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On The Cards Our friends (along with our family members) add enormous flavour and meaning to our lives. Friendship cannot be bought, it has to be earned, made all the richer by shared experiences and emotional commitment that is largely unsaid with ‘give and take’ on both sides. The same is true of whether these friendships are formed through business or far away from work. Some friendships, in the grand scheme of life, may be shortlived, but sweet nonetheless, while others may span whole lifetimes. Friendship was a strong theme throughout last month’s Ladder Club 2015 duo of one day seminars, which took place in Westcliff on Sea, Essex. The first day brought together 50 newbie publishers, many of whom met up face to face for the first time with people who up until then had existed as Facebook chums on the closed Ladder Club page. At the evening meal before the seminar I struck lucky as I was seated next to Lucy Albone and Deborah Gathercote of Lucy’s Limericks. The rock solid bond between these two women was palpable. Having been best friends since they were five years old, both had shared each other’s ups and downs and now are putting their friendship to the test in setting up a greeting card company together. The next morning, as they signed in to the seminar they were greeted by the delightful Anne Hammond, a best friend to Lynn Tait, the ‘Queen of The Ladder Club’, since they were young girls. The essence of friendship and fellowship which is at the heart of The Ladder Club grew stronger over the course of the two days among delegates and speakers as ideas were THE HOME OF MARKET LEADING TRADE MAGAZINES

Above: A double act of best friends at The Ladder Club. Lynn Tait (second left) with her best friend Anne Hammond with Lucy's Limericks' Deborah Gathercote (second right) and Lucy Albone. Below left: Enjoying celebrating the heritage of stationery at an event at Stationer's Hall, which PG's Jakki Brown (third from left) and GCA's Sharon Little (second left) was invited to by (far left) Chris Leonard Morgan (National Stationery Show and National Stationery Week), joining industry consultant Henri Davis (far right), Master of the Hall Helen Esmonde (of Esmonde Publishing) and William Alden Clerk of the Company. Below: PG Jakki Brown (centre) with (right) Shiva Mitra, manager of the Occasions store in Bradford and Gemma Brown, shop assistant in the new store.

shared (irrespective of whether they were competitors), worries halved and memories made. I write this two days before Festive Friday and just two weeks from the 25th anniversary of the day that Warren [Lomax], my PG ‘best friend’ signed on the dotted line to buy Progressive Greetings and set up Max Publishing. Happy Christmas to all those I feel lucky enough to call my friends in the trade and to all of your friends who help to make you what you are. Don’t forget to send them a Christmas card!


From baby to toddler to starting school


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


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What’s Inside 43-45

With This Issue:



9-19 News

28-29 Jeremy’s Journal


Art Source


Blue Eyed-Sun’s Jeremy Corner highlights the five love languages and how retailers and companies can use them to improve their businesses.



Lynn’s Lines

Five Love Languages

Over The Counter

We Will Be Right Back After This Break…

Independent card and gift retailer, David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi in Scotland, discusses how advertising campaigns now have the emotional touch.


Terry And The Goliaths


The Great British Card Empire

Cardsharp muses over topical events happening in the industry.


The Class Of 2015 55-66

39-41 Retailer Face To Face


What’s Hot?

Terry Harvey, managing director and coowner of Occasions Cards & Gifts, talks about his two new stores in two recently opened major shopping centres.

Classified 67




Publisher Focus

Star Business Decisions

PG ‘tracks’ the rise of publisher Jolly Awesome.


Hip-Hop Tracks

A stellar line-up of card retailers and publishers reveal what has been their most glittering business decision of 2015.

47 Debbie Wigglesworth’s Paper Journeys

Unfolding Paper

Debbie shares her latest paper art discoveries.

Progressive Greetings is a monthly business magazine. SUBSCRIPTIONS: UK subscription: One year £50 Two year £85 Three year £110 Overseas subscription: One year £75 Jakki Brown

Warren Lomax

Gale Astley


Advertisement Director

Deputy Editor


49 PG is the official magazine for the Greeting Card Association GCA: Sharon Little 020 7619 0396 Email: Use your smartphone app to scan the QR code to visit our website.

Copyright© 2015. 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 ad Itty Bitty FINAL 24-11-15.pdf












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Getting Personal At Paperchase Extra Finance, New Stores, Initiatives Galore Paperchase is to remain in safe hands, following the securing of a £50m refinancing package. The retailer has also confirmed a raft of new stores, plus put in place a number of instore developments. It was mooted for a while that Paperchase was to be sold, but only if the price was right for its current owners. Instead, new extra finance has been secured. The extra slug of finance includes a £32m six year term loan from direct lending fund Permira Credit Solutions II, and £18m from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. This means the retailer is to remain under the ownership of private equity company Primary Capital and the existing management, led by chief executive Timothy Melgund. "We are delighted to have agreed this arrangement with two very well known funders," comments Timothy. "The debt will enable us to further build on the momentum in the business and continue to deliver our ambitious growth plans." Building on the huge success of its Treat Me reward programme, which is on track for one million members in the first six months since its UK launch this summer, Paperchase has held its first Treat Me Christmas celebration for members at its flagship London store in Tottenham Court Road. This also gave customers the chance to have gifts and stationery personalised in store, under its new Personal service, which

How Cool! Is That?

Above: Paperchase has secured a re-financing deal. Left: The embossing machine found in Paperchase’s three flagship stores.

is being trialled in Paperchase’s three flagship stores (London, Manchester and Glasgow). In addition, Paperchase is also offering customers the chance to have Christmas cards personalised there by Five Dollar Shake (November 28 in Tottenham Court Road and Glasgow, December 5 in Tottenham Court Road) and Belly Button (on December 5 in Manchester). “Well, we’ve got to keep moving!” said Frances Burkle, Paperchase’s head of buying. l Paperchase announced a 33% increase in profit for the year ended January 2015 with EBITDA up to £9.6m and total sales up 7% to £128m. Ecommerce sales jumped 42% in the year. During the last 12 months, Paperchase has launched in Canada through major department store chain Hudson’s Bay, in the USA through stationery giant Staples and also added a further 13 new standalone UK stores. It expects to open another five stores before the year end.

BHS Gets Personal Since exhibiting at PG Live in June, personalised card and gift concept, Creation Express, has been securing retail partners from within the sector as well as in general retailing. The concept that combines cutting-edge technology and design that enables high street retailers to personalise cards and gifts in store, has recently debuted in BHS in New Street, Birmingham. "The high street multiple will have five installed this side of Christmas and will be rolling them out throughout 2016," confirms Kurt Abbott, managing director of Creation Express. Clearly pleased with the high street prominence for the concept, Kurt said: "It's set to offer a year round card and gift solution in one of Britain's largest high street retailers, and is the first of many that are going into BHS stores. We are so proud and overwhelmed at how far we have come in just ten short months. The concept offers retailers a point of difference." Above: BHS in New Street, Birmingham. Left: The new Creation Express personalisation system.

Cool! Cards and Gifts in Skipton recently won Cherry Orchard's Shop of the Month competition. Owner Tina Botterill received a prize certificate and a bottle of champagne. The shop now goes through to the next round, and will be entered into a Grand Prize Draw where one lucky Shop of the Month winner will win a grand prize of £1,000 worth of greeting card stock (based on RRP) to be presented at Spring Fair in February. “It’s lovely to be able to display the certificate in my shop for all my customers to see," enthused Tina. The shop also reached the finals of the Best Greeting Card Retailer - New Shop or Branch - for the North of England in The Retas awards this year. Greeting card shop Rathbones Cards in Chingford has also been recognised by Cherry Orchard, chosen as Shop Of The Month in September for having a great range of products, clearly presented and displayed, with excellent customer service and a focus on bringing customers into the high street to support independent retailers. Rathbone’s owner, Claire Richardson said: “We are very pleased to receive this prestigious award. We try to offer our customers a great range of quality products to choose from and our focus is on providing excellent customer service, so to have all our hard work recognised is indeed an honour and a credit to our hardworking staff. Above: One of Cherry Orchard's Shop of the Month winners Tina Botterill, owner of Cool! Cards and Gifts, with her certificate and a bottle of champagne.

On The Job Training Greeting card printer Loxleys has recently introduced a certified NVQ qualification on site which is open to all employees and completes in January. The level 2 NVQ qualification aims to cover the skills and knowledge in one or more of a variety of manufacturing activities including job specific assessment competencies. Some 23 operations and manufacturing staff members are currently enrolled, representing 50% of the production workforce. The company has recently taken on an apprentice and a university placement student.



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Valentines day. Mothers day. Easter. Fathers day

Don’t miss out on our fantastic Spring 2016 collection... With a selection of beautifully finished cards, our range consists of new & updated designs; from contemporary to traditional, there is something to suit every taste. This year we've added more beautiful coloured foils, new hand painted artwork, a variety of relation titles and as always a large choice of verses.


T: 01202 897 494

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NEWS Deer Little Forest App


Climbing The Ladder Industry Experts Share Their Knowledge “The Ladder Club embodies everything that’s great about the UK greeting card industry, where fellow publishers and industry experts share their knowledge, giving up their time freely to help brand new and fledgling publishers to climb up the rungs of ‘the greeting card ladder’,” summed up Lynn Tait, the ‘Queen’ of The Ladder Club, as she welcomed the delegates on the first morning of the two one day seminars that took place at Westcliff on Sea. These 17th annual Ladder Club seminars were memorable, not just due to the record attendance on both days, but also down to the calibre of speakers. Speaking for the first time ever, on the important issue of copyright was Dids Macdonald, the founder of ACID (Anti Copying In Design group). Other very popular speakers were Miles Robinson (co founder of House of Cards) whose honest (and amusing) delivery left publishers in no doubt what this regional group is

looking for in card publishers, with retail consultant Henri Davis drawing on her immense retailing experience to deliver her nuggets of wisdom on the subject. From the publishing side, Jeremy Corner (of Blue Eyed Sun) shared his business insights, Karen Wilson and Claire Williams (of Paper Salad) revealed their trade secrets, while the Brainbox Candy boys did not disappoint with a hugely entertaining finale on the first day seminar with a presentation on branding and marketing. (See Lynn’s Lines pages 53-54) Above: ACID's Dids Macdonald (centre) with Lynn Tait and PG's Jakki Brown. Below left: A staircase full of attendees and speakers from the first day of The Ladder Club. Below: A duo mother and daughter acts. (Right-left) Gill Purdie and Megan Claire (of Megan Claire) with Lizzie and Alison Bell of The Little Bells.

A move into a global digital space with the first Deer Little Forest app marks an important new development for the company, which started out on greeting cards before seeing the artwork by creator Jo Rose being licensed onto other products. The app is free to download for iOS Above: The new Deer Little Forest app card maker. and android devices and includes a greeting card maker, match three, memory game and maker games. The app is live on Googleplay and Kindle, with iTunes to follow in December.

The Four Seasons Retas winner Calladoodles says it has already discovered a Christmas winner thanks to the bestselling vintage posters of scenes by local artist Helena Vaughan. The idea came to Helena following a Christmas gift from Above: The Four Seasons Calladoodles' founder and posters by Helena manager Clare Callanan, Vaughan which are exclusive to Calladoodles. who bought Helena a calendar of vintage posters for Christmas 2014. "We're very proud to showcase Helena's work," says Clare. "We're exclusive stockists for her designs in the area and are overrun with interest and orders for her work with a waiting list for her prints!"

Television Temptations On The Cards A Christmas gift that went on giving certainly worked some magic for Ladder Club ‘graduate’ Livia Lovell of Sunshine Biscuit as a drawing by her recently won the National Gallery's Christmas card competition. "My sister Giannina gave me a National Gallery membership last Christmas and I was so excited that I read every word of its newsletters and found out that it was running a Christmas card competition," explains Livia. "I wanted to convey in my drawing the beauty of the National Gallery, especially the magic of Christmas in London, because, one day in early December, walking around London, I came upon lots of people of all ages - children, grandparents, teenagers, couples - all dressed as Father Christmas. Although I never did find out what it was all about, the surreal image stayed with me and I wanted to capture the spirit of it in my picture." Livia added that thanks to her success, and to her attendance at The Ladder Club last month, she and her sister have decided to become greeting card publishers. "We have always drawn and painted but now we're going to try to make it into a business," states Livia. Left: Livia's prize winning Christmas card.

Over thirty years and six successful high street shops on from starting out, Mike Adams, the founder and owner of the Home Counties based Temptations gift and card chain, has undertaken a nationwide television advertising campaign for the Temptations website. The TV campaign went live on October 25th, with the five different adverts conveying the spirit of the best local gift store with the added benefit of comfortable and convenient online shopping. Many of the top selling gift brands were featured heavily in the adverts, including Happy Jackson, Bright Side, Yankee Candles and East of India. Temptations have long been recognised as one of the leaders in online gift retailing, winning The Greats’ On-line Gift Retailer of the Year award for a record four years in succession. To view the adverts go to



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NEWS TOP STORY Below: As well as sticker artwork, posters that retailers can download for their shops are availiable from the Just A Card website.

One Card At A Time The ‘Just A Card’ Campaign Grows One altruistic artist/designer has upped her campaign to support independent retailers by highlighting to consumers that by buying just one greeting card can safeguard that retailer’s livelihood. Sarah Hamilton, a well respected artist and designer, kick-started the Just A Card campaign shortly before Christmas last year and is now taking the action up a gear through galvanising the might of social media and gaining support from retailers and design bodies. The idea for Just a Card was sparked by Sarah after reading a comment made by an independent gallery owner: "If everyone who'd complimented our beautiful gallery had bought 'just a card' we'd still be open." In order to raise awareness of the importance of supporting independent retailers and galleries this Christmas (and throughout the year) Sarah has spearheaded a Thunderclap campaign which, if successful, will see Just a Card trending on social media, which will bring in more supporters.

Digital PR agency Decorum Media has provided expertise to publicise the campaign as have The Design Trust and Mollie Makes, who are official sponsors, enabling a website and downloadable posters to be developed. As the signoff message from Sarah, the website reads: “by all means compliment people, it makes the world a far sunnier place, but if you can, PLEASE, buy just a card!” Among the retailers to already be on board is Helen Stoney, owner of the Yellowstone Art Boutique, on the Trentham Estate, Stoke On Trent. As she commented: "The Just A Card campaign is one very close to my heart. Luckily, Yellowstone Art Boutique has supportive, understanding customers who make both big and small purchases from us, to keep our independent store thriving. But it saddens me to see so many local small shops around us, closing down. I urge customers to NEVER feel embarrassed that you can't buy a big framed picture. Just a card can go a long way." To pledge support go to

Gearing Up For The Celebrations

Below: Carte Blanche has updated its trade website.

A year on from launching its trader site (and in readiness for its blockbuster 21st birthday celebrations), Carte Blanche has unveiled a raft of improvements to its online ordering facility, and is also offering an introductory 10% discount, applied to the first order, for customers placing an order via the trade site for the first time. “We’ve listened to our customers to ensure that our Trader Site really delivers in terms of the service they should expect," explains customer relations manager Chris Barrett: "As well as improvements to navigation and ordering process, we’ve also made changes to ensure the site is mobile friendly, as many of our customers wanted to be able to access our products whenever and wherever they are wanted. Customers can also download imagery and barcodes for each of our ranges, which, following our user survey, was an important function to offer.”

Small Indies ‘Clobbered’ By Autumn Statement The much anticipated ‘root and branch’ review of Business Rates, so desired by many Northern and Midlands independent retailers who are paying Business Rates, based on the value of their property from the prerecession era, failed to materialise in Chancellor George Osborne’s recent Autumn Statement. He now says the “Structural Review” of Business Rates will take place in the Budget next April. Instead, the Chancellor hit many small independent greeting card and gift retailers with a nasty sting in the tail. The £1,500 Above: All eyes were on the Business Rate Chancellor George Osborne at the discount that in the end of November. last year was given to Below: Government affects the fate of indies. any premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000 (which is most independent retailers) has been removed without warning. This will hit many small independents very hard indeed. The average rateable value of shops in England and Wales is only £27,290. Alan Hawkins, ceo of bira, the British Independent Retailers Association commented: “This will hurt High Streets as soon as April next year and small shops will see bills rise even higher than they already would have as the rates multiplier will increase then as well”. He continued: “Make no mistake, High Street pain is not over, vacancy rates are still more than twice pre–crash levels and more small shops are closing now than opening”. However he cautiously welcomed the fact that the Chancellor confirmed that the conclusions of his business rates review will be announced in the Budget next Spring: “At least it gives us a date to concentrate on and a chance for the government to adopt bira’s reform,” concluded Alan.

A Date With Cliff Some 37 Cliff Richard official Danilo calendars down the line, and contrary to the media rumours that the 2015 version was the last, Cliff is still rockin' on the 2016 version. Looking like a 'young one', despite turning 75, the pop star is pictured on a three-wheeled motorcycle, on a balustrade and at the helm of a motor boat. The Daily Mail is among the media to have already given coverage to the calendar. Over the years, 1.5m Cliff Richard calendars have been sold. Left: The article which appeared in the Daily Mail.



it's the little moments that make life special...

Life is Sweet greeting cards designed by icon order online: telephone: 01242 679800 / email:

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NEWS A Great Way To Start


Make Your Mark Roadshows Hallmark Ups Its Offer For Indies For the third year running, Hallmark is hitting the road in January with a raft of roadshows taking place in unusual venues. The company will be covering more 'road' than ever, spanning 19 notable venues across the UK and Ireland, more than ever before. These include the Titanic Museum (Belfast), Old Trafford stadium (Manchester), Trent Bridge Cricket Ground (Nottingham), Silverstone (Northampton) and Mercedes Benz World (Weybridge). “We want to encourage customers to enjoy a day out as well as look at some new products,” explained Leona Veitch, marketing manager for the speciality channel at Hallmark. Those attending the trade show will be able to take advantage of free guided tours or use the spa facilities in the hotels. At each venue, everyone attending will also have the opportunity to win a piece of limited edition artwork (a choice of genres will be on offer) for their business or home, plus a goody bag (worth £50).

The company will be unveiling its brand new collections across Christmas, Everyday, gift packaging and gifts, to include licensed and Itty Bittys. The Handpicked collection, which is only available to independents, has been expanded considerable (with 50 new designs joining the collection of 350 cards). These include many double captions. The roadshow venues will also include Gold Crown zones where special offers and products specific to Gold Crown retailers will be showcased.

It's been a successful start for greeting card publisher Curious Pencil, owned by Simone and Sheleen Estridge. The publisher, which debuted at PG Live in June, has recently been awarded the Business Start-up of the Year 2015 trophy by the Birmingham City Council’s programme Enterprise Catalyst - the first place the company went to as a new start up business. Having initially worked with a mentor, and attended an Enterprise Generation 2014 event, the company was subsequently entered into Birmingham City Council’s ‘Dragons’ Den’ winning a cash prize and featuring in the Voice newspaper and on BBC WM Radio show. "Being a part of the Enterprise Catalyst programme has been a great success for us" comments Sheleen. Below: Curious Pencil with their award. From left to right: directors Simone Estridge and Sheleen Estridge with James Martin, a representative of the Birmingham City Council.

Above: Hallmark will shortly be taking to the road. Left: One of the new Handpicked designs that has been specifically developed for indies.

Nothing Itty Bitty About Demand Hallmark’s new collectable mini plush range, Itty Bittys is gaining traction among consumers, with some of the items being sold on eBay way beyond the original retail value of the items. In addition, the blogger programme Hallmark has initiated is further boosting demand among consumers. The latest marketing activity includes a Snap Your Festive Itty Bitty competition, which invites consumers to upload images of their Itty Bitty characters in Christmas mode.

The Force Is Being Reawakened With the anticipation building for the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Hallmark is adding to the excitement with the launch of a competition for each of its Gold Crown retailers to offer two cinema tickets to customers for the new Star Wars film. In addition, there are new Force Awakens greeting cards, Star Wars Itty Bitty characters and PoS, while each Gold Crown retailer stocking the range is being sent a 3’ plush Darth Vader. “I have never seen anything like it,” commented Tamsyn JohnstonHughes, Hallmark’s consumer marketing manager. “The demand for all things Star Wars is incredible and the new film isn’t being released until December 18.” Above: Tamsyn Johnston-Hughes (right) with product manager Felicity Judge, and the large Darth Vader and Star Wars Itty Bitty characters. Left: Gold Crown retailers can offer one of their customers a pair of tickets for the new Star Wars film.

Russian Around The UK greeting card industry has attracted the attention of the international media with the GCA’s chief executive, Sharon Little having been involved in a major piece in Rutage, a glossy lifestyle magazine aimed at Russian ex-pats living in the UK. The article focuses on the etiquette of sending cards as well as the value and wealth of publishers in the UK market. The interview, with journalist Helena Martynova, took place in Waterstones’ Piccadilly store. Elsewhere, a serious Dutch newspaper contacted Sharon recently as part of its research about the role Christmas cards play in the festive season. “It is great that news of our industry is of interest to a host of media – and I am only too happy to be involved in anything that promotes greeting cards,” comments Sharon. Above: GCA’s Sharon Little as featured in the Russian magazine Rutage.



Scotland’s Trade Fair

24-26 2016 SECC JANUARY


fresh ideas for Spring To register for your free entry badge and for further information please visit

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Card Factory Revenues On The Up More Good news Shared By The Value Retailer At odds with its very low PR profile prior to its stock market listing, Card Factory is releasing much more information through official statements to the City and the press. Thankfully, as the performance of the value group continues to be strong the media and the City is looking favourably on the sector.

Above: Card Factory.

Card Factory has seen its revenues increase and is continuing to trade in line with the Board’s expectations was the news from last month’s statement. “We have seen another period of consistent performance across the Group as we continue to drive growth from existing and new stores, as well as our expanding online operations," said Card Factory's ceo Richard Hayes. Giving his assurance for the crucial festive run up, he went on: "We are well prepared for the important competitive Christmas period and remain confident in our ability to continue to increase market share whilst delivering on all four pillars of our growth strategy.” In the nine months ended 31 October 2015, revenue increased by +7.9%, driven by a combination of like-for-like sales growth, new store roll out and further growth in online activities. Like-for-like sales growth is continuing to benefit from the innovation of the Group's design studio, with on-going improvements in the quality and breadth of both card and non-card ranges. Nine net new stores were opened in the third quarter, bringing a total of 45 net new store openings in the year

to date, with a total of 809 stores as of 31 October 2015. Some 50 net new stores will be opened in the current financial year, with the Group remaining confident in continuing its historic opening rate of approximately 50 net new stores per annum. Its online business Getting Personal ( has also continued to demonstrate good levels of growth in the third quarter, but is now facing more challenging comparative figures having delivered 27.1% revenue growth in the second half of last year. While Card Factory continues to target double digit revenue growth for Getting Personal for the remainder of the year, it expects that this will be at a lower level than the 24.9% revenue growth achieved in the first half. Meanwhile, the trial of the recently relaunched Card Factory transactional website is on-going. Over the last quarter, ranges of personalised cards and gifts have been introduced to the website, the first time these products have been offered under the Card Factory banner, with a potential to grow revenues over the medium term from the current small base. ● The Group will announce its preliminary results for the year ending 31 January 2016 on Tuesday 5 April 2016, with a trading statement issued in January.

● Ladder Club publisher Lizzie Chancellor has joined a new ethical market place called The Lost Lanes. "Everything sold on it must be fairly made and materials responsibly sourced," explains Lizzie. ● It's been a hectic time for Little Fingy over the past six months with the company hurtling around the country to 20 different destinations in a knitted ice cream van. "It created a lot of interest!" states the company’s founder Dale Woodcock. Above: The eye-catching Little Fingy knitted van.

● Wire Fittings has won a contract to supply the National Trust in Studland with 70 wire recycle bins in a move to encourage recycling and preserve the Purbeck National Nature Reserve. ● A unique Advent calendar, created to raise funds for courier ParcelHero's Oxfam campaign, went under the hammer on eBay on November 26. Some 25 renowned artists created boxes filled with handmade gifts to form a unique Advent calendar. All monies raised will be sent to Oxfam in time for Christmas. ● Group revenue at B&M European Value saw group revenues increase by 25.8% to £930.3m in the first half of its financial year, driven by 47 net new store openings during the period. A further 80 net new openings will roll out in the company's current financial year. The company is looking at a goal of at least 850 UK stores. ● The latest BDO High Street Sales Tracker figures, which were published on November 6, revealed that warm weather and a lack of promotions led to flat high street sales in October.

Charity Begins At… House Of Cards House of Cards, the Home Counties specialist card retail group, has donated £6,000 to charities in the last month, as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations. Stepping back in time to mark its Silver anniversary, the retailer collaborated with Nigel Quiney to offer a special collection of the publisher’s Pizazz range of cards at the 1990s price of 75p, with the proceeds of which going to charity Child Autism UK. House of Cards’ partners Miles Robinson and Nigel Williams formally handed over a substantial cheque of £4,000 to Mandy Williams of Child Autism UK at a celebratory lunch that was also attended by Nigel Quiney’s sales director Fiona Douglass and managing director Alison Butterworth and PG’s Warren Lomax and Gale Astley. In addition, Miles Robinson took the opportunity as he was speaking at The Ladder Club to mark that it was donating £2,000 to the Children’s Trust (via The Light Fund charity, that was cofounded by PG’s Jakki Brown). The sum was raised by the retailer donating 50p of every sale of certain cards from 12 Ladder Club publishers who had been selected to be part of the promotion. Above: House of Cards’ Nigel Williamson (4th right) and Miles Robinson with (left to right) Gale Astley (PG), Mandy Williams (Child Autism UK) with Nigel Quiney’s Alison Butterworth and Fiona Douglass. Above: As I Drew This and Catherine Kleeli were involved in the House of Cards Ladder Club promotion (and also at the seminar) it was great that the founders of both of these companies (Ilona Drew, far left) and Catherine Kleeli second left) were there for the cheque presentation with Miles Robinson, Lynn Tait (second left) and PG’s Jakki Brown.



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Man On The Moon Christmas Cards In JLPs Festive Ad Portfolio John Lewis' hugely successful The Man On the Moon Christmas TV ad is ringing up sales for the department store, with specific charity Christmas cards an integral part of the product mix. Linking up with Age UK, The Man On the Moon range includes single cards, packs of cards and personalised cards, as well as giftwrap and stickers. The full range of products, available in store and online - to include mugs and an Advent calendar - has been inspired by the TV ad where a little girl sees a man on the

What A Bright Idea

moon while she is looking through her telescope one night. She sends him a telescope for Christmas so that he can see her too. Telescopes have also been selling out for the department store! (See Over The Counter, pages 20-21) Above: John Lewis' Man On the Moon advertisement. Left: JPL’s The Man On The Moon card range.

Mog's More Of A Success Than A Calamity Forgetful cat Mog is the star of Sainsbury's Christmas ad campaign, with the supermarket joining forces with HarperCollins Children's Books and Save the Children. The product range, which has been devised to complement the commercial, includes a specially created Mog plush toy and a new Mog book written and illustrated by author Judith Kerr, which is being sold exclusively in Sainsbury's to complement the story told in the campaign. Already the book has topped both the children's and adult’s book charts. The Mog campaign is aiming to raise funds for Save the Children to improve child literacy across the UK.

Above: Sainsbury's Christmas Mog campaign is upping the ante at Sainsbury's.

Christmas Collections Unveiled Pigment is the latest card publisher to have signed a licensing tie-up with major gift company Widdop Bingham. The licensing agreement will initially span four giftware collections, with the one based on the “By Appointment” card range being described as ‘the backbone’. The collection will see its official launch at the Spring Fair on Widdop’s stand in its new location - Hall 4 stand G10-J11. Steve Baker, sales director at Pigment said: “We are all really pleased here at Pigment about our new collaboration with the guys at Widdop Bingham. It's an exciting development for our design studio to be working with industry-leading companies in other categories and we look forward to watching some of our best selling concepts develop into great emotional gifting”. * Widdop Bingham's Christmas 2016 showroom opens at the company's head offices in Oldham, Manchester on December 7, remaining on show until March 31. There will be nine themed Christmas stories incorporating tree decorations, festive home accessories and Christmas candle holders, with plenty of ideas for in-store merchandising. During January, the company will be previewing its entire Spring 2016 collection in its showrooms prior to Spring Fair. Appointments can be booked by visiting Left: Some of the By Appointment range.



With art at its heart, The Bright Group International (which supplies many greeting card publishers with artwork) recently launched The Bright Emporium in Clapham, South London, as a new retail space with an illustration focus. The Emporium will showcase the artwork of 10 artists including Yasmeen Ismail, Fred Blunt and Gabe Alborozo in an exhibition called Where The Story Began. Going forward, the shop will stock a full range of Bright artists’ greeting cards as well as those from beyond the agency. "Books, illustration and artwork don’t just arrive, they are a creative process of ideas, storytelling and messages," explains founder and owner Vicki Willden-Lebrecht. "This will be a reactive and creative space for illustrators, art lovers, children and parents. Above all, we want the shop to be a retail space full of creative inspiration with different prints, books and crafts available to purchase." Already recognised for developing illustrators, Bright wants to inspire shoppers to engage with the exciting art scene. As well using the space to show artists work in their gallery, The Emporium sells ‘print on demand’ and ‘bespoke prints’ which can be commissioned by Bright’s artistic directors, with the full range of their artists for a customer to choose from. Above: Opening day at The Bright Emporium in Clapham.

Improving The Customer Experience Spring Fair has introduced The Wish List which will enable buyers to save and print lists of their favourite items from exhibitors' products. As well as helping buyers with their selections, it will also generate leads for exhibitors throughout the year, say i2i Events. Also new at the show in February will be a trend focused guide for buyers, highlighting new products available at the exhibition. "The Product Guides bring to life the very latest innovations available to buy at Spring Fair and also provide a year-round source of inspiration for buyers," explains Saul, head of retail brand marketing at i2i Events Group. Spring Fair Fair takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, from February 7-11. Visit:

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Thinking Of Everyone Publishers And Retailers Embrace Festive Friday As PG went to press, the trade was gearing up for Festive Friday, the GCA-instigated initiative to get everyone in the trade sending their Christmas cards early. Taking place on Friday November 27, the same day as Black Friday, Sharon Little, ceo of the GCA commented: “We see Festive Friday as a lovely way of spreading cheer and making people feel special and cared for.” Publishers, retailers and suppliers have all put their own take on how to embrace Festive Friday, such as by giving employees free cards to write, subsidising the postage or giving them free time to write their cards. Festive Friday came a month after the GCA’s other card sending event, Thinking of You Week (held from September 21-27). Three retailers received a prize (of a Fortnum & Mason hamper) from the GCA in recognition of their Thinking of You Week activities. These were Asda,

Jarrolds of Norwich and Earlybird of Stoke Newington. ● Among the numerous greeting card publishers who really put their all behind Thinking of You Week was UKG. The company put together a major marketing campaign involving employees, consumers and retailers. Daily social media activities to reinforce the Thinking of You Week message included encouraging people to #Sharethecard they received or sent, as well as interacting with social audiences for Boofle and Ted to suggest cards to make the perfect send. Above: Hallmark Gold Crown retailers received a Festive Friday pack from the publisher. Below: Earlybird’s shop window displayed children’s design for the Thinking of You Week initiative. Below left: UKG invited its employeed to select some of its cards for Thinking of You Week.

Santoro Opens Its First Shop In an exciting expansion for Santoro, the company (which publishes cards and manufacturers products under its own brand as well as through licensing agreements) has launched its first retail outlet in Milsom Street, Bath. This is the first in an international roll-out of stores planned across the UK and globally, to include the Middle East. The new shop will bring together Santoro's eclectic greeting cards, designAbove: The new Santoro shop. led gifts, fashion accessories and homewares. The company, which is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, has previously worked directly with retailers such as Harrods, which has housed a Santoro pop-up boutique. Revealing the catalyst that clinched the new retail operation, Meera Santoro, cofounder, explains: "The final clincher to open a store was when a father and daughter travelled from Sweden, knocked on our office door, and asked where our shop was!"

● Jardine Donovan (right) recently joined Pigment's nationwide team of area managers as area manager for East Anglia. She brings a wealth of experience to the company having most recently spent 15 years with Xpressions. Jardine has also worked as a merchandiser for Nigel Quiney and Carte Blanche, and managed a greeting card shop.

Which? Digs Into Charity Cards Self-appointed consumer campaign group Which? digs into the charity Christmas card sector in the December edition of its magazine. Under the headline of ‘Should you buy charity Christmas cards?’, the publication singled out the charity contributions on charity Christmas cards sold in 13 key retailers. Among these, the Co-Op came bottom of its ‘league table’, highlighting that it donates 7% from its FairShare cards. At the top of its ‘leader board’ was WHSmith, for donating 100% of proceeds from its Children in Need Christmas pack to the charity, although its other collaborations with Help for Heroes (for which it donates 20%) and RSPCA, Marie Curie and Save the Children (which sees a 10% donation from the sale of the cards). Also appearing near the top was Aldi (which is donating 25% to Barnados and Prince’s Trust) and John Lewis (which is donating 25% to Alzheimer’s Society, Barnadios, WWF and Help for Heroes from its charity Christmas card sales). Other retailers cited include Debenhams, M&S, Paperchase, Clintons, Boots, Ryman, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. In the accompanying article, Which? also highlighted how Asda this year is not selling any charity cards, while Morrisons has taken a different approach in that, regardless of how many Christmas packs it sells, it will be making a donation of £50,000 to charity. Tesco was also mentioned for selling a range of charity cards for which it is making a donation of £300,000 to Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation. Above: Which? highlighted the varying amounts charities receive through the sale of Christmas cards, but did not delve into the fact that the cards are published at no risk to the charity.



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Over The Counter

We Will Be Right Back

After The break... Take one acoustic breathy song cover, mix in a heartfelt story with a clear message, throw in a cute central character - a child/cat/penguin (delete as appropriate), add a dash of social responsibility to strengthen your message and finally garnish with a tagline that allows it to be hash-tagged around the world. Sounds simple right? Well, this is basically the formula for the biggest retailers’ ad campaigns of the crucial Christmas period. Last week two of the UK’s biggest hitters, John Lewis and Sainsbury’s, launched their new mini epics to millions of public reactions and a hell of a lot of Facebook shares. The anticipation surrounding the blockbuster Christmas commercials is what is called ‘event advertising’ - when consumers are actually looking for and can’t wait to watch the advert. In the current climate advertising is getting more and more difficult. On demand television, social media and indeed people have changed. We don’t sit down and watch TV programmes like we used to and we are certainly not engaging with printed media in the same way either. We consume things differently and the days of adverts actually showing a product and highlighting its good points seem to have passed. Ads now need to be a lot more than that! How we react to online ads, and specifically short bursts of online videos, has become crucial to how we then perceive a brand or product. So this means that as indie retailers we can’t expect an ad in the local paper with one product and our shop logo to have any real type of impact. This I realise is obvious to most, if not all of you, but I am sure no one reading this has a £7million budget for ads, so what can independent retailers do to be noticed? 20


I certainly realised I couldn’t compete and have spent practically nothing on ads over the last number of years. Instead, we have looked at different options such as social media, events, in-house branding and sponsorship - all of which have been key to aligning our business with various things. And what do I mean when I say ‘things’? Well specifically I mean ‘emotions’. Big companies want a true reaction from their advertisements, an emotional response from potential consumers, as this determines how successful their product and brand will be viewed and thought of, not just immediately but in the long-term.

Above: TV commercials have changed their shape in recent years by focusing more on our emotions. Below: #manonthemoon has been tweeted and shared thousands of times on social media.

Evoking emotion from their ads is now seen as crucial. We make decisions based on emotions and we validate them with logic. For example, it’s turned colder so I really needed that new winter coat - but what about the other six coats in your wardrobe? Companies such as Weight-Watchers too have got it right by showing more confident happier people in their ads after they have lost weight. They don’t say it of course, it is all simply subliminal! Both are good examples of what can be done to harness emotions, but how can we as indies do that? One way is to sponsor an event. We have been the main sponsor of the local Bake Off competition, with our logos featuring heavily in the press advertising (at no cost to us). This means that people associate our business with home bakes and good homely food. It also allows us, through the prizes, to highlight key brands that we sell as well. All of this is very subliminal, but it seems to work. We follow this up with having the prize winner bake the winning entry in our coffee shop. All sales of which goes to a charity who obviously then are grateful and publicise it as well. Everyone wins. Our annual Christmas shopping nights, which happened only last week, are also crucial to how people feel about our business. We saw 140 women come to the store for two nights of music, quizzes, a fashion show and of course shopping. Everything was built around the key lines that we wanted to sell, not only on the night itself, but over the course of the next six weeks. Nothing was pushed at the customer, but they received free gifts from Clarins, enjoyed a detailed jewellery

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Over The Counter

talk/fashion show, had the key products/cards (top 10 Christmas ‘must haves’) pointed out to them and had a deal sheet on their table that they could read as they had their first glass of bubbly. Unbelievably, the event has almost sold out again for 2016, but now we are analysing it even further to ensure that those that are there are there not just for the night out, but to actually buy. The focus is on the customer enjoying themselves, spending decent money and then spreading the word like a virus about the shop and event.

This was evident yesterday, with a huge amount of comments in-store about the night and people discussing a video of customers doing a chorus line to New York New York - check out bijouelgin on Facebook to see it! The idea of it being like a virus is a very powerful one. You need to infect people with the ethos of your business. You want them to tell others and then those people to tell more people. Word of mouth is, without doubt, the most powerful advertising tool, but you have to give them something positive/exciting to talk about! This is not the only event we have organised recently. Our Charlie Bears coffee morning is netting excellent sales and great social media interaction too. This is another element that you need to encourage honesty and feedback from your customers. With all the various methods to now critique your store performance, feedback can come at you in many forms. You have to embrace the good with the bad and it can be painful as your competition can also see your shortcomings, but the bottom line is that customer relationships and loyalty must be nurtured and respected. Of course the other way that we have to gather information is old-fashioned in many respects, as we really have to use our own

eyes and ears to gauge success, along with the till totals of course. Buying into the ethos and brand a company is putting out there is crucial for its business. It wants us to become members of its tribe and want to be associated with the company. Look at just some of the taglines from the last eight years’ worth of Christmas John Lewis ads: 2008 If you know the person you will find the present 2009 For those who care about showing they care 2011 For gifts you can’t wait to give 2013 Give someone a Christmas they will never forget 2014 Give someone the Christmas they have been dreaming of. All of these taglines create emotion, both to the sender and the receiver of the gift. It makes you want to be the person who gives that perfect gift. Humans by nature want to help and please. We want to be loved and admired. Advertisers are playing on that. The gift that you give if bought from JLP will make you that lovely person. That is what they are really saying in their ads. We, as indies, pride ourselves on being different. We want to have products in store which allow our customers to say something personal about themselves, and cards as a category is a great place where you can find real product diversity and have something different for little money. But we need to create that brand of individuality. You want your customers to be saying something along the lines of ‘I always get something different in Pozzi’s or Bijou’. Even the smallest retailer can do this as literally you can buy from five different or unusual card companies for £1,000 and create a fresh look to your card section. Of course, what I am really discussing is how we, as indies, market our business. I deliberately said ‘business’ as I think it is far more powerful to market your brand than simply something that you sell. By all means associate your business with key brands, but remember what you are really selling them is the in-store or online experience of your store. In his book Human to Human, Bryan Kramer covers the idea of human-to-human marketing and more. He wants to move

away from the complicated thought process of a company selling B2B (business to business) then B2C (business to consumer). He simply believes that there should be a simple message that comes across from H2H (human to human), regardless at which point of the retail chain you are on. His key points are that we should speak in a language that is simple for all to understand. Businesses do not have emotions, but people do! People want to be part of something bigger, they want to feel something, they want to be included and they want to understand. They want to be part of the tribe. John Lewis this year spent two minutes of its Christmas story building up to a very simple message: ‘Show someone they are loved’. Not only is it easy to understand, but it also has a tremendous amount of depth to it, not least because it is associated with Age UK. The instore promotion of the ad - with moon-themed areas in 11 stores, lunar lookouts, children's learning activities and even the app/game - means that #manonthemoon is a lot more than a tearjerking ad. It is a whole world of learning and possibility. Sainsbury’s Christmas advert too follows the emotional path with a story of community and children’s favourite Mog the

Above left: A happy customer meeting Charlie Bear at Bijou's coffee morning. Above and left: Sainsbury's Mog the Cat Christmas advert originated as a book.

Cat. The message of everyone helping out the family is further reinforced with the exclusive Mog book and toy which will be high on many children's Santa’s list. The ad wraps the story up with a beautiful bow by highlighting children's literacy campaigns. Storytelling is the ultimate way to make your customer feel part of your business - ’Tell me, not sell me!’ It adds colour and life to your store. It makes it more than a shop, it makes it part of something bigger. To contact David email: PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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The Great British Card Empire The British Empire may have gone, our manufacturing base may have been decimated and our economy may be under attack from the vicious and parasitic modern day robber barons from Silicon Valley, but the UK now leads the world when it comes to popular culture. Cardsharp reflects how greeting cards are an important part of this cultural and economic counter attack and how bizarrely the global success of the UK greeting card industry emerged from the ashes of Britain’s manufacturing decline. News of the GCA’s impending meeting with the government Minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey at which a delegation will highlight the UK greeting card industry’s global achievements and put a case for it to be recognised as a vital part of Britain’s Culture and Arts supremacy, set Cardsharp thinking where this success has come from and the parallels with other areas of the UK’s cultural success. This thinking process was also triggered by Cardsharp watching an excellent television documentary recently, written and presented by the modern age historian, Dominic Seabrook, entitled ‘Let Me Entertain You - The New British Empire’. In the TV programme, Dominic traced our 150 year decline in manufacturing dominance and how the phenomenally successful UK popular culture emerged phoenix-like out of the ashes of this decline. He started his story in 1851 and The Great Exhibition, the first modern exhibition and an event



that aimed to showcase Britain’s manufacturing might. Ironically, The Great Exhibition was the brainchild of Sir Henry Cole, the founder of the UK greeting card industry. The programme then traced how, after 150 years of manufacturing and military decline, Great Britain found a new role, where we became the leading global purveyor of ‘soft power’.

Above: British author, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books are known all over the world. Below: Dedicated followers of fashion headed down to Carnaby Street in the 1960’s.

The examples Dominic highlighted were fascinating. The Beatles in the 1960s were awarded OBE’s for their export achievements in America, yet ‘the four mop tops’ came out of a city decimated by the decline of Liverpool as a global port. Heavy Metal music, a genre pioneered by Black Sabbath in 1970, was another example cited in the programme. In this case, here were four unemployed ‘Brummie lads’, whose loud, deep, repetitive metallic guitar and base sound was so heavily influenced by the constant banging of the huge steel forges for which the West Midlands was so famous, but were now closing all around them. In 45 years, since Black Sabbath released its debut album, the group has sold over 70 million albums - and their release last year went to number one in 14 countries, while the music style they pioneered - ‘Heavy Metal’ - is still huge, from Tokyo to Toepica, Kansas. The world’s best selling author is JK Rowling (of Harry Potter fame), while the world’s longest running film franchise and one of the most lucrative is James Bond. Meanwhile, British musicals, as pioneered by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber, are still dominant on Broadway. And as if to highlight this even further, when in 2012 GB had another opportunity (like in 1851) through the London Olympics to highlight the UK’s great strengths, what a show we put on! The spectacular Opening Ceremony though was all about UK rock music, film and popular culture. The new British Empire!

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CARDSHARP And the UK greeting card industry is a key part of this new British Empire, reflected Cardsharp. It’s inspiring, innovating and as such demands the attention of the whole world. In PG Live, the UK boasts the only dedicated greeting card exhibition in the world, attracting buyers from over 50 countries desperate for British designs. Musing further, Cardsharp suggests that the UK greeting card industry effectively emerged from the ashes of various manufacturing industries that were once so important in our ‘producing’ days. Has anyone ever wondered about the prevalence of greeting card publishers in the Nottingham area: The Art File, Paper Rose, Rachel Ellen, Bug Art to name but a few? Many of these publishers achieved success utilising the creative tradition of surface pattern design that had served the fabric and clothing industry for which the Nottingham area was so famous. The factories that produced and exported these textile products may now be in Bangladesh, but much of the creative talent is now employed in greeting card design.

Ditto West Yorkshire. Currently home to both industry giants of Hallmark and UK Greetings (and formerly the now defunct and absorbed card publishers like Regent, Selective and WN Sharpe). As ‘the county of a thousand cotton mills’ - which utilised local design to produce cheap clothes for the world - lost significance in the global market, so the creative talent in this area was somehow circumvented into greeting cards. Even the defunct mills in some of these places became the base of these new publishing operations. In many ways, the greeting card industry inherited the innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that had made those older industries so successful in those locations in the Victorian era. Taking it one step further, Cardsharp pondered if, as he suspects, greeting cards

Above: Metal maestros Black Sabbath. Below: Long-running British film franchise, James Bond.

are one strand of this new cultural British empire of ‘soft power’, is their future assured? After all, as well as being cultural icons, greeting cards are an analogue communication vehicle in a supposedly digital world. Is being in the vanguard of the new British Empire enough? Cardsharp likes to think so. In the last year or so he has detected a strong antitrend that should work in our industry’s favour. For instance, Twitter usage is dropping quite dramatically as people recoil from the incessant chatter, inanity and in many cases bile! A recent report from the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen (yes it does exist!) proved that giving up Facebook boosts happiness, reduces anger and loneliness, and that once people came off it they increasingly engaged in more meaningful and rewarding social activity. What’s more, some digital companies seem to be recognising that. Top e-commerce brands are starting to open their own bricks and mortar stores, with even Amazon announcing a new book store, while bookseller Waterstones has stopped selling Kindles. Research has also shown that reading from a physical text, rather than a screen, means you absorb a lot more information as you are more focused. It is a multi-sensory experience in the real world,

“The world’s best selling author is JK Rowling (of Harry Potter fame), while the world’s longest running film franchise and one of the most lucrative is James Bond.”

just like giving or receiving a greeting card really. Our industry is certainly on the side of the angels here. The prospects offered by the total subjection of our new British soft cultural power empire to US-based digital companies are not attractive to Cardsharp, at least. These Californian Silicon Valley giants produce very little of tangible value, rants Cardsharp, diminish our tax base while paying little tax themselves. They employ few people, destroy our privacy and aim to wither our art and culture. And, if they had their way, they would probably like to see the end of physical card sending too. They have eroded copyright protection, stolen intellectual property rights and allowed plagiarism to flourish. They are free-loading pariahs and the modern day American robber barons that cream off margins and contribute very little to our economy, as far as Cardsharp can make out. If we in greeting cards are an ‘analogue business in a digital age’, that is something to be proud of and embrace. And if the United Kingdom has an economic future it is not going to be as the English speaking European zone of World Dot Com.Inc! Cardsharp hopes that our esteemed Minister of Culture, Ed Vaizey gets the message when he meets the GCA and recognises that success stories like our greeting card industry need to be seen as part of our new British Empire. And the ultimate irony to Cardsharp is that the delegation will be headed by the GCA’s current president, Ged Mace, founder and owner of greeting card publishing success story The Art File, based in Nottingham, a city with a strong hosiery history. Together with others (GCA’s Sharon Little, PG’s Jakki Brown and publisher Eloise Hall), there is little doubt they will ‘sock it to them’ as to the soft power of greeting cards!



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Star Business Decisions Every business, from the tiny start-up card publisher to major specialist card retailer, in order to grow while ‘protecting their patch’ has to take a number of calculated risks. Some of these decisions prove incredibly lucrative, others less so. As the Year of the Goat draws to a close, PG found out how the stars have been aligned this year for some card retailers and publishers and what has been their most sparkling business decision.

Getting Personal Frances Burkle, head of buying at Paperchase: “Thinking back on the year, the best business decision I’ve been involved in and party to was the introduction of our personalised offer at Paperchase or ‘Get Personal’ at Paperchase. We’d seen the trend out there of course, online and in some of the fashion retailers, and Timothy [Melgund, ceo] especially thought it was something that we could adapt for our stores. So cut to this Christmas season and we have embossing machines in our three flagship stores, offering something really special to our customers - a real differentiator, and at a great price too. It has created a buzz in the stores and added theatre, and a great way to engage with our customers. To me it just goes to show that even as we grow as a business the focus is still very much on our individual stores and innovation too. And, to add to the excitement we’ve got lots of other events in the run up to Christmas, such as working with Five Dollar Shake and Belly Button to add to the Get Personal offer! Another highlight has been the introduction of our Treat Me reward card this year, a business focus which Joe Irons, our multi-channel director, has championed and driven the implementation and subsequent take up by our customers has been so exciting.” Above: The embossing machine in Paperchase's three flagship stores personalises notebooks and gifts for its customers. Left: Paperchase's 'Treat Me' reward card. Above right: Leisurely bear time on a card from Pippi & Me. Rright: Staff angel, Jo Sandes (left) with Jeannett Stevenson, owner of Pippi & Me.

Wonder-Woman Jeannett Stevenson, owner of Pippi & Me: “The best business decision I made in 2015 was to employ Jo Sandes in the office for a couple of days a week (exhibiting at PG for the first time came a close second, but I’m not sure if I would have done PG without Jo!) Taking on my first employee was scary as I wasn’t really making enough money to cover her wages at the time. However, I realised that the business could not move forward if I was going to be stuck processing orders and doing paperwork (not my forte) and staying up to 1 am most nights to get everything done. This was also putting quite a strain on family life… it was make or break time… There is no doubt that if I hadn’t taken the plunge and employed Jo when I did, Pippi & Me would not be where it is now, probably wouldn’t have the vast Little Creatures ranges as we have now. We wouldn’t have done our first trade show PG Live (Jo is great at filling out forms!) or have even entered The Henries (Jo reminded me of the closing date…quick!), let alone win a Henries award! Taking on an employee is not like waving a magic wand, but it really has given me a bit more time to do what I love most…being creative and concentrating on the bigger picture of Pippi & Me. What will it be in 2016? Converting the garden shed to a packing/picking room or trying out Top Drawer in January... we will see...”



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Festive Planning Jo Barber, owner of The Stationery & Gift Boutique, Ampthill:

Expanding Steps Ros Jones, owner of Celtic Company, Welshpool Powys: “Our best business decision this year has got to be taking the plunge and agreeing the lease on our brand new shop. This beautiful space - three times the size of our existing shop, yet only three doors down the high street - became available just before Christmas 2014. The owner, a fellow businessman who I have known for many years, offered it to me. It would have been rude to refuse! Seriously, it was a big step and a risk - our business was only just showing signs of recovery after the miserable last few years - and the common-sense view (ie that of my lovely accountant) would be to hold off a while. But great chances don't come along that often and why should I hand the opportunity to a competitor? It was a head and a heart decision. On the head side, my existing lease is up for renewal in less than two years. The current premises need investment and the sales area was becoming cramped for staff and customers alike. On the heart side, we all fell hook line and sinker for the airconditioned, daylight-lighting, wooden-floored, heated space complete with staff and toilet facilities - after 18 years of us all managing with a single loo and a kitchenette measuring 4’ by 10’, being cold in the winter and too hot in the summer, we were easily seduced! The head decision to split our Top: The Celtic Company’s new gift shop 'offer' between two premises - to a dedicated with its new colourful branding. card shop in the original shop and separate gift Above: A lovely gift to Ros Jones on the shop in our new one - has reaped dividends opening of her new shop. already. The big winner is the re-vamped card shop (thanks Abacus and friends for believing in us and helping with the fit-out). Turnover on cards has nearly doubled. The gift shop turnover is also well up, but not quite so dramatic at the moment (ask me again after Christmas!). We opened in May 2015. I am proud that we have created new jobs and the new members of the team seem as happy as our 'old-stagers'. With staff happier, that feeds through to customers - they seem to really like what we have done and tell us so. We have re-branded to re-align our logo with our smarter image and everything is fresher and more positive. Eighteen years on from me picking up the keys to our original shop with a 3-day old baby in tow, I really feel as though we have finally come of age (and yes, he has too!). This project has given me a new confidence in my business and myself, after a pretty rocky few years, and we are making plans for 2016 (specifically a new e-commerce website).” 26


“My best business decision was putting aside a week in the summer to work on nothing other than Christmas. Stock was already ordered but we worked pretty much 24/7 on pricing, cash flow, stock mix, scheduling deliveries, shop layout, window displays, rotas and designed all our marketing material and events for the season. We’re running private shopping evening throughout November and December, which tend to attract approximately 20 customers at each event and are incredibly lucrative as everyone encourages one another to spend. I guess that’s what happens when groups of friends shop with a constantly topped up glass of fizz in their hand! We have used marketing material to promote these evenings and we have 16 booked in total. It’s probably fair to say I made a number of knee-jerk reactions last year, where given time, I may have taken a different approach to Christmas. By dedicating time in advance and without the distraction of being at the shop, we planned every detail. Given how important November and December are to retailers, it really was time well spent. As I write this, it’s too early to say how successful our strategy has been, but we’re experiencing excellent footfall, record sales and stock is at the right level. This means we can concentrate on our customers, our shopping evenings and enjoy the season.” Above: The marketing material for The Stationery & Gift Boutique’s Christmas shopping evening. Below: A gorgeous festive display in store created by Jo Barber.

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In-House Harmony John and Jennie Procter, co-founders of Scribbler:

Above: Scribbler in Kingsway. Right: Due to good customer service Scribbler's online sales have increased dramatically.

“Last year we decided to invest more resource into our in-house design studio, as we feel that it is essential to be differentiated from the competition. Scribbler has a unique approach to humour and contemporary design, which we feel should be represented throughout our ranges of cards, wrap, bags and stationery. It is not our intention for our ranges to be dominated by in-house design, but a significant percentage provides us with this point of difference. In addition, we have focused on customer service and invested a significant amount of time and resource into ensuring that customers to our stores receive the highest standards. It is our intention to become an omni-channel retailer and in order to accelerate this process we have invested significantly in our marketing channels; this has driven exceptional growth in online sales.”

Designer Stores Peter Reichwald, founder and chairman and Nick Adsett, group product director of The Great British Card Company:

The Rightmove Michelle Mills, marketing manager for Windles: "The big decision of 2015 for us has been the execution of a long planned construction of a new home for our printing and finishing factory. Windles Group, a family owned business, has organically grown, and more recently evolved from the former production led greeting card facility to the customer focused company we are today. This big investment has been driven by a number of factors our customers need service and reliability. Having the space to bring in extra capacity is for our customers. Cutting operational costs and becoming more efficient is something we can’t afford not to do where we recognise that being competitive is another important thing for greeting cards to stay creatively ahead but at the right commercial price. Finally, operating whilst minimising impact to the environment is something close to us all. Renewable energy systems developed where we are now will of course be integrally featured within our new factory. This year has been a roller coaster from the early days of re-housing bats and building a 'bat hotel', to the re-location of a badger sett where the badgers settled remarkably quickly. Employee motivation is buzzing with a beautiful new greeting card production plant and offices to start work in 2016."

“The best decision we made in 2015 was to increase our investment in our creative department, using more inhouse artists. The effect of this is we will be reducing the amount of product on which we pay royalties and as most royalty agreements are UK rights only it will have a very positive effect on our export sales, as well as giving us total control over our product offering. Within the last six months, Jessica Johnson and Miki Rose have joined our Gloucester team to work alongside Simon Taylor-Kielty, creating a new illustration studio. Jessica has already created Bumble Bees and Blossom Trees, and Miki developed Blooming Wishes - both ranges are now available at retail. Miki was also responsible for the wonderful graphics used for the 2015 GCA Thinking of You Week. In addition, they have both contributed some lovely Christmas work and are now focusing on new everyday occasion and relations cards. Their recruitment has brought a much-needed younger female vibe to our product offer and we have some really exciting stuff currently under development in the studio, so 2016 is really looking very bright for GBCC.” Above: A GBCC fox card designed by Miki Rose. Below: The GBCC in-house design team.

Above: The new Windles home for its printing facilities. Left: Windles relocated a badger sett and built a 'bat hotel' for the local animal around its area. A card from Catherine Kleelis.



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JEREMY ’S JOURNA L Business blogging by publisher Jeremy Corner of Blue Eyed Sun.

The Languages Of


Jeremy Corner, owner of greeting card publisher Blue Eyed Sun, looks at how retailers can make the most of the five love languages. After 30 years as a marriage counsellor, Greg Chapman knows a thing or two about relationships. He believes that there are five basic love languages. All of the important people in our lives have a primary love language that we must learn to speak if we want that person to feel loved and appreciated. As Christmas is a time for giving, loving and connecting, I thought it might be helpful to take a look at Greg’s five love languages and see how retailers and business owners could use them to improve their relationships with their customers, staff, suppliers and loved ones. Greg has devised a separate set of ‘Appreciation at Work Languages’ because there are different types of relationships, expectations and boundaries in the workplace. I’m sure that we can all fully appreciate these differences, so I’m focusing on the five love languages because, well, it’s almost Christmas.

relationships. A friend of mine has a saying: “Happy wife, happy life”. You could say the same of all your relationships, including those with your customers. Keep them happy and you’ll be happy too. We can all do this by considering the way they like to be spoken to. Here are Greg Chapman’s Five Love Languages, how they work and how they might be used in your personal and professional life: 1. Words Of Affirmation Your unsolicited compliments and encouragement mean the world to some

Good Intentions Good intentions are not enough. We must learn to meet each other’s emotional need for love and connection. We instinctively offer this in the way that we wish others would express it to us. When they don’t respond in the way we might, we become frustrated. The problem is not sincerity, it’s that we are speaking our language and not theirs.

Love And Business Considering the way your partner prefers to be loved and speaking in the language that lights them up inside is vital to a happy, healthy personal relationship. It’s the same with your children and in your business. This is how we strengthen and maintain our 28


Top: Hallmark offers up a bucket of love. Above: The language of love on a card from The Almanac Gallery's Animal Magic range. Right: Great service can have happy results – A card from Urban Graphic's 1000 Words range.

people. Your words of appreciation will be soaked up like rain on parched soil. If you hear someone say phrases like “I can’t do anything right”,“All you do is criticise” or “Nobody notices”, then their love language of choice is words of affirmation. Take time to speak words of gratitude and praise to them. It doesn’t matter if they are a member of your family or a member of your team, these words will fill them up and light up their day. Try to include words of thanks in your correspondence or dealings with customers, suppliers and staff. Those that speak this love language will feel more connected to you and your business.

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JEREMY ’S JOURNA L 2. Acts Of Service For these people, actions speak louder than words. When someone complains to us they are actually giving us valuable information. They often reveal their primary love language. If they accuse you of not lifting a finger to help then, for them, you need to do and not say. Nothing will speak to them more deeply emotionally than simple acts of service, like making them tea or doing the dishes. Offering a free wrapping service to customers in your shop or opening the door for someone are simple ways retailers and their staff can appeal to people who speak this love language. Making your team members a cup of tea or helping them with tasks from time to time will make them feel more appreciated. 3. Receiving Gifts For some people, what makes them feel most loved is a gift. While gift giving is universal, what many people do not understand is that for some this is their primary love language and makes them feel most cared for. It’s the thought that counts here. Sending a greeting card to these customers thanking them for their business or even just to wish them Merry Christmas will mean a lot. See how your customers and staff respond to receiving gifts or look out for them not feeling acknowledged using the other languages to identify that this is their primary love language. Bring some treats in from your local bakery and remember to get them a little something at Christmas time. 4. Quality Time For some people, nothing says “I love you” like your full, undivided attention. If you hear complaints about not spending enough time together, then turn off the TV, put down your book and look into your partner’s eyes, listen and interact. Men, if your wife walks in the room while you are watching the game, turn off the sound and don’t take your eyes off her. If she engages you in conversation turn off the box and give her your undivided attention. She will feel loved and you will bank major brownie points if this is her primary love language. When dealing with customers make good eye contact and stay present and focused on them while serving. If they are

Left: Receiving a gift makes some people feel special. A Lucy Loveheart design. Below: Expressions of love can come in various forms. Bottom: Jeremy wishes you all a very happy Christmas! A card from Camden Graphics.

regular customers, asking after their family and how their day is going are ways to connect deeply with those that use this as their primary love language. Similarly, some members of your team will really enjoy you spending some quality teamwork time with them. 5. Physical Touch To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than the appropriate physical touch. Simple gestures like putting your hand on your husband’s shoulder as you walk by or holding hands while walking will light up their day.

One study followed shoppers who entered a bookstore alone and were handed a catalogue then were either touched lightly on the upper arm or not. The touched group shopped 63% longer, spent 23% more, and had a higher opinion of the store. Touch can be misinterpreted in the workplace so one has to be considerate with this one. The elbow is the safest place and it must be light and brief. Outside the arm area - backs, legs and hands - are no go zones at work.

You can love your wife, your staff or your customers, but if you don’t show it in a way that is meaningful to them your caring will fall on deaf ears and will not resonate in the same way as it will if you understand and use their primary love language.

Make The Time It’s easy to love others who are loving us. When we are treated well it’s no biggie to be nice back. The true test of how much you care about people in your life is how we react when they complain or don’t respond to something. This shows them that what you feel is loving or caring. The time when you feel annoyed or disgruntled by these situations is most valuable to you if you stop, listen and consider the love language in which they wish to be spoken to. It’s not always the case that we don’t love one another, sometimes we simply aren’t speaking the same language. When you take the time to understand the needs of your partner or customers you will find it much easier to resolve conflicts and your relationships will become bountiful. The more resentment and anger you harbour the worse off you will be. So, this festive season take a moment to think about the five love languages and how you can use them to have a lovely Christmas with all those important people in your life. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all my lovely readers, customers, suppliers, staff, family and friends. I am grateful for being able to spend time with you this year. You are amazing. I hope that you’ve found these posts to be of some service. I’ve left you a little gift on my blog. Sending you lots of hugs and happiness. I hope you have a very merry and prosperous Christmas. See you in 2016!

Wait, I Can’t Do This! What if it’s difficult and doesn’t come naturally to you to speak some of these languages? If you choose to love or care for others you will find the appropriate way to express that decision every day. You learn to speak a new language by trying. Like all new things, it will get easier over time.







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Innovations PG Showcases A Collection Of New Product Launches

Get Your Skates On The Eliza range from Julia Hook Designs is expanding with a rather delightful mix of cute and celebratory wild, farm and pet animals. This blank range is printed on 150mm square textured board and sold wrapped with crisp white envelopes. Julia Hook Designs 07903 535295

Childhood Fancy

To Boldly Go

Henries award-winning publisher Wrendale Designs is launching a brand new children’s range. Snails and Pigtails captures the essence of childhood in beautiful illustrations by Hannah Dale, across 27 card designs as well as coordinating stationery. The cards are printed on high quality textured board and supplied wrapped with a beautiful illustrated envelope, finishing the product off perfectly. Wrendale Designs 01652 680253

Distinkt Cards is thrilled to unveil its latest Boldly Dainty occasions collection, featuring dainty metal foiled icons on beautifully bold coloured backgrounds. There are nine designs in this new range, all presented wrapped with buttercream envelopes. Distinkt Cards 01892511678

Shooting The Breeze Georgia Breeze Designs is extending its Luminous family range. Bright and funky, there are cute animal character collaged designs covering ages 1-6 for girls and boys, family birthdays and everyday occasions. All the designs are sized 120mm x 170mm printed on high quality FSC textured board and come wrapped with coordinating neon envelopes. Georgia Breeze Designs 07966 932059

Tell It Like It Is Tillovision has added new designs into its quirky illustrated humour range, Mungo and Shoddy. Now with 19 cards, this all round funny range features phallic Daleks, body-building dinosaurs and obnoxious unicorns – just your kind of thing! All the cards are sized 127mm x 177mm and supplied wrapped with complementing envelopes. Tillovision 07934 430029

Type Two Launched by Philip Ratchford Photography is P2, a range of typographic cards covering everything from birthdays, friendship and Christmas to Valentine's Day. Very bold and catchy, the cards are printed on quality FSC board with a nice laminate finish and come with wrapped complementing envelopes. Philip Ratchford Photography 07981 787049 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Innovations PG Showcases A Collection Of New Product Launches

In The Soup Soup Of The Day is a totally fabulous, brand spanking new word-based humour range from Emotional Rescue packed full of quirky quotes and hilarious sayings! There are 12 designs, all blank or birthday, sized 5” x 7” and presented wrapped with cream envelopes. Emotional Rescue 01684 272370

Puppy Love The Curious Canine range from Lorraine Stylianou continues to evolve with new everyday occasions featuring well-known and more specialist dog breeds. Designed in Lorraine's signature style, the cards are a rhapsody of colour, singing happiness and joy. Lorraine Stylianou 07826 117938

Say It Loud One of Cardmix’s new releases for 2016 is #Just Sayin’!, a text based range by Helen Dennis. Using dynamic visual language and witty captions, hand-drawn icons are combined with bespoke lettering in this 12 card range, all finished with glitter varnish and sold wrapped with electric pink envelopes. CardMix 01923 200633

Nature’s Way The latest launch from Lonetree is Geometric in Nature, a series of block pattern illustrations printed in a five-way colour palette. The range comprises 10 blank card designs, nine surface pattern wraps and beautiful gold foil embossed notebooks. All the cards are A6 in size and sold with a matching luxury envelopes, wrapped in a hot foil embossed cellophane. Lonetree 01751 431737

Got Your Number Pink Pig has just launched Adult Age Cards, a brand new range of 22 bright, happy cards to cater for all the key adult ages. There are 22 cards in total, 11 each for men and women with milestone ages from 16 to 100 years. The cards are all 150mm square, printed quality FSC board and supplied wrapped with white envelopes. Pink Pig Cards 07583 088596

Exquisite Taste Think delicate, think feminine, think Exquisite! This latest range from Noel Tatt features 18 beautiful new blank and birthday designs by Nicola Evans, all enhanced with embossing, holographic foil and a coloured gem. All the cards are sized a sweet 125mm square, printed on luxurious textured board and individually wrapped with a heavy weight graphite grey envelope. Noel Tatt 01227 811600 PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Innovations PG Showcases A Collection Of New Product Launches

Stand To Attention Pip & Me is a new contemporary character range from GBCC. Fun, cheeky and playful, there are 16 birthday and 19 designs special occasions and family relations designs, all featuring emboss detail and a fluorescent fifth colour. This range is sized at 145mm x 176mm and sold wrapped with a quality white envelope. The Great British Card Company 01452 888999

Lost In Thought

Colour Me In

As part of its Autumn/Winter collection, Duke & Rabbit have released a new mini range of 2016 pocket notebooks. Available in sets of two with matching designs, the beautiful designs include exotic plants, squirrel & acorns and polka dots. Each with 64 blank pages, the notebooks are sized 101mm x 152mm - take them anywhere and never lose a thought again! Duke & Rabbit 07921923432

With colouring-in all the rage, Stardust Greetings is expanding its Colour Me range into birthday and Mother’s Day with a new set of 25 new colouring-in greeting cards. They’re floral, they’re cute and most of all beautiful and ready for colouring-in! Available in three sizes: 150mm square, 127mm x 177mm and 148mm x 210mm, all the cards are sold wrapped with an accompanying envelope. Stardust Greetings 07745502952

Super Chic Jaz&Baz by Sara Miller London from Portfolio is a fun and fashionable range focussing on fabulous fashionistas! It is uniquely designed, combining strong black and white patterns, offset by gorgeous flashes of colour and complemented by a tactical use of sparkly glitter and shimmering gold foil. There are over 40 occasions, ages and relations designs in the range all wrapped with a kraft envelope. Portfolio 020 8960 3051

Fun With Puns Merriment & Mockery is a fantastic new quirky and humorous range from The Art Group guaranteed to put a smile on your face, with bright and bold designs to make an impact on any display. This range comprises nine designs, sized 120mm x 168mm, framed with a white envelope. The Art Group 01159 860115

Exuberance Of Nature In Bloom from Second Nature is a striking watercolour based range of sophisticated general birthdays and blank cards, all embellished with special fabric flowers, gems, ribbons and sequins. There are 16 designs in the range, printed on a lovely linen board and sold wrapped with a gorgeous floral silhouette envelope. Second Nature 01983 209 590




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Innovations PG Showcases A Collection Of New Product Launches

Succinct Success Witty phrases with and emoji icons are the basis of OMG, a stylish new range from Caroline Gardner. Elegant, luxurious and fun, the cards are sized 146mm x 140mm and supplied wrapped with beautiful grey envelopes. Caroline Gardner 020 8288 9696

Artist’s Impression A Bite Of The Cherry Cherry Picked for you is expanding its Flora and Fauna range with nine new female age cards, all designed by artist Lesley Buckingham. The new designs comprise ages 18 – 90, all lovingly hand-finished with flitter, sequins and gems. The cards are sized 150mm square, printed on textured art-board and sold wrapped with complementing envelopes. Cherry Picked For You 01273 721353

Figure Of Speech Roisin Cafferty’s recently launched Just Saying range, comprises 48 humorous designs covering birthday, ages, occasions and relations. These bright and colourful 150mm square cards feature a mixture of cheeky sayings to convey each message in a simple and fun way. All the cards are sold wrapped with a white envelope. Roisin Cafferty 07742 983044

Changing Faces

Art in Healthcare is a Scottish charity loaning art to hospitals and other healthcare settings from a prestigious collection of over 1,600 contemporary artworks. It has launched a range of 12 cards from various artists in its collection, including works by David Michie, Henry Kondracki and this one by Michele David. All the cards are blank, sold wrapped with to raise funds for the charity. Art in Healthcare 0131 555 1948

Brainbox Candy is delighted to announce the launch of their fabulous new everyday range 'Facematt'. There are 12 designs that feature a removable beer mat you can wear on your lovely face. Each mat is double sided too for double the merriment! Sending and receiving a greeting card has never been so much fun! Brainbox Candy 01702 716643

Paint A Picture Figures with Animals and Objects is a new range from debut publisher Lucinda Denning. The cards all feature Lucinda’s vibrant artworks in oil of individual figures with birds (especially goldfinches), butterflies or moths. There are eight cards in the range, sized 125mm x 175mm, and sold wrapped with dusty pink envelopes. Lucinda Denning 020 86961292



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Retailer Face To Face

Terry And The Goliaths

Below: The changing colour ceiling lights add interest in store. Bottom: Terry Harvey with co-director Jane Chandler outside the Bradford Occasions Cards & Gifts store just prior to it opening.

It was big news on the retail landscape when two major shopping centres opened last month - The Broadway in Bradford and Friar’s Walk in Newport. In both of these new sparkling emporiums, holding its own alongside all the major multiple names, is Occasions Cards & Gifts, owned by M&P Cards. With eight new shops having joined the M&P Cards stable in the last 10 months (taking it to 16 stores) and with plans to open at least another six stores in premium shopping centres next year, PG caught up with Terry Harvey, managing director and co-owner of the expanding specialist group to find out what it takes to do battle with the big boys. “It was a very moving moment for me to walk into the new shopping centres in Bradford and Newport and see our brand alongside all the big names in retail,” admits Terry Harvey, managing director (and major shareholder) of M&P Cards. With these new shops opening within a week of each other, and several hundred miles apart (and Bradford especially way outside M&P’s historic retail heartland of the South/South West), it can’t have been easy, especially on the back of just acquiring six former Cardbar stores in a rather complicated, protracted deal. But then Terry Harvey doesn’t do things by halves.

Terry really got a taste for shopping centre retailing when he opened the huge 4,600 sq ft flagship Occasions Cards & Gifts store in Fareham last year, stating then that he was on the hunt for more. While the Fareham store is in an established centre, these two latest additions are in brand new prestigious centres – lone independent card shops amid a sea of multiple brands. “Opening a store as an independent in a brand new shopping centre does brings its own challenges,” Terry admits. “You sign an expensive lease then basically get three walls. There was no shopfront, no electrics, no water,

not even a water metre! Yes, it is hugely expensive, and the opening hours are much longer – 9am til 9pm, but as a growing retail business we want to ‘fish where the fish are’ and the public flock to shopping centres,” says Terry, sharing the rationale. Knowing that Occasions Cards & Gifts would have to hold its own, not only against other greeting card and gift retailers (notably Paperchase and Card Factory), but with the bright lights of major fashion and department store brands, Terry went all out to create a new retail concept for these 2,300 sq ft stores.

Fave Shops When asked what retailers they most admire, M&P directors Terry Harvey and Jane Chandler were quick to respond: Terry - “You have to admire Temptations for the professional set up, plus also Card Factory for its methodology.” Jane - “John Lewis without a doubt as they do everything so well and knows what its customers want.”



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Retailer Face To Face

Chocl’s Away!

Making its debut in both stores is Chocl, a new confectionery retail brand (created in-house) that graces the fixtures – and will soon make its way onto products too. While several M&P Cards shops include a Thorntons franchise, Terry was determined to trial a new approach on the confectionery front for these two new Occasions stores. “It is all part of offering something different and special,” he explains. For the initial launch, the Chocl area brings together a selection of premium packaged confectionery, but ‘stage two’ is even more exciting. “There are a number of very good artisan chocolate manufacturers in the UK alone and I have already started work in developing bespoke lines that we will bring in under the Chocl brand,” reveals Terry.

“Right from the outset I wanted these stores to have a touch of magic, to be ‘card shops on steroids’!” he joked. Investing £500,000 in the retail concept, the resultant look of the stores is impressive, and there are a few unexpected surprises on the product mix front too, the most notable of which being Chocl, a new confectionery branded area (see box right). Against a backdrop of tonal greys and white, two inset colour changing LED ceiling light sections attract the customers in without detracting from the sophisticated, open feel of the store. The two tone ‘wooden ceramic’ flooring adds to the classy ambiance of the store which is anchored by extensive greeting card displays. The From the Heart and Boofle point of sale signals the stores’ UKG allegiance on the card front, but the pockets fanfare designs from a wide selection of card publishers.

Above: A busy scene mid morning in the Bradford store. Left: A men’s gift selection fills one of the gondola ends in the run up to Christmas.

The card racks are flanked and fronted by enticing collections of gifts, jewellery, homewares and partyware, either from ‘cubby hole’ wall shelving, gondola ends or freestanding multilevel ‘table nests.’ The carefully curated product selection, praise of which Terry swiftly directs to Jane Chandler, M&P’s buying director, includes wooden children’s toys from Orange Tree, classy Ted Baker men’s gifts from Wild & Wolf, plush

Party Time

The party and balloon side of M&P’s business has historically been through backing the Qualatex brand, and all of the balloon decorating and balloon bouquet services. However, concerned that there would not be enough time to do justice to these services in a fast moving shopping centre environment, the new Bradford and Newport stores is trialling Amscan’s collection. “We also felt that the big licences that Amscan has on the balloon side would also do well with the shopping centre customer base,” adds Terry, with this being put to full use in the window, with the large shaped Frozen, Minions, Star Wars Stormtrooper and Spider-Man balloons not failing to attract customers’ attentions. Left: The signage makes it easy to ‘shop’ the Amscan party range. Above: Wooden children’s toys from Orange Tree are not what customers would expect to find in a card shop, but add a point of difference.

Below: The rich purple and white livery introduces the Chocl brand concept into Occasions.

Charlie Bears as well as seasonal lines, such as high end Christmas decorations. After the first couple of weeks trading, Terry is happy with the sales, with Newport currently out-performing Bradford. He is already looking ahead, with another dozen possible sites (all in shopping centres) now on his wish list, expecting that 6-8 of these will come off next year. He certainly has no doubts that card retailing is here to stay and that “there is room in every town or centre for two specialist card shops – one aimed at the top end of the market, the other at the bottom,” says Terry. Terry admits that this past year has been rather testing, the Cardbar deal (which ended up seeing M&P Cards taking over six stores) took longer to seal than initially anticipated, plus the geographical spread on the new stores has meant a lot of travelling. “But every cloud has a silver lining… I have lost 20lbs in weight in the process,” says a much trimmer Terry. So, forget the ‘5-2’ diet, Slimming World or Atkins, anyone wanting to shed a few pounds could adopt Terry’s ‘Eight New Shops in 10 Months Diet’! PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE




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Publisher Focus

Hip- Hop Tracks Illustrator Matt Nguyen’s love of British pop-culture, funny looking animals and a childhood fascination with all things Americana, comics and hip hop, has translated into what his budding publishing company, Jolly Awesome, is best known for - humorous illustrated hip-hop animal cards! PG tracks this artist’s journey into cards. Traveling a steady and sensible career path, initially Matt Nguyen was incredibly far removed from his Jolly Awesome world of urban-edged funny animal greeting cards of today. “Before founding Jolly Awesome, I was actually a digital marketing manager at HSBC’s global HQ in Canary Wharf!” exclaims Matt. However, his greetings journey started long before that. He explains: “I was always creative throughout my school days and loved art – I drew on anything within reach. But when it came to choosing a course to study at university, I chose the ‘sensible’ route and opted for a degree in Business & Management - a subject I thought would offer the highest chance of future employment.”

During uni Matt picked up an interest in graphic design and he began teaching himself Photoshop in his spare time, eventually blending it with another of his passions – hip-hop music. “I started creating mock CD covers of my favourite rappers and posted them on online hip-hop message boards for critique. By chance, Eminem’s DJ came across my work and gave me my first commissioned project - album artwork for one of their artists,” he reveals. Things grew from there. While juggling his studies, Matt continued to freelance,

Above left: Matt’s designs take contemporary phrases and sayings and turns them on their head. Above: Jolly Awesome’s Matt Nguyen and head of security, French bulldog Raffy. Below: The Hip-Hop influence can be seen on many of Jolly Awesome’s designs.

building a large client list of his favourite figures in the hip hop industry - including iconic record labels such as Bad Boy records and rap artists Outkast and Diddy: “I loved the opportunity to be creative and built up a reputation for my original and unique designs.” Matt graduated in 2009, and took the sensible route. “I quit freelancing, figuring I should make use of my degree. I moved to London and secured a job with HSBC on its Marketing Graduate programme, moving through various roles and promotions, learning the ropes in branding, digital and marketing during a five year career. Which has proved to be a really helpful base for starting my own business.” But it was at the end of 2013 that he started getting his creative itch back and began illustrating again for fun, posting his doodles on Instagram [@jollyawesomeart] which were well received: “One illustration turned into two, and eventually I had a small body of work, which led to several exhibitions in London, including a show at Sir Quentin Blake’s House of Illustration,” explains Matt. The next step though, was to take him into the realm of greeting cards. “I came up PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Publisher Focus

with the idea of putting my illustrations on cards because I hadn’t seen anything like them in the market before, and people seemed to love them,” he says.“I pitched them to Paperchase and Scribbler - whose web team got back to me and initially published them via the Scribbler website. However, I was determined to get Jolly Awesome into stores and onto shelves.” At the time, Matt had a stressful 9-5 job and had no suppliers or contacts in the industry. So he decided to pitch his designs to an existing publisher. “They were generous with their time and feedback, and although they offered to take me on board for a trial period, they wanted a worldwide exclusive license and the overall impression was that ‘hip hop animals’ might be too niche for greeting cards.” Matt really

appreciated their offer, but he was so confident in his designs that he said thanks and turned it down. But by spring 2014, Jolly Awesome sales on Scribbler’s website were going strong,“so I badgered the retailer to consider publishing my cards for a trial in its stores. It was something they had never Top: Katie Littlewood, Jolly Awesomes' sales and operations director. Above: Matt’s (pug) play on the HipHop expression, “I didn’t choose the thug life, the thug life chose me.” Above right: A clever take on the advent of the selfie stick on a Jolly Awesome card. Far left: Jolly Awesome has a softer side too, as seen on this gorgeous design. Left: Katie and Matt are French bulldog mad! As seen on this Jolly Awesome card.

done before, but Scribbler’s buyer Eliot James agreed to take a punt.” And at the same time Paperchase placed an order: “I had no idea how I was going to fulfil it, but I followed my mantra in life, which is to – ‘Say yes, and worry about it later’. That day I set myself a goal to quit my job at the end of summer 2014,” states Matt. He then founded Jolly Awesome and spent the next few months growing the company to the detriment of his social life. “That start-up period was probably the hardest, with the steepest learning curve – I just learnt by doing, but if you’re passionate about something you work that much harder to achieve your goals,” Matt believes, adding, “and my management experience at a global corporation like HSBC was invaluable and provided a level of business acumen that allowed me to grow the company with the efficiency that I did.” Last year, on 22nd September, the first official day of autumn, Matt handed in his notice at HSBC: “Since then, it’s been an amazing freshman year for the company. Jolly Awesome officially hardlaunched at Top Drawer Spring 2015, then at NSS in New York. It’s been great to meet so many friendly retailers and independent shop owners and seeing their reaction to the ranges. It can be daunting putting your designs out there, but there’s nothing more satisfying for an illustrator than to see people getting your humour and having a good laugh at your designs.” More recently, the team has grown with two new additions. The first being Matt’s girlfriend Katie, as sales and operations director, and the second, more hairier addition is Raffy - their baby French bulldog who has already made his debut on a card design! Looking to the future, Jolly Awesome aims to continue growing the brand offering, with aspirations of taking it to other parts of the world having recently gone national with two major retailers in the US. “I think it’s a really exciting time in the greeting card industry and its great to see both retailers and customers embracing new and different illustration styles. We’re steadily getting close to a million units sold and that’s a target I want to hit by the end of the 2015 that would be a Jolly Awesome Christmas present to top off our first year!” PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


046_048_PG_December 2015_Art Source 25/11/2015 18:04 Page 46


47_NEW_Grid 25/11/2015 15:26 Page 47

Debbie Wigglesworth’s Paper Journeys

A full-sized origami Nissan Juke, an intricate paper model of a London skyline to launch a computer game and a student fest - it has been a busy month for Debbie Wigglesworth and her paper journey!

A Derby Day As part of my educational work I have visited Derby University recently and invited paper artist Andy Singleton to run one of his inspiring workshops with me. Andy is such an unassuming guy, quietly confident in his work and so generous with his information, telling the students which papers he finds best to crease and fold which he recommends (Fabriano Tiziano and Murano 160gsm). There was almost a meditative state among the students as they all were completely absorbed in the exercise of cutting and creasing shapes and manipulating paper in a whole array of designs and shapes - all with wonderful results. It was very humbling speaking with Andy over lunch, listening to him tell my daughter Anna (who was helping out as part of her A level art studies) that, when he was at uni he didn't think his work was good enough until a lecturer showed a keen interest in what he was doing which then gave him the confidence to stick with his style. Hearing words of confidence from someone who Andy respected gave him the belief in himself to pursue his ambition to work with paper. Andy now has many prestigious clients, with one of his most recent collaborations being with Fever PR to celebrate the launch of the Playstation PS4 game Tearaway Unfolded, which saw Andy create a London cityscape from discarded London Evening Standard newspapers. The piece, not surprisingly, attracted considerable attention when it was put on display last month on London’s Southbank. Above: Andy Singleton putting the finishing touches to his creation which formed part of the launch activity for the PS4 game Tearaway Unfolded. Left: Having demonstrated his special paper cutting and folding techniques to 2nd year students at Derby University (as part of Debbie Wigglesworth's Paper Journey student presentation), Andy Singleton admires some of the students’ creations.

Grist To The Mill Each year brings a new influx of students onto creative university courses – and I have recently had the privilege of working with this year’s new first year graphics and illustration students at Staffordshire University presenting to them at their studio and then taking them a few weeks later to visit James Cropper Paper Mill. It's so rewarding to share your work with like-minded souls who are genuinely interested in paper and design. This year’s new intake were completely Above: First year Graphics and Illustration students enthralled and poured over all the absorbing themselves in Debbie's collection of samples that I bestowed upon them paper swatches and samples. with sincere interest and enthusiasm - so it was such a treat to then take them to see paper being made first-hand at the mill in the Lake District. Always a fascinating trip, James Cropper generously accommodated 45 students who we took in several groups around the mill. The students then spent the second day in the countryside working on a creative brief, which will culminate in them each creating a book, with the paper kindly supplied by James Cropper, GFSmith, Fedrigoni and Paper Back.

Driving Paper Forward It was great to see that paper engineer Owen Gildersleeve and model maker Thomas Forsyth have recently collaborated with Nissan to produce a life-sized paper replica of the Nissan Juke car as part of an advertising campaign to celebrate the car’s 5th birthday. The origami-inspired paper car took over 200 hours to build from 2,000 separate folded polygons, but the end result is stunning. Above: The body of the yellow Nissan Juke is made from paper thanks to the paper engineering artistry of Owen Gildersleeve and model making skills of Thomas Forsyth.

Well Noted Thanks to John Walters of Eye Magazine (a beautiful quarterly graphic design journal) I was asked to produce a premium notebook for the BSME (British Society of Magazine Editors) awards in London. I invited Belly Buttons Designs to work with me on the project, which saw all 450 guests, including editors of titles such as Net A Porter, Grazia, Marie Claire Wallpaper* etc, receive a copy of this special notebook (left), with the paper supplied by GFSmith to give it that extra special touch! Fedrigoni's PULP magazine, that is designed and produced by John Walters and Simon Esterson of Eye Magazine were among the winners (as Simon Esterson won the Best Art Director award).

If you are interested in any of the features in Paper Journeys contact Debbie Wigglesworth email or call Debbie on 07718619521. PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


046_048_PG_December 2015_Art Source 25/11/2015 18:04 Page 48


Jeannine Rundle

Christine Tappin

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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.

Paul Rowland I have worked in the advertising design and print industry for over 30 years. I am drawn to light, colour, abstract forms, texture, shadows, water, planes, trains and automobiles! In fact, I love looking for the unusual or picturesque in any scene and in any subject. I like to paint or photograph or make digital art for no other reason than because a subject or a scene appeals to me. Each piece of artwork that I produce is interesting to me and I hope that others will find my art interesting too. Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by water and the abstract shapes that form when light falls upon it. Gazing into the depths of the clear blue sea of the Mediterranean fascinates me. I find that watching the sunlight dance on the waves and on the seabed or the bottom of a swimming pool can be therapeutic and calming. I also love traveling abroad, the bright light and vivid colours, blue skies and the hustle and bustle of being in another country is exciting. Harbour scenes, boats and beaches remind me of jigsaw puzzles I enjoyed as a child. The contrast of different colours in bright sunlight will often result in me taking endless photographs looking for a single image that I can manipulate. Without doubt landscapes are my most favourite subject. There is a view to be enjoyed around every corner. I enjoy observing some views throughout the year and the changing seasons and through different weather conditions. My wife often says that I will photograph anything that moves, which is true. I am constantly looking for that one great shot that I can turn into a digital work of art or put on to canvas.

Tel: 01909 772662 Email:

Frankie Coventry I have been illustrating, painting and animating all my working life since graduating from Medway College of Art and Design. I am sole illustrator of ten published books and have numerous contributions from book jackets to dog food labels. I have a diverse style from traditional line to coloured photorealism. My animation credits include The Snowman, Beatrix Potter and Spitting Image and I have had several one-woman gallery shows during my career. I love painting animals, whether precise encyclopedia work or privately commissioned oil and gouache portraits where I can let my creative side free. Cartooning teddy bears and pandas seem to be a reoccurring theme through my career. Children love to draw them in workshops that I lead. I started to paint teddy bears on miniature canvases as gifts for friend’s newborn babies. They proved very popular, and The Coventry Teddy Bear Gallery escalated from there. I designed a house style so that my bears are instantly recognisable as Coventry Bears. Painted immaculately in oil paint, they reproduce beautifully even when enlarged, when they take on a pleasing texture from the canvas. All these images are available for license. I do believe in moving forward and I am very curious – possibly why I haven’t stayed with one all defining style. I am about to launch ‘Mother and Daughter Artist’ with my youngest daughter, she is a Fine Art graduate of Kingston University and a tattoo artist. Our collaboration is a celebration of line drawing; Traditional meets Trash Polka. We are taking a line for an exotic stroll!

Tel: 07974 288 687 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


50-51_46-47 24/11/2015 14:24 Page 50

PG asked a selection of card retailers for their ‘hot’ card sellers. Joanne Heyes, owner of Crown Cards, Matlock and Rowsley, Derbyshire Two small shops in a rural town and village with a loyal locals and visitors customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Holy Mackerel


Jelly n Bean



Art Eco/Heart of A Garden

Woodland Trust

Above: Jelly n Bean adds a touch of colour to the ever-green black and white photo funny retro cards. Right: British wildlife features on Art Eco's Woodland Trust range.

Villager Jim




Alice Scott


Jonny Javelin



Cherry Orchard Abacus Simon Elvin

Across The Board Tallulah Rose Isabel’s Garden

The jokes are so dry! Illustrator Rupert Fawcett’s characters Fred, and Penelope his partner, appeared in the Mail on Sunday, and now the cartoons are back on cards they’re very popular. There is also a black cat in every design. After so many black and white funny photographic images people are drawn to the touches of colour in these designs. Strong images of British wildlife that work well in our local rural environment. People love the fact that the images are of Jim’s neighbour’s cat or horse or Jim’s own dog. It's the personal connection they like. Sophisticated and stylish cards with a design-led look, set off with a black and white stripy envelope. This range is phenomenal! Customers never question the price; it just sells itself. Good designs but it's the words that sells them. Simple and elegant designs for female sends, and now new baby. I can’t fault them! They fly out! It's a ‘no brainer’ to stock them for what they cost.

Ian and Alison Gray, owners of Visions in Cards, Kirriemuir, Angus A small shop in a historic town with a loyal local customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range




Across The Board








Ling Design

Across The Board


Five Dollar Shake


Second Nature

Yours Truly

The cards aren’t too naughty and customers tend to pick up two or three designs at a time because they like the humour and they know so will the card’s recipient. An art card company who publishes, among others, many Scottish artists’ work and lovely scenes of Scotland. You’ve got to have a bit of Hallmark. The cards are a steady seller and it’s always bringing out new designs. The quality of the board, good packaging and designs Above: Stunning Scottish scenes by artist and lots of relations titles means customers come Peter McDermott from into the shop especially for these cards. publisher Doricmor. A wee bit different and a bit more expensive but they are beautiful cards, with a special look… and they sell. Great value for money at 99p each card.



50-51_46-47 24/11/2015 14:24 Page 51

Amy Singer, manager for CloudyBlue, Aberdeen A small shop in a port city with a loyal locals, visitors and varied customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range



Hammond Gower




Fleet Street, Alice Scott and Emporium

Noi Publishing

Toy Stories and Floral Noi

Amy Singer Art


Roger la Borde Urban Graphic

Rob Ryan and Lasercut Cards Lettered

Stop The Clock


Caroline Gardner Lagom

Chin Up Buttercup General

Roger la Borde

Petit Sauvage

People love this range! It seems there doesn't have to be a reason to send the designs. They’re mini word-based cards in elegant black and white with a little diamante. Tasteful humorous ranges that appeal to our family friendly shop! The Alice Scott range is extremely popular for men and women alike and the cards have a great designled feel about them with nice embossing and quality board. Aled Lewis’ plastic toy figures are Above: Gazing at the moon, a card really funny and do very well, as do Noi’s from Amy Singer Art. bright and eye-catching floral designs. My own pen and ink illustrations of wildlife - such as a stag with flowers on its antlers or two hares gazing at the moon. All of the laser-cut designs are beautiful and fairytale-like; they’re just so gorgeous. Very graphic looking with modern typeface; great for that all illusive male card send. Created by two ex textile designers so there’s elements of pattern, stitching and bows, giving the cards a crafty look. Floral designs in rich colours in a painterly style with gold lettering. Simple A6 size cards; some are beautifully gold block foiled, while others feature a photograph of nature with uplifting words. Little mini cards with beautiful illustrations. I’ve framed a couple for my home.



Alison Baker, owner of Hallmark Gold Crown (Island Greetings), St Helier, Jersey Two large shops in an island parish with a loyal locals and tourists customer base. Category

Name of Publisher

Product/Name Range






Hanson White (UKG)



Mish Mash and Shoebox

Redback Cards

Across The Board


Second Nature

Yours Truly


Second Nature

Champagne, Sequins, Doodletastic and PopUps


Yankee Candles


Joe Davies Amscan

Shabby Chic Plaques Balloons

Photographed adorable animals licensed onto cards. The RSPCA branding helps the cards stand out a bit more. Fairly traditional in your face humour, but there’s a bit of something in there for everyone. Colourful modern designs set off nicely with a brown kraft envelope. The Shoebox range (based on current standup comedians’ jokes) sits well with it. The jokes are very good and the cards have just flown out the door! We’re a more upmarket store and this is the only value range we stock… but it’s just beautiful! This publisher is one of our biggest sellers after Hallmark. The designs slot in beautifully with the top end cards, all sitting well together. Yankee is our largest line of gifts. The scents are lovely and there’s such a variety. A nice gift for a £fiver! Hugely popular. Our second biggest seller after cards! Balloons are set at such a reasonable price that they’re an easy pick up gift.

Top: Cheeky humour on a Mish Mash card from Hallmark. Above: Beautifully colour foiled, a design from Second Nature.






Kingfisher Blue

100gsm quality colours… don’t settle for less

Contact our Sales Team on 01274 518 890 Supplier of the year 2015 Manufacturing envelopes for over 30 years

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Part of the Pukka Pad Group

25/11/2015 14:46

53-54_Grid 25/11/2015 15:22 Page 53




On the ball comments by retailer and publisher Lynn Tait of The Lynn Tait Gallery.

The Class Of 2015 In the late Nineties I was at the Spring Fair exhibiting and buying and I vividly remember noticing a number of new card publishers looking both terrified and expectant on their small trade stands with their amazingly original product. I also realised that several new publishers who had been exhibiting at the show the previous year were notable by their absence. When I returned home this scenario kept nagging away at me. Who were these new publishers, why didn't they return, who had advised and spoken to them, and what had happened for them to disappear? This was the spark for The Ladder Club, which unbelievably celebrated its 17th seminar last month - and I so loved meeting ‘the class of 2015’. I have long believed that new card publishers are the life-blood of our industry and everything should be done to help them to succeed and to keep publishing cards, thus raising the design standard of cards in this country. Soon after my ‘light bulb moment’, I was on my way to Scotland in 1999 to plant trees with a number of key people in the industry. I discussed my idea with PG’s Jakki Brown about helping these new publishers and taking them under our wing and she came up with a wonderful name. Thus, The Ladder Club was born in the air flying to Scotland: First rungs and all that, and climbing the greeting card ladder. I suggested organising a one day seminar in Westcliff, Essex with Jakki’s input, support and blessing. We set about creating the agenda, getting greeting card suppliers on-board whom we knew we could trust and recommend. Print company The Sherwood Group has been loyal supporters from year two of The Ladder Club, and paper company GF Smith has supported it right from the very beginning. From the very start we had a very strict criteria for The Ladder Club - it had to be affordable for the delegates, cover topical topics, and it would be a chance to bond with other like-minded new card publishers.

We always recommended that the delegates stay the night before the seminar so they had a chance to meet the speakers and other delegates at a meal and arrive the next morning at 9am relaxed and ready to take in the enormous amount of information. This year over 80% of delegates stayed the night before. We had a new publisher delegate fly in from Sweden, one from Ireland and several come from the UK’s other extremities.

The suppliers/speakers are asked to give an informative explanatory talk, not a sales talk. They treat all these new publishers the same as they would the major companies, but with added TLC (the initials of The Ladder Club!). One of the reasons I saw a need for The Ladder Club was because these new publishers were a lone voice that didn't know anyone. Now, everyone knows The Ladder Club in the greeting card industry and suppliers know that these new publishers are in touch with all the key people in the industry and hundreds of other publishers in a tight knit community. There are now 220 people on its closed Facebook page - you can only join if you have attended a The Ladder Club seminar (we have to turn down people every day). We have some stalwart speakers at the seminars now. Jeremy Corner from Blue-Eyed Sun speaks confidently about the business side of card publishing, while Karen Wilson’s and Claire Williams’ - from Paper Salad (former Ladder Club attendees), honest and inspiring talks about their trials and tribulations have thrilled Ladder Clubbies over the years.

Above: The Ladder Club 'class' of 2015 (on the day two seminar). PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


53-54_Grid 25/11/2015 15:22 Page 54

LYNN’S LINES Left: (Left to right) Marina Brook, Jeremy Corner and Lizzie Chancellor on day two of The Ladder Club. Below right: Mark Williams (left) and Ben Hickman, co-founders of Brainbox Candy, really love ladders and so agreed to be speakers on day one of the recent Ladder Club seminars. Bottom right: Brainbox Candy's 'pie-chart' was shown at The Ladder Club seminar (on day one). Below: The cards that are to be sent to 'Stan the man'.

The trade fair PG Live has been a huge part of The Ladder Club jigsaw, with 45 ‘members’ exhibiting last year at the show, and with the life saving digital printing advancements of recent years, Bob Short from The Imaging Centre has been a real asset, printing personalised PG Live postcards free of charge for the PG Live exhibitors and patiently guiding new publishers through their first ventures into printing cards. And the lovely Julie Brightley from Enveco explains how choosing your envelope size is your first port of call, steering newbies to the wide selection of stock sizes. This year (due to Trudi retiring and my treatment) I handed over the admin to Jakki and her team which resulted in the seminar going up several notches, ensuring the future of The Ladder Club. Her passion and commitment to The Ladder Club over so many years has been unwavering, but this

year she brought everything into the 21st century, with goodies galore and more hi-tech presentations without losing the personal character of seminars. The Facebook group proved invaluable pre and post seminar, with 18 members of the Facebook group returning to attend the ‘day two’ seminar (for those who want to go up another rung of the ladder’), some having been twice before, having been wooed by the amazing line-up of speakers. Miles Robinson from the House of Cards retail group proved very popular with his frank and amusing talk about dealing with a regional card retailer, while the Brainbox Candy boys (who are home grown in Leigh on Sea, Essex) gave a hilariously memorable ‘performance’ about branding and marketing. Henri Davis, a true retail expert, shared her insight into what retailers were looking for, while Ian Bradley the Midlands super agent, took us into the brain of an agent. The humble and charming Dids Macdonald OBE, founder of ACID (Anti Copying In Design), spoke about copying and how you can create a strategy to protect

yourself, while Ryan Beaird from Lima spoke about licensing. PG’s Tracey Arnaud, Warren Lomax, Gale Astley, Sharon Little, Jim Bullough and Jakki Brown gave advice on attending your first trade show, PG editorial and reminded everyone of the advantages of joining the GCA. One of the great pluses of The Ladder Club is the networking and bonding within the group. Everyone seems to be so grateful for the help they have been given that they want to give back. On the Facebook group every topic imaginable has been thrashed out - from

Stan The Man

My last month’s treatment at Bart’s Hospital for cancer went a bit belly up, but it was nobody's fault, just life. I usually go on my on my own to the hospital, which is completely my choice. So having left home at 8.30am, and after a lengthy day of treatment, I got back to Fenchurch St train station after 10pm for my return journey home. Due to my ‘chemo head’ and being totally exhausted I missed my train. It was the last straw. I sat on the train platform like ‘Billy no mates’ with my crutches and two huge bags of medications and injections and started blubbing (which is quite rare for me). Then, along comes ‘Stan the man’, a lovely young train cleaner. He sat down with me, said some comforting words, and then announced: "I'm going to get you a nice cup of tea and then put you on the right train and look after you." What a great ambassador for the c2c train line! The lovely Jo Scott from publisher Scott and Robson read my post on the Ladder Club Facebook page all about Stan and suggested that members each send Stan a card to say ‘thank you’. To date, I have over 20 cards for Stan. I think he will remember them forever. This is what card sending is all about, making people feel better after receiving them. The messages inside are so heartfelt as well. Thank you Ladder Clubbies! What an extra bonus to have over 20 cards actually written by the publisher themselves. Also, another spin on it, the cards are so lovely I will definitely be ordering from several of these companies next year for my shop. What goes around comes around.



barcodes to copying - with everyone contributing to the thread of conversation. These are then added to the ‘files’ section for future reference. The Ladder Club Facebook page highlights what publishers worry about and what is topical so we can try and cover these important elements in the agenda. This year’s attendees are giving us lots of valuable feed back which we are now taking on board as we set to organising next year’s events (it will be held in November in its spiritual home of Westcliff on Sea) I don't know of any other industry that is so friendly and yet so competitive. The Ladder Club embraces this. It was such a wonderful two days, exhausting but inspiring. Every year I learn new things that I put into practice. Thank you to everyone who made it such a friendly and successful day. Long live The Ladder Club!

55-61_Product Directory_Dec 2015_v8_PRODUCT DIRECTORIES 25/11/2015 16:34 Page 55








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• Greetings Cards and Gift Wrap • Stationery • Soft Toys • Figurines • Giftware and Accessories


PO BO BOX OX 2161 Boulevard The Boule vard Watford W atford WD18 1BJ TTel: el: 01923 200633 FFax: ax: 01923 200636 inf CARDMIX - a cocktail cocktail of fun, CARDMIX fashionable and humorous humorous fashionable cards, covering Everyday, car ds,, co vering Ev eryday, Spring ing Occasions,, Relations,, Spr Seasons and Christmas. Christmas.

DADDY Method of Sale: Direct to Retail Carte Blanche Greetings Ltd ® Tel: +44(0)1243 792600

Witty, gritty, switched on humour. Cards and gifts with a real difference. Unit 1, 45 Morrish Road London SW2 4EE Tel: 0208 671 2166 Fax: 0208 678 1119


Caspari Ltd Linden House, John Dane Player Court

East Street, Saffron Walden Essex, CB10 1LR Tel: 01799 513010 Fax: 01799 513101 Email:

Products: Everyday cards - birthday, blank & occasions, charity Christmas cards, gift wrap, bags, tissue, ribbon, hankies, napkins, paper plate, candles, placemats, melamine trays, crackers, invitations, placecards, notecards,diaries, calendars, address books, journals, advent calendars, bridge gifts and jigsaws. Licenses: Annie Tempest - Tottering by Gently, Kym Bowles - Lollysticks, RHS, Matthew Rice, National Gallery, Alzheimer's Society, Barnardo's, Macmillan Cancer Support. Method of Sale: Direct to Retail

Colneis Marketing York House, 2-4 York Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk IP11 7QQ T: 01394 271668 F: 01394 275114 E: Online Shop

Colour House Graphics

York House, 2-4 York Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk IP11 7QQ T: 01394 271668 F: 01394 275114 E: Online Shop





55-61_Product Directory_Dec 2015_v8_PRODUCT DIRECTORIES 25/11/2015 16:34 Page 57




Market leaders in Humour, Art, Photographic, Occasions and Relations cards offering a full planning service with merchandising and retail development opportunities.

Eye catching, luxurious Gift Wraps, Gift Tags, Gift Bags, Roll Wrap, Tissue Papers & Ribbons for all occasions Glick, Unit 1 Allenby House, European Industrial Park, Knowles Lane, Bradford BD4 9AB Tel: 01274 655980 email:


Bespoke design service for retail products

The T he UK No. No. 1 in Licensed Lic ensed Greetings Greetings etings Ov err 30 lic enses nses including: including Over licenses Disney, D Disne y, Peppa Peppa Pig Pig, He Kitt Hello Kitty y, Mr Me n Kitty, Men Birds and A and Angry Bir dss t: +44 + (0)1264 388400 e: enquiries@gemma-interna national. ti w: gemma-int ernational. ona





G RASS R OOTS INTERNATIONAL A U.K owned Greeting Cards Publisher. Our everyday ranges for all occasions and relations include traditional, contemporary, cute, humour and photographic designs. We also have a full range of Christmas and Spring Seasons. All products are designed and printed in the U.K on the finest quality board.

BRANDS “Write from the Heart” brand includes; Corsage, Sentiments, Champagne, Celebrations and Jelly Beans.

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55-61_Product Directory_Dec 2015_v8_PRODUCT DIRECTORIES 25/11/2015 16:34 Page 58





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:

LING DESIGN The UK’s leading privately owned publisher of Greetings Cards and Stationery. ...The home for and ...and the UK home for

Products: Greetings cards for all occasions, Christmas and Spring Seasons cards, gift wrap and bags, charity cards, social stationery. Bespoke service for charities and other fundraisers. Ling Design Ltd 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent TN12 6BE Tel: 01892 838574 Fax: 01892 838676 Email: Website:

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Yo our N Number b O One S Supplier li off Numerals, Name, Relation & Age Labels for Greetings Cards.

environmentally friendly contemporary & vibrant paper products. greeting cards, notebooks paper pens, boxed notes

Huge selection with immediate deliveryy. Buy direct or from your wholesalerr. Listan Labels 3 Isis Court, Wyndyke Furlong, Abingdon Business Park, Oxfordshire Abingdon, Oxfor dshire OX1 5JN T el e 01235 465489 Fax 01235 532118 Tel www

t. 01243 780501 e. agents wanted



For further details please get in touch.

+44 (0)7779 578340

To appear in the Product Directory please contact Warren Lomax on 020 7700 6740

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The easy company I'$.!N Great brands Great service Bespoke planning We can help with all your bespoke planning requirements. From smaller displays to redeveloping complete card departments.

All our cards are supplied on consignment, so you only pay for what you sell. We also supply card fixtures and spinners free-on-loan. We replace slow sellers and damaged stock free of charge. We merchandise regularly, so you don’t have to. THAT’S WHY WE’RE ORIGINAL!

01932 267 300 endorsed product

endorsed product

T: 01227 811600 W: E:

Cards made with love...

Three great publishers, all under one roof, contemporary, graphic, humour, cute and photographic ranges with a fantastic range of occasions and relations cards.

To appear in the

Key brands: V&A, Portobello, Spirit, Daisy Patch, Sugar Pips, Marzipan Toybox, Born to Stitch, Idols, Life, Sweet Tooth, Brights.

Product Directory

Method of sale: Direct to retail, Export and Licensing.

please contact

Riverside House, Centurion Way, Riverside Business Park, Nottingham NG2 1RW Tel: 0115 986 0115 Fax: 0115 986 0116 Email: Web:

Warren Lomax on 020 7700 6740

paperlink... pap erlink... the home of fabulous fabulous cards!

Products An exciting and innovative range of quality Birthday, relations, special occasions, art and humorous greeting cards. Full range of Christmas and Spring Seasons merchandise. Comprehensive collection of handmade cards. Pizazz gifts.

Brand Names Pizazz, Pizazz Gallery, Say the Word, Carousel, Meadow Sweet, R&R for Men, What a Picture! Cloudesley House • Shire Hill Saffron Walden • CB11 3FB T: 01799 520200 F: 01799 520100

356 56 Kennington Rd London SE11 4LD T 020 7582 8244

Suppliers of humorous & contemporary Birthday, Christmas, Spring Seasons, Occasions & Relations cards Brands include: Bottomline, Bestie, Wrinklies, Hat Trick, Route 69, Bangers & Flash, Humdingers, Lacie, Sassy, Stay Wonky, Patisserie, Tinklers, Made With Love, and many many more! Method of Sale: Direct

To appear in the Product Directory please contact Warren Lomax on 020 7700 6740

Paperlinkcards Paperlinkcards @paperlinkcards @ paperlinkcards PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


55-61_Product Directory_Dec 2015_v8_PRODUCT DIRECTORIES 25/11/2015 16:34 Page 60





The Playful Indian cards are a unique fusion of the east and west. Simple and quirky, they have made many people what are you waiting forr, put a smile on someone’s face today!

holy y cow! it s it’s your birthd hda ay y

Greeting Cards that are unique & special with creative wit. Looking for top-notch agents to join our expanding team. 01992 536461

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


Mr Figgis, when we say parents invited, we usually mean to sit and watch!

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

Dad - I thought you said I could be the, one to tell him you re out

Me th od of sa le : Direct to Retail 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent TN12 6BE Tel: 01892 838574 Fax: 01892 838676 Email: Website:

Design-led Stationery, Gifts, Calendars, Diaries and Cards Brands Laura Ashley, Roald Dahl, Lily & Val, Vintage Ladybird, Caroline Gardner, Monsoon, Born to Shop, Flash Gordon, Boofle and many more. Our In-house design studio and established supply chain enables us to offer bespoke services. tel: +44 (0) 1225 329494 email: website:



RICHARD SELLMER VERLAG Freepost RRZH-KLSL-HYBY Richard Sellmer Verlag KG Stourbridge Tel/Fax: 01384877755 Email: Products: Richard Sellmer Verlag is producing Advent Calendars for more than 60 years.

Sensations International Ltd Unit 6, Quad Road,East Lane Business Park,East lane, Wembley,MIDDLESEX HA9 7NE Tel. 0208 3854470 Fax: 0208 385 4471 Email: PRODUCTS: World’s leading publisher of high quality plastic greeting cards. Also an extensive range of quality greeting cards covering Everyday, Occasions, Christmas and Spring seasons. BRANDS: Cherished Thoughts, Sweet Sentiments, Buddies Always, Symphony, Thinking of You, Style, Special Wishes, Special Times, Young Editions, Groove Sensations, Forever Blessed, Grey Skies, Classics. METHOD OF SALE: Direct to retail.

55-61_Product Directory_Dec 2015_v8_PRODUCT DIRECTORIES 25/11/2015 16:34 Page 61



PRODUCT DIRECTORY w: e: t: 01243 837300

The UK’s leading publishers 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 14-20 Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Kent, TN12 6BE

Tel: 0845 450 1815 Fax: 0845 450 1816 Email: Website:


Greetings Cards, Gift Wrap, Social Stationery, Gift Bags, Keepsakes, Partyware.


Method of sale:

Wholesale Distributors

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

To appear in the Product Directories


simply contact Warren Lomax on: 020 7700 6740 or email on or contact Tracey Arnaud on: 07957 212 062 or email on

01923 200600 |

Designer Collection, Feelings, Impressions, Inspirations, In Touch, Isabel’s Garden, Paper Wishes, Planet Happy.

Top-notch British Greeting Cards for Thoughts that Count




62_Directory of Wholesalers_Dec 2015_whole sale dirSeptember 2004 25/11/2015 13:07 Page 62

Directory of wholesalers Directory of wholesalers DIRECTORY OF WHOLESALERS ●




Merseyside Greeting Cards Ltd

Merseyside’s Largest Greeting Card Distributor Due to our massive buyer power, we are able to offer you the best prices and also take a pride in our friendly service.



Clapperton Agencies 30 McDonald Place Edinburgh EH7 4NH Tel: 01315 579009

Sunrise Business Park Higher Shaftsbury Road Blandford, Dorset DT11 8ST Tel: 01258 452125 Fax: 01258 486109

Greeting cards * Gift ranges * Pocket money toys * Balloons * Badges * Banners * Soft toys * Stationery * Collectables , including dolls * Photo frames Always something different Check us out now!!! Mon-Fri 9.30 to 5.30 Sunday 10 to 1 Late night Thursday till 8pm Freephone 0800 0279072770 Fax: 0151 207 1564


Unit 7 & 8 Devon Street, Liverpool, L3 8HA

R J’s Greeting Cards Ltd


Greeting Cards from 5p Contact R J Walkden on 0753- 9679-700


Stationery and greeting card wholesaler

Crown House Otterspool Way Watford WD25 8HL

magnus RUPERT

T: 01923 200 900 F: 01923 200 909 Great deals Great location Plentiful parking Just off the M1 Junction 5




Trading Hours Our Opening Hours are: MON, TUES,WED & FRI 9.00 - 5.30pm THURSDAY 9.00 - 8.30pm SAT CLOSED SUN 10.00 - 4.00pm UNIT 4, THE ARGENT CENTRE, SILVERDALE ROAD, HAYES, MIDDLESEX, UB3 3BS TEL: 020 8573 2975 / 1768 FAX: 020 8561 2349 Email:

As of Monday 27th July our new address will be: Crown House Otterspool Way Watford WD25 8HL


C A P S Card & Party Store Ltd

    Mon/Wed/Fri: 8.00 - 5.00 Tues/Thurs: 8.00 - 8.30 Sat: 8.00 - 12.00 Sun: 8.00 - 2.00

The North West s Largest Supplier to the Independent Specialist Card & Gift Shop

Massive range of Cards, Partyware, Gifts, Gift Bags, Gift Boxes & Gift Dressings

574 Manchester Road, Bury, BL9 9SW

0161 796 7353

Order online at 62


To appear in the Wholesale Directory simply call WarrenLomax on 020 77006740

63-67_Classifieds_Dec 2015_v8_Layout 1 25/11/2015 13:10 Page 63








Polypropylene & biodegradable bag specialists


FOR FOR ALL A LL Y YOUR OU R E ENVELOPE N V ELOPE N NEEDS! EEDS! Largest L argest rrange ange of iin-stock n- stock ccolours olours Over 400 Bespoke Envelope Sizes 8 Sizes Permanently in Stock RECYCLED


100% Recycled Paper A vailable v Available

Over 40 years quality service to the trade Hotfoiling also available

T 01206 396209 E

Stock & Bespoke Cello Bags Peel & Stick Envelopes Bespoke Service on Request

ORDER ON LINE AT: AT: 01274 583000




Quality Bespoke Envelopes! From 5,000 quantity to many millions we can produce excellent quality envelopes for you.


Plain, printed, coloured & textured finish.

Please call us on 0843 5066684 with your enquiry or visit our website

01228 560526

100% recycled & FSC available. We will be delighted to help!

To appear in simply call Warren Lomax on: 0207 700 6740 We’ve We’ve been producing bags of high clarity and high quality for over 30 years. 01274 220 220 www

or alternatively email him on PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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• Manufacturers of

quality Display Units for over 25 years

• PVC Interlocking Tiers • High Impact 2mm Edging

• Vast range of colours available

• From one unit through to full shop reďŹ ts


Producing greeting cards for over 30 years


01622 710 759


188 Forstal Road • Aylesford • Kent ME20 7DB


The Capitals only Greetings card printer


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

Contact DAVID JIGGINS Tel: 01245 400104 Email:

To appear in

simply call Warren Lomax on: 0207 700 6740 or alternatively email him on 64


at PJ Print we pride ourselves on great customer care, and the greeting cards we make are pretty smart too. For Award winning Print look no further than

PJ - PRINT E-mail: The Print Works Colville Road, Acton London W3 8BL tel 020 8993 5160 fax 020 8992 8421

63-67_Classifieds_Dec 2015_v8_Layout 1 25/11/2015 13:10 Page 65







Do you find you need to quickly top up your popular stock lines, or would like to trial a few designs before committing to longer runs? Then the Windles Group FlexiSheet is perfect for you. With a turnaround time of just 5 days and 1,000 cards at litho rates, the Windles Group once again delivers useful solutions to you. In order to support our other production methods, we are also now offering the FlexiSheet with our integrated ColdFoil, allowing you to develop a highly creative range of greetings cards.

Specialist UK and Global manufacturer for the greeting card industry To discuss how we could work with you contact Simon King Tel: 0115 928 7766 Email:

PEFC / 16-33-794

Hadden Court, Glaisdale Parkway, Glaisdale Drive West, Nottingham, NG8 4GP

The home of greeting cards

To appear in

simply call Warren Lomax on: 0207 700 6740

t ependen ding ind a le r ’s e r K u The U n ufa c t card ma greeting Y j_ed

hZfheZk [j_d]YW kied]h[ Y \e b _W Y [i š If[ i[i[hl_Y \_d#^ek e [ ] d W h š <kbb [Z ]kWhWdj[ š GkWb_jo [i Y h_ f j_j_l[ š 9ecf[ h[b_WXb[ Z d W _edWb š Fhe\[ii Wbb [hjeeic Y j_ed$ š DeehZ ijfheZk h W Z< ;W d W A K š 8ej^ services, ur unique 1150 ation on o rm 14 fo in 01 250 For more s team on le sa e th ntact please co sales@loxl or email:

or alternatively email him on




63-67_Classifieds_Dec 2015_v8_Layout 1 25/11/2015 13:10 Page 66









The Professional and Caring Approach..

English speakingproduction team,pricesquoted insterling...andonly 3daysdelivery toTHEUK...

Really... andtheres noVATtopayor customsprocedures either...that'sa greatdeal!

• Hand made and hand finished greeting cards • Boxed sets and acetate packs of cards / envelopes • Giftwrap and tag packs • Individually open and closed wrapped cards • 'Pop up' and cardboard engineered products • Notelets and social stationery • Specialised printing on plastics & lenticular For production enquiries, estimates etc., please contact our UK Agent:

Rob Pearson 07710 132 232

... to 3rd Party Warehouse, Distribution and Hand Finishing needs. With over 25 years experience in the Greeting Card and Gift Industry, we specialise in providing a very fast yet efficient and friendly service to all of our customers. Our close links to the port of Felixstowe allowing excellent access for both UK and overseas business.

We would be happy to talk to you and provide further information please contact either: James Smithies on 01449 778360 e: Tracy Davies on 01449 778363 e: Please visit our website at for further information.

Your Success Is Our Success

FSC accredited (BV-COC-002485). Audited member of SMETA. Printing to ISO12674-2 standard.

LB Warehousing (Women in Transport & Logistics Finalist)

Digital Di it l P Print i tS Specialist i li t for the greeting card industry What we offer:

S AME DAY order turnaround A CCURATE fulfilment and same day turn round V ALUE ADDED only as you sell the product E XCLUSIVELY Greeting Cards D EDICATED Account Managers

• Greeting cards • Artworking and design • Short-run print • Pick, pack and distribution • Promotional items • Bespoke gifts • Marketing literature • Exhibition graphics • Stationery • Brochures • and more...

With an excellent reputation we work as an integral part of your TEAM bringing much more than fulfilment. Our costing structure is SIMPLE and TRANSPARENT. We carry out ALL aspects of hand finishing and assembly and provide whatever ADDITIONAL services YOU need Our select team of outworkers carefully hand wrap any size or format of cards urgently, OVERNIGHT! We CARE about your product as much as you do. Attention to detail, QC Issues and IT supported by a comprehensive paper trail for all stock movements are our hallmarks. Our CAN DO approach means that WE solve your problems. Outsourcing your warehousing operation releases your time to CREATE/MARKET/SELL/ MANAGE/GROW THE BUSINESS

07974 133735

YOUR BUSINESS IS OUR BUSINESS, please visit our web site and see what OUR customers say, then to find out more call Lynda Raymond and perhaps we can arrange to meet and discuss your needs I am sure that we can help. LB Warehousing, Units 1, 2 &3 Wayside Warehouses, Toseland, Near St. Neots, Cambridgeshire. PE19 6RX Tel 01480 880800 Fax 01480880900 Mobile 07889 399341



63-67_Classifieds_Dec 2015_v8_Layout 1 25/11/2015 14:37 Page 67








Hand assembly and contract packing specialists • • • •

Greetings cards, hand-packed and hand-finished Low to high volume card cello bagging Gift wrap and gift product packing. Warehousing & fulfilment services.

Call us and we will get you packed up! Tel: 01226 206116 E-Mail:-

WIRE SPINNERS Tel: 01929 550085 Email: Web:

Home of the Wire Spinner Stand


Paying top rates of commission promptly plus BONUS! The Wire Spinner is proven to be the most cost effective method to display and enhance products. We also offer sheet metal, wood, acrylic and cardboard solutions or a combination of materials. FOR SALE

A worldwide database of card and stationery distributors. Based on over 25 years of export business on behalf of some of the most successful greeting card publishers, a listing of top overseas buyers worldwide is now accessible for others. Complete listing available for £1500 + VAT For more information call Robin Littman Experienced selection advice also available +44 (0)1278 671679/+44 (0)7767 797858

Good Sales Agents required to sell a fresh new greetings card concept ideal for Independent Greeting Card Shops offering a simple one-stop service for great new designs. Card designs can be viewed on our website:

Apply by email to: or telephone 01394 271668 Please note our new address: 3 Manning Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk, IP11 2AS PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE


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Progressive Greetings December 2015  
Progressive Greetings December 2015