Progressive Greetings June 2022

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THE DAYS UNTIL This June sees the return of London greetings card exhibition PG Live and leading licensing publisher Danilo are looking forward to showcasing their exciting new greetings card and gift wrap ranges from their larger-than-ever product portfolio. Retailers and distributors will be able to see a variety of popular designs, from lifestyle brands to gaming and anime titles through to juvenile licenses and many more.

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Plus on Tuesday 7th June, Danilo welcome their special guests from the hit preschool animated TV show Bluey. Both Bluey herself and her sister Bingo will be on the Danilo stand to meet and greet visitors. So why not pop along and say hi on stand 513 to see all this and much more.

Kids Preschool remains a strong genre and Danilo are excited to welcome the Bluey license to further enhance their card offering. Additional Danilo preschool brand ranges that will be available at the show include CoCo Melon, PAW Patrol, Peppa Pig, The Gruffalo, Peter Rabbit, Thomas & Friends, Hey Duggee, Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, and Guess How Much I Love You.

For older kids, alongside some fantastic superhero cards for the likes of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, there will be the new addition of toy and lifestyle brand Nerf. Sold in more than 120 countries, Nerf has been synonymous with active play since 1969. Danilo’s new card range will aim to reflect the active, fun aspect of Nerf, whilst integrating the brand’s ability to connect generations.

adulT From widespread TV shows Stranger Things, Friends, Only Fools and Horses and Peaky Blinders, through to lifestyle licenses such as The Van Gogh Museum, VW Campervans and The Bright Side, Danilo will be displaying a large selection of brands targeted towards an adult audience at PG Live.

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Following on from the ongoing nostalgic trend, there will also be designs for evergreen brands such as Subbuteo, Mr Men and Little Miss, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Wallace & Gromit plus new addition Sex and The City, which uses icons and quotes from the popular TV series to create stunning card designs for a variety of occasions.

Naruto, Dragon Ball Super and My Hero Academia are all popular anime series whose calendars perform well for Danilo in this increasingly popular genre so are being introduced into the greetings card domain. In particular, Danilo are excited to add to the portfolio virtual pop idol Hatsune Miku, with a new card range incorporating her iconic image and famous catchphrases. Hatsune Miku has become one of the most popular synthetic voice programs, performing songs for her audiences both on screen and as a holographic image at live concerts.

Movies 2022 sees some much-anticipated movies coming to our screens, which Danilo are creating fantastic card and wrap ranges for. The recent action-packed movie The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson launched in March and will tie in with an update of the official greetings card and calendar range. DC League of Superpets will launch in July and follows Krypto the super-dog and superman as inseparable best friends, where there will be a new card and wrap range.

The fourth biggest movie franchise of all time is bringing its next instalment ‘Jurassic World: Dominion” to cinemas in June 2022 where a new greetings card and gift wrap style will be launched in line with the movie release. The release of Minions: The Rise of Gru in July also sees a new vibrant and colourful style of greetings card, gift wrap and calendars being launched to match the feel of the film. There are also designs included from classic movies such as The Godfather, Grease, Wizard of Oz and more.

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Gaming Gaming is still a hugely popular trend with total global spending now expected to exceed $200bn by 2023, according to Newzoo. In line with this, Danilo have enhanced their current card range by adding gaming titles such as Minecraft, Super Mario, Animal Crossing, X Box and many more.

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01992 702 900 | SALES@DANILO.COM | WWW.DANILO.COM Independent retailers contact Words ‘n’ Wishes on 01942 233 201

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From The Editor

ON THE CARDS I am getting excited already! The great global greeting card reunion that we have waited so long for, is nearly upon us. I am of course talking about PG Live that takes place in a few days (Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 June) at the London Business Design Centre. Of course last year’s PG Live was a real explosion of joy generated by the mere fact of getting the industry together again after such a long period of isolation. But last July, the fear of Covid was still very much real and of course our international friends could not get there because of travel restrictions. This year the global greeting card ‘band’ will be together again in celebration of our great industry, which so many distributors around the world see as the ‘mother ship’. Warren, myself and the whole PG gang can’t wait to see everyone, especially our Australian cousins many of whom have spent even more months in lockdown than we did. And of course ‘Big Al’ aka Alan Harnik of Notes and Queries, a passionate supporter of British publishers, who two years late will be celebrating his company’s 40th anniversary. We also are so looking forward to welcoming back those retailers and publishers who felt July last year was a little bit early to venture out to a trade show. Yes, I know all about the gloomy headlines about the cost-ofliving crisis, but we as an industry do have a lot to be thankful for. THE HOME OF MARKET LEADING TRADE MAGAZINES



Above: Some cardies (from PG, Paper Salad and Mooch) at the recent UK Gift Awards, which saw the winners of The Greats and Gift of the Year winners being announced. Right: Big Al aka Alan Harnik with Tache’s Pennie Bryant giving a big thumbs up for PG Live. Below: The PG and Ankorstore team at the menu tasting for PG Live.

We have come through the pandemic relatively unscathed and whisper it quietly (see Cardsharp pages 22-23) shoppers are slowly returning to bricks as opposed to clicks! The glory days of wine and roses are not going to return quite yet, but we can still all be thankful that we make a living in a brilliantly creative and social industry that is still worth over £1.5 billion at retail. And talking of celebration, we are very proud to announce in this issue, the finalists of this year’s Retas, recognising the very best retailers of greeting cards across every sector of the market. There are some amazing finalists, it is a hard call as to which will be receving the ultimate accolades at the glittering Mary Poppins-esque themed awards event at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Thursday July 7. It is all supercalifragilistic!


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?




9-19 News

61-65 Christmas Innovations

All the latest happenings and developments in the trade.

67-73 Marking Milestones Birthday Times

20-21 Over The Counter Teenage Kicks

Anniversary celebrations of some PG Live exhibitors.

JP Pozzi’s David Robertson on footfall and teenage thoughts.

75-77 In Conversation With…Ankorstore Retail Rewilding

22-23 Cardsharp A Renaissance Era?

A catch up with Jina Kwon, Ankorstore’s UK country manager.

PG columnist questions the love affair with online.

79-83 Focus on Cute All Together Now - aaahhhh!

25-27 Viewpoints A Cost of Loving Crisis?

Today’s meaning of cute cards.

View on the cost-of-living crisis’ impact on the card trade.

84-85 In conversation with…Raspberry Blossom Juicy Fruits

31-33 The Retas 2022 Finalists

Rebecca and Mark Green, co-owners of Raspberry Blossom on the company’s evolution.

35 PG Live 2022 It’s Showtime!

87 Art Source The Dawn of Creation

37-53 Innovations Publishers’ new launches at PG Live and genarally.

Greeting card artist Dawn Quigg shares her story and his creative inspirations.

55-57 Publisher Focus Sustainable Greetings

89-91 What’s Hot?

UK Greetings shares its sustainable actions and consumer insights.

Withi n this issu THE R e: ETAS 202 FINA 2 LISTS

A trio of retailers share their best selling ranges.

92-103 Sources of Supply 59 Roy of the Retailers Roy Beswick of The Card Collection, East Molesey reflects on the shop’s Silver Jubilee.

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

Tracey Arnaud

Tracey Bearton

Ian Hyder

Editor/Joint Owner

Joint Owner

Sales Manager

Features Editor

Joint Owner

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

Copyright© 2022. While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this magazine was correct at the time of publication, the publishers cannot accept legal liability for any errors or omissions, nor can they accept responsibility for the standing of advertisers nor any organisation mentioned in the text. Views of contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the publishers.

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



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Hallmark appoints group md

Just Days Away Until PG Live Retailers and overseas distributors sign up in droves for the show With now only days to go until PG Live 2022 (Tuesday and Wednesday, 7-8 June) there has been a flurry of leading multiples, independent greeting card retail stockists and overseas distributors registering to attend. “It is great that buyers from John Lewis, Tesco, Card Factory, Cardzone, Scribbler, Sainsbury’s, WHSmith, Waterstones, Oliver Bonas are among the many leading multiple retailers to have registered to attend the show, joining a veritable who’s who of the best independent card and gift retailers who are planning to be part of it too,” said Warren Lomax, co-show director of PG Live. “And with travel restrictions having eased, overseas distributors from all over the globe - from Australia, United States, India, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, France, Austria and Switzerland among many others - have their passport at the ready. We can’t wait to welcome everybody,” he added. Coming right after the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration weekend, PG Live 2022 takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, 7-8 June, in Islington’s beautiful Business Design Centre, in the heart of London. While the almost 200 exhibitors are putting the finishing

touches to their launches, the PG Live team have been busy ensuring all the lastminute show preparations are ‘in the bag’, and this includes of course includes this year’s keepsake tote. Those creative folks at Paper Salad and Emotional Rescue have done the honours with the design for this year’s limited edition show memento. Known for its bright neon designs Paper Salad has gone to town with a fabulous seascape design on one side while Emo, not surprisingly, has gone down the humour route with an On the Ceiling design for the other, which champions the PG Live free lunch. And of the latter, the PG Live team took time out a few weeks ago to undertake the important work of menu tasting with members of the Ankorstore team as the lunchroom and opening night party is this year kindly sponsored by the online B2B marketplace. With the thousands of brand new designs and products being launched, not to mention the alluring show only incentive, visitors are all set for a real feast for the eyes! To register head to (See pages 35-53 for what PG Live has in store) Above: A warm welcome awaits visitors to the show. Left: The Paper Salad side of the PG Live 2022 keepsake tote bag.

Adriana joins GCA team Adriana Lovesy, owner of award-winning publisher Mrs Lovesy, has joined the GCA as its part-time marketing and membership coordinator. Commenting on why she is delighted to be appointed to the role, Adriana told PG: “I love the greeting card industry! Through my recent role as a GCA council member, I have realised just how passionate I am about it. I have so far been involved in some great projects, such as GCA Local, the Sainsbury’s Black History Month and Hertfordshire University initiatives, which really championed our industry. So, when a need came about for a Marketing and membership coordinator it just seemed like a natural fit. Joining the GCA, I feel part of a positive change in our industry and as a British woman of African heritage and a small business owner, I feel I bring some perspective, and views of an under represented group. The GCA is progressing forward and I’m excited to be a part of it.” Commenting on her new team mate, Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA said: “Adriana’s passion for our industry, coupled with her marketing background and experience as a small business owner, means she brings a broad range of experience to this new role”. Above: Adriana Lovesy is delighted to have joined the GCA staff.

Hallmark has appointed Tom Rolt as group managing director for UK, Ireland and Australia. Tom has spent the last 15 years of his career in the beauty sector, latterly as general manager of commercial operations UK and Ireland for L’Oreal’s consumer products division. Tom takes over from Amanda Del Prete who left the business at Christmas to return to Australia for family reasons. In another change at the top, Matt Critchlow, Hallmark’s commercial director is leaving the business at the end of May to join retailer Claire’s as European VP for its concessions business. “It’s a great career step for me and my family, but I will also always be grateful for the past nearly 10 years at Hallmark and wish them well in the future,” Matt told PG. Above: Tom Rolt joins Hallmark in July.

Royal celebrations The greeting card industry is a master at marking milestones and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is certainly a cause for celebration. As greeting card retailers get behind their respective local community’s plans for garden and street parties, greeting card publishers have been tasked to create fitting greeting cards to send to Her Majesty. PG Live will include a special Cards For The Queen initiative, instigated by the GCA in collaboration with PG and the show. Publishers are being encouraged to create and sign greeting cards to mark Her Majesty’s 70th anniversary of her ascension to the throne, which will form a special display feature on a dedicated stand at the exhibition. In addition, card companies are also being asked to donate extra cards that will be made available for visitors to select and write there and then, popping them into the special Cards For The Queen postbox. All the written greeting cards will then be hand-delivered to Buckingham Palace by members of the GCA and PG Live teams. All cards, those signed by publishers as well as blank versions, should be sent to the GCA, Cards For The Queen, United House, North Road, London N7 9DP to ideally arrive no later than Monday 30 May. Above right: A Wendy Jones-Blackett specially created card. Above: A bespoke card created by Woodmansterne designer Hope Glass.




Notes & Queries wants to thank all of our publishers for our successes over the last 42 years. You are truly the “best of the best”!

Alan and Vanessa Owners, Notes & Queries Notes & Queries_PG_June 2022.indd 1

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Cardies in The Gift Awards winners Rocket68, Two for Joy and VENT win GOTY awards Notable greeting card retailers as well as several card publishers did the industry proud as they picked up trophies in the recent inaugural UK Gift Awards 2022. Uniting Max Publishing’s The Greats Awards with the GA’s Gift Of the Year Awards, this glittering firstever event saw over 400 retailers, publishers and suppliers attend the evening celebration, held at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel that was hosted by comedian Charlie Baker. Paper Tiger in Edinburgh, Presentation in Barrowford, Mooch Cards and Gifts in Bewdley and Stourport on Severn, Nest in Leicestershire, Cranbornes in Dorset, Maybugs on the South Coast and Brocante in the South West were among the worthy Greats gift retailer winners.

Andrea Pinder, owner of Presentation Cards & Gifts in Barrowford, winner of the North, Northern Ireland and Scotland category, admitted that she felt: “totally shocked, with an overwhelming sense of emotional achievement,” when her shop was announced as the winner. Greg Rose, co-owner of Maybugs in Hailsham and Eastbourne, winner of the Greats London, South, South East & East Anglia category exclaimed: “We are over the moon to have won this award! It means so much to everyone at Maybugs to have been recognised at such a high level within the industry that we love.” At the three Nest stores in Broughton Astley, Stoneygate and Thurlaston, owner Samantha Gibbs, winner of the Greats Midlands & Wales category, enthused: “It is such a huge honour to be part of such an amazing bunch of contemporary forward thinking shops! We will

Below: Andrea Pinder, owner of Presentation Cards & Gifts, was presented with her Greats trophy by (right) David Cree, sales manager of Joe Davies, category sponsor.

continue to champion bricks and mortar retailers and the energy and positivity they bring to our local high streets.” Meanwhile, Rocket68, Two For Joy Illustration, Shroot and VENT For Change were among these feted in the Gift of the Year award categories. In the GOTY product categories, Shroot’s Greens & Greetings Collection won the Best Card & Wrap Product Or Range award; Rocket 68 won Best International Product Or Range with its London Calling Global Collection; The Merry & Bright Village Advent Calendar DIY Craft Kit from Two For Joy Illustration took the title in Best Festive & Occasions Product Or Range, while VENT For Change’s Sucseed Notebook won Best Stationery Product Or Range. The night’s biggest product winner was The Plantable Children’s Book from Willsow, which won both the Best Ethical & Sustainable Gift Product Or Range and Best Children’s, Educational and PreSchool Product Or Range categories as well as taking the overall Judges’ Award. A fitting finale to the awards ceremony saw Lesser & Pavey founder and chairman Ronnie Pavey’s longstanding and continuing contribution to the gift industry be recognised as he was presented with The Greats Outstanding Achievement Award 2022. To see all winners go to Above left: (left-right) Jill White of Rocket 68, Paper Tiger’s Michael Apter and Two For Joy Illustration’s Louise Richardson. Left: The stunning invitation that was created by The Seed Card Company.

Industry’s Ukraine relief work continues As the humanitarian crisis continues in Ukraine the greeting card industry is continuing to find new ways to help people hit by the Russian invasion. Retailer and publisher Earlybird has raised £600 from sales of a special card in its Stoke Newington store, with co-owner Heidi Early telling PG: “We asked Hannah who works for us to design a card, our lovely printers Hartgraph agreed to print the cards for free, we used our own envelope stock and came up with a card to sell in our shop within about 10 days of coming up with the idea. “Another brilliant member of our shop team is Celine, who also works as a freelance editor on a European publication. Some of her colleagues are/were based in Kyiv so we asked what we could do to help. She said they needed money. They have a ‘go fund me Keep Ukraine’s Independent Media Going’ so we donated 100% of the sales to that. Plus, Celine is a keen crocheter so she made sunflower badges which we sold too. We raised over £600 in total.” Dog-friendly greeting card retailer Cardies, in Stevenage has been busy ensuring people’s pets aren’t forgotten in the crisis and had special pin badges made to sell in aid of Helping The Pets Of Ukraine. With help from customers and the local Tesco, Jo Sorrell, owner of the indie card shop where the shop dogs are known as The Ponks, has also just sent off another load of food to the AMA Dog Rescue. Above: Hannah and Celine with Earlybird’s sunflower fundraisers.

In the bag Envelope company Blake has partnered with School In a Bag and the Rapid Relief Team to help deliver emergency food and personal care products as well as helping youngsters with essential learning resources. Blake’s involvement saw enough funds raised to package 352 School Bags with a hygiene kit, face cloth, water bottle, lunch box and spork, as well as essential learning resources for a child to learn for a year. The bags have been sent to a team at the Te Aud Romaina charity, Blake has also sent seven pallets of food parcels, totalling 5,292 meals, to the Rapid Relief Team. Above: Blake’s head of plain stock sales Ralph Barter (centre left) with Crawley MP Henry Smith and RRT members as the trucks left Kent.




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NEWS Sara Miller enjoys B&LLAs success


Card Factory Bounces Back £11.1m profit beats expectations and sends reassuring message Card Factory is back with a bang, beating management expectations by posting an £11.1million profit in its final results recently against last year’s £16.4m loss. In the specialist value greeting card retailer’s full year to 31 January 2022, its sales grew 28% on last year to £364.4m as the company said it had experienced “improving momentum” during the 12month period, and a “steady recovery” in store performance since the easing of lockdown restrictions. Stores sales grew 33% year-on-year, which Card Factory said reflected a 20% increase in the number of trading days against the shop closures suffered during lockdown the previous year, and store like-for-like sales for the Christmas season recovered to near to prepandemic levels. However, like-for-like sales overall were 3.1% down on pre-pandemic levels, with online sales also dropping 1.5% on a like-for-like basis, although Card Factory said it was still “significantly ahead” of pre-Covid levels. On a like-for-like basis against the FY2020, online sales surged 135%, which the retailer said reflected expansion of product range online and improved customer experience, as well as the accelerated shift in consumer online shopping behaviours. Having taken pre-emptive action to mitigate a significant proportion of identified inflationary headwinds through a combination of efficient management of costs and working capital, as well as targeted price increases, the board expects the business will deliver revenue recovering towards pre-pandemic levels in FY23, and remains confident in the longer-term growth opportunity, aiming to exceed revenues of £600m by 2026.

Left: Card Factory first new model store that has opened in Coventry. Below: Card Factory’s ceo Darcy WillsonRymer.

Card Factory’s chief executive officer Darcy Willson-Rymer commented: “We are pleased to report a robust performance for the year, ahead of our original expectations, alongside good progress on our strategic transition, despite the operational challenges the last year brought. “We saw a steady recovery in store performance as lockdown restrictions eased, particularly in the run up to Christmas with store sales approaching pre-pandemic levels in this key trading period. As we reopened our stores, we saw our online performance decline slightly year on year, however, we remain greatly encouraged that our Card Factory online sales were significantly ahead of prepandemic levels. This year will see us make further progress in developing our customer proposition, through a broader product range and improved online experience, as part of our transition to a leading omnichannel retailer.” Plans are underway to move and on to a single, unified platform, which will unlock cost benefits and give the opportunity to significantly expand the gifting range. Performance this current year is expected to increasingly benefit from the expansion of complementary categories, further roll out of the trial model stores following the first one in Coventry - and highly targeted price increases.

From card designer to award-winning brand, Sara Miller has come a long way in six years, and her latest B&LLAs trophy is testament to her talent, determination, and success. Her brand, Sara Miller London made the finalists’ list in four product award categories in the Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards and has won the title for the Best Licensed Fashion or Talent Brand. Having started as an in-house designer at Woodmansterne, Sara took a leap of faith in 2016 to launch herself at PG Live, but as a design brand rather than a card company and her vibrant patterns and playful prints immediately earned an on-going partnership with publisher The Art File, as well as Portfolio Cards for the Jaz & Baz brand. Commenting on the award, Sara said she was “absolutely delighted to win the award. I am so humbled to have such amazing industry recognition - And forever grateful that my incredible journey started at PG Live” The Art File’s sales and marketing manager James Mace told PG: “When we met Sara at PG Live, we were instantly taken in by the vibrancy of the colourways she used as well as her beautiful illustrations. We have been absolutely thrilled at the success of the Sara Miller London greeting card collection which is still one of our bestselling collections to date - and we also now do social stationery and Christmas card boxes with her. We absolutely love working with Sara and her team and have very much enjoyed seeing her brand grow.” Licensed ranges from Sara Miller London from Heathcote & Ivory, Portico Designs, Elite, and Ashley Wilde Group featured among the finalists in The B&LLAs, with the winners announced to 400 retailers, licensees and brand owners at the brand licensing community’s annual get-together recently at the Hilton Park Lane Hotel in London, hosted by comedian Ed Gamble. Above: A delighted Sara Miller (centre) with B&LLAs host Ed Gamble and Livy Coare, licensing and marketing manager of category sponsor H&A. Below: Colourful Sara Miller London cards from The Art File.

Moonpig turns pink into green When Moonpig turned green to celebrate the recent Earth Day, the online greetings and gift online giant shared its commitment to achieve net zero emissions for Moonpig Group’s whole operation by 2030. The company already uses 100% sustainably-sourced and recyclable paper in cards, envelopes and packaging in the UK, with 98% globally. Left: A Moonpig visual for its Net-zero carbon emissions goal.



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NEWS Sending kindness by post


WHS back in the black UK card market cited as “stable and substantial” WHSmith is back in the black and significantly stronger following the pandemic, with the group’s enhanced business opportunities including anticipated growth at online personalised greeting card arm The retail group’s interim results, announcement covered the six months to 28 February 2022, and showed profit before tax and underlying items hit £14million, rebounding from a £19m loss a year ago. The 230-year-old retailer’s travel arm has bounced back to a total £10m profit in the period. Sales more than doubled to £338m after it was hit hard by the pandemic due to lockdowns and the work from home culture when it fell into a £28m loss in 2021. It now plans to ramp up its travel stores with 125 new stores in the pipeline, including in North America and 31 in Spain. And, while sales in its High Street locations have remained flat, trading profit in the division rose 8.3% to £26m, with group chief executive Carl Cowling commenting: “Our High Street business delivered a resilient and profitable performance in the period, despite the challenges facing the UK High Street.” Regarding, Carl added: “During the period, our online business continued to perform well against a strong pandemic-related performance in the prior year. “ In its announcement, WHS recognised that the UK greeting card market is “substantial and estimated at £1.6billion” and underlined that it is a “stable” market with British adults sending on average 20 cards per person each year. It forecasts the current estimated online penetration of around 15% to grow to circa 20% of the card market by 2024 through online growth of single card sales over the next three years. While the pandemic accelerated the growth of online shopping, WHS said it is apparent this is still an underpenetrated

Below: is expected to grow significantly. Below middle: WHS’ ceo Carl Cowling.

market with plenty of opportunity to develop this business further and sees significant growth opportunities with The company has developed its app to improve customer conversion by extending the fulfilment centre, and also launched a next-day delivery service, which operates seven days a week. Following a very strong prior year and a period of exceptional growth, delivered, as expected, total revenue of £21m (2021: £29m) and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of £4m (2021: £9m), and WHS expects the current year will see lower sales and Headline EBITDA as a result of annualising lockdowns last year and ongoing investment in the business. However, the statement added: “We remain confident of the substantial opportunities to grow the platform further and significantly grow revenue and profits over the medium-term”. CEO Carl said: “The group has delivered a good performance with a strong rebound in profitability. We have seen a recovery across all our travel markets despite the impact of the Omicron variant in Q2, and we are in a strong position to capture growth as the recovery continues.”

Ohh Deer, Paperchase and Moonpig were among those in the greeting card community who stepped up during the recent Mental Health Awareness Week (run by national charity Mind) to spread the love. With loneliness as the theme for the 2022 week, Paperchase championed a Send Kindness By Post initiative, encouraging customers to get involved and send words of encouragement and positivity to those who may need it. All profits from the retailer’s Fold & Sends range for the Week went directly to the Mental Health Collective to support its Kindness-By-Post letter exchange. Moonpig ran a Meet The Artist online piece showcasing Emily Coxhead, who designs colourful, quirky greeting cards - including those licensed by Pigment in the general trade - and

products based on The Happy News newspaper and platform she founded, to spread nuggets of positivity around the world. And publisher Ohh Deer featured new designs by its artist Steffi Lynn in its online activity, whose work is filled with quirkiness, colour, and character, and sends positive reminders to people who need them. The company included a free card in every order on its website during the Week to encourage people to reach out to a friend or family member, saying: “We hope this will make your recipient feel a little less lonely.” Top: Paperchase supported Mental Health Awareness Week. Above: Emily Coxhead radiates positivity with Moonpig. Right: Ohh Deer reached out with artist Steffi Lynn.

Cardgains’ Ultimate Ullswater event Third time lucky for the Cardgains Charity Challenge as the greeting card and gifts buying group has announced that the annual event is now in the diary for 30 June 2022, after being cancelled twice due to Covid. The Ultimate Ullswater event sees almost 40 members of the greeting card community already signed up to put their best foot forward on a 22-mile walking route around the gorgeous lake in Cumbria, and they’re hoping to raise £22,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society. The Ullswater Way takes in the whole of the lake nestled on the eastern fringes of the Lake District National Park. Having had to cancel both the 2020 and 2021 events due to the pandemic, Cardgains’ marketing director Penny Shaw explained: “There are nearly 40 hardy souls taking part, some joining us for the first time, and we’ve set a huge target of £22,000 to raise for the charity walkers will be on the lookout for sponsors, so be ready for a call from them!



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Loxleys eco step up

Below: Loxleys is helping to rewild with Trees for Life. Middle: From foil waste to SRF.

Trees planted, pallets recycled, foil waste turned into fuel Specialist greeting card printer Loxleys continues to hit the mark on the eco front, including three recent projects covering tree-planting, pallet recycling, and saving waste foil from landfill. Every year the Sheffield-based printer works with a charitable cause and for 2022 it has partnered with the Trees For Life donation scheme to help in its mission to rewild half a million acres of the Scottish Highlands over the next 30 years. Restoring the natural habitat across a network of landholdings spanning from Loch Ness to Glens Cannich, Affric, Moriston and Shiel, will help to boost habitat connectivity, encourage species diversity and help tackle climate breakdown, with just one tree having the ability to remove one tonne of CO2 from the air over its lifetime. Loxleys’ marketing manager Alice Buck said: “Sustainability and the future of our environment is something that is pivotal to Loxleys. By donating to this scheme, we have been able to help reduce emissions through working together to acknowledge and make a difference in tackling our climate crisis. The planting of these trees also helps to create new habitats for wildlife that is critical to our eco-system.” Continuing its ‘reuse where possible’ mantra, Loxleys is now working with recycling and resource recovery provider Enva to repurpose waste wooden pallets into biomass fuel, panel boards, and wood fibre-based pet bedding for animals, including horses, cattle, and chickens.

Gary McCrorie, Loxleys’ factory manager, explained: “Waste wooden pallets had been a concern in the factory for a long time, we knew there had to be a way to create a secondary use for this resource before reaching its end-of-life cycle. Over a year this scheme will help us feed an estimated 28 tonnes of otherwise wasted wood back into the recycling loop.” Confronting what to do with the foil waste from decorative greeting cards as part of its zero-waste-to-landfill scheme Loxleys has teamed up with the British Printing Industries Federation and Prism Environmental to become a ZeroFoil-2-Landfill partner and repurpose around 52 tonnes of foil waste each year, with over 125 tonnes diverted from landfill so far. Utilised as a direct substitute for coal, the foil waste collected from Loxleys’ site is processed into an alternative fuel known as SRF (solid recovered fuel) and supplied to cement kilns all over the UK. Any ash created during the incineration process is then repurposed again in the clinker of cement, ensuring zero foil matter ends up in landfill. Loxleys’ managing director Tony Lorriman said: “Considering our impact on the environment is at the forefront of every next step we take as a business, fuelling other areas of the UK’s energy infrastructure feeds into our aim of creating a circular recycling loop for all elements of our production processes.”

McColl’s rescued after administration by Morrisons All McColl’s 16,000 staff jobs and its 1,100+ stores nationwide, have been saved by a quick sale of the group’s business and assets to Morrisons - including preserving the pension schemes. Creditors however will be hit as the beleaguered convenience store chain went into administration before being acquired by Morrisons a few days later. Morrisons, which had an exposure of about £130million to McColl’s mostly in stock, won the battle against petrol station operator EG Group, which is owned by Asda co-owners the Issa brothers, to gain control of the convenience chain. Set up in Glasgow in 1901, McColl’s group has its head office in Brentwood and is now made up of McColl's Retail Group, Martin McColl Limited, Clark Retail Limited, Dillons Stores Limited, Smile Stores Limited, Charnwait Management Limited and Martin Retail Group, and its estate of managed stores and newsagents all sell a wide range of greeting cards among other foodstuffs and essential items.

On appointment, the joint administrators completed the sale to Alliance Property Holdings Limited, part of the Morrisons Group, the group’s largest supplier, with which it has a partnership for a Morrisons Daily store rollout planned to hit 450 conversions in total, with 270 already in operation. David Potts, Morrisons chief executive, said: “Although we are disappointed that the business was put into administration, we believe this is a good outcome for McColl’s and all its stakeholders. This transaction offers stability and continuity for the McColl’s business and, in particular, a better outcome for its colleagues and pensioners.” Above: McColl’s is now part of Morrisons group.

MP visit tops Best Wishes’ trophy Winning is always wonderful - and an added special trip to Westminster was the icing on the cake for Best Wishes’ owners Russell and Yvonne Payne. Having seen off the likes of John Lewis to pick up the Southern Daily Echo Retailer Of The Year trophy for their independent greeting card and gift store in Bishop’s Waltham, the couple are just back from a very special behind-the-scenes visit to the Houses Of Parliament to celebrate their achievement. Local MP Flick Drummond extended the invitation after Best Wishes was announced as winner at the end of 2021, but the visit was delayed until recently due to Covid restrictions. “It was a day we won’t forget!” Russell told PG. “We met Flick in The Great Hall and then spent over two hours with her on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Houses Of Parliament, including coffee on the MPs’ terrace Left: Behind the scenes - Best Wishes owners Russell and Yvonne at overlooking the Thames.” Westminster with MP Flick Drummond.



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Notes & Queries Celebrates ‘40th’ US distributor get together to thank UK publishers Many UK publishers have Alan Harnik to thank for their success across the pond, for the Notes & Queries founder has ensured over 200 different card companies are seen by the American buying public. And, while it might be a couple of years late due to the pandemic interruption, Alan and daughter Vanessa, N&Q’s vice-president of sales and marketing, are planning a lovely 40th birthday bash during PG Live at Fredericks, a revered restaurant close to the BDC to say thanks to existing and former publishing partners, followed by an autumn party at the company’s new Baltimore base. As Vanessa said: “There are plenty of moments when we’re working with our publishers and I say ‘hot damn! These cards are just out of this world!’ Over my personal 25 years of working at N&Q, there is lots to celebrate!” For Alan, he was attracted to the UK as a distributor because it was at the forefront of great design with companies like Roger la Borde, Two Bad Mice, Lip International, and Birch & Birch just starting out with bold new product. He added: “The US has caught up and, especially in the last 10 years, has recreated the small boutique letterpress niche, both in the US and abroad Liberty's card department is now filled with US companies. And technology has also changed with digital printing allowing more publishers into the marketplace because of lower entry costs. What I don’t think has changed has been the creativity of UK publishers.” When asked for the highlights of the last four decades and a bit, he says

“Finding treasures in the marketplace has been great - we’ve found the best of the best. Sometimes we have found companies when they first started out, sometimes later in their development but all have brought something special to our US retailers.” Having celebrated his own 75th birthday last year Alan’s hope is to be able to step back from N&Q’s day-to-day operations and pass the reins onto Vanessa. “We have been in this transition for the past two years and hope to have it fully completed in 2023. While I’d still like to be involved in choosing product and doing trade shows, both in the UK and in the US, I’d like to spend more time thinking about what the marketplace wants and needs over the next 10 years and finding it.” Vanessa absolutely loves showing everyone what N&Q does for a living at trade shows across the world, and highlights PG Live as a great place for spotting potential. As she sums up: “There are worse things to sell! We sell beautiful things that make people feel good for generally less than a cup of coffee, how lucky are we?!” (See pages 67-73.) Top: N&Q’s Alan and Vanessa celebrate 40 years. Above: Alan Harnik (right) in May 1982 at his pushcart.

Tache celebrates a Louie triumph Poole-based Tache Crafts beat off hundreds of entries from US companies of all sizes to lift the Best Blank Card ($5 & below) title in The Louies, the US equivalent of The Henries awards that is run by the American Greeting Card Association. And the company’s coowners Frank Nicholls and Pennie Bryant were there at the ceremony in San Francisco to accept the trophy. “Holy Moly! We can’t believe it!” Frank and Pennie exclaimed from California when the foxy design in its Wild Moon collection clinched the win. “We met some fabulously talented individuals and feel so lucky to have raised a glass with you all in San Francisco,” they posted on social media. The Louies winners were announced at an event held, at Gallery 308 in San Francisco as the opener to the US GCA’s two-day *Noted: Greeting Card Expo. Of the 51 categories, UK publishers Rosie Made A Thing, distributed by Calypso Cards; Paper D’Art distributed by Notes & Queries; The Art File distributed by Notes & Queries; and Santoro were also finalists, with Tache the only winners this year, having been a Celebrating Diversity & Inclusion finalist too. However, IG Design Group’s Niquea.D picked up four awards, as did Up With Paper/UWP Luxe who are distributed in the UK by Noel Tatt, while five trophies went to Hallmark, and three to UK Greetings’ parent company American Greetings. Select Louies, finalist cards are on sale this summer at Waterstones’ owners Barnes & Noble stores around the US, and people can also vote for their favourite cards as part of the Louies Consumer Choice Awards. Top left: Fabulous fox - Tache’s winning card. Above: Putting on the style - Tache’s owners Frank and Pennie in California.

Bira urges for business rates reduction In figures released recently by the ONS, rates have risen to 9%, the highest in 40 years, as energy bills, fuel and food prices continue to drive up the cost of living. The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is therefore calling for a reduction in business rates to support those struggling to deal with the extra costs. “Inflation at this level is a new challenge for many independent retailers,” states Bira’s ceo Andrew Goodacre (left). “While there is an understandable focus on the cost of living, we would urge the government not to forget about targeted support for businesses also struggling to deal with the extra costs due to inflationary pressures. “Retailers are doing all they can to reduce the impact on prices for shoppers which means reduced profit margins for everyone. We would like to see this year’s 100% increase in business rates reversed and some way of helping businesses manage the rising costs of energy,” he said.



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Kicks Being 14 is a difficult age. You are still not technically an adult, yet you are still able to be left alone and trusted. You will be blossoming and developing your own unique identity, gaining independence, and likely exploring (or thinking about) romantic relationships. Unbelievably PG Live celebrates its 14th birthday this year meaning it is embracing all the joys of puberty!

I think I can remember being 14 years old, making the most of the opportunities those youthful years allowed! And I have no doubt that PG Live will be flexing its agile muscles in a similar vein next month. PG Live’s proud parents, the owners of this very mag, are forever steadfast about the show highlighting new product, supporting newbies and of course progressing our already vibrant industry. I am gutted that I will be missing the show, only the second time since its inception and in both instances I have had an excellent excuse - while the first time was due to the ash cloud from Iceland, this year is for an altogether happier reason, it coincides with the arrival of my first born. So why is PG Live not just another trade show? Why is it that it is important to retailer, publisher, agent and overseas distributor alike? Quite simply when it was established all those years ago the focus was to create a show that brought the whole of our industry together under one roof where product, good practice and the passion many of us have for these special bits of paper could shine. Now you may of course call me biased, but I really think PG Live has achieved this and more. Many felt that last year’s July show would be the most important as it was the first time it had been held in two years due to the lockdowns and Covid, but for me this year’s is equally as important especially as, with travel restrictions having eased it 20


will see the overseas visitors returning to add that extra global glow. We all need a good distraction, especially if it will help our businesses and our psyche. What do I mean by that? Well quite owning/running your own business, whether retailer or small publisher has never been more challenging. Costs for us all are spiralling like noone could have foreseen and this will literally pressurise every company large and small. Paper costs have rocketed, print costs have

soared and what profit we are all being left with is shrinking. We seem to be heading towards a recession and we need to prepare ourselves for this. So, the first thing not to do is panic and have a knee jerk reaction. We really do need to try and keep calm and get out there to see and talk to people and a trade event, like PG Live is the perfect place for that to happen.

Above left: A great compilation album including the title track by the Undertones as well as other indie bands. Above: Don’t curl up in a ball like a hedgehog, prickly challenges need to be faced. Below: David Robertson at PG Live 2021 with Lorraine Bradley of Rush Design.

The biggest challenges I hear daily in all bricks and mortar businesses are footfall and staff. In recently released figures footfall in Scotland showed a 6.3% improvement in April over March in 2022 yet footfall was still down 14.8% on 2019 levels. Shopping centre footfall was even more worrying with 20% decrease in April figures but importantly it was slightly better than the 32% decrease in March. “April saw a more promising set of figures for visits to stores in Scotland” proclaimed the SRC (Scottish Retail Consortium) director. I’ll take that. He also indicated that retail sales, shop vacancy rates and footfall all pointed in a more favourable direction but admitted that these were all things that would need to sustain as the strong economic headwinds would affect both consumer and business optimism. Basically, it is slightly better, but of course we don’t really know what is going to happen in the future.

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So, what do we do? Curl up into a ball a bit like the hedgehog and try to protect ourselves and our incomes? We could cut out costs so a visit to PG Live could be under question. We could take the view that the cost of travelling to London with an overnight stay is not worth it and we can get all that ‘stuff’ from our agent or by staying at home. But that would be missing the point. By being at the show you get to see the product in the flesh. You get to interact with the people who in many cases designed it and cherish it and then you get to feel more invested in the product you are selling. And that passion will then also be passed on to your staff and customers. It is really satisfying to have that card that someone is looking for and them to be pleased that you were able to get them the exact thing they wanted either visually or in words. I recently came across some articles from Sensormatic, a company that specialises in using data to inform best practice. Andy Sumpter, one of its retail consultants commented about the SRC data, saying that “as shoppers feel the pinch of the rising cost of living their disposable

acquired by Morrisons sparking a fresh flurry of ‘death of the High Street’ comments. What hit home for me was a lady interviewed on Channel 4 who said: “I never really go in there [McColl’s] or support it but it has always been there and I like to see it on the high street.” The public want us retailers to be here, but don’t always show it by putting their money where their mouth is. For me there is a hardcore of course who always have and always will, but other people need to wake up and use what they have on their doorsteps or it may be lost. So, from a PG Live perspective, it is on your ‘doorstep’ so I urge you to support it. Go along and even if your spend is small look at the product. See where the direction

Above: David urges all retailers to visit PG Live this June. Right: David is looking forward to boosting his own family’s footfall with the imminent arrival of his first child.

incomes, conversions and basket size risk being reduced”. With this the case we need to think about our own product selection and their value for money. We also need to consider adapting our selection to give our customers a choice at the price point they expect. And this is another reason why going to PG Live is essential. We need to work even harder for our share of our customers’ spend and to cultivate loyalty. Now small indie retail is all about that, but loyalty is a funny thing. The 102 year old Scottish born retailer RS McColl fell into administration last month before being

People matters The rule book about the shops being busy on a Friday/Saturday seems to have been thrown out as now it seems any day of the week could be the best trading day as it all depends on who crosses the door, the interaction with the staff member and then what money are spent. With all the changes, the desire we all have to get our opening hours back to the normal working day is proving harder to achieve which of course creates an issue on staffing. Being in retail these last few years has been difficult for shop staff who have had to deal with stressed customers, extra cleaning requirements and constantly changing routines. The accepted way most retail businesses look at staffing is working on sales per hour (SPH) ie the greater the sales the greater the number of staff required. The arguments against the old model are that it saves on cost to the detriment of profitability; customers and their needs are not in the equation at all; SPH is often inaccurate as it doesn’t reflect the traffic in stores or the conversion rate of people to actual sales, plus SPH leads directly to staff reconsidering their positions. Some 48% of retail workers have considered resigning in the last 12 months, citing constant uncertainty and change as the

of travel is and learn from the many experienced card people who are there in every aisle. Enjoy boosting the footfall at PG Live on June 7-8. Meanwhile, I will hopefully be welcoming a new born, and a card buyer and sender of the future, if I have my way! To contact David email:

reasons why. When taken altogether this becomes a retail death spiral of poor customer experience, poor store performance and poor employee retention. Now this all makes sense but in the real retail world keeping things tight is essential. It is also clear that many small retailers view their staff as an extended family and that’s what makes many decisions hard. We noticed that our busiest time in our Elgin store was ‘lunch hour’ so we encouraged our staff to have an early or late lunch to ensure we have the maximum of three members of staff on for the two crucial trading hours. It can be as simple as that and when discussed it openly with staff it makes total sense to them too. We also feel that reducing any store to being manned by a single member of staff makes it difficult for that individual who’s working, so where possible we avoid that. While trying to run everything with a ‘skeleton crew’ approach may work to cut a core cost it will result in the customer not receiving the experience you many want them to have nor the sales you envisaged either. Footfall is something we can’t control but making sure that every person who does come in spends and enjoys the experience, is. Above: What is the new normal in bricks and mortar? Who knows!



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A Renaissance

Era? Is our passion for online buying diminishing and does that mean an opportunity for a renaissance for bricks and mortar? Quite rightly, noted Cardsharp, the media has been full of the cost-ofliving crisis and the rampant inflation threatening us. We, in the greeting card industry, saw this coming over a year ago, when extortionate increases in container costs, paper price and Chinese factory prices, were already having a huge impact on the cost of producing the product that rocks our sector. But could some good come out of all of this? Cardsharp will not dwell on the cost-ofliving crisis in too much detail as the main points are covered by comments in this month’s Viewpoints section, but the cost rises are obviously a major concern for publishers, retailers (whether clicks or bricks) and indeed the UK consumer. But Cardsharp just wanted to highlight what he feels might be a trend developing



underneath all the apocalyptic headlines. Whisper it very quietly, but is footfall to bricks and mortar making a comeback at the expense of online platforms? Two years ago, when Covid and lockdowns hit, we all still wanted to eat, buy clothes, gadgets and greeting cards. And initially our main option was online. The specialist shops stayed closed longer than we ever imagined and the real fear of catching Covid depressed footfall, even in shops that were allowed to stay open. This was obviously gold dust to ecommerce businesses. The gulf between online and a struggling high street had never been greater as online sales boomed. In the fashion world, the once seemingly invincible Topshop went bust. Department store chain Debenhams, the cornerstone of so many town centres, also hit the wall. In our own industry, the wellregarded and well-run, Cards Galore group Top: Renaissance painter Michelangelo recognised the importance of the physical over the virtual! Above right: The greeting card industry benefits from healthier high streets. Below: What percentage can bricks win back over clicks?

of stores, was forced into administration by the almost complete lack of commuters and workers in London, while Paperchase went into administration again, only to rise Phoenix-like out the ashes with plenty of stock in store, that had never been fully paid for. Even our biggest high street specialist greeting card chain, Card Factory, saw its share price plummet and had to renegotiate its funding requirements.

Meanwhile, Moonpig and the other main online card operators boomed. Moonpig’s sales alone went from £173 million pre-Covid to £368 million during the pandemic and underwent a public flotation where its share price rose to 340 pence a share at one point. This was while Card Factory’s share price was hovering around the 30p mark. Yet Card Factory had a long history of making significant profits, far higher than Moonpig. One can’t help feeling that Moonpig’s ridiculously high valuation was based, in Cardsharp’s view, on the fact that it was valued by the City as a tech company and not a greeting card retailer. Cardsharp believes that although Covid is still with us, the crisis period has only been over for around four months now. On

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the Underground on a sunny day recently, Cardsharp noticed how very few masks are now being worn. Things are returning to normal, and not even a so-called ‘New Normal’ but one broadly similar to the old. Whisper it very quietly, but shoppers do seem to be returning to stores, not in droves but incrementally, and the online retailers who budgeted for continued growth are finding things far from plain sailing. So, have we fallen out of love with online shopping? Have many of us decided that there is more to life than endlessly scrolling through websites? Two of the big pandemic fashion winners, ASOS and Boohoo have seen their share price drop by 75% recently amid profit warnings. Amazon remarkably reported its first quarterly loss since 2015

and its slowest retail sales growth in two decades. Moonpig’s own (and in Cardsharp’s view rather optimistic) forecast is for its sales this year to be £100 million less than the pandemic year. The assumption that online sales would just keep rising and rising across the board are having to be revised. Even in the grocery sector, supermarkets are reporting something of a return to the weekly physical trolley shop. Before the pandemic, the online food grocery market accounted for 7% and it doubled in size to a peak of 15.4 %, but recent industry figures suggest that the online sales chunk has now slipped back to 11% of the overall grocery market. On top of that, online retailers have come under increasing scrutiny about the rising costs (both financially and environmentally) of transport while the huge cost of handling returns is starting to become apparent. It would have been an outrageous thought a year or so ago, but some ecommerce players are close to collapse due to poor trading. And many of those

who have been reliant on the magic money tree of investors’ dosh, are now finding that tree bare. Also, ponders Cardsharp, are many of us becoming bored of unravelling the increasing complexity of many websites and fed up making our way through endless online reviews? It has all become a little exhausting. The return to normality has led people to get out and about; to focus more on leisure activities like shopping and eating out. Rising living costs have also made people a lot more conservative about how much they are buying online. And Cardsharp is sensing we will see a return to more city centre activity. Civil servants are being dragged back to their offices, albeit kicking and screaming. PM Boris Johnson has publicly stated that productivity suffers when working from home. London, Manchester and many other big cities are starting to buzz again As Cardsharp reflected, we humans are, in the main, social creatures. We want/ Top: Once a bastion of fast fashion with the youth, Top Shop’s demise shocked many. Above left: ASOS has downgraded its profits forecast. Above right: Retailers need more happy feet through their doors. Below: We are sociable beings which should bode well for retail.

need to get back to spending time together, whether that’s socialising or shopping. There are also a few elements running in bricks and mortar’s favour too. Although business rates are far too high, rents are supposedly coming down as landlords are taking a more realistic approach. And less competition on the high street means there is more to go around for those who are still left. So, on top of this overall prettier picture, there are positive signs for our greeting card industry. WHSmith, who admittedly largely avoided the horrors of lockdown, but did not benefit much because of it (due to its travel locations being something of a desert), has reported really healthy greeting card sales recently. And apocryphally suppliers to Clintons are reporting a good increase in greeting card sales there. The gallant Shahs, who have endured so much financial pain during the pandemic, are seemingly bouncing back with many Cards Galore sites reopening again in some London hubs. And Card Factory is also doing some sedate bouncing as befitting of a PLC. Recently its shares jumped 33% as it completed its refinancing and reduced its net debt as cash poured into the company.

CF’s CEO Darcy Willson-Rymer must feel confident as evidenced by him recently buying nearly 100,000 shares in the company! Cardsharp does not want to get too carried away. We all know about the nasty headwinds on the horizon. Inflation and the cost-of-living crisis will bring plenty of problems. And ecommerce will undoubtedly continue to be a force to be reckoned with across all sectors. But to Cardsharp’s mind, news of bricks and mortar’s fatal demise, and clicks’ inevitable victory is somewhat premature. Perhaps the UK consumer is starting to ‘play away’ a bit more from online and spreading their love a bit more equally. Cardsharp hopes so anyway. Here’s to more living and loving!


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A Cost Of Loving Crisis? Below: The cost-of-living v the importance of loving.

PG asks members of the greeting card community what extent they believe the cost-of-living crisis will impact on the sector? Will it be better placed than other product areas due to its relative low cost and personal, caring nature? What should the Government do to help? Plus, revelations into some personal ‘pick me ups’!

Miles Robinson co-owner of House of Cards, a group of seven card and gift shops in the Home Counties

Simon Elvin

“While I don’t believe our sector is immune, being that the cost of a greeting cards is just above a pint of milk/loaf of bread I do feel our industry will weather the current storm OK.” Consumer price sensitivity: “I think there may well be some of this, price points of gifts will be ever more important, but I don’t think we will see a massive move in the split.” Mitigating measures: “Certainly an awareness of energy consumption/reduction where possible and looking at the little things that added up cost wise can make a significant difference. We recently carried out a sustainability study throughout every branch and employee, the results have been quite eye-opening and I think will lead to some brilliant time/cost saving measures in due course.” Govt magic wand: “Permanently fix the Business Rates system!” Personal pick you up: “Well it would have to be chorizo, Pedro Ximenez and ?????” Above: Greeting cards are better and cheaper than sliced bread! Above left: Miles is partial to a drop of Pedro Ximenez. Left: House of Cards’ latest store in Woodley.

co-founder of Simon Elvin “The cost-of-living crisis is bound to have some effect on the greeting card industry, particularly because of the postage increase.” Consumer price sensitivity: “Hopefully the majority of people will still send a card, but they may well be more price conscious when buying one. The Covid lockdown and buying locally did help our wholesale distributors, particularly those with a strong online offering, and I believe this will continue as retailers become more aware of the range of product they can buy from leading wholesalers.” Mitigating measures: “As a business, we continue to look hard at our costs, but with everything going up and the need to pay our staff more to cope with inflation, we will inevitably have to increase our prices, even though we will swallow as much as possible of such prices increases.” Govt magic wand: “If the Government had a magic wand, they could close down Card Factory, ban SOR and give me a crystal ball that could look forward 12 months.” Personal pick you up: “When the going gets tough, it’s just a case of trying even harder and ignoring all the doom-mongers.” Above right: Simon Elvin believes that the crisis bodes well for the wholesale sector. Above: Simon is hoping for a crystal ball which would help him see what the next year has in store for us all.



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VIEWPOINTS Mark Callaby managing director of Ohh Deer “The greeting card industry constantly proves its resilience and I think that this crisis will be no different in the sense that people will continue to give cards - though maybe we'll see a few more homemade versions and that some lower budget cards will do well. From a publisher perspective, I think we're all starting to feel the pinch with prices going up and it's becoming increasingly more difficult for everyone just to absorb the costs, so unfortunately, I think prices will continue to rise slightly.” Consumer price sensitivity: “I think cards are still seen as a low-cost, but highly sentimental way of letting someone know you're thinking of them - so ultimately I think that the UK will continue to produce the best cards in the world and provide the end customer with plenty of choice for the right card.” Mitigating measures: “We've been tightening our belts over the last few months. I've let a few people go through our entire costs over the last year (this includes software, printers, cleaners etc) to see where we can spend a little less. We also made sure that we could help our team with their increased costs.” Govt magic wand: “It needs to be a big wand. What I find frustrating is how many companies are reporting record profits and they seem to be the areas that are really driving up the cost of living (utilities and couriers for example) - I'd like to see some regulations here. Our import and export costs have jumped up significantly and this was well before the fuel cost increases due to the war.” Personal pick you up: “I have a few, but I got really into cycling over lockdown and now that the weather has got better I've started going out again. The power of exercise with some tunes playing in my ears (with special cycling bone conduction headphones) really helps me clear my head and focus.”

Sara Burford co-owner of Cinnamon Aitch “Running a business is a constant stream of challenges, some more significant and longer lasting than others but there are always threats that need to be navigated or addressed. Resilience and adaptability are key. As a result of the cost-of-living crisis, people are already making changes to their shopping habits, cutting corners, tightening belts, shaving costs from their monthly outgoings and delaying those larger purchases until things feel more stable. This will impact the greeting card industry, but I think as long as there are a range of products to reflect the range of reduced disposable incomes then people will still want to send cards for birthdays, special occasions or just to connect.” Consumer price sensitivity: “The consumer may not spend as much as they did before on a card, or they may buy a card instead of a gift, but I think the past two years have highlighted the need and desire to connect more than ever, so this will not stop. At Cinnamon Aitch we have just extended two of our card ranges that retail at £2.25 with this in mind. Hopefully, in addition to the modest retail price, the designs will bring joy and positivity without

Above: Mark Callaby (right) and his partner, in life and business, Jamie Mitchell. Above right: Another of life’s frustrations…the joys of flat pack furniture erection on an Ohh Deer card.

Above: Cinnamon Aitch has extended two ranges (including this design) with an RRP of £2.25. Left: Sara Burford among trees, her personal pick-her-up.

Fiona Fabien co-owner of Papyrus, Glasgow “It would be very naive to think that the greeting card industry would be immune from the cost-of-living crisis. I think most of our customers will be keeping an eye on expenditure and have to think about essentials v luxury. There will always be a market for greeting cards as they are relatively inexpensive compared to a gift, and cost-effective way of marking a special occasion, and are engrained into our British psyche. Thankfully, the price increases so far have been relatively lower than on other consumer goods.” Mitigating measures: “All businesses will be facing the same pressures of rising fixed costs, from wages and utilities to services, so we will be in for a tough time. Having been through the last recession, we know that we will be keeping a very close eye on business costs and will ride the storm.” Government magic wand: “I think that our biggest worry will be a general decline in footfall in the high street as consumer confidence falls so I would like to see the Government introduce measures to ease the crisis for the people most affected. The last recession we saw a reduction in VAT, which would be helpful, however I think a targeted approach to help the families and people from lower incomes would be fairer.” Personal pick me ups: “When times are tough my pick me up is an evening spent with my good friends - this never fails to cheer me up, and problems never seem as bad when shared.” 26


Left: Fiona believes Papyrus can tap in to the enduring appeal of greeting cards, whatever the economic pressures. Above: Fiona in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle during a showroom experience arranged by agent Lucy Sharp.

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VIEWPOINTS focusing on material items that people may have to forego for the present period and beyond Retailers are a savvy, creative breed who respond to and reflect our times. There are already nods to more price sensitive products and discount schemes popping up on social media. As long as the design resonates with the consumer, makes that all important emotional connection and the price is right, then we can ride this current storm.” Mitigating measures: “The cost of production crisis, has seen increased costs in everything from board prices, running a studio and employment costs, delivery charges, on top of the aftershocks of Brexit, high street closures and a global pandemic still leaving financial scars. It has become more and more difficult to absorb the many increasing costs at a time when it has never felt more detrimental to increase them. Throughout the pandemic at Cinnamon Aitch, we streamlined and tightened Above: It’s a cheers from Cinnamon Aitch’s our running costs to a point where Sarah Fitzgerald. there is nowhere else to trim.” Government magic wand: “The Government should rethink business rates for independent retailers. This doesn’t even need a magic wand, just some longterm foresight and common sense.” Personal pick you up: “My personal pick me up is always a walk through the woods. Rain or shine, the trees have it every time for escapism, reflection and rejuvenation. Sarah [Fitzpatrick, coowner of CA] on the other hand finds more relaxation in a large glass of red!!”

Matt Genower managing director and co-owner of Five Dollar Shake “Everybody knows we’re all paying more for just about everything. In the same way eyebrows may be raised that a loaf of bread may cost over £2, the same will invariably occur when a greeting card is turned over. We think certain occasions/captions will be harder hit than others, but do I think consumers will make a beeline for a cheaper wedding, anniversary, baby, special birthday card? ~ absolutely not.” Consumer price sensitivity: “I know several of our customers have in recent years introduced a small offering of much cheaper cards and these I am quite sure will sell better than ever. However, most of our indie retailers have consumers looking for a specific style of card and I don’t think they will be swayed on price when finding that ‘right’ card.” Mitigating measures: “We have recently run a couple of initiatives that many of our retailers have tapped into. They will have certainly benefited financially from these. Anything we can do to help them get more feet through the door we will.” Government magic wand: “For retailers; I’d ask the government to stop dithering on a forthcoming review on how commercial rates are calculated. Do it now! For the rest of the country; recognise how is it possible that that the world’s fifth largest economy has in the 21st century, hundreds of thousands of people choosing between heating or food. Recognise it and solve it…now!” Personal pick me up: “To spoil our beloved dog Masha; bones, treats, a posh collar or two… she knows nothing of pandemics, conflict, cost of living crisis….oh to have her four-legged life!!” Above: One of Five Dollar Shake’s completely new Fête de L'amour wedding designs which we will be launched at PG Live in June. Right: Five Dollar’s Matt Genower with his four-legged friend, Masha.

Nicci Gower co-owner of Hammond Gower

Left: Nicci Gower. Below: Nicci harks back to the words from Leo DiCaprio in Don’t Look Up as inspiration.

“In previous recessions or difficult times there has always been a belief that cards have done well, but we have never been through a period like this in my lifetime, where everything as we know it is shifting and changing at such a fast pace. I try to keep away from the drama of it all and continue to put one foot in front of the other and know, absolutely know, that life takes care of us and does not work against us as much as we sometimes feel it does.” Consumer price sensitivity: “I think the retailer is very conscious of pricing and is nervous about going over a certain threshold so I think pricing is important to them.” Mitigating measures: “We have had huge increases of costs. Our board cost has gone up nearly 15% since last summer along with envelopes and all our various other components but we have made the decision to swallow the cost to help our customers out. They need all the help they can get following on from the last two years of Covid.” Government magic wand: “To help all our retailers out by drawing the consumers back out into the city and town centres and by making their life as easy as possible.” Personal pick me up: “When I am worrying or feeling sorry for myself, I remind myself of the brilliant words Leonardo DiCaprio so rightly said in the movie Don’t Look Up… ‘We didn’t realise we had it all’.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


brand new range of die-cut fold out children’s cards A

To take a peek come and see us at

PG Live on Stand 425 |

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Tel: 01638 569050 |


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VIEWPOINTS David Byk ceo of Swan Mill Group (including Ling Design, GBCC and Penny Kennedy) “I don’t think anyone can ignore what is going on in the wider world and not be concerned about it from a personal and business perspective, with costs going up so quickly and everything being so unpredictable. I do worry about whether people will continue to spend money on greeting cards but I also know that our successful retailers have evolved over time and have turned shopping into an experience. Visiting a card and gift shop which is well set out with lovely product or a garden centre which looks and smells great can be now a relatively cheap treat/escape and buying a card is a relatively low cost purchase. I think we have learnt through lockdown how important a card is and thankfully our numbers are testament to that.” Consumer price sensitivity: “It’s fascinating to watch and listen to customers as they look for the right greeting card. Price is certainly important but so is value and people take great care and consideration over their purchase. I think with the price of stamps so high now that people will spend a little more to make sure that the card is really right for that recipient.” Mitigating measures: “Of course, it isn’t about trying to mitigate against cost increases now, but we have always done it and continue to do so. We look at everything we do from a cost perspective, as well as from a productivity efficacy. I do think that there are a lot of hidden or incremental costs outside the direct cost of the card or the box it goes in, which can be reduced without affecting the card itself or the ultimate service to the customer. I think it’s really important that we all engage in those conversations about how to take some of those costs out as effective partnerships.” Government magic wand: “Sort Ukraine and follow my friends from Emotional Rescue’s advice on April’s PG front cover and ‘Puck Futin!’.” Personal pick me up: “I like to think that I would play golf, but then I remember I’m really rubbish and it takes ages for me to get round. Could the government’s magic wand sort that too?” Top: David Byk at last year’s PG Live. Above: A duo of designs from Ling’s latest O&R release.

Pete Rawlingson co-owner of Out of the Blue Studios/Into the Green Publishing “I believe greeting cards are much better placed than other product categories in this costof-living crisis, with emotion at their heart and at a low unit cost.” Consumer price sensitivity: “There will certainly be some increased price sensitivity which bodes well for the wholesale sector of which Out of the Blue Studios is a part, but also consumers will be placing greater emphasis on things that matter, such as sustainability, which is at the heart of our Into the Green mission.” Mitigating measures: “We are constantly looking at keeping our costs to a minimum, to mitigate the overall price of our products. From sourcing, transport, warehousing and continually looking at better ways of working to find improved efficiencies.” Government magic wand: “Free parking on all high streets to ‘bring the life’ back to retailers along with addressing directly the cost-of-living crisis on fuel bills.” Personal pick me up: “While I am happy with a nice bottle of red, Clive [Rubin, co-owner] likes a good holiday as he sees himself as the new Judith Chalmers!” Top: Peter Rawlingson (left) with his business partner Clive Rubin. Above: An Out of the Blue Studios’ design from the Country collection from its Studio in stock range.

Right: Seth Woodmansterne highlights that cards have always fared OK in tough times. Below left: Nadiya Hussein with the first clutch of cards published in collaboration with Woodmansterne.

Seth Woodmansterne managing director of Woodmansterne Publications “I take heart from the fact that greeting cards have always fared well in tough times, as people prioritise sending messages of love over spending money on gifts - yet again proved recently during Covid. However, the perfect storm of pandemic recovery, war and rapidly rising costs is very real, and almost without precedent. I fear it’s going to feel very challenging for us all.” Mitigating measures: “We must all do our bit to tighten our belts, and find ways to mitigate and adjust, whether at work or at home. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all! But no one can escape these rising costs entirely - they are rising too quickly (at a rate not seen since the 1950s I believe) and too widely (across energy, wages, transport and materials). To make, move, and sell anything requires these things. Just as we accept food costs rise and we adjust our decisions accordingly, so must other goods. Pretending otherwise doesn’t help anyone, or the planet.” Government magic wand: “The government has a large working majority in Parliament and many tools at its disposal - there’s an awful lot it could be doing to deliver change and support for people, if only they could find the will and focus! Doing ‘something’ would be novel and welcome.” Personal pick me up: “Having flowers at home - even a bunch of £1 daffodils can lift the spirits through the week!” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE




BE THE FIRST TO SEE THE NEW DESIGNS AT PG LIVE STAND 160 - AND RECEIVE A SPECIAL SHOW DISCOUNT | | 0117 909 8684 June PG ad a4_Stormy Knight.indd 1 064_PG_June 2022.indd 1

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The Retas Roll Call

The Retas 2022 Supercalifragilistic Finalists Against a backdrop of ongoing retailing challenges, the UK’s greeting card retailers have shown true grit, passion, nous, inventiveness, superb product selection and a customer service extraordinaire, meaning the finalists of The Retas 2022 awards deserve to feel rightfully proud. Here, we reveal the finalists of these dedicated greeting card retailer awards, with the winners announced at a wonderful afternoon event - with a Mary Poppins-esque theme - on Thursday 7 July in the Ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel, opposite Hyde Park in London. Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - London l The Card Collection - East Molesey l Diverse - Brixton l Earlybird - Stoke Newington l The Indigo Tree - Crystal Palace and Streatham l Medici Gallery - Kensington l With Best Wishes - Orpington

Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - Home Counties and South East l Best Wishes - Bishop’s Waltham l Dee’s Cards - Leighton Buzzard l Etcetera - Hitchin l Milarkey - Brighton l Panda Cards - St Albans l Red Card - Petworth

Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - East Anglia l The Card Centre - Felixstowe l Cards n Things - Hellesdon l Deck of Cards - Kings Lynn l The Eel Catcher’s Daughter - Ely l Sincerely Yours - Hornchurch and Shenfield l Taylor’s Cards - Debden

Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - South West l Cranbornes - Shaftesbury and Dorchester l Just Cards - Honiton l Kingfisher Cards - Sidmouth l Paper Gangsta - Bristol l Sky - Clifton l Southbourne Cards - Southbourne

Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - Wales and the Midlands l Austin & Co - Malvern l Bentleys and Maddison - Harborne, Solihull and Stourport

on Severn l Daisy Chain - Stratford upon Avon l Hugs and Kisses - Tettenhall l Mooch Gifts & Home - Bewdley and Stourport-on-Severn l Wishes & Kisses - Boldmere and Sutton Coldfield

Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - North and Northern Ireland l Bailey’s - Ainsdale, Crosby and Maghull l Cards & Gifts - Dronfield l Design @ Six - Wetherby l Oklahoma - Manchester l Reflections - Rugeley and Nantwich l Sweethearts - Hull

Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - Scotland l Bijou and JP Pozzi - Elgin and Buckie l The Gift Box - Peebles l Paper Tiger - two stores in Edinburgh l Pencil Me In - Elgin l Penny Black - two stores in Glasgow l Pippin - Edinburgh

Best Greeting Card Retailer Newcomer or New Branch l The Gift Box - Leeds l HBB Cards - Newport Pagnell l Magical Moments - Wombwell l Maybugs - Eastbourne and Hailsham l Party Box - Telford l Stationery House - Clevedon PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


6 ENCHANTING NEW DESIGNS FROM OUR POPULAR S O U L M AT E S C O L L E C T I O N. Be the first to see these new designs, along with many new releases on Stand 200 at PG LIVE

W W W.T H E A R T F I L E . C O M T H E A RT F I L E

T. 0115 850 7490

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F. 0115 941 3411


E . sales@theartf

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The Retas Roll Call

Best Independent Bookstore Retailer of Greeting Cards l Blandfords - Broadway, Hereford and Ledbury l Bookends - Christchurch l Edge of the World Bookshop - Penzance l Harbour Books - Kingsbridge l Regency Books - Surbiton l Sevenoaks Bookshop - Sevenoaks

Best Non-Specialist Independent Retailer of Greeting Cards - North l Cloud 9 - Edinburgh l In Heaven At Home - Market Harborough l No.14 - Ampthill l Stationery Supplies - Marple and Wilmslow l Utility - Liverpool and Manchester l Write Here - Shrewsbury

Best Non-Specialist Multiple Retailer of Greeting Cards l Lark London - 10 stores in London l Oliver Bonas - 75+ stores in the UK l The Range - 180+ stores in the UK l TKMaxx - 350+ stores in the UK l Waterstones - 280+ stores in the UK l WHSmith - 1,100+ stores in the UK

Best Non-Specialist Independent Retailer of Greeting Cards - South

Best Greeting Card Wholesaler

l Figgins - Frome l French Grey Interiors - five stores in the South West l Kondi Gifts - Bristol l The Lambing Shed - Knutsford l MiMi - Hartley Wintney l Mooch - four shops in Ealing and Fulham

l Archway Cards - Norwich l BGC Wholesale - nine branches l CAPS - Bury l Crosswear Trading - Enfield l Greetings House - Walsall l Jackson’s - Sheffield

Best Greeting Card Small Multiple (4+ stores)

Best Garden Centre Retailer of Greeting Cards Independent (1-4 centres)

l Between the Lines - 15 stores in the South l Henry & Co/Penmark - 15 stores in the Midlands l House of Cards - seven stores in the Home Counties l Postmark - six stores in South and West London l Temptation Gifts - six stores in the Home Counties l Zo & Co - four stores in Cheshire

l Burford Garden Company - Burford l Fron Goch - Caernarfon l Garsons - Esher and Titchfield l Highfield Garden World - Whitminster l Monkton Elm Garden Centre - Taunton l Yarnton Home & Garden - Yarnton

Best Department Store Retailer of Greeting Cards l Fortnum & Mason l Harveys of Halifax l Harrods l Hoopers l John Lewis & Partners l Morley Group

Best Supermarket Retailer of Greeting Cards l Asda l Booths l Morrisons l Sainsbury’s l Tesco l Waitrose & Partners

Best Garden Centre Retailer of Greeting Cards Multiple or group (5+ centres) l Blue Diamond Group - 37 centres in the UK l Dobbies - 70+ centres in the UK l Haskins - five centres in the South l Klondyke & Strikes - 22 centres in the UK l Longacres - five centres in the South l RHS Garden Centres - five centres

Best Greeting Card Retailer Initiative l Austin & Co, Malvern - for its Christmas Thinking of

You Campaign l Chirpy, Chapel Allerton - for its Card Bundle Programme l Earlybird, Stoke Newington - for its Small Acts of

Sustainability Campaign

Best Specialist Multiple Retailer of Greeting Cards (20+ branches) l Card Factory - 1,000+ stores in the UK l Cards Direct - 37 stores in the UK l Cards Galore - 50+ stores in the UK l Cardzone - 160+ stores in the UK l Clintons - 240+ stores in the UK l Paperchase - 130+ stores in the UK l Scribbler - 35 stores in the UK

l No. 14, Ampthill - for its Ukraine Fundraising campaign l Sainsbury’s - for its Design A Card for Black History

Month Competition l Stationery Supplies, Marple and Wilmslow - for its Giving

Back Charity Programme

Greeting Card Retailer of the Year All winners of the other categories are contenders for this award.




c h eck o u t o ur n ew r a n g e o f k i ds car d s

UN F T U C DIE S E G A L L FOR A | 0116 4062000 |

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PG Live 2022

It’s Show Time! STOP!

ime ime time PG Live t

Roll up, roll up…the greatest greeting card show is about begin! Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 June will see the global card community being together at PG Live 2022. Retailers large and small, almost 200 publishers of all genres, overseas distributors from all over the world, trade suppliers extraordinaire will be there. PG shares just some of the magic ingredients…

Going for promotion Above: Rosie Made a Thing will be one of the many exhibitors at the show.

The product and the people There will be thousands upon thousands of new designs and products being launched at the show, from leading brands right through to brand new start-ups. As the following Innovations pages testify (as well as the dedicated Christmas section on pages 61-65), all genres and design, will be covered, from humour to art, cute to handmade, 3D to diversity as well as a healthy smattering of complementary gifts. But what a great opportunity to meet the people behind the brands, hear their stories, exchange views and enjoy being part of it all! As award-winning retailer, Andrea Pinder, of Presentation Cards and Gifts in Barrowford summed up: “PG Live is the creme de la creme of all the shows, and the reason it’s so important is that it delivers the best calibre of publishers the industry has to offer, along with the introduction of new publishers. I can’t wait to place my orders!” Below: Not long now until the cutting of the ribbon to pronounce PG Live 2022 open for business!

There will be a whole load of extra incentives and quirky elements from exhibitors. From ‘show only’ offers to competitions and surprise happenings on stands, and all adding to the positive vibe. There will be lots of fun to be had on the Penguin Ink stand, as anyone placing an order at the show will be able to roll a mega dice to see what discount they get off their order. Abacus will be giving away a pair of Apple Airpods to anyone placing an order over £500 while a bottle of champagne will be given to retailers placing an order over £250 with Clare Maddicott. There will be a fair bit of anniversary celebration going on too at the show (see pages 67-73) from cake on Cath Tate’s stand to mark its 40th anniversary, to James Ellis planting four trees in the customer’s name in its Trees for Life grove for every order placed over £200. There will 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. And even Bluey and Bingo, from the hit kids’ TV series will be there as will a real live Tatty Teddy adding to the great photo ops! Above: Lizzie Parker of Penguin Ink practising some dice throwing! Left: Danilo has arranged for Bluey and Bingo to be there on the first day of the show.

Eat, drink and be merry 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 (sponsored by Ankorstore). There is also an opening night drinks party for all to christen the first day of bustling trade. Taking place straight after the show in the Gallery Hall, the corks will be popping from 6pm-7.45.

PG Live Show Essentials When: Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 June 2022 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 7 June 9.30am-4.30pm on the 8 June Registration: Via the show website ( or by calling +44 (0) 7734 111633 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


Ross King

ucing IntourrodBaby and

Christening refresh

In Store July. Featuring 16 NEW designs across our Me to You and Wishing Well brands It’s easy to order: Via your Business Development Representative, our Customer Services team on 01243 792600 or online at Cardgains Ad_May 2022.indd 03/05/2022 11:13 - 1 036_PG_June 2022.indd 1

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


@carteblanchegrp @carteblanchegrp

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A selection of products that will be on show at PG Live (June 7-8, London’s Business Design Centre).

Your Number’s Up Western Sketch has added 21 brand new additions to its Number collection, covering celebratory birthday milestones from 1-100. The new designs feature some of the publisher’s well-known animals from its Animal Party collection as well as some new one ones. Printed on 300g FSC-certified GF Smith board, the cards are A6 in size and are accompanied by a 100% recycled Kraft envelope. They are sold unwrapped with a card clasp. Western Sketch 07843609142 PG Live Stand 135

Well Spotted ArtPress will be showing a vibrant new range by Jenny Frean. The range is called Dots & Spots and as Jenny is a consummate textile artist, it is perhaps unsurprising that the designs are layered onto linen fabric and use her sublime signature colour palette. Each design incorporates a unique pattern construction and features paint and print marking to add the all-important dots and spots. All blank and 150mm square, they come with a recycled Kraft envelope. ArtPress Publishing 020 7231 2923 PG Live Stand 306

Lottie Simpson is introducing new designs across most of its ranges at PG Live, including into its When I Grow Up... children’s range. This now spans 34 cards featuring fun animal favourites including age designs covering years 1-10, aimed at boys, girls and gender neutral. All 150mm square, the cards come with a bright complimenting envelope and are hand-finished with sparkly crystals. They are available wrapped in biodegradable film, secured with a Lottie Simpson clasp or with the envelope simply nested in the card. Lottie Simpson 07464 163 528 PG Live Stand 524

All Of A Sizzle

A Scenic Route The new Scenes collection from Type And Story offers a renewed perspective of how we picture our home, celebrating the beauty found within the backdrop of the previously experienced mundane or the everyday. The designs also feature different religions. As founder Niccy Iseman said: “The interior landscape humbly reminds us of the joy gained from the everyday setting that offers us moments of calm and delight.” Type And Story 07738285884 PG Live Stand 704

Child’s Play

Lucy Driver Illustration has launched a new range featuring fun little Sausage dogs. Full of character, with the added super-cute factor, there are Silly Sausages designs for birthdays as well as occasions. The cards are printed on a lightly textured board, are blank inside and are supplied with a kraft envelope. Lucy Driver Illustration 07841698068 PG Live Stand 766

Call The Butler Combining its love of paper with exquisite textured foiling delivered with traditional etched die-making with foiled luxury envelopes, is Pigment’s premium Fox & Butler collection. Created in response to retailers’ requests for a higher price point line of sustainable UK-produced luxury cards, the Fox & Butler line continues to grow apace now with 38 designs spanning both open and relations/occasions. Sized 120x170mm and 150x150mm square, each card is sold unwrapped with a clasp. Pigment Productions 01423 520098 PG Live Stand 313 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 37

Gary Leadston

Introducing our NEW Gifting Ranges...




Capsule Collections


Meadows SUMMER



is a ne w



every day


. TO




Available to order now via your Business Development Representative, our Customer Service Team on 01243 792600 or online at

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


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@carteblanchegrp @carteblanchegrp




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A selection of products that will be on show at PG Live (June 7-8, London’s Business Design Centre).

Into Focus Carpe Lumen has added dozens of new photographic designs to its portfolio since PG Live 2021 incuding landscapes, seascapes, nature, cityscapes and amuse-yeux. There are also some topical royal accents on some cards including Trooping the Colour and the inspection of a ceremonial regiment in Windsor Castle. New London images include the Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial. Carpe Lumen 07305045593 PG Live Stand 116

Full Of Character

Day-glo Dazzle Wendy Jones-Blackett is launching two brand new ranges the show! Building on the success of its Rainbow Drops range by adding fluorescent inks to cold foiling is Acid Drops for some day-glo fun. Also new is Special Days a large card handmade occasions collection, that was inspired by Wendy’s love of paper as well as a papercutting workshop she attended. Wedding and baby designs will debut at the show featuring nature, meadows, trees and lovely silhouettes of newlyweds, all handfinished with a variety of sparkling gems. Wendy Jones-Blackett 0113 2888468 PG Live Stand 235

Joining the Danilo licensed character cavalcade are a host of new popular anime brands, including Naruto, Dragon Ball Super and My Hero Academia as well as virtual pop idol Hatsune Miku. Also on show will be designs including more interaction and fun, such as ‘moving’ Peppa Pig cards. Danilo 01992 702900 PG Live Stand 513

In The Pink Having The Edge New from Laura Sherratt Designs is Daisy Deliciousness. Comprising 42 designs, all have diecut scalloped edges, feature a ice cream sundae colour palette, with fun striped or checked backdrop and hand-finished with a daisy. The range spans occasions, female birthday and Spring 2023. Cards measure 15cm square and come complete with a bright envelope. Laura Sherratt Designs 01538 384566 PG Live Stand 173

Kim Garrity Design will be presenting Stickers, a vibrant new collection which is jam-packed with colour. The range features 12 hand drawn designs bursting with fun shapes and messages. The cards are 105mm square, are printed on FSC accredited paper and come with a recycled kraft envelope. Kim Garrity Design 07952901663 PG Live Stand 751

Pizza The Action There will be four major new ranges being launched by GBCC at PG Live from the pretty to the funny. Of the latter is a brand new observational humour range by talented UK artist Becky Barnicoat. Her hilarious relatable illustrations pick up on the joys of parenting, owning pets, mental health, general well-being and our current obsession with plants. GBCC 01892 838574 PG Live Stand 228


Gary Leadston

Introducing our

Love & NEW

Friendship Refresh 2022/23 In store July

NEW designs across our Me to You and Wishing Well brands. Pre-order now via your Business Development Representative, our Customer Service Team on 01243 792600 or online at

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@carteblanchegrp @carteblanchegrp

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A selection of products that will be on show at PG Live (June 7-8, London’s Business Design Centre).

Hot Stuff Hot Foils is a vibrant new collection from Cath Tate, which as the range name suggests is full of bold, colourful and fabulously foiled designs with a splash of feisty female attitude. Cath Tate Cards 0208 671 2166 PG Live Stand 307

Positive Vibes Dressed To Thrill As well as showcasing some of its latest card ranges, UKG will also be featuring lots of newness from its Collage gift dressings, all underpinned by major commitment to sustainability. Its Eco Collage range is 100% recyclable, offers the perfect giftwrapping solution not just because of its fun design but is ideal for the many who are looking for a more sustainable solution. UK Greetings 01924 465200 PG Live Stand 400

The Earlybird stand will be overflowing with newness, in Christmas and everyday. This includes a host of new designs joining its popular AMY range, based on the handmade, trendy illustrative style of artist Amy Hodkin combined with her positive slogans. These cards are printed on FSC board, carbon balanced printed and come cello free, or compostable with recycled kraft fleck envelopes. Earlybird Designs 01227 765372 PG Live Stand 162

Touchy Feely Mileto + Co has expanded its luxury greeting card collection by adding 26 new additions. All cards are gold foil imprinted in its London studio using a vintage hot foil press to create a fabulously tactile finish. The cards are printed onto thick 300gsm recyclable board and paired with high quality FSC Certified white envelopes. Available in recyclable sleeves or naked. This year the publisher is donating 10% of all greeting card profits to The Miscarriage Association. Mileto + Co 07545191767 PG Live Stand 719

Flowery Language Popsy & Plum’s Midnight Meadow collection consists of 10 designs which combine beautiful florals with contemporary words and sentiments. Printed on FSC-certified, deluxe, textured board, the cards are blank inside and are available either nested or with a recyclable card clasp. Popsy & Plum 07769 212269 PG Live Stand 445

Over The Rainbow As well as showcasing lots of lovely Christmas designs, Stop the Clock will also be launching an extension to its popular Rainbow range. The latter will now comprise 36 designs, all A6 in size, covering a variety of captions and occasions. All the designs have a shiny raised gold finish and come with a lilac or green envelope. Stop the Clock Design 01457 763335 PG Live Stand 221 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 41

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A selection of products that will be on show at PG Live (June 7-8, London’s Business Design Centre).

Natural Exuberance By Louise Mulgrew’s own admission, her brand new Animalia range features a “more maximalist style than is normal for me”. All 15 flora and fauna designs feature full colour backgrounds and intricate painted details, finished with subtle gold foiling to make them extra special. Louise Mulgrew Designs +44 7810 304 414 PG Live Stand 506

Blooming Lovely More Sparkles Building on the success of Louise Tiler Designs’ Tiny Sparkles (TS) range, the publisher expanded into a range of cards aimed specifically toward children, with a Kids Tiny Sparkles (KTS) collection. Still featuring Louise’s signature style of hand-painted illustrations this new collection features a selection of cute, detailed animals in a variety of settings with a selection of age-specific cards as well as some general birthdays designs. Also on show will be its popular Christmas Apricot (CAA) and Christmas Moonlit (CML) ranges. Louise Tiler Designs 01535 957878 PG Live Stand 133

Sarah Kelleher has added 26 new designs to her popular square Botanical Golds range. Not only will all the popular titles be available with luscious gold foil lettering but she’s also added blank cards with lovely sparky detail! As usual all cards are printed onto FSC card and come with a fully recycled recyclable brown envelope. Sarah Kelleher 07768123957 PG Live Stand 100

Just Paw-fect

Young At Heart

Paw Pal, a super-cute new animal range from Lucilla Lavender is launching at PG Live, with an unashamed focus on dogs and cats, that will chime with all pet owners. The bold, loose linework in the 11 designs gives the cards extra impact and a fun feel to the characters. The cards are 120mm x 180mm in size. Lucilla Lavender 0203 405 1410 PG Live Stand 305

Among several new launches, Ling Design will be introducing Ziggy Star, a new juvenile age range for both boys and girls named. The designs feature contemporary playful illustrations with a gold foil number against a painterly background. The bright upbeat colours reflect the celebration of our younger years. Ling Design 01892 838574 PG Live Stand 228

A Soap Opera There will be lots of good clean fun to be had on the Go La La stand – with a 10% off show offer on orders. Not only will there be some fresh, funny new designs joining its Gift of the Year award-winning soap range, but a trio of new card ranges Strudel, Peachy Keen, Jelly Bean will be making their debut, plus additions to its Dark Matters and Trollied Dollies collections. Go La La 01458 830913 PG Live Stand 529 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 43

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A selection of products that will be on show at PG Live (June 7-8, London’s Business Design Centre).

Birds of a Feather Joining Art Matters’ popular series Shoreline & River, comes another hand-printed study, Greatcrested Grebes, featuring the art of superbly talented artist and printmaker Lizzie Perkins. This new design is available as both 150mm blank cards and 125mm Christmas cards with greeting. Art Matters 01491 671758 PG Live Stand 119

Marking Moments

Out On The Tiles Inky Scripts is a brand new collection from Bexy Boo. These simple but stylish cards are just a little bit humorous and feature the signature Bexy Boo hand-finished element of a vintage wooden letter tile. There are 16 cards in this inaugural collection, each accompanied by a kraft ribbed envelope and can be either wrapped in a biodegradable cello or eco stickered. Bexy Boo 01565 830 546 PG Live Stand 119

Abacus Cards is all set to mark special birthdays with its stunning new Azalea milestone age designs. Formatted to oversized 5”x7” the designs combine gorgeous watercolour images of celebratory birthday cakes; the age is incorporated as a decorative foiled cake topper. The range covers milestone birthdays from 18 to 100, each finished with foil, embossing and hand-applied gems and are accompanied by lavish gold envelopes. Abacus Cards 01638 569050 PG Live Stand 300

Word Play

A Bloom Boom

There will be one stand that will be full of Citrus Bunn pun fun! Over 20 new designs are joining Citrus Bunn’s main range. As always, they are animal-themed, watercolour painted including lots of fab British wildlife including ruddy duck, hedgehogs and Aylesbury ducks, all accompanied by clever word play captions. Citrus Bunn 07746324124 PG Live Stand 106

All is blossoming at Cinnamon Aitch as its floral range Bloom welcomes 20 vibrant and pretty new card designs, featuring birthdays and blanks to compliment the current relations. The range has also been extended into little card packs, notebooks and more soaps and candles. And all can be prettily wrapped up in brand new gift wrap, also launching at the show. All made in the UK. Cinnamon Aitch 0121 773 6833 PG Live Stand 231

Tee-ing Off M!NT will be showcasing four new collections, which includes its Teecard range, where one size really does fit all. These Tee-cards feature funky die-cut designs that fold out to a Tshirt shape, but fold down into a regular envelope. This innovative and fun range has designs to suit everyone, covering birthday, blank and relations titles. M!NT Publishing 0116 2304197 PG Live Stand 217


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A selection of products that will be on show at PG Live (June 7-8, London’s Business Design Centre).

Natural Beauty Garlands is the latest collection from Gabrielle Izen Designs. Inspired by the natural world and the romance of an overgrown secret garden, Gabrielle produces all the artwork by hand, using traditional methods of illustration and modern calligraphy; old dip pens, Indian ink, watercolours, pencil and crayons. Gabrielle Izen Design 07967 178427 PG Live Stand 112

Golden Touch

Holiday Vibes Joining an array of greeting card launches on the Carte Blanche stand is Life’s a Beach, an uplifting capsule stationery collection. The range, which includes notebooks and a useful planner, features motivational quotes and cute depictions of Tatty Teddy snoozing at the beach in front of a soft blue and pink beach-scene background. Ideal pick-me-up gifts or a self-purchase treat. Carte Blanche Greetings 01243 792600 PG Live Stand 222

Inkpot is a brand new everyday range from Megan Claire that will be launching at PG Live. The collection includes designs covering occasions, relations and ages. Each card is 145mm square, is finished with embossed gold foil and comes with a beautiful bespoke envelope. Megan Claire 01536 560345 PG Live Stand 154

Flying High Paper Bird is launching a new range of postcard-sized cards entitled Bijou, which includes images by various artists (including Janine Burrow). The collection fills the gap between Paper Bird’s large square cards and its little notecards. The cards are printed on high quality board and ecoBand packed with a kraft envelope in keeping with the company’s environmental concerns. Paper Bird Publishing 020 8613 8085 PG Live Stand 164

English Antics Animo will be launching four brand new collections featuring its distinctive whimsical animal illustrations painted in watercolour by Swedish artist Anna Gisle. Among these is British Delights, an eight card collection inspired by British life with the animals exploring classic British sites and enjoying the drizzle! Animo +972507605099 www. PG Live Stand 530

Funny Business Having earned its spurs as an online retailer of funny cards for 10 years, The Comedy Card Company is making its show debut as a greeting card publisher. Combining “a warped sense of humour and some seriously dodgy drawing skills, we have had a lot of fun producing some of our own silly designs,” says company director Alan Auld. The Comedy Card Company 07885 027381 PG Live Stand 818


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A selection of products that will be on show at PG Live (June 7-8, London’s Business Design Centre).

Tasty Titters Bewilderbeest's new Wild Bites range features eight deliciously daft recipe themed ideas, such as Beef Wellington and Coronation Chicken. There's a dish to suit all tastes! The 5” x 7” cards are printed on a premium ivory textured board, are supplied nested or in cello with a recycled kraft envelope. Bewilderbeest 07742 895 283 PG Live stand number: 109

Chop Chop Building on the success of its card ranges, Dandelion Stationery is launching brand new mini chopping boards as well as new gift wrap, tea towel designs and 11 new vegan soap bars. It will also be showcasing a brand new range of 16 bone china mugs as a result of a licensing collaboration with McLaggan. Dandelion Stationery 01332 504940 PG Live Stand 517

Touches of Luxury Belly Button Designs’ Elle (pictured) range encapsulates luxury, with its intricate styling and delicate details of foiling and embossing. Also launching at the show will be Luxe, a new larger size everyday range of 56 designs, covering special birthdays and occasions. Luxe also features delicate gold foiling and embossing. Belly Button Designs 0161 902 0200 PG Live Stand

Spring Into Action Going Wild

As an extension of Laura Darrington’s popular range, the Halcyon Collection, the publisher is launching new Spring Seasons for 2023 and new everyday captioned cards at the show. The collection covers all key seasons and includes male relations and everyday designs in a 125x175mm size, all blank inside, featuring heavy embossing and coming with a coloured bespoke envelope. Laura Darrington 0116 2849660 PG Live Stand 417

Wonderfully Wild is a brand new range of beautifully illustrated animal cards from International Cards and Gifts. The range comprises 13 pencil drawn favourites, including wild deer, an owl, a hare, a horse, a field mouse, a butterfly, a sweet little lamb and a pollinating bee. These square, blank cards are presented on pastel block background colours and finished with matt gold foliage foil finish. International Cards and Gifts 01202 897494 PG Live Stand 303

Wedding Belles With weddings back in the diary, Rush Design is launching a brand-new Wedding & Anniversary collection. There are 16 wedding and 10 anniversary designs plus an open congratulations design, all finished with silver foiling and diamantes. Certain designs will also be available in a large size too. Rush Design 01788 521745 PG Live Stand 121


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A selection of products that will be on show at PG Live (June 7-8, London’s Business Design Centre).

Guilt-Free Glitter The idea of a world without sparkle is unthinkable to English Graphics, so the company only uses biodegradable eco-glitter made from plant cellulose and biotin cellophanes (also made from plant cellulose) in its ranges. Among the host of new designs is a vibrant butterfly, a cheeky Dachshund, a party cat and a Christmas moose (a percentage of profits from this design is donated to the Second Chance animal charity). English Graphics 01590 672778 PG Live Stand 535

Three Musketeers

Magical Menagerie Continuing its speciality in luxury design-led greeting cards and wrapping papers for children and the young at heart, among Kali Stileman Publishing’s latest ranges for little ones is a series of sweet animals and creatures in party hats, set against gorgeous muted colours. Kali Stileman Publishing 01305 848899 PG Live Stand 107

Ricicle Cards has a trio of new ranges launching at the show, including an everyday collection based on a collaboration with US artist Melissa Blair. This general birthday range features fun-loving and party-ready animals - from a friendly walrus to a charming bear whose only want in life is a birthday cupcake the same size as he is. All the cards are hot foiled for a special luxury finish. Ricicle Cards 07850757676 PG Live Stand 702

Space To Breathe The Future Is Orange Arnelle Woker’s A Pop of Orange range is aimed at all pet lovers, especially those who adore cats. There are 24 cards in the collection, each one is beautifully hand drawn in ink with a pop of orange that ties together with bright orange envelopes. Arnelle Woker PG Live Stand 101

NEBULA is not only Wendy Bell Designs’ newest launch, but it is its largest collection to date. Taking you to the stars and back, this glittery, delicate, beautiful range spans 18 greeting card designs (including occasions), 10 notebook designs (lined or blank), five gift wrap designs and six silk scarf designs, all made in the UK. The greeting cards measure 105mm x 150mm and come with a purple envelope Wendy Bell Designs 07803 609 902 PG Live Stand 176

The Grass Is Greener In addition to its ranges based on leading art and heritage licensed brands, Museums & Galleries will also be showing a collection of everyday cards (as part of its Illustrator series) as well as Christmas card designs featuring the one and only Percy the Park Keeper, based on the popular books by British author Nick Butterworth and the children’s TV series. Museums & Galleries 01373 461455 PG Live Stand 218 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 51


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PG showcases some exciting new products, some you will find at PG Live (June 7-8, London’s BDC) others you can source directly.

Added Punch Caroline Gardner will be out in force at PG Live with five new ranges. These include Flower Power, with a retro feel, and nod to 60s fashion prints of bold, chunky florals in contrasting colours. Also, bold with either monochrome or bright coloured typography is Yippee, finished with a splattering of confetti or colourful icons and teamed with gold foil detailing. Meanwhile, All Smiles are larger cards for those special occasions, with lovely gold foil accents. Caroline Gardner 020 8288 9696 PG Live 404

Nature Calls Paperwhale has added ten new designs to its bestselling Pocket Collection. The new designs celebrate new growth and an appreciation for nature, including a caterpillar with lettuces and radishes as well as a butterfly with vibrant flowers and thistles in beautiful pinks and purples. Also new are its tropically-themed typography cards which feature short and sweet greetings covering a range of occasions. Available in English and Welsh, they are printed on eco-friendly board with vegetable inks, available with eco-bands or wrapped in bio cello. Paperwhale Cards & Paper Goods 07960 812 279 Not exhibiting at PG Live

Floral Glory Inspired by her love of gardening, Bug Art director and designer Jane Crowther has been painting flowers this spring. There are 10 beautiful new watercolour images joining Bug Art’s existing Floral Collage range. Each card is embossed with delicate gold foiling and is individually wrapped in a biodegradable bag with a white textured envelope. The cards measure 167mm x 118mm and are blank inside for all occasions. Bug Art 0115 929 4776 Not exhibiting at PG Live

Walk On The Wild Side Jazzing It Up

Wild Ones is Clare Maddicott’s fabulous new children’s range. These brightly coloured birthday designs feature fun die-cut animal characters, teamed with tropical textural foliage and bold numbers. The designs span younger ages - 1 to 5 - plus a selection of general birthday designs for both boys and girls. The designs are presented in a stylish fold out format and are accompanied with brightly coloured envelopes. Clare Maddicott 01638 569050 PG Live Stand 300

Molly Mae has extended its And All That Jazz range to include niche birthday female relation titles, including special age birthdays for daughter, daughter in law, granddaughter, mum, niece, and lots more. And if you are looking for milestone anniversary cards for husband and wife, then Molly Mae has those too, starting from 1st wedding anniversary all the way through to a 70th. All 155mm square, the cards come with a quality pearlescent envelope. Molly Mae +(44)1455 557115 Not exhibiting at PG Live

Woof Woof Noticing a gap in its product portfolio for some humorous birthday cards aimed at children, Lucy Maggie Designs’ brand new collection of dog-themed age cards features a bright and vivid colour palette and bold illustration style to celebrate kids' birthdays. The collection, covering a design for ages of one to nine is aimed to suit all genders and personalities. The A6 cards are available cello-packed or plastic-free. Lucy Maggie Designs 07763239731 PG Live Stand 772 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 53

SR Half Page PG May 2022.pdf




18 New Signature young ages in code 45 coming soon! Eye-catching and punchy with all the glorious JJ colourful finishes. PG Live Stand 526

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Publisher Focus

Sustainable Greetings

‘Our world means the world to us’ is a bold statement that appears on one of a series of postcards, each one amplifying its strong sustainable mission, that UK Greetings has been including in its deliveries to the 15,000 retail rooftops it currently supplies with greeting cards. PG took a trip to the publisher’s Dewsbury HQ to discover how it has been putting these words into action.

UK Greetings takes its responsibility seriously, not just as a major employer (the largest in its hometown of Dewsbury with another 2,000+ employed in its sales and merchandising team alone), but as a leading publisher, its actions impact on the industry as a whole as well as ultimately the behaviour of the card buying public. And sustainability is very much front and centre of this. As ceo James Conn assured: “Every single decision we now make throughout the business is to make it as sustainable as possible, very much supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.” T h e c o m p a n y ’s w h o l e h e a r t e d commitment to sustainability comes from the top, but now percolates throughout the whole business, from the big things - like the reshoring of so much of its production to the UK, and its complete revamp of its model line with environmental considerations top of mind - to the little ones, like changing all lighting to LED and incorporating paper ribbon into the Collage gift bag range. It has been something of a step change, as it has necessitated a whole different way of thinking, which is no mean feat for a company the size of UKG. “We are a big ship, but we knew we wanted and needed to change course. We are not fully there yet, but we are definitely getting there,” Chris Shaw, UKG’s head of sustainability summed up, alluding to the

Above left: One of the postcards that UKG is sending out to customers. Left: UKG’s senior management team (right-left) James Conn, ceo; Ceri Stirland, customer and channel director and Darren Cave, commercial director. Below: Eco alternatives now feature in UKG’s collections while still being special.

massive strides that have been made by the company over the last few years. When president of the GCA five years ago, Ceri Stirland, UKG’s customer and channel director was a pioneer in the industry charge to urge the industry to go naked,

something UKG had been heavily involved in when Sainsbury’s made the move in that direction. The word ‘sustainability’ was not even in common parlance then, and any mention of ‘circularity’ would have bemused the vast majority. Back then, it did not fit well with UKG’s eco thrust that so much of its production had moved to outside the UK, especially as it is a massive £100+ million player involved in both branded and own brand supply, but the team knew it would not be an overnight switch over to bring production back to UK shores. “We started working on reshoring our production back in 2019. Currently 50% of all our cards are now made in the UK, by the end of the year that will be up to 55% and by




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Publisher Focus

the end of next year it will be 65%,” explained Ceri. As part of this, last month saw some state of the art new printing machinery being installed in its Dewsbury operation, joining the impressive roll wrap line, much to the delight of the UKG production team who are delighted to be back printing in-house. But a real taste of what is to come on the UKG front will be unveiled in its brand new model line which launches in July. A backbone of many of its 2,500 independent retailer customers, this huge range, which spans over 4,000 greeting cards have been completely revamped, with each and every design created through a sustainability lens. As Julian McGowan, UKG’s head of creative services explained, this was a massive undertaking. “We usually refresh around 30% of the designs, but we set ourselves the huge task of totally overhauling the collection with sustainability as a major focus but also on wellbeing and diversity fronts,” summed up Julian.

The days of the major greeting card publishers of the world just putting ink on paper have long gone. With so many issues, including sustainability, diversity and technological challenges, being simply a greeting card company is simply no longer enough. You need purpose and social responsibility, something that UK Greetings clearly recognises. Left: Frances Billington, UKG creative director in the Dewsbury studio. Below left: A new approach to packaging in a UKG Kindred children’s range.

This is being achieved in multifarious ways, from the substrates used to the greeting cards - ultimate presentation. As Frances Billington, UKG creative director elaborated: “We still wanted to make sure that our cards will be special to the sender and the recipient. Yes, the focus has been on ensuring almost all cards are 100% recyclable, but that cannot be at the expense of perceived value for money and ensuring the designs are deemed as special for sender and recipient.” This is achieved by some incredible paper engineering, special wooden keepsake elements and high quality finishes.

Insight back up UK Greetings does not just put its finger in the air to feel the breeze of the public’s tastes, it has, over the last 11 years, spent an inordinate about of time and effort in tapping into how the public is feeling about greeting cards and what considerations are playing a part. As Lois Holcroft, UKG’s director of product management and insight highlighted: “Sustainability is now a major consideration for consumers on all their purchasing, something that is especially strong among 16-24 year olds. The good news is that the vast majority of the population think that greeting cards are already recyclable, as they are, so any action we take on this front to improve things is all for the good.” Below: Some of the stats that help to inform the UKG insights team.

Trust and Tested Back in March, timed perfectly to coincide with the International Day Of Forests, UKG announced the renewal of its commitment to offset its entire annual paper consumption through the World Land Trust’s Carbon Balanced Paper Programme. As UKG’s head of sustainability Chris Shaw explained: “This partnership ensures that the carbon emissions used to produce the paper for every single one of our greeting cards is balanced through the protection of the world’s most biologically significant and threatened habitats acre by acre.” As one of the country’s leading publishers and manufacturers of greeting cards UKG has placed sustainability very high on the company’s agenda so each year offsets the emissions of over 16,500 tonnes of paper, ensuring the restoration of more than 1,000 acres equivalent to 650 football pitches - of threatened forest habitat in Vietnam, Mexico, Ecuador and Guatemala. Here Chris shares a trio of other areas in which UKG has made progress… Naked action: Through its ‘going naked’ campaign, UKG has removed over 250 tonnes of single use plastics, which has enabled the company to recycle any waste product by over 90%, which had previously gone for incineration. Paper and board: “We now apply a three-layer approach to the paper and board that we use for our greeting cards. The first, and foundation layer is ensuring that we source our paper and board from sustainable, well-managed forests. This is the minimum standard for all.” Sustainability brand guidelines: “Well over a year ago we stopped using plastic glitter on our new design releases. We continue to look for new exciting sustainable and ethical processes and finishes, but also push boundaries with our artisan techniques, such as beautiful foiling and embossing, while ensuring that we do not compromise the card’s recyclability or aesthetic integrity.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Roy of the Retailers

By Roy Beswick co-owner of The Card Collection, East Molesey

The Silver Lining As I write this, Jubilee is the word of the moment with the whole of the country looking forward to celebrating the amazing achievement of our Queen’s 70-year reign. It is also the word of the moment for us at The Card Collection as we enter our Silver Jubilee year of trading in our East Molesey store which is a cause for celebration as well as reflection. So, what has changed over the last 25 years, and what have we learned about this great industry that we are so lucky to have stumbled into all those years ago? Well one constant is the question that we are still being asked to this day: “What makes a good greeting card?”. We still give the same answer, from a retailer’s point of view, as we did in year one: “One that sells!” You learn quickly that you cannot just stock card ranges that you like although that is still a major factor in our card buying strategy. In actual fact if Julia [Roy’s wife and co-owner of the business] says she doesn’t like a range of cards then we go heavy on stock because invariably that range turns out to be the most popular in the shop! It still makes us both laugh that it still works even after all these years. But in all seriousness the ingenuity of the designs, the quality of board, the print finishes and embellishments etc. are all far superior today compared to when we started and so actually choosing which ranges to stock is far more difficult nowadays than it was when we first opened The Card Collection’s doors. While there are a few companies who continue to be the backbone of our stock control, such as GBCC, Wendy JonesBlackett, Woodmansterne, Five Dollar Shake and Emotional Rescue, the fun is discovering new companies and ranges to enhance our offering. A large help is the trust and understanding we have built up with the various reps and agents who have been regular Above: Roy and Julia Beswick, co-owners of The Card Collection with a new ‘employee’! Right: The Card Collection in East Molesey is this year celebrating its Silver Jubilee, having been trading since 1998.

visitors to our store over the years. They have come to understand how we work and what makes the shop special and so we always listen to their advice. They also all love the coffee we always have ready for them! Making the effort to visit trade shows, PG Live in particular, is also vital in keeping us up to date with current trends as well as to find new publishers that we would

probably not have discovered had we not gone to the show. The reaction of customers to new ranges is always exciting and the joy of ringing up the sale on the till of a card that you have only put out on the rack five minutes before is still as thrilling today as it was on day one in 1998. Some people never grow up…! We still cannot stop ourselves telling the customer what they have done and it makes them feel special that they are the first to purchase the “new cards”. It is very important to us that customers enjoy and get excited by the ranges of cards that we stock and most appreciate the effort we constantly put in to make our shop feel different. Over the years the shop has been brilliantly supported by the local community and we have played a part in lots of people’s lives by supplying cards and balloons for their milestone events, such as from their birth to their 18th and 21st birthdays, their engagement, wedding and births in their own family. Or their graduation and new job and eventually new home. In hindsight it would have been brilliant PR to have photographed the balloons on each occasion but 25 years ago who knew…? As far as we were concerned back then surviving the first year was a great achievement. Those of you who have been in this industry for a long while, might recall one of my highlight periods when I was writing my monthly ‘Roy of the Retailers’ articles for Progressive Greetings. Looking back, I felt so privileged to have been asked to do this but also very nervous because I had never done anything like that before. I must have done OK because people still ask me about it and most say they enjoyed reading them. Anyway, I am really pleased that I am being allowed to write this celebratory article and I now have much more experience and knowledge of this great industry to call upon and babble on about. I hope you all enjoy reading this and hope I do not have to wait for another Jubilee before I am allowed to write another one! PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Christmas Get into the festive feeling with this selection of Christmas loveliness that will be at PG Live (June 7-8, at London’s BDC).

Global Warming Christmas Moments is Jessica Hogarth’s new range of snow globe-shaped 125x125mm cards that feature a gold foil finish and colourful illustrations. There are 12 cards in the collection, covering relations as well as ‘from across the miles’ and ‘from our home to yours'. They come with a gold or red envelope and can be supplied cello wrapped or naked. Jessica Hogarth 07786906648 PG Live Stand 168

The Bells, The Bells Jingle Bells! Christmas has landed at Marina B as part of its 2022 collection. There designs offer something for everyone, from landmarks to cuteness, finished with the publisher’s signature rainbow foil, which adds that extra sparkle, all accompanied with a festive red envelope. Marina B 01858434462 PG Live Stand 179

Luna Loveliness Rosanna Rossi has released Winter Moon, a striking new Christmas collection. Evoking the spirit of Christmas with magical scenes, such as a gathering of people around a tree, a sleigh piled high with decorative presents, robins perched on snowy branches and Santa flying through the midnight starry sky, the 25 designs cover both general and relation titles. All 150mm square cards are finished with satin gold foil and snow texture detail complemented by a gold or red envelope. Rosanna Rossi +44 (0) 7900 698522 PG Live Stand 520

Hollywood Highlights Five Dollar Shake is thinking old school Hollywood glamour with its festive approach. Based on its best-selling Flights of Fancy range, these designs are made with an incredible amount of love and skill. The stunning dresses on each design are made up from feathers in the most stunning Christmas hues, crystals and bows. A collection of 29 standard and 29 large format cards are all supplied with complimenting envelopes and in biodegradable cello bags. Five Dollar Shake 01424 434062 PG Live Stand 208

Shining Brightly Stop the Clock Design is excited to launch two Christmas ranges, Golden and Shine, both of which will be on show at PG Live. Both ranges are full of fun, festive characters, quirky hand drawn patterns and a modern colour palette. All the cards are finished with a Christmassy, raised shiny gold foil finish and come with bright red envelopes. Stop the Clock Design 01457 763335 PG Live Stand 221

Merry Jeffrey Bold & Bright’s new Christmas designs see the ever-popular Jeffrey & Janice getting up to some right old festive antics, you know how giddy things can get with too much sherry! The cards are 5” x 7” and come with recycled Kraft envelopes. They can be supplied cello free on request. Bold & Bright 07738 702067 PG Live Stand 152


Megan Claire is celebrating their 10th birthday by launching over 100 new designs at PG Live on stand 154 in the Village Green. Pop by to see the new luxury gold foil embossed ranges Inkpot and Marshmallow as well as new additions to Apple Blossom and fresh designs in the clothing ranges. • 01536 560345 • 62_PG_June 2022.indd 1

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Christmas Get into the festive feeling with this selection of Christmas loveliness that will be at PG Live (June 7-8, at London’s BDC).

Cat Calls PG Live sees Stripey Cats’ launch of its new Christmas packs, The Woodland Christmas Choir, featuring Brock Badger, Pip Squirrel, Freddie Fox and others singing their favourite Christmas Carols. There are two separate packs with 10 cards and envelopes, two of each design per pack. Stripey Cats 07866 713 826 PG Live Stand 170

Don’t Be Sheepish The Relationship Business Emma Bryan’s extended Christmas counter range includes 26 designs for in-laws, mum, dad, sister, aunt and grandparents, featuring the illustrator’s contemporary yuletide imagery and the introduction of some cute animal characters. The 120mm x 170mm cards are printed on luxury textured board enhanced with a sprinkling of festive gold foil. They are supplied with a recycled kraft envelope. Emma Bryan Design 07889 598606 PG Live Stand 125

Just like all its cards, including at Christmas, CoolSource aims to be universally enjoyed. The publisher’s contemporary cartoon style spans 20 new designs which tap into the festive season with their quirky illustrations combined with conversational captions. CoolSource Cards 07770959497 PG Live Stand 758

Moments in Time Following the successful launch of Toasted Crumpet Mini Moments earlier this year, the publisher has introduced a Christmas edition, including 38 designs of which seven are from its award-winning Explore & Treasure collection with the National Trust. The mini styling and luxe hot-foiled debossed text add a contemporary twist to some most loved designs from across the full card range. Being cello-free means that the cards are 100% recyclable in paper recycling and any foil coating on the card is so thin that it dissipates during the repulping process. Toasted Crumpet 01372 383436 PG Live Stand 158

Festive Frolics Say hello to Rosie Made A Thing’s new Snowballs range. Hot off the press for Christmas 2022, these festive die-cut cards feature your favourite lols and come with a snazzy red envelope. Rosie’s Christmas brochure sees additions to all the company’s festive ranges and includes the ever-popular Xmas box sets and two brand new gift wrap designs. Rosie Made A Thing 0116 4062000 PG Live Stand 502

Checks and Measures Purple Tree Designs has six boxed card packs in total with each pack containing four Christmas card designs. The cards are all A6, come with co-ordinating envelopes and some designs feature foil details. They are all printed in the UK on FSC board manufactured in the UK. Purple Tree Designs 07803591927 PG Live Stand 780 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 63

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Christmas Get into the festive feeling with this selection of Christmas loveliness that will be at PG Live (June 7-8, at London’s BDC).

Well Red Kim Garrity Design is thrilled to be launching new additions to her successful Christmas card range at PG Live. The latest designs feature crafted hand-lettering and beautiful festive illustrations. The 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 751

In The Bag On the back of its success last year, Caroline Gardner Christmas is bringing back its mixed charity card packs with another 10 new sets. Each pack has two different designs, four of each card, all sold in the eco-friendly pouches. Also new are its single cards with poms, relations cards and gift bags. Caroline Gardner Publishing 020 8288 9696 PG Live Stand 404

Boxing Clever Making for a card and gift combo, beautiful artworks of Christmas trees, robins, Santa’s sleigh, snowmen, snowy landscapes depicting the joys the festive season and more are adorned by delicate items of jewellery – from sparkly earrings to a silver star necklace. Add to the giftable nature, all is presented in a quality box. Crumble and Core 01825841412 PG Live Stand 449

Festive Funnies

Cute and Cuddly

There will be some new additions to the Not at all Jack Christmas Humour range. The simple yet bold illustrations are eye catching, injecting fun and laughter into the Christmas card offering. Among the newness, the Perfect Fit and Emergency Chair designs are especially relatable in many homes around Christmas. Not at all Jack 07773 656883 PG Live Stand 824

Cosy up this Christmas with Apple & Clover’s Warm & Toasty range featuring 19 adorable designs of cute and cuddly characters all snuggled up in their winter woollies. Every card is 155mm square, is hand-finished with a striped ribbon bow and printed on 300gsm FSC-certified, luxury board. Apple & Clover 07790 900976. PG Live Stand 442

Jewel in the Crown With jewelled colours ready for Autumn 2022, Globe Enterprise has the ultimate range of handmade gift wrap papers, complemented by gorgeous ribbons, gift bags and boxes for all your packaging needs, as well as fabulous papier mache and honeycomb Christmas baubles, tea light holders, stocking fillers, fine stationery and much more. Globe Enterprise 0208 845 5057 PG Live Stand 435 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 65

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Marketing Milestones

Birthday Times As a child, birthday bumps are great fun - not necessarily for the kid being bumped, but all their mates have a whale of a time giving the so-called treat! With ‘elf ’n’ safety rules kicking in these days - and bad backs for those of a certain age! - bumps may not be the order of the day at PG Live, but there are plenty of publishers who deserve them as they mark their milestones. PG blows out the candles with just some of the exhibitors who will be celebrating big birthdays at the show.

10 Years: Coasting along Jessica Hogarth is not only looking to celebrate her 10-year milestone as a publisher, but July will mark the second birthday since opening her own shop.


llustrator and surface pattern designer, Jess launched her card business at the British Craft Trade Fair with her coastal upbringing in Robin Hood’s Bay being the focal point of her first product range – and the seaside and her Yorkshire heritage are still popular themes in her work today. Now working with partner Phil Hammill, life has been full on since opening a gift shop in their home village, and her licensing work is also coming on apace, so some form of work-life balance is a goal in her anniversary year. “Things have been so hectic,” Jess said, “we don’t get much downtime. I used to love how busy and full on my life was pre-Covid but the lockdowns have made me appreciate a slower pace of life and we’re trying to get the businesses as Top: PG Live will be the icing on the cake for some companies marking their anniversaries. Above right: Robin’s Hood Bay is the perfect setting for Jess’ cute shop. Right: Jess Hogarth in Liberty with one of her Christmas designs.

a whole into a position that allows us some time out too! “I am just very grateful that people are still supporting me and my work after 10 years. We’ll tie all the celebrations in together for the shop anniversary weekend over July 31 - I need to start thinking about it really!”

When considering the biggest changes in the trade since she started her publishing business, Jess cites “the development of more platforms such as Thortful and Scribbler printing on demand and selling direct to customer has been one definite change and the shift to buying more online generally has really changed the way some of us do business. I wouldn’t have dreamed of creating greeting cards with the sole purpose of selling them online 10 years ago, but now that is definitely something I consider when thinking of new designs.” As for a highlight of the last decade, Jess opts for “having my Christmas cards for sale in Liberty of London. I’m delighted to be supplying them again this year. The shop is iconic and, while it’s exciting to walk into any shop and see my cards on sale there, this felt particularly special.” PG Live Stand 168 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE





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Marketing Milestones

10 Years: Climbing the ladder With 10 straight years of exhibiting at PG Live shows behind her, Megan Claire’s owner and founder Megan Purdie is certainly looking forward to catching up with friends and customers at this year’s event.


nline is the biggest change Megan has noticed over her first decade in the greeting card industry: “We’ve found there’s a bigger online presence now - more so since the pandemic where a lot of our bricks-and-mortar shops have gone online to extend their offering further afield. There are more options for local collections as well as click-and-collect services. The result of this is larger and more regular orders coming through for us as a publisher. We also receive orders directly through social media alone, which complements the growth of business from trade shows and agents. There are also more online marketplaces available so more scope for expanding our customer base.” Megan also highlights the “noticeable shift towards sustainability within the industry

and also a much better variation of ecofriendly packaging products” over the last ten years. Megan is thrilled that her products are still stocked by a number of shops which placed orders at her first PG Live in 2012, including No.14 Ampthill and Austin & Co who both celebrated 11 years in business back in April. And she’s still working with the same Australian and Hong Kong distributors as well as her Scottish agents. As to other highlights of her first decade, listing a few faves, Megan recalls “being nominated for The Henries awards and attending the events! - flying the flag for Lynn Tait at The Ladder Club by speaking about my journey to new publishers coming through, attending over 35 trade shows and making great friends across publishers, customers and suppliers in such a friendly industry. I’m also very lucky to have had my close family working within the business since we began. The Above left: First trade show at PG Live 2012. Above right: Megan Claire’s Spring Fair 2022 stand. Left: Megan, passing on her knowledge at The Ladder Club.

business would not be what it is today without their hard work, invaluable input and support.” She also gives thanks to the company’s many retail customers. “To be able to maintain customers and relationships for that length of time is really rewarding. Ultimately, seeing our cards in the flesh on the shelves of beautiful shops locally, nationally and internationally is always going to be the highlight for us - that feeling never grows old!” PG Live Stand 154

40 Years: A fizzy four decades The bubbly will be fizzing on the Cath Tate Cards’ stand at PG Live to celebrate four decades of publishing humorous and insightful greeting cards.


rom 4pm on the opening day of PG Live it’s party time as founder Cath and daughter and codirector Rosie mark the occasion, plus there’s a raffle for a chance for retailers to win 40% off their next order, being drawn at the end of day two. Having started with the aim of changing the world from her kitchen table, and a first design showing then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pinching a purse from a handbag, Cath has steered the business

Left: The first Cath Tate Cards’ design. Right: Cath at a 1990 show.

through several recessions but thinks the pandemic was perhaps biggest blow to the card industry with stores closed for months. She said: “However, what was impressive over the pandemic was the incredible resilience and fighting-spirit that we saw in so many of our long-standing customers. In particular the independent retailers who found incredible ways to stay afloat, creating new digital ways to sell, doing local

deliveries to people isolating and even virtual shop tours to customers via a video call so customers could still continue to order and support their local shop. The localisation of the UK is certainly something we’re seeing as a result of the last couple of years and that might be no bad thing.” As to the most significant change Cath has witnessed over the past 40 years, she PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Marketing Milestones

picks out “the spread of higher quality greeting cards in chains and supermarkets. This affected the independent card shops, which when we started out were the only shops that we sold to. Gradually over the years, chains like Scribbler and Paperchase have appeared and the independents have had to up their game to survive. At the same time, the structures of some of the chains and supermarkets have become more centralised with more central buying and the shop managers having less say in what they can order in.” As to the highlights Cath picks out the nub of being a card publisher: “being able to actually produce greeting cards from initial concept through to design and watching it emerge as a pleasing product, I also love getting to know our customers, who have

been a lovely bunch of people, and getting to know our fellow card producers who also have been a great support network – and getting an Honorary Achievement Award at The Henries in 2020 was pretty good!” Future plans include continuing to produce products both Cath and Rosie love and are proud of, as well as building on their best-selling iconic ranges and expanding their work with some amazing new artists whose design styles are a bit of a new era for Cath Tate. Cath added: “We look forward to working with exciting new people and continuing to collaborate with our existing artists, to see what brilliant new ideas they come up with!” PG Live stand 307 Left: Rosie and Cath at Top Drawer 2022.

25 Years: Sharing the love The Art File is quite rightly going for it with its 25th anniversary celebrations, with the publisher having a year long programme of activities and initiatives lined up.


ames Mace, sales and marketing manager of The Art File was just a toddler when his parents, Ged and Karen started the greeting card publishing company. Both he and the company have done a lot of growing up since then! “We plan to celebrate The Art File’s 25th birthday throughout 2022 as we want to thank everyone who has helped us achieve this milestone, which includes giving our independent customers the chance to win some lovely prizes,” reveals Ged Mace, managing director of The Art File. “We’ll be running a shop window competition for both everyday and Christmas products, with prizes for the winners. In addition, at PG Live, Harrogate Home & Gift and Autumn Fair, we will be randomly picking an order placed at each one of these shows to receive a £250 credit off the order - because we like to share the love!” Ged added. Over the past quarter-century, the Nottingham-based publisher has expanded from greeting cards into giftwrap and social stationery, with in-house designers and licensed collections winning plenty of awards and accolades.

Left: Then - first trade show, Spring Fair 1998. Below: (right-left) Ged, Karen and James Mace.

As to the major changes since The Art File’s early days, Ged says “When we started the company, publishers were largely still selling in dozens per design. The market moved to units of six a couple of years later. The other more recent phenomenon has been the positive move to unwrapped cards which has helped futureproof our industry to meet the expectations of the consumer.”

One aspect that Ged stresses has remained constant throughout the last two and a half decades is “the high level of innovation that’s prevalent within our industry. Design and creativity will always be central to the success of our market. Amazing designers, state-of-the-art printers and papermills continue to wow me with their originality and forward thinking. Card sending is very much still a core value of the great British public.” When put on the spot to pick out some of the highlights since The Art File’s birth, Ged is in no doubt that the “number one would have to be building a brilliant team of talented people at The Art File and I am very proud of all of them. We could not have achieved all that we have without our supercharged dedicated team.” He also mentions the “wonderful feeling” of winning awards. “We’ve been fortunate to be recognised for the collections we publish on numerous occasions. Another highlight was being presented with The Queen’s Award For Export. Personally, it’s a continued thrill to be part of a business that makes people smile every day. We are genuinely looking forward to the company’s journey over the next 25 years, in our eyes, the story has only just begun.” PG Live stand 200 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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18 Years: Mauritius v Gilmorton Like most couples with two small children who run a business, Laura Darrington and partner Ross Harrison have a great plan for celebrating the coming-of-age of Laura Darrington Designs - they’re off to Mauritius for a twoweek all-inclusive knees-up with 25 of their closest friends! However, the reality of life will instead see tea and cake being served in their offices in the wonderfully-named Clayton Willey Grocers building in Gilmorton.


rawing on techniques learned from her textiles degree to create handmade cards, Laura started her publishing business with the help of a Prince’s Trust business loan 18 years ago. Since then she’s moved her ‘HQ’ from a far-from-ideal small room in a house shared with four friends, to the rickety loft of their first small terraced home,

then into the Old Baptist Chapel in Huncote before settling in a characterful ex-Victorian hotel. And she’s collected no less than three Henries Awards along the way, in 2009, 2011 and 2012, followed by a Louie Award from the US GCA in 2017. Ross - left his 15-year career in university sport to join the family business in 2016, but Laura hasn’t yet told him his real job is “to tidy the back room” - she explained: “Customer loyalty and the consistency of key accounts to continually support our little brand over the years has really been the bedrock of our success. Without their backing we wouldn’t be celebrating 18 years in business.” Ross says that the challenges experienced in the High Street prompted

Left: Laura hard at work. Above: A couple of Laura Darrington’s latest designs.

Laura Darrington to place a “greater focus on exploring new revenue streams from further afield. For example, our export and licensing portfolio has really grown over the last six years.” However, Laura and Ross remain “hopeful that the greeting card industry will continue to thrive in what has been an evolving marketplace these last couple of years. It’s testament to the incredibly talented people that make the greeting card industry so great - and long may it continue.” PG Live Stand 417

10 Years: Taking flight thanks to Docs Doc Martens and peace doves are behind Paper Bird’s 10-year journey, which began when founder Una Joy met graphic designer Emma, then officially took flight at PG Live 2012.


na and Emma designed the packaging for Paloma’s Paper Birds, decorative paper peace doves inspired by Picasso’s Paloma And The Dove, and which first appeared four years earlier as alternative Christmas decorations for South London Bookseller Crow, when the 2003 Iraq War began, and which are still fluttering across the ceiling there. Moving on to 2011 and Una began serious work on her card company, with talented Emma transforming her drawings by adding clever twists and riffs for

Far right: Paper Bird’s first design was Cockatoo's New Shoes. Right: A Paper Bird Dog's Big Love Cake because it's a big birthday. Below: Paper Bird’s stand at PG Live 2019.

the first 100 greeting card designs ready for PG Live. Una explained: “We used The Imaging Centre’s print-per-order system which gave us the opportunity for a test run. What wasn’t ordered by shops would not be printed. Emma and I spent a year designing and curating the images. I’d worked as a bookseller for 20 years so there had to be a bookmark on the back. Our first PG Live ended with the huge confidence boost of being taken on by London agents Dave and Sarah Cowling. This is the brightest of many highlights - we would not be where we are without our agents.” Paper Bird now publishes over 1,000 designs, featuring the work of 17 artists.

“Some of our first designs are still best sellers, notably Cockatoo’s New Shoes, a portrait of my aunt as a cockatoo - she did look a little like a cockatoo. When I was caring for her as she had dementia, she loved trying on my clumpy boots. She had tiny feet and always wore very elegant court shoes. She would look down at her feet in my Doc Martens and delight in the absurdity. So, I thank her for inspiring Cockatoo’s New Shoes - and for the small inheritance which made realising Paper Bird a little easier. To celebrate making it to 10 with lots of zip left, we’re launching Bijou, a collection of postcard-sized cards - there might be some cake too.” PG Live Stand 164



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In conversation with... Ankorstore

Above: Ankorstore’s UK head office. Below: Jina Kwon heads up Ankorstore’s UK operation.

Two years ago Ankorstore didn’t exist. Now, the fast-growing B2B online marketplace platform, which achieved unicorn status a few months ago (being valued at over $1 billion), has links with 250,000 independent retailers and 200,000 brands in 33 countries across Europe. Ahead of PG Live, at which Ankorstore is sponsoring the lunchroom and opening night party, PG caught up with Jina Kwon, its UK country manager to find out more about a unicorn that is no mythical figure.

Retail Rewilding?

It is fitting that Ankorstore UK is based in Work Space, a flashy new set up on London’s Euston Road. Just as Work Space’s ‘private office memberships’ vision is to offers flexible working facilities, with like-minded businesses sharing the design-led communal areas, breakout lounges, roof terrace, gym and top end coffee shop, the antidote to a traditional ‘company name above the door’ HQ, so Ankorstore is among those who are shaking up the ways of looking at how independent retailers do business with brands and vice versa. Having started in France, founded by a handful of ecommerce entrepreneurs, with the backing of £300 million+ of investments, Ankorstore has grown like topsy, including in the UK. It is not the only B2B marketplace active in the UK by any means, but as Faire (a major competitor) has expanded here from its strong US base, Ankorstore has expanded from its stronghold in mainland Europe.

With a pedigree in online marketplaces (including five years at Groupon right at its start, as well as working for three other platforms in other sectors) Jina Kwon, immediately saw the potential of Ankorstore and was keen to be part of its expansion in the UK. “I joined Ankorstore in June 2021. There were only three of us here back then, but we have grown very quickly. Between last July and

September alone we employed another 50 people, to ensure we had a strong sales and account management team,” explained Jina. To her mind, the whole independent retailer/wholesaler way of working “has not changed for years”. While Jina fully accepts the value of face to face interaction, be it through meeting at trade shows, showrooms or by visits from reps and agents, she stresses that this means so many other opportunities are being missed. “If you are an independent retailer based in the Outer Hebrides for example it can be difficult to get to those trade shows or for reps to visit you. Likewise, if you are a little company starting out making beautiful stationery it is not easy to grow your business, to expand your retail

Brand reset

Things move fast in the online world, and so at the end of April, less than two years after its launch, Ankorstore unveiled a rebranding, complete with an ambitious tagline of ‘Rewild Retail’ “To reflect our new identity, we felt compelled to find a new way to articulate the heart of our mission. We found two words that epitomise our mission and who we are as a company: Rewild Retail. The concept is simple – to restore the natural order and beauty of an ecosystem that is broken so that everyone in it can thrive again,” stated Nicola D’Audiffret, co-ceo and co-founder of Ankorstore. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE






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In conversation with... Ankorstore

Left: One of the visuals used to promote the recent rebranding of the platform. Far left: At the UK Gift Awards at which Jina Kwon (right) presented a Gift of the Year trophy for Best Beauty, Bath & Spa Product or Range to Kathy Chillistone, founder and owner of Chilliwinter for its Remedial Aromatherapy Candle Collection.

base not just in the UK but overseas. It is Ankorstore’s mission to put independent retailers together with companies and vice versa, for their mutual benefit,” says Jina, explaining Ankorstore in a nutshell. Its compelling offer for both sides, of alluring opening offers, free shipping, £100 miminum order, payment terms of 60 days, no set up costs, as well as a reward programme for retailers when they buy from multiple brands has seen 30,000 independent retailers in the UK alone sign up already.

“Our objective is not about displacing the face to face, but is all about discovery. We want independent retailers to find new brands and companies to add to their selection as well as provide brands with the opportunity to grow with retailers they may never have known about,” assures Jina. Ankorstore will be joining the face to face interaction at PG Live (June 7-8), as it is sponsoring the lunchroom and opening night party. And this follows on from its

A whirl for Meg Meg Hawkins is one of the 40+ exhibitors at PG Live 2022 who are active on the Ankorstore platform. Founder and company namesake Meg and her husband Adrian and daughter Coral, who also works in the greeting card, gift and homewares business, explain more. “We have been on Ankorstore since October 2021. The move was prompted due to the lack of trade shows over the preceding two years as a result of the pandemic so we thought it was worth giving it a whirl to see if we get our brand out there a bit more as well in the UK as well as to hopefully expand into Europe. And we are glad we did,” Meg exclaimed. “Having agents in the UK is great if you have them. We only have three so there is a lot of the UK alone that we weren’t covering through that route and at the same time our homegrown product portfolio was expanding as well as through licensing,” adds Meg to set the scene. Starting cautiously, the company launched on Ankorstore with 30 products, but this has now doubled to 60 skus across its portfolio. “Due to the guaranteed turnaround, we had to make sure we had plenty of those items in stock so our initial mix included greeting cards, notebooks, biscuits, chocolate, lipbalms and aprons which gave a taster of what we do and could tell a story instore,” Coral elaborated.

As well as expanding its product selection on Ankorstore, the company has also participated in the Brand Accelerator Programme, successfully introducing new retailers to the platform (who in turn are given £300 to spend on Ankorstore), the Meg Hawkins brand is highlighted on a What’s New section introducing the company to retailers they have never dealt with. “We received 11 orders in 48 hours, including many from Europe, which delighted us,” said Meg. “Having a shop ourselves, exhibiting at trade shows, such as PG Live as well as showing at several consumer events, we really value face to face interaction as that is what brings your brand alive, but we cannot be everywhere or see everyone. Would have been unlikely to have clinched those sales in Switzerland, France, Poland or Germany without Ankorstore,” believes Meg. While both Meg and Coral accept that there are some situations that do need to be

sponsorship support of the UK Gift Awards last month, at which the winners of The Greats gift retailer awards and Gift of the Year awards were presented. “We are delighted to support PG Live and the UK Gift Awards, and be a part of the industry,” says Jina. Looking at the list of PG Live’s 200 exhibitors, over 40 companies are already active on Ankorstore. “Greeting cards and stationery is a very important sector for us. In fact, so much so, that while it started out as part of our Home & Living section, it is now treated as a its own category with a dedicated category manager,” elaborates Jina. “I really believe that we can make a real difference to improving business and realising opportunities for both card publishers and independent retailers on this ongoing journey of discovery,” she adds. worked through, such as conversations with agents about how to deal with their commission if existing customers order via the platform, they both agree that having a presence on Ankorstore has and is helping their business. “There will always be some scepticism about new ways of working, but you need to be open to new ideas, find out about them and give them a try. As we see it, participating on Ankorstore will not replace our face to face experiences, but will add to them in a different way. In the meantime though, we are so looking forward to catching up with everyone at PG Live!” Above: A trio of Meg Hawkins chocolate bars that feature her distinctive art. Below: (right-left) Meg and Coral Hawkins with Brenda Anthony, Ankorstore’s UK brand development manager at the recent UK Gift Awards.








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A Cute Conversation

All together now-

aaahhhh! Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what traditional cute cards are made of - but, with the different attitudes and ideas of the 21st century, does that have to be the case, and is there still a market for the genre? Big-eyed fluffy kittens like the Simon Elvin Christmas card which has lasted three decades of being sent back and forth between a mum and son may be the epitome of cute, drawing the required “aaahhh” reaction, then there are those who find tiny tots in skeleton costumes cute, or photo-manipulated images of dogs dressed as pumpkins. PG asked the question of various publishers, from the traditional to the quirky.

After decades in the greeting card business, veteran publisher Simon Elvin knows a thing or two about cards, but even he admits there are no firm rules on what’s cute. While the styling of cutes has changed over the years, the factor that remains the same, according to Simon, “is that the design has to evoke a real ‘aaahhh’ from the person selecting the card and, just as important, it must be something the recipient is going to love - for us that means a character that’s really soft and cuddly, put into a very appealing situation”. Cute designs have always formed an important part of the Simon Elvin range, and will continue to do so as long as customer demand remains strong. Simon added: “Cute designs still sell well for us in open birthday and relations and, while they work predominantly for female relations, there still is a limited demand for cute male designs, which need to be stronger colours and more fun. You can’t really lay down firm rules as to what works but you know when your design team come up with a big ‘aaahhh’ that you’ve got a hit.” Having hit the cute jackpot with Tatty Teddy and the Me To You brand back in 1987, Top: Jay Harrison and mum Roe Walsh have been exchanging this cute Simon Elvin card for 30 years. Above middle: A current cute design from Simon Elvin. Left: Two Tatty teddies are proving popular in Carte Blanche’s new Signature range. Right: The vulnerable expression of the top dog adds cuteness on a Nigel Quiney contemporary Doodle design.

Carte Blanche Greetings has spent 35 years refining and polishing its characters and offer. “There’s no doubt the pandemic has touched all of us,” said Carte Blanche’s marketing manager Grace Elphinstone, “we value our loved ones and our friends more than ever and we’re not afraid to show our feelings towards the people that matter. This is where cute definitely plays a part. “Me To You has always evoked that warm, fuzzy ‘aaahhh’ response but, today, the ‘aaahhh’ factor feels more relevant than ever, and we sense that even the most cynical consumer is willing to be won over by an uplifting and unashamedly cute Tatty Teddy card. The publisher has responded by refreshing both the Me to You artwork and the colour palette for 2022 and beyond, and has noted designs showing two Tatty Teddy bears are proving popular - perhaps because they highlight togetherness and personal interaction in an age when people no longer take this for granted. And the warm and optimistic colour palette full of sun-dappled yellows and soft blues and pinks, creates an ombre feel, reminiscent of a sunrise. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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A Cute Conversation

With his grey fur, blue nose and patches, there’s always been a touch of vulnerability about Tatty Teddy, representing love and caring, tempered with fun and happiness, so he appeals to people in all sorts of relationships. Grace added: “We’re proud to be at the forefront of cute. Cute is never edgy or threatening, it’s inclusive and welcoming - values that couldn’t be more important in these unsettling times.” To Grace’s mind “Cute has never been out of fashion but our feeling is that the demand is stronger than ever. We do, of course, recognise the current squeeze on consumer budgets, and as a company we’re doing all we can to keep price points competitive. At the same time, there’s a strong market for luxuryfinished cute cards that have the ability to express sentiment so beautifully. Our new Me to You Signature Specialist range includes a flourish of gold satin foil on white uncoated board along with premium golden envelopes. They’re absolutely gorgeous and brimming with positivity and optimism!” Nigel Quiney has covered cute from various angles over the years, and art manager Carl Pledger hasn’t seen any notable changes in demand as the genre sells well for the publisher. Its latest offering is the Doodle range where the illustrations are in bold black ink strokes, highlighted with bigger and brighter splashes of colour, giving the cards an impactful on-shelf presence that definitely speaks to the 2020s. Paired with a striking printed envelope, the simple designs are fun, bold and commercial with a contemporary feel, featuring a cocktail-drinking octopus and a pile of paw-fect dogs. Representing a diverse portfolio of talented creatives who offer an equally varied portfolio, Hannah Curtis, founder of artists’ agency Creative Sparrow, recognises cute cards don’t always have to be sickly sweet. Hannah explained: “We have some wonderfully quirky designs that also give the ‘aaahhh’ factor. Abbi Goode of Lemon & Sugar, for example, creates wonderfully cute, felted characters which show a perfect interaction for occasions such as Valentine’s and Anniversary. “Being able to illustrate cute designs doesn’t always pigeonhole a creative, we find that variety within a portfolio is the best way of maximising their potential, some of our most successful creatives Top: Creative Sparrow’s diverse artists’ portfolio includes Lemon & Sugar. Above middle: Frank cutes up The Art File’s offer. Far rght: UKG’s Boofle celebrates his 15th birthday next year. Right: Henries winner Tracey Colliston is ramping up Ginger Betty’s cute offer.

can work in various styles such as cute, traditional, modern and trend-led. Roy Thompson for example is well known for his traditional Christmas, painterly scenes, and male ranges but he also has some wonderfully cute designs such as his super sweet little girl character. “We don’t see any sign of cute cards dwindling in the coming years, different areas of the market showcase cute in different ways so, as long as we continue to create the next best ‘aaahhh’ factor design. we will continue to see them coming through in the industry, especially with the huge rise in thinking of you card sales, there will always be a need for a cute illustration to put a smile on someone’s face.” At The Art File, the designers took a very real character and have turned him into a true icon as Sausage Dog Frank, much-loved companion to managing director and co-founder Ged Mace, continues to steal the hearts of good folk across the planet. Definitely cute, but with that modern twist, the Call Me Frank collection is full of fun designs capturing the little devil’s antics. Each design is finished with detailed embossing, uses a stunning colour palette, and the collection includes cards, gift packaging, gift wrap, and social stationery - as The Art File’s sales and marketing manager James Mace admitted: “Frank is a very real Sausage Dog, with a very real character!” Ginger Betty founder Tracey Colliston has some very good reasons for liking cute cards, having created some enduring characters for other publishers before setting up her own card publishing business. Her Owls’ Nest range won the Best Cute Range award in The Henries Awards 2021, having already picked up an award in the 2020 License This! competition at Brand Licensing Europe. “I think a cute reaction happens when a character or characters make a connection with you,” Tracey said. “It might be a certain expression, their body language, or a situation they’re in that triggers the ‘aaahhh’ factor. “When I’m creating a character, it may take some time to create the right expression, where even the slightest detail can make something cute or not. I often revisit artworks, to achieve the emotion I’m trying to capture. All my work is still illustrated or created by hand as I prefer to use watercolour and crayons, as well as felt and soft materials to create my three-dimensional characters, as I believe these mediums capture the softness and fluidity I’m looking for. “I believe we need cute cards, as they convey emotion and feelings in different ways to other card genres, which in current times is extremely relevant. Cute has never gone away - it evolves, but the basic elements that give the ‘aaahhh’ factor remain the same.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE



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A Cute Conversation

And Ginger Betty is growing the brand with the recentlylaunched Sunshine On Leaf capsule range of 3D photographed felted animals and bees, capturing a warm countryside feel while using upto-date techniques. At UK Greetings, the publisher is proud to announce its Boofle products are not only downright cute, but also now fully sustainable including the exciting new standalone collection - Boofle’s Make It Mend It! which has cakes, rainbows, special people and special occasions. Razina Laher, licensing manager for Boofle, said: “It’s a lovely new collection with fun colourful patterning, great energy and, of course, cute pose. Boofle’s personality continues to shine through in each card and charm recipients.” And brand development manager Susan Jones added: “Cute cards have always expressed warmth, and this is so relevant post-pandemic as we value human connection more than ever. Whether its showing friends sharing a long-awaited cheeky G&T, referencing much-missed hugs or simply listing all the amazing qualities of a loved one, an expressive cute brand like Boofle can hit just the right spot in letting our friends and family know how much they mean to us.” UKG ensures it represents the genre well with a vast array of cute programmes from well-known and loved characters such as Boofle, Lots Of Woof, Elliot, and Nutmeg, through licensing like Winnie The Pooh and Peter Rabbit to fun cute with Oodles, Benny and animal photos. The company has no intention of ever turning away from cute, rather it embraces the genre and just keep evolving it in line with changes seen in taste levels and sentiment in society. With UKG research showing 21% of people include their pet in their birthday celebration, and 38% buy pets a Christmas present, the publisher has recently collaborated with Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to produce a bright and fun collection of designs which help to support its animal rescue work through royalties from sales. The range includes endearing photos of animals that are among the many thousands helped by Battersea each year together with appealing illustrations and bringing in light-hearted cute humour options too. Marina Brook is another card publisher who loves a bit of cuteness and her latest Marina B Dotty Wotty collection keeps that animal theme going, while picking up on the soaring popularity of dogs over the past couple of years. Top: A modern cute from UKG. Top right: Marina B’s sophisticated Dotty Wotty. Above middle: Sabivo’s cute, contemporary rabbits. Above right: Pets are perfect for Paper Shed Design. Right: Little Quirks is Lucinda Lavender’s oldie but goldie.

“Many of our cards have a sophisticated cuteness about them and some are more quirky cute!” Marina said. “We’re bringing a new dimension to our very popular dog cards - little dog-shaped characters to bring to life the varied designs and to add an extra layer of cuteness and a little individuality!” As a relative newcomer to the cute scene, Sabivo Design founder Sabina Kovacheva has found that sweet spot of being cute without being overly sugary, like the wedding and anniversary additions to her Rainbow range. “I think traditionally cute used to navigate towards juvenile, adorable animal character cards or overly-sugary pink designs,” she said. “Nowadays, cute can be quirky and fun, with plain modern designs and handwritten typography. Cute is no longer just bear cubs playing among daisy flowers but also reflects what’s happening around us. Remember when cute rainbows in every colour combination, shape and form swept the nation! “Cute brings out the inner child in us and, we all know growing up is a trap so, as long as we have that little kiddie spot in our hearts, we will continue to love cute cards.” Launched 11 years ago, Lucilla Lavender’s Little Quirks collection has evolved but the central set of super-cute characters are exactly the same. Lucilla, who runs the eponymous publisher with business partner Anneke Driscoll, explained: “The appeal of these characters has lasted the test of time and designs from this range are permanently among our best-sellers - which just goes to show that cute really does sell, and sells well.” So much so that Lucilla has just brought out a cute new range which features bold, loose linework while unashamedly focusing on cats and dogs, again looking to the pandemic-

driven popularity of pets. The animals featured in these colourful cards sometimes have human characteristics, and sometimes they’re just as they are - like the cat who likes to sit on your computer keyboard! Paper Shed Design’s Jo O’Brien is another publisher who has set her stall out to meet consumer demand for cute. “Now, more than ever people are looking for heart-warming images to connect with. There’s a real need out there to convey sentiment and emotion. Nothing does that more than a super cute Illustration with the ‘aaahhh’ factor” says Jo. Jo’s aim is to create cute card ranges for the modern audience using her love of classic Illustration. She added: “We enjoyed a fabulous response to our debut at PG Live 2021. Our ranges Absolutely Barking, Pawsitively Purrrfect, Bucklebury Wood and The Bear, The Hare, And The Mouse now comprise over 200 designs. “Yes! I believe the cute renaissance is here - cute is cool again!” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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In conversation with... Raspberry Blossom

Juicy fruits Setting up your own business is a dream for many a graphic designer, and with an ingrained love of greeting cards Rebecca Green knew it was what she always wanted. After eight years of heading up Raspberry Blossom, she tells PG how it all happened and where it’s going especially at PG Live 2022. A little piece of art is how Rebecca Green sees greeting cards, and her love of the format led her to buy the Raspberry Blossom domain name when the idea of being a publisher was just a dream. Now head of creative design of her own company, with husband Mark and a team of five backing the business, that dream has very much become a reality, with years of marketing agency work, a wedding, two babies and a pair of relocations behind them, plus the fillip of a 2020 Henries Award and no less than three, PaperAwards to their name.

Top: Rebecca and Mark Green approve Raspberry Blossom artwork. Above right: Rebecca in the new warehouse. Above: The awards shelf still has room for more. Inset: Colourful designs.

Looking to the next big date in the diary, the PG Live location of the Business Design Centre in London’s Angel, Islington, is particularly familiar and special to Rebecca and Mark as it’s where they had their first flat together - and she designed the first Raspberry Blossom cards at the kitchen table just a minute’s walk from the BDC. Back for their third outing at the UK’s only dedicated greeting card trade show, Rebecca is in reflective mood as she looks back to the company launch in at Spring Fair 2014. “Everyone thought we were crazy launching at one of the biggest trade fairs,” Rebecca said, “but I’m from Birmingham and my dad ran a jewellery business for over 30 years and exhibited at the NEC. As a child I’d go to the NEC to see my dad’s stand and always loved looking through the greetings and gift halls, so it felt familiar and not too daunting.

“I went to a Ladder Club talk and also met with paper consultant Mark Jessett from G.F Smith to gain knowledge and insight into the industry - and then designed eight collections, with a total of 80 cards. “I’ve always loved paper and stationery items, especially greeting cards. I love how they are a little piece of art, where as a designer you can be so creative and use so many mediums too. Something as simple as a folded piece of card can bring a smile to people’s faces, create memories and moments in someone’s life and bring so much joy. I’ve always treasured receiving a card and have a little memory box of special ones that mean a lot to me. “After studying graphic design at university I bought the Raspberry Blossom domain name knowing I’d one day love to set

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In conversation with... Raspberry Blossom

up my own paper company,” recalls Rebecca. Fast forward eight years of working in London in marketing agencies and turning 30 Rebecca decided to follow that dream! “Our first order was at Spring Fair - I remember how incredible it felt and how Mark and I squealed with excitement when the lovely Sharon from Beau’s Boutique in Kings Langley left our stand. Our palette back then was more pastel and they ordered lots of our Golden Glamour collection which was printed on G.F Smith Colorplan papers with luxe gold foil. They were so lovely and complementary about everything, even on our stand colours, wanting to know what the paint references were. It definitely put us at ease for the rest of the show, and both Mark and myself will always remember that first order,” recalled Rebecca. For Rebecca, every design starts with a quick doodle in the notebook that’s her

constant companion - sometimes it’s a sentiment, or a pattern, or even a whole illustration that just pops into her head, then she pulls together mood boards for each collection, with selecting the colour palette one of her favourite parts of the process. Currently influenced by their kids Ophelia and Reuben, Raspberry Blossom’s recent Great Outdoors children’s collection was hand painted with all her daughter’s favourite bugs and insects, and fashion and interiors are also huge inspirations for Rebecca and illustrator Mia Dunton who now works with her and designed their Golden Moments collection that won the

Emotive Design PaperAwards category at Top Drawer in February. Just a year ago the company moved into its first warehouse in Leamington Spa. Rebecca and Mark are helped by right hand woman Kelly who runs the warehouse, supported by Jess. Nicol keeps the office organised and processes all orders, bubbly Liz is on customer relations, and Mia is a whizz with a paintbrush. Rebecca added: “It’s been so great to have someone else in the design team, especially with the juggle of two kids and the business. Mia is very used to receiving voice notes or meetings on Zoom while I’m pushing two noisy kids to the park! Mark is very creative and we bounce off each other really

Top: Mark and Rebecca. Above: Team work - Kelly, Liz, Mia, and Nicol with Mark. Below: One of the mood boards.

well. He’ll often joke some of our best-sellers were his idea - before kids, we’d regularly head to the pub with a sketch pad and get a bottle of wine, now it’s often on the sofa late at night instead!” As Rebecca accepts she and Mark do tend to “like to push the boundaries with paper engineering and print finishes but still manufacture everything in the UK so, with all of our designs. I make sure the finish is really considered, each card should feel tactile and luxe.” As Rebecca elaborates: “We have a lot of die-cut cards as well as our 3D fold-out collection Treasures which uses a novel way to stand, creates massive impact and is still at a price our customers love. I’m super excited to launch another 3D collection at PG Live called Keepsakes that has seven everyday occasions from a 3D church where the door actually opens, to a ring box with pop-up diamond ring! We wanted to create a collection the end recipient would cherish and display around the home as a reminder of the special event.” Along with a very special announcement that Rebecca can’t wait to share, all the Raspberry Blossom newness will be showcased at PG Live, with the 25 new Christmas designs, ranging from a 3D angel to a concertina fold-out nutcracker adventure, through to beautiful festive florals and a big, luxurious Christmas feast, plus there’s a new stationery line, including food planner pads with tear-off shopping lists, luxury daily planners with fully-printed colourful inside pages, and products focused on family life, as it’s challenging to keep everything running smoothly when you have children. Enthusing about PG Live, Rebecca said: “Not only is the location one of our faves in London, it’s also such a fun show. Being just dedicated to cards is great, in other shows sometimes cards can be the last product buyers look at with it being located often after the gifts etc. People are there for just cards so it means they’re ready to buy and can focus all their attention on this one category.” PG Live Stand 207 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE



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



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Art Source

The Dawn of Creation

Dawn Quigg was so right to ignore the advice of her school careers advisor who urged her to forget the idea of forging a career as an artist. Now, with 16 years experience of designing greeting cards under her belt, this talented Northants creative is enjoying life as a freelance illustrator. PG caught up with this active member of the Creative Card Collective to find out about her life and loves. I’ve always loved drawing for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories was drawing from a ‘how to draw animals’ book my parents bought me. That ignited a fire in my soul for art and being creative. I remember saying to a school careers advisor that I wanted a job as an artist. He said I should have a Plan B as I wouldn’t end up with a job like that. Well, I was determined to paint so I went on to study Illustration at university. I then worked as a surface pattern designer for a tableware company during which I learnt a lot and enjoyed figuring out how to illustrate something that would end up being printed and wrapped round a mug etc. Life then took another direction, as I left to start working as a designer for Watermark Publishing [which used to supply Clintons with a lot of its own brand designs]. I so loved being around so many creative like-minded people and worked my way up to designer and illustrator. I’ve now reinvented myself as a freelance illustrator and designer with support of family and friends, building up contacts and work. It’s fantastic and even more so now I have my own little studio at home. I always found it so exciting seeing my work on a product in store working as part of a company, but even more so now as it somehow seems more personal and special. I even gave a little yelp when I saw my work in a Clintons store the other month. I really don’t think I will ever lose that moment of joy seeing someone pick up a card featuring one of my illustrations and I find it such a thrill to give


Far left: Dawn Quigg exudes creativity. Left: Dawn in equally happy with contemporary designs as she is with the more traditional. Below left: A love of the natural world feeds into Dawn’s designs.

a card that I have designed to one of my family or friends. I now have 16 years’ experience in the industry and realise that my work has evolved, with many styles and different mediums. For the most part I still illustrate by hand and then bring my artworks into the computer to manipulate them to create the finished designs. But I do like a challenge so I have been playing round with creating computer artworks too. I love to illustrate many different subject matters, from cute and whimsical characters to landscapes and florals in modern and traditional styles. Whatever the style and subject matter I still really enjoy it; it is what I am meant to do. If however I do suffer from artist’s block I just go out into the garden. I just love growing plants, especially vegetables, with my three year old son. Alongside continuing my greeting card work, one of my dreams is to also illustrate children’s books as it would be amazing to read a book I had illustrated to my son. I get my inspiration for my work from so many places, everyday life, internet, packaging, magazines, and children’s books of which I have a huge collection, which comes in handy for reading to my son. I am proud to be a member of Creative Card Collective as being a freelance Illustrator can be a little isolating at times so it’s lovely to receive the regular emails with inspiration as well as being able to show my work, and receiving feedback can lift you on a flat day. Above: A festive flavour from Dawn. Left: Philosophy and illustration combine in this design by Dawn. Right: Her love of gardening feeds into Dawn’s artwork.

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



Our NEW delightful 3D fold-out collection - ‘Keepsakes’. Designed to be ‘cherished today, kept forever’, each illustration is hand-painted and brought to life through interesting paper engineering, luxe die-cut shapes and shiny spot UV print f inishes. The end result is a beautiful card that can be proudly placed centre stage on your customer’s shelf. Seven everyday cards ranging from a pop-up diamond ring, to a 3D greenhouse with opening door. The collection also includes three intricate Christmas designs. Head over to our website to see the full collection. • +44 (0)1926 257757 •


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PG ASKED A SELECTION OF RETAILERS FOR THEIR BEST SELLERS. Tilley Rathie, director of Marmalade Meringue, Hinckley. A popular card and gift shop set in a picturesque Leicestershire market town. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Belly Button Designs


“Pretty embossed designs. Supplied naked and printed on 100% recycled post consumer waste board is an extra bonus!”

Right: A pretty Meadow design from Belly Button Designs. Below right: A trio of designs from Abacus’ BBC Countryfile range.

Relations and Occasions

Louise Tiler Designs


“These beauties are not disappointing. Cute card clasp - customers love being able to feel the card.”


Cinnamon Aitch


“Just the perfect amount of humour!”


Abacus Cards

BBC Countryfile

“Beautiful, British photographic cards and blank inside so great for any occasion.”


Louise Mulgrew


“Fabulous animal illustrations full of character with perfect sentiments too.”

Thinking of You

Molly Mae

Carried on the Breeze

“Elegant designs and subtle colours meaning anyone would love to receive one.”

Right: Louise Tiler’s Apricot collection includes occasions and everyday designs. Below right: Molly Mae’s Carried on the Breeze range hits the spot at Marmalade Meringue.


James Ellis


“With the paper confetti inside and bright, fun designs, this range is a real winner with the kids.”

Adult ages

Megan Claire

Apple Blossom

“Simple yet beautiful and a fabulous price too. Customers just can’t resist!”



Across the board

“The price and design hit the mark, so customers don’t hesitate to grab a gift bag…a great add on sale.”



Pocket Hugs

“A brilliant pick-up line and people love buying them to pop in with a card too.”

Right: WishStrings’ bracelets and Pocket Hugs are great add on gifts.



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 PG Live 2022 - Stand 435

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Jo McBeath, owner of Chirpy, Chapel Allerton. A design-led card and gift shop at the heart of its community. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Ohh Deer Diedododa

Across the board Botanical Alphabet Cards

“Great range of cards for all sends.” “They work well for birthdays as well as other events as they chime with the plant love trend.”

Adult ages

Sarah Thornton


“Designed and printed locally. We sell a lot for 30th, 40th and 50th.”

Male Cards

Filthy Soup


“They don’t depict football or golf!”


Joy Jen


“We do well with graphic and abstract art cards.”


Rosie Made a Thing

Gin & Frolics

“Customers come in specifically to buy them.”

Thinking of You

Jessica Hogarth Pavilion Prints

Generally Generally

“Both hit the spot for those personal sympathy/thinking of you messages.”

New baby

Dicky Bird


“The gender neutral green design is very popular.”


Ohh Deer


“Our most popular designs.”

Right: One of Diedododa’s Alphabet designs. Below right: Sarah Thornton’s Discoball designs gets sales spinning at Chirpy.

Gurdip and Bubbles Trehan, co-owners of Happy Families, Hagley. A popular medium sized card and gift shop in the centre of this large Worcestershire village in the West Midlands. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Woodmansterne Publications Ling Design


“The variety across the ranges and licensed brands is immense.” “Wonderful attention to detail.”

Berni Parker Designs

Ladies Who Lunch and more Paper Salad collaborations Framed

“Great for a woman-to-woman send.” “An inspired pairing of publishing talents.” “Stylish photographic humorous designs, shame it’s being discontinued.”

Paper Salad


Woodmansterne Publications

Quentin Blake

“Great colours, strong designs.” “Instantly recognisable.”

Adult Ages

Ling Design Woodmansterne Publications

Talking Pictures Generally

“The designs make the milestones special.”



Across the board

“Affordable luxury.”


Di Palomo Jellycat Apples & Pears Orchard Toys Orange Tree

Health and beauty Plush In a Tin Generally Generally

“Useable treats.” “Everybody loves them!” “Good price point, easy to give and send.” “Both very strong ranges.”


Emotional Rescue Woodmansterne Publications


Talking Pictures

Top: Wise words from Berni Parker! Above: Sweet smell of success from Di Palomo.



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Greettiing g Card C ds

Great brands, Great service Bespoke planning We can help with all your planning l i requir i ements. From smaller displays to redeveloping complete card departments

ww ww.passelllpublisshin m iinfo nfo o@ o @ passsel ellpu lpu u blis sshin hin ng n m @pas ublis

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

@NoelT Ta attGroup 01227 811 600

An exciting and innovative range of quality Birthday, Relations, Special Occasions, Handmade, Art and Humorous greeting cards. Full range of Christmas and Spring Seasons merchandise.

B rand N ames a Pizazz, Pizazz Gallery, G Pizazz Limited Edition, E Pizazz for Men, Doodle, D A of Nature, Whatt a Picture, Art Designers Corner Cloudesley House, Shire Hill, Saffron Walden,, CB11 3FB

T: 01799 520200 F: F: 01799 520100 www.nigelquiney.c w ww om

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

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

@ @paperlinkcards

Quality Greeting Cards 01423 876311


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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

Method of sale: Wholesale Distributors

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

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


The UK’s leading publisher of highest quality handmade Greetings Cards.

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



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

Products: Greetings cards for all occasions, Christmas and Spring Seasons. Spinners and other retail displays available.


PRODUCTS: World’s leading publisher of high quality plastic greeting cards. Also an extensive range of quality greeting cards covering Everyday, Occasions, Christmas and Spring seasons. BRANDS: Cherished Thoughts, Sweet Sentiments, Buddies Always, Symphony, Thinking of You, Style, Special Wishes, Special Times, Young Editions, Groove Sensations, Forever Blessed, Grey Skies, Classics. METHOD OF SALE: SENSATIONS – Direct to retail XPRESS YOURSELF – Now one of the leading wholesale publisher suppliers in the UK

Talking Pictures Cards Ltd 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent, TN12 6BE

Tel: 01892 838574

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Market Leaders in


& entimen

an extensive range of superior quality,

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

We offffer a COMPREHEN

range of high Greeting Cards f ALL Occasions,

CHRISTMAS an Season f Sale:

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

mail: inffoo@words-nWeb: www We

Tel: 01942 233201

or call our customer services team on

+44(0)1243 792600

Enquiries: or Tracey Arnaud

Enquiries: or Tracey Arnaud



Enquiries: or Tracey Arnaud MON,WED,FRI 8.00am-4.45pm TUES,THURS 8.00am-7.45pm SAT,SUN 8.00am-1.45pm



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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



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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

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



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All Industry Finishes Available In-House Including Laser Cutting

The Print Works Colville Road, Acton, London, W3 8BL


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E-mail: Tel: 020 8993 5160

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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

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


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Are you a Greetings s Cards Consignme signment Operator? Sal S les Agentt requ uir i ed for territory t it consisting of No orthamptonshire, Bedfordshire, e Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. Please email to register interest and detail your experience.

Are you looking for an exclusive range of Everyday & seasonal products to distribute? We’re expanding and looking to develop our network with the right calibre of people who share our passion for greetings s cards and are industry professionals.

Interested? Then we’d love to hear from you.

www w..wplg

Contact Jonathan Waterson on 07854 776 307


s seas

Please contact Deb or Sally on 01234 381214 3 or email





Showcasing fashionable neon fabrics, quirky designs and a colourful designer envelope, this beautiful range is sure to brighten up your day!


Contact our Customer Service team hello@secondnature | +44 (0) 1983 209 590 Or call your local Sales Consultant


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