Progressive Greetings July 2021

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From The Editor

ON THE CARDS As PG went to press, it was reaching peak ‘fever pitch’ with only days to go until the finals of the Euros. To feel a nation united in their belief that victory was nigh has put a spring in the step of millions, especially after such a long time of uncertainty, disconnection and loss of that important sense of belonging. Rather than merely hoping, for that is all we have been afforded for so long, things are really starting to happen, for sure. And not just on the football pitch. The speed and efficiency of the vaccine roll out is extraordinary and while there is still nervousness in some quarters, Freedom Day on July 19 cannot come quick enough for most of us as individuals and businesses. I was so delighted to hear the good news from my good friends Miles Robinson and Nigel Williamson, co-owners of House of Cards about the opening of their magnificent seventh shop, in the Reading suburb of Woodley. The normally circumspect Miles exclaimed: “The local High Street is not dead yet!” Likewise, it was not just the tennis that has been big news in Wimbledon as Postmark opened the doors of its brand new shop, its sixth, only a few weeks after their shop opening in Blackheath. Mark JansonSmith, who runs Postmark with his wife Leona was cock-ahoop about the reaction from customers, proclaiming the Wimbledon shop opening its most successful to date. “One customer told us we were all the talk of the golf club!” said Mark with a chuckle! And talking to other Retas’ finalists, it seems the doors of opportunity are opening up for several with new store openings in the offing up and down the country. It does feel so good to be able to get out and about to meetings again, so much more enjoyable than having to interview people via Zoom! These included a treat to visit Red Card in Petworth, owned by THE HOME OF MARKET LEADING TRADE MAGAZINES



Above: PG’s Jakki Brown with Sally Matson in her new Red Card shop, which stocks 10,000 different card designs! Left: England’s performance in the Euros has upped the spirits phenomenally. Below left: Pressing the button at The Imaging Centre! The printer’s md Adam Short with PG’s Jakki Brown.

the delightful Sally Matson, to see in the flesh what a great job she has done with the lockdown relocation to a store twice the size of the previous one. (See pages 73-75). I also popped in to see PG Live exhibitor Hearts Designs in its idyllic rural offices just outside Battle in Sussex and also made a mind-blowing trip to see The Imaging Centre, to hear all about the exciting launch plans for its Simplicity Retail service at PG Live. (See News page 13) And while we are on a ‘winning streak’, huge congratulations to Paper Salad, who scored a hat trick in The Louies, the US equivalent of The Henries, with the three awards joining the company’s list of many achievements. One of these is the publisher’s successful licensing partnership with Glick on giftwrappings which is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary. (See pages 46-47). I do hope you enjoy this bumper edition of PG, with the extended Innovations section (see pages 49-61), celebrating just some of the incredible new ranges that publishers are all set to launch at Progressive Greetings Live (July 27 and 28). I am so looking forward to seeing everyone there…PG Live is coming home, it’s coming home!


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?




9-25 News

63-65 Retailer In Focus

Blue Diamond’s Sparkle


Insights into the garden centre group’s glister.

Over The Counter

Mamba Mentality


By retailer David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi.

Up Close…

A Happy Date With Kate 28-29

The namesake behind The Kate Smith Company reveals all!



Upping The Volume On Real Life

Retailer Focus

Now’s the time to see off the zombies!

Very Well Red 31-35

Relishing the lockdown relocation of Petworth’s Red Card.



Ship Shape?!

International Perspective

The headaches of supply chain issues.

United Nations International greetings and bleatings.

37-39 A Wondrous Reunion The magic ingredients of PG Live 2021.

81 Art Source

40-45 Private Lives

83-85 Publisher In Focus

The stories behind some PG Live exhibitors.

A Blue and Green Scene A catch up with Out of the Blue Studios and Into the Green Publishing.

46-47 In Conversation With…

It’s A Ten From Them Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Glick and Paper Salad.

87-89 What’s Hot? Retailers share their best-selling ranges.

49-61 Innovations

91-102 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:



PG LIVE Come and

say hello at STAND 225

GIVEAWAY Come and see us to find out how you could

WIN* a luxury hamper worth over £150! *T&Cs apply.

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Blooming good idea

The Real Reunion

Below: The front cover of the PG Live Show Preview. Below middle: A postcard from Objectables that sums it up!

Final countdown to Progressive Greetings Live 2021 We’re now only days away from the glorious reunion of our greeting card community at Progressive Greetings Live 2021, with the doors opening on the two-day show on Tuesday 27 July and Wednesday 28 July. “PG Live will bring 'a little sunshine’ back into our lives with the first London show since the pandemic began - I can’t believe it is going to happen soon. We’re SO excited on show’s rich history with the venue is a SO many levels!” exclaimed Wendy leading example of collaboration. I have Jones-Blackett, co-owner of the no doubt it will generate an atmosphere eponymous greeting card publisher, one and spirit which we have all missed so of the many leading names who will be much while also enabling business to exhibiting at the show, which takes place thrive again.” at London’s Business Design Centre. Whetting the appetites of retailers to “Meeting up and seeing people is going just some of the treats that lie in store for to be completely marvellous!” them at PG Live, the official Show While the show is taking place well Preview publication has been arriving with after Freedom Day, the PG Live team retailers who have registered to attend has been working closely with the and will continue to be sent out right up Business Design Centre team to ensure until a few days before show. The that all necessary protocols for the whole colourful booklet provides a sneak peek visitor and exhibitor experience will be in of just a taster of the place for the show. fabulous new launches Having been used as that publishers large and a vaccination centre for IT’S A TRADE SHOW A real life trade show. With people. small have in store for the last few months, the Not on Zoom. Don’t worry about buying anything visitors, as well as details BDC is well equipped to we will just be happy to talk to someone we aren’t related to. of all the extra touches ensure the safety of Objectables. that sets PG Live apart… visitors and exhibitors PGLive 2021 Stand 111 from the free lunch through sanitation, and all-day refreshments to the ventilation, thermal imaging detection as opening night drinks party and show well as regular testing of all of its staff. only offers. In addition to being executive director “It’s in the diary!” confirms Sarah of the BDC, Max Bull is also chairman of Moughtin, card buyer for John Lewis & the Association of Event Venues (AEV) Partners and Waitrose. “I am really and as such has been involved in high level looking forward to PG Live - it feels long talks with the Government on the overdue to see and speak to all our guidelines and stipulations for exhibitions publishers old and new! It will be a key and events as we all progress to freedom. moment for us to start thinking about “The BDC has been hugely proud to planning for 2022. I just can’t wait to see support the outstanding NHS and the all the new designs.” impressive vaccination programme over To register, visit recent months, but now we are fully or call prepared for PG Live,” said Max. “The +44 (0)1635 297070

OMG or @objectables on instawang

Every retailer who orders Stormy Knight’s new Bloom range of seed cards at PG Live (which come with UK-made, biodegradable seed sticks inside that the recipient can plant), will be entered into a prize draw to win bespoke ‘Bloom’ window vinyls for their shop using the floral artwork by popular illustrator Clare Owen which appears on the cards. “We will work with the shop who wins to get their window dimensions and discuss any kind of messaging - It could be something like ‘Brighton in bloom’ or ‘have a blooming lovely day’ that will be personal to their shop or high street and will of course look beautiful!” said Sarah Knight, founder of the company. Above: One of the Bloom designs.

New stores for both House of Cards and Postmark Two leading small group multiples - House of Cards and Postmark - have both just opened brand new shops, each a signalling confidence in greeting card retailing. While House of Cards has opened a ‘magnificent seven’ the store in Woodley, a suburb of Reading, Postmark has recently opened its sixth store, in the London district of Wimbledon. “The local high street is not dead yet - we have had a tremendous response!” exclaimed Miles Robinson, co-owner of House of Cards on opening day of the Woodley branch. Mark Janson-Smith, md of Postmark has also been delighted by the response to its new store in Wimbledon, South London. “It has had the most positive reaction to date, with one customer even telling us we were all the talk of the golf club!” Above: The new House of Cards shop in Woodley. Below: The inside of Postmark’s Wimbledon shop.

A real draw Adding some extra excitement to the Ling Design/GBCC/Penny Kennedy stand at the show, is a prize draw offering the a chance to win a whole stack of Morris & Co goodies (roll wraps, bags, gift boxes and stationery items galore). All you need to do is pop a business card or your details into the box on the stand. Left: One of the new stationery items which will be on show at PG Live.



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UKG Appointed Tesco’s Category Manager

Below: Tesco customers are in for a change on the greeting card front from Jan 2022. Below left: UKG is to become category manager for greeting cards in all Tesco’s 1,000+ stores.

Many greeting card publishers involved in new look brokerage As part of its commitment to further improving its greeting card offer for its millions of customers, Tesco has appointed UK Greetings as its category manager for the greeting card displays in all of its 1,000+ stores as from 1 January 2022. UK Greetings will take over from Hallmark Cards who has category managed the greeting card offer for the major supermarket for the last five years. Confirming the news, Sam Ody, lead buying manager for cards and wrap at Tesco told PG: “Following an extensive review, we have made changes to our greetings card supply chain. We remain absolutely committed to working in partnership with all our suppliers and will do all we can to support suppliers during the transition.”

In a statement from Hallmark UK/ROI, the company said: “Hallmark places tremendous value on our successful partnership with Tesco and we wish them continued, long-term success. We look forward to continue working with Tesco albeit in a different way, and to continue to grow the brand across all channels.” While the finer points of the new greeting card approach have yet to be finalised by Tesco and UKG, the new

‘Curated Meetings’ To Debut At Autumn Fair

arrangement will involve both UK Greetings’ greeting card designs as well as those from many other greeting card publishers, who will supply Tesco stores through UKG on a brokerage basis. This announcement follows a trial in several Tesco stores undertaken by UKG along with participating publishers over the last few months. UK Greetings’ ceo James Conn commented: “We are very happy to have been given the opportunity to partner with Tesco. We look forward to working alongside the Tesco team and other publishers.” To his mind, while there are indeed ongoing challenges for all as we transition back to ‘normality’, he feels the entire greeting card industry’s resilience should be recognised. “Like so many other sectors, our whole industry has been up against it during the pandemic, but the consumer’s appetite for greeting cards has been unabated. From major supermarkets to specialist multiples and countless independents, all have shown their true mettle and we feel very privileged to have played a part in this by supplying them with their own distinct selections that best suit their respective customers,” says James.

Right: The Curated Meetings will be double opt in.

Autumn Fair this September (5-8) is to welcome a new element to the show - a Curated Meetings service. Already a success for over five years at its partner show in Las Vegas, Autumn Fair is bringing the Curated Meetings service to the UK. “All meetings are double opt-in, so both buyers and vendors must accept, ensuring maximum relevance and engagement,” explains Maleha Khan, product manager of Autumn Fair Curated Meetings. The Curated Meetings’ UK debut beta trial will focus more on gifts but with a crossover into greeting cards, with the full-scale programme launching across multiple sectors at Spring Fair 2022. Over 500 meetings are planned across two days (the Monday and Tuesday of the show) with retailers John Lewis & Partners,, Oliver Bonas, Booths supermarkets as well as with independent retailers, including Lark London and Mooch.

Thank You Day card scored at Wimbledon A rather special greeting card stole the ‘centre court’ limelight on opening day of Wimbledon. A giant thank you card, featuring the artwork of Charlie Mackesy (author and illustrator of the highly-acclaimed book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse) and including designs created by schools, was unveiled by Tim Henman, OBE, AELTC Director to give the 2021 tennis championships a Thank You theme and support Thank You Day, which took place for the first time on Sunday July 4. Thank You Day, an idea which was started by 13 individuals who formed ‘The Together Initiative’ to encourage others to show gratitude to those who have made a difference to our lives during the pandemic garnered huge support from hundreds of organisations and celebrities, including the NHS and the Royal Voluntary Service, M&S, Asda, the Sun, The Mirror, McDonalds, HSBC UK, Unilever, JCDecaux UK, O2, PWC, the National Citizens Service, the Scouts, UK Music and UK Sport.

Above: Tim Henman OBE on Henman Hill with the giant thank you card.

As part of the build-up to the day, each class in every school across the UK was invited to create their own thank you card, some of which were reproduced to appear inside the giant card that was showcased at Wimbledon and signed by some of the leading tennis players taking part. M&S’ support included producing a limited edition Thank You Day card and bag, featuring the design by Charlie Mackesy. Asda ran a week long campaign for its staff, including a thank you and celebration wall in every store, depot and office and a ‘Big Asda Picnic’ for all stores and depot colleagues. Musicians Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Jamie Cullum, The Feeling and cast of the hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie even recorded a rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop hit to mark Thank You Day.



I N T R O D U C I NG S NO W TA P A b r a n d n e w c o l l e c t i o n b y S u z y S n o w & G r a c i e Ta p n e r 16 designs, beautifull y finished – designed to make you chuckl e


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IC Simplicity Retail Launches Retailers to order publishers’ designs through the portal Leading greeting card digital printer, The Imaging Centre broke new ground when it launched its IC Simplicity service for publishers five years ago at PG Live, whereby publishers could print and despatch to order, straight to a retailer customer’s door. Now, at this month’s PG Live (July 27 and 28), the Kent-based company will be debuting IC Simplicity Retail, aimed directly at retailers. This new service will allow individual retailers to order direct through a portal from any number of participating publishers, in any design order quantity and have them delivered to their store(s), direct from The Imaging Centre.

“IC Simplicity Retail will allow retailers to buy and access more designs from more new publishers than ever before,” believes Adam Short, managing director of The Imaging Centre. He explained that it has always been the plan to expand the Simplicity concept to retailers, and has placed significant investment in the technology, printing capacity and the physical space in its new premises as part of delivering this mission. Almost 600 greeting card publishers are now using IC Simplicity as a means of supplying their customers. Adam stressed that one of the drivers behind the IC Simplicity Retail project is

to further reduce waste and the sector’s impact on the environment. In line with this all cards sold through IC Simplicity Retail will be plastic-free, supplied naked with recycled envelopes and paper banded into 6s. “We can significantly reduce our carbon footprint by reducing deliveries, as retailers can order completely on demand from multiple publishers in one consignment, thereby massively reducing multiple orders going to single locations, particularly during high season,” points out Adam. All cards supplied via IC Simplicity Retail will be printed on the same board, made exclusively by GF Smith. IC Simply Eco 300gsm is a smooth uncoated FSC recycled grade. They will be supplied with a recycled kraft envelope. While there will be a small subscription fee to be on IC Simplicity Retail site, any publisher who signs up in time for PG Live will not pay any fee until January 2022. The cards will have a trade price of £1 to the retailer with publishers receiving 20% of this for every card ordered. Retailers will be able to try the service for themselves at the show, with a 25% discount being offered on their first order. Sarah Short (Adam’s wife) has joined the team recently as head of business development from online retail giant The Childrensalon where she headed up the Ecommerce team. Simon Davis (formerly of Greetings Today) has also just joined The Imaging Centre as head of new business development to lead on this project. Top: The new Simplicity Retail portal is readying to launch. Above left: (left-right) The Imaging Centre’s Bob Short (chairman), Adam Short (md), Jessica Penfold (ops director), Ed Starling (production manager) and Sarah Short (head of business development) next to one of their new presses.

Hallmark shows kindness in free postcards

Dean Morris’ historical card donation While well known for its humour cards that chime with modern society, Dean Morris, founder of Dean Morris Cards is also something of a collector of cards that chronicle the past. He recently donated one of his treasures - an album of Christmas cards received by one family over several years in the 1960s in the US - to the GCA. “I thought the GCA and the industry as a whole would appreciate such a treasure as opposed to just myself,” Dean told PG. Dean came across the album of cards at a flea market in Alameda Naval Base just across the bay from San Francisco.

As to what Dean feels we can learn from historical greeting cards, he highlights how it is fascinating to see how designs have changed over the decades. “I’m also fascinated by the messages and greetings written inside. It gives a snapshot of someone’s life,” he adds. When asked how he feels about the Dean Morris cards that are to be launched at PG Live later this month (July 27-28) being the treasures of the future, Dean is in no doubt: “We all want to be remembered after we’re gone so I’d love to think that some Dean Morris Cards will still be in people’s collections when I’m just distant memory.” Above: Some of the delights inside the album that has been sent to the GCA for safekeeping. Right: Dean can’t wait until PG Live!

Right: The three free postcard designs.

Hallmark has just launched a Humankind(ness) campaign which involves giving away over a quarter of a million postcards. As part of the campaign every greeting card sold in Tesco Extra stores, in selected Hallmark independent retailers’ shops or from customers will receive a free pack of three postcards (while stocks last). This activity follows on from Hallmark’s gratitude giveaway last year which saw the publisher giveaway half a million postcards to offer a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all the heroes who were making such an impact during the pandemic. This year it is taking on a kindness theme with the messaging on the cards being ‘You’re the human version of a rainbow’, ‘You bring sunshine in my life’, and ‘When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars.’ “An act of kindness can make a world of difference. We hope our consumers find a way to reach out and connect with one of these lovely cards,” said Jess Lovelace, Hallmark’s head of marketing.



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CELEBRATING THE 95 TH ANNIVERSARY OF WINNIE THE POOH 12 new greeting cards and new gift presentation collection. Captions include Birthday, Celebration, Birth, Good Luck, Get Well as well as Support & Encouragement. Delivers a fresh contemporary execution with a clear stand out from existing Winnie the Pooh ranges within the Hallmark Portfolio.

For more information, contact us on: UK: 0800 902 0900 | ROI: 012 480 104 Email: hallmarkuki



©Disney. Based on the Winnie the Pooh works by A.A.Milne and E.H. Shepard

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Father’s Day Came Good A late buying frenzy in many indies Being the first Spring Seasons event that bricks & mortar specialists could benefit from for over a year, there was a lot hanging on Father’s Day as a barometer to see whether consumers make the effort for their dads. While not making up for the lockdown miss outs of Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter, indies agreed that it was so good to get a taste of the Spring Season action. “All in all, it was great to be open for at least one of the Spring Seasons,” Penny Bailey of Bailey’s in Aintree, Crosby and Maghull told PG. “It was lovely to watch children picking out cards for their Daddies and fabulous to see the team enjoying the buzz of a busy Saturday again.” Sending out a wish to publishers, she would like to see a wider selection of additional captions for the event, similar to Mother’s Day. “We would love to see more Husband and Grandad titles, as we sold out again, despite increasing our order... note to self to order more again for 2022!” Down in Surrey, Roy and Julia Beswick, co-owners of The Card Collection, East Molesey had a good run up to the event, with some customers asking for Father’s Days cards as early as May with an exciting race to the finish. “The Dads are always a last minute buy, and this year, we definitely had a massive late rush, so it turned out to be a really successful, but very tiring Father’s Day event! We had a queue at our pick n mix and chocolate counter all day and sold out of Father’s Day balloons!” The event exceeded expectations at Wishlist in Raynes Park. “We went into it with caution this year, but in actual fact

Below: An arresting Father’s Day window display in The Card Collection. Below middle: Paper Salad (left and right) and Rosie Made a Thing (centre) sold well for Papersmile.

ended up selling every last one of our Father’s Day cards!” said owner Rachel Roberts. Deborah Tingay, owner of Southbourne Cards, Southbourne, is another indie who ended up very pleasantly surprised, topping up a strong month’s trading. “We had a great June. Father's Day, as predicted was last minute, but despite being personally critical of our range (many suppliers churned out last year’s designs due to the short selling window in 2020), we sold out of our best publishers and cleared through a lot of old stock.” Also feeling buoyant is Julie Wombwell, owner of Papersmile Normanton. “Happy days!” she exclaimed about the last Spring Seasons event of 2021. “We had a good last three days with Friday being the busiest for us.” On the department store front, Sarah Moughtin, partner and junior buyer of John Lewis & Partners shared that “All in all, it was a good Father’s Day for JL. We didn't quite make it back to our 2019 numbers, but we were very close! Our best sellers were a mixture, from humour to sentiment with the phrase 'King of Dads' proving popular across a number of designs.”

Bigger picture

Moonpig and Royal Mail start Sunday deliveries Moonpig one of the first retailers to have teamed up with Royal Mail to offer a Sunday delivery service to its customers. Father’s Day was the first special occasion that Royal Mail delivered cards and gifts on a Sunday for Moonpig, with some 60,000 packages being delivered on the day itself via Royal Mail’s Tracked 24 service for parcels. Commenting, Tony Bannister, shipping director at Moonpig said: “This was a significant milestone to allow our customers to send cards and gifts for the first time, that arrived on Father’s Day itself.” He added that Moonpig had “a record breaking Father’s Day this year, with well over a million Dads receiving a card or gift from Moonpig.” The Sunday parcel delivery is now available for Moonpig customers every week, with additional plans to make greeting cards part of the regular Sunday delivery offering (using Royal Mail’s Tracked 24 service) in the near future as well. Below: Royal Mail has extended its deliveries to seven days a week through its Track 24 service.

Stamping out the date Royal Mail did its bit to raise awareness and importance of Father’s Day, delivering the message via a rapping video, written by and starring a real postwoman. The musical mini film, Guiding Light, features Amira Rahmoune, reflecting on the challenges of the past year and the impact it has had on personal relationships both for her and the country as a whole. Her own father makes an appearance in the film, as well as images from Royal Mail staff with their own fathers. Meanwhile, the GCA gained a lot of traffic to its blog all about Father’s Day hosted on the association’s website.

Left: Scribbler’s Bath supported Pride and promoted Father’s Day at the same time.

For some of the larger retailers, there was a bit of a lack of fatherly love. “We were disappointed with the performance over Father’s Day,” admitted James Taylor, trading director of Cardzone. “We experienced a similar trend of footfall to where we have currently been tracking since reopening back in April. It was of course great having all stores open this year, however when comparing to 2019 sales we found this challenging.” Putting it in blunter terms, Miles Robinson, co-owner of House of Cards said: “Father’s Day was pretty pants for us but I can’t say we were surprised.” Over in the Scribbler camp, Jennie Procter, co-founder revealed that the group “maintained” its post lockdown percentages. Putting a positive spin on it, she said “at least this was pure cashflow as we sold last year’s stock.”



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A delightful new addition of 9 female Birthday Captions. Featuring delicate Birthday illustrations oof champagne, presents, sweets and more. Each design is enhanced with high quality E emboss, blind emboss, foil finishes and full colour insides and inserts.

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The Henries 2021 Judging Panel Retailers are invited to join the awards’ judging With the deadline date of July 21 fast approaching for publishers to enter their ranges for The Henries 2021 greeting card awards, retailers are now being invited to join the judging panel to ensure that the worthy finalists and winners are arrived at fairly and squarely. As ever, entry to The Henries is free of charge to publishers and they are not limited on the number of ranges they submit. For the second year in succession, both the entry and judging processes are taking place digitally for The Henries 2021, via the awards’ online portal. An extensive judging panel, including retailers from right across the spectrum, will undertake the important job of scrutinising the entries and then voting for the top five ranges they consider the best in each category. Elaborating on this year’s judging process, Warren Lomax, joint managing director of Max Publishing, which owns and organises The Henries said: “While everyone loves the verve of a live judging day, when we were planning The Henries at the start of the year, it was uncertain as to when the social distancing regulations would end, so we needed to find a way, that the wealth of new designs from publishers would definitely be judged by a great panel of retail buyers. This way, they can. And retailers will not need to do it all in one day!” As he added, The Henries is a ‘win win’ for both publishers and retailers. “Even if a range doesn’t reach the finals,

Left: The disco ball is spinning in anticipation of The Henries 2021.

by entering, publishers will know that their designs will have been seen by great number of leading greeting retail stockists who may well get in touch and order. From a retailer’s perspective, judging by product category means that easy comparisons can be made of the merits of different ranges, as well as being able to spot emerging trends.” This year, The Henries includes a new category, Best Diversity and Inclusion Range, which is being sponsored by the GCA. Any retailer who stocks greeting cards - from the largest supermarket to the smallest gift shop - are welcome to join the judging panel by emailing PG editor Jakki Brown on The judging window will run for a couple of weeks from early August and all judges will receive a log in code that will enable them to cast their votes throughout the judging period. In addition, for the first time this year, selected overseas distributors of UK publishers are also being invited to join The Henries’ judging panel. The finalists of The Henries 2021 will be announced in late August while the winners will be unveiled at a ‘Boogie Wonderland’ themed awards extravaganza on Thursday 7 October, which will take place at The Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.

Rocket68’s shop lifts off

Dominique Schurman and the NIQUEA.D brand join IG Design Group IG Design Group, the AIM-listed business, which includes greeting cards as part of its Celebrations portfolio, has good reason to celebrate, with group turnover having grown by an impressive 40% in its last financial year (to 31 March 2021), taking it to $873.2 million (up from $624.3 million in 2020). However, in the DG International group, the UK was the most significantly impacted by Covid-19 with revenue down 14%. While IG Design Group’s turnover increase was driven primarily by the full year effect of its timely acquisition of craft and creative business CSS, the group’s Celebrations sales were significantly up. Celebrations accounted for 60% of the group’s turnover, ($521.6 million), up on the $469.3million it achieved the year previous, with greeting cards and giftwrappings very much part of this. “Greeting cards have been one of our strongest performers. We are on course to publish 350 million greeting cards this year,” Paul Fineman, ceo told PG, citing significant growth in spring seasons. “These are no longer minor seasons for us. Sell through of Easter cards, for example doubled.” Bolstering the group’s presence in the premium greeting card sector has been its acquisition of the NIQUEA.D brand, which was founded by Dominique Schurman (former managing director of Clinton Cards and ceo of Schurman Retail Group). Dominique has also joined the group as vice president of the NIQUEA.D branded area. Having debuted in the States, Paul confirmed that the plan is to expand the NIQUEA.D brand in the UK too, initially focusing on greeting cards and other paper products. Above: Dominique Schurman is now vice president of the NIQUEA.D branded part of IG Design Group.

Left: Jill ready to welcome customers.

It has been a very successful lift off for greeting card publisher Rocket68’s brand new card shop in Somerset. Located in Somerton, near Glastonbury, the shop adjoins the publisher’s studio where owner Jill White designs all the cards. “It's going really well so far,” Jill told PG. “I am attracting many locals plus lots of 'staycationers', definitely the ‘shop local’ trend is helping.” As well as the sales, Jill also cites the advantages of being able to straddle her publishing business with life as a retailer: “I love the fact that I get so much feedback and also design ideas direct from my customers,” The shop is dedicated to Rocket68’s product portfolio which includes greeting cards, prints, wrap coasters across a variety of design styles and market sectors. Rocket68 will be exhibiting at PG Live (July 27-28) on stand 100.



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Sherwood Group and Loxleys’ caring ways… Printing group’s carbon emissions are down for third year Printers to many greeting card companies, The Sherwood Group and Loxleys have just published their fourth joint Social Responsibility Report, which tracks the two companies’ environmental and social achievements throughout the lockdown period. The report details how the group’s total carbon emissions have been reduced for the third consecutive year as part of its longstanding programme of environmental improvements, both in the running of the Nottingham (Sherwood) and Sheffield-based (Loxleys) businesses, as well as the products it produces. The report also elaborates on the group’s wide ranging goodwill projects, such as employee volunteering, sponsoring of Sheffield Council’s environmental signs to deter flytipping, laptop donations to local schools for home schooling as well as the group’s support in restoring a local nature reserve. Alice Buck, Loxleys’ marketing co-ordinator explained: “It’s always great to launch our CSR report as it illustrates tangible stories for both our employees and customers, highlighting and celebrating our efforts

throughout the year, appreciating the impact our projects have on both the local community and the wider environment.” Elaborating on the group’s environmental commitment, Jeremy Bacon, ceo of Sherwood Group said: “The focus on reducing single use plastic packaging continues to be a highly important topic” with its activities spanning greeting cards and well as other product sectors. Within greeting cards, by way of example, the report showcases how Loxleys worked with greeting card company, Into the Green Publishing, to create a card range that ‘doesn’t have to cost the earth’. Working together to utilise Loxleys’ environmental offering, the range encompassed a full variety of eco solutions, including biodegradable glitter, all-board eco-sleeves used to replace plastic multi-pack bags and Loxleys’ kraft paper transit bags used to package, protect, and transit the cards to retailers. (See pages 83-85) Above: The Social Responsibility Report covers The Sherwood Group’s and Loxleys’ caring achievements. Left: One of the posters that encouraged people in Sheffield to take responsibility for their litter.

No cover up for Stationery Supplies With Freedom Day of July 19 signalling the end of the legal wearing of face coverings and social distancing requirements, leading independent greeting card and stationery retailer, Sarah Laker, owner of Stationery Supplies in Marple and Wilmslow appeared on a recent BBC Radio 5 Live’s A Taste of Freedom programme to share her considered views. “I’m not going to ask customers to wear masks as I feel that mask wearing has really affected our trade. Customers aren’t comfortable in them and so they either visit my shop, but don’t browse or else online instead,” Sarah said on air, highlighting that the steaming up of glasses is “a big problem and prevents customers from browsing”. She still plans to still keep a mask handy in case any customers prefer her to wear one and is letting her staff to decide for themselves if they want to wear one or not. “I’ll also be glad not to ask customers if they’re able to wear masks as we’ve had some really upsetting, quite horrid incidents with customers becoming abusive.” Commenting after the programme, Sarah told PG that she was still planning to wear a mask in certain situations. “I will definitely wear a mask on the train to London and on tubes en route to PG Live later this month, I think it would be silly not to,” says Sarah. “And I'm taking a mask to Harrogate to see how I feel when I'm there, but in the shops, I'll be relieved not to wear one.” Above: Sarah feels her customers will feel more comfortable shopping in her two stores without having to wear a face covering.

Rosie gets naked with Caroline Gardner Rosie Made a Thing is going naked on all its greeting cards, adopting the InFold corner mechanism, as developed by Caroline Gardner to hold the card and envelope together while protecting the corner. “With tonnes of plastic hitting our oceans every year, we were starting to feel a bit sick about the part we were playing in it,” said Rosie Harrison, managing director of Rosie Made a Thing. “We’ve been planning the move to naked cards for some time, but it’s taken us a while to find a solution that we’re happy with. We were looking for something that looks good, protects the card and saves the world. Simple.” are going naked Aware of the InFold solution that Caroline Gardner came up with and patented, Rosie contacted the company and an agreement was reached to adopt the same approach under licence. Rosie’s Christmas range will be offered with the InFold as standard, featuring the company’s newly refreshed branding, with nakedness introduced across all the publisher’s ranges from 1 August. “Inevitably, there will be a transition period while we sell through our cello-bagged stock, but we aim for all cards to be in InFolds by the end of the year,” confirmed Rosie. Right: A new style logo appears on Rosie’s InFold. Left: Rosie Made a Thing shouldn’t feel shy about being naked!



lots of lovely new stuff! Visit us at PG Live – Stand 517 W:

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Unrestricted Home & Gift Harrogate show is part of Govt research programme As exhibitors and retail visitors were getting ready for both Home & Gift and the co-located Manchester Furniture Show in Harrogate this month (July 18-21), detailed discussions were taking place with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Public Health Bodies and the Harrogate Convention Centre, with both shows selected to be part of a limited number of pilot events in the third phase of the Government Events Research Programme (ERP). Under the ERP pilot conditions, there will be no restrictions on visitor numbers or social distancing requirements on any day of the event, despite the show starting the day before Freedom Day. All attendees will be required to certify that either they have had two vaccinations at least two weeks prior to attending or a negative NHS Lateral Flow Test at least 48hrs before attending. The consent required from all participants to opt into the Event Research programme and NHS Test and Trace will be sent to all registered buyers and exhibitors individually. “With the backing of the government, public health bodies and our key customers, we can see that the appetite

Ashley McCracken and Carmen Long join forces Two well known industry execs, Ashley McCracken and Carmen Long, have joined forces and set up Bloomfield, a product development and brand strategy business. Both worked together at Portico Designs some 20 years ago, and with their collective experience, they can confidently offer a product development, range planning, ethical sourcing, buying, costing, creative direction, conceptualisation, production scheduling, new business development and licensing support across a wide range of product areas from greeting cards and stationery to gifts and homewares. Above: Ashley McCracken’s career has involved both the supplier side as well as retail. Right: Carmen Long is hugely experienced in product development.

Below: One of the meeting points outside the DP marquees.

and enthusiasm are there for an in person buying and selling event,” states show director, Russell Rule. “There is great excitement from both exhibitors and visitors to reconnect in Harrogate to celebrate our 60th Anniversary!” Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston commented: “The business and events industry is worth around £40bn annually to the UK economy so I’m delighted we are

able to include the Home & Gift Show 2021 at full capacity as part of our ground-breaking Events Research Programme. This will continue to trial the use of the NHS App as a means to show you’re Covid safe.” Organisers Clarion Events confirm that health and safety is paramount and remains a top priority. The show will be taking place across the Harrogate Convention Centre and the grounds of the DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate. Registration is open. Visit

Paper Salad’s up for a business award Greeting card publisher Paper Salad has reached the finals in the Stockport Business Awards. The Romily-based company, coowned by Claire Williams and Karen Wilson is one of three finalists in the Business of the Year (Turnover £1m-£3m) category. It is up against two recruitment firms, Jobwise and Odin Recruitment. The winners are announced at an awards ceremony in October. Paper Salad will be exhibiting lots of new designs at PG Live on its stand while collaborative ranges will be showcased on the Emotional Rescue stand opposite. (See pages 46-47 to read about Glick/Paper Salad’s 10 year anniversary)

The Greats 2021 retailer finalists announced While finalists in The Retas 2021 greeting card retailer awards are still letting the good news sink in, the retailer finalists of The Greats gift retailer awards 2021 have also been announced, with some well- respected greeting card retailers featuring in that line-up. “Entrants and nominees exceeded expectations, with the pandemic challenging all retailers to really up their game, especially while the doors were closed,” commented Sue Marks editor of PG’s sibling Progressive Gift & Home, which owns and organises The Greats. One of the many delighted to hear the news of reaching the finals of The Greats 2021 was Adam de Wolff, coowner of The Indigo Tree, Streatham and Crystal Palace, which also feature in the finals of The Retas 2021 greeting card retailing awards. “Wow, this is amazing news. What a great year 2021 is proving to be despite all the Covid issues!” exclaimed Adam. “We are truly humbled to have once again been nominated by our wonderful agents and suppliers. Looking forward to seeing everyone on 27 July [at the PG Live 2021 trade exhibition] to celebrate and maybe buy some cards too!” To see the full list of finalists head to The winners of The Greats 2021 will be unveiled at a gorgeous afternoon event on 23 September, taking place at the Honourable Artillery Company’s historic premises in London. Top: Adam de Wolff with his daughter Megan, who also works in The Indigo Tree.

Right: Some of the designs from one of the Emotional Rescue x Paper Salad ranges.



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Whether it was Hoop Dreams on VHS back in 1994 or the Up series on ITV or Michael Moore with Bowling for Columbine or Louis Theroux and his weird weekends, I love them all. My first love will always be a sports documentary, with America’s Game, When We Were Kings, Last Chance U, Icarus and the amazing The Last Dance among my favourites. Usually, these sports documentaries have a formula. It starts often in poverty and with a desire to improve and bring your family up with you. It always focuses on a unique talent where someone reaches pinnacles that so many others don’t. This is usually driven by a work ethic and focus that few reach. The success comes and then there is often a dip or a black mark or a problem, before either a triumphant return or the crash from glory. I have a memory of being in my 20’s out and chatting, mostly to girls, they would ask what I did as a job. I would say the name of our family retail business and most hadn’t heard of it. For some reason this riled me. It was and still is my world, yet in reality, JP Pozzi was not known or really thought of in any way outside the little bubble of our town. 26


Documentaries are without doubt one of the greatest joys in my life. I was accepted to do film studies at Stirling Uni and while I let that dream slip away, watching films and documentaries remain my main way to escape from work and ironically I escape best when watching other people and how their lives are shaped. There is something fascinating about hearing about people’s stories and how they got to where they got. The ‘journey’ as they joke on the talent shows, is without doubt the most interesting bit. As we all find ourselves in a ground-breaking documentary, called ‘real life’, I wonder what the director has in the script… Above: Film buff David Robertson, finds himself in a leading man’s role in his own business journey. Left: Hoop Dreams 1994 film follows two inner city Chicago teenagers chasing scholarships that hold out the chance of a brighter future. Right: David Robertson, back in 2013 when he had just started his Bijou by the Sea project. Below: The docuseries, The Last Dance chronicles the rise of superstar Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls.

Silly as that may sound, this lit the fire and started me on the quest to build the business. As I started to expand the stores, I started to learn so many things in business, it was scary. I learnt how to deal with banks, how to structure deals, how to

rent buildings, how to write business plans and every time I was making mistakes. In essence though I would just keep going. None of the mistakes were fatal and I didn’t let any of them put me off the goal to expand. I had a plan to own every site we operated from and loved taking on buildings that others were afraid to. Eventually this ended up doing the Bijou project, selling my house and borrowing half a £million which focused me more than I would ever have believed possible. It hit like no other project I had ever done and the addiction to that feeling of opening, success and that need for wider recognition still feeds

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OVER THE COUNTER Left: Bijou by the Sea is ready for a drastic overhaul. Below: David has learned alot from Michael Jordan. Bottom left: Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Mentality has taught David Robertson a lot. Bottom right: Keep practising to get it in the hoop like no other!

me today. That building and the way it traded made me feel untouchable, believe that everything was going to just keep escalating and improving. In reality, within a few years, there were bumps on the path. One or two of those were major, but each focused me and made me a better person and businessman. Now everyone in retailing is standing at a junction; we simply don’t really know what is going to happen. Retail is in the middle of its documentary. It has had its glory years and won its championship medals. It has been the biggest employer and it stands now on the precipice where we could make a return in a different way or it could continue to slip into a darker hole. I can’t tell you where it will end up, all I can tell you is that from what I have seen from myself and other retailers it will not be for a lack of effort if we can’t get this thing working properly again. Every retailer I follow seems to be innovating, trying, twisting and willing to do anything to survive; to succeed. The challenge that faces me with our buildings and business is not one that scares me. It excites me. What can we do differently now? Where can we take this in the future? How can we change? The great Kobe Bryant, who died last year in a helicopter crash aged 42, spoke passionately about his belief system that he named the Mamba Mentality. This was his belief that his work ethic was based around the idea that greatness came from the willingness to risk indelible failure. Better to try and fail in life than to do nothing and stand still. If he wanted to try something new in his game, he would do it,

practice it until it was right and then he would add it to his arsenal. Sometimes though he would just do it and trust in his skills. Interestingly, Ronaldo said the same thing in his recent documentary. He would practice new skills away from everyone else then simply drop them into games. Hours and hours of work would go into one touch or one turn. This is all the work that so many don’t see. In our industry it is all the research, the trudging round trade shows and the discussions with fellow retailers trying to find the next big thing. Bryant believed that you had to be passionate first. End of. You had to love the industry that you were in and Ronaldo echoed the same sentiment. What drives these athletes when the have won it all and are worth half a £billion pounds? The only answer is that inner voice telling you that you need to succeed. When you absorb the documentaries about them and others you just need to listen to their voices. Firstly, you must turn up. Secondly, you must compete. Thirdly, you work hard and then work harder still. Fourth, be curious - ask and learn. And finally take that learning and either fail or succeed. Either is acceptable and then you go again. Failure is not a disgrace, the enemy or an embarrassment. Failure is something that you need to embrace and harness. It is something that will shape you in both your current moment and your future. In life the reality is that you will fail far more times than you succeed. Legendary basketball player Michael Jordan shared his experience: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games, 26 times. I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and

over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” He was and is resilient and that is what we will need to be in these next few weeks, months and years in business. This Covid tail will live with us a long time and every time we are challenged we will rise to it because that is what people who generate their own income do. At present I am working not only on bringing our businesses back, but am about to undertake the biggest project I have ever worked on. When we bought our Bijou by the Sea restaurant we had a vision for it and now eight years later, after hospitality has been pummelled for the last 15 months we will shortly announce a complete reinvention of the building as a class leading destination outlet with a new retail space. Greeting cards again will be a part of the offer and I am working to try and bring a different approach to them in what will be a pretty unique environment. Up and down the UK many are doing the same thing now. We are trying to find ways to give the public back their confidence. We need to give them reasons to go to places and do things and independent retail and service is the main reason I believe the public will return to physical shopping.

We must keep our own Mamba Mentality strong. We must not allow the many distractions all around us at present to put us off taking the shot. If the buzzer sounds and we miss it then we need to be right there the next time to take that shot again and again and again. Failure, as Kobe said, is not an option. To contact David email: PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Upping The Volume

On Real Life It’s tough out there for many in the greeting card industry at the moment. The V-shaped recovery of our domestic economy, that so much of the UK is said to be experiencing, is a little bit more of a left-shaped ‘tick’ for our industry, senses Cardsharp. A great number of a greeting card retailers are saying that they are still trailing 2019 sales figures by around 20%. And of course, city centre shops are doing a lot worse than local shops. Now, is most definitely the time to see off the zombies and turn up the volume on real life. While Cardsharp is naturally an optimist, in his ever-forgetful nature he sometimes forgets where he put his rose-tinted spectacles. Everyone was hoping for a boomtime Father’s Day - the first Covid-free Spring Season we have had since Valentine’s 2020 - but initial reports were pretty mixed. A very late rally did help, but it was certainly not the belter that we had all hoped for. There are still many card sending events that are just not happening at present. Large weddings (although the easing of restriction to allow 80 guests will help) have been prohibited. Children’s birthday parties, christenings and graduation parties have all been noticeable by their absence. Even big



milestone birthday party celebrations have been postponed and unfortunately in many cases abandoned. And then just if not more than worrying, is the fear we are lurching into a 1970s-style comfort zone. Younger readers may not realise but this was an era of steady decline as everyone seemed to accept a period of, to quote the great a lyric from the great rock band Pink Floyd when we were ‘comfortably numb’. Have too many of us become numbed by lockdown? Life has been less pressured, and fewer people are being seen socially, and less money is being spent. Too many people, to the detriment of both retail and the greeting card industry, seem to be enjoying this 1970’s state of state-controlled comfort zone. For older readers, this was a period of economic and national stagnation and decline, arguably arrested by Margaret Thatcher’s election of Prime Minister in 1979.

Top: Time to turn up the volume on real life! Above: Staying home to watch the summer of sports is deemed as one reason people are not keen to get back to the office. Below left: The return of weddings and birthday celebrations will have a positive knock on effect on the greeting card sector.

Cardsharp found it incredible, that 71% of people polled supported the four week postponement of the delay of Freedom Day, which was supposed to happen on June 21. The lure of watching the Euros, Wimbledon and other summer sporting events must have influenced some of the respondents’ answers. There are plenty of incentives for employees to quote Covid concerns before getting back to work and into the fray. And to many the pre-Covid period seems a much too frantic and frenetic age that they would rather not go back to. It is no wonder

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that so many people seem so be so acquiescent to delay the ending of social restrictions. But what has become ever clearer to Cardsharp, is that the greeting card industry is a social sector that at its core is reliant on a social population. So, we (the population) need to be out there and mixing big time! That’s why Cardsharp worries about some of the trends that are emerging post-Covid. Cardsharp found it intriguing that research from Glasgow University indicated that ‘entrepreneurial, innovative, and extrovert people have suffered more from mental health issues’, than others. Students, young people and school leavers have as well, but then too many have also become irrationally risk-obsessed and until this is confronted we have a real problem. But surely, reflects Cardsharp, we all we have a role to play. It’s all very well for major retailers to lament poor footfall in the high street, but then are those same retailers contributing by still encouraging their respective teams to work from home or putting now needless restrictions on buyers seeing representatives in face-toface meetings or not allowing them to attend work-related events. They can do their business some good if they set an example and start to encourage confidence. And then there are the publishers. Many have invested heavily over the years, making their offices/studios attractive and stimulating places to work. This has often been in the face of their accountants’ advice who in most cases find it near impossible to put a financial value on creativity. And yet in the last year and a half, these studios/offices have in most cases have been eerily empty as creatives and studio workers have been working from home. This is not only bad in terms of getting people back into workplaces and in the shops again, to Cardsharp’s mind it is also not good long term for publishers’ esprit de corps. A good vibrant studio is a cauldron of creativity, a cornucopia of ideas and energy, where designs, styles, approaches constantly evolving to be tested in the immediate. In short, the studio adds the value to the product with little delay and purity of reaction.

Above: Creative ideas are more likely to flow if people get together. Below: We all need to see off the Zombies believes Cardsharp.

So, Cardsharp is convinced that it is vitally important that publishers get their creative teams back in their studios as quickly as possible. And although many creatives may have come to enjoy the WFH experience, they may find it less rewarding, especially so if the publisher comes to think having an empty studio has become a white elephant and perhaps decides that rather than paying salaries for work that is hard to quantify, opts to dispense with their in-house creatives’ services and opt for a freelance option? If a greeting card can be designed adequately (if not inspirationally) over the internet from Banstead, then why not Bangalore at a fraction of the cost? Cardsharp can see the accountants asking that question frequently. Cardsharp thinks the sooner those studios are noisy, creative madhouses again, the better for everyone involved the creatives, the publishers and hopefully the whole industry. Taken to the extreme, the current situation could lead to a ‘Zombification’ of our world leading creative industry. To Cardsharp, in some cases, the tail seems to be wagging the dog. Employees in some quarters seem to be dictating how, where and what they want to do, with the bosses wanting to be seen to be a considerate employers, rolling over to appease these demands. Cardsharp found

himself agreeing with US banking company, Morgan Stanley, who are now saying to staff, “If you eat out at a restaurant, you can go into to the office”. And closer to home, Barclays’ chief executive, Jes Staley, said “physical interaction between people builds a strong culture, drives the exchange of ideas and views and shapes innovation”. And this comes from a banker, not a profession noted for its creativity or one whose opinions Cardsharp rarely agrees! And let’s be totally honest about it. However awful personally the last 18 months has been for us and our relatives, now with the vaccines having largely done their job, you are more likely to be involved in a road accident than die from Covid – in the UK the pandemic is now officially the ninth most common cause of death, way below heart disease and flu. Cardsharp wholeheartedly agrees with the sentiment that we must get out there and mix again for the future health of our greeting card industry. Let’s make a restart, as an industry, by being more sociable again. Let’s get those face-to-face

meetings going again. Encourage the visits from the sales reps and the sales agents. Get the face-to-face sales meetings and launch conferences going again. Drop the Zoom meetings and the even more ghastly hybrid Zoom meetings, with half the group in the room and the other half on screen. Let’s get out and do lots of competitive greeting card shopping and start attending relevant trade exhibitions and events. Let’s start living again! Because concludes, Cardsharp, the future of our world leading greeting card industry depends on it. Let’s see off those Zombies!



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Ship Shape?! Inset: Shipping costs and shortages is just one of the challenges greeting card publishers who manufacture in the Far East are facing.

Last January it cost $2,500 to ship a 40’ container from the Far East to the UK. Now that cost has soared to $16,000 – with further price rises on the horizon. Soaring costs of shipping, haulage and raw materials, coupled with container shortages and disruption at ports post-Brexit resulting in delays are causing horrendous headaches for greeting card publishers, calendar companies and giftwrappings businesses bringing their products into the UK. PG spoke to publishers and suppliers about dealing with these challenges…

Jack and Hannah Dale co-owners of Wrendale Designs

Alistair Marchant ceo of Carte Blanche Greetings Cause and effects: “We are experiencing a perfect storm of challenges as any importer and exporter of goods is facing at the moment. While still working through the various challenges of leaving the EU we are faced with astronomical increases in freight with an ever-changing situation in China, resulting in shortages and increased costs. We are examining every line on every order and working with our customers to make sure everyone is aware of our plans and that we don’t let anyone down.” Mitigating action: “Although we all would like to think the issue is short term and potentially the freight situation will correct itself as the world emerges from the grip of Covid-19 we have taken on an additional person in our product development team and their primary focus is to increase our European sourcing options.” Future thoughts: “You try and be practical and resourceful at times like these and in reality we all knew there would be fallout from the Brexit decision and dealing with the aftermath of a global pandemic. Business is all about partnerships and now is a time when we have to work closely with all partners and explore all options in ensuring we maintain availability at a price that is sustainable. It is proving challenging, but over the years there are always peaks and troughs and you have to believe in playing the long game.” Above: Alister Marchant, ceo of Carte Blanche Greetings is playing the long game. Left: While many of CBG’s cards are produced in the UK, others are manufactured in the Far East.

Cause and effects: “It is a nightmare. We’re having to deal with massive supply chain issues and rising costs across the board. Lots of our products are made in the UK, but we are finding that supply chains are all being affected somewhere along the line which is resulting in delays and increasing costs huge rises in paper prices for example. The cost of bringing stock to the UK on shipping containers has shot up four-fold since December 2020. The reasons for this aren’t particularly clear, but along with the pandemic part of the issue appears to be a shortage of shipping containers. As well as increasing shipping costs it’s having a knock-on effect on materials and shortages are also pushing prices up. The Suez Canal situation didn’t help as we had a couple of containers held up, but the impact of this felt minor compared to the delays we were already experiencing due to the congestion at the UK ports in the new year caused by Brexit. This is obviously having a major effect on our margins, especially for some of our bulkier giftware items and our printers and suppliers are passing on their increased costs to us already. (continued on page 33) Above: Hannah and Jack Dale, co-owners of Wrendale Designs. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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VIEWPOINTS Across the industry we’re expecting to see unavoidable price increases unfortunately.” Mitigating action: “We’ve been trying to mitigate this issue by ordering in larger quantities and earlier than normal, but I think there will be inevitable shortages.” Future thoughts: “In spite of these challenges we feel really positive about the future, we need to be able to adapt to the changing circumstances, but invariably it will provide opportunities. I’m sure if we keep working proactively with our suppliers, maintaining good levels of communication we’ll get through this.” Below: Wrendale’s plush products together with many of its gift lines are produced in the Far East.

Becky Dobson managing director of Glick Cause and effects: “It’s absolutely horrendous - as if going from $2,500 to $14,000+ for a 40’ container in just over a year was bad enough - especially when you consider that we need 15 containers for our Christmas rollwrap alone - then you have to factor in likely delays and haulage issues in the UK! Rates were dropping slightly and then the Suez blockage happened and prices shot back up again. This has all impacted on Glick as it has on many other companies in the industry shipping from the Far East. It doesn’t seem fair when you read how Maersk, one of the largest shipping companies reported that its profits for Q1 this year was on the same level as 2020, but with far fewer vessels!” Mitigating efforts: “We have been considering ‘work arounds’ ever since we sensed there would be issues. We brought forward our production schedules in order to minimise stock shortages and thankfully took delivery of a large shipment last month with more on the water.” Future thoughts: “While we were hoping to ride out the cost increases and so did not pass these on initially, we have to be realistic and so have had Top: Becky Dobson with The Henries 2020 Glick won for to ask our customers to accept a small surcharge. the Best Giftwrappings This is a worldwide issue, but I am hoping that it will have Collection. Above: Maersk has reported increased profits. sorted itself out by 2022.”

Daniel Prince managing director of Danilo Cause and effects: “I think it's outrageous that the shipping companies can get away with charging 600%-800% more than they were 18 months ago. They are all making record profits at the expense of their customers. The container shortage is also ridiculous. It's almost like an over demand and shortage of supply has been created to justify these costs. I wouldn't mind paying such ridiculous prices if you could get the goods quicker, but even with these prices it's taking much longer than pre-Covid. The last few months we have managed the situation without any major issues. We had been hoping the situation would improve by June/July, then the Suez crisis came and various Covid outbreaks happened in ports. While we were not affected directly by the Suez blockage, as our two containers went through the day before it happened, there are the knock-on effects. At the moment we have seen delays now of four weeks due to port issues in China, and so only affects our early launch ranges, but we hope it doesn't continue as it could affect our main range shipments in a few months’ time.” Mitigating action: “We are working with our factories and shipping partners to find the best solutions possible while we also luckily have excellent UK production capabilities. We did look at train transportation from the Far East, but not only is this even more expensive than shipping, but the trains are booked up. It does seem ludicrous that you could end up spending more on freight than the cost of the item! We have tried to produce as much as we can earlier and have moved some production away from Korea back to the UK. We have even air freighted some delayed stocks, but this is expensive. We can't ask our retailers for price increases once the orders have all been confirmed as that would be unfair to do this year. We want to support our retailers and likewise we also would want them to support and help suppliers. So, we simply have to manage the situation and try and produce stock as early as we can, but with licensed product we always have to make sure we feature the latest styles and images to keep it as current as possible at retail. Retailers do need to be aware of the issues. We however have written to all our retailers to advise of the issues and let them know that we will keep them informed of any delays.” Future thoughts: “It would be good as an industry to start lobbying parliament for help, but I guess the government has its own problems!” Above: Daniel Prince, managing director of Danilo is hugely frustrated by the swingeing cost rises. Right: Delays at ports are causing headaches for publishers.



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VIEWPOINTS David Byk ceo of Swan Mill (which includes Ling Design, GBCC and Penny Kennedy) Cause and effects: “As if the soaring costs of shipping weren’t enough, there are now delays caused by containers being in the wrong place, disruption at ports, raw material cost inflation around the world and a shortage of UK lorry drivers as a result of Brexit. As an example, UK made cardboard boxes are up by as much as 40% this year and lead times have tripled. The only good thing to come out of all this is that the capacity that has been removed was old ships which did not meet stricter environmental standards and more and cleaner capacity is coming on stream next year.” Mitigating action: “Luckily for us, we already produce our rollwrap at our factory in Wales as this is space hungry product to ship from the Far East, we have an excellent supply chain out of Asia and we also manufacture product in the UK and Europe. We have started shipping our Christmas boxes earlier than even last year and we are very conscious that it is not about when the first shipment lands, but when the last batch of stock arrives, although we are hoping that we will not experience any shortages or delays. However, as it has been reported in the press recently, the shortage of lorry drivers will be an extra challenge in getting product from UK warehouses to stores this year too. We have increased the amount of cards we print in the UK due to all the issues, but even with the cost rises and hassles in shipping from the Far East, if you are organised, we consider it to be still more commercially viable to produce there, but are working with UK and European printers to narrow that gap.” Future thoughts: “I would like some action taken to protect the vital supply chain. I am very pleased that the industry is talking about it so pressure can be put on government to get involved and we all work with our customers so they are aware of the challenges and we need to can work together on solutions. This year it is about taking the cost rises on the chin and making sure we are working hard to get the product in although I think there is a huge amount of inflationary pressures on all products and sectors.” Top: The costs of cardboard boxes have tripled and 10 week delays are not uncommon. Above: David Byk is taking the cost rises on the chin this year.

Paul Fineman ceo of IG Design Group Cause and effects: “These cost rises are totally unprecedented. This hyper inflation is like a torpedo for all businesses shipping from the Far East. Our volumes are significant so we are feeling it more than most. The costs are one thing, but the delays are another. We have experienced bottlenecks of up to 45 days at port which is so frustrating for us and our retail customers. The fact that everyone is in the same boat, pardon the pun, doesn’t make it any easier.” Mitigating actions: “We asked our retail customers to commit to quantities earlier so that we can try and mitigate against supply issues and shortages. They have thankfully been able to do this. We have also helped as much as we can by allowing our customers who also ship from the Far East to piggyback on our containers if we have spare capacity.” Future thoughts: “We had hoped that this would be a short term hit for us all, but sadly it is lasting longer than anticipated.” Above: IGDG’s ceo Paul Fineman says the hyper inflation has hit like a torpedo.

Jeremy Bacon ceo of The Sherwood Group and Loxleys, with its own manufacturing business in China Cause and effects: “The pandemic has caused a major disruption to global supply chains. Shipping costs may have grabbed the headlines, but the cost and availability of board in China is the key issue for the greeting card market. Thankfully over 70% of everyday single cards are still produced in the UK. The paper and board industry is described in microeconomic terms as a spiral market. A disruption to either supply or demand has a large impact on price. Last year saw the closure of paper and board mills as demand fell and a shortage of supply of pulp, the key raw material in manufacture. The Chinese economy recovered strongly after Chinese New Year in 2021 which caused hyper inflation with prices going up weekly. Historically board has been cheaper in China, but now the reverse is true. The situation is not as extreme in our UK business, but we are under price pressure from suppliers who are largely being supportive and pushing the problem into quarters 3 and 4.” Mitigating actions: “We have been supportive of our customers, as our suppliers have been with us. We have talked more frequently during the last year, understanding the market situation, sharing, and resolving problems. Forecasting is extremely difficult for everyone when demand is affected by which distribution channels are open. We have some good cases studies from the last year where we have been proactive. One project involved moving a seasonal parcel of work from China to the UK as independent retailers were closed, another was a seasonal promotion in a grocer where the bespoke price label became the limiting factor.” Future thoughts: “A high level of communication with all parties in the supply chain is essential to solve an ongoing problem. We will work with customers and suppliers to mitigate both supply and price issues. We need to be creative and do things differently, fortunately we are part of a creative industry. Supply chains will normalise once we are over the worse of the pandemic. I think we are at the beginning of the end, but we still have further to go.”

Right: With manufacturing facilities in the UK and Far East Jeremy Bacon, ceo of The Sherwood Group is well placed to comment.



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Progressive Greetings Live 2021

Left: Some jumping for joy with PG Live being back for real July 27-28.

Eat, drink and be merry together

A Wondrous

As ever, buyers (and exhibitors) will be incredibly well looked after. The popular PG Live tea trolleys will be out in force pouring out cuppas (in ‘proper’ cups) throughout the day (thanks to Windles) while a free delicious lunch will be served to exhibitors and visitors alike (thanks to Fedrigoni) and there is also an opening night drinks party for all to christen the first day of wonderful trade. Below: Retailers and exhibitors enjoying the delicious free lunch.

Reunion After over a year of no trade shows, PG Live 2021 is all set to be a very special reunion of the greeting card community - where business will meet pleasure and no mistake. With the exhibition taking place for real on Tuesday 27 July and Wednesday 28 July, Jim Bullough, marketing manager of the show, shares some of PG Live’s many magic ingredients.

Newness, newness, newness Known the world over as having the greatest selection of greeting cards, the exhibitor line-up for PG Live 2021 does not disappoint and neither do their respective launch plans for the show. “This year more than ever before, PG Live is all set to be the perfect platform for showcasing new collections with publishers of all sizes using the show as a launchpad for their abundant newness,” assures Jim. The stellar line-up of leading names, such as Abacus Cards, The Art File, Belly Button Designs, Cath Tate Cards, Danilo, Emotional Rescue, Five Dollar Shake, Hallmark, Ling Design, Ohh Deer, Paperlink, Paper Salad, Pigment, Portfolio, UK Greetings, Words ‘n’ Wishes, Wendy Jones-Blackett and Woodmansterne Publications will be among those presenting inspiring new designs and ranges for every card-giving occasion imaginable while there will be also fresh designs galore from sparkling new brands, such as Animo Alphabets, Hopping Dog Cards, Bexi Cards and The Seed Card Company.

Going for promotion “Exhibitors are putting the finishing touches to a whole load of extra incentives and quirky elements. From ‘show only’ offers to fun competitions, surprise happenings on stands to great photo opportunities, will all add to the positive vibe,” promises Jim. There also be the flurry of excitement as retailers (who are winners and finalists in The Retas and The Greats retailer awards as well as Cardgains members), produce their ‘Willy Wonka’ tickets to seal the deals with extra aplomb. Below: PG Live’s Jim Bullough with CBG’s Grace Elphinstone with a winning prize draw ticket at the last show.

Above: Designs from Parade, one of six brand new ranges The Art File is launching at PG Live as well as over 50 new occasions and relations cards. Left: New publisher Huxley Jones joins the exhibitor line up.



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Progressive Greetings Live 2021

A living history

Being in good company

Above: The ribbon cutting at the last PG Live in 2019.

“The key is in the name - PG Live really is where the greeting card community comes alive,” exclaims Jim. While the exhibitor ‘cast’ is full of fabulous characters, retail buyers from right across the spectrum will be there - from top buyers from specialist multiples, department stores, garden centres, supermarkets, online players, to countless indie card and gift retailers. “Especially after a year and a half of being couped up, the buzz of banter is bound to be incredible. The relaxed feel of the show will provide an ideal opportunity for retailers to meet the people behind the brands, agents will catch up with their principals while leading trade suppliers will be sharing their developments. You never know who you are going to meet!”

Spreading the love Hear what some retailers have to say about the show…

Above: Mark Janson-Smith and his wife Leona (left) spending a Silver Ticket with Hello Geronimo at the last PG Live.

Mark Janson-Smith, managing director, Postmark, London: “I can’t think of a better show to kick off the return to normality than PG Live. I’ve missed everyone from the industry a lot this past year and this will be a show like no other!” Miles Robinson, co-owner, House of Cards, Home Counties: “We’ve never been so looked after at a trade show as we are at PG Live - just one of the things for us that means it stands apart from other shows. All of our team really enjoy the show. It has such a great buzz and positive vibe. It’s always great to see new publishers and emerging trends, as well as seeing how existing suppliers are upping their game.”

While the PG Live exhibitors’ stands will be living proof of the UK’s pre-eminence in greeting card design, the show will also include an exhibition of greeting card design over the last century. Initially unveiled at the GCA’s 100th Anniversary Conference and AGM in October 2019, the GCA’s Centenary Exhibition features a rich history of greeting card designs from the previous 10 decades. “We are delighted to be able to bring the exhibition to PG Live 2021,” said Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA. “It's a fascinating look at how it has changed over the last century and truly demonstrates the broad range of innovation and design within the worldleading British greeting card industry.” The exhibition was curated by industry expert Geoff Sanderson with support from Helen Snell of Orchard Design House. It includes submissions from a range of personal and company archives as well as from museums and auctions. Below: Geoff Sanderson with part of the GCA exhibition.

Jo Barber (right), owner, No.14, Ampthill: “What do I like about PG? I love the fact that it’s just about cards. Rows and rows of beautiful cards without any other distractions. And as it’s a short show, everyone’s upbeat, the attendance is strong and there’s a unique and very friendly atmosphere.” James Taylor, trading director of Cardzone: “Of course we’ll be at PG Live 2021! I can’t wait to see all the new products and the faces behind them. No better place to find them!” Graham Fraser, owner, Alba, Oban: “Progressive Greetings Live epitomises the whole industry. It’s caring and thoughtful, but always professional; it’s inspirational, but with good added value, and it’s cutting edge, but also covers the whole spectrum of tastes. It’s so easy to buy when you are well-fed and watered!” Sarah Moughtin (below), card buyer for John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners: “I am really looking forward to PG Live - it feels long overdue to see and speak to all our publishers old and new! It will be a key moment for us to start thinking about planning for 2022. I just can’t wait to see all the new designs.”

PG Live Show Essentials When: Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 July 2021 Where: Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 0QH Timings: 9.30am-6.00pm (with a free opening night party onsite until 7.45pm) on the 27 July 9.30am-4.30pm on the 28 July Registration: Via the show website ( or by calling +44 (0)1635 297070 Getting there: The BDC is only a few minutes walk away from Angel underground station and 20 minutes walk from Highbury and Islington station. It is also a short taxi ride from Kings Cross/St Pancras and Euston while Waterloo, Liverpool Street and Paddington stations are easily accessible. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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PG Live: Life Stories

Private Lives

With so many newbies and first time exhibitors at PG Live this month, PG caught up with some of the new faces at the show to find out more about their lives and what inspired them to become ‘cardies’. From high flying circus performers to a barista/cat carer and an interiors guru, their back stories are well worth a read.

High Flying Performers Toby Gisle and his wife Sharon Nathanson, the co-owners of Animo Alphabets, were circus performers who met in Bristol at the circus school Circomedia. “We worked in circuses and our own shows in the UK and Sweden,” explains Toby. “My mother, Anna Gisle, had been a set designer for her entire career, working in theatres and opera houses in many countries, but mainly in Sweden and Norway. When our son was born in 2010, we wanted Anna to paint something that he could have in his room, and so she painted animals in watercolours. The response was immediate. Everyone loved the painting and Sharon persuaded my mother to paint more images as she thought that we could make cards and posters from them. We launched



Animo tentatively in 2011, and again, everyone loved the animals. I think we are onto something because now they are sold in a dozen countries in Europe and beyond.” Toby explains: “The lure of the painting is in the craft of painting itself, but also in the way that Anna finds ways to express emotions on the animals' faces, something that comes from all her years, and ours, of working on the stage.” Sharon meanwhile, is the one with the business strategy and also comes up with ideas for many of the motifs, finding the connection as to why people would want to buy the card for a particular occasion. Toby - a lifelong birdwatcher, who still likes to juggle whenever he can - adds that he and cat lover Sharon, a photographer, have always given each other greeting cards. “Gifts come and go but the greeting cards remain. That's why we are always looking for cards where we can express our devotion to each other. It isn't always easy to find the right card, and we want people to have the same relationship as we do to a lovely card with some special words on it. So, making the cards for the right occasion became our mission with Animo.” As for inspiration, there are a few guidelines. “Firstly, in the digital world we live in, we like to find the connection to the artwork that we saw growing up - the

Left: Husband and wife Toby Gisle and Sharon Nathanson as circus performers. Above: The couple with a few of their Animo cards.

paintings from the old children's books that inspired us as children. Secondly, we like to tell a story in each card, either with emotions or with situations that everyone can relate to, so our cards are gender and age free” New at PG Live: “We have a Dog collection, with dogs and inspiring quotes, and a new Comfort Me collection that we created during the height of the pandemic. We also have a Fun collection that is made for feeling the freedom of the outdoors after being alone for all this time.” Our hopes for the show: “We would like to expand our market in the UK and are looking for distributors and licencing deals that we can work with.”

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PG Live: Life Stories

A Seed Of An Idea When the pandemic hit last year, husband and wife Kay and Jit Patel, along with their friend Lewis Stevenson, decided to pool their extensive backgrounds in design and print to provide an eco-alternative for the greeting card and stationery world. The result was The Seed Card Company, launched in February 2021, which offers a range of seed-infused plantable greeting cards, personal stationery and wedding collections. Kay says that inspiration comes from everywhere, “from when we were younger and the TV programmes we used to watch, to our surroundings and elements we personally love ourselves. For example, growing up I used to watch The Poddington Peas all the time. When I brought the idea of plant pots being made into characters and having personalities to the ‘boys’ which is how I label Jit and Lewis! – they loved the idea, and it was The Poddington Peas I had in the back of my mind. In fact, I’m humming the song ‘Down at the bottom of the garden…’ right now! “Our Continuous collection is inspired by the pandemic - a continuous line that has a beginning and an end. However, the line is not straight, just like life is never straight forward - full of ups and downs and plenty of roundabouts! Our ALL the Dots range was inspired by our son Kyle, who was 18 months old at the time. While we were designing our greeting cards he continuously exaggerated the word “ALL” with everything he saw. Since becoming a mum, I’ve

Right: Kay and Jit Patel are shown with Lewis Stevenson. Bottom: The Seed Card Company’s Plant Pot People’s Blooming Gorgeous greeting card. Below right: Trevor, the company mascot will be at PG Live!

learned how much someone can actually achieve between 8.30am-5pm! For example, after bedtime, those few hours before bed are amazing for ticking things off your ‘to do’ list!” Dogs too are an important part of The Seed Card Company’s culture. “All three of us - Jit, myself and Lewis - love dogs and animals as a whole! If we can attend a physical meeting, or one via Zoom, it’s imperative that our dogs, and those we are meeting with have their pets appear

at some point. So much so that our pets are on our website and are very important members of the team.” Kay continues: “Collectively, we live and breathe design and print processes, both traditional and cutting new technology, and all run successful businesses Jit and I own bespoke stationery company Intricate Creations, where we have been working with seed card paper for over five years, and Lewis co-owns fine stationery company Leeming Brothers. Jit and I handle and send greeting cards all the time. Personally, I love sending cards because I know how great it is to receive one. So, for us to all do the same things that many others do, which is to receive a card, display it for a few weeks and then throw it in the recycling bin - were simply light bulb moments one after the other.” New for PG Live: “As we are such a young company we are attending PG Live with our full greeting card portfolio, which encompasses eight ranges at the moment, along with over 50 notecard set designs and over 25 thank you card sets. We are also very excited to show off our Christmas card ranges for all our greeting card collections and for visitors to meet Trevor our plant pot extraordinaire linked to our Plant Pot People collection.” Our hopes for the show: “We are hoping to be a show success story. We want to show retailers that an eco-friendly and truly sustainable stationery can be design focused and modern.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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PG Live: Life Stories

A Dream Come True Hopping Dog Cards was launched in February 2021 by sports lover Jo Harwood. “I feel very excited as this has been a dream - now a reality - for about 20 years!” enthuses Joanna, who is a season ticket holder at Northampton Saints Rugby and is also researching her family tree. “I had always wanted to launch my own greeting card/stationery business, but initially fell into marketing and print. Although I love creating new campaigns, there isn’t always the opportunity to be as creative as I would like to be. Launching my own greeting card company really gives me the opportunity to be as creative and innovative as I want and can be. I used to work for GF Smith, and once received a large order for red envelopes after visiting a client, wondering what they were going to do with them. Then I watched the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and saw the red envelopes being dropped over the pupils in the dining hall, and it was then that I realised why they needed so many!” Joanna was inspired to launch Hopping Dog Cards by her husband, “as he is the one who had the illustrations for the signature range, and literally everything fell into place in November 2020,” she continues. “The animals were created by an illustrator working in the animation industry. The five animals are my pets, Lucy, the SheepPoo; Leo the big fluffy cat; Poppy the little posh black cat; Isla the tabby cat who is timid but very loving, and Fergus, well, what can I say about him? A cheeky chappy, the mouser.”

Above: Hopping Dog’s Joanna Harwood with a few of her signature cards.

She admits to always being an avid greeting card fan. “I love a card!” Joanna exclaims. “I send Christmas cards on December 1 and always have them all written and ready to go! I especially love a quality card as it really says so much, and each card is given with the person in mind. I have all my birthday, Christmas and anniversary cards from the past 20 years and they are bagged in date order. They

really mean so much to me. I would love my cards to mean as much to my customers as my received cards mean to me.” She highlights that her designs are all inspired by what she likes. “My animals are my signature collection, but then I love flowers, so they have a collection. I really like funny sayings too, so we have a notecard collection in gold/silver and bronze foils. I also have an artist who has recently worked with us who has supplied a lovely, eclectic collection of fashion, houses and flowers. I try hard to offer something that will be a collectable and really loved and cherished - just like I cherish the cards that I give and receive.” New at PG Live: “I’m excited to be launching our signature range of animals featuring the cats and the dog. We have greeting cards, notecard sets, giftwrap and gift tags all in the signature range. We also have a flower range that has been given a makeover, as well as Valentine’s and Mother’s Day cards. Plus, our artist James has created a collection of art cards. In addition, there is a collection of gold/silver and bronze foiled note cards with funny sayings, and a Christmas range as well as a novel take on an Advent calendar, with Christmas cards and gift wrap and tags.” Our hopes for the show: “To get to know new retail clients and agents. We hope to make really strong connections where we can follow up and sell our cards and stationery. Also, to have lots of fun!”

Baby Love Roxanne Jingco, the founder of I am Roxanne, is a self-confessed greeting card lover. “I used to make greeting cards to give to my family when I was a child. Once I stayed up all night with my cousin and made 80 handmade greeting cards which we sold the following day at a Filipino Independence Festival. We made £180 - which bought a lot of sweets! As I got older, I began collecting greeting cards and found it very hard to give them away. I was drawn in by the designs and collected them as you would art.” Making its PG Live debut, I am Roxanne launched just before the pandemic hit. “Before that I worked in various job roles, none of which made me very happy. They included retail/hospitality while I studied Interior Design at university,” comments Roxanne. “However, my first job was actually at Paperchase where I stayed for a few years. I then worked with my Dad for a while, running the family food manufacturing business, and I also took a part time job at a

cat cafe. That job became full time and before I knew it, I was a barista/cat carer/manager and anything else that needed doing!” Roxanne, who says she “meddles in a bit of macrame”, first had the idea of launching her own greeting card company a year or so after starting work at Paperchase. “I handled greeting cards every day and thought I could design my own one day,” she explains. “I started slowly -

Above: Roxanne Jingo, founder of I am Roxanne.



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PG Live: Life Stories

drawing random things and building a sketchbook of inspiration. Then life happened, so I put my idea on hold but never quite forgot about it. A few years later, I started drawing again but I was still never happy with any of my designs as they never felt like 'me'. But in 2018 I knew I had to do something. I figured it must be 'my dream' because I never forgot about it. I got pregnant in November and something clicked. It must have been a fear of not having met my career goals before having a baby that sent me into overdrive mode. “I spent my whole pregnancy drawing, designing and putting my dreams into motion. The first year after having my baby, I spent it building my brand while being a mama. I couldn't go as fast as I wanted, but I worked on I am Roxanne during my

Left: Her cards feature bears and type.

baby’s small naps, and at night, once she went to sleep. I named my first range Ava after my daughter. She was my inspiration and motivation. Once I was ready to launch, the pandemic hit and stores closed. Like most of us I found it difficult to get my cards noticed, so I spent 'lockdowns' working on fine tuning my brand and working on more greeting card designs.”

Explaining what inspires her, Roxanne explains that a few years before launching she was very unwell. “I found myself drawn to yoga and meditation, and wanted to design greeting cards that were kind, uplifting and calming. My mantra/affirmation cards were inspired by my meditation practice. I wanted to share how I ground myself in moments of anxiety and panic.” New at PG Live: “I will be launching the Bear and Type collection, six playful bears and six playful typeface words.” Hopes for the show: “I hope to learn a lot from the show and to connect with people. I’m excited to meet fellow greeting card businesses and I would also love to be stocked in more stores across the UK and beyond.”

Homing in on design “I incorporated Eleanor Bowmer Ltd in 2015 with no idea how to run a business,” admits Eleanor, who is showing at PG Live for the first time this year. “I was freelancing at the time and I had designed some prints and thought, I could sell these! So, I approached Not On The High Street and to my shock they accepted me!”

Above: Eleanor Bowmer at home. Above right: Two of many Eleanor Bowmer designs.

“I had previously worked for a textile design company for four years, and before that, as a presentation artist at an interior design company. I also worked as a greeting card designer in previous jobs, and thought my prints would lend themselves brilliantly to cards,” explains Eleanor. She says that her inspiration comes from interiors, fashion, jewellery, Pinterest and her travels. “I love interiors and we’re currently in the process of renovating our new home, which can be followed on @bow_house_ on Instagram,” reveals Eleanor, adding that customers are also a big inspiration. “I’m always communicating with them and discovering their wants and needs.” New at PG Live: “We’ll be showcasing our brand new Occasions and Christmas card and wrap collections, which feature our newest designs as cards and wrap. We will have an amazing new Christmas collection as well as popular old favourites that I can’t wait to show visitors!” Hopes for the show: “I’m really looking forward to getting out in the world again to speak to people face to face! I hope we can meet some new and exciting stockists as well as catching up with existing customers, showing everyone what’s new!” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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In Conversation With...

It was love at first sight at Leeds University, then there was a lunch in London, followed by a meetup in Manchester. And now they are very happily celebrating their 10th anniversary. This however is an ongoing ‘love story’ that has been played out on giftwrappings, with Glick and Paper Salad now marking a decade - and five Henries trophies - since they first started working together. PG ‘unwraps’ how the relationship between the two companies has developed and why it is such a winning partnership.

It’s A Ten

From Them Becky Dobson, managing director of Glick clearly remembers the moment when Paper Salad came into her orbit. “I was in the Leeds University shop, which was well known for its product selection, and spotted a couple of sheets of distinctly designed wrap, which I discovered were from Paper Salad. Glick at that time only produced foil-based designs, little did I know then that it would be through our work with Paper Salad that the company’s design direction would radically change,” revealed Becky.

As chance would have it, in 2010 both Becky and Claire Williams (who co-owns Paper Salad with Karen Wilson) were both invited to The Retas and happened to sit next to each other. “I was obviously aware of Glick as a leading player in the giftwrapping sector. We were producing a small selection of flittered wrap and boxes to go with our cards which everyone seemed to love, but we found it a bit problematic to produce, the paper we used was probably too thick and managing

stock levels was tricky,” admits Claire. “I assumed Glick had a big in-house design studio and so was surprised to discover that the designs were all brought in from other sources. As I was picking Becky’s brains on the production front, she was asking me all about our design process. We got on really well and so when she suggested Karen and I met her (and Andy Milne, then the md of Nigel Quiney) at the Cardgains trade show at Manchester United, it seemed like a good idea,” elaborated Claire. It certainly was a ‘good idea’ as, following a trip to Top: Glick’s Becky Dobson (second left) and Michelle Airth (centre) with Paper Salad’s Claire Williams (third left) and Karen Wilson being presented with the trophy for Best Wrappings Collection at the last physical Henries in 2019. Above: Paper Salad has become known for its bright colours and high production values. Far left: The first Paper Salad collection from Glick, ten years ago. Left: Paper Salad’s designs for Glick have proven time and time again to have wide appeal.



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In Conversation With...

Paper Salad’s studio just outside Stockport, the discussions quickly evolved into the idea of both parties working together, with Glick licensing Paper Salad’s designs, producing ranges that prominently featured the brand. “We immediately saw the benefits of the partnership. We knew our giftwrap sold, but with Glick’s wide distribution and production expertise, we recognised that it would generate much larger sales and also promote our brand alongside the cards,” said Karen. From Glick’s perspective, Becky was in no doubt from the off that having a Paper Salad collection would significantly broaden the company’s portfolio and since the inaugural launch at Spring Fair 2011 that has clearly been the case. “Paper Salad was our very first licensing partner and having that relationship has played a positive role in shaping the direction of Glick over the last decade. It has been instrumental in us forging additional licensing partnerships with lots of other greeting card brands, from Pizzazz to Stephanie Dyment, Wendy Jones-Blackett to Louise Mulgrew, as

Left: Mooch’s Jon May (left) and Luke Jacks were pleased to spend their Sunshine Ticket at PG Live 2019 with Paper Salad’s Karen Wilson. Below: One of the ranges which Paper Salad has published in collaboration with Emotional Rescue. Below left: The 4mtr rollwrap have been so popular. Bottom: One of the Paper Salad collections from Glick.

says Becky. “We work together discussing what direction they are taking on cards and how this can be translated onto wrap, retaining a wide appeal, and then they come up with the design ideas.” While some designers find it tricky to turn their creative talents from greeting cards that are anchored by a central motif to giftwrap which is reliant on repeat patterns, for Karen and Claire it is going back to their roots. “Karen and I met at university doing a surface pattern degree so we spent many years learning how repeat patterning works. We have both designed lots of wallpapers and fabrics and giftwrap works on the same basis, just on a different scale,” says Claire. As the five Henries trophies for the Paper Salad giftwrapping collections from Glick testify, this is a partnership that has scaled up wonderfully.

As for marking the milestone, there is a celebratory dinner in the diary for Becky, Karen and Claire and to share the love, Paper Salad will be giving away some gorgeous goody bags (from the latest Glick range) from its brand new stand at PG Live. Interestingly this is positioned directly opposite Emotional Rescue, which will be featuring the card ranges that are based on a licensing agreement with Paper Salad, a relationship that evolved from a casual chat at PG’s Warren Lomax’s 60th birthday party. It just goes to show that it might start with a chat, but then one thing leads to another and before you know it, you have a fully-fledged business relationship with successful offspring to prove it!

well as taking us away from being seen as a foil wrap company to one known for its quality printed designs,” says Becky. Amazingly, the last decade has seen 130 different Paper Salad designs being produced on sheet wrap, rollwrap, bags and boxes from Glick, across everyday and the seasons, with plenty more in the pipeline. “Karen and Claire are so talented. How they continue to come up with designs that hit the nail on the head across the board - from young children and girlie girls to design-led women and older men - never ceases to amaze me,” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE




snoozies!® Pairables

Caring Words Magnet Frames

Tel: 0161 975 6300 2021 06 - Progressive Greetings FP.indd 1 00_PG_July 2021.indd 1

Modern Script

Scrabble Plaques

Equilibrium® Two Tone

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PG showcases a selection of new product launches

Your Perfect Pooch! Huxley Jones Designs is excited to present its new Huxleys’ Party Pals range featuring hand drawn illustrations of great pooches complete with a handmade paper bow tie. All cards are printed on 100% recycled card with all embellishments fixed using plastic free biodegradable glue and accompanied by a 100% recycled scarlet red envelope. Huxley Jones Designs 07976038226 PG Live stand 85

Neon Newness

Say It Loud

Paper Salad has further expanded its successful Hunky Dory collection with 16 new female designs and an additional 10 male designs joining the range. All foiled and embossed with Paper Salad’s famous neon colours, these really stand out in more ways than one. The 185mmx155mm cards come with a bright patterned envelope. Paper Salad 0161 427 0001 PG Live stand 413

Using a blend of illustration and photography The Illustrated Saying’s latest range creates playful representations of popular, everyday sayings that we all say. The sayings often evoke nostalgia, and the simple, literal drawings and textures add detail showing the quirkiness of life. The 150mm x150mm cards come wrapped, eco-clasped or naked, accompanied by a colourful envelope. The Illustrated Saying 01962461173 PG Live stand 166

That Happy Place

Man’s Best Friend

Dandelion Stationery’s Olivia McBain Morrish range will launch at PG Live. There are 24 cards (140mm square) across two different ranges, designed to conjure up a magical feel and draw people to their inner child. Olivia is a self-taught digital illustrator who has a passion for creating illustrative work based around anthropomorphism. When designing, Olivia’s starting point is to always try and bring happiness and positivity to others. The cards come with a rustic kraft envelope. Dandelion Stationery 01332 504940 PG Live Stand 517

Paper Shed Design will be launching its debut range, Absolutely Barking, at PG Live. With more dog owners than ever before, this collection of 70 designs (everyday, Christmas, Spring, captions and blanks) features hand-drawn illustrations that celebrate our love of dogs and the fun they bring into our lives. Paper Shed Design 07909596575 PG Live stand 98

Bright Ideas Geometric is one of the new ranges being launched at PG Live by Kim Garrity Design. The range features bold, hand lettered messages for loved ones near and far. The 14 new playful and colourful designs are all drawn with a splash of fun. Cards are 105mm x 150mm in size, printed on FSC accredited paper and come with a recycled kraft envelope. Kim Garrity Design 07952901663 PG Live stand 448 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 49

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Wild Words

Bloomin Marvellous

Think you know someone who deserves an Oscar? Poet and Painter has the very thing with a new range of cards featuring the endlessly stylish wit and wisdom of the inimitable Oscar Wilde. All cards in The Oscar's collection are 150 mm x 150 mm, printed on FSC-rated stock with a white envelope, and are available naked, in cello-wrap, or with an eco-klasp. Poet and Painter 07779 064894 PG Live stand 424

Emma Bryan is bringing floral joy to PG Live with 12 additional cards joining the current dozen Bloom Boom designs. The new designs celebrate our release from lockdown with wording giving a nod to our new freedoms. The 127mm x 177mm cards are printed in the UK on 350gsm textured matt board and supplied unwrapped with a nested kraft envelope. Emma Bryan Design 07889 598606 PG Live stand 146

Something For Everyone Born out of random creative urges during lockdown and a healthy disdain for the notion that card ranges need to be cohesive, Dean Morris has created a new range called, you guessed it, Randoms. The range of over 70 cards (all 5” x 7”) features designs for birthdays, Christmas, loads of LGBTQ stuff and other topical life events that don’t necessarily fit into any other range. Dean Morris Cards 01902 560247 PG Live stand 446

A Christmas Cracker ArtPress will be launching some cracking new Christmas ranges at PG Live. There will be a handsome cat, sporting a tree on its head, prancing reindeers and even a scuttling pheasant. The designs vary from single cards or as a pack of six. The Royal Academy Christmas Collection goes from strength to strength and there will be new wallets containing 10 cards of one design, beautiful double-sided wrap with matching gift tags and special boxes containing 24 cards of four designs. ArtPress Publishing 020 7231 2923 PG Live stand 306

Local Snapshots New for PG Live 2021, Njeri Illustrated is offering its Bespoke Range. In addition to its existing ranges, Njeri Illustrated offers retailers greeting cards that featuring bespoke designs of scenic city-inspired artwork of their local area. The artwork is designed with the retailer’s specific criteria in mind and is printed on high-quality blank cards. Njeri Illustrated 07814563610 PG Live stand 438

Picture Postcard A Postcard From... is a new range of luxury postcard style greeting cards from Lottie Simpson featuring beautiful illustrations of iconic buildings and views of our beautiful countryside and coastlines. Retailers can order bespoke designs for their area. All 150x150mm in size, the cards are available wrapped in bio-degradable film, clasped with Lottie Simpson branded peelable, recyclable sticker, naked or nested. Lottie Simpson 07464 163 528 PG Live stand 338 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 51

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The World Through The Lens Brand new for 2021 from Carpe Lumen Photography is a vast array of greeting cards featuring the photography of Ed Crispin. Launching with over 100 designs (and growing) the cards cover a range of genres including landscapes, nature, gardens, travel and what the publisher calls amuse yeux – interesting, often quirky images that cannot be easily labelled. Carpe Lumen Photography 07305045593 PG Live stand 339

Up In The Air Making its debut at PG Live is Pop up Greetings, a collection of greetings balloons which self-inflate to a height of 24” via various power sources (USB, smart phones, tablets, laptops, wall sockets etc.) Using patented technology, all everyday and occasions will be covered. Different display units are available. Pop Up Greetings 01923804805 PG Live stand 230

A Different Take James Ellis Stevens has come up with an innovative plastic-free packaging for its multi-card packs, which uses a single piece of card creased, held together with two eyelets. The cards and envelopes are protected, and the packaging can be easily recycled after its use. Each pack contains five cards and envelopes. As with all its products, the company donates 1% of the sales to environmental charities. James Ellis Stevens 01179277667 PG Live stand 502

Tagging Along Joining Kali Stileman’s colourful greeting card portfolio is a collection of laser cut gift tag packs on various themes – from animals to fruits, snowmen to astronauts. There are five or six tags in each pack, each comes with a length of quality ric rac ribbon. Kali Stileman 01305848899 PG Live stand 162

Delicately Delightful Following on from the success of Ginger Betty’s Owl’s Nest range, it is launching lots of new designs, including juvenile ages, and more relations and occasions captions. Each design features either an attached wooden leaf, or an elegant debossed leaf. They are all printed on beautiful approved FSC board and come with a kraft envelope. In addition, Ginger Betty is also launching a beautiful Christmas collection, all with stylish foil captions - for both open and relations sends. Ginger Betty 01706 557285 PG Live stand 436

Singing Sensations Say it with Songs is unveiling its Greatest Hits collection at this year's PG Live. The new collection, curated from the best sellers in the range, has been reworked into a stunning limited-edition range. Each ethically-sourced card has an instantly recognisable song lyric on the front plus a QR code on the reverse so customers can stream the corresponding song through Spotify, YouTube or Amazon Music via a smartphone. Say it with Songs 07793845182 PG Live stand 170 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 53

THE GREATEST COLLECTION OF GREETING CARDS IN THE WORLD “It’s in the diary! I am really looking forward to PG Live – it feels long overdue to see and speak to all our publishers old and new! It will be a key moment for us to start thinking about planning for 2022. I just can’t wait to see all the new designs.” Sarah Moughtin, card buyer for John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose “We’ve never been so looked after at a trade show as we are at PG Live - just one of the things for us that means it stands apart from other shows. All of our team really enjoy the show. It has such a great buzz and positive vibe. It’s always great to see new publishers and emerging trends, as well as seeing how existing suppliers are upping their game.” Miles Robinson, co-owner, House of Cards “The PG Live show has such a happy vibe and energy. It is my favourite show of the year. I love that it focuses on just greeting cards and offers a mix of large publishers, established independents and new starters. I love the coffee and tea trolleys going around which add to the feeling that you are being hosted and should just relax, enjoy the day and take the time to get to know some of these fabulous designers.” Georgina Black, owner, Pretty Shiny Shop, London

Where the card community comes alive!

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PG Live 2021 Tuesday 27 - Wednesday 28 July Business Design Centre, London +44 (0) 1635 297070 @PGLiveLondon #PGL2021

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Friends United The Art File is launching six new everyday ranges at PG Live. One of these is It Takes Two, designed by Remy Goddard, one of the publisher’s newest design team members. This playful and contemporary collection celebrates the best of female friendship through elegant illustrations in pastel colourways. Printed on a luxurious textured board the cards are finished with matt gold foil and embossing. The Art File 0115 8507490 PG Live stand 200


Snap Shot Sharp During lockdown Alex Sharp, the namesake photographer behind the card company, has been creating like mad. In response to demands, many additional occasion cards as well as even more floral designs have joined the portfolio. Alex Sharp Photography 07885472010 PG Live stand 148

Chromatic is a brand new stylish illustrated birthday range for men from Abacus Cards. These colourful contemporary male designs depict popular sports and pastimes and are enhanced by intricate foiled and embossed areas. These eye-catching cards target a wide age group and are formatted to a standard 5” x 7”. Printed on textured board, the designs feature simple greetings on page three and are accompanied by metallic gold envelopes. Abacus Cards 01638 569050 PG Live stand 436

Messages of Love Hammond Gower will be blasting out a colourful revamp of its classic Piano range. The Love in Full Colour collection is superbly placed to help deliver a rainbow of cheer to everyone’s nearest and dearest. As well as the traditional postcards, this collection includes a wide range of standalone greetings cards, fragrant soaps, candles, reed diffusers, matchboxes, gift wrap, notecards and notebooks, and even brightly-coloured socks. Hammond Gower 07823 779513 PG Live stand 401

Heartfelt Words Cath Tate Cards’ brand new Sending Sunshine range of bold, contemporary, empathy cards includes 12 designs with uplifting Thinking of You sentiments that are perfect for a post pandemic world. The range covers many empathetic occasions, for those going through a rough time or needing a little ‘pick you up’ message as well as sympathy. All designs are 12cm by 17cm, come with a kraft envelope and are printed on 100% recycled paper. Cath Tate Cards 0208 671 2166 PG Live stand 307

A Badge of Honour Rosette is one of the latest collections from Hotchpotch London. Its original enamel pin cards still remain some of the publisher’s best-sellers and wanting to offer something new, comes this range, with every card featuring a paper rosette style badge! The paper rosettes can be removed from the card and worn by the recipient. Hotchpotch London 01243792600 PG Live stand 224 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 55
















Come and visit us at



Stand 211

Designed & manufactured in Great Britain. Printed on FSC certified board.

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Foody Fun Bexi Cards Stationery’s Food Pun collection consists of eight cards, all funny, cute and quirky with handpainted motifs printed on textured accent antique silk card stock. All cards and stationery are aimed at fun loving people of all ages. Bexi Cards Stationery 07510982 950 PG Live stand 450

Say It With Flowers In Full Bloom Ricicle Cards presents Wild Blooms – this range consists of eight designs and they all feature hand-drawn illustrations of beautiful florals and butterflies, with delicate hand-lettering tailored for birthdays and occasions. Ricicle Cards 07850757676 PG Live stand 88

BLOOM is the new seed card collection by Stormy Knight, launching Summer 2021 at PG Live. Each of the nine illustrated cards come with UK-made, biodegradable seed sticks inside that the recipient can plant in pots or their garden and enjoy for months! The cards featuring beautiful floral images from popular illustrator Clare Owen and luxe gold foiling. Each card will be packaged with a Kard Klasp that advertises the seed sticks to the customer and keeps the collection completely plastic-free. Stormy Knight 0117 9098684 PG Live stand 224

Cute Creations There will be lots of brand new additions to Mister Peebles’ portfolio at this year’s PG Live. All designs are based on delectable watercolour illustrations and printed in the UK on GF Smith paper. They come with a recycled kraft envelope in a biodegradable sleeve and are blank inside for personal greetings. Mister Peebles 07736 857 493 PG Live stand 103

Style and Substance RHS Vivid is an exciting new addition to UKG’s bestselling RHS collection. The range, aimed at a ‘fashion savvy’ audience, takes a bold approach to showcasing the fabulous imagery from the RHS ‘Lindley’ library through a modern re-interpretation of the imagery. The royalties generated from the cards’ sale will support a charity that is heavily involved in preserving the UK’s valuable historic seed varieties as well as supporting community gardening and education programmes. UK Greetings 01924 465200 PG Live stand 400

Shiny and New Raspberry Blossom is bringing the sunshine to PG Live with the colourful new greeting cards it’s launching. There will be new die-cut and gold foil designs in its Golden Moments’ everyday collection, everyday additions in Raspberry Blossom’s award-winning Good Vibes and Whimsical collections with more newness in its ever-popular Reflections collection too. Raspberry Blossom 01553 636194 PG Live stand 504 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 57

New, Extra Fancy Gold-Foiled Occasions Range by Some Ink Nice Now Available

lovely gold foil

this here’s the outline of a new example card. you know, in case that’s not clear. actual size and all. cute animal paintings


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Independent Shopfriends Try out the new range in your shop, at zero risk. Place your next order up to £200, before 30th July, and get it For Actual Free. Yes, pay nothing. No, it’s not a terrible tax scam, it’s a genuine offer. Find out How On Earth this is possible at ww

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Animal Antics The delightful animal kingdom of Erlenmeyer is extending into the realms of how we like to spend our time, with its Hobbies and Pastimes range. The nation’s favourite sports are all covered with well-chosen animals playing football, golf, rugby, cricket, tennis, cycling, basketball, table-tennis and dancing – not forgetting a cheetah doing yoga, a bear bouldering, and even a scuba-diving hedgehog. The wider range includes music, art, relaxing in a bath, gardening and cooking. Erlenmeyer 07876276781 G Live stand 97

Wise Words Inspired by the encouraging words of wisdom that parents impart to their children, Popsy & Plum has launched its own motivational collection of uplifting cards under the range name, Daddy Knows Best. All the cards are 150cm square, blank inside, printed on FSCcertified board and come with a kraft envelope. Popsy & Plum 07769 212269 PG Live stand 446

Vintage Vibes Bold & Bright is launching Ooh La La at PG Live. The range, which was inspired by a set of mid-century cocktail coasters which sit on the publisher’s sideboard at home, the inaugural collection spans 24 designs but will be added to regularly. The cards, which are printed in the UK on FSC board, measure 13cm x 18cms and come with brown Kraft envelopes. Bold & Bright 07738 702067 PG Live stand 97

Don’t Mind If I Do Aardvark Press is launching 12 brand new ranges at PG Live 2021. One of these is Toodle-Pip, a lovely collection of 20 contemporary stylised designs covering all occasions. All 150mm square, the message is deeply embossed in gold or silver foil with the cards all printed on luxury board made in the Lake District. Aardvark Press 07726603800 PG Live stand 136

Celebrating Youth The Great British Card Company (GBCC) is launching three new juvenile ranges at PG Live. Rainbow Heart features playful characters from the tropical jungle to deep outer space with layered paper textures. Rosey Apples is an adorable range featuring watercolour designs from ages one to ten to cover all those favourite themes. Meanwhile, Oh Hey! caters for ages 11 to 16 through age appropriate, fun designs. The Great British Card Company 01452 888999 PG Live stand 226

The Female of The Species Fit and Fabulous is a brand-new collection of A6 greeting cards by Proud London. The range consists of 12 female-orientated designs, featuring sports and pastimes in a glamorous fashion illustration style. The range comes with a cobalt envelope and can be ordered cello wrapped or naked. Proud London 07712 692099 PG Live stand 219 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 59

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Art of the Matter Wendy Jones-Blackett is going back to its roots with Art, a new range of handmade cards. The artwork is printed onto translucent vellum then torn into shape, cotton-stitched onto 100% recycled postconsumer waste board and finished with a swish of glitter and stars. The range consists of 24 designs, featuring titles such as ‘a little trip to the seaside’, ‘home’, ’love’ and ‘a little guardian angel’. The cards are 165mm square and come with a textured envelope and sealed with a card clasp. Wendy Jones-Blackett 0113 2888468 PG Live stand 235

Happy Days

Festive Family Feels Sabivo Design has added 25 designs to its new range Up & Away. The contemporary range covers closest family relations and open Christmas designs. They feature delicate hand-drawn illustrations adorned with jewel-like elements made of photographed sequins. The cards are handembellished with signature floral sequins and delicately hand-glittered with biodegradable glitter. All cards are 145 mm square, wrapped in brown kraft envelopes and come in compostable cello bags. Sabivo Design 01858374221 (Not at PG Live)

Holy Flaps, one of Redback’s bestselling ranges, is becoming even funnier with 20 new designs added for PG Live. Full of witty observations and lol-worthy sentiments, these cards really stand out. The 120 x 170mm designs are finished with sleek, black thermography and paired with a contrasting neon envelope. Redback Cards 01752 830482 PG Live stand 421

Youthful Appeal Among International Cards & Gifts’ new juvenile offer is a collection of Giddy Up age milestones. These fun, vibrant Code 50 designs, covering ages one to 16, are finished with a dazzling, eye-catching, holographic foil. International Cards & Gifts 01202 897494 (Not at PG Live)

Animal Instinctsl The expressive faces of a tortoise, tiger, cow and giraffe are among the new animals to join Doodlecious’ Wildlife Collection. The detailed hand drawn illustrations of Sarah Capper are printed onto smooth board, have little glints of foil added and are wrapped with biodegradable wrap. All the cards are 150mm square and come with a teal coloured envelope. Doodleicious 07734034039 PG Live stand 138

Showing More Grace Following on from the success of Grace, Cherry Orchard has added 23 new designs to the range covering many milestone areas. The designs feature lovely artwork of ladies in brightly coloured elegant dresses, flamingos, cakes, balloons and gin, all luxuriously finished with flitter and foil. All cards are supplied with a beautiful gold envelope. Cherry Orchard Publishing 01684 295500 (Not at PG Live) PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 61

Tuesday 6th July - Friday 17th September in our Manchester showrooms

Join us for our

biggest ever

showroom event Quote code PG21 when making your booking online or via our customer

service team for £50


your order*

*Only valid on a minimum order value of £1000 and will only be credited once fully invoiced. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offers.

Broadgate, Broadway Business Park, Chadderton, Oldham OL9 9XE T: +44(0)161 688 1226 F: +44(0)161 682 6808

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Retailer In Focus



“Generating emotion per square foot is as important to us as sales per square foot,” stated Alan Roper, managing director of the Blue Diamond garden centre group at a recent webinar hosted by BHETA. PG was all ears as Alan and Thomas Grinnall, Blue Diamond’s head of home (which includes greeting cards) shared the mission for the ambitious aspirational 39 garden centre group as well as what’s on their ‘shopping list’ for PG Live. The Blue Diamond garden centre group looks mighty impressive on paper - having acquired 17 former Wyevale garden centres it is now up to 39 branches and on course for £240 million turnover by the end of 2021 - but is even more impressive in the flesh, landing its drive to deliver ‘an inspirational environment with products and merchandising’ to which its three-quarters of a million customers aspire. As its managing director Alan Roper and head of home Thomas Grinnall exuded during a mesmerising Zoom webinar, instigated by BHETA (the British Home Enhancement Trade Association), this is an entrepreneurial business which very much knows who its customers are - 70% AB and 30% C1, predominantly females - and what makes them tick, and greeting cards very much form part of the remit. Not only is Blue Diamond The Retas’ reigning champion as Best Garden Centre Retailer of Greeting Cards, but it was also

Above: Horticulture actually accounts for less of Blue Diamond’s turnover (48%) than come from its non-plant sales. Far left: Alan Roper, the entrepreneurial md of Blue Diamond. Left: Thomas Ginnall has been part of the Blue Diamond team for 22 years, having started on the shopfloor. Below: Greeting card sales at Blue Diamond were showing a 28% increase year on year as of May 31.

awarded the trophy of the ultimate Greeting Card Retailer of the Year in the 2019 awards (the 2020 Retas were cancelled due to Covid-19), in rightful recognition of the total revamp of its greeting card retailing approach, with its curated product selection and innovative displays bringing joy to customers, welcome sales to supplying publishers and bolstering the bottom line for the expanding garden centre group. While Blue Diamond, in common with other garden centres and those selling horticultural products, has benefitted from the huge upsurge in those going gaga for gardening during the pandemic, interestingly despite the hunger for horticulture, actually the

group’s sales of non-gardening products tip the balance for the group, collectively accounting for 52% of sales. And greeting cards feature pretty highly in the Blue Diamond league table. Even without the addition of the Wyevale centres, paper products (of which greeting cards account for the lion’s share) generated over £5million of sales. A slide shared during the recent webinar showed that Blue Diamond’s greeting cards sales (without those from the newly acquired Wyevale stores) for the year to end of May 2021 were up to £1.24 million, an increase of 28% on the year previous. “Greeting cards are still right up there as an important product area for us,” reinforced Tom. “Especially as they also deliver such impressive profit per square metre”. While Blue Diamond garden centres may not be a specialist destination for greeting cards, its card departments do very much cater both for the expectations of customers as well as maximising sales through its inviting retailing executions, taking a novel approach to the selection as well as the ‘story telling’ displays that are positioned adjacent to the main card fixtures, allowing a focus to be given to a distinct designer or theme. This very much fits in with the whole Blue Diamond ethos to PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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constantly provide a point of difference, recognising that most of its customers see their visit as a leisure activity, making Blue Diamond centres as “the ultimate impulse environment,” according to Alan. To his mind, successful retailers in the UK right now fall into two main camps. “They are aggressively price driven or aggressively aspirational. There is no third way or middle ground,” he emphasised. “There are plenty of examples of those who have got caught in the middle who prove that statement to be true. We are fairly aggressively aspirational. We are selling our customers a lifestyle,” he explains. This is very much echoed in the group’s current greeting card selection as well as its future plans, that are to be further honed following a visit by Tom and his colleagues to PG Live at the end of this month. Blue Diamond’s step change on the greeting card front can be traced back to Spring Fair 2018, when Angie Goosen (who had only recently joined the group as greeting card buyer) was walking through the card hall at Spring Fair with Alan Roper when he delivered the challenge. “He said to me “our mission is to create a look that is different to that of any other garden centre”. Each card department needs to be a beautiful space that is unique, which customers really enjoy being in,” recalls Angie who wasted no time in creating the ‘new look’ and approach. With Angie having been on maternity leave since last Autumn, Thomas said the last few months has more been a case of “tweaking the card selection” while also working on planograms with Pigment

for the main displays. It also remains committed to its ‘pod’ displays, which encompass 24 card designs which tell a story. “Greeting card suppliers may have felt a bit unloved recently as we have been concentrating on other priorities, but PG Live gives us the great opportunity to re-engage and look for newness,” Tom told PG. Determined not to adopt a brokerage model in order to offer a curated selection, Thomas is ever mindful of the importance of finding ways of working with smaller card publishers in order to deliver a point of difference for its customers. “Maintaining a point of difference is so important for us, it’s what our customers expect, it’s what they want and it removes the price competitiveness. There is no doubt in our mind, if you look at our average spend, which outpaces the industry, that if a customer is feeling good in the retail space and the staff are engaged, people feel better about spending more,” says Alan. Over the last few years, Blue Diamond has sourced from designs from over 80 different greeting card publishers, but is currently underway on revising its selection. Pigment has taken on the responsibility of planogramming, Above left: The Blue Diamond approach to its greeting card department is aspirational in feel, including ‘tray pods’ which each tell a ‘story’ in 24 cards, be it to highlight an artist or a theme. Above right: As this Gin Room ‘department’ demonstrates, Blue Diamond plays to the fact that its customers mainly visit for leisure reasons. Left: Angie Goosen, Blue Diamond’s greeting card buyer (currently on maternity leave) with one of the two trophies Blue Diamond won at The Retas in 2019. Below: The East Bridgnorth centre along with the Bicester Avenue branch are currently Blue Diamond’s flagship centres though its Scotch Corner branch will be its largest.

but Tom and the team are working on an additional solution for including s maller publishers. “We are loving working with Pigment on the planograms, but we are also aware that some of our smaller suppliers, who collectively accounted for around 200 designs, have been pushed out somewhat as we might only need a few designs from each of them for each centre meaning it doesn’t stack up for them financially. As these are very much the icing on the cake for us, we are currently looking into setting up a central distribution facility for them. And this will form part of our discussions at PG Live,” reveals Tom. Also, on the ‘shopping list’ for the show are higher priced cards, especially for milestone life events.

“Price is less of an issue for our customers as long as it is what they want. We still feel there is an opportunity for raising retail prices for greeting cards for certain occasions, such as new baby, when you know it will be a real keepsake,” says Tom. He also lays down the challenge on card compendiums as well as greeting card storage options. “Our customers’ buying habits show that they like a ‘quick fix’. We have tracked how well greeting card compendiums perform online and feel they would work as a back-up for customers in our centres without taking away from our single card sales,” says Tom. On the storage front, he adds that “customers are looking to organisational solutions for many aspects of their lives, including their greeting cards. I do feel there are real opportunities for suppliers to help on this front as it would further encourage card buying and sending.” Tom is in no doubt as that as gardening has seen a surge in interest, the pandemic has also served to reinforce the value of greeting cards. “They have proved an invaluable way of keeping in touch and showing you care. We see nothing but growth.” Spoken as a true horticulturalist greeting cardist! PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Up Close...

A Happy Date With Kate

Below: Kate Smith’s mission is to spread happiness with her brand. Below middle: A colourful and cheerful card design. Bottom left: Kate at work with Frank. Bottom right: The visual for one side of the PG Live tote bag.

Already well known in the US and Canada, the distinctive art style and uplifting messages from the Kate Smith Company is now extending its presence in the UK with Hallmark Cards, Moonpig and Carousel Calendars on board as the first trio of licensees – and with the keepsake bag at PG Live bearing the brand’s uplifting graphics and messaging. PG caught up with the feelgood designer herself for a dousing of positivity. Kate Smith, the creative brainchild of her namesake brand, says her mission is ‘to make humans smile’ and greeting cards were always destinated to be the top of the list in helping to make that happen. “I really do want to put joy into the world. Greeting cards are a wonderful proof of feeling, they are like tiny scrapbooks of moments; reminders of relationships that matter,” believes Kate. “Cards are so small yet their impact is so big.” Kate’s hope is that through the sending of one of her greeting card designs is that it will play its part in “the force for good”. As she sees it, this can be as simple as “raising a smile” reinforcing that the very act of kindness of giving/sending a greeting card in itself is likely to spark a ripple effect.

“One silly joke, one pun, one cute phrase on a greeting card, together with the handwritten message inside can make people feel better about themselves, their lives and the world they inhabit,” believes Kate. Kate is no stranger to the wonderful world of greeting cards as she previously enjoyed success with From Frank, a greeting card publishing company she started in 2012 with her husband Ryan, named after their French bulldog. While the From Frank brand gave a voice to the couple’s fourlegged friend - epitomised by the book title ‘Don’t fart when you snuggle: How to mark

humans smile’ published by Chronicle Books - establishing Kate Smith Company creates a venerable vehicle for Kate’s own philosophy to be shared across different products. Kate’s roots as a graphic designer coupled with Ryan’s business degree and a bit of Frank’s doggie wisdom has made for a winning combination for the Kate Smith Company, which fittingly is now run from a rather cool, polished Airstream ‘caravan’ which is currently in Indiana, but no doubt will soon be on the move. The couple’s change in lifestyle has further reinforced Kate’s beliefs that we sometimes we can lose sight of what is important. “Three years ago Ryan and I got rid of 99% of our stuff and moved into our Airstream. It has made me realise more than ever that it is the small, simple things that matter,” says Kate. Making people feel happier is at the core of this, which is very much reflected in the vibe of Kate’s design style and editorial touch. While Kate’s ‘design studio’ now fits in her backpack, her ideas know no bounds. “I have just published our 500th greeting card design here in the States, but these came from around 5,000 design ideas I worked up. Ideas are not the problem, it is PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE




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making sure each one says what I need it to say in the best way possible. Some call out to be led by the visual, others are better suited to be more text based,” explains Kate. Sharing an insight into her design process, Kate says she always starts by asking herself the same question: “What am I aiming to achieve with this design? For example, is it to say ‘I love you’, is it to say ‘I am proud of you’?” Once that’s established she then generally sets about on what she describes as ‘digital foraging’, seeking inspiration from social media, especially from animated Gifs. “I then get everything down on paper without judging it, a word here, a notion there. I find you have to put down the bad stuff to get to the good stuff!” she reveals. “I then become a ‘human corrector’, editing the ideas, questioning myself if I can make it funnier by changing a word here and there. Then I move onto the imagery, by sketching it out, before adding colours from our colour palette.

Brand action

The final check is asking myself: “Would I send this to someone?” If the answer is “yes” then it becomes a ‘possible’. Creating greeting cards is definitely an exercise in quality through quantity as I reject ten times more designs than we publish,” says Kate. Preparing for the Send Smiles card launch from Hallmark added in another layer - ensuring that the designs would work well in the UK. “A lot of the sentiment, humour and design motifs travel well, while a few of the spellings have been changed,” added Kate. “I am so super, duper, duper excited (please note the extra dupers) to be working with Hallmark. They know the power of a folded piece of paper and see the need to add some more hearts, high fives, and LOLs to the world. We can’t wait to make some humans smile with them in the UK,” enthused Kate. Above: Words and images combine in the Kate Smith card range. Left: A sentiment that chimes with today.

The Kate Smith Company brand has started gaining traction in the UK market following the appointment of Lisle Licensing to represent its licensing programme here and the clincher of its first trio of licensees - Hallmark, Moonpig and Carousel Calendars. “When we first set eyes upon Kate Smith Company and saw their success in the USA and Canada, we instinctively knew they had a fantastic future in the UK quite simply because of their humorous, cheeky and happy brand which will aspire to consumers here,” commented Francesca Lisle, managing director of Lisle Licensing. Hallmark was quick to clinch the UK rights (the brand is licensed by American Greetings in the States), becoming the master greeting card licensee while Moonpig was appointed the online greeting card partner. Meanwhile Carousel Calendars is offering Kate Smith Company 2022 dated calendars and diaries. As Martin Rees-Davies, product and licensing lead at Carousel Calendars summed up: “With the last year that we have all had I have no hesitation that the vibrant colours and designs will bring a much- needed smile to everyone’s face”. Lisle Licensing is also in discussions with several companies about extending the brand into gifting, stationery, and other categories.

So, her designs have featured on thousands of cards on featured displays in Target supermarkets across the US (through a licensing agreement with American Greetings), her From Frank graphics have graced millions of lottery tickets in several States, but the end of this month is the big one…as Kate Smith’s brand is also set to take centre stage on the Progressive Greetings Live keepsake tote bag for the show, as part of Hallmark’s promotional activity for its new card range. “It feels so insanely cool for my designs to appear on the PG Live bag,” sums up Kate. “Recognising that this is a baby billboard to make people smile, not just at the show, but when it is used afterwards, I selected a message that I feel is the perfect fit for now.” Here’s to more happiness!

Put on the spot

Kate Smith underwent some PG personal questioning…

What makes you happy? “I try to keep my ‘bar’ for being happy low, appreciating all that I have. Oh, and ice cream, pancakes and good Mexican food!” What makes you angry? “I get more frustrated or sad than angry. I don’t understand when people say “I can’t do it” when I know they have not really tried. Life is so short, you just have to give things a go.” What lesson would you share to a would-be Kate Smith? “Start now and accept that no one has your answers. Pay attention to your most stupid ideas as they may be your best ones.” How do you view the future of designers? “I see it as bright. There are now so many platforms out there for them to showcase their work. The virtual world opportunities have levelled the playing field.” How is Frank learning to co-exist with no longer being the prime brand in the ‘home’? “He has a pretty happy life. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and now just enjoys the travelling life. His goal is to poop in every US state and is well on his way to achieving that!”

Inset: Kate and Ryan outside their Airstream.



Sending you massive hugs huns!

Happy Birthday!







Pop that Cork!!





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Can’t wait to see you!

love you sweet

Finking of You!

Miss You!


27-28 JULY 2021


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Retailer Focus



Being shown a ‘red card’ is generally translated as a negative telling off, a red light invariably communicates ‘stop’, ‘danger’ or ‘lady of the night’, but that’s until you meet Sally Matson, co-owner of Red Card in Petworth, Sussex. With a smile as wide as the summer sky, Sally has torn up the rule book, banished negative thoughts and is very much a ‘woman of our day’. PG joined the DFL (Down From London brigade who frequent this quintessential British West Sussex town at weekends) to relish the lockdown relocation of this awardwinning card and gift shop. There’s no train station, no opticians and a small Co-op is the only supermarket, but Petworth is fantabulous and very much part of that fantabulousness is Red Card. And out there as Red Card’s ‘front of house’ is Sally Matson, who, having worked for Hyatt hotels in her native Oz before crossing the globe to run Conran restaurants in London, ditched

hospitality for retail, love of a great husband and the good folk of Petworth. In no particular order. Anyone who has had the good fortune to meet Sally, within a few minutes is left in no doubt as to the

Below: After last Summer’s lockdown, Sally launched Red Card’s Brief Request, an altruistic initiative which facilitates donations of new undies to reach the needy.

calibre of a woman who is powered by a passion for her local community, innate entrepreneurial ingenuity, a tribal calling to belong, total respect for the creativity of greeting card publishers, as well as a driver of shared laughter, the latter very much being the oil in the engine. Red Card has always done well, but now, having recently relocated to a premises twice the size of its former shop unit, and in a location with much better footfall, it is flying, with sales up 30-40%. Red Card evolved as the greeting card step-sister of The Bookshop in Petworth, owned by Steve Howe. Sally had been working for Steve, with the greeting card area being part of her remit, when a store unit became vacant nearby. While Sally’s initial proposal was to take this on as a Christmas ‘pop up’, Steve encouraged her to go the whole hog and open a dedicated card shop, of which he would be a silent partner. And so, in 2012, Red Card was born and the last nine years has seen Sally and shop manager Karen West, (her right hand woman at Red Card for the last six years), curate the shop’s huge selection of greeting cards and gifts with much success, as evidenced by winning a Retas greeting card retail award in 2019. (Red Card is also in the finals for the 2021 awards, not just for the shop, but also for its Brief Request charity Above: As store manager Karen West’s contribution over the last six years has been immeasurable, notably on the fashion accessories front. Left: Since relocating in Petworth, sales are up 30-40%. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Retailer Focus

initiative, whereby new underwear is collected in the shop’s postbox and then redistributed to the needy.) Sally was not really looking to move Red Card, having spent most of the Government grant doing up the shop during the first lockdown. It was only when she and Karen were helping to clear out The Bookshop, which was moving into an adjacent shop, that they realised what more they could achieve by having more space. So, with seven weeks to go before the last lockdown ended, they went for it. “It was all hands-on deck. Karen, myself and my husband all set to, organising lighting, fixtures, painting and ordering stock so that we would be ready in time for retail re-opening. It was hard work, but we had such a laugh. And we knew it was the right decision,” says Sally. The extra space of the new shop has meant that product selections have been

Local flavour

Above: Red Card offers customers an astounding 10,000 different card designs, augmented by its card ‘boxes’. Right: The special Red Card postcard which is given to all those who shop at the retailer’s retail ‘outposts’ in other stores. Left: The I Drew This bespoke products featuring Petworth House which form part of Red Card’s locallyrelated product selection. Below: Artwork by Louise Mulgrew, created during a few days with Sally, not only features on postcards on sale in the shop but also on the new Petworth town map for visitors.

widened, an enlarged partyware section and a dedicated Jellycat area being two examples which are now more than earning their keep. Standalone display areas facilitate better ‘storytelling’ with gift products and fashion accessories. However, the beating heart of Red Card are its greeting cards - an astonishing 10,000 different designs are stocked from well over 80 different greeting card publishers. In addition to the wall displays and spinners of cards, are two units of 40 ‘boxes’; each of which is clearly labelled with a different occasion or relation, each

Sally is a huge believer in the merit of supporting the local community, on both a business and personal level. “It feels so good to belong, to get to know your fellow business owners and work together to help the town, which in turn benefits everyone,” says Sally, who as head of the Petworth Business Association has spearheaded various initiatives, from a town-wide Christmas window campaign to revamping the Petworth town map leaflet, which is widely available to visitors, many of whom come into the town when visiting Petworth House, an impressive National Trust property. While Sally’s 17 year old daughter Adie was involved in photographing all the properties in order for the map to be redrawn, gracing the front of the leaflet are reproductions of two beautiful watercolours that were done by Louise Mulgrew. These were worked up from sketches Louise did when she and her mum came to stay with Sally and her family last year, which have also been printed onto postcards that are on sale individually and in packs in Red Card, as part of its growing collection of bespoke arty souvenirs. “Having been asked by so many customers for postcards of Petworth House, at PG Live a few years ago I asked Ilona Drew of I Drew This whether she would create a special design of the property for me. I was so thrilled when she agreed and we now sell this as a card, on a tea towel as well as on a coaster,” explains Sally, who has also worked with Julia Gash on a Petworth collection of products, including a mug, coaster and tea towel. “I love working with talented people on creating something a little different for our customers,” she adds.

containing 150 cards which customers can easily look though. “Customers love knowing they will definitely find a design they like and we love it as it means we can offer such a wide selection and do the publishers proud,” says Sally. While its ‘boxing clever’ approach is one aspect which sets Red Card apart, another is how it has broadened its catchment as well as its sales by supplying some local village shops with a Red Card display. “I knew that I didn’t want to open another shop, and wasn’t that keen on setting up a website, though this is something we will do in the future,” explains Sally. “Just before Covid, I started supplying some local shops under the ‘Brought to you by Red Card’ banner. We now have displays in four village stores in the vicinity that I merchandise regularly. I don’t put in my

premium ranges, but it has worked not only in generating an extra revenue stream, especially during lockdown when they were able to continue to trade, but also to promote Red Card and to support the local community,” says Sally. While she expects more local shops to come on board, Sally’s next idea is to have a little Red Card van that she would stock up with cards and gifts and drive to certain locations where residents find it difficult to get to shops. “It would be like a mobile library, but for cards. There are certain areas round here which have an ageing population who may struggle to get into town regularly. I love the idea of me parking up for say two hours and everyone seeing it as an opportunity to not only get stocked up on their cards, but having a chance to catch up with each other,” says Sally. “I love what we do at Red Card and if I can play a part in fostering that community feel that would make me even happier,” she adds with an infectious chuckle. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


THE GREATEST COLLECTION OF GREETING CARDS IN THE WORLD “Of course we’ll be at PG Live 2021. I can’t wait to see all the new products and the faces behind them. No better place to find them!” James Taylor, trading director of Cardzone.

“I really love Progressive Greetings Live – if you are a retailer reading this and have never visited, I implore you to put it on your list to visit. We always come back with new and exciting ranges. The hospitality at the show is brilliant! After a lot of ordering there is the after party for some socialising with old and new friends, which is a great end to a very successful day.” Maggie Wynn, owner, Just Cards, Honiton “I can’t think of a better show to kick off the return to normality than PG Live. I’ve missed everyone from the industry a lot this past year and this will be a show like no other. Roll on July!” Mark Janson-Smith, managing director, Postmark

Where the card community comes alive!

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PG Live 2021 Tuesday 27 - Wednesday 28 July Business Design Centre, London +44 (0) 1635 297070 @PGLiveLondon #PGL2021

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International Perspective


Inset: Greeting cards are uniting people the world over.


Hot on the heels of the recent G7 meeting, which brought together the world’s leaders, PG asked greeting card protagonists from all over the globe to share their perspective on trade in their domestic market, as well their message for their friends in the UK. Italy: Furio Ceciliato, founder of Origamo and President of Associazione Italiana Biglietti Augurali Trading statement: “The market has finally restarted. Now we have weddings, graduation ceremonies and birthday parties, so the sale of greeting cards has bounced back to normality and is at the same levels as 2019. The feeling among shop owners is of moderate optimism, but they are paying more attention to what they are buying to maximise their investment.” Significant developments: “During the pandemic, a lot of greeting card companies lost their focus and started to sell a lot of different goods. At Origamo, I kept my focus entirely on handmade greeting cards and I think it was worth of it because the brand is now getting stronger and stronger in the market.” Good news: “The Associazione Italiana Biglietti Augurali (AIBA,the Italian GCA) is now up and running with the nine most important greeting companies in the Italian market developing projects together to spread the culture and the beauty of greeting cards in our country. It will take time, but it is a significant start.” Origamo’s good news is that we have developed a new handmade greeting card range called Abbracci (which means ‘hugs’ in Italian) which is 100% made in Italy using Italian paper. This is causing a little revolution in the 5€ cards segment because they are fresh and innovative. Even in the middle of lockdown we sold over 1,100 displays all over Italy. I can’t wait to bring it to the UK market!” Message to UK friends: “Dear UK friends, even if Brexit is trying to tear us apart, my love for you, your culture and your people is stronger and stronger. KEEP ON ROCKIN’!! I am still trying my best to come and visit PG Live, but it’s a mess! A mess to enter the UK and a mess to quarantine when I go back to Italy. I am checking every day in the hope that these strict rules will change.” Above: Origamo’s Furio Ceciliato is delighted that his dream for an Italian GCA has come to fruition. Left: One of the displays of Origamo’s Abbracci range in situ.

United States: Alan Harnik, founder of Notes & Queries Trading statement: “It’s safe to say that the pandemic has affected all of our personal and business lives. The shutdowns in spring of 2020 meant that all of our greeting card business ground to a halt with the exception of our food stores where we continued to supply them. For the balance of the year, we started to build up our everyday and Christmas business with both independents and key accounts. Our 2020 Christmas was one of our best in many years though we ran out of inventory and couldn’t supply many last-minute orders. We have had really good shipping numbers for the first half of 2021 and we expect that based on what’s in the books, at end of the year we will be where we were at the end of 2019 sales wise.” Significant developments: “There have been many changes in the retail marketplace here in the US. I went to New York recently and saw how hard retail has been hit in the city centre which at mid-day looked like a ghost town. Until business comes back in these cities retail in these areas will continue to suffer. More and more shops have developed retail websites to grow and maintain their business presence. With no trade shows taking place after February 2020, retailers have relied on publishers’ websites and printed material for placing orders. In the last quarter of 2020, sales agents were finally getting back to seeing their customers in person. This has been aided by the vaccine rollout which has provided us with a sense of liberation (continued on page 77). Above: Like in the UK, US city centre retailers are experiencing a large drop in footfall.




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International Perspective

For distributors like Notes & Queries, one of our biggest challenges that still exists is shipping. Shipping is a real nightmare with rates having gone up for both air and sea shipments by 3-10 times what they were pre-pandemic. Because of the lockdown in the UK, some of our trading partners were not able to reprint as quickly as they had done in the past and orders which used to be filled within a week now take several or even longer due to reduced staffing. This, of course, is coming back and we are now getting our inventory quicker. As to changes in customer buying patterns, we did see our retail business increase during the pandemic as more and more folks were buying online. We also saw an increase in sympathy, get well, inspiration and friendship cards being sold to our retailers meaning that that’s what their customers were looking for.”

South Africa: Basil Shapiro, managing director of Shapiros Trading statement: “There is a massive shortage of stock in South Africa right now as shipping is an absolute disaster. It is taking over two months to get shipments here, so planning is of utmost importance and it is hammering cashflow. However, for all the problems of supply, on the consumer front, everyone is making a huge effort at home to make a person’s special day amazing. So, card sales are almost back to 2019 levels although there has been a drop in the multiple card sends, such as for weddings and milestone ages etc.” Good news: “On our side, as some competitors have closed down and others are being conservative, we have started trading with new customers which is very positive and exciting for us. Online sales have also helped immensely.” Message to UK friends: “Missing PG Live is very disappointing for me as it’s a great opportunity to touch base with all suppliers and look for new opportunities. Right now, I am relying on Progressive Greetings and suppliers communicating with me for new offerings.” Above: Basil Shapiro (right) enjoying a friendly arm wrestle at PG Live 2018 with Alan Holmes, formerly of Icon.

Australia: Jenny Cummins, managing director of McMillan Cards

Above: Alan Harnik (centre) at PG Live chatting to Redback’s Chris Stanley (left) and Sean Edwards.

Good news: “The good news I think is retail is back and we see it growing each day in our market. We expect that the second half of 2021 and 2022 will see the opening of many new accounts in part to replace independents that have closed as well as new accounts that open because they see a gap in their area and have a vision of how they can fill it with a new store. I also see many of these new accounts opening not in major cities but in the suburbs and little towns outside metropolitan areas. There are always opportunities in every market. Notes & Queries was fortunate to be given the opportunity to sell to a major bookseller in the US and as well as expand its business with several key accounts. 2020 was supposed to be a transitional year for us at Notes & Queries with Vanessa [Harnik, Alan’s daughter] assuming an increasing role and ownership of the company. The pandemic just sped up that process and we see that it should be complete in 2022. So, a shout out to her strength and courage that it took to navigate through last year’s challenges.“ Message to UK friends: “For my UK friends, existing trading partners and partners-in-waiting, “Congrats” to you being at PG Live and celebrating your own success in navigating the challenges of 2020. I want to wish you all a very successful show and a great year end 2021.”

Trading statement: “The greeting card trade here appears in good shape. Retail all over Oz is generally very patchy, especially fashion but homewares, card shops, nurseries and food retail especially the supermarkets, is all good. There is a lot of click and collect happening as well as online sales. I think people are buying more cards, especially humour and animal designs, though as expected, sales of wedding cards are down.” Significant developments: “More business is being done online, our customers are ordering more regularly and often between rep visits. With no trade shows, our website has become so important, which we are upgrading to further increase its speed. The Melbourne Gift Show, which is the big trade fair for this half and is so important for Christmas planning has just been postponed due to the latest Covid surge.” Good news: “We have hung in there and just completed our biggest year yet. It’s a real thrill to achieve something long wished for. Our good card retailers used the time during lockdowns to review their suppliers, their ranges and even upgrade their shops. Our private showrooms around the country have done really well (between dodging lockdowns) with our retailers excited just to be there, actually seeing the product and not on a screen.” Message to UK friends: “I really miss seeing you all, chatting about how things are going, your plans for new ranges and knowing what is happening personally. I miss the fun and the dinners. To miss out on attending PG Live is not good. Not good for business and gives me FOMO! Enjoy each other and have a really great show and please remember to send us all the new stuff. We have to keep up somehow here DownUnder xx.” Above: The McMillan Melbourne showroom. Above: Jenny with her daughter Lisa, grandsons Reilly and Finn and their cat Johnnie Blue on Mother’s Day.



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International Perspective

Sweden: Charlie Wallin, managing director of Pictura Trading statement: “2020 was a challenging year for, I believe, all of us. Greeting card sales in Sweben took a hit as more and heavier restrictions were put into place. Friends and family were not allowed to celebrate birthdays, weddings, and other events where a card is essential. As for 2021, things are really turning around fast. We have seen steady sales increases throughout the year, and stores are betting on a wedding boom for the second half of 2021 and of course 2022. Fingers crossed, it seems more and more as if we are getting back to ‘normal’.” Significant developments: “We saw a big change in the way our cards were distributed to the receiver. Normally our cards are handed in person at a gathering, but more cards were mailed during the pandemic. This is a change that we hope will last.” Good news: “There has of course been some good news! People seemed to be more considerate and caring during the pandemic, which is something we hope will last. Our Christmas and Easter card sales were also tremendous.” Message to UK friends: “I’m really looking forward to coming to PG Live. Reservations have been made for me and a couple of colleagues. We hope to see you all in July, if circumstances permit of course.” Above: As well its own in-house designed products, Pictura imports from some UK publishers, including the Talking Pictures range from Ling Design. Left: Charlie Wallin was among the global cardies who created a video greeting for finalists and attendees of The Henries last 2020.

Germany: Stefan Hermann, managing director of German-based TaurusKunstkarten Trading statement: “Sales are consistent, but less plannable. However, we have learned to live with this situation. Consumers are thankfully still buying the greeting cards they enjoy and like.” Significant developments: “The incoming orders vary greatly. We lost sales from a number of important occasions like communion and confirmation because the churches were closed. And we missed the Easter season, too.” Good news: “Well, we are still on the track! Our staff are happy that they can go to work and we have had no infections within the team. We have just started working with Think of Me and have printed our first 16 of its designs and we are doing our first show in Munich mid July 2021 the first since January 2020!” Message to UK friends: “Well done on the result of the football match against Germany in the Euros. You had the better game while we made the mistakes. That’s sport! Right now, it is impossible for us to book a flight to come to PG Live as it is unclear if you can travel to the UK, sadly.” Above: Stefan on his stand at Frankfurt’s Paperworld in January 2020. Left: Think of Me has joined Taurus-Kunstkarten’s portfolio.

Japan: Kayoko Kubo, general manager of Toy Symphony Trading statement: “While Christmas sales were the best ever for us as the elderly are now not going out the number of cards being bought has dropped. That said, while volumes are down, high priced cards are selling better than ever.” Good news: “Christmas cards sold very well. So, we expect this year’s sales to be as good as last year. Also, there has been an increase in sales of thank you cards.” We are the only specialist company that is continuing to import from the UK as other importers are finding the situation difficult. This means our customers are very happy with us that we are keeping them up to date with new cards.” Message to UK friends: “All of our friends in UK are like members of our family. So, please take care and stay safe. We will see you soon after Covid-19. We miss you all.” Above: Kayoko Kubo (left) with Toy Symphony’s founder Hiroshi Kawamura (second right) with Louise Tiler and Woodmansterne’s Lee Keeper at Spring Fair last year.

Malta: Suzanne Mizzi, owner of Paperworld Trading statement: “The pandemic has changed everything so much in so little time. The first quarter of 2020, with the outbreak of COVID, things got bad almost overnight. The uncertainty of everything ruled us all and with everyone in lockdown there was little to celebrate. By June 2020, things started to settle and the ‘new normality’ kicked in. However everything seemed so different and Christmas sales were a mere shadow of what they used to be. At the start of 2021 everyday greetings picked up, but Valentine’s Day sales were exteremely low, continuing the pattern of the last five years of deceasing sales for this event. While Mother’s Day sales picked up we saw a huge drop for Father’s Day. Since then little has changed and currently, the sector is struggling. This is due to a number of factors, mainly that so many have lost their full or part-time jobs which has severely affected family spending power. Furthermore, there are others who are putting their savings aside for a rainy day.” Good news: “It not all doom and gloom! I am hopeful that by Christmas, with us in Malta reaching herd immunity, things should pick up.” Message to UK friends: “I am sending my love from sunny Malta to all my friends and collegues. I just wish I could be there with you all at PG Live.” Above: Suzanne Mizzi (third left) at PG Live 2019 with some other international visitors and exhibitors and members of the show and BDC team on what was Global Exhibition Day.



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


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



Jakki Brown Joint md & editorial director

Twice weekly newsflash delivered to over 9000 inboxes

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The very latest news, views, articles and analysis

Digital issues of Progressive Greetings Worldwide

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

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Art Source

Under The Surface

Ever since she was a little girl, Megan Carter has never been far from her sketchbook. Now with over 20 years’ industry experience, her distinctive style of surface patterning, has seen her artwork grace countless greeting cards, wrap and fabric. PG asked Megan to share what makes her tick…

“If I couldn’t get up in the morning to draw for a living I think all would be lost!! I really try not to take this for granted, to have a job that you have a passion for is a very fortunate position to find yourself in. I have been a designer for 20 years now, having been very lucky to start my career as an in-house greeting card designer for Hallmark Cards where I designed a combination of greeting cards, wrap and stationery for Marks and Spencer. It feels a very long time ago now in a very different set up with a studio full of artists painting and sewing and very few Macs! My very first project involved painting a gouache camouflage wrapping paper design, I can still see it so clearly! It's funny how things seem to have come back around again to hands on drawing and painting being a preference again over fully generated digital designs. These days, I work with a combination of different styles, from drawing in my sketch book and gouache painting to digital designs, created both with photoshop and illustrator. I ended up at Hallmark after showcasing my portfolio from my surface pattern degree at Staffordshire Uni at the New Designers show. I loved my degree! It really helped me focus on which direction I wanted to go with my creative journey after always having a passion to draw from an early age. I spent years as a kid drawing tiny little animal characters in houses and particularly became drawn to creating patterns when I was about ten. I have a Top left: Megan Carter at work. Top right: Megan’s love of nature is reflected in her sart. Above: Her own Dad has been an inspiration to Megan. Right: Having appeared in her very early drawings, animals still pop up in Megan’s contemporary work. Far right: A sophisticated colour palette and striking design.


collection of sketch books with really hilarious drawings of ladies in some very 80’s style patterned outfits, plus some drawings of room scenes with patterned cushions and curtains. This was definitely the start of my passion for surface pattern! I was also in total awe of my Dad who is an amazing artist who always found time to escape his day job down to his shed/studio to paint. It has always made me sad that he didn’t ever feel he could carve his career out of what he loved to do and earn a living from his art. I think it has made me more determined to do so. I think I was unknowingly also really influenced by my Dad’s house full of old junk (that’s how I saw it as a kid!) but now I can appreciate the gorgeous old furniture and paraphernalia that he hoarded. I have a keen eye for finding vintage bits and bobs in charity and antique shops myself these days. The Arts and Crafts movement, art nouveau and Art Deco are among my favourite design movements and I have a real passion for the Wiener Werkstatte movement, which was happening along the same time as Art Nouveau over in Austria. I moved on from Hallmark to UK Greetings after about five years where I worked mainly on a part time basis as a greeting card designer for a span of 13 years. My creative journey then went onto the back burner but when both my kids were at school I decided to try and focus more so on branching out with my surface pattern designs. I haven’t looked back! Two years ago I became freelance and although challenging, especially over this past year, I am gradually building on new projects and collaborations with my pattern designs and illustrations. My biggest breakthrough has been with American fabric brand Cotton and Steel which produces gorgeous fabrics. I have two current collections with them, and a third to be launched this September. My goal now is to further expand more collaborations with clients looking to apply patterns to their products, whether that’s for homewares, packaging or stationery, the list is endless for what you can put a pattern on! At the end of 2020 I hooked up with the fabulous Hannah Curtis with her new agency Creative Sparrow which has been a breath of fresh air for this year ahead. I’m focusing on developing both my pattern and illustrative portfolio with her excellent guidance and support. I feel like there is a lot to look forward and keeping that kid dream alive.

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






Harrogate, North Yorkshire



18-21 July 2021

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Publisher In Focus



Blue Green Scene Out of the Blue Studios and Into the Green Publishing must win the prize for being the two PG Live exhibitors who are most aligned with the show’s blue and green branding! Ahead of the exhibition, PG caught up with Pete Rawlingson, co-owner of both the companies to find out more about the incredible growth of the Out of the Blue wholesale publishing business as well as the relaunch of its sustainable Into the Green sibling. “I just can’t wait for PG Live to happen. It has been so long since the industry has got together,” exclaimed Pete Rawlingson, who started the wholesale publishing company Out of the Blue Studios with Clive Rubin in 2017, though both were involved in the industry for many years prior to that. Out of the Blue Studios has come a long way in a short period of time, but there is clearly plenty more fuel in the tank.

“It has been an exciting few years for us. There had not been any new publishers coming into the wholesale sector for donkeys’ years, but we received a very warm welcome from wholesale distributors giving us their support right from the start,” sums up Pete. “I can’t quite believe that we published seven million Out of the Blue cards last year, during a pandemic!”

Above: Sustainability is a major focus of both the Into the Green Publishing and Out of the Blue Studios businesses. Left: The team worked with a packaging expert as well as Loxleys to develop Out of the Green’s plastic-free Christmas boxes as well as its other products. Bottom: Pete Rawlingson (right) and Clive Rubin on the Into the Green Publishing stand at Spring Fair 2020 where the DTR company launched.

It is a far cry from Pete’s humble beginnings in the trade, when he started working for Macsel in 1990, which was at the time a multi branch wholesaler. “I started by stacking the shelves in the Stoke branch, but I very quickly got the greeting card bug. I loved the product and the characters in the trade. It has been quite a journey already!” Having worked both as a buyer for wholesaler Magson as well as for several wholesale publishers (Avante Garde and Hambledon), Pete gained an understanding of both sides of the counter which has proved invaluable with Out of the Blue. He spent nine years working for Hambledon Studios (which was Hallmark’s wholesale division), latterly as area sales manager. When the decision was made to close the wholesale publishing side, Pete grasped the opportunity. “It was deemed that there was no future in wholesale publishing, but I saw it differently. I really believed that while there are far fewer wholesale distributors than there once were, those who are still trading are doing a really good job and as the last year has shown, the shop local trend has been something of a boost to wholesalers,” explains Pete. While Pete looks after the sales and product aspects of the company, his business partner Clive Rubin PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


LONDON STATIONERY SHOW 5-6 October 2021 Business Design Centre

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Publisher In Focus

oversees the financial and operational sides. “Clive and I knew each other for 20 years before we set up Out of the Blue,” says Pete about his business partner. While Clive was not a greeting card expert, neither was he a novice, as through his George East import business he was dealing with wholesalers and in fact acquired a lot of the Macsel stock, including greeting cards when it went into receivership. “Clive gets my passion for greeting cards and has in fact now become a real cardie too!” reveals Pete. While on the direct to retail side, you can set a business from the kitchen table, supplying a few shops at a time, in the wholesale sector it is all about volume. “You can’t play at it in wholesale publishing,” assures Pete. “Both Clive and I knew that it would take a lot of investment from day one and we were both fully committed to that,” he adds. “We set up our own in-house studio right from the off, taking on my former

PG Live launches

Left: The Henries 2020 saw Out of the Blue Studios win the Best Wholesale Range category much to the delight of team. (Left to right) Roberta Mulkerrin (design manager), Martin Sanderson (area sales manager), company owners Pete Rawlingson and Clive Rubin, Colleen Whittaker (design manager). Below: A design from the In the Green Publishing’s Claytons range. Below middle: One of the Eloquence designs from Out of the Blue Studios that will be on show at PG Live and available from wholesalers from August. Below left: Following on from Out of the Blue’s launch into giftwrap with its Acquire instock range comes a collection of giftwrap packs of two sheets and tags that will be available from wholesalers.

Hambledon colleagues Roberta Mulkerrin and Colleen Whittaker as design managers who still produce 80% of all of our designs, working with other artists for the remaining 20% which has enabled us to diversify into new areas, such as humour,” says Pete. The appointment of Martin Sanderson as sales manager two and a half years ago has also been a “great asset” to the business. “Martin is fantastic and has really worked well with us to drive the business and look after our customers,” adds Pete. Just as the launch of Out of the Blue Studios took the wholesale sector by surprise in 2017, Pete and Clive did it again with Into the Green Publishing, which made its debut at Spring Fair last year. “We all have a responsibility to care for our planet so we made sustainability very much the core of Into the Green Publishing. That said, we wanted to create a

Out of the Blue Studios has a whole raft of new products that it will be showcasing at PG Live, which will then be available from wholesale distributors. First up is Eloquence, a premium everyday instock collection that will be delivered into wholesalers from the end of August. “This is something completely different for us. It is our most upmarket collection to date, using a variety of finishes and all printed on FSC board,” explains Pete. Then, there will be Quip and Wit, Out of the Blue’s first venture into humour. “There are not a lot of humorous ranges in the wholesale sector and so we worked with a respected artist known for his work published by Rainbow to create this new instock range,” adds Pete. Also on show will be a full Spring Seasons 2022 collection. “We had an amazing sell though of our 2021 Spring Seasons and so have gone for it with our ranges for next year, even including a Galentine’s Day design for the first time,” he reveals. Plus, having made its debut into flat sheets of giftwrap with its Acquire instock collection, this will be bolstered by a range of 24 ‘two sheets, two tags’ packs. The Into the Green stand opposite will be showing its whole collection, which includes standalone ranges Emotions, Fiesta and The Claytons as well as its plastic-free Christmas packaged products.

mainstream card company, but one with strong environmental credentials,” explains Pete. “We worked closely with a packaging expert as well as with printers Loxleys, who were fantastic in helping us turn a dream into a reality, enabling us to ensure that Into the Green products were not only commercially viable, but every element was environmentally friendly as it could be.” The launch of Into the Green has also had a positive knock-on effect on Out of the Blue’s sustainability stance with all board now fully FSCaccredited and both companies now members of the Products of Change sustainability organisation. Although Into the Green was well received at the show, due to the extended lockdowns, it was not able to make as much noise at retail as Pete and Clive feel it deserves. “We are seeing PG Live as the relaunch. If anything, the environment is even further up people’s agenda than before, which makes it all the better to bang the Into the Green drum at the show this month,” believes Pete. “We have come up with some tasty incentives, including a 2’ stand deal and 15% discount for orders placed at the show.” So, with blue and green covered off, what colour is next for the growing publishing force. “No, I think we’ll just stick to the two for now!” laughs Pete. “That said, as the last year has shown, there is still a very healthy appetite for greeting cards with more consumer engagement than ever before. One positive to come out of the pandemic has been for people to show they care and cards are an invaluable way of doing just that,” believes Pete. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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John Pye and Krystina, owner and head marketing manager of The Bookshop, East Grinstead. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Alljoy Design Cardology

Message In A Bottle Across the board

Special Delivery Cards

Across the board


The Bottomline; Wrinkles; Bestie; Sassy. A Colourful Mind; The Funny Farm Hysterical Heritage

“Flying off our shelves!” “Put a little Cardology in your life and your tills will ring!” “Perennial best sellers with fantastic production values.” “Stock these and you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.”


Woodmansterne Publications Art Children’s

Artists Cards John Austin Paperlink

Across the board Angie Rooke Hopscotch

“As we trade from a medieval timber frame, this is a must have range.” “Perennial bestsellers for us.” “Something quite different.” “Sales are unfolding nicely!” Above: Two of Alljoy’s new Message in a Bottle designs. Right: Woodmansterne’s Hysterical Heritage is spot on for The Bookshop.

Tiffany Leach, owner of Kingfisher Cards & Gifts, Sidmouth. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Ling Design

Right: Sally Scaffardi Designs do well at Kingfisher. Below right: A Janie Wilson Milkshake design.

Wrendale Designs Sally Scaffardi

Morris&Co; The Curious Inksmith Across the board Urban Wild, Hare Obession, Animals Across the board Across the board Across the board Grace Hunky Dory Sympathy

“Classic. Great for male and female sends.” “Original and fun.” “Lots of return customers. Everyone has ” “Unique, fun and quirky.”

Thinking of You Relations and Occasions


Toasted Crumpet Paperlink Woodmansterne Cherry Orchard Paper Salad UK Greetings Peartree Heybridge Woodmansterne

Children’s Ages Art Giftwrap


Redback Tracks Janie Wilson Alljoy Second Nature Museums & Galleries Glick Penny Kennedy Museums & Galleries English Soap Company Sally Scaffardi Eco-chic

Tottering By Gently; Camilla & Rose Fred Holy Flaps; Cloud Nine Lenticular Milkshake Message in a Bottle 3D Pop-Ups Wild Press Paper Salad Morris&Co; Sara Miller London Notebooks, planners Kew Gardens soap Coasters Across the board

“Appeals to nature lovers.” “Both publish classic designs with broad appeal.” “Eye catching and decorative inside.” “Bright, colourful and contemporary.” “The wordy designs help people who find it difficult knowing what to say.” “Relatable humour that is so well illustrated.” “On trend and relatable humour that comes unwrapped.” “Bold and funny.” “These are fun and stand out.” “Eye catching, contemporary and on trend.” “An unusual innovative keepsake.” “They are a special keepsake.” “Stunning clever floral designs, incorporating popular animals and bees.” “Bright, bold and colourful.” “Recognisable unisex designs.” “Stunning and eye catching.” “Good, useful treats.” “They make the shop smell lovely.” “Quirky pick-up item to have by the till.” “The Crossbody bags made from recycled bottles are selling especially well at the moment.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE



See the full range at PG Live stand 307 020 8671 2166

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Caroline Boydell, owner of Hugs & Kisses, Tettenhall. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Wendy Jones-Blackett Janie Wilson Five Dollar Shake

Quicksilver Ooh La La Diamond Blush; Butterfly Moon Blossom Elle, Luxe Number 78

“Gorgeous colourful range” “Fabulous smaller sized cards.” “Absolutely stunning designs which sell like crazy.” “Beautiful, flittered designs.” “Stunning designs with a beautiful mix of colours.” “The publisher has R&O nailed.”

Relations & Occasions

Rush Design Belly Button Designs Wendy Jones-Blackett Rush Designs Pigment


Paperlink Photographic

Abacus Cards


Rachel Ellen Designs


Transomnia Langs Inis


Caroline Gardner Glick

Top right: A Wendy JonesBlackett’s Quicksilver design. Above right: Rush’s Blossom collection does well in relations and occasions as well as everyday.

Rachel Ellen Designs

Cloud Nine; Fresco; Quicksilver Blossom Ribticklers; Riffraff; Animal Antics; Midget Gems Bottomline; Bestie; Wrinklies Rapture; BBC Countryfile Little Darlings; Jelly Moulds Across the board Across the board Fragranced products Across the board Wendy Jones-Blackett, Paper Salad, Pizzaz, Think of Me Children’s range

“Captions which sell really well.” “Great quality that appeal to such a wide range of customers.” ”Colourful and very funny cards without being too rude.” “These square cards sell well from a spinner.” “Gorgeous and sparkly.” “Brightly coloured, die-cut cards.” “A lovely large range of small well-priced gifts which sell so well.” “Fabulous range of gifts and lovely frames.” “Once customers smell this beautiful fragrance they just can’t get enough of it.” “Lovely ,thick quality wrap in gorgeous designs.” “It’s good to be able to stock wrap that matches and compliments some of our cards.” “Fabulous bright and colourful designs for children.”

Hannah Rudder and Paul Mordecai, co-owners of Dee’s Cards, Leighton Buzzard. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range




Noel Tatt Paperlink Nigel Quiney Publications Grass Roots (Paper Rose) IC&G Paperlink Carte Blanche Greetings IC&G Jonny Javelin Paper Rose Emotional Rescue Buddy Fernandez Paperlink Pigment Paper Rose Paperlink Wrendale Abacus Cards Second Nature Noel Tatt Paper Rose Second Nature IC&G Paperlink Glick

Showcase Cloud Nine Pizzaz Alpha Just for You Reflections Blue Mountain Arts Fairlight Velvet Noir Spitting Image Honesty Road Funny Farm Etched Spirit Skylark The Country Set BBC Countryfile Yours Truly Patches Crazy Eyes Champagne Year You Were Born Firecracker Across the board


Popcorn Kitchen

Giant ‘money box’ bottles Feather & Grace Angels

“Strong range at a good price point..” “Simple, foiled unisex designs.” “Always a strong seller.” “Good for older gents.” “Not too over the top words.” “Something new for our customers.” “Good love and friendship designs.” “Great value for money.” “Strong traditional range.” “Fun zig-zag designs.” “Topical quips.” “Not for the faint hearted!” “Good female humour.” “Corny jokes that work.” “Lovely quality art with subtle foiling.” “Frequently updated with new designs.” “Every design sells well.” “Customers buy a few at a time.” “There’s a lot in the designs for 99p.” “Lovely contemporary designs of mermaids, dinosaurs and pirates.” “Customers love the googly eyes.” “Great designs.” “People like the fun facts.” “Strong selection of rolls, flat wrap and bows.” Right: Once the “Something different.”

Right: The Greta Thunberg design from Emotional Rescue’s Spitting Image range.

Thinking of You

Relations and Occasions Humour


Photographic Children’s

Adult ages


“Good sentiments.”

Above: Etched from Pigment.

popcorn is eaten the giant bottles are used as a ‘money box’.



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

All our cards are supplied on consignment, so you only pay for what you sell. @NoelT Ta attGroup 01227 811 600

We also supply card fixtures and spinners free-on-loan. We replace slow sellers and damaged stock free of charge.

To appear in the Product Directories email Warren Lomax or Tracey Arnaud

We merchandise regularly, so you don’t have to. THAT’S WHY WE’RE ORIGINAL!

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

@ @paperlinkcards



Classified Complete 2021.qxp 09/07/2021 11:54 Page 94




Send Love e ( all year round )

To appear in the Product Directories email Warren Lomax or Tracey Arnaud

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

PRODUCTS: World’s leading publisher of high quality plastic greeting cards. Also an extensive range of quality greeting cards covering Everyday, Occasions, Christmas and Spring seasons. BRANDS: Cherished Thoughts, Sweet Sentiments, Buddies Always, Symphony, Thinking of You, Style, Special Wishes, Special Times, Young Editions, Groove Sensations, Forever Blessed, Grey Skies, Classics.


t: 0208 6138 085

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

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


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

01892 838 574

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

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

To appear in the Product Directories simply contact Warren Lomax on:

020 7700 6740 or email on or contact

Tracey Arnaud on:

07957 212 062 or email on

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

To appear in the Product Directories simply contact

Warren Lomax on:

020 7700 6740

or email on or contact

Tracey Arnaud on:

07957 212 062

or email on



To appear in the Product Directories email Warren Lomax or Tracey Arnaud

Classified Complete 2021.qxp 09/07/2021 11:56 Page 95




To appear in the Product Directories email Warren Lomax or Tracey Arnaud

To appear in the Product Directories simply contact

Warren Lomax on:

020 7700 6740

or email on or contact

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

Tracey Arnaud

Tel: 01892 838574


07957 212 062

or email on


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


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

To appear in the Product Directories simply contact Warren Lomax on:

Method of sale:

020 7700 6740

Wholesale Distributors

or email on

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

TEL: 01480 435562 FAX: 01480 450599

07957 212 062

Tracey Arnaud

or email on




Classified Complete 2021.qxp 09/07/2021 11:56 Page 96




To appear in the Product Directories simply contact Warren Lomax on:

020 7700 6740 or email on

We offffer a We COMPREHEN

range of high

or contact

Greeting Cards f ALL Occasions,

Tracey Arnaud




07957 212 062

f Sale:

or email on mail: inffo o@words-nWeb: www We

Tel: 01942 233201

Market Leaders in


& entimen

an extensive range of superior quality,

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

To appear in the Product Directories simply contact Warren Lomax




020 7700 6740

or email on

MON,WED,FRI 8.00am-4.45pm TUES,THURS 8.00am-7.45pm SAT,SUN 8.00am-1.45pm or contact

Tracey Arnaud on:

07957 212 062 Method of Sale: Direct to Retail Orders can be placed on our trader site or call our customer services team on

+44(0)1243 792600



or email on

To appear in the Product Directories email Warren Lomax or Tracey Arnaud

Classified Complete 2021.qxp 09/07/2021 11:56 Page 97




Polypropylene & biodegradable bag specialists


Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hotfoiling also available

T 01206 396209 E

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






01773 5378 810




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



Classified Complete 2021.qxp 09/07/2021 11:56 Page 98








FOR ALL YOUR ENVELOPE NEEDS! Largest range of in-stock colours Over 400 Bespoke Envelope Sizes 8 Sizes Permanently in Stock RECYCLED


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



01 90 83 78 86 6 01274 583000


‘we we make Envelopes and Stationery’



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

T 01274 305832 E

The simplest way to order your greetings cards


ABL Foil Ltd Unit 1, Industrial Estate East Hanningfield Chelmsford Essex, CM3 8AB 98


Contact DAVID JIGGINS Tel: 01245 400104 Email:

Powered by

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

we print

we finish

we pack

we deliver

Classified Complete 2021.qxp 09/07/2021 11:57 Page 99









PJ PRINT Celebrating 166 years of service to the printing industry...

LONDON The Capitals Only Specialist Greeting Card Printer All Industry Finishes Available In-House Including Laser Cutting

Over a century and a half of expert printing knowledge, Loxleys are the home of specialist lithographic and digital greeting card production

The Print Works Colville Road, Acton, London, W3 8BL E-mail: Tel: 020 8993 5160

Your saf ep ai

cturing ufa an m

ds for Far E as han f t ro

Outstanding, cost effective and efficient production of Greeting cards, Packaging and Social stationery, ideal for intricate and hand finished products. • Over 15 years experience providing high-quality printed products direct from the Far East • Trusted and financially stable, UK owned by The Sherwood Group • Socially responsible manufacturing: SMETA, ISO9001, ISO14001, FSC certification • Full product prototyping in the UK for competitive speed to market requirements


To find out how we can benefit your business, contact Derek Lam +00 (852) 3527 3471 / or The Sherwood Group Head Office Hong Kong Office: 13/F, Kam Chung Commercial Building, 19-21 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong





Classified Complete 2021.qxp 09/07/2021 11:57 Page 100









Social Sta tationerry Printer of the Year

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


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


Exclusively Greeting Cards Dedicated Account Managers

Litho Print


Digital Print







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


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Classified Complete 2021.qxp 09/07/2021 11:57 Page 101








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on to Su lin the bs c e at new rib PG s e Bu flas zz h .n et From the team behind Progressive Greetings Worldwide, PG Live, The Retas and The Henries, has launched as the new online central resource for the greeting card sector online...

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


Twice weekly newsflash delivered to over 9000 inboxes


Regularly updated jobs-board


The very latest news, views, articles and analysis


Digital issues of Progressive Greetings Worldwide


Dedicated pages for the GCA and The Ladder Club

Warren Lomax


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

Tracey Arnaud

Michelle Board News editor

Advertising, Recruitment and Sponsorship Opportunities:

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

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GLOBE ENTERPRISE Eco friendly and sustainable Handmade by Indian artisans Luxurious and design led Over 25 years of experience Highest quality craftsmanship Come and see us at Stand 520

These are all the hallmarks of Globe Enterprise’s handmade paper products T: +44(0)20 8845 5057 | E: :@globehomeuk | W: IBC_PG_July 2021.indd 1

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