspberry Blossom’s first masculine design-led range. Using three different print finishes, Midnight uses a clever combination of blind embossing, spot-UV and more traditional embossing to create and highlight stunning textures and shapes. As well as everyday designs, a congrats, new home and new job design are also included. All of the designs (133mm x 184mm) are coupled with a deep teal envelope. Raspberry Blossom 01926 257757 Top Drawer Stand Q58

A Summer Showcase As well as launching five new greeting card ranges at Top Drawer, Caroline Gardner will also be showcasing new gift ranges, including its Wimbledon collection (pictured). Motifs that are synonymous with summertime and bright contrasting colours sit alongside the iconic CG heart in this range. Classic CG monochrome hearts, a soft pink and bright red ditsy heart print and the frivolity as strawberries and sunglasses motifs adorn keyrings, mirrors, notebooks as well as other products. Caroline Gardner 020 8288 9696 Top Drawer Stand F59

Designs of Distinction In addition to expanding its popular Eleonora range (featuring designs by Eleonor Arosio), Stormy Knight is launching a collection based on the distinctive artwork of Holly Maguire as well as one by Californian illustrator Sonia Yim. Holly's whimsical folk-inspired illustrations (pictured) are painted in gouache and finished with gold foil highlights, while Sonia’s are full of bold handlettering and beautiful bright hues. Paired with GF Smith Callisto pearl envelopes, they are available naked, with a Kard Klasp or in cello bags. Stormy Knight 0117 9098684 Top Drawer Stand Q59 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 49


Freshness guaranteed – order your copy today!

Tel: 0116 230 4197 00_PG_January 2022.indd 1 Email:

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Partying Pets! Cinnamon Aitch has an abundance of lovely new things launching this month. Over 30 gorgeous new designs - from perfect poodles to banjo playing cats - have been added to its bestselling Margo range, meaning it now includes ages and exam captions alongside more birthdays and blank cards. Featuring more furry friends and adorable critters, each colour-popping design is printed on 350g FSC-approved board and made entirely in the UK. Cinnamon Aitch 0121 773 6833

Winter Wishes Coaster-ing Along Dandelion Stationery has added 14 designs to its range of coasters, which means there are now over 30 designs to choose from ideal for birthdays, stocking fillers or ‘just because’ gifts. They are handmade in a UK factory using a sustainably sourced eucalyptus board base with a full melamine surface and cork backing. Dandelion Stationery 01332 4504940

Ready for Christmas 2022, print maker Lizzie Perkins of Art Matters has been busy. Among the latest releases, featuring in the Midwinter range is a trio of designs that are based on the hand-printed original of reindeers, entitled Heading North. Available as an A5 landscape as well in two cropped formats 150mm square and 125mm square), some single cards are available as well as in packs of five cards. Art Matters 01491671758

Pucker Up Meg Hawkins’ nourishing and smooth lip balms are perfect for the eco-conscious consumer. With the lids featuring the artist’s nature-based art, all the balms honey, vanilla, cherry and mint - are made with all-natural ingredients, are 100% vegan, cruelty free and hand-made in Shropshire, packed in a recyclable, plastic-free packaging. Meg Hawkins 07811 672 460

Art In Action Doodleicious Art has launched a new card collection which continues the publisher’s love affair with the natural world. The latest additions, all featuring the exquisite detailed art of Sarah Capper, depicts British birds and botanicals. Each card, blank inside is 150mm square and comes with a quality coloured envelope and compostable wrapping. Doodleicious Art 07734 034039

All In The Detail Some Ink Nice’s new card and notebook designs include six new art card designs and eight new foiled occasions designs, all of which have rich, solid colours with matt lamination. All based on original pen and ink drawings, the cards also feature gold or metallic bronze foiling. There is also a corresponding range of notebooks, art prints and wrapping paper. Some Ink Nice 07912 105025 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 51

2022 COLLECTION OUT NOW Our latest and most inspiring catalogue yet has just unfurled its wings. Please contact your local agent, register online or call our sales team to order yours.

E: Tel: 01373 462165

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Spreading The Love Pioneer is full of love for Valentine’s Day, having develoeped a host of Qualatex balloons for the first spring season of 2022. Included within this is its Me to You Valentine’s range with the Me to You Tatty Teddy I Love You Bouquet 18” heart Microfoil balloon accompanying Tatty Teddy Valentine’s Day latex balloons et. Pioneer Europe 01279 501090

Everyday Trending Animal Crackers Young animal lovers will adore Dyson Design’s latest birthday collection, Amazing Animals. Covering birthdays for ages one to 12, there are creature caricatures from pandas to toucans, plus six generic birthday cards – a whale, a lion, a fox, a zebra, a rabbit and a tiger – all with witty wishes for the young at heart. Dyson Design 0116 285 5725

Wholesale publisher, Out of the Blue Studios’ has expanded its popular #ONTREND everyday in-stock age range. Joining the current collection (which encompasses 7-90 in both female and male), the publisher has launched both female and male designs covering ages 1-6. All cards are Code 50, printed on sustainably sourced FSCaccredited board with full colour insert, die-cutting and flittering. Out of the Blue Studios 07795 957995

A Charitable Christmas A Cocktail…or Six Crumble and Core has created a collection of assorted A6 boxed notecards. The collection began with Bees, Cakes, Doorways, Seaside, Blossom, Boho, and they went really well, so joining the line-up is a set of Cocktails cards, which are also available as a new collection of single cards. The hand finished designs encompass Sex on the beach, Bloody Mary, Mojito, Strawberry Daquiri, Pina Colada and Porn Star Martini. Crumble and Core 01825 841412

Giving Back Clare Maddicott Publications has doubled its offering of its charity Christmas range for 2022 (supporting Young Lives vs Cancer and Parkinson’s UK), comprising some beautifully illustrated designs, produced by talented artists such as Sarah Long, Emily Hauck and Belinda Drought. The collection spans ten distinctive looks, with three packs of each style on offer. Each pack contains five cards (137mm square) of one design each featuring intricate hot foil and embossing details, all wrapped in biodegradable bags. A full facing, free standing display unit is available. Clare Maddicott Publications 01638 569050

Abacus Cards has an abundant selection of Christmas cards for 2022, both counter and packaged. Its range of Christmas charity cello pack designs (supporting Marie Curie and British Heart Foundation) include designs, are 137mm square, all packed (eight cards up) in biodegradable cello bags with either red or white envelopes. Its Christmas bumper box collection for 2022 comprises 12 designs (all 160mm square) with each box containing 27 cards of three designs. Meanwhile, there are six gorgeous illustrative designs (each with an attractive outer sleeve) in its luxury box range, each featuring intricate hot foiling and embossed details. Abacus Cards 01638 569050


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Publisher Focus

Will the rise in veganism be the demise of the BBQ King designs? Will the sobriety brigade dilute the strength of gin cards? What real impact will the phygital horizon have on tangible greeting cards? How can you authenticate authenticity in the consumer’s eyes? These are just a few of the questions Hannah Allan, Pigment’s strategic trend researcher and senior designer has confronted of late in coming up with the six key themes she predicts will impact on how we live our lives in 2022, and as such will percolate through to greeting card designs. Hannah takes PG on a tour of Pigment’s 2022 ‘theme park’ with a longer stop at two key ‘attractions’. “The pandemic has most definitely accelerated a lot of trends, in the way we live our lives, what we deem as important and how we relate to those around us,” says Hannah Allan, whose role at Pigment as its strategic trend researcher and senior designer draws on her skill and interest in tracking trends as well as her creative talents. “Not everything that happens at a macro level in society has a direct bearing on greeting card designs,” says Hannah, but stresses that there is definitely a strong correlation between the ‘big picture’ of life at large and the ‘little pictures’ on the greeting card racks. Following on from a similar project last year for the publisher, Hannah went into

sensory and data overload, scouring opinion polls, trawling the media and being all eyes to societal and attitudinal shifts. She then distilled all this to arrive at what Hannah believes will form the six key life themes for 2022. “While not prescriptive, these key themes, alongside the design trends we have noted are so useful to have in the background when we are designing ranges and even specific designs,” believes Hannah. “It has proved so useful to have highlighted these themes so that we can make sure that through our cards that Pigment is in tune with the feelings, beliefs and expectations of the public,” she adds. As she stresses, greeting cards have always played a very important role in social

Above: Hannah Allan. Below: Small Moments, Big Impact is one of the six trends Hannah has highlighted for 2022, posting this on LinkedIn with an image from Pigment’s Love Unlimited range.

communication, something more needed now than ever before, but the designs need to stay relevant and chime with the nuances of the day. “With all the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, there is an urge for authenticity, a passion to support the community, a drive to stand up and speak out for our values, as well as a need to reheal ourselves and our planet. And, to a greater or lesser extent the greeting cards of 2022 will play a part in this,” says Hannah proudly.

Hannah’s Six Key 2022 Themes l Feelwell Factor This will carry on from the mindfulness and wellness theme of the last few years. This will be all about people wanting to reheal, evidenced by the appetite for Thinking of You cards. The draw to the countryside and appreciating nature is part of this. l Power of Community Feeling you are part of a community and shared values will be more important than ever. This is evidenced in the public’s support of localism as well as more ethical brands. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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n ew e v e ryday

collections for 2022

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

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l Small Moments, Big Impact Protecting time for fostering our closest relationships in our lives continues in 2022. Small intimate moments and celebrations become just as important as the big milestones. It’s time to celebrate the little things, little wins and each other more - because why wait for just once a year? l Jubilant Times As consumer confidence starts to recover, a new party atmosphere should take hold for 2022 as people make up for lost time with ‘revenge celebrations’. Expect crowded scenes, bright colours and plenty of confetti bursts. Messages of hope, optimism and joy will be key. l Seen & Heard This is all about being authentic, transparent, inclusive and accountable. The consumer is becoming more definite about what they want from the brands they buy and the retailers they support. It will be more about real action to progress on areas such as the environment and diversity. l New Routines 2.0 This is part of an ongoing theme which reflects the pace of the new normal, be it the continued adoption of creative hobbies, the growing interest in astrology, the changing attitudes to health and diet as well as the evolution of the phygital.

Life in Pencil

Reflecting both the Feelwell Factor and Power of Community themes, Pigment’s new Life in Pencil range is a significant launch for the publisher. The collection is based on the detailed pencil drawings of countryside scenes and animals by artist Shaun Vickers, who four years ago gave up corporate life (including having been directly employed in the greeting card industry) and flung himself headlong into selling his designs at artisan craft events. “I wanted to try something new with my love of putting pencil to paper, something my dad inspired me to do as child. It’s allowed me to explore new opportunites, exhibiting my work throughout Yorkshire, from the Great Northern Art Fair to artisan craft events across Ilkley, Harrogate, Ripon and Hebden Bridge… it has been an incredible journey. I really enjoy getting out and about, meeting customers face to face, getting instant feedback on new work and finding so many fellow artists in my local community. By Summer 2021, as the lockdown started to ease I created a marquee style pop-up shop which provided the opportunity to travel further afield, down to the glorious Cotswolds, the Midland Shires and rugged beauty of Cumbria.” Spotting Shaun’s work at a craft fair, Martin Powderly, creative director of Pigment was blown away by quality of the artwork as well as the clarity of his brand. “Eavesdropping on his customer conversations I was instantly impressed by the authenticity of his work and his real connection with card shoppers,” says Martin. Having been looking for a ‘true rural’ brand for some time to chime with the increased appreciation of nature, Pigment collaborated with Shawn to create the Life in Pencil inaugural collection which launches this month. Above left: Shaun Vickers at a country fair with his stall showing his own produced range of products. Above: One of the card designs in the Life in Pencil range from Pigment, based on Shaun Vickers’ work. Left: Shaun Vickers working on a Highland Cow artwork.

Fox & Butler

The renaissance of Pigment’s Fox & Butler brand chimes with the Small Moments, Big Impact theme as well as Seen & Heard. “Luxury, craftsmanship and attention to detail,” are three elements which Pigment’s Martin Powderly highlights are at the essence of the brand new Fox & Butler collection. “We first launched the brand five years ago as small cards, but in response to customer’s requests for a really premium, UK-made collection, we have created this beautiful collection,” Martin adds. At the heart of each design is the detailed embossing, luxuriously foiled onto top end art board and complemented by the gold burnished envelopes. “To achieve the incredible embossing we have reverted to traditional etched die making, worked with real craftsmen and investing heavily in the highest grade engravings to create a finish that is second to none,” believes Martin. Above: Pigment has relaunched Fox & Butler very much as a premium well-crafted brand which has a nod to the opulence of the 1920s. Left: Considerable investment has been made by Pigment in the top quality engraving dies for the Fox & Butler designs. Right: Fine art board, luxurious finishes and gold burnished envelopes add to the sophisticated appeal of the new Fox & Butler cards.



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Retailer Perspective

In The


While never ones to court the limelight, Cardzone’s trio of recent triumphs - winning two awards in The Retas, founder Paul Taylor being presented with the Honorary Achievement accolade at The Henries and the company’s acquisition of the Northamptonbased Mooch gift shop group - has certainly shone the spotlight on this independently-owned specialist retail business. PG met up with directors Paul and James Taylor to find out what’s on the cards for 2022. “We have never felt that comfortable with being the centre of attention, but cannot deny what a lovely feeling it was to receive two awards at The Retas, including the prestigious Greeting Card Retailer of the Year, especially as so many of our team and our suppliers were in the room,” said Paul Taylor, managing director of Cardzone. “And to come a month after The Henries, when I felt so humbled and surprised to be presented with the Honorary Achievement Award, was lovely. I love this industry that I am proud to have been a part of for almost four decades and still feel there are more growth opportunities out there for Cardzone,” he added. Cardzone has certainly not rested on its laurels, despite the challenges that the pandemic has thrown in its way, by not only navigating its way through, but growing its estate through acquisitions, forging a joint venture with London-based Postmark, instigating several relocations to larger units, investing in new look branding for Cardzone while also being incredibly fair in its financial support for suppliers. As Paul’s co-director and son James explained: “On the one hand we have faced falling footfall and sales in our existing stores (which thankfully gradually improved since coming out of the third lockdown); and on the other we have been opening roughly a new

store every fortnight.” He added, that strategy meant “explaining to our staff that this growth was a means of supporting the business’ financial health in the longer term. It may have often felt like we were prioritising growth ahead of the performance of our existing stores when truthfully both aspects

Above: Paul Taylor holds The Retas 2021 Greeting Card Retailer of Year trophy on stage with James (third left), members of the Cardzone team and The Art File’s Ged Mace (fourth left), who as sponsor of the category presented the award. Below left: Cardzone opened a store in Seaford last year, in a former Clintons unit. Below: The Cheshire Oaks store is one of 23 outlet stores in the Cardzone estate. The retailer joined forces with Fedrigoni and Hallmark on a Cards for the UK activation last summer in which members of the public wrote their thanks inside giant cards. Bottom: The Mooch shop in Rushden Lakes which is now part of the Cardzone family.

are of equal importance and without these combined elements we wouldn’t be where we are today, almost 17 years on since opening the first Cardzone store.” Making The Retas 2021 all the more memorable for the Cardzone team was that half an hour into the event came the news that its acquisition of the Northamptonshirebased Mooch gift shop group of five stores (owned by Rachel and Paul Roberts), had been signed and sealed, taking the Cardzone group up to 191 stores and boosting its profile on the gifting retailing front. “We are thrilled to welcome the Mooch brand to our group portfolio and its team of dedicated staff who have all been excellent throughout this transition period,” said James Taylor. “We had been aware of the growing Mooch brand for a couple of years and so were delighted to start discussions PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE





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back in the late summer about a potential sale. Paul and Rachel have built an excellent business in a very short space of time. We love the brand name and we are now learning from them what makes Mooch so popular with its customers so we can then look at expansion across different parts of the UK. Two thirds of its supplier base are companies we have never dealt with so that presents new opportunities for us to diversify our gifting offer too,” believes James, who heads up gift buying as well as the acquisitions. The addition of Mooch, which comprises two stores in Northampton, as well as one in Olney, Towcester and also one in the Rushden Lakes shopping centre (where Paul has always wanted to have a store), gives Cardzone another string to its bow. “As ever in retail it is about finding the right locations, but while historically our growth has largely been as a result of acquiring existing greeting card shops, we do believe that the Mooch brand would lend itself to some organic expansion whereby we take an empty unit, but we need to first understand the business and learn from the existing team,” suggests Paul. Having dipped their toes in on the ecommerce front, launching Cardzone’s first trading website last February, the ‘pause’ button has been pressed, preferring to keep their feet firmly on the ground in physical bricks and mortar. “The desire to launch a website was massively amplified while we were closed through the first lockdown, as you can imagine!” James explained. “It’s always been a market which has fascinated us, but with it being so different to bricks and mortar retail we feel it will be better to acquire an existing online business.” So, this coming year, Paul and James have set their sights on adding 20 stores to the Cardzone estate, which would take it to over 200 shops. Top of their wishlist is to find

“independently owned existing good quality card shops. We love buying existing businesses as they have the goodwill from customers and a team that is dedicated to offering that personal customer service,” explains Paul. “The ideal scenario would be if the owners and their staff wanted to stay on for a while to work with us. There are still so many great independent card shops out there and we hope that if any owners are thinking of selling up that they come to us first. We are prepared to offer good money!” Paul added, citing its acquisitions last April of the two Romantica shops in Bristol from owner Nik Gornall as well as Carolyn Bieda’s Cards, Gifts &

Top: Paul (left) and James Taylor had a good reason to celebrate at The Retas 2021. Above: Having started in smaller shop units, in some instances Cardzone is now considering relocations to larger shops to better accommodate its extensive card and gift offer. Below: Inside Postmark’s Wimbledon Village shop.

Balloons stores in Shaftsbury and Blandford Forum as perfect examples of this approach. “Both Carolyn and Nik were a pleasure to deal with and we are very happy that their former staff are continuing as part of our team,” reinforced James. While Cardzone now has stores pretty much throughout the UK, some areas are higher on the expansion wishlist than others. “We already have a strong presence in the Midlands, the North and the South West and our acquisition of Gallery Cards in Wales gave us a foothold there on the value front,” recounts Paul. “We are desperately keen to expand in Scotland and Northern Ireland, as our stores there have performed better coming out of the pandemic than those in other areas,” Paul revealed.

He also acknowledges that the group has a weakness in the South and South East of England, but stresses than any growth in the London area will be through the joint venture forged with Postmark’s owners Mark and Leona Janson-Smith last Spring, which has resulted in stores being opened in Blackheath and Wimbledon under this new partnership. “Mark and Leona know the Postmark business inside and out. Their attention to detail on the product front is second to none and we would love to open more shops with them,” said Paul enthusiastically. “I was 22 when I started working in this industry, so much has changed since then, but I still believe greeting cards have a massive role to play in people’s lives and I am going to make sure that as many of them as possible have the opportunity to buy from one of our shops,” Paul added, still fully in the ‘card zone’ almost four decades on! PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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In The Making

A Winning

Main picture: Nadiya Hussain’s huge popularity goes way beyond her cooking skills. (Photo: Chris Terry) Below: Of course the first batch of designs just had to include a cake!


Take a generous handful of vibrant colours, stir in some eye-catching patterns, add some choice words, season with exquisite foiling and garnish with an uplifting message from the chef, and there you have it, a Nadiya Hussain greeting card collection. PG ventured into the Woodmansterne ‘kitchen’ to learn about the vital ingredients in this latest launch.



Nadiya Hussain brightened up our lives the moment she first appeared on - and went on to win - Great British Bake Off in 2015 and has continued to spread joy ever since. Through sharing her skills and her personality on her TV programmes, through her cookery books and newspaper columns, Nadiya has become one of the most influential and inspirational women in popular culture, something that has not been missed by the Woodmansterne creative team. “Every 3-6 months we have a group brainstorming, where everyone in the studio contributes images of what has caught their eye, be it through social media, on TV, in retail or elsewhere,” explained Lee Keeper, creative director of Woodmansterne Publications. “During one of these sessions at the start of lockdown, we were flicking through the sheets of submissions and Nadiya’s smiling face popped up within a display of Bliss ceramics in John Lewis, and something clicked.” No time was wasted in getting in contact with Ian Downes of Start Licensing, who represents Nadiya on the licensing front. “We knew Ian already as we had worked with him on our Ashmolean Museum range. Before we knew it, we were on a Zoom call and goodness me Nadiya was there too. Her involvement in and enthusiasm for what we wanted to create as well as her love of greeting cards generally really was the icing on the cake, pardon the pun!” recalls Lee. Having been an ardent Bake Off fan since Nadiya first rose to fame, Woodmansterne senior designer Paula Reece jumped at the opportunity to translate the essence of this amazing woman into greeting cards. “I wanted the designs to reflect Nadiya’s vibrant self with bright colours and patterns that were beautiful and quirky; pretty but not too girlie,” said Paula. “The fact that I shared Nadiya’s love of Marmite crisps and salad cream I hoped would mean I was on the right wavelength with the design approach. Thankfully I was!”

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Paula was delighted by the feedback from Nadiya to the initial designs. “She loved the colours I had selected - saying they exactly matched the colours she had used in her garden,” revealed Paula. Coming as something of an unexpected bonus is that not only does Nadiya feels very positively about greeting cards (including upcycling used cards by making them into tags), but is also a dab hand at coming up with her own phrases that lend themselves perfectly to greeting cards. “I'm a big fan of greeting cards and have always loved sending cards to friends and family. I think they are a great way of staying in touch and showing people that you care about them,” says Nadiya Below: Woodmansterne’s inaugural Nadiya greeting card collection exudes her vibrancy.

The Woody chefs PG turned up the heat on Woodmansterne’s Lee Keeper and Paula Reece to find out if their greeting card creative skills extend to the kitchen… l Lee Keeper: “While no chef, I certainly do a fair amount of cooking in the Keeper household. In addition to rustling up delicious meals from Gousto boxes, I always cook the Sunday lunch - my stuffing is a big hit!” Fave meal: “Anything from Babur, a fabulous Indian restaurant close to where we live in South London.” Fave cake: “I love a chocolate Guinness cake.” l Paula Reece: “I am baker rather than a chef. I love making cakes and desserts, some of which I take into the office. Probably my speciality would be chocolate orange brownies, just delicious!” Above: Woodmansterne creative director Lee Keeper, getting creative in the kitchen, making sesame hoisin meat-free meatballs for the family dinner. Right: An early Bake Off fan, Woodmansterne’s Paula Reece (right) dressed up as Sue Perkins, one of the programmes presenters on the original BBC series.

explaining why she was delighted when the opportunity came up to develop her “own cards” with Woody. “I have really enjoyed working with Woodmansterne. It's been a really collaborative process and meant that I have created my own messages and slogans as well as helping develop the designs for the cards too. I'm so looking forward to sending my OWN cards to my friends and family soon!” added Nadiya.

As Paula points out: “There are similarities between baking a cake and creating a greeting card - both are for someone else and both need to be as yummy as possible. I just feel so honoured that I have been able to work with Nadiya to create these ‘yummy’ cards.”

Other flavoursome ingredients Woodmansterne’s greeting card range joins a steadily growing licensing programme for Nadiya-related merchandise, which is handled by Start Licensing, headed up by the company’s founder Ian Downes. Here, Ian shares some of the recent developments in Nadiya’s licensing activities and gives a taste of what’s to come… “Our long-term licensee BlissHome continue to enjoy success with its range of kitchenware which includes ceramics and kitchen textiles featuring patterns designed by Nadiya. A particular highlight for BlissHome is the retail coverage the range has achieved in John Lewis with dedicated space and displays. In addition, Wilton Bradley has developed three baking kits aimed at children which include recipes and baking tools. These are linked to Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story books. Looking to plans for 2022, we are delighted that early in the year leading cookware brand Prestige will be launching a range of cookware called Nadiya Loves. Nadiya has been integrally involved in the development of the range and Prestige will be supporting the launch with a range of PR and social media activations that it has developed alongside Nadiya. Meanwhile, Nadiya has been working with retailer Next in a collaborative way, initially to select and recommend products from Next’s footwear collections. This partnership has been extended into other apparel categories and will include some bespoke product development in the future.” On the general profile front, in addition to Fast Flavours, the recent popular BBC series (which promoted the cookbook of the same title) Nadiya has also been involved in the BBC Good Food Show and has made frequent appearances on a range of TV shows to talk about her life and work. A measure of her popularity can be gauged by her appearances as a ‘cover star’ on a broad spectrum of magazines, which include titles as diverse as Psychologies and My Weekly. Above: Nadiya’s latest cookery book, based on her BBC series. Left: A display of some of Bliss’ Nadiya ceramics in John Lewis’ Peter Jones store.



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Industry Issue Inset: The UK greeting card creatives are the envy of the world. (Photo: Abbi Goode/Lemon & Sugar)

Art Of The Matter The UK greeting card industry has long been applauded for its creativity, the wealth of the artistic talent we have here being the envy of the world, as card publishers’ strong exports testify. But do artists and designers, particularly those working freelance, feel they are given the welcome, respect and rewards they deserve? PG tapped into the Creative Card Collective, the new membership hub for creatives (which has signed up 55 members in the first few weeks of launching) to take a reading.

Ginger Bee Studios’ Bev Cunningham, who co-founded of the Creative Card Collective with Hannah Curtis (founder of Creative Sparrow), sets the scene… “Having worked as a creative director for a publisher, I am aware how tight margins can be. The insatiable desire from retail for new, means the turnover of designs is so high that print runs have significantly decreased. The cost of licensing artwork therefore needs to be amortised across fewer printed cards, with the likelihood of designs being re-printed time and time again, much less than it was several years ago. So, I do appreciate the dilemma publishers find themselves in, however the cost of artwork hasn’t increased since I started out in the industry 30 years ago, what other industries would you be able to say that of? Yes, I know so much is now digital, so there are fewer artists slaving over an easel painting for days on end; but the design process is still time consuming, requiring not only creative skill, but technical knowledge. Publishers often request

frequent changes to artwork, in the belief that this is quick and easy when working in a digital file; but by the time you calculate the hours put in by the artist/designer they are often working for a minimum wage. Many artists have a ‘day job’ alongside their freelance design work, to pay their bills, only a fortunate few can make a living designing purely for greeting cards alone. Many have to also look at various revenue streams for their greeting card work; so some alongside

Above left: The Creative Card Collective launched recently as a ‘home’ for creatives. Above: The co-founders of Creative Card Collective, Bev Cunningham (right) and Hannah Curtis at PG Live 2021. Below: One of Bev’s photographs from her Ginger Bee Studios brand.

licensing their artwork, may also self-publish too, as well as uploading their artwork onto print on demand sites, such as Thortful. So why does this matter? The health of our industry depends on the creativity of artists, designers and illustrators working in cards, but if they find it’s not a viable way to make money, they will go elsewhere, and the industry will struggle to attract new talent. We all took HGV drivers for granted until suddenly we couldn’t find the goods we wanted on the shelves or the petrol at the pumps. It turns out the truck driver issue wasn’t just about pay, it was also about conditions. So simple improvements like paying artists promptly and crediting them on the reverse of cards would help, as well as paying a fair price. The publishers that are, and do, adopt this position will surely attract the best talent and have a commercial advantage over those who do not.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Nicola Evans, illustrator of Peony Rose Design My experience: “I have been creating greeting cards now for over 23 years full time so I do feel incredibly fortunate. Gone are the days of running to the post office at the last minute with my artwork for that impending deadline or travelling around the country with my folio for meetings to show my work. I can’t say I miss those days, but now my time is spent mainly in front of my Mac and in turn this has also changed the way I work.” Price issues: “Working in the greeting card industry is for the most part wonderful, but with no rise in fees since I started Illustrating, I have had to adapt and change my way of working. I have had to become more business-like with my licensing too in order to get the most out of each image I

create. Sadly, I rarely pick up a paint brush as the constant rise in the cost of materials and the time it takes to create by hand just doesn’t make financial sense for me anymore. My work is often quite detailed so although I was against it for many years, working digitally I must admit is now the norm for me.” Improvements: “I think over time you get to know the publishers that you enjoy working with and can trust to pay you on time. I take a lot of pride in my work and I love working with publishers that put the love in to making my work come to life too, and as us illustrators rarely get any thanks for our hard work, just having your name

Katherine Lynas The creative welcome: “I started designing cards when I was made redundant at the beginning of the pandemic. Selling on Thortful and Scribbler, made reaching a market so much more attainable. Through Thorful's Creator Instagram account I was also able to connect with other designers and share experiences of the platform. I wasn't sure where to go to learn more about the industry, then I stumbled on Progressive Greetings magazine and felt like a curtain had been lifted. Through that I heard about the Creative Card Collective, which I joined, and has been a great place to find out more information and ask questions.” Improvements: “I love working with partners that support me in building brand recognition. Online this can be in the form of; my logo being shown with my design, designer profile pages, sharing of links, ‘behind the scenes’ articles and social media collaborations. I think this is mutually beneficial.” Joining CCC: “I saw joining the Creative Card Collective as a next step in that journey. Through the group I've been finding more out about how to sell direct to retail, and about pitching ranges. It helps me to stay aware of trends that I can incorporate into my designs.”

featured on the back on that card means so, so much! The key negative side for me probably has to be the amount of times my images have been stolen. Far too many times my work also continues to be sold when it is out of licence. This is always so upsetting and needs to stop! That’s why I love having my agent Advocate and why it’s so great to now be part of the Creative Card Collective community.” Joining CCC: “By joining a group of like-minded creatives, not only can we share in our love of the greetings industry, but it can also be a huge support for those times when we need it. I just love the idea of sending cards and I would hate to think of this age-old tradition coming to an end” Above left: Nicola Evans is an experienced greeting card creative. Left: One of Nicola’s detailed designs.

Susse Linton of Susse Collection The creative welcome: “I do think the greeting card industry is welcoming, especially compared to the surface pattern industry. I am new to licensing my greeting cards to publishers but have been learning through my lovely agent Hannah Curtis at Creative Sparrow about how it all works. There seems to be a wealth of information out there to get you started as a greeting card designer. I have found fellow designers helpful and sharing information, especially within the Creative Card Collective community. There are lots of organisations to join which help support and promote your work.” Below: Susse Linton applauds how many card publishers now credit the artist on the backs of their cards.

Above: Katherine Lynas has enjoyed a positive welcome into the industry. Left: A quirky design from Katherine Lynas.



Pen, paper, partyware

Celebrate the occasion


Take note, our Greetings & Stationery hall is full of the most creative and colourful cards, stationery and decorations. Now, that’s a reason to celebrate.

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Industry Issue

Pricing issues: “There seems to be clear set pricing and fair licensing deals for greeting cards whereby you can licence your card design for a set time limit but still use the design for other products. In the surface pattern industry some companies expect complete buyout and ownership of copyright for a small fee.” Improvements: “Maybe an online resource for matching creatives who want to

Left: A celebratory design by Susse Linton.

licence with publishers to connect with each other could be an idea. Having a resource for standard industry pricing would also be helpful. I have noticed many card publishers give credit to the artist which I think is fair. This is better than in the surface pattern industry where the artist hardly ever gets a credit.”

Joining CCC: “The CCC community is a private intimate space to share your tips and thoughts on the card industry. It’s been good to build connections with other designers that I am connected with on Instagram and LinkedIn, but it feels a deeper connection within the members of the group. I also like how you can just ‘check in’ at the end of the day. I have been expanding my knowledge and learning so much about the greeting card industry. Being a member definitely adds value to my creative life.”

Frances Wilson of Frances Wilson Designs Improvements: “I would definitely love to see more designers’ names featured on the backs of greeting cards. It’s nice to see this happening on sites such as Thortful and Moonpig who are championing small business owners by using their logos on the reverse. As a newbie to the freelance world, it would be great to know who to contact among the greeting card companies.” Joining CCC: “Having worked in the greeting card industry for over 14 years as a senior designer at Hallmark and then opting to start freelancing at the start of 2021, it was important to me to keep connected and creatively inspired.” Above: Frances Wilson feels the artist’s name should feature on the backs of cards. Right: Some stationery designs from Frances Wilson Designs.

Julie Clay The creative welcome: “After more than 35 years in the greeting card industry I would say that it is still welcoming for creatives.” Improvements: “It is often difficult to reach the right person at a card publisher, a general email address for submissions I find doesn’t seem to get a response. How often do the creative managers look at these emails? Some companies are now posting on social media sites for people to submit ideas on a particular theme or subject, it might seem cynical of me, but how many ‘ideas’ could be used in other formats by inhouse designers? …these things do happen. I do feel that companies should share their trend ideas with artists. I know these are often kept ‘secret’, but when I receive a brief with colour and trend information, I find it so much more inspiring. If we are inspired, we create our best work.” Price issues: “Being mentioned by name as the artist on the cards is a lovely bonus, but being paid on time is much better though! It’s normal to wait 30 days to be paid, but invariably this is extended to 60 days or longer. I am quite sure those briefing the work would not be happy to be paid on these terms. I also feel that payment rates are now lower than they were 15 years ago, to me that is a negative as the artist might not want to spend so much time creating. Also, during the pandemic art materials have gone up in price.” Above: Julie Clay in creative mode.

Siya Liu The creative welcome: “From my personal experience the greeting card industry is a very welcoming creative sector and also one of the design sectors that is always hungry for fresh talents.” Price issues: “I personally think the going rate for creatives in the greeting card industry is comparably lower than other design sectors just look at the ongoing advertising jobs on LinkedIn. An artworker gets paid more than a card designer in the same starting level. I am not saying that an artworker job is not important, however we should at least give the content creator (the greeting card designer/creatives) the same value as the artworkers or keep it in line with other creative sectors.” Improvements: “I would like to see more publishers give creatives a name credit on the card. Or even better, a loyalty fee if the same design achieves over certain sales.” Joining CCC: “Since I started freelancing two years ago and joining in with the creative community, I find it is the best way to motivate myself. CCC is great for news; being an outlet to share my ideas, as well as a place you can find solace when you are in doubt of yourself being a so-called ‘artist’.” Above: Siya Liu feels greeting card creatives are paid less than in other design sectors. Left: Charming artwork from Siya Liu.



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Talking Shop

Catching The Worm In the case of Heidi and Dom Early, the couple behind the publishing and retailing Earlybird business, these ‘early birds’ have done a lot more than catching a worm. They have stoked the community spirit with impressive results in Stoke Newington (where their shop in based), taken the local council to task over road closures successfully securing funding for a marketing campaign for fellow businesses - and took home two Retas trophies in the recent retailing awards. PG sprinted to catch up with Heidi and found out what’s on her slate for 2022. “I can’t tell you what winning those two Retas awards meant to Dom and I. We still feel so utterly proud,” exclaimed Heidi Early, who heads up the retailing side of the Earlybird business, a card shop in the north London enclave of Stoke Newington, while Dom concentrates on the publishing side. “It made us appreciate just how important awards are, especially for small businesses such as ours. We can’t really do appraisals on ourselves, so achieving recognition like this from the industry means so much. And having put the

trophies in our window, the comments from our customers have been wonderful,” adds Heidi about the reaction to Earlybird winning the Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - London award as well as the Best Retail Initiative category for its Windows of Hope campaign. Heidi admits that winning The Retas awards prompted her and Dom to “take a step back and reflect on what we have achieved over the last 18 years since we first opened the shop. Normally we are thinking about what we haven’t done and what we need to get done!” Heidi is certainly a ‘doer’, but is also a great ideas person, as evidenced by the Windows of Hope campaign, which was feted in The Retas. This lockdown initiative, spearheaded by Heidi, saw many fellow retailers and businesses in the Stoke Newington area, create their own Top: Heidi and Dominic Early with their two Retas trophies at the awards event in November. Above right: A colourful mandrill design by Emma Jayne (which Earlybird publishes on cards) fronted its Signs of Hope window. Left: The festive window of Earlybird’s shop, complete with Christmas ‘tree’ made from upcycled card samples.



messages of ‘hope’ that they displayed in their respective windows to raise the spirits of the local community. “Hope is what we needed then to get us all through what was a very unsettled time. There was a feeling of helplessness and those messages in the windows along our street somehow united us, and made things feel a little bit better” recalled Heidi. The engagement and response this realised has spurred Heidi on to ever more ambitious projects to safeguard the Stoke Newington retail and business economy.

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Talking Shop

“I really like making things happen, but I know that I can’t do these things on my own. Thankfully there is such a strong sense of community in Stoke Newington that people do get involved and get on board if it is something worth fighting for - and protecting the health of the high street is worth that fight,” believes Heidi. “The Government and local councils need to ‘get’ how important a local high street is to the local community. They make some decisions without thinking of the consequences,” she adds. A prime example of this was the imposition of road restrictions close to Earlybird which had a dire impact on many fellow businesses. “Our trade went down by 30%, but others were down by 50%-80%,” relayed Heidi. “I just couldn’t stand by and see something precious - our high street be destroyed.”

Working together with like-minded fellow businesses a plan was quickly forged for the See You In Stokey campaign, to promote local businesses in the all important run up to Christmas, with Heidi persuading the local council to stump up £5,000 towards funding it. “As Stokey is home to a well-known illustrator team, Rude Studio, they came up with some great branding for the campaign,” explained Heidi, with the contemporary graphics being used on posters, banners, pin badges and totes. Top: A shot from the film that was made by local estate agent Location Location inside Earlybird, highlighting that all the giftwrap stocked is recyclable and decorative paper tape is also available. Above: The eye-catching branding for the See You In Stokey campaign was created by Rude Studio. Left: Heidi (second right) and Dom (far left) Early with Tim Gould (Objectables) and Sarah Laker (Stationery Supplies, Marple) having drinks at the ‘PG pub’ at the end of a day at Spring Fair.

The campaign launched officially on December 4 with a Christmas event day that coincided with Small Business Saturday. All the local shops and restaurants participated, and the day culminated with the Christmas lights being turned on at the fire station Christmas tree, right in the heart of Stokey. “Various businesses gave away goodie bags, a local pub gave away mulled wine and local butchers gave away ‘stokey pokey’ sausages! We had local children switch on the lights, a ukulele band and local choir. It was such a hit!” said Heidi. “We now have to keep it going.” Heidi’s next mission is now to set up the Stoke Newington Business Association, and has drawn on the expertise of fellow indie retailer (and Retas winner) Sally Matson of Red Card in Petworth who chairs a similar set up in her vicinity. “Sally has been so helpful in sharing her experience. This way we will have a proper voice with the council and possibly government. I am lucky that we have lots of great people with creative ideas round here which really does give me hope that we can protect and nurture our precious high street for many years to come.” Spoken like a true multi award winning retailer!

The Double Life

“I love the double life we lead and can’t imagine it any other way,” says Heidi about Earlybird being both a retailer and a card publisher. “The benefits work both ways. The shop is a great testing ground for our card designs, which means we have firsthand experience of how they sell in our shop before we launch them at the trade shows, which means we have more confidence in them when selling them to other retail stockists,” explains Heidi. She also feels that having such a direct link with the public through the shop means that gaps in the market can be spotted and if relevant, make their way into Earlybird’s card portfolio. “We keep a book in the shop, which I call ‘the bible’ in which we write down all the requests we receive from customers for cards they are looking for but can’t find any suitable,” reveals Heidi. “This highlighted how there was not enough choice of modern styled cards for godson, god daughter and cousin. There is now!,” she added. Heidi continues to be amazed at the number of cat cards that are sold. “I know that pet ownership soared during lockdown, but honestly, we are definitely in a period of cat craziness, the number of cat designs we sell is off the scale, which encouraged us to further expand our Buddy and Betty pet range,” she clarified. Above right: Dom at the recent Autumn Fair. Earlybird is exhibiting at Top Drawer and Spring Fair. Above left: A Earlybird card design that was created in response to requests from the shop’s customers. Left: A ‘big pussycat’ design in Earlybird’s Bex Parkin collection.



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In Conversation With... Angela Harding

Her Year

Unfolding “What’s that saying… you are never too old for your first book,” quipped Angela Harding, the revered printmaker whose beautiful hardback, A Year Unfolding is, not surprisingly, right up there in the best sellers’ nature books list. As Art Angels and Flametree Publishing prepare to launch their latest products featuring her meticulously created art, PG had the pleasure of visiting Angela in her Rutland studio.

Angela Harding does not need to go very far to find inspiration, all she needs to do is look out of her studio window or step out of its door (situated at the bottom of her cottage garden in rural Rutland) and relish in the natural beauty of the gently rolling countryside. “In winter I can watch flocks of fieldfares and redwings stride across the fields pecking at the ground in formation like synchronised swimmers; in spring hares box and in summer swallows swoop and dive,” Angela explains in the introduction of A Year Unfolding, which is a journey of her nature watching through the seasons, told through her art and the stories behind them. Angela readily accepts she has been somewhat ahead of the curve by several decades, on the trend for nature appreciation, and has the sketch books, lino 72


and silkscreen printing to prove it, that capture the wonders of British birds and wildlife set against rural and coastal beauty in her own distinctive style. “Due to lockdown and the pandemic, this last year arguably more than any other has seen many more people valuing nature, enjoying its sights, smells and sounds, whether in a small garden, a wilderness, a

Above: Having sketched out the idea, Angela then spends a great deal of time on the lino-cutting and printing before silkscreen printing the colour in her studio. Far left: Angela’s new book, A Year Unfolding, features 120+ of her artworks from the last 12 years as well as the stories behind them. Left: This print was first created as the cover for Raynor Winn’s The Wild Silence (a sequel to The Salt Path). Below: Angela’s whippet Amy features on the Look Out design, which appears on several products, including this jigsaw from Flametree Publishing.

park or watching an indoor plant flourish over the course of time,” believes Angela. While her art has graced a number of book jackets for different publishers and authors, from PD James (22 books, published by Faber and Faber) to Raynor Wynn (Salt Path and The Wild Silence, published by Penguin), this is the first book dedicated to her work, and her words.

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In Conversation With... Angela Harding

“Having been commissioned by Sphere to create the cover for Val McDermid’s Christmas is Murder, wanting to publish a nature’s seasons-inspired book under its Little Brown imprint they approached me initially to see if I would be interested in working collaboratively with a writer. However realising that I have the stories behind the images, it would be more authentic if I was the author. I was a tad nervous at first, but the support from editor Fiona Rose gave me confidence and I ended up really enjoying bringing it all to life,” reveals Angela. Among the 125+ images that feature in the book are several that have spread joy as greeting cards, notecards, Advents (all published by Art Angels under licence) or on notebooks, calendars or jigsaws (all published by Flametree Publishing under licence). “It takes me an average six weeks to create an image - from the sketch to chiselling the design out of lino to hand silkscreening it in my studio - retaining the copyright enables me to use it on other products, such as greeting cards and

Voice from the Angels Chris Cordingly, managing director of Art Angels, which produces greeting cards, notecards and Advent calendars of Angela’s artwork under licence, reveals he has lots in the pipeline for 2022 already. “It’s been another big year for Angela Harding products from Art Angels, in fact the best yet! The Advent calendars are extraordinary, we doubled print runs for 2021 but still ran out well before the end of November. Each year Angela comes up with a new format/layout and theme which we then have to work out how to print and assemble! We’ll be getting together with Angela early in the New Year to plan the year ahead, but I’ve already got a number of her prints scanned here ready to release in January, then Spring and beyond. The new ‘concertina’ cards have also been particularly popular and we hope to print new ones in 2022.” Below: A trio of Concertina cards from Art Angels featuring Angela Harding’s art.

calendars, which makes my life as a printmaker viable!” admits Angela. “Not only that, but it means that my art can reach more people and hopefully be enjoyed by them.” With 2021 having unfolded, Angela is onto her next bunch of projects. “I have a busy slate of more book publishing in the pipeline, a project with the National Portrait Gallery as well as work with Art Angels and Flametree, but hopefully I will also find some time to enjoy the coming changing seasons, and wherever I am, my sketch books, lino and chisels will invariably be there too!” Left: Angela applying some printing ink to one of her lino cut designs. Inset: The studio at the bottom of Angela and her husband Mark’s garden that looks out onto fields of sheep.

Burning bright at Flametree Frances Bodiam, managing director of Flametree Publishing, which licences Angela’s designs for calendars, notebooks and jigsaws shares her views and news: “Angela is definitely our most popular contemporary artist for calendars, jigsaws and notebooks. Not only that, but she is a delight; she is always receptive to new ideas and works really well with our editorial team to make high quality beautiful products. This year’s calendars and diaries featuring Angela’s work all sold out in the first month of arriving in the warehouse and we had to re-print the wall calendar. Our 2023 range of calendars and diaries will be gorgeous (and we know we need to print many, many more!). We have new notebooks featuring her art coming in Spring and have just published the Salt Path design, both as a jigsaw and notebook. We’ve also included Angela’s Southwold Swan design in our new sustainable range of jigsaws, which are produced from recycled FSC board.” Right: Southwold Swan is published on a card by Art Angels and graces the cover of a Flametree 2022 wall calendar as well as on one of its sustainable jigsaws.



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Indie Focus

Hive Of


A giraffe named Deborah blasts out of an exterior wall, high above a pair of Instagram-ready angel wings. There is no missing The Bean Hive, a wonderfully quirky shop that has been injecting colour and personality into Kettering’s retail scene for the past three years. Hot on the heels of its wins in The Greats 2021, Muddy Stilettos and Kettering Business awards programmes (as well as reaching the finals of The Retas 2021), PG caught up with the shop’s equally colourful owner Davina ‘Queen Bean’ Parkhouse. It’s been quite a year for Davina Parkhouse (who prefers to be known as Bean). Not only did The Bean Hive - founded in 2018 by a group of friends and traders - win the Best Newcomer - South and Wales category in The Greats gift awards in September, the store also won the Best Gift Shop category in the Northamptonshire Muddy Stilettos Awards, as well as the Best Gift Shop category in the local Kettering Business

Awards. And the shop was also shortlisted as a finalist at The Retas 2021 greeting card retailer awards, all of which shouts out that the shop has got its finger on the pulse of retail. From the moment you walk in, it’s clear that this is no ordinary shop. “It’s a bit crazy!” admits Bean of her three storey retailing emporium. On the store’s first two levels - in addition to Bean’s ‘something different’

curated selection of greeting cards, gifts, home, interiors, food, beauty sections - the remaining space is rented out to 12 handpicked traders-cum-staff-cum friends, selling everything from crystals and wall art to bags, jewellery and vinyl, as well as (additional) greeting cards from two local illustrators, plus much, much more besides. There’s also the Sweary Mary’s ‘department’ on the upper floor for those shoppers looking for novelty ‘rude’ cards and gifts. Greeting cards are sold throughout the store from a myriad of publishers, with Rifle Paper, East End Prints, Eleanor Bowmar, Petra Boase being among the favourite nonhumour brands, while Bold & Bright, Objectables and Quite Good Cards are among those tickling the funny bones of Bean Hive’s customers.

Above: Deborah The Zebra was specially created to celebrate the shop’s third anniversary. Left: Davina Parkhouse aka Bean with the angel wings which are painted on the outside of the shop. Inset: The Bean Hive in Kettering.



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Indie Focus

“We’re very liberal with the products we sell, and in the run-up to Christmas, all items sell out,” reveals Bean, who, in order to avoid stock shortages and not disappoint customers in December, placed her orders early across the board to ensure all three floors were crammed with goodies. Looking back over the last three years since she bought the shop. Bean sums up that “with a lot of blood sweat and tears we have managed to turn a derelict space into a colourful vibrant mini department store.” Bean is especially proud of Randalls American sweet shop, a trader who has a ‘department’ inside The Bean Hive, which specialises in American candy brands. “It’s owned by a young entrepreneur from Market Harborough who has done so well that he has become a local ‘celebrity’,” she

The Bean Hive By The Sea

In August 2020, Bean opened a second shop, The Bean Hive By The Sea in Falmouth, which is run by her daughter Emelye, who recently completed a masters in history from Exeter University. (The family also have a holiday home in Cornwall). “She’s very much like me, a strong, rebellious colourful, character, whose favourite colour is pink. And like me, and my sister who has a gift shop, The Mackerel Makery in Penzance, and my mum, who owned estate agents, she’s a third generation natural shopkeeper,” beams Bean. “Sales in Falmouth were off the scale last summer, with the shop a magnet for tourists, students and locals.” However, other than being painted in the same millennial pink and including a Sweary Mary’s section (“a huge hit with students”), the retail concept is very different from the Kettering shop. “Emelye is well known in Falmouth for wearing unusual, colourful dresses which she then re-sells,” explains Bean. “People love them and come into the shop to buy them. Plus, she sells some of my old vintage stock. Emelye’s favourite colour has always been pink - which has inspired the colour theme for The Bean Hive - in fact, so much so that we own a bright pink car too!” Above: Delighted smiles from Davina Parkhouse (right) and her daughter Emelye, owners of The Bean Hive, Kettering, and The Bean Hive By The Sea, Falmouth, winners of The Greats Best Newcomer - South & Wales category. Left: Just part of the greeting cards selection. Below:Some gift products in the Sweary Mary’s area.

enthuses. “The town’s children come in here to buy their sweets, making the shop a community hub.” Locals clearly love The Bean Hive as much as Bean does, so much so that, delighted with its ambience, two local women, Ayesha and Reannah, recently got engaged there! “When Reannah asked to propose to Ayesha in our shop we couldn’t have been more excited!” Bean exclaims. “It was wonderful to be part of their special moment.” Since the lockdowns, Bean explains that the shop has improved. “Everything is better because we had time to do things that normally we wouldn’t have time to do. It’s therefore been like starting out again, but with a much improved shop, better stock, a website and fabulous new artwork which was funded by the government’s re-start grant. Our reward has been that footfall and sales have been amazing. We’re not just surviving, but thriving thanks to our loyal customers of all ages.” So how did Bean, a former chartered surveyor, (“I was sensible and boring then, now I’m rather rebellious!”) get into gift retail? “I accidentally fell into it, initially selling antiques and vintage paraphernalia at fairs following a massive inheritance of stuff from

my mother, a collector,” she explains. “Subsequently, I began selling a few cards and gifts - I love greeting cards and always have - and realised that this was the retail sector I wanted to be in. I come from a family of shopkeepers and love beautiful things, as I was surrounded with them growing up. Additionally, my mum was a shopper, as was my grandma, so I’m unashamedly a shopaholic,” she admits. Bean freely admits that her “favourite activity is sourcing new stock for the shop and chatting to our lovely customers of course! In lockdown, if I’m being honest, I missed them, and my staff/traders, who I see every day, more than my friends!” With sourcing in mind, Bean is really looking forward to the trade shows in 2022, far preferring to see the products and the people behind them in the flesh. A big fan of PG Live, Bean recalls she was “even more excited than usual” at the July show. “It really was a great show. It was so wonderful to see people and products in reality after over a year of online purchasing. We ordered from loads of our existing suppliers as well as from quite a few new ones. PG Live most certainly did not disappoint!” Prior to lockdown, Bean sourced from Europe as well as the UK, but when the

lockdowns impacted, as well as the current stock issues, she has used B2B sites such as Faire, Abound, Creo8ate and Tredo, to find new - and sustainable - brands, along with products from local, smaller suppliers. “Like everyone else, we have to keep on adapting, but our criteria is always to choose products that we like ourselves,” says Bean. So, what does she see as the secret of The Bean Hive’s success? “A visit to The Bean Hive is always fun, and I love having an unusual shop that everyone talks about. I’ve variously been described as ‘the UK’s most enthusiastic retailer’, as well as ‘someone whose brain has too many tabs open at the same time!’ I can’t switch off. I’m constantly in work mode, thinking about every single detail, and one of the loveliest comments I’ve received is that the shop is ‘out of London’s London’.” Going into 2022, what ambitions does she have for The Bean Hive over the next six to 12 months? “To have a print catalogue that goes out in the post,” states Bean. “I want to do it just once, and to do it professionally, with the photo shoot taking place in my house which I’ve recently remodelled. I’ve got the backdrops ready, so that’s the dream. Meanwhile, I count myself very, very lucky to have such a crazy, fun business and to have such enormous fun running it. Life is short, so why be boring? And best of all, I get to shop for a living! I feel like I was always meant to do this,” concludes Bean with a smile. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE



FINDING QUALITY TEAM MEMBERS Looking for Artists, Sales Agents, Sales Representatives, Marketing Managers, Designers or Product managers? Talk to us about our Integrated Recruitment Package. An advert in PG magazine’s Appointment Section and a month’s worth of adverts on our digital news feed, PG BUZZ.



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For more details contact Warren Lomax on or Tracey Arnaud on

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Art Source


Background image: A Perfect Spot To Swim design by Jane Askey from Yellow House Art Licensing.



The yearn to escape to freedom, the celestial calling, a new sense of balance and sustainable compass reading, all washed down with a dopamine hit of bold colour, are just some of the trends predicted by some leading artists agencies and picture libraries to be reflected in greeting cards over the coming year. PG serves up a smorgasbord of what these experienced aesthetic bellwethers cite as the cultural drivers of our creative tastes.

Jo Astles, agent for Bright Greetings & Gifts Drivers: “2021 saw some huge shifts in society, our mindsets, and the way we live and work. People have become increasingly community-minded and self-aware, and as always, we’re seeing these changes have a big influence in the greeting card sector. Looking forward to 2022, the biggest trends will centre on increased awareness; self-awareness of our wellness, health and mental health; awareness of our planet and our impact on it; awareness of opportunities and not holding back on the possibility of adventure in the future.”

Jo’s trio of trends… Looking Inwards: “There will be a shift away from self-indulgence and surface luxuries; we’re seeing less desire for champagne and chandeliers, and more demand for plants and pilates. With the increasing understanding that mental health is health, consumers are looking for cards that depict positive messages and selfexpression. The take on this trend can be sincere (think deep connections and honest emotions portrayed without cynicism) or they can be tongue-in-cheek (think millennial plant-mothers and wry jokes about hot yoga). Either way, 2022 is all about being in tune with yourself mind, body and soul.” Travel and escapism: “Even as the pandemic rolls

on, people are getting more used to the idea of getting back out into the world. While 2021 was the year of the staycation, I predict that in 2022, despite potential travel restrictions, people will be searching for ways to escape on adventures, both at home and abroad. We’ll see more and more travel themes cropping up in artwork, with designs featuring distant lands, scenic views and visually appealing voyages. However, this desire to escape is tempered by people’s increased awareness of the environmental impact of travel; like last year, sustainability is still on consumers’ minds, and travel artwork will reflect this - no luxury jets please! We’re developing gorgeous illustrations of campervan adventures, backpacking escapes and botanical breaks.” Bold and Bright: “From fashion to home décor, people are looking for a colour kick in 2022, leaning towards electric hues, candy sprinkles and rainbow shades. This year is all about standing out and making a statement with bold graphics and a strong retro feel; nurture your nostalgia for the 70s, 80s and 90s when picking designs that inject a dopamine hit of bold colour.” Above left: Jo Astles. Above middle: A Jane Newland design that celebrates sustainable escapism. Left: Positive affirmation in a design by Claire Wilson. Right: Bold graphics with a retro feel from Vanja Kragulj.



79-81.qxp_Grid 21/12/2021 13:39 Page 2

Art Source

Bhavisha Vadgama, art licensing manager of Advocate Art Bhav shares her trio of trends… Waikiki Wishes: “Life is good in Waikiki, and why wouldn't it be, when you spend every day in paradise? The smell of hibiscus flowers floats on the breeze, bird calls fill the air, and wherever you go, no one is short of a tropical drink or just coming off the beach, surfboard in tow. Waikiki Wishes is tropical with a Big Island twist; a welcome escape and well deserved break on a sunny, sandy beach. This trend is inspired by the bright, bold and vibrant colours of Hawaii, paired with exotic florals, citrus fruits and coastal vibes. Tropical motifs, such as Palm trees, seashells, hibiscus flowers, surfboards, pineapples and flamboyant drinks are just some of the most trendy icons in the market right now.” Frosted Mistletoe: “Imagine a quiet cabin in a boreal setting, smoke slowly rising from the chimney, hinting at the cosy scene inside - a veritable winter wonderland, and the setting for Frosted Mistletoe. The snowy forest outside contains many Arctic animal friends, while the hearth inside has a crackling fire, and the decor a soft, muted palette mirroring the pristine nature outside. Frosted Mistletoe is a theme focusing on the quieter, serene moments of the winter season. This trend is inspired by rustic cabin settings and contemporary botanicals, while still featuring classic icons, such as mistletoe, snow-covered trees, eucalyptus, squirrels, pinecones, cabins, berries, Arctic foxes, pine sprigs, snowy owls, dried florals, wreaths, blown glass ornaments and polar bears.

Focusing on more earthy tones and rural textures, this trend celebrates Christmas in the great outdoors, while offering up a more relaxed, peaceful feeling to give you that cosy feeling.” Celestial Celebrations: “The night sky has always captured our imaginations, especially when the stars are clear and the air is crisp. With the recent Lunar eclipses, there has been a peak of interest in how the stars are aligned! Celestial Celebrations explores this as well as the light that illuminates the evenings - stars, candles, and moonlight. This astrology-inspired trend celebrates the spiritual world, from planets and constellations to horoscopes, creating that mystical feel. We're seeing more appearances of crescent moons, crowns, angels, stars, ballerinas and princesses, astronomical maps, sunbursts, halos, taper candles and twinkling fairy lights. The colours of this trend are much deeper and richer, inspired by the jewel tones of the night sky - royal blue, gold, silver, purples and pinks, we think this trend will lead to more unisex designs but with an edgy twist for both Christmas and everyday captions.” Above left: Bhavisha Vadgama. Above middle: A veritable winter wonderland by Natalie Briscoe. Left: A Claire McElfatrick design reflecting the Waikiki Wishes trend. Right: The stars are bright in this Jenny Wren design.

Sue Bateman, founder of Yellow House Art Licensing Drivers: “We are all still trying to come to terms with the new uncertain world that we live in and so a sense of connection is more important than ever. Sending an actual card achieves that more than any digital communication can ever do. Connection with the artist that created the image itself will also be important. I think we will see more biography notes about the artist on the back of cards. When choosing a card to send, as ever, a customer will be looking for something that will resonate with the recipient - reflecting their interests, 80


dreams and environment. Hobbies will be important subject matter be it cooking, gardening, house plants, sport or travel. Diversity will also be important as people want to see their lives reflected in the images and sentiment that feature on the cards.”

Sue’s trio of trends… Well Crafted: “We will continue to see an interest in crafts brought about by increasing take up of new hobbies and also by an interest in materials, textures and feel of the card. Now so many cards are sold ‘naked’ perhaps the feel is more part of the decision process. This ties in with the eco/green ethos of buying into something that is lasting, Far left: Sue Bateman. A Janine Partington hand-crafted and creative.” Left: design in enamel.

79-81.qxp_Grid 21/12/2021 13:40 Page 3

Art Source

The Great Outdoors: “We’ve all had to embrace the great outdoors in the last couple of years and some of us even like it! Themes of interest will be gardening on a personal level and also expansive landscapes, seascapes, images that allow us to dream of escape. This could include travel themes, but the staycation is here to stay, so perhaps UK-based locations will be more popular.” Colour Pop: “Positive messaging will be what people are looking for. Sentiment will be crucial in that and also bright colourful images to send a cheery message. The current interest in 80s retro will play into this theme with colour palettes that resonate with that decade.”

Left: Artist Brian Sweet’s take on Tagworth Bay on The Lizard. Above: Colour abounds in Gabriela Larios’ art.

Hannah Curtis, managing director of Creative Sparrow Drivers: “It’s no surprise to be talking about the growing rise of shopping local, the move away from huge corporate entities in favour of local pop-ups, collaborating with smaller, more innovative and ethical companies that speak direct to the consumer. The pandemic has had a profound effect on the way we behave, a world of relying on the increasing digital demand, but also embracing personal one-to-one human interaction. The long-term effects of the pandemic obviously continue to dominate our narratives, but as we come to terms with what might now be here to stay, we see a new reaction to normal, being that anything can now be normal because anything is now normal! A time to focus on the not normal, not mainstream, not commercial. A time to mix it up and push the boundaries, our lives have become more flexible and unpredictable, more nomadic with the here to stay approach of flexible working, flexible living and flexible being.”

Hannah’s trio of trends… Sense of Purpose: “Purpose unifies everything we have been talking about over the last few years and more so than ever in 2021/2022. On a global, national, and local scale but also, more prominently, on a personal one. Sustainability, social responsibility, climate change and many other important themes are at the forefront of the consumer’s mind. Purpose umbrellas all domineering issues under one theme as we think about our

Far left: Hannah Curtis. Left: A Colleen Harrington design on the Vintage Age theme. Below: The Nomadic trend reflected in a Cathryn Weatherhead design. Bottom left: A Clare Davis London design reflecting the Purpose trend.

purpose in every aspect of life be it work, home or social.” Vintage Age: “Partly due to increasing issues with supply chain shortages, the desire for vintage is set to grow, and with it the appreciation of flaws, uniqueness, the effects of time and the beauty in things found, old or incomplete. With a nod to a new perspective on wellbeing which is less about being perfected and the realisation that actually, we don’t have to have it together all of the time. There is beauty in our flaws.” Nomadic: “Travel continues to be a catalyst in design, but as the flexibility of life continues to dominate, travel is less perfected and more flexible. With travel comes culture, all things exotic, including print and pattern that we come across on our adventures. Expect the opulent emergence of pattern on pattern. According to Chinese philosophy 2022 is the Year of the Tiger, an icon that has risen to fame in 2021 and will continue to do so with animal print motifs and delectable global fusions such as Japandi, an exciting emergence of Japanese/Scandi themes. Timing is perfect as the traits of the tiger are brave, competitive, unpredictable and confident, all characteristics we all feel we need to harness after the last two years in order to succeed in the ongoing troubling climates.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


82-83.qxp_Grid 21/12/2021 13:24 Page 2

PG ASKED A SELECTION OF RETAILERS FOR THEIR BEST SELLERS. Mary Singleton-Jones, owner of Panda Cards. A long established well loved card shop in the centre of St Albans. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range




National Trust; RSPB

“Among the company’s best blank ranges.”


Dean Morris Rosie Made a Thing

Generally Generally

“Laugh out loud humour.” “Her cards just seem to hit the mark.”

Adult Ages

Five Dollar Shake


“They sell incredibly well and add sparkle to my shop.”



Kids Ages

“These do very well for us.”

Illustration and Art

Simon Drew




“The wit combined with fabulous illustrations make this a favourite.” “Just lovely.”



Wraps, bags etc

“A lovely addition to our shop’s selection.”


Alison Gardiner Caltime

Advent calendars Advent calendars

“So beautiful.” “My customers find it hard to choose.”

Above: A design from Woody’s RSPB range. Right: The distinctive touch of Simon Drew.

Joanna Georgiou, owner of The Ark, Stoke Newington. A card and gift shop in a popular north London enclave. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Neon Tiger


Madame Treacle


Sally Scaffardi

Flora Fest

“Beautiful artwork and use of colour make these cards brilliant sellers.” “Vintage images used in a unique way - vibrant and charming.” “A floral range in a contemporary style and colour palette.”

Bettie Confetti Raspberry Blossom

Wedding & Anniversary Whimsical

“Brilliant - humorous and unsentimental.” “Luxurious - bold images with gold foiling.”

Paper Bird


Rosie Made a Thing


“The quirky cats and dogs artworks are a favourite.” “Relatable humour with diverse characters.”


Njeri Illustarted

Local scenes

“A fab localised range.”


Tache Paper Salad

Animal Numbers Jamboree

“Top sellers for us.” “The ages are doing brilliantly - vibrant colour and gender neutral.”



Paper Salad

“The roll wraps and gift bags stand out from the crowd!”





Top: A Neon Tiger design. Above: A localised art scene from Njeri Illustrated.

82-83.qxp_Grid 21/12/2021 13:25 Page 3

Gill and Mick Macauley, co-owners of Daisy Mays Cards & Gifts, Sopley, Christchurch. A unit in a shopping emporium with various other traders and a cafe. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Alex Clark Art Janie Wilson

Sparkle Various

“Bright and cheerful cards.” “Classic design cards that are very popular.”

Female to Female

Berni Parker Designs

Ladies Who Love Life

“Always a favourite.”


Sarah Reilly

Love Country

“Brilliant artwork and lovely stories to go with them.”


Peartree Heybridge Paperlink

Camilla & Rose Wrinklies

“Both guaranteed to make the customers laugh. We often hear them having a giggle.”


Emma Ball

Penguins and Puffins

The Little Dog Laughed

Dog designs

“These birds in woolly jumpers are very popular.” “The company’s host of character dogs with comical comments do so well.”

Emma Ball


Alex Clark Art

Coasters, mugs, calendars and diaries


“We do well with notepads that match the cards.” “These complement the cards and the giftwrap that we stock.” Top: A Curious Hare design from Sarah Reilly’s Love Country collection. Above: A Springer Spaniel birthday design from The Little Dog Laughed.

Karen Davies, owner of Cards Galore, New Brighton. A card and gift shop by the sea in New Brighton on the Wirral Peninsula. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Jonny Javelin Nigel Quiney Berni Parker

Velvet/Graffix Pizazz Ladies Who Lunch/Love Life Month You Were Born

“Always lots of different and new designs to choose from, which means we can refresh very often.” “Our customers love these cards and they sell out very quickly.”

Right: Berni Parker’s Ladies Who Love Lunch has many fans. Below right: A Graffix design from Jonny Javelin.



Emotional Rescue Redback Cards

On the Ceiling; Seriously Good Things

“Customers laugh out loud when browsing and usually buy more than one as they can’t decide.”

Relations and Occasions

Jonny Javelin IC&G Cardigan Words ‘n’ Wishes Nigel Quiney

Across the board Across the board Across the board Across the board Across the board

“We like to give our customers a really good range of greeting cards, with and without a nice verse. These publishers provide a great spread.”


Cardigan Cards UK Greetings

Little Nippers Best Wishes

“Both publishers offer good cards for the price point.”


Joe Davies

Equilibrium Jewellery and generally Various Various

“Very good for age-related gifts.” “Great stands of pick-up gifts.”

Local gifts, cards and postcards

“We have worked with the company to design our own local products which are our best-selling gifts.”

Widdop & Co History & Heraldry Self-purchases

Impact Souvenirs



Classified Complete 2021.qxp 22/12/2021 14:20 Page 84




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

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

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Classified Complete 2021.qxp 22/12/2021 14:27 Page 86





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Classified Complete 2021.qxp 22/12/2021 14:28 Page 87




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Classified Complete 2021.qxp 22/12/2021 14:30 Page 88




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

Classified Complete 2021.qxp 22/12/2021 14:32 Page 89



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Classified Complete 2021.qxp 22/12/2021 14:32 Page 90




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Classified Complete 2021.qxp 22/12/2021 14:32 Page 93









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Va V acancies are being b created for Territory Agents Te s for Independent and Key Account Customers around d the UK. Please email to register interest and detail your experience.

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FINDING QUALITY TEAM MEMBERS RS Looking for A Artistss, Sales Agents, Sales ess Reepresentatives, Marketing M gM Manager ers, Designers orr P o Product manaager gers? Taalk to uss about ab our In ntegratted Recruitmen ment Packkage. An advert in PG mag gazine’s g Appointment Sectio on and a month’s worth of advverts on our digital new news w feed, ee G BU BUZZ. or more m details contact Warrren Lomax on or Tracey T Arnaud on



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