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NEWS TOP STORY
The Retas Awards moves in protest Event now to take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel The finalists of The Retas 2019 greeting card retailer awards have been announced, collectively representing the best greeting card retail stockists in the UK. This year’s roll call of finalists (detailed on pages 21-23) are as a result of an industrywide nomination and entry process. The winners will be unveiled at a lavish afternoon Frida Kahlo-themed event on Wednesday 10 July, that will take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane, not at The Dorchester as previously announced. This decision was taken by The Retas’ organisers Max Publishing (which also owns Progressive Greetings) in protest at the anti-human rights laws that came into force on April 3 in Brunei. The Dorchester is among the nine luxury hotels that are owned by the Sultan of Brunei through the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Brunei Investment Agency. “We felt compelled to join the international outcry against the barbaric
laws now in place in Brunei, which includes the death penalty by stoning or whipping, for those found to be engaging in same-sex relationships or committing adultery,” commented Jakki Brown, joint owner of Max Publishing and editor of PG. “These new laws also order the amputation of hands or feet for acts of theft.” As she added, “The greeting card industry has human emotions at its heart. There is no way that awards that celebrate the industry’s achievements could take place at a venue where the profits of which contribute to a regime that is at odds with basic human rights.” To make sure you secure your ticket to The Retas contact Clare Hollick on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07769 905959. Above: This year’s Retas trophies will be presented in the ballroom of the Grosvenor House Hotel instead of The Dorchester.
Views on the news l Among those who took to social media to pledge their support of The Retas’ boycott of The
Dorchester is Sean Austin, owner of leading indie card and gift shop, Austin and Co in Malvern. Hearing of the news that The Retas will now take place at to the Grosvenor House Hotel, Sean told PG: “This is great news. I know the UK greeting card industry may not be able to change the laws in a country, but by taking action in this way we at least are making a stand.” l Carl Dunne and Oliver Guise-Smith, owners of independent greeting card retailer, Cards & Gifts, based in Sheffield were also vocal in their support of the change of venue: “We just wanted to applaud our industry, for joining the fight against injustice and violation of the human rights of the citizens of the world,” stated Carl. As Oliver continued, “I have been involved in many LGBT+ organisations over the years, from marching, protesting and fighting human rights violations across the world. I’m guessing that to some, what you have done will just seem like a gesture, but to others like myself and Carl it actually made us well up and feel so proud of you and your organisation. If more companies like yours join the fight then it sends a stronger message that change is needed.” l Timothy Melgund, deputy chairman of Paperchase added: “Good call on The Retas! Quite right!” l Miles Robinson, co-owner of House of Cards immediately got in touch: “I have to say I agree 100% with you and well done for taking such quick action. I’m sure we’ll enjoy the event at the Grosvenor just as much.” l Wendy Jones-Blackett, namesake of the eponymous card publisher and a sponsor of The Retas was one of the first to take to social media to rejoice that the event was to be move from The Dorchester: ‘I am super proud of the UK’s #greetingcard industry as the organisers move The Retas 2019 greeting card retailer awards event from #theDorchester to @grosvenorhouselondon in protest at the anti human rights laws that came into effect in Brunei on April 3rd.’ Left: Cards & Gifts’ Carl Dunn (far right) at The Retas 2018.
May The Thoughts creator books TV coverage Charlotte Reed, the creator of the May The Thoughts Be With You brand, made a high profile appearance on ITV London News recently. Charlotte, who still mans her stall at London’s Portobello Road market most weekends, featured in a five-minute segment watched by millions on the ITV news programme to fanfare the launch of her second book (which launched on May 2). The new book, My Path to Happy, backed by a consumer PR campaign by book publishers Simon & Schuster, is a personal account of Charlotte’s struggles and path to happiness, as well as her fight to overcome depression. A feature film based on the book has already been optioned. My Path to Happy is illustrated with ‘daily thoughts’ and positive messages that also anchor the cards and gifts which Danilo and Half Moon Bay produce under licence (brokered by Larkshead Media) and will be on show at PG Live (June 4-5). The launch of the book coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week (May 13-19), for which Charlotte is an ambassador. She will be going into schools and businesses to give talks on the importance of understanding and recognising the mental health issues. WHSmith is the latest retailer to get behind the brand, having launched the Danilo greeting card range into select stores. Charlotte is delighted that May The Thoughts Be With You greeting cards are gaining wider distribution. “Greeting cards are an excellent way to raise awareness because they can convey a meaningful and poignant message but in a simple and digestible way. They are accessible to everyone and if you know someone who’s not feeling good then they need something that shows you’re thinking of them without it being something heavy or lengthy to read.” Top: Charlotte Reed (left) being filmed on her market stall in Portobello Road. Above: Charlotte’s new book My Path To Happy launched at the start of this month.
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