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NEWS TOP STORY
Smart Seal Switch Woodmansterne commits to unwrapped cards ‘For over 30 years, I have been one of the industry’s strongest advocates for keeping a greeting card pristine in a glass-clear, polypropylene bag… however, the world has changed. We cannot continue to pollute our planet as we do. Single-use plastic has become an anathema in today’s world with no satisfactory means of disposal,’ so began a letter that Paul Woodmansterne, managing director of Woodmansterne Publications sent out to the publisher’s customers last month to herald the company’s official switch to supplying all its cards unwrapped, using a specially developed Smart Seal peel-off label to keep the card with the envelope. In his letter, Paul acknowledged the practical advantages of cellowrapped cards – ‘It stops the envelope drifting from the card, it keeps mucky fingers from besmirching the product, it helps to keep retail displays neat and tidy’, as well as the joyous ‘ritual of pealing open a meticulously-wrapped greeting card’. That said, and despite the fact that the company has recently spent almost half a £million on new wrapping machinery, Woody’s head honcho delivers the strong and inclusive message that ‘We
Below: Woodmansterne’s Smart Seal in action. Bottom: Paul Woodmansterne (right) with Seth, his son and codirector celebrating the company’s 65th anniversary last year.
cannot continue to pollute our planet as we do’. As Paul points out, single-use plastic (which includes cello bags for cards) has become ‘an anathema in today’s world with no satisfactory means of disposal. We have learnt that all film (compostable, biodegradable or otherwise) ends up in landfill or incineration, since supposedly ‘good’ film is indistinguishable from ‘bad’.’ Having investigated various options, and by working closely with greeting card printers Windles, the Smart Seal was arrived at, the new product name superceding the working title of ‘Seal-Close’. As demonstrated on its stand at the recent Spring Fair, the Smart Seal is a solution to keep cards and envelopes both clean and tidy without the need for plastic. “All our cards are either gloss-varnished or printed on felted board that is protected from mucky fingers by an invisible coating that repels grease and dirt,” explains Paul, pre-empting retailers’ concerns about product soilage. Woodmansterne is now in full production of using a Smart Seal on its cards.
Come out in the wash The Cinnamon Aitch team’s change in their personal washing habits sparked the publisher’s long-awaited move into gifts, with its inaugural collection of soaps, coasters and tea towels now causing waves. “In reaction to the worldwide plastic problem, all of us in the studio recently made the switch from shower gels to soap and so sought out lovely, natural soaps with no nasty chemicals,” reveals Sara Burford, who together with her business partner Sarah Fitzpatrick founded the company over 20 years ago. This small change to their personal lives has triggered the move into producing their own soaps. “It was important to us that our soaps hit all the relevant criteria for today's environmentally savvy consumer; that they are made with natural ingredients, vegan, have no palm oil, no plastics, no parabens, no SLS and no animal cruelty,” assures Sara. The inaugural collection, the packaging of which is based on Cinnamon Aitch’s Cherry Blossom card range, encompasses 12 everyday soaps all of which are handmade in the UK, all using natural ingredients. The range includes a shaving bar, a facial bar, travel and shampoo soaps, with a specially packaged soap for Father’s Day too. “There has been no stopping us... to add to the story we have plunged into coasters and tea towels and are looking at having mugs ready to launch at PG Live, alongside our gorgeous cards of course!” says Sara. Above: One of the Cinnamon Aitch Cherry Blossom soaps and coasters.
Increased capacity UK Envelope Centre has recently invested in a new envelope converting machine which enables the company to increase capacity and reduce its lead times. The machine is now in production after an in-house team of highly skilled engineers fully recondition it to create an efficient boost to its capacity to in excess of 6 million envelopes per week - an increase of 1.5 million envelopes. Joanne Davis, director and owner of UKE, believes, “We are seeing volumes increase as publishers move their focus onto more UK produced products. Supporting UK manufacturing benefits both the publishers and retailers as lead times can be reduced, offering more flexibility in planning while significantly reducing the environmental footprint.”
#myshoplife19 Instagram Challenge At the start of this month, plucky independent card retailer, Sarah Holmes, owner of Pencil Me In, based in Elgin in Scotland, instigated a month-long Instagram Challenge to foster feelings of camaraderie and solidarity, as well as providing a source of inspiration among fellow indies. #myshoplife19 is open to all retailers, with Sarah having created a planner of prompts for every day. Sarah gained great traction with a similar Instagram challenge last year, prompting 150 fellow independents to share their stories to inspire and motivate their peers. “Staying positive in business is tough, especially in high street retail. It can really get you down.” Sarah created a prompts planner, accessed via Pencil Me In’s Instagram page (www.instagram.com/pencilmeinshop/) to help retailers get prepped in advance. Sarah feels that while the uncertainty over “Brexit has impacted on business owners all over the UK, with worry and anxiety playing on their mind for almost three years”, she says that indies can confront this by realising their strengths. “Consumer confidence has undoubtedly reduced, but we are nimble, we can flex and change at a moment’s notice and be the joy our customers need when shopping or scrolling their social media feeds.” Above: In addition to the Shoplife initiative, Pencil Me In took the ‘Naked Pledge’ last autumn to sell all of its cards unwrapped.
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