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Show stopping Gift Wrapping designs from The Art File’s award winning design studio.

Five brand new gift packaging looks for the Spring/Summer 2020 season


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From The Editor

ON THE CARDS I enjoyed a really good cry the other week - and I wasn’t alone, many of you would have been blubbing at the same time I expect. It was listening to the former Arsenal and England footballer Ian Wright on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs explaining, tearfully, how it was his childhood teacher’s, Mr Pidgen, belief in him that gave him a sense of purpose that completely changed his life. Having ‘purpose’ seems to have been elevated in importance in the last year, but its meaning seems to have altered from the thrusting, dogged determination that used to be associated with the word to a much softer giving something back, being kinder to others and the environment type of feeling. In the last month, a few examples of how this is happening in our industry have really touched me and have made me want to be a better person. I had the good fortune to visit Tabi Marsh at her shop, Papilio at Heritage in Thornbury (Gloucestershire). What she is doing is incredible. The shop is one of the first to be Makaton accredited, meaning that all the staff can sign, enabling children with verbal communication problems (of which there are a disproportionally high number in that vicinity) to feel they belong. But what blew me away is her Junior Retail scheme, a whole training programme that she has created for 711 year-olds, that she has created to give them an early insight into the rudiments of business, as well as hopefully inspiring the next generation of retailers. What’s more, she has developed a website which hosts the wherewithal for other retailers to get on board and run similar schemes (See pages 50-51). It wasn’t quite an Ian Wright moment, but I did get the warm fuzzies when she said: “There are many great independent retailers out there, who I am sure would agree with me that if we want to safeguard the High Street for years to come we have to do our utmost to make it attractive and welcoming. Junior Retail gives us the potential to continue the legacy, one child at a time.” I have long-been a fan of card company James Ellis Stevens, and was so impressed by how it reworked its popular Shakies range to come up with its plastic-free THE HOME OF MARKET LEADING TRADE MAGAZINES



Above: Tabi Marsh (left), owner of Papilio at Heritage with PG’s Jakki Brown at the Thornbury shop. Below: (right) James Stevens, md of James Ellis Stevens at the recent Gift of the Year awards (which saw its Paper Shakies receive a Highly Commended award) with retailer Karen Ebers of Something Special, Edenbridge and PG’s Warren Lomax. Left: One of the Oliver Bonas cards given out for free.

incarnation, Paper Shakies. It was great talking to James Stevens, founder of the company at Top Drawer, and hearing how he had decided to commit to the ‘1% for the Planet’ global movement, whereby it is to donate 1% of its annual turnover to environmental projects. This is a big ask, as it is turnover, not profit. Louise Mulgrew, 1 Tree Cards and Wraptious are among the other companies who have ratcheted up on their ‘giving back’ with their various tree-planting projects, and they will not be the last. Finally, while giving away free cards may not sound like a financially sustainable initiative for a greeting card retailer, I really liked the sentiment behind Oliver Bonas’ activity to mark Random Acts of Kindness Day last month. The idea was that the little cards, with mottos such as ‘be kind’ and ‘kind people are my kinda people’ could either be kept as a personal pep up or paid forward to someone who would appreciate it. With all the scary stuff going on right now, it does make me feel good to be part of an industry that really does have a purpose for good.


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


curious world a new release of greeting cards designed by

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What’s Inside?



7-19 News


41-49 Focus On Giftwrappings The news, views, design trends and fresh launches from the current giftwrap market.

20-21 Over The Counter

Card Hearted


David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi in Scotland, believes the heartbeat of greeting cards is alive and well!

Retailer Face To Face

22-23 Cardsharp

A Firm Prediction - Just More Uncertainty Cardsharp muses over topical events happening in the industry.

Within This Issue


Focus On Giftwrap


Getting Underway Greeting card retailers reveal how 2020 is shaping up for them so far.


A Young Perspective Tabi Marsh, owner of Papilio at Heritage in Thornbury, shares her Junior Retail initiative, an innovative ‘young apprentice’ scheme.

53 Art Source 54-55 What’s Hot? 57-58 Jeremy’s Journal

Making A Stand Jeremy Corner of publisher Blue Eyed Sun discusses what to consider when booking and creating a trade stand at shows.

Trends & Inspirations 2020

Motion Pictures PG takes a look at some of the design trends that are in motion on cards in 2020.

33-39 Innovations

59-70 Classified 71 Appointments

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 maxsubscriptions@marketingreinforc or call 0207 700 6740.

Tracey Arnaud

Jakki Brown

Warren Lomax

Gale Astley

Ian Hyder

Editor/Joint Owner

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Deputy Editor

Joint Owner

Sales Manager

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

Copyright© 2020. 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: PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


14 additions to the best sellingJewels range Embossed with two foils

All cards are wrapped in a biodegradable bag

BUG ART Quality Greeting Cards Tel: 0115 929 4776

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Coronavirus’ Impact On Cards? Concerns about supply chain continue as virus spreads As PG went to press, the human costs of the Coronavirus were continuing to escalate spawning to Italy and Iran - while the uneasiness over the extent of the impact on the production of greeting cards, giftwrappings, calendars and giftware continues. With China producing an estimated 50% of all greeting cards in the UK (by volume), not surprisingly the Coronavirus and its impact on the greeting card and gift sector was a hot topic of conversation at Spring Fair, Paperworld in Frankfurt as well as among card retailers and publishers generally. “At it stands I feel there has been minimal impact - it is just like an extended holiday,” said Meera Santoro, co-owner of Santoro commenting a few weeks ago. “However it is difficult to remain calm amid all the scaremongering, as well as concern for the suppliers we have worked with for many years. This is an unprecedented situation. Thankfully for our sector, Wuhan [the epic centre of the virus] is an area not known for greeting card production.” As David Byk, ceo of Swan Mill Group (which includes Ling Design, GBCC and Penny Kennedy) highlights as Chinese New Year (when all the factories are shut) was early this year there was something of a time advantage. As he elucidated, “Mid April is the next crunch date for putting Christmas to bed.” While most of the Chinese factories the group works with are now operational, albeit some on a skeleton staff, David highlighted the key worry. “It is more logistical, involving the shipping of goods. However, thankfully the slight delays are falling at a time which is not crucial to our sector.” From a personal point of view however, David has cancelled his plans to visit China in March and April, partly as the jury is still out as to whether the

Canton Fair (due to take place in April) will go ahead at full strength. While Chris Bryan, general manager of Second Nature is relieved that the factories it works with in China are back up and running, he predicts there will be something of a “bun-fight” as suppliers of all industries fight for space on the shipping containers to the UK. “Our factories are, quite rightly, being very diligent, ensuring they have plenty of masks and making regular temperature checks of all workers. We are very relieved by this as their wellbeing is a top priority,” says Chris. Daniel Prince, managing director of Danilo, which produces some of its products in China, concurs with Chris over the logistical knock-on effects of the virus. “The shipping, freight and cargo schedules are, as to be expected, rather messed up and it will take time for everything to get back to normal - and suppliers will be caught in the crossfire,” explains Daniel. “Our last two shipments, which involved bespoke orders, have been delayed by a week each,” Daniel added. “We are very grateful for the understanding and patience being shown by our retail customers, aware that there is very little we can do.” Top: The worries over the Coronavirus have implications on the card trade. Above: Some safety precautions were put in place at the Spring Fair. Left: David Byk (right) with Chris Wilcox, md of GBCC, on the stand at Spring Fair.

John Lewis’ buying includes Waitrose Reflecting its recent ‘one company, two brands’ strategy, Sarah Moughtin has extended her card buying remit beyond the John Lewis & Partners department stores to include Waitrose stores too. “I am very excited to take on this pan-partnership opportunity,” Sarah told PG. While Woodmansterne Publications is the retail group’s card category partner for its department stores, Hallmark Cards is the partner for Waitrose stores. Above: Sarah Moughtin’s card buying remit now spans JL&P and Waitrose.

Camilla’s ‘Dayo’ to remember Dayo Williams, founder of handmade card publisher Dayo’s Cards, is ever ready to rise to the occasion to promote not just her cards, but the importance of celebrating diversity. She reached new heights a few weeks ago by making the most of a 10 minute one-to-one with Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall. As part of a visit to Brent, which is the 2020 London Borough City of Culture, the Duchess took a tour of The Granville in South Kilburn, a multi-use building with studio space for local businesses and enterprises, including Dayo’s Cards. “She was so lovely and was completely mesmerised by the different designs of the women I feature on my cards and how I reflect diversity by featuring the 19 different skin tones across the range,” Dayo told PG. “I was rather nervous beforehand and was unsure which leg to use to curtsey, but it was very special to have so much time with her and show her what I do,” added Dayo. Camilla was delighted to be presented with a boxed card that had been specially created for her by Dayo. Above: Dayo Williams (left), founder of Dayo’s Cards with The Duchess of Cornwall at their meeting in February. Above: The card Dayo Williams created especially for Camilla.



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Storming Success Or A Washout? Weather dampened Valentine’s Day sales for some cardies “Valentine’s was, quite literally, a complete washout,” summed up Paul Taylor, managing director of the Cardzone group, referring to the horrendous weather conditions which struck many parts of the UK in the run up to Valentine’s Day. “Footfall was down 15% in Valentine’s week and we ended up almost 10% down. It is very disappointing, some stores were woeful,” he admitted. As John Procter, managing director of Scribbler commented: “No retailer needed Valentine’s week to be bookended by storms Ciara and Dennis,” saying that the severity of the weather would have had a definite dampening effect on trade. “On the Saturday before Valentine’s Day in our Glasgow store we took a quarter of what we usually take on a normal Saturday. At best you can only think to be able to get half of those lost sales back.” That said, overall Scribbler actually ended 4% up like-for-like on sales for Valentine’s week. “One interesting shift was that we saw customers buying an everyday card instead of a specific Valentine’s Day design,” says John. While the weather did reduce footfall, with its four shops being in London, Postmark was not battered by floods like retailers in other areas of the UK. “Weather killed the weekend trade,” Mark Janson-Smith, md of Postmark

told PG. “Valentine’s trade was very, very late - I’ve never known a 14th like it, pushing us 20% up, so all gravy!” “Valentine’s got off to a good start - and ended with a bang!” said Timothy Melgund, deputy chairman of Paperchase. “The weather did affect sales, but we were happy to increase the average price paid. Valentine’s is the occasion that has changed the most over the years. It has gone from being a ‘nudge and a wink’ event to be more of a friendship sending occasion.” Accepting that the location of its six shops in the Home Counties meant it avoided a lot of the bad weather, Miles Robinson, co-owner of the House of Cards group was “very pleased” to end 5% up on its Valentine’s Day sales, its move to centralising its Valentine’s stock paying off. Above: Scribbler produced some cards which gave a donation to the CoppaFeel charity. Above: Better very late than never was Postmark’s verdict on Valentine’s Day.

A clutch of card retailers share their Valentine’s reports… l Meanwhile, despite the surrounding area being buffeted by flooding, according to owner Carl Dunne, co-owner of Cards & Gifts in Sheffield, saw “a 20% increase in sales of Valentine’s cards year-on-year. Cards from UK Greetings, IC&G, Words ‘n’ Wishes, Cherry Orchard and Hallmark all sold well. Cards to and from animals were a big hit.” l “The weather definitely did not help footfall, with many commuters working from home,” said Brent Milburn, owner of New Frames in London’s Soho told PG. “Despite this we achieved a 13% increase, selling out many ranges. Our best performing cards were from Bold and Bright, Dean Morris, Icon, Lagom, Ohh Deer, Paperlink, Punk Cards, Tache and The Art File.” l Yasmin Twist, card buyer for Gee Tee’s believes that “Valentine’s was quieter. This could well be due to the weather, but also the fact that half-term fell in the same week.” l Debbie and Jerry Above: Gee Tee’s added a Brown, owners of First sweet incentive to boost its Valentine’s Day sales. Class Greetings and Plum Green, Hadleigh, said that its “Valentine’s sales were up by 5%. Hopefully the rest of the Spring Seasons will follow suit.” l Penny Bailey, co-owner of Bailey’s in Ainsdale, Crosby and now Maghull: “In Valentine’s week our Ainsdale store was up almost 7% on cards across the board (on Valentine's and everyday) compared to the same week last year. We have no history to compare Crosby with but pleased that it did just over 1.8 times that of Ainsdale.” l Sarah Henderson, co-owner of 3 Wishes in Hampshire and Dorset was pretty happy with the trading for the first 2020 Spring Season event at its five shops. “Our Valentine's card sales, by volume, were almost exactly the same as the previous year,” said Sarah.

A green view Having made its presence felt in the wholesale sector with Out of the Blue Studios, the card publisher’s co-owners Clive Rubin and Peter Rawlingson have now turned their attentions to the DTR side with the launch of Into The Green Publishing, which has caring for the environment at its heart; with the new card publishing business debuted at the Spring Fair. “We founded Into the Green Publishing on the belief that great cards don’t have to cost the earth,” director Peter Rawlingson told PG. Elaborating, he explained that all the cards from the new company are “free from plastic, made from sustainable sourced board, fully recyclable, only using biodegradable glitter and both packed and shipped in paper packaging.” Pre-empting any issue over envelopes going astray in store, the publisher is including an extra two envelopes with every pack of six cards. The company has devised a suite of icons to relay its environmental pledges to retailers. The company’s three inaugural card collections - The Clayton’s Family, Fiesta and Motion span over 230 designs. Above: Into the Green Publishing/Out of the Blue Studios’ co-owners Clive Rubin (left) and Peter Rawlingson at the Spring Fair.

Thortful TV adverts Online card operator Thortful invested in its first TV, radio and online advertising campaign for several years to promote its Valentine’s Day collection. Having teamed up with audio visual company Redolution, Thortful took to the screen (pictured) and airwaves with various iterations to appeal to the romantics and dog lovers among us. The adverts were broadcast across Sky, C4 and ITV2, while the radio adverts are being aired on Heart FM across several regions including Sussex, Kent, Thames Valley and the West Country.



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NEWS WJB got ‘stuck in’


The Retas Deadline Approaches Entries and nominations flood in for The Retas 2020 The search is well underway to unearth the UK’s best greeting card retail stockists in The Retas 2020. The word ‘unearth’ is especially pertinent this year as the theme of The Retas awards event this year is ‘The Finery of Greenery’. The deadline for retailers to enter is Friday 20 March with a downloadable entry form hosted on The Retas website ( The only dedicated awards for greeting card retailers, winning a Retas trophy is recognised as a true accolade of retailing excellence in the sector, with Abacus, The Art File, Belly Button award categories covering indies through Designs, Danilo, Cath Tate Cards, Carte to multiple chains, department stores to Blanche Greetings, Hallmark, Ling Design, grocers and everything in between. Nigel Quiney Publications, Ohh Deer, While publishers, agents and reps are Paperlink, PG Live, Pigment, Second being canvassed for their nominations, Nature, Sensations, UK retailers are being actively Greetings, Wendy Jonesencouraged to enter their shops. Blackett and “So many greeting card retail Woodmansterne. stockists have pulled out the All Retas winners will be stops over the last year to survive Y FO RY TR e atte ds that celebrra arrd wa The only aw announced at a lovely and prosper in these challenging K ailing in the U etta d rre ard ng car Awards lunch and afternoon times. They deserve to be OUR SHOP NOW! YO ENTER Y event to be held on applauded,” states Warren Lomax, Wednesday July 8 in the joint md of Max Publishing, who Ballroom of the Grosvenor owns and organises The Retas. House Hotel. Book your In addition to the retail ard ar wa asaw eta et ww.therre www ww ticket online via Maxcategories, there is also an award or contact awards manager for Best Retail Employee, for those special Clare Hollick, director of members of staff who have gone the extra Createvents/Keystone mile, as well as Best Retail Initiative, which Communications on 01733 is for a specific promotion or piece of 294524/07769 905959 or activity that a card retailer has undertaken in the last year. The stature of The Retas has attracted Top: The Retas entry form which is in keeping with The Finery of Greenery theme of the awards event this year. an impressive line-up of sponsors, each The artwork was generously given by publisher wishing to pledge their support for these Paperwhale Cards & Paper Goods. Above: The 2019 winners and organisers on stage at last important awards. These currently include year’s Frida Kahlo-themed Retas.

The creation of Wendy Jones-Blackett’s recent Evergreen range launch involved some kitchen action. The eco-luxury range of hand-finished designs, which debuted at the recent Spring Fair, uses recycled materials, biodegradable glitter and a special homemade plant-based glue that is made fresh every day in the publisher’s kitchen. “The way we approach designing cards now is changing,” says Wendy JonesBlackett, who coowns the company with her husband Steve. “We’ve always been mindful of waste and our carbon footprint but we’re now having to look more closely at the materials we use, where they come from and what will ultimately happen to the product when it reaches the end of its shelf life.” Wendy and the team at the publisher’s offices in Chapel Allerton, Leeds, spent time researching plastic-free glues and came to the conclusion that there was nothing on the market which suited their needs, so they made their own. “I can reveal that it most definitely is plant-based!” stated Wendy. Above: The new Evergreen range is being marketed as eco-luxury by Wendy Jones-Blackett. by Paperwhale www.paperwhale Illustrations generously donated

m This year, greeting card retailers fro th the UK are invited to self-nominate for The Retas 2020. etas Don’t be shy about entering! The R ta a great opportunity for you as a re and your shop(s) and staff recognised


‘Leaf-ing’ it to Paperwhale creator Tapping into the growing trend for pot plants and all things botanical, the theme of this year’s Retas greeting card retail awards event is ‘The Finery of Greenery’. Lianne Harrison, the founder and talented creative director of Paperwhale Cards & Paper Goods is “absolutely delighted” to provide the visual branding for the event. “I love visiting botanical gardens and greenhouses, and I'm passionate about plants - I have a growing indoor plant collection that fills my home and studio with greenery,” reveals Lianne. The Retas livery draws on imagery from Paperwhale’s Botanics Collection of greeting cards which features an array of house plants. Above: Lianne Harrison’s love of nature has fuelled her designs for greeting cards. Right: A design from Paperwhale’s Botanics card collection.

A CBG bon voyage Amanda and Mick Lockwood, coowners Cards R Us in South Woodham Ferrers, are now £1,000 better off being the lucky winners of the Carte Blanche prize that marked the finale of the Cardgains’ Prize Draw Bonanza to mark the buying group’s 30th anniversary in 2019. Commenting, Amanda told PG: “What a surprise it was to receive the phone call about our win!” The Retas-award winning retailer said that she and Mick had been wanting to go on holiday after the Christmas rush “so now the holiday is booked with the money and we are off next week... can't wait!” Top: Cards ‘R’ Us’ co-owner Amanda Lockwood outside the South Woodham Ferrers’ shop with her big cheque from Carte Blanche. Above: Spring Fair marked the launch of a completely overhauled Me to You gift collection from Carte Blanche Greetings.



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Retailers Store-ing Up Scribbler, Paperchase, Between The Lines and Utility open new stores Providing a positive antidote to the doommongering about the retail sector, sizeable greeting card stockists Scribbler, Paperchase, Between the Lines and Utility have all revealed their plans to open more stores this year. “We are definitely looking to open more stores this year,” John Procter, cofounder of Scribbler told PG. “Although our plans to expand seem to be going against the tide somewhat, there are some very tempting deals out there that you would never have dreamt of three years ago. And if business rates go down then it makes it even more attractive.” The retail group, which trades from 36 stores, opened a new store in Leeds, its largest to date, last November.

“Our new Leeds store has taken off like a rocket!” states John. Timothy Melgund, deputy chairman of Paperchase confirmed it too is on the expansion trail. “We have just re-opened in Henley and I would like to think we will open around 10 new stores this year.” Florian Kleinlercher, managing director of Between The Lines confirmed its plans to open three new

stores this year, saying the turning point in confidence was the General Election. “Once the General Election was out of the way, people began spending again,” said Florian, who heads up the 15-store group with his wife Lindsey and daughter Ellie. As to the new shops, he revealed that there are two locations earmarked in the South East of England, with a third shop planned for later in the year. Florian add: “It’s full-steam ahead! We are looking forward to this year with a renewed confidence!” Meanwhile, lifestyle retailer Utility is also on the move upwards store-wise. Having opened its first store in Manchester last year, it is now to open another one in the same city. “It’s very exciting! We're opening a second Manchester store in late spring,” revealed Steph Lloyd, retail buyer of Utility, which is doing a roaring trade with greeting cards in its two Liverpool stores. “Card sales have had a great start this year - we’re currently 33% up on the same period last year.”

Oliver Bonas’ random acts of kindness Last month saw lifestyle retailer Oliver Bonas gave away free greeting cards as part of its commitment to being kind. To mark Random Acts of Kindness Day (which fell on February 17), the staff in Oliver Bonas’ 80+ stores were intent on giving away loads of special little cards to customers. Above: Tying-in with While one of the five card designs featured the retailer’s motto of ‘Work hard, Random Acts of play hard & be kind’, others stated ‘it’s cool to be kind’, ‘be kind’, ‘kindness is cool’ Kindness Day, Oliver Bonas gave and ‘kind people are my kinda people.’ customers free little As Oliver Bonas’ owner Olly Tress revealed at the last GCA AGM and cards to cheer them Conference, the multiple’s greeting card sales increased by 11% over the year up or to pass on to others. (amounting to some 1.5 million cards). ‘We want to encourage you to be kind, if you are given a card keep it for yourself as a reminder or pay it forward and give it to someone else to make their day’ was Oliver Bonas’ message to customers. As an extra incentive to spread the kindness, the activity also included a competition which offered five customers the chance of winning a £50 Oliver Bonas gift card just by taking a snap of the kindness card and sharing it on Instagram by tagging @oliverbonas. In his speech at the GCA AGM Olly explained that the ‘purpose’ of the retail business is crystalised in part of the quote from Hans Christian Andersen: “Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”

Dragons Are All Fired Up Joe Guest, senior buyer of Paperchase; Paul Taylor, owner of Cardzone; Siobhain Watkins, assistant buyer of Oliver Bonas; Sarah Moughtin, assistant buyer of John Lewis and Waitrose; Carly Pearson, card buyer of Sainsbury’s; Andrew Webb and Aisling Crosland of Scribbler; Stephen McHale, coowner of Bentleys; Miles Robinson, co-owner of House of Cards; Hazel Small, gift buyer of RHS and Sarah Crees, buyer of Garsons Garden Centre are among the 18 greeting card retailers who are committing to be ‘dragons’ at the GCA’s Speed-dating with Dragons event on March 16 at London’s Business Design Centre. The highly anticipated event will see 72 publishers make a series of quickfire pitches to the dragons, having the opportunity to make three pitches, one to a multiple buyer, one to a small group and one to an indie over the course of the afternoon. The afternoon will also include a panel discussion with Ged Mace, md of The Art File; Daniel Prince, md of Danilo; Chris Bryan, general manager of Second Nature and Brett Smith, managing director of Emotional Rescue sharing their expertise across a number of salient topics. Above: Among the ‘Dragons’ at the imminent GCA pitching event are (left-right) Sarah Moughton (JLP), Sarah Laker (Marple Stationery Supplies), Hazel Small (RHS) and Sarah Crees (Garsons).

PG Live 2020 pow-wow With just over three months to go, plans for the 2020 PG Live (June 2 and 3) are taking shape. Ensuring that exhibitors are ‘in the know’, a meeting is taking place on the morning of Monday 16 March, the same day and venue as the ‘Dragons’ event (which happens in the afternoon), London’s Business Design Centre, the home of the show. “The meeting is a great chance for all new exhibitors to find out more about the nuts and bolts of PG Live,” says Jacqui Parr, marketing manager of PG Live. “We will cover marketing, setting up, logistics and what sets the show apart etc. It’s a brilliant chance for exhibitors to ask those niggly little questions!” Registrations are mounting for PG Live 2020. Retailers are encouraged to visit register. Above: PG Live 2020 exhibitors will have the chance for their cards to feature on the meeters and greeters dresses for this year’s show.















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Cherry Orchard Gives To Indies Publisher kicks-off its 25th anniversary with retailer giveaways Some 16 of Cherry Orchard Publishing’s indie customers have benefitted from a bonus surprise recently, from the publisher’s Deal or No Deal voucher bonanza giveaway as well as from its Down Memory Lane Draw. Both promotions form part of the celebrations for the company’s 25th anniversary. The Deal or No Deal initiative saw vouchers worth between £500 and 1p hidden in sealed boxes given to retailers placing orders £500+ on its stand at the Spring Fair. Among the winners are Humbugs/The Card Shop (Leighton Buzzard), Inspirations (Ulverston), Harpers & Co (Darlington), Madhouse Cards (Nottingham), Surrey Homewares (Walton On Thames), The Card Hall (Maidstone), Paddock Wood Cards (Paddock Wood), Fitch’s (Sheerness), Cards & Gifts (Sheffield), The Card Shop (Pontefract), Terry’s (Wigan) and Hallmark To the Moon and Back (Tynemouth). The four winners of its Down Memory Lane Draw, each of which won a £250 prize, have been revealed as Costumes & Cards (Wallsend, Newcastle), S.W.A.L.K Greeting Cards & Gifts (Sheerness, Kent), Paydens (Oxted) and Grove Road Cards in Eastbourne.

In addition, Cherry Orchard’s giving nature has also extended to the animal kingdom. The publisher’s creative director Beverley Fisher’s created an original drawing of a koala that was framed and raffled at the Spring Fair to support the WWF Bushfire Emergency Fund, raising almost £700 for the charity. The lucky winner was Sandra Handley of Madhouse Cards in Nottingham. It was a double win for Sandra as she also won £75 in Cherry Orchard’s Deal No Deal bonanza. Commenting, Sandra told PG: “I was over the moon to receive the phone call on my birthday to say I had won the koala picture. It arrives next week and will be given pride of place in my home.” She also paid tribute to Cherry Orchard: “As a company they do so much to show they appreciate our custom. Added to that, they publish some fantastic products. I have ordered all the new ranges as feel they are the best I have ever seen.” Top: Jackie Collins, md and owner of Cherry Orchard Publishing, with a 25th anniversary cake that she was presented with from Carl Dunne (centre) and Oliver Guise-Smith of Cards & Gifts, Sheffield at the recent Spring Fair. Above: Madhouse Cards’ Sandra Handley was presented with her special raffle prize by Andy Turner, Cherry Orchard’s area sales manager for the Midlands area.

A grand prize from Woody “I had never won anything in my life, until I answered the phone yesterday at noon that is,” Alison Rickards, co-owner of independent card and gift shop, Present Company in Wimborne, Dorset told PG. “I was amazed and delighted to be told that we were the lucky winners of the Woodmansterne Spring Fair Prize Draw which means we now have £1,000 to spend on Five Star Day treats, which is lovely.” Woodmansterne offered all of its retailer customers the chance to be entered into the draw including it as part of its invitation to the Spring Fair. Retailers just needed to complete their details and pop the invitation into a box on the Woodmansterne stand at Spring Fair. While Alison is certain that her husband Stuart will be eyeing up “the crazy adrenaline experiences” on offer, she is also hoping this can be combined with a relaxing stay in a lavish hotel. “This year we will be marking the 20th anniversary since we opened in Wimborne and have been dealing with Woodmansterne since the start. It is a great company that just continues to come up with lovely ranges,” says Alison. Above: Seth Woodmansterne, managing director incumbent of Woodmansterne Publications, with a box full of entries to its Spring Fair prize draw.

Next’s Eco-Hook-Up High street retailer, Next has led the way in adopting Loxleys’ plastic-free Eco-Hook for displaying greeting cards in its stores. The new all-board hook made its debut in Next stores on some Hotchpotch greeting cards last month. Sheffield-based greeting card printer Loxleys developed the Eco-Hook - an all-board integrated alternative to a plastic euro-hook - as part of its ongoing mission to come up with solutions to reduce the environmental impact of greeting cards. Above: The first four Hotchpotch card designs that are featuring the new copyrighted EcoHook in Next stores.

Guardian for greeting cards The UK greeting card industry received a welcome ‘love note’ on 13 February in the form of a two-page article that appeared in The Guardian newspaper as well as on its online news site. Written by journalist Amelia Tait, the article, entitled ‘Lots of Love’ in the newspaper and ‘Enduring love: how greeting cards are surviving the smartphone’ online, made an engaging read into the business and the human side of the industry. ‘The British have been sending cards since Victorian times - and still send more per head than any other nation. But can their popularity see off the threat of constant texts and emojis?’ began Amelia’s piece. Having been persuaded by Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA to attend the Spring Fair, Amelia made the most of her day at the show, interviewing not only Belly Button’s Rachel Hare, but also Paul Woodmansterne (md of Woodmansterne), Paul Taylor (md of Cardzone), Rosie Tate (director of Cath Tate Cards), Lucy Creed (founder of Poet & Painter), Daniel Prince (md of Danilo), Dominique Miranda (director of Lanther Black) as well as Amanda. The broad reaching article covers the industry’s long heritage as well as its evolution, current issues and developments, such as how it is rising to environmental and societal challenges. Above: Journalist Amelia Tait (centre) with Cardzone’s Paul Taylor and the GCA’s Amanda Fergusson.



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NEWS TOP STORY Below: Paw Play is one of Quitting Hollywood’s most popular ranges.

A Funny Turn Second Nature to distribute Quitting Hollywood Second Nature is to take on the distribution of Quitting Hollywood’s greeting cards into the independent sector from April 1. This supercedes the arrangement Quitting Hollywood has had in place with Words ‘n’ Wishes for the last two years, which ended on January 31. Second Nature is delighted to be adding a curated collection of Quitting Hollywood humorous designs to its portfolio. “In the early days of Second Nature it was known as a humour company, but our evolution has taken us in other directions,” Chris Bryan, general manager of Second Nature told PG. “It is good to be working with Quitting Hollywood, very much a specialist in the humour area, offering a strong line-up of humorous designs that draws on its empirical sales data and expertise. It will add to the potent mix of products our salesforce is able to offer to our independent customers.” The new set up works well for Quitting Hollywood. “I have the utmost respect for Rod Brown [joint md of Words ‘n’ Wishes] and his team, but am also excited by the new arrangement with Second Nature.

We were determined to continue to support the independent sector with our products and feel Second Nature will be a great partner in enabling us to do this,” said Richard Edmondson, commercial director of Quitting Hollywood. The new arrangement with Second Nature came about as a result of Words ‘n’ Wishes agreeing amicably with Quitting Hollywood to terminate the distribution agreement at the end of September. As Rod Brown, joint managing of Words ‘n’ Wishes explained: “We very much remain friends with QH. It just wasn’t in the interests of either party for us to continue the arrangement, but I am glad it has a new home at Second Nature.” The 14 members of Second Nature’s independent sales team will be offering 120+ designs from Quitting Hollywood’s most popular collections such as Paw Play and Twisty as well as the core QH ranges, covering everyday as well as some relations and occasions designs. Quitting Hollywood will continue to supply multiple retailers and export customers direct.

Kim Kardashian’s 160m Instagram followers see Rumble’s wrap Rumble Cards received something of an unexpected PR boost when Kim Kardashian took to Instagram to share her delight in receiving Valentine’s Day gifts wrapped in the publisher’s paper that features her rapper hubby Kayne West’s face with her 160 million followers. “How cute is this wrapping paper,” exclaimed Kim in the video she posted on Instagram covering the Valentine’s gifts she received from family and friends. The wrap, featuring the distinctive graphical design by Jess Howell, founder of Rumble, depicts Kayne West in quirky glasses surrounded by floating hearts. And what’s more, the hugely popular Daily Mail online site (which attracts millions of views every day) also featured an extensive story, as did the ITV programme Loose Women, including many pictures and embedding the video of Kim’s reaction to the giftwrap from the East London-based publisher. Jess admits that she had clocked that an online order was placed for the wrapping paper, part of her Celebrity range, by Khloe Kardashian (Kim’s sister), but did not expect the purchase to result in such prominent exposure. Above: The Rumble paper on the Valentine’s Day gift Khloe Kardashian gave to her sister. Right: Kim Kardashian and her sister Khloe who bought the Kayne West giftwrap from the Rumble online shop.

The Spring Fair saw the greeting card industry christen its new Hall 2 ‘home’ in style… Right: Paper Salad had a fab new stand as part of the publisher’s 15th anniversary celebrations. A special birthday cake, featuring the co-founders Karen Wilson (right) and Claire Williams collecting a Henries award at the October event.

Left: There was many an emotional moment on the Really Good stand as founder David Hicks and general manager Lisa Shoesmith started the countdown to closing down the business. Right: There was a fresh new ‘minty’ flavour on Mint Publishing’s stand as it unveiled its new branding and anewed focus on humour ranges. Company co-owner Debbie Williams (second right) with colleagues (right-left) Anita Dragicevic, Karen Kane and Sophie Bylina. Left: Sue Ryder’s Liv Moffat (front) was delighted to accept a cheque for £16,000 for the charity as a result of Cardgains’ charity activities last year. Members of the buying team were joined by many of the publishers and retailers who participated in the Almscliffe Anniversary Amble. Right: Enveco drew on cardie chums to decorate the ‘blank canvas’ next to its stand, with publishers rising to the challenge to be creative. (Left-right) Enveco’s owner Piyush Shah, office manager Stacey Lee and sales director John Jones. Left: Sophie Timmermans of Timmermans Garden Centre was the Wednesday winner of the Abacus’ Golden Ticket prize draw, which saw managing director Nick Carey present her with a bottle of champagne.

NEWS IN BRIEF l UK Greetings (UKG) has been awarded an inaugural John Lewis & Partners Supplier of the Year award. The Dewsbury-based greeting card and giftwrappings business beat 19 other companies to win the Small Supplier of the Year Award. Above: UKG’s James McIntosh, Jonathan Glover, Demi Watson and Alex Forster were delighted to collect the award from JL&P.

l Experienced industry exec, Martin Parks (right), has joined The Art File as its operations manager.




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NEWS James Ellis’ green giving


A Sustained Effort Carousel Calendars and Danilo’s eco working group Carousel Calendars and Danilo are to collaborate on a long-term sustainability programme to improve the environmental practice within the calendar sector. These two UK leading calendar publishers, together with other key partners, including retailer Calendar Club and Avonside Publishing, have joined forces to create an informal working group who will share product development and packaging ideas to help reduce the industry’s overall environmental impact. The key areas the working group have already earmarked to confront include: l Finding plastic-free packaging solutions for calendars. l Removing all plastic components in products. l Removing single-use plastics in the supply chain. l Discovering alternatives for nonrecyclable product elements, such as laminated covers and plastic-coated wire. “We are delighted with the support and cooperation we have received from our industry partners,” stated Steve Plackett, managing director of Carousel Calendars, part of the same group that owns leading calendar retailer, Calendar Club. “We all have a responsibility to understand the environmental impact of our business operations and to actively seek ways to measure and mitigate these impacts.” Adding his commitment to this progression on the environmental front, Daniel Prince, managing director of Danilo told PG: “The formation of this working group is a positive step in our sector’s progress and protection.” He added that “by committing to sharing ideas, we can work together to address concerns and develop

comprehensive sustainable practices across the industry.” Danilo has already taken several steps forward on the environmental front and is well underway with trials with its trade suppliers to further improve its products eco-credentials for its 2021 dated products. Meanwhile, Carousel Calendars’ Spring Fair stand and current product catalogue gave prominence to its pledge to improve its environmental footprint. The Exeterbased calendar company, which offered seven wall calendar titles with plastic-free packaging for 2020, is increasing this to 200 products in its 2021 collection. As part of the Otter House Group (which also includes Calendar Club and Otter House), Carousel Calendars is part of the group’s series of eco-targets which come under its Zest project. Top: Carousel Calendars has formed a sustainability working party with Danilo. Above: Danilo’s Daniel Prince. Below: Carousel Calendars’ head of licensing, Martin Rees-Davies on the Spring Fair stand.

A German flavour There is only 1% of nakedness (on cards) in the German card market, but it’s evidently on the up, as evidenced by Frankfurt’s Paperworld exhibition. Some 84,000 visitors flocked to Messe Frankfurt to visit the trio of trade shows, Paperworld, Christmasworld and Creativeworld, including some familiar faces from UK shores.

Greeting card publisher James Ellis Stevens has committed to giving 1% of its turnover to environmental causes. The Bristol-based business pledged its support to the ‘1% for the Planet’ global movement last month, joining respected brands such as Patagonia, Pukka and Caudalie in donating £1 from every £100 order it receives to the cause. “We've been producing greeting cards and stationery since 1997 and we feel that it is time we started to take responsibility for the impact on the environment that our business has made,” explained James Stevens, md and founder of the business. The first project to be funded by James Ellis involves a donation to Avon Needs Trees, a charity set up to buy and reforest land in the publisher’s local Bristol-Avon catchment area.

Windles’ Worldly Goods Specialist greeting card printer, Windles, has forged an alliance with environmental charity, World Land Trust and is now offering four boards that are officially ‘carbon balanced’. Publishers using these boards also have the opportunity of featuring the World Land Trust logo on the rear of these cards. Impress Publishing, the charity card publishing sibling to Noel Tatt, is the first card publisher to pledge its participation in the World Land Trust’s Carbon Balanced programme through Windles. “Our mission is to continue to make a real difference on the environmental front. Our pledge to World Land Trust is very much part of this,” explains Michelle Mills, business development and marketing manager of Windles. The Windles’ offer of carbon balancing with World Land Trust endorsement is currently available on Antalis’ Incada Silk onesided coated board (on 260gsm and 280gsm weights), plus also on Fedrigoni’s Brampton Mono Stucco and Old Mill Stucco boards. Above: Participating publishers will be able to print the World Land Trust logo on the backs of greeting cards using the accredited boards. Below: Some of the Windles team (including Michelle Mills, third from left) outside its state-ofthe-art printing facility in Thame, which is applauded for its environmental credentials.

Left: Now part of the Exacompta Clairefontaine group, Eurowrap featured the Clairefontaine logo on its stand for the first time. Eurowrap’s managing director Martin Bramley (right) and sales manager Selwyn Burton manager (left) with PG’s Warren Lomax.



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Valentine’s Day came early for the card and gift world with the publishing of an article in The Guardian newspaper on 13 February. The article, the online version of which was titled ‘Enduring Love: how greetings cards are surviving the smartphone era’ was a rare thing. It was an article that encompassed all aspects of our industry with lots of accurate reporting. It also spoke about the category in detail rarely given in the mainstream press and was very balanced with a real grasp on a lot of points that face us modern day card retailers. Please read it if possible before you carry on with this column, and just like that article, this column covers a lot of different strands, but with greeting cards at their heart. The GCA has done fabulous job of deflecting negativity that has been swarming around our card category. Amanda Ferguson, the association’s ceo went on a one-woman campaign in November and December, powering through a huge amount of interviews defending card retailers of all sizes and encouraging card sending. So impressed was I that I have joined the GCA, which we can do as a small retailer for just £12 a year. For me this is a worthwhile spend to support our industry and, in truth, I should have done it before now. I urge you to consider this. Amanda’s media tour was against the backdrop of the failure of Clintons and the drop in Card Factory’s shares – it’s possible The Guardian’s article could simply have

Card Hearted Independent card and gift retailer, David Robertson, coowner of JP Pozzi in Scotland, believes that the heartbeat of greeting cards are alive and well!

descended into a slating of greeting cards. It didn’t, and perhaps that is what was the most refreshing. What it did do was speak to some of the most relevant people in our industry. A fantastic publisher who has been there and done it consistently for years (25 years to be exact) - Rachel Hare of Belly Button; Cath Tate, who has pushed female rights in a way that was subtle yet highly effective on cards; Aisling Crossland, head designer of Scribbler - a retailer who has created a look and style to its stores, which personally I love in terms of the different product it brings and the way that it presents it; Paul Taylor, of whom I have had first-hand experience of his love for cards and who is backing this by expanding his operation, both in terms of opening new stores and the publishers he is supporting; Paul Woodmansterne, md of Woodmansterne who has long-been an innovator and has never been scared to rip up what he was doing and do something else instead if he believes that this is where the card category needs to go; and Laura Above: The beating heart of cards remains strong. Above right: The American high-end card chain, Papyrus, has filed for bankruptcy. Left: The Guardian’s recent article about greeting cards was well-researched and written, incorporating many views from the industry.



Sherratt, who, along with many others, is moving away from using plastic and pushing the fact that cards on the whole are a sustainable/recyclable purchase. When have you ever seen an article reference such a diversity of people from our industry? I certainly can’t recall that ever in the mainstream press and I have to confess to a pride in the way that all of the above got their points over. As with any good article it created for me a number of talking points. The death of high street card retailers In my opinion this is a red, or perhaps burnt orange, herring.

Clintons was being poorly run. It had historically overpaid rents for buildings and there were many issues within the business, just as there were with Papyrus in the States. To my mind Clintons’ stores right now are not particularly inspiring and the gifting is poor, and it operates in that middleground where you are most at risk as a retailer. It is not a niche player nor a discount destination. I personally was more disappointed to hear of the loss of Papyrus, Jolie Papier, Niquead, as for me the product was at the forefront of high-end card innovation.

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OVER THE COUNTER Papyrus had gone on a rapid store expansion, which clashed with the ‘Great American Banking Recession’, and it simply could not renegotiate leases with landlords or suppliers to meet some of its costs so it had been limping along for sometime. Put simply, both could not generate the sales to justify their locations and running costs. They were still selling cards and people were still buying them but their debt and day to day costs were too much of a burden to bear. Let me say that again, PEOPLE WERE STILL BUYING CARDS! In many respects nothing had changed from when Clintons first went bust in 2012. The then analysts said it was as much a victim of its own hubris, with owner Don Lewin believing his position in the industry was watertight and the British public would always send cards. He was right about one part of that. As retailers we are also now facing a wave of every type of store adding cards to its mix as they are cheap to stock and a high profit money-spinner. So, if anything, we face further real competition from bricks and mortar stores of all kinds. So card sending is not dead, it is evolving. The usual questions are asked - Do young people send cards? Is social media killing the physical card? Both of these questions are not a reflection, I feel, on actual card sending. They are lazy arguments, and I think in some respects social media is boosting card sales in the younger demographic. Look at Valentine’s Day for instance, I was bombarded with Thortful ads - fun and cheeky cards - and after viewing them daily for weeks I succumbed to buying these for Valentine’s along with a few from my own stores. My own customer demographic will accept a certain level of humour, minus swearing, so I understand that I may not attract the Generation Z or Love Island crew, but, as with many retailers, I like certain publishers’ product but I just can’t sell their cards in my stores. The Valentine’s cards I ordered from Thortful arrived within two days in a nice box but in truth the cards’ board was poor, the envelopes were not great and they paled into insignificance to the ones I had in store from all the publishers I buy from. I can see how Thortful does well though, and actually I can see how it is

good for the industry overall as it gets young people sending cards that are relevant to them. In some ways Scribbler does this, but with only 40 stores and such a niche market it can only reach so many physical sales. Its website is on the 4th page of Google Search, so it is not the first or easiest to find if you are not aware of the company. That said, its website is great when you get to it and it is price matching the offers of many of the online only players, so it is a real option. Card designs are all about fashion. And Thortful and others of this ilk are really just the ‘fast fashion’ of the card world, and in reality they will perhaps come and go. The Guardian article touched on card design and the importance of wording, which is still a huge driver for a lot of card purchases. My mum has said for 33 years that there are three types of card buyer - those that look at the front; those that study the words; and those who look at the price on the back! And I still think she is right! This article was born from my visit to Spring Fair, and this year it was all about sustainable goods, up-cycled products and a reduction of waste. Sadly, the show still had plastic lanyards, which the Scottish Show, PG Live and Top Drawer have done away with, but I am sure that this will be rectified for next year. The card hall at Spring Fair was better laid out - the publishers got more bang for their buck and many of them impressed with incredible trade stands and product. The show provided a good backdrop for The Guardian piece. The final thread in the article was of people cherishing cards. To me this is very true. I hold on to cards from significant birthdays, from my recent wedding and from those who wrote to me on the passing of my dad, which is exactly a year to the day that I write this. I speak all the time about the feeling of seeing someone’s handwriting in a card, of imagining them actually thinking or speaking

Left: This Cinnamon Aitch Framed design shares the sentiment - ‘Bee Happy’. Below left: Card publisher, Native21’s designs are appealing to young card buyers. Below: Keeping the card industry alive, the Valentine’s cards that David and his lovely new wife recently gave each other, nine in total!

the words or the thought that went into the card and its image or message. Sadly, today the terrible news of Caroline Flack taking her own life broke. The Guardian article wrote that one of the huge growth areas is in the young (and I would argue all ages) sending a card to simply cheer someone up. It touched on the Samaritans’ cards from Moonpig, it touched on sentiment such as ‘Just be your beautiful self’, or insect images with the phrase ‘Bee Kind’. Those words ring with Caroline Flack’s social media post: ‘In a world where you can be anything, be kind.’ I know that I have reached out to friends I haven’t heard from in a while. I have tried to mend a few fences today because life is too short. A card can be anything you want it to be: funny, sad, congratulatory, an apology, but most importantly it is a connection. It is a connection that allows you to say something to that person. The weight on us all to live up to social pressures and make our businesses work is huge but let’s all try to look after each other. Let’s be better at vocalising. And with 84%

of cards still bought by women, I challenge all the men to send a card to someone to let them know they are thinking of them. I did this today to a friend whose son has cancer. I loved the phrase in The Guardian article that we are ‘a nation of envelope lickers’! Long may this continue, but let’s not just use our tongues to do this. Let’s use them to speak to people and reach out to them and let them know we are there. Bee Kind… always. To contact David email: PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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A Firm Prediction-

Just More

Uncertainty So, contemplated Cardsharp, the first two months of the new year have already come and gone, and what have we in the greeting card industry really discovered about 2020? Cardsharp has no simple answers. Nothing really that is a definitive. We, in the industry, are aware of a lot more about potential challenges, but we are fishing in the dark trying to find solutions.

To Cardsharp’s mind never have we as an industry been faced with so many challenges. And in so many different directions! It is not that our business is in a bad way, far from it. We are in a far better situation than most retail categories. But it is more of a question of where we turn to first, and when or how do we approach these challenges? And this all comes on the back of a rather confusing Christmas. In the face of some gloomy retail figures overall, festive trading was good for some, poorer for others. Christmas boxes sales were down for some, but remarkably, at the top end of the market, actually up. It was certainly not a record breaker, but given Brexit and election uncertainty (until 12 December) it was certainly not the Armageddon some had expected. And what do we make of Valentine’s Day? The perceived wisdom



of the last few years is that Valentine’s was in a longterm decline. Millennials and Generation Zs (those under 24 years of age) were supposedly eschewing sending Valentine’s cards in favour of social media, texting and twitter. But although it will be another year before the GCA gathers the official figures, anecdotal evidence would seem to indicate that, despite horrendous weather conditions, it was not that bad overall. True, it was later than ever, just like Christmas, but some indies and chains were pleasantly surprised (John Lewis was 9% up, Scribbler 5%, House of Cards 5%) while others who were brutally storm and flooded effected, were less than happy. Once again, just like with Christmas, the picture has no clear consensus. And then there were the early year trade exhibitions. Top Drawer, in January in London, seems to be attracting more

Above: Will the Coronavirus in the Far East affect the card industry? Below: There were storms and floods last month, but people still bought Valentine’s cards.

and more of the top end overseas greeting card buyers, and, of course, top end Home Counties retail buyers. And if you are an aspiring greeting card publisher looking to expand the show can work really well. But on talking to many greeting card exhibitors, the problem for some greeting card exhibitors is once you reach a certain level of turnover and distribution you become a little invisible. The typical Top Drawer buyer is generally not interested in established companies and wants to ‘discover’ something new and exclusive. And as for this year’s Spring Fair at Birmingham’s NEC, the move to the smaller, less connected, Hall 2 was not a totally positive one. You can’t blame the

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show for a drop in footfall, it is a way of the world. The days of the whole greeting card industry completely filling the whole of Hall 5, the largest Hall at the Spring Fair, with multi-decker stands, have long gone. Cardsharp remembers back to 1997 when Hallmark not only had a triple purple decker ‘monument’, but a football pitch sized space around it at the entrance, which will have cost £hundreds of thousands. There were still some great greeting card publisher stands, certainly near the front of Hall 2, that really captured the attention of the buyers and were busy with a real buzz. Cardsharp was amazed at the stand presentations by the likes of Woodmansterne, The Art File, Wendy JonesBlackett, Paper Salad, Belly Button, Rachel Ellen, Five Dollar Shake, Tache/Louise Tiler, Mint group and Hearts Designs. Cardsharp also knows that for some other exhibitors, Spring Fair was not so great. Being a newish greeting card publisher, stuck at the back extreme right of a quiet hall, with a stand with very little footfall for five whole days with all the accrued costs and not many of the benefits, can be a dispiriting experience, but just one overseas distributor, agent, artist or regional chain could have changed fortunes.

And, as Cardsharp pens this, most retailers will be waiting to see if the Budget gives them any respite from the whole completely iniquitous business rates system that penalises bricks and mortars retailers to the huge low tax paying internet retailers. As Cardsharp pens this there is a rumour that the new Chancellor will introduce some kind of land tax that equalises some of the divisions, but Cardsharp won’t hold his breath. Reading beneath the headlines it would seem that if there is any progress in this area it will be subject to a long-term review. Cardsharp heard the chief executive of the successful Shoe Zone chain suggest on

Above: Extortionate business rates are adding to the problems of shops on the high streets. Below: Millennials and Generation Zs were sending Valentine’s cards in favour of social media, texting and twitter. Card designs from (from left to right): Wendy Jones Blackett, Cinnamon Aitch and The Curious Inksmith (Ling).

the radio a really simple and effective solution. Forget the idea of a digital sales tax on the big American giants, and just simply push the rate of VAT from 20% to 25% and scrap business rates altogether on property. Most bricks and mortar retailers would not put up their prices in such a competitive environment. And if they were not paying the extortionate business rates pure play digital operators and bricks and retail mortar retailers would be

competing on a more equal playing field. VAT as a tax is very easy for the government to collect, so there is a real advantage, and the theory is that such a move would be financially neutral and so government revenue would not suffer. Cardsharp can see this as a great idea and wonders why no one else has seriously suggested this? Answers on a postcard to Cardsharp care of Progressive Greetings. And then to further complicate matters for our industry, there is the uncertainty around the Coronavirus, reflects Cardsharp. With the global situation changing on the ground (or should that be in the air?) by the day, Cardsharp is reluctant to make too

many predictions as to its effect on our industry. But with so many greeting card publishers in recent years having outsourced a lot of their production (especially when it comes to the value end, boxed and hand-finished products) it is bound to have some effect on supply, whether in the short, medium or long-term depending on how the containment of the virus goes. Most card publishers who have outsourced to China seem, on the face of it at least, relatively cool about the potential effects of the virus, stressing how ‘crunch’ time production-wise is not until April and how there are other production alternatives in India and Vietnam if need be. Meanwhile, other publishers are eyeing up a return to more production to the UK, which could be a godsend to many quality British printers. There is certainly not yet the panic that has affected the likes of the gift, toys and housewares industries, where supply chains are more fixed and the products’ manufacture more complicated. Let us hope that after the Brexit political and economic uncertainty of 2019, this does not become a real headache in 2020. As Cardsharp concludes, the new year has brought with it a new set of challenges for our so resilient greeting card industry. And page space forbids Cardsharp from even touching on the whole massive issue of sustainability and the environmental issues for the card trade that will continue as hot topics for all involved in the sector. Cardsharp longs for the days that only him and his older readers will remember, when all you had to do as a greeting card publisher was to put a good design on a piece of board, and that, as a retailer, all you had to do was put a good card on the racks and it would fly out!



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Getting Underway With the end of the first quarter of the year fast approaching, and one Spring Season event under the belt, and another on the way, PG checks in with a collection of greeting card retailers to find out how 2020 is shaping up and what new ranges have really caught their eye.

Sarah Henderson co-owner of 3 Wishes, five shops in Dorset and Hampshire: How has the year started?: “Thankfully 2020 has started well for us. We certainly have no real concerns about the year ahead and are currently trading at about 4% up on last year. So far we have seen the expected pattern of trade. Our Valentine's card sales, by volume, were almost exactly the same as the previous year.” Notable trends?: “Towards the end of last year we saw an increasing number of people making choices based on the environmental impact of a product. This will be the main focus for us this year. We have started by retaining as much of our left over Christmas stock as possible. Normally we would return it all and reorder next year but this year we have held back all the stock we think we can sell for this coming Christmas, only returning designs that really didn’t sell for us. The alternative seems so wasteful. We need to be ahead of our customers’ expectations, especially when we are ordering so far in advance for Christmas, so, in anticipation of even greater consumer awareness on this front, by the end of the year we will be Above right: One of the designs from Dream Capture Cards. Above: Sarah and Paul Henderson, co-owners of 3 Wishes at a Henries judging day. Right: A 1 Tree cards design. Left: 3 Wishes store in Broadstone.

focusing on suppliers using biodegradable flitter and of course continuing to choose products with little or no plastic packaging wherever possible. We are planning to replace all ribbon and bows with rafia and cotton alternatives. We have started to offer a recycling service for cellophane and hopefully we will soon be able to extend this to foil balloons. We hope that by making a few small changes we will increase awareness and inspire some of our customers to make a little more effort to reduce their waste too.” What newness has caught your eye?: “With our environmental focus in mind, our approach at Spring Fair was very different this year. We were very excited to find 1 Tree Cards which offers a great range of designs. And I love that the company plants a tree for every card sold, plus you also receive a little flower seed token inside the card. It's such an inspired alternative to the traditional card. We can't wait to start selling them, I am certain they will have one of the biggest impacts on buying habits we have ever seen in store. Our other exciting find was Dream Capture Cards offering a beautiful and eyecatching range of cards and gifts. They are all dream/fantasy-inspired including fairies, unicorns, a dragon and lots of rainbows. As an added bonus to her talents as an artist, Michelle Foster, owner of the business, is such a lovely person but also very brave, as the Spring Fair was her first trade fair, eek!! We have placed an order for blank cards, cards with quotes, magnets, keyrings, keepsake card plaques and a few of her giclee prints.” Plans for the year?: “PG Live is a priority for us this year. We are adding in a bigger percentage of smaller publishers to keep our ranges more diverse and interesting so we will be planning to source lots of new at the show in June. I'm really looking forward to it.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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VIEWPOINTS Steph Lloyd retail buyer of Utility, three shops in Liverpool and Manchester:

Michael Apter owner of Paper Tiger, Edinburgh: How has the year started?: “Sales have been positive since the general election - and that continued through January. Overall, we are seeing more customers spending, and spending a little bit more, with Valentine’s sales up like-for-like. Some settled weather would be nice though!” Notable trends?: “Much discussed at trade fairs is the ongoing eco issues with poly bags/cellobags/card clasps. It is clear that the industry hasn't settled on an effective way of protecting the product and the environment. We are seeing issues with print quality, tacky labels, differing methods of attaching cards and envelopes etc, and our shelves are beginning to look odd with all of these differing approaches. Wear and tear in transit, in storage and on the shopfloor is going to be a huge problem for all of us.” What newness has caught your eye?: “New 2020 everyday ranges from The Art File, Raspberry Blossom and Roger la Borde are performing well for us in store. All three companies are consistently producing well-designed and illustrated work that is contemporary, appealing and also lots of fun.” Plans for the year?: “We will be launching our third exclusive range of cards by children's book authors. In 2018 we produced a range with Catherine Rayner, we are currently working with Morag Hood and we have another range in development for launch in summer 2020. Further ahead, Paper Tiger celebrates 40 years of trading next summer, and we are planning various events and activities to mark this.” Top: Paper Tiger makes the most of its window displays. Above middle: The Katherine Quinn range from Roger la Borde includes cards in a variety of special finishes, including Lasercut and Quintet Concertina Cards with gold-foiled touches. Above: One of Paper Tiger’s exclusive Morag Hood designs.



How has the year started?: “Card sales have had a great start this year - we’re currently 33% up on the same period last year. We’ve been focusing on introducing newness and keeping our card selection fresh. We haven’t seen any specific changes in buying habits but we have noticed our customers appreciation of our increased offering of cellofree cards. All new own brand cards will be cello-free and with a card clasp.” What newness has caught your eye?: “Native21 has been our stand out range of 2020 so far! Its ‘Truth Be Told’ (Nessa from Gavin & Stacey) design has been our best-selling Valentine’s card of all time and we have recently expanded its designs into our everyday range. In 2019 we saw a big increase in sales from pop-culture themed ranges such as those from Cath Tate’s Modern Icons and Rumble Cards and we’re seeing this fun trend continue into 2020.” Plans for the year?: “We're opening a second Manchester store in late spring! Very exciting! On the card front, year-on-year we’re seeing a big increase on sales of the key occasions so our priority this year is to increase sales of everyday cards.” Top: Steph Lloyd is delighted Utility’s card sales are up 33%. Left: The Native21 design that topped all other Valentine’s designs in Utility.

John Procter co-founder of Scribbler, which trades from 36 stores: How has the year started?: “The year has started pretty well. There has been a good upturn, despite the weather. No retailer needed Valentine’s week to be bookended by storms Ciara and Dennis! On the Saturday before Valentine’s Day in our Glasgow store we took a quarter of what we usually take on a normal Saturday. At best you can only think to be able to get half of those lost sales back. That said, overall we actually ended 4% up like-for-like on sales for Valentine’s week. One interesting shift was that we saw customers buying an everyday card instead of a Valentine’s Day design. We saw a 9% uplift in everyday cards while our website sales were up 11%.” What newness has caught your eye?: “Redback has become a perennial star for us. I love the fact it has extended the Shine range.” Notable trends?: “We are not experiencing much of a problem on pricing and in fact are being more drawn to designs that are higher priced as it helps to push up the AVT [Average Value Transaction].” Plans for the year?: “We are looking to open more stores. Our new Leeds store has taken off like a rocket! Although plans to expand seems to be going against the tide, there are some very tempting deals out there that you would never have dreamt of three years ago. And if business rates go down then it makes it even more attractive.” Above: This Valentine’s Scribbler did a tie-up with CoppaFeel, the breast cancer charity on a selection of cards. The retailer donated 12.5% of the retail price for the cards bought in store and 10% from its online shop. Left: Scribbler’s new Leeds store.

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VIEWPOINTS Carl Dunne and Oliver Guise-Smith partners of Cards and Gifts, Sheffield:

Sarah Laker owner of Stationery Supplies, Marple: How has the year started?: “I think the year has started cautiously with sales of our general stationery down on last January, however our card sales are up 15%. There is a general feeling of optimism and I think the increase is due to a real swing back to supporting local shops; customers are coming in who’ve never shopped locally before.” Notable trends?: “Customers are definitely looking for environmentally-friendly products as well as for the story behind the cards. They are asking if the board is sustainably sourced? Where are the cards made? Is it plastic wrapped? Thankfully we are able to offer a great selection of cards printed in the UK which meet customers’ eco needs. Ranges from Earlybird Designs, Two Little Monkeys and Dandelion Stationery are flying off the shelves. Part of the reason is that customers like the card companies that have a story, as we can tell them about the people behind the card designs. I really feel the independent sector, both publishers and retailers, should be well-placed this year.” What newness has caught your eye?: “I placed my first order with Objectables at Top Drawer. Its cheeky cards are causing bursts of laughter around the shop. Two Little Monkeys has a lovely new range called Jazz which has a modern bright feel. Its beautiful, contemporary cards are popular with all our customers, and it publishes one of the best relations ranges of any card company. Good to see Redback Cards has also increased its Shine range, which has been selling very well. At the Spring Fair I was drawn onto the Molly Mae stand by its simple, classic sympathy range and was also impressed by its male relations, an area I was particularly looking for at the show as it’s such a difficult category to fill. And not forgetting The Art File, some stunning new cards... I think I might need a bigger shop!” Top: (centre) Sarah Laker (Marple Stationery Supplies) with (right-left) Tim Gould (Objectables), Heidi Early (Earlybird Designs), Jane Rockett (Axminster Print) and Dominic Early (Earlybird Designs) at the PG ‘pub’ at the Spring Fair. Above: The Jazz range from Two Little Monkeys was a real stand out for Sarah Laker.

How has the year started?: “We had an amazing start to the year. January was a huge lift as we finished 10% up. As Valentine’s was fast approaching so were the storms. As Ciara hit we were greeted with a slump and some quite serious flooding again. Trains diverted, trams stopped and the Don at Meadowhall was put on alert as potentially it could break its banks. Then suddenly, two days before Valentine’s Day, one of the biggest events in the industry hit. We had snow, sleet, hail, heavy rain… and without much warning this time. Luckily, it seemed to subside to just leave enough time for shoppers to hit the high street. Amazingly, we saw a 20% increase in sales of Valentine’s cards year-on-year. Cards from UK Greetings, IC&G, Words ‘n’ Wishes, Cherry Orchard and Hallmark all sold well. Cards to and from animals were a big hit, while sales of Valentine’s-specific gifts and soft toys took a serious downward turn for us.” What newness has caught your eye?: “Some of Paper Salad's ranges caught my eye so I'm giving them a trial. I also really liked the recyclable hessian re-usable bags from These Bags Are Great that were highlighted to me by Cardgains on the Village stand. These jute bags hold eight bottles of wine, so I was sold!” Plans for the year?: “I'm going to start being more ruthless and condense gifts and slow movers much faster. If it's not turning over in full within a month then it's going, so I can increase my range of cards. The goal is a 15% increase this year and so far we look to be on target!” Above: Carl and Oliver presented Jackie Collins with a cake to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary. They also made cupcakes. Left: These Bags Are Great hit the spot for Carl and Oliver at Spring Fair.

Miles Robinson co-owner of House of Cards, six shops in the Home Counties: How has the year started?: “We’ve traded pretty well in January with sales showing positive growth on cards as well as gifts. Quite why I’m not sure, but I suspect much of it was down to the obvious political unblockage and the good weather compared to last year, though that changed with the storms in February! We finished +5% up on Valentine’s as a group so very pleased with that! I think the weather was relatively kind to us compared to others. On the plus side it was the first year we’ve centralised Valentine’s Day stock 100%, which meant every store had the same display but varying quantities based upon previous year’s sales data. This meant a more consistent display with the content being exceptionally strong this year.” What newness has caught your eye?: “We love the black and gold Marina Bee range from Marina B, The Art File’s male range Vertigo, Wendy Jones-Blackett’s new Evergreen collection and Paper Salad’s new super embossed Hunky Dory range is amazing. We’ve recently put in Doodleicious, which look great, while also on our radar are James Ellis and Think of Me.” Above: (centre) Miles Robinson with Mark Rees from Penmark on the Paper Salad stand with the publisher’s co-owner Karen Wilson. Left: One of the designs from the Marina Bee range from Marina B.



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Trends & Inspirations 2020



Magic, marsupials, maple leaves, Mother Nature and 90s print marks, the card trends for 2020 were bought to you by the letter ‘M’. Joking aside, this year’s design trends reflect the cornucopia of social, environmental and cultural happenings that have been constantly streaming to our phones and television sets, highlighting the concerns of cherishing our planet and its wildlife to how to discover your destiny through ethereal guidance. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The 90s are back with playful, zany fabric prints reflected on cards, and this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games will see a surge of gorgeous Japanese inspired designs. PG rides the bullet train of trends that are in (loco)motion on cards.

Destiny’s child Allusions to the mystical and magical realm is foretold in 2020, the trend for divination certainly influenced by Gucci’s famous Spring/Summer show in 2018, which cast a spell over the catwalk with its surreal and vibrant colours and mystical nuances. With currently over 500 tarot apps on Apple Play Store, #tarot used more than 3 million times on Instagram and new age healing crystals and astrology, fortune-telling, crystal ball and palmistry predictions on the rise, many millennials are embracing the mystic for life insights, prophecy and premonitions. Believers are drawn to mystic practices for a sense of control in social and economic times of turmoil, but there are also concerns around nature and sustainability and the search for inner peace and spiritual enlightenment. For card designers the mystical emphasis will be on fun illustrative interpretations on tarot reading cards and palmistry, evil eye icons and zodiac signs with captions that strengthen friendship connections.

Top: Jolly Awesome’s Tarot range is a twist on some of the characters on the mystic reading cards. Above: A cute new baby design from Alice Love Day. Left: CoconuTacha’s design looks into the future. Below: Astrology and zodiac signs are on trend - a card from Cai&Jo.

Tarot readings

Above left: A protective sign, a Type & Story hamsa design. Left: A beautiful prediction on a Think Of Me Designs card. Above: Fortune-telling on a crystal ball Meraki card.

Katie Nguyen, sales and operations director for Jolly Awesome: “I think there’s multiple reasons for the rise and interest in spirituality and wellbeing, including uncertainty about the future, identity in the age of social media and mental health awareness, all leading to people looking for guidance and personal insight from the likes of newer astrology app The Pattern and also older practices such as tarot cards.” Matt Nguyen, founder and illustrator for Jolly Awesome: “I've been wanting to create a collection based on illustrations of humans instead of animals for a while, but didn't want to do it in a way others have done it before. I thought tarot cards were the perfect canvas for some Jolly Awesome humour. I particularly like the aesthetic and mystique of traditional tarot cards." PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Trends & Inspirations 2020

Eco card warriors With Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion highlighting the plastic contamination of the earth’s oceans and the pollution of the planet at large, environmental issues have been bought to front of mind, and with it a rise in the public’s passion for less consumer waste and recyclable or sustainable products and packaging. While we can be proud that the greeting card industry is head and shoulders above other trades when it comes to its green credentials, in 2020 the environmental awareness of publishers, retailers and consumers is set to continue to skyrocket. Already pushing the ‘eco card/envelope’ with recycled coffee cup board, recycled post consumer waste or elephant dung paper, often created and powered using 100% renewable energy, inventive card publishers are also embracing nakedness (or partially covering with a label clasp), applying biodegradable glitter and plant-based glue, using less packaging and aiming for a sustainable business. But, these green greeting card warriors are creating stunning contemporary, bold and colourful designs that often use the recycled and recyclable textured eco board with its raw tactle look.

Green light

Above: Summerlane Studio uses elephant dung, seeded and normal recycled card for its greeting cards. Its studio is also powered by 100% renewable energy and in collaboration with the World Land Trust, £1 from every print sold goes to planting trees in Borneo. Right: 1 Tree Cards’ designs are 100% recycled and each card sale plants a tree through its partner charity and includes a flower seed token to help feed bees.

Above left: Stormy Knight’s Rubbish cards are made from 100% post consumer waste. Above middle: A gorgeous bee design from Seedlings Cards & Gifts - with wildflower seeds and packaged with 100% responsively sourced pine cellulose made in the UK. Above right: The From Cup To Card range from is made from disposable coffee cups. Below: A design from The Eco-friendly Card Company’s British Wildlife Collection by Rachel Toll. The publisher is a CarbonZero (tm) company and its alcoholfree waterless print technology is powered by green energy.

Sarah Jackson, director of Stormy Knight: “Our first ever range of cards was printed on 100% recycled board and it’s always been part of the Stormy Knight brand. Our stockists’ customers are really pleased to see changes being made to reduce waste and be environmentally-conscious, and we thought we’d explore this further with our ‘Rubbish cards’ which are printed on 100% recycled post-consumer waste and, whilst addressing a very serious issue, also bring some fun to the table with their humorous take on what makes them so ‘rubbish’!”

The fresh (90s) prints In a nostalgic flashback to the era of the Spice Girls, Clueless, Bros, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Friends, the 90s are back! After the decadence of the designer brand 80s, the Nineties were a backlash to the over-indulgence (and over-tailored), and comfy, unpretentious clothes were donned - loose shirts with pastel coloured prints in dizzying designs, ripped jeans, floaty floral dresses, Dr. Martens and of course stonewash denim. And, the era of MTV, hip hop, grunge and rave has been rebooted in 2020. Further more, the Liverpool Tate’s exhibition of US artist Keith Haring last year (who died in 1990, 30 years ago this year) has put another ‘Nine Inch Nail’ into the 90s trend. His 80s artwork referenced in the music and media cultures of the early 90s, is now inspiring creatives again with his graffiti-like figures, symbols and squiggly lines. And, as always, a dedicated follower of fashion, there’s a strong 90s vibe on card designs, with energetic and playful geometrics and wavy shapes in flat vibrant pastel colours influenced by the fabric prints found at the dawn of the decade.

Above left: Niaski creator Nia Gould has collaborated with U Studio to create a 'punny' card range celebrating artistic felines, including Keith Haring. Above: CoconuTacha’s design showcases the 90s’ vibrant pastels and graphics. Below: This Kinshipped design featured a classic black and white 90s combo.

Vibes n the Hood

Top: A 90s party vibe on designs from Memelou. Above: Subtle sunshine waves from Sadler Jones. Right: Energetic and fun 90s prints, a card from XOXO Designs By Ruth. Far right: Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air on a Stormy Knight design.



Michelle Gemmel, founder of Memelou: “I was a teenager in the 90s and it has definitely played a part in influencing my design style. I like simple designs that are clean looking and made up of different shapes and marks, very much like we see in early 90s prints and fashion. I also like my designs to have a playful edge and I convey that through my bright colour palette. The 90s was all about fun and vibrancy. I don’t think that decade took itself too seriously and we certainly don’t either!”

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Trends & Inspirations 2020

Origin of the sun

Above: Graceful and graphic, The Art File’s Sakura Heights collection. Below: A beautiful design from Woodmansterne’s Ashmolean Art collection. Below right: Designed by Helen Dennis and enhanced with gold foiling, a design from The Proper Mail Company.

One of the biggest influencers in all areas of design in 2020 will be this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games, which follows hot on the heels of Japan hosting the Rugby World Cup last year. Not only will there be a wave of wonderment for the beautiful traditional ukiyo-e paintings, calligraphy and woodblock prints, but card designers will also be inspired by the understated Japanese style, craft techniques and iconic motifs, such as maple leaves, koi, cherry blossom, cranes and gorgeous kimono patterns. Residing harmoniously side by side, in 2020 card designs will either star ancient Japanese artworks or Japanese aesthetics are combined with new to create a fresh modern take.

Above: Ezen Designs is proud to be one of the biggest publishers of Japanese artwork on cards and prints in the world. Above right: Calm and beautiful, a Japanese inspired design from Lorna Syson’s RSPB range. Right: A cherry blossom design from Rocket68’s Kimono range. Below right: Geisha glamour on an Anna Coroneo design from ArtPress.

Japanese joy David Wertheim, director of Ezen Designs: “Japanese bold colours and patterns have set trends going as far back as the impressionists with the birth of Japonisme in the late 19thC. From fashion houses and designers, to leading contemporary artists, the search is for inspiration from Japan, and even more so in 2020. We have noticed a recent surge in interest in our Japanese art prints and cards, alongside numerous collaborative exhibitions with galleries and museums lined up this year. The wishlist includes botanical images of delicate blossoms and florals, birds and animals, portraits of beauties and samurais, seasonal images such as maples or snow, pattern-based designs and abstract motifs. With hundreds of designs in our Japanese collection, as greeting cards, art prints and giftwrap, we are adding Kimono textile designs to feed the appetite for Japanese design in 2020 and beyond.”

Koala-lity of life It's estimated that over 1 billion indigenous animals have perished in the recent Australian bushfires, with as many as 8,400 koalas perishing in NSW alone. As well as koalas and the destruction of nearly 11 million hectares of biodiversity, other species of native Australian wildlife such as wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas, wombats and more, may now be seriously imperiled, some near to extinction. With their cute furry faces and docile nature, koalas will become the poster boy in 2020 for card designers to illustrate the heart-rendering plight of the Australian bushfires’ wildlife and, on a deeper level, climate change. Already a number of card publishers have designed their own take on these eucalyptus leaf-eating characters, and the affection for these adorable marsupials shines through.

Cherishing nature

Above: Jennifer Rose Gallery’s watercolour koala is available on cards. Above middle: A determined koala on an I Ended Up Here card. Above right: A koala pun on a Forever Funny design. Right: Wrendale raised over £20,000 in donations for the WWF Australia Appeal with its mother and baby koala watercolour draw giveaway. Below right: Hang On! by Hannah Pontin from ArtPress’ The Wildside range.

Jennifer Rose, artist for Jennifer Rose Gallery: “After a recent trip out to Australia it's been heartbreaking to see so many beautiful animals and wildlife that’s been caught up in the devastation. Over the year I think we will certainly see a surge in artwork of the beautiful Australian wildlife as the devastation has touched so many hearts worldwide. I have created artworks on reflection of seeing some of these beautiful animals in their habitat, in particular the koalas as it was the first time I had seen one in real life. The creation of this artwork is in recognition to the outstanding wildlife and nature there is in the world and how precious it is - and to promote awareness that if lost like this it will be gone forever. The sale from my original koala watercolour painting will be personally donated to the Bush Fire Relief Effort.” Above left: Ready to party, a koala on a Kate Guest card. Left: A brand new Neon Fiesta design from Abacus! PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


The home of the finest arts brands

From world renowned arts and character brands to the cutting edge of fashion, the Museums & Galleries 2020 Card Collection has everything you need to stand out from the crowd. View the full range online or contact your local agent for more information.

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PG showcases a selection of new product launches

What A Gem Among a whole host of newness from Woodmansterne is Opal. This range comprises 10 square designs by talented artist Charlotte Mason featuring delicate hand-drawn animals, each joining in with the birthday celebrations – from sipping cocktails and blowing out candles, to getting dressed up in their finery. Gold foil confetti highlights add to the celebratory feel and a sophisticated colour palette makes for a fun and charming collection. Woodmansterne Publications 01923 200600

Waste Not Want Not Dandelion Stationery’s new Sketch collection consists of 15 designs covering birthday and occasions which sees bold illustrations combined with some quirky captions. The cards are printed in the UK on luxury FSC board produced from 100% recycled post industrial waste with the waste fibres being visible within the board which adds a unique quality to the design. The cards (supplied cello wrapped or plastic-free) are accompanied by luxury 120gsm envelopes, which, like the board, are 100% recyclable. Dandelion Stationery’s 01332 695359

Festive Sauce Painted penguins, reindeer and sausage dogs deliver the presents and are sure to tangle the fairy lights in Cinnamon Aitch’s Cranberry Sauce Christmas 2020 range. The beautifully hand-finished range spans three sizes and builds on the company's strength for relations and special cards. Cinnamon Aitch 0121 773 6833

Sea-ing Is Believing As winner of its Autumn 2019 competition, artist Bells Scambler’s artwork is the latest addition to Wraptious’ portfolio. Living by the sea, Bells is inspired by her coastal surroundings and her work features modern, fresh colours. The inaugural collection is based on her lino-print designs, which include a whale, seagull, fish, a blue tit and bee design, Her work also features on cushions, prints mugs and coasters. Wraptious 0161 430 2310

From A To Z Alphabeti Yeti’s ever-expanding series of illustrated alphabets includes many new designs featuring landmarks, foods, inventions, towns and interests. Among the latest new themes are London Alphabet and A Very English Alphabet. Each card measures 14.8cm x 21cm and comes packaged in a compostable, biodegradable and recyclable cellophane bag. Tea towels, mugs, chopping boards and prints are also available featuring the designs. Alphabeti Yeti 07905 224248

Stars In Alignment Zodiax is one of many new ranges from Santoro. Retro album cover style artwork and humorous personality traits provide an alternative to classic Birthday greetings. The collection comprises 12 glossy designs, one for each of the 12 zodiac signs. Santoro 0208 7811100



London Stationery Show 21 -22 April 2020 Business Design Centre


Discover the largest selection of writing and paper products from around the world in one place. Register now at

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PG showcases a selection of new product launches

A Fashionista Sashay Inspired from the fashion pages of magazines is Molly Mae’s new Catwalk range. The 20 female-focused designs all follow a bright eye-catching colour palette and bold patterns which are accentuated with cold foiling in metallics. The cards measure 125mm x 175mm, come with a white envelope and can be supplied with or without cellophane sleeves. Molly Mae +(44)1455 557115

Pretty Painterly New from Sabivo Design is Wreath. Comprising 36 designs covering everyday, milestone ages and occasion captions, the designs (145mm square) combine painterly watercolours with line drawings and are hand-finished with signature cup flower sequins and gold glitter. All the cards are blank inside, printed on FSC-certified board, and come with brown kraft envelopes and recyclable cello bags. Sabivio Design 01858433716

Colourful Party Abacus’ new Neon Fiesta collection features an eclectic mix of celebratory, female, birthday designs, featuring quirky animal characters teamed with vibrant, spot-raised pink and yellow neon captions and detailing. The designs are finished with brightly colourcoordinated hand-applied pom poms. Simply greeted with a front caption, the designs feature a simple birthday message inside. Printed on textured art board and 5” x 7” in size, the designs are accompanied by bespoke printed envelopes. Abacus Cards 01638 569050

Taking Stock Flying High

Top Dog Tie-Up

Described by Paper Plane Designs as a ‘fun, slightly sarcastic range’, Neonfetti features neon pink and neon orange hand-foiled block confetti print. The 12 designs, 120mm x 170mm in size, cover a range of everyday occasions. The cards come neon pink and neon orange envelopes and are available in a biodegradable bag, or naked. Paper Plane Designs 07810 797957

Jolly Awesome has collaborated with talented illustrator Hannah Rowlands to create a collection of 35 cute and cheeky illustrated cards featuring animals and objects. The collaboration also extends to a full set of foiled horoscope cards. All the cards are A6 in format and come with a dotted print envelope. Jolly Awesome 07904 383876

In addition to a fresh new Christmas and Christmas Box collection, wholesale publisher, Out of the Blue Studios has enhanced its Everyday ‘in-stock’ range with over 30 fresh new designs which takes the collection to over 600 products. Among the additions is a clutch of new male designs which include a touch of gold foil and a full coloured insert. Out of the Blue Studios 0800 529 8785



s n g i s e D w e N

View and order the new Venn Worlds Collide range and much more at our updated website:

0116 230 4197

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PG showcases a selection of new product launches

Back To Black Gold and Black 2 is just one of the five new ranges from Amberlyn Co. Embellished with special shape rhinestones and gold foil finishing, this simple classy range has a luxury touch. The greeting cards, which measures 105mm x 150mm, are printed on FSC board, supplied with kraft envelopes and individually cellowrapped. Amberlyn Co. 0770 7074278

Thinking Big

The Feeling’s Nuptial

Featuring exclusive pink blush board that shimmers with flecks of sparkling gold, Five Dollar Shake’s Diamond Blush Deluxe collection of 52 designs now includes some new large cards. The charming, stylish and elegant illustrations are delicately handembellished with French sequins and Swarovski crystals. Each card is sized 210mm x 210mm, supplied with a complementing envelope and supplied in a compostable cello bag. Five Dollar Shake 01424 434062

Cherry Orchard’s new Wedding and Anniversary Collection 2020 includes both traditional and contemporary styles, covering all price ranges from Code 150 to Code 45. The collection includes ‘Married in 2020’ and ‘Engagement 2020’ captions, new Mr and Mr and Mrs and Mrs captions, some Silver, Pearl, Ruby, Golden and Diamond Anniversary designs as well as wedding acceptance and regret cards. Cherry Orchard Publishing 01684 295500

Blushed With Success The Juniper Blush Range from Megan Claire features striking gold foil embossed typography on a blush rose background. The collection covers birthdays, friendship and occasions galore. Each card comes with a pastel grey envelope and is wrapped in recyclable cello, but the cards can be provided naked. Megan Claire 01535 560345

Just Purr-fect Doodleshoe Paper Goods is ‘feline’ good about its latest range, all of the designs of which are pussycat orientated. The 11 greeting card designs are inspired by new kittens in the Doodleshoe household as well as the publisher’s love of footwear. The collection includes designs suitable for birthdays, positive encouragement and mental health. Doodleshoe Paper Goods 07802 429064 instagram @doodleshoepapergoods

Star Struck From the charming Libra to the arty Pisces, renowned illustrator Lisa Congdon brings her celebratory designs to the zodiac with The Zodiac Collection from Emily McDowell & Friends, which is distributed in the UK by Abrams and Chronicle Books. Each of the 12 cards, that are blank inside, come with a matching kraft envelope. Abrams and Chronicle Books 020 7713 2060



Polypropylene & biodegradable bag specialists Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hotfoiling also available



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PG showcases a selection of new product launches

Squaring Up Eaton Square is a fun and feminine collection of everyday cards from The Handcrafted Card Company. The 36 designs, covering female relations and occasions, feature beautiful, modern illustrations, hand-finished with sparkling crystals. The cards, 15cm square, are printed on 350gsm board and come with a fuchsia pink envelope. The Handcrafted Card Company 01782 639733

Illustrating A Point

Dutch Courage

Lottie Murphy’s new Winter Wonders Christmas range features 24 handillustrated designs covering all manner of subject matter, from penguins to beautiful festive foliage. Each card, which measures 125mm square, is printed in England on high quality FSC-certified board and comes with a brown kraft envelope. Lottie Murphy 07716 304741

Dutch publisher Artige has just launched a beautiful new greeting cards collection entitled Olivia. There are 48 designs in the collection, 17 of which have English text. The chic designs in wonderful colours are embossed and gold foiled. The cards are 120mm x 170mm in format and come cellowrapped with a white envelope. Artige BV 0031-314-378788

Ready To Dangle Tropical Taste

A Peachy Idea

Paperwhale Cards & Paper Goods has added a clutch of tropical additions to the publisher’s best-selling Pocket Collection. Including depictions of parakeets, palm trees, citrus fruits and tropical leaves, these vibrant cards are A6 size and feature a die-cut circle showing the illustration behind. The cards come with a recycled kraft envelope and biodegradable cellobag or paper bellyband. Paperwhale Cards & Paper Goods 07906 812279

Lucy Maggie Design has collaborated with LilaccPeach, a start-up surface pattern design company, on a brandnew collection of cards. The cards have been created to raise money for ovarian cancer charity, Ovacome, and for each card sold a donation will be made to the charity to help those suffering from, and to raise awareness, of this disease. Lucy Maggie Design 07763 239731

Jessica Hogarth has built on the success of her melamine keepsake bauble cards from 2019 and has introduced over 25 new designs for Christmas 2020. The designs include ‘On your first Christmas’, husband, wife and other relations as well some general Merry Christmas captions. The decorations are made from sustainably sourced eucalyptus board and have ribbon attached making them ready to hang. The cards themselves have been printed on to FSC accredited board and come with a gold metallic envelope. Jessica Hogarth 07786 096648 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


NEW for Spring/Summer 2020 Enter the enchanting world of Sara Miller London, a gift packaging collection of distinctive signature prints, opulent bursts of colour and delicate gold detailing.

E T 01892 838574 T O S EE O U R F U LL RAN GE PLE AS E CON TA C T :


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Focus On Giftwrap News

Present Times The anticipation of receiving and unwrapping a gift is wholly enhanced by the beautiful wrappings that have been personally chosen, pleated and presented. PG’s annual Focus On Giftwrappings ‘presents’ the current news, views, designs and fresh launches within this vibrant sector.

Belly Button’s unprecedented product investment

Below: The new Bee collection from Belly Button has been hugely popular.

Belly Button Designs is set to make 2020 a landmark year for the company, starting the celebrations for its milestone 25th anniversary year with a complete overhaul of its giftware arm. Representing its biggest ever investment in product, Belly Button Designs’ totally revamped giftware arm encompasses a change in its branding, product design and pricing across all of its 100+ giftwrappings, stationery, homewares and gift products. Seen for the first time altogether at Top Drawer January, the revamped giftware arm, which was formerly known under the Bubble brand, is now aligned with the main Belly Button Designs greeting card livery. “When we launched Bubble three years ago we gave it a separate brand as we wanted to stress how serious we were about giftwrappings and giftware,” explains founder Rachel Hare. “What we are now doing is bringing the recognition and strength we’ve established with our cards to the relaunch of our giftware which will see brand new ranges, designs, styles and products at an attractive price,” she adds. The new giftware portfolio spans some 105 products, including 57 giftbags, 16 rollwraps, four flat wraps, 12 mugs and 16 notebooks (across three formats). While the giftware Toasted Crumpet x arm will remain a separate company and National Trust still needs to be Greeting card and homewares company, ordered separately Toasted Crumpet has collaborated with the from the greeting National Trust to create Explore & cards, the products Treasure, a co-ordinated range of are graced with the products, including two wrap designs. All Belly Button branding of the products feature the distinctive and complement many artwork by Toasted Crumpet founder, Jo of the popular design Clark. The products feature both the themes that appear on publisher’s and the National Trust’s brands. the cards. Right: Toasted Crumpet’s new National Trust wrap designs.

Unique Paper’s Uniqueco eco launch With the ‘green’ light shining brightly in giftwrap publishers’ and consumers’ consciousness, The Unique Paper Company has received a great response to its launch of four new everyday ranges of innovative eco-friendly giftwrap under its new Uniqueco brand. The publisher’s goals to continue its efforts to minimise carbon footprint while improving sustainability across all areas of production was the inspiration for the new ranges, which match Unique’s high quality paper with the added bonus of being as ecofriendly as possible. The four Uniqueco collections encompass Geokraft, a range of geometric patterns, and Precious Nature, a range featuring natural world and iconic wildlife (both available in flat sheets and rolls with coordinating bags) which are printed on natural kraft paper and are fully recyclable. While the Graphite range features bold monochrome patterns printed on quality paper with a gloss finish (available in both flat sheets and rolls), and the Happy Earth range will put a smile on someone’s face and keep the earth happy with fully recyclable premium print-only kraft paper, available in both flat sheets and rolls with coordinating bags. “We continue to use water-based inks and adhesives as we do with all of our printed wrap designs, but these particular product ranges are also fully recyclable. All paper we use is from sustainable sources or fully recycled, and of course we continue to print all our wraps in our own factory here in the UK,” explains Unique’s director, Lydia Scamponi. Top: The Unique Paper Company’s Uniqueco Precious Nature range. Above: Looking after the planet, the Uniqueco Happy Earth collection from The Unique Paper Company.



New for 2020! Available to order now online. Go to to register.

01274 655980 Unit 1 Allenby House, European Ind. Park, Knowles Lane, Bradford BD4 9AB

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Focus On Giftwrap News

Going green Giftwrap publishers who are also honing their ‘green’ credentials comment on the environmental issue in the giftwrap market. Andrew Maddock, md of Deva Designs: “Is your giftwrap FSC?” “Is it recyclable?” are the first questions our customers ask. Deva has always focused on sourcing from sustainably sourced materials but now we have started to publicise the fact, giving our customers reassurance. In terms of recyclability, we at Deva fully support the demand. We also introduced paper bows and accessories last Christmas, all sourced from managed forests, that can be 100% recycled - and they sold out! The demand Above: Deva Designs has introduced hessian bows as well is there if you get the product right.” as other paper wrap accessories. Silke Rentzmann, marketing manager for Artebene: “As a family-run business, we take on social responsibility and strive to achieve important sustainability targets in 2020. One essential milestone has been realised already. Artebene became a Carbon Neutral Company in November 2019. Our company’s CO2 footprint has been assessed together with the German company ClimatePartner. We compensate our CO2 emissions by supporting internationally acclaimed carbon offset projects. In 2020 we are pursuing two further sustainability initiatives. With the initiative ‘No plastic bag - Let’s keep our planet green’ we omit outer packaging for more and more of our products and so reduce packaging waste actively. Under the motto ‘Use me twice, so our world stays nice’, the bottoms of all our bags now show an embossing that highlights the premium quality of our bags. This is meant to stress that the bags are worth to be used more than once. It is our declared aim to develop beautiful products in a sustainable fashion - today and in the future.” Sophie Rowe, marketing manager of Hallmark: “Sustainability is very high on our agenda and is reflected in 70% of our new gift packaging collection. We have pulled back from adding unnecessary finishes and are trailing cardboard headers on some giftbags.” Left A selection of Hallmark’s latest Christmas giftwrappings collection.

Dan Kane, co-founder of Think Of Me Designs: “At the recent Top Drawer show our new giftwrap collection garnered a lot of interest, and the most frequently asked question, even before the price, was whether it was sustainably sourced (it is, and always has been). The environmental issue remains a hot topic, and retailers are making informed choices on the products they choose to stock. This is obviously good to see.” Rachel Hare, md of Belly Button Designs: “Consumer demand for responsible giftwrap is moving at a rate far ahead of retailers. This requires suppliers to have transparent, environmentally-minded business models backed by certifications such as those provided by the FSC and evidence of vegetablebased inks, biodegradable glitters and the like.

Consumers want a sense of fulfillment from knowing they are minimising their carbon footprint, they want alternatives. It’s looking to trends such as Furoshiki, the Japanese art of giftwrapping with reusable cloth fabric designs that can then be passed on and rewrapped indefinitely, and integrating those principles to eliminate waste and serve as an eco-friendly keepsake into the current UK giftwrap industry.” Michelle Porter, editor for Lagom: “We've certainly noticed that customers have become increasingly interested in the sustainability of our products. It is a common misconception that foiled wrap is not recyclable, but the foil we use is so thin it dissipates within the pulping process. So even when it has a metallic finish all of our giftwrap can be popped into your recycling bin. Our giftwrap is also sold in sheets, so we don't use any cellophane. It's these little things that our customers expect.” Ben Dorney, creative director for Museums & Galleries: “Giftwrap, like every other product, needs to justify its place in the modern world as we all question sustainability and the environment. Customers and brands are now actively engaged in the sustainability debate and genuinely want to do the right thing but that can be hard to determine when you get into the fine detail. But actually if it is responsibly produced with good Above: Museums & Galleries’ natural world inspired fern design: Wild quality uncoated FSC-accredited Press by Helen Ahpornsiri. paper - as M&G’s is - it is a lowimpact and recyclable product. Some people even use our wraps for prints and posters too so it can have quite a long life!” Dipika Shah, director of Globe Enterprise: “Recently, we have noticed a marked increase in buyers’ desire to find ethically and sustainably produced wrapping papers. Globe is proud to confirm it has always sourced environmentally friendly wrapping papers and paper products as we take leftover cotton, a by-product of India’s huge garment industry, and recycle it into something beautiful. We are also actively taking steps to reduce the glitter papers in our range and Above: Globe sources environmentally-friendly focus on screen-printed papers, handmade wrapping papers and leftover cotton and recycles by artisans, offering the highest levels of it into something beautiful. precision and accuracy.” Katie Prosho - 3D customer & product manager for UKG: “In an ever-increasingly environmentally conscious world sustainability has been key throughout design and manufacture. No longer is it enough for something to simply look good, it also has to ‘do good’. Plastic euro hooks are replaced with paper hooks and lamination has been removed and replaced with an eco friendly varnish to name just a couple of changes to UKG’s Collage brand’s 2020 giftwrappings range to make it more forward thinking. A large proportion of the bags in the new range are widely recyclable and steps are being taken to overhaul the gift dressing range to keep sustainability at the forefront of the business.” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE



The cards are printed on luxury FSC approved board and hand finished by us here in Chester with sparkly gems or stunning embroidery decals, complete with silver envelopes. To view our full range and order online, please visit our website:


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New Giftwrap Launches

Wrap-turous Applause

A cornucopia of delightful new and fresh giftwrap launches worth appreciating.

l Cinnamon Aitch has launched three gorgeous new gift bag designs celebrating the delicate contemporary charm of its Cherry Blossom-inspired ditsy patterns. With sides, bottoms and inside facing of the gift bags in different colours, each design comes in five different sizes - tiny, small, medium, large and now a new extra-large size added in landscape proportions. l Kallos Storm’s Midnight Geos collection is inspired by the Art Deco movement and is perfect for all those wanting to re-live the structured patterns of the ‘roaring 20's’ but with a more minimal twist. The colour palette for this collection of nine giftwrap designs is Classic Blue, Pantone's colour of the year, paired with a muted orange. Complementing the collection are 10 greeting card designs.

l Introducing Kali Stileman’s newest road map wrap. Printed on luxury paper and created from original collage, this fun design makes the perfect wrap for any car fanatic, whatever their age! l The new collection from Arnelle Woker entitled Stronger Together showcases a diverse group of women empowered through diversity and standing together as one. All the gals are different shapes and sizes, from various cultural backgrounds. Arnelle’s accompanying Hey Ladies wrap range is elegant in its simplicity. A monotone group of lush women swimming and sipping on cocktails, the wrap can add that special touch of whimsy to any gift.

l Wonderful horsey quality FSC 120gsm giftwrap designs from Deckled Edge feature two new everyday designs (Moody Mares and Styling Stallions) plus one Christmas design (Star Studded Christmas) are all hand-drawn by artist Janna. l For Spring 2020 Globe has launched a variety of new giftwraps with a focus on floral prints. The colour palette varies from vibrant turquoise, orange and bright blue combinations, to the softer hues of pale blue and pink. Globe has a tantalising feast of papers that are bound to delight.

l Earlybird has launched four new giftwraps to add to its substantial wrap offering, all printed in the UK on quality matt 110 gsm paper that is fully recyclable. The new Earlybird turquoise leopard wrap has already become such a hit that the publisher coordinated its Top Drawer Spring trade stand colours around it! l Award-winning designer Louise Tiler has two different ranges with Penny Kennedy for Spring/Summer 2020 and both really have the ‘wow’ factor. The Floral range features glamorous peacocks and vibrant prints in a fresh and bright colour palette, while the Abstract range brings something completely different to the overall collection, with trend-driven pastel colours and a luxurious use of gold foil touches. Additionally, Penny Kennedy’s Sara Miller London’s SS20 collection offers opulent bursts of colour, delicate gold detailing and icons such as birds of paradise and hummingbirds in Sara’s best-loved style. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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New Giftwrap Launches Background giftwrap imagery by Museums & Galleries

l New giftwrap by Dandelion Stationery feature eight ontrend designs which have been created using watercolours and hand-drawn illustrations. You’ll find happy house plants, tropical leaves, pastel animal prints, as well as garden bird prints. Printed onto 110gsm uncoated smooth paper, the 100% recyclable wrap is supplied in packs containing 25 sheets; dimensions are 500mm x 700mm. l In 2020 Danilo will have new designs for leading kids’ brands including preschool property Paw Patrol, YouTube phenomenon Ryan’s World and toy brand Rainbocorns, as well hot movies such as Minions 2 and Trolls 2. New roll wrap, loose sheet wrap and gift bags will also be developed across leading adult brands such as Peaky Blinders. l Lorna Syson launched her new Superhero Pets giftwrap at Top Drawer January 2020 and it’s pawsome! Turning the average pet into a superhero, the gift-paper features popular dogs, cats, guinea pigs and even a goldfish. It’s printed on non-coated paper in the UK. l Paper Mirchi has blended the art of traditional hand-marbling with funky neon colours to create a very contemporary range of artisan giftwrap. Every single one of the giftwrap sheets is hand-marbled by skilled artisans onto recycled cotton paper: the papers are 100% treefree and eco-friendly. There are three designs available in eyecatching neon colours. l The Art File has taken some special designs and combined these with gorgeous paper stock and foils to create luxury wrap. For Spring 2020, the company is launching four stunning looks: Goldfish, Just My Type, Artichokes and the colourful and detailed Safari.

tones sit alongside bright, bold and fun jungle animals. Its existing wedding range is complemented this year by a delicate watercolour floral bouquet with touches of matt gold foil. l Lagom has added a new bright and beautiful botanical design to its Kew Gardens range, as well as work by two new artists, Meghann Rader and Catherine Rowe. Meghann is known for her exquisitely painted illustrations, and Catherine has worked with Liberty designing a new iconic fabric. There is also has some fun new designs by its creative director, Kelly Hyatt. l ‘Natural Chic Wedding’, Artebene's new wedding range, features tender blossoms and soft shades of green suit the big botanical trend. The new gift bags with sequins in an all-white look are just enchanting, and the new mini bags for guest favours are also a gorgeous new addition. l 2020 sees the launch of Think of Me’s biggest giftwrap collection to date, with 10 wonderful new toogood-to-tear designs added to its collection. Including busy bees, chilled out yoga girls, dotty Dalmatians and vibrant lemon blossoms, these designs are printed on high quality, sustainably sourced, lightly textured GF Smith paper. l Stationx's new range of eco-friendly giftwrap range features stunning contemporary designs printed on FSC 490mm x 685mm 90gms paper. Consisting of six bold new designs, the wrap is inspired by 1950s design but with a modern twist. l From Giftwrap UK is the fashionable Stewo branded gift-line Everyday collection, Join Neo, featuring iridescent finishes and luminous patterns. The range includes high quality gift bags, boxes, rollwrap, voucher packs and gift tags. Additionally, Giftwrap UK’s Aurelia traditional collection by Stewo for Christmas features a range of beautiful gift bags, money wallets, boxes and wrap with natural designs.

l UK Greetings’ Collage brand’s 2020 collection focuses on the trend and beauty of the hand-drawn design. Monochrome animal characters on muted pastel PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Giftwarp Design Trends 2020

A Rhapsody On Wrap

Background image: A beautiful bee design from Think of Me Designs. Below: Pantone’s Colour of the Year, Classic Blue, features on Belly Button’s calming and classic navy stripe giftwrappings.

Going nuts for neon, jubilant for Japanese motifs, wild for animal prints or even buoyed up by bonny botanicals, the verdant and abundant art and design trends on giftwrappings are thriving, reflecting fashion. But also sashaying onto the wrap catwalk are eco-aware showstoppers with genuine green credentials and the calm and stable influence of Pantone’s colour of the year, the ‘Classic Blue’ hue. And natural wildlife, such as bees, birds and even insects, including centipedes and bugs, are a celebrated biodiversity on wrap. Some giftwrap connoisseurs rhapsodise about some of the design trends that are currently ‘being seen’ on wrap.

Becky Dobson, director of Glick: Green growth: “Everything and all things eco. Our giftbag ranges with a very matt finish, due to removal of the lamination, have proved a hit, as well as giftbags with recyclable cotton handles. Paper-based accessories, including raffia and bows, have been very well received at Spring Fair. It was the hot topic of conversation with a lot of retailers.” Bright lights: “Neons continue to be a huge hit for us and we don’t see any change for 2020; Glick’s Paper Salad range continues to be a crowd pleaser with bright happy hues and beautiful textured finishes.” Above: Glick’s Paper Salad collection was The Henries 2019 Best Giftwrappings winner. This year, Glick’s Paper Salad new Neon range has textured emboss finishes. Right: The adorable Louise Mulgrew centipede design from Glick.

Rachel Hare, md of Belly Button Designs: Smell the roses: “With a need to take time out of the fast lane, the pace of change and our digital environments, giftwrap needs to help provide an escape by creating a push on nature, tradition and the simple things in life, while embracing innovation and originality from our world through the use of plants, florals, insects and animals that add to life’s treasures, and you see this come through in our key collections. Staples like our navy stripe fall in line with this change of pace, classically chic in a deep blue shade that’s comforting and relatable.”

Andrew Maddock, md of Deva Designs: Floral dance: “For Deva, we have always had great success with florals - it’s their great versatility, suitable for so many occasions. It’s also the varied way in which you can approach them, from the big bright and bold to the ditsy vintage. This season we have launched two totally different approaches to florals on our giftbags and wrap: Leading design house, Designers Guild, has its ‘Tourangelle Peony’ collection, its large scale painterly florals make a real impression. In contrast, a new addition to Deva this year is British artisan Julie Dodsworth. What a delight! Julie has such a timeless nostalgic quality to her florals. Her designs are now on home fragrances, mugs and tins, so beautifully inspired giftwrapping was a natural addition.” Nuts over neon: “The neon trend is here to stay according to the catwalks. This year we have mixed it up a little with our tropical theme. The giftbags are brought to life with tassels and tags and contrasting insides. Neon’s can really pop a design and make a statement.” Above: Delightful florals from Julie Dodsworth on Deva’s giftwrappings.



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Giftwarp Design Trends 2020

Silke Rentzmann, marketing manager for Artebene:

Katie Taylor, marketing manager for Penny Kennedy:

Precious and exquisite: “Artebene’s Finest range on premium paper combines Japanese Shippo designs with Art Déco elements and expressive elephant prints. Shippo can be translated to ‘The Seven Treasures’. The entwined circles remind of the shape of jewels. In many cultures, the majestic elephant stands for wisdom, peace and power. His strength is meant to protect those who stand close to it. As a symbol of luck, it decoratively adorns the new wrap products in the range and contrasts beautifully with the geometric designs.”

Botanical boom: “It is clear that nature-inspired designs are a strong trend for 2020 with many designers opting for birds, bees and botanicals. Penny Kennedy’s SS20 collection particularly draws on these themes, pairing them with bright and fresh complementary colour palettes. Morris & Co is putting a twist on its classic botanical looks with the new Willow Bough giftwrap range. Entwining stems and intricate willow leaves combine to create a look that offers a true contrast to the rest of the range. This, combined with the paisley inspired Blackthorn design, gives Morris & Co’s collection the perfect blend of heritage and modernity. Sara Miller London’s new collection meanwhile, is inspired by hummingbirds, paired with bright colours and intricate floral designs. Also looking to nature for inspiration, Louise Tiler’s pink floral range with peacock, hummingbird and parakeet motifs is a particular favourite, while Emma Bridgewater’s bumble bee and pansy patterns are an appreciative nod to the British countryside.”

Above: Art Deco meets Japanese Shippo motifs in Artebene’s Finest range.

Reuben Duffy, designer for Deva Designs: Roaring wrap: “Since the dawn of time we have always had an obsession with animal print, from early primitive fashion essentials to adorning the throne rooms of kings as a sign of status. Today they are generally considered to be expensive and exotic. At Deva Designs we wanted to add some freshness to the traditional prints and really make them roar! We have cleverly combined shapes to resemble variety of animal prints into one creative repeat pattern. We have really gone wild and popped the colours to on-trend teal and pink hues. When paired with African inspired artwork, we think that the designs really show their teeth!” Home sweet home: “With its many beaches, wooded valleys and beautiful hillsides, Deva celebrates what makes Britain, Britain. One image is forever conjured by our head and hearts - rolling fields. Vibrant landscape scattered with rural cottages and wooded meadows, a colourful tranquil setting is beautifully illustrated as a giftbag and flat wrap design.” Above: Wild African animal prints roar on Deva’s new wrap.

Sarah Richardson, designer for Deva Designs: Oceanic life: “Our Under the Sea range focuses on the environmental issues of our seas and oceans. Not only does this product come from FSC managed forests, it is also recyclable. These stunning handpainted giftwrap and bag designs are highlighted with a spot UV finish alongside beautifully painted sea waves on the reverse. The carefully considered colour palettes in aquatic blues and coral pinks are vibrant and fun!” Right: Calming oceanic life on Under the Sea giftwrappings from Deva.

Top: Morris & Co is putting a twist on its classic botanical looks with the new Willow Bough giftwrap range from Penny Kennedy. Above: Sara Miller London has some gorgeous natural world motifs on new wrappings from Penny Kennedy.

Ben Dorney, creative director for Museums & Galleries: Wildlife on one: “In terms of 2020 trends within Museums & Galleries’ giftwrap range, we’ve just launched zebra, tiger and giraffe prints from the Natural History Museum with powerful graphic repeats which develop the already popular ‘animal in jungle’ themes already out there.” Turning Japanese: “Retailers will also have their choice of Japanese-inspired flying crane designs from publishers including an instant hit from our British Museum range which features Pantone’s ‘Classic Blue’ hue as a background!” Botanical beauty: “Spirituality and mindfulness themes are definitely coming through too, alongside a more naturalistic approach to botanic and floral themes as people are increasingly attracted to more restful colour palettes, a sense of greenery and 'space’.” Starry skies: “Then there’s the other ‘space' - the cosmic sort! - which will be a popular trend over the next 12 months or more. Matthew Williamson has covered us for that with his epic gold-foiled Stardust print.” Above: Powerful animal prints from Museums & Galleries’ Natural History Museum giftwrap range. Right: A Japanese-inspired flying crane design from Museum & Galleries’ British Museum range, featuring Pantone’s ‘Classic Blue’.



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Retailer Face To Face

Below: Tabi Marsh in Papilio’s card department. Bottom left: Papilio’s at Heritage’s welcoming shopfront. Middle left: Pricing up cards was a favourite module for the retail students. Middle right: One of the Junior Retail graduates who selected Redback’s Shine range as her favourite product in the shop and did her marketing project based on the range.

If you happen to pop into card, gift and coffee shop, Papilio at Heritage in Thornbury over Easter don’t be surprised if you are served by a plucky eight year-old, or spot a nine year-old dressing the window or catch sight of a ten year-old proudly pricing up the cards in the stock room. This is all part of Junior Retail, an innovative ‘young apprentice’ scheme developed by retailer Tabi Marsh, who is now offering the programme out to other retailers to adopt too. And, as PG discovered, this is just one of the many initiatives being instigated by one amazingly progressive retailer. When Tabi Marsh and her father Gary bought what was then called Heritage in Thornbury back in 2014, it was a traditional gift shop with collectables displayed behind glass. “The average age of the customer was around 80,” recalls Tabi. “While we didn’t want to alienate these loyal customers, we knew we wanted to widen the shop’s appeal to other age groups too through the products we stocked as well as the shop and café environment.” Six years on, and (a devastating fire aside, caused by the next door business that forced the café to be closed for 15 months) Papilio at Heritage is a thriving retailing hub in this small Gloucester market town with customers of all ages.

“Our aim was always to create a truly welcoming shop where everyone feels able to come in and browse (and then hopefully buy!) and no-one is stressed by the risk of accidentally knocking something expensive over,” says Tabi. “We deliberately do not fill the shop with lots of display units as we want to ensure that anyone with a pushchair,

walking-aid or in a wheelchair can easily access all parts of the shop without needing to ask a staff member to move products or need to execute a three point turn,” she adds. The ethos which underpins the shop is the desire that everyone should feel welcome and safe to enter. “I cringe if I hear parents say to their children, “put your hands in your pockets” as they come through the door as I want parents to feel comfortable coming in 50


with their children. This increases customer satisfaction, footfall and ultimately sales,” adds Tabi. Making the most of its wide frontage on the high street, the front part of the shop is anchored by arresting displays of homewares, gifts, as well as children’s toys and books. Ideally positioned en route to a large airy café and garden area is the greeting card department. “Greeting cards are huge for us, our sales have increased 150% over the last two years. We initially had them at the front of the shop, but now we have enlarged this department in the heart of the shop as they draw customers in and invariably people have a look on the way to and from the café,” explains Tabi. While she deals with over 30 card publishers at any one time, Tabi rings the changes to sustain customer interest. “As Thornbury is not a tourist town we rely on our local trade. We have some customers who come in three times a day, for morning coffee, lunch and then maybe a drink at the end of the day. The last thing I want is for them to get bored with our card selection.”

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Retailer Face To Face

Boredom is not a state of mind you can ever imagine Tabi would experience, such is her voracious appetite and aptitude for coming up with new ways of engaging with the local community as evidenced by its hosting the Severn Vale Arts Trail, staging its own Brio Summer Fun Day as well as its Makaton-friendly accreditation and Chatty Café initiative to help combat loneliness. However, Tabi’s major project of late has been the launch of Junior Retail, a training programme that she created specifically for 7-11 year-olds to not only teach them the rudiments of retailing, but also to help youngsters (and their parents) to view retailing as a credible career choice. “Retail is changing fast and we all know that existing in the High Street is increasingly difficult, but I truly believe in the High Street and the role of independent shops in being part of the community,” says Tabi. “While there are lots of ideas as to how to increase footfall and keep the shops alive, it dawned

on me that to secure the future of retail we also need to show young people that it is an industry worth entering,” she adds. Having been involved with running children’s events and Sunday schools for years, and with her mum being a teacher, Tabi was not daunted by the challenge of maintaining the interest of youngsters and encouraging them to learn. At the start of last summer, having tentatively posted her idea for Junior Retail on Papilio’s Facebook page, the interest was immense, “Over 15 times our normal average engagement. So I had to do it then!” said Tabi. “I had initially planned that four children between the ages of 7 and 11 would each come in for four hour-long sessions over the summer holidays to learn about different aspect of retail. However, as so many children and parents were interested I increased it to eight children, and had to turn

Above: The certificate that each of the graduates received. Below left: This young chap excelled in his video about Brio. Below right: Papilio’s product portfolio appeals to all ages now.

others away. I doubled the kids up for some sessions and for some they were alone. In total I ran 20 hours of sessions across the summer,” says Tabi. Part of the stipulation was that the parents stayed on site, but having the café made this easy. The ‘curriculum’ encompasses four key topics: customer service, the stock journey, business finance/forward planning and marketing. To make the learning aspects age appropriate, Tabi developed various exercises including word searches for business costs and Jenga blocks to learn about customer service. In the Customer Service session the children put their learning into action by using the till and serving real customers. “They absolutely loved that they were being trusted to do this (obviously we were there guiding them). Customers were very co-operative, impressed that that kids were learning and engaging with a workplace,” explains Tabi. Greeting cards played a starring role in the Stock Journey session which saw the children learn how to read a delivery note, check the delivery before pricing the cards and then either putting them out on the shopfloor or on the shelves in the stock room. “They loved using a pricing gun as well as bragging afterwards that they had been working in a staff-only area where parents aren’t allowed,” shares Tabi. For the Business Finance/Forward Planning session Tabi taught them about all the different things businesses have to pay for and the idea of a mark-up. “I think they also left this session with a much greater appreciation of what their parents have to pay for at home too,” she suggests. As well as creating a window display, the Marketing session saw each child either write a blog or recorded a vlog about their favourite

product in the shop, with Redback’s Shine range, Jellycat plush and Brio wooden toys coming in for some special praise. “As part of this the children had to think about what information customers would need to know and how we would photograph the product”, explains Tabi. At the end of the ‘Apprenticeship’ the children each received a certificate which included a photos of them in action in the shop. “I included key educational phrases such as ‘Application of Number’ and a summary of the scheme so that it can be included in their School Record of Achievement,” says Tabi. With the scheme proving a huge success for the young participants, as well as resulting in swathes of goodwill and PR for Papilio, involving Tabi being interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol (who did not miss an opportunity to champion independent retailing while she was at it!), the idea now is to encourage other retailers to instigate similar schemes in their shops. “It was when other shops, hearing about what I was up to, expressed interest in the scheme that led me to develop the Junior Retailer programme, with its own branding and website ( that

provides session outlines, alternative activity ideas, worksheets, certificates and social media templates are also included,” explains Tabi, who is making a nominal charge £40, but retailers can use the programme as many times as they want. “There are many great independent retailers out there who I am sure would agree with me that if we want to safeguard the High Street for years to come we have to make it attractive and welcoming. Junior Retail gives us the potential to continue the legacy, one child at a time,” says Tabi, a true teacher! PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE




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


Susan Simon For as long as I can remember I have loved art. When I was little, I would watch my mom paint all day and paint with her. I went to an art center at night for four years and got my AA in Fine Art at Santa Monica College. My first real job was working at a greeting card company, and I thought one day, “hey I could do this on my own and make a line of cards to sell”. From there I went home and made 12 cards and took them to the local flower shop and the owner made an order!

I have been working with Papyrus since 2001 making cards for them and have also had quite a few pieces of work published in several magazines: Take Ten, Somerset Gallery, InStyle. I’ve also been featured in several rag mags throughout the years and have appeared in celebrity weddings. I have been working as an art teacher at Paul Revere Middle school since 2012 as an after-school art teacher! I also make pet portraits and have sold over 100 watercolor paintings! I mostly do personal custom weddings and greeting cards in my spare time and when I am not painting or drawing at the beach, sketching in different city’s or making art for clients, I am doing yoga, meditation and my favorite thing to do is to walk outside and get inspired by the beauty of nature! l Email:


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


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WHAT’S HOT PG ASKED A SELECTION OF CARD RETAILERS FOR THEIR ‘HOT’ CARD SELLERS Alasdair Walker-Cox, owner of Grace Cards and Books, Droitwich Spa A large shop in a historic spa town with a loyal locals and visitors customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range


Everyday Humour

Nigel Quiney Ling Design Berni Parker Designs



Pizazz Galleria Ladies (and Men) Who Love Life Life Is Sweet



Supporting Artists


Paper Rose

Clare Tupper


Jonny Javelin



Jonny Javelin

Fudge & Friends



Across The Board


Xystos (Splosh)

Light Up Fairy Houses

Both are ranges that we could not be without. Great bread and butter lines. Great artwork and observational humour that brings a smile to your face. Photography with a twist. Icon have got a good range here with humorous and sentiment verse alongside some different but funny photography. Creating opportunities to promote the work of independent artists, Wraptious has a great range of different art to enhance your offering. Great complementary gifting to boot! This is a beautiful range. Clare has a great way of interpreting landscapes, animals and her surroundings, recreated on these wonderful cards. The current 'king of trad', our customers love these cards. Traditional themes but with great creativity and design. A great little range of juvenile age cards with a fantastic price point. Our customers love this cute range. Our main supplier for bags and wrap. Great design with a growing awareness of the need for recyclability. A brilliant gift for kids’ rooms as night lights. Sold regularly all through the winter months.

Right: Put your feet up, a design from Men Who Love Life from Berni Parker.

Cathy Headdock, director of Bay Tree Gifts, Wickham, Hampshire A medium shop in a small village with a loyal locals and destination shoppers customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Nigel Quiney

Across The Board



Across The Board


Rose Made A Thing

Gin & Frolics



Across The Board


Nigel Quiney


Second Nature


Crumble & Core

Earring Cards

Boxer (distributor) Byzantium

Gift books Jewellery

There is just the right mixture of traditional and contemporary designs in the publisher’s collection. How the character of each animal is caught in the artwork is amazing! The artwork and words appeal to customers of all ages and they often buy several cards at once. Customers love the National Trust range, especially the Rose Garden at Mottisfont design as it’s not too far from us. It’s been our best selling range for years. It’s constantly refreshed and the artwork is pretty, and it’s good value for money and looks more expensive than it is. Customers love them. They love the intricacy of the designs but also love them as they are easy to open and close. They sit very well in our shop as we sell lots of silver jewellery. Customers love the artwork and the addition of earrings all in a box makes it a perfect gift. Above: ‘When I were a Lad’ available from ‘When I were a Lad’ is our current best seller. Boxer is a great seller Great product at a great price. at Bay Tree Gifts.

Right: Woodmansterne’s National Trust range features the Rose Garden at Mottisfont, close to Bay Tree Gifts.

Handmade/ Hand-Finished Ancillary



54-55.qxp_Grid 27/02/2020 08:13 Page 55

Alison Rickards, owner of Present Company, Wimborne, East Dorset A medium shop in a market town with a loyal locals customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range




Woodmansterne Contemporary collection


Peartree Heybridge

Camilla & Rose



Woodmansterne Photographic collection


Hammond Gower

Fancy Pants


Louise Mulgrew




East-West (available from Joe Davies) Jellycat

Bug Art

This is a perennially favourite range for our customers. It is a fantastic and varied collection that seems to appeal to everybody. We have been running this range for years and it just seems to be perfect for our customer base. They are hilarious images with amusing tag lines that have constant appeal. This is a brilliant range of quirky animal images that are perfect for lots of different occasions. Cats and dogs as always are very popular. Another great image-led range with great humour. It stands out on the shelf with vibrant colours and a decadent finish. We have been buying from Louise for several years now and she is a great artist. Her fun and original designs all sell well and are constant repeaters for us. Her tree planting project always is of interest to our customers and she should be applauded for her forward-thinking initiatives. It’s hard to know where to stop and start with this vast range but it is a constant performer across the board. Customers who like it usually buy several cards at a time. We do really well with this range, especially with the bags, and Joe Davies is an absolute delight to deal with! We have dealt with Jellycat ever since it launched, and the whole range is innovative and of the highest quality. Customers absolutely love it too and are always keen to see what new products it has designed!

Right: Peartree Heybridge’s Camilla & Rose range has constant appeal.

Giftwrap Ancillary


Sarah Love, director of En Route, Chesham, Bucks A small shop in a market town with a local and destination shoppers customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Modern Toss Dean Morris

General General


Tattersfield Designs

Across The Board

U Studio

Blanca Gomez and David Doran

Poet & Painter


Lucy Alice Designs



Motley Blooms


Across The Board

People just love the rude designs. I think they compete with each other to send the rudest they can find. Colourful and bright beautiful images created from original artwork. From Blanca Gomez’s wistful illustrations to David Doran’s contemporary ones, both are very simple, graceful designs on cards. The card designs are quite quirky and different with nice, warm captions. An independent publisher who originally was a textile designer so the lovely animal designs feature lots of print patterns and geometrics. An Edinburgh-based art and design studio creating lovely colourful and textural designs incorporating botanical motifs. People like not only the quirky designs but also the information on the back of the cards; a lot of detail goes into each design.

Contemporary Above right: Diedododa’s Motley Blooms designs incorporate botanical motifs. Right: Gorgeously colourful and uplifting, a card from Tattersfield Designs.



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

Twice weekly newsflash delivered to over 9000 inboxes

Regularly updated jobs-board

The very latest news, views, articles and analysis

Digital issues of Progressive Greetings Worldwide

Dedicated pages for the GCA and The Ladder Club

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

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27/02/2020 11:32

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Making A Stand

Jeremy Corner, owner of greeting card publisher Blue Eyed Sun and distributor of BambooCup and Bioloco, on whether size matters at trade shows.

Not hot enough

At last year’s Speed-dating for Dragons event, ex-Clintons buyer Brett Smith (and now md of Emotional Rescue), was asked if exhibiting on a larger stand made any difference to retailers at trade shows. Having always bought shallow 1m deep stands to save money, I’ve often wondered about the retailer perspective on this.

Shallow savings From a publisher’s point of view, greeting cards are flat (like paintings) and just need a gallery wall to display them on. The closer that wall of product is to the aisle (and therefore the buyers) then so much the better. More importantly, deeper stands cost more. A 6m x 2m stand is twice the price of a 6m x 1m booth and you only get one

Above: Talented designer, Sarah Curedale on the carnival inspired Real & Exciting Designs’ stand at Spring Fair. Below left: Contemporary, yet cosy, Tache’s quirky stand at the show. Below right: With a mixture of cards and eco-friendly giftware, Jeremy decided to locate his stand near to the gift hall. Below: Blue Eyed Sun’s first ever space only stand at Spring Fair was stunning.

Location, location…

additional metre more of wall space (assuming one side of the stand is open). Incidentally, you ideally want an open side as it means you have access to two aisles and can benefit from increased footfall.

Footfall Footfall is vital for exhibitors. A location in a part of the hall that people don’t visit means lower footfall, meaning less leads and weaker sales. For example, upstairs at Olympia has often attracted less traffic. It can be the same with aisles that don’t run unobstructed (by larger stands) through to the front of the Halls at the NEC. The trouble is, shallower stands are rarely near the main and busier aisles.

Being in the wrong location for product type can also affect success. This one is tough for us to get completely spot on at Spring Fair with Blue Eyed Sun’s growing mixture of cards and eco-friendly giftware. Our compromise was to move to the border of Hall 2 (cards) and Hall 3 (gifts) near to other card companies like Wrendale, Rachel Ellen and The Little Dog Laughed - that all offer a mix of cards and gifts.

You also want visitors to have warmed up a little before they get to you. Being at the front of the show is great for presence, but sometimes people aren’t ready to buy as they enter. They might go past you again on the way out at the end, but can often be tired or in a rush, so you can miss out being at the front. Having said that, if your stand is buzzing with people you’ll always attract buyers because none of us, including retailers, likes to feel like we’re missing out. I’ve often joked about creating a company called ‘rent-a-crowd’ to draw more people onto our booth at trade shows. It can be relatively quiet for a while, then a couple of people come on the stand and the next thing you know it’s heaving and you can’t cope with the volume. It’s always a difficult one to judge the numbers needed for staffing at shows. With the extra hotel rooms, meal and travel costs you don’t want to overpay. Equally you don’t want to miss those all-important customers. If we have too many of us on the stand, it’s not been unknown for us to pretend to take orders from one another to draw interest from passing buyers. Hard to believe isn’t it? You know…that Blue Eyed Sun isn’t mobbed every hour of the day at shows. Sigh. It happens though. However hot your product is, no matter how your stand is positioned, there will still be quiet patches - like the entire final day at Spring Fair.

It’s not my fault Furthermore, you can have the biggest and best stand at the show with the hottest products and footfall can still be down because of external factors. As if the new layout and re-edit of Spring Fair wasn’t PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


57_58.qxp_Grid 25/02/2020 14:52 Page 2

JEREMY’S JOURNAL enough to contend with this year, a new health epidemic called the Coronavirus was ballooning in China and just starting to spill onto our shores. Yes, China! Where the world’s stuff is made and which always has a significant presence at the NEC show. Have you noticed how they’ve started labelling the annual foreign flu as a virus? It’s always from another country too isn’t it? Newspapers rub their hands with glee as they reach more eyeballs and sell more ads, whilst the rest of us run around dripping in fear and anxiety checking their sites and pages for updates. We all had reason to be a tad nervous attending the NEC this year. Given that we’re shaking hands and kissing cheeks all day, it wasn’t entirely unwarranted. I grabbed a hand sanitiser dispenser (couldn’t find anything for cheeks) and had it available on the stand. Plus we ran like hell from anyone who looked like they were about to sneeze! Fingers-crossed, so far, so good. Since we started exhibiting we’ve been through so many of these external issues. We once had a show in Scotland that we were flying to immediately after 9/11. There’s been foot and mouth disease, swine flu, snow storms, heat waves and once our hall flooded at Harrogate. Whatever the issue, there will always be someone blaming this external factor for their poor show.

Sure, they have an impact, and yet we’ve always seen serious buyers who have shops that need stocking, attending shows despite such events.

Size isn’t everything For a long time my priorities at trade shows were simple: let the product do the talking and get to (and in and out of) them with minimal hassle. While others spent days constructing booths, I would set up our stand up in less than two hours with only 30 minutes needed to take it down at the end. 58


Left: The Art File’s amazing stand at Spring Fair. Below: Trees blossomed on Five Dollar Shake’s show stand. Below left: Differing factors have hindered visitors to trade shows but ultimately shops need stocking.

Plus, the whole thing fitted into my car saving on van hire. It was not uncommon for me to be pulling onto the M42 20 minutes after shows closed. I’ve done good business at shows over the years this way and it suited me for a long time. Sometimes retailers want to find a small company that they can champion. Who was I to deny them? Plus, if you go too big and need to reduce then you can look like you are doing badly. Something I used to be wary of. Anyway, size isn’t everything right?

Stand is brand Still, from time to time I’d have a case of size envy at shows. Back in the day I’d watch contemporaries like Cavania and others do incredible jobs with their stands and always wondered whether sales increased enough to make it worth it or not. When Brainbox Candy launched, its big pink presence reminded me of something obvious that I’d missed: your stand is your brand. It is literally a stand for who and what you are. When we were selling handcrafted cards, a handcrafted stand wasn’t massively in conflict with who we were. Things are different for us now. This year Blue Eyed Sun took the plunge and built its first ever space only stand. There must have been something in the air (apart from COVID-19), because so many publishers constructed amazing new stands this year. The Art File, Wrendale, Five Dollar Shake, Paper Salad, Tache Crafts, Louise Tiler, Rosanna Rossi and Belly Button

(among many others) looked incredible. In fact, the card hall at Spring Fair looked the best I’ve ever seen it and it was a privilege to be among such fantastic brands. You can watch a short video of Hall 2 @JeremyCorner on my social media accounts or on my LinkedIn if you missed it.

What’s the verdict? So, what did Brett Smith say about stand sizes in the end? Well, you’ll have to attend GCA events or watch the GCA YouTube clips to find out, as you ultimately get what you pay for. You’d think that after doing over a hundred trade shows I’d have known about the answer to the size question. I’ve done small stands and big ones now. I’ve attracted big buyers to both set ups and I’ve done strong sales and leads at both. This year at Spring Fair was about our stand being more about our brand. We sell beautiful, design-led quality products and are passionate about sustainability and the environment. That’s what we care most about. That’s our brand. That’s making a stand. Read more on Jeremy’s blog at

59-66_Product Directories 2020.qxp 27/02/2020 13:04 Page 59




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or email or contact

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or email on or contact

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Tracey Arnaud

or email


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


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


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

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

raspber r 020 3723 5405



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

To appear in the Product Directories simply contact

Warren Lomax on:

020 7700 6740

or email on or contact

Tracey Arnaud on:

07957 212 062

or email on

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



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

Tel: 01892 838574


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designed in thames ditton

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 THE GREATEST COLLECTION OF GREETING CARDS IN THE WORLD

...and if we fall into the ountain, we will just prosecco ffo ha av ve to drink our wa ay y out!

Method of sale: Wholesale Distributors

topdog@view by 020 8972 9706

Simon Elvin Limited

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

register fo for a trade account: www



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We offffer a We COMPREHEN

range of high Greeting Cards f ALL Occasions,

CHRISTMAS an Season f Sale:

mail: inffo o@words-nWeb: www We

Tel: 01942 233201



& entimen

an extensive range of superior quality,

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

Method of Sale: Direct to Retail

Orders can be placed on our trader site

or call our customer services team on

Art Cards eA Botanical Fine

Market Leaders in

Vibrant and nd elegant gree greeting cards A freshly fr modern perspective on nature

Call Now 075 7700 1145 info@

+44(0)1243 792600

To appear in the Product Directories simply contact

Warren Lomax: 020 7700 6740 or contact

Tracey Arnaud: 07957 212 062 66


BESCOT CRESCENT, WALSALL, WEST MIDLANDS. WS1 4NG 01922-646666 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








01773 5378 810






Largest range of in-stock colours


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

Over 400 Bespoke Envelope Sizes 8 Sizes Permanently in Stock RECYCLED


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



01 90 83 78 86 6 01274 583000

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


‘we we make Envelopes and Stationery’





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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 68


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 ďŹ nish

we pack

we deliver

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Your saf ep ai

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

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



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

Social Sta tationerry Printer of the Year

Award winning U UK & Global specialist manufacturer ffor the greeting card industry fo or over 40 years The Print Works Colville Road, Acton, London, W3 8BL E-mail: Tel: 020 8993 5160

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



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Digital Print






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







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Greeting Cards Displa ay y Solutions

à ®FSDU U à ®CDU à ®POS We also d do: à ® Cartons s à ® Boxes à ® Diecuts s

Leading verse & sentiment publisher to Independentt card retailers requires an experienced agent to further expand and develop new business across the postcodes below. Postcode Area: SO, PO, RH, GU & BN Email your interest to: Alison Traynor, Senior Sales Co-ordinatorr, Words â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Wishes Ltd, Unit C2 Enterprise Court, Seaman Way, Wigan, WN2 2AG

Call: 0121 557 7 1891 email: sales@nsmithb

web. www.nsmithbo n.smith, Haing ge Road, Tividale, Oldbury, West Midlands s B69 2NZ OVER 115 YEARS OF MANUF FA ACT TURING IN THE UK










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Profile for Max Media Group

Progressive Greetings March 2020  

Progressive Greetings March 2020