This time last year, Austrian greeting card company, Pabuku – The Queer Paperie was preparing to attend The Ladder Club, to learn the nuances of the UK market. Fast forward 10 months and the Stainz-based card company has exhibited at PG Live (and signed up an Australian/New Zealand distributor as a result), won a major design award in Germany and is now set to come back to UK shores to exhibit at the imminent Top Drawer show (September 10-12 at London’s Olympia).
Ulla Klopf (pictured above middle, with co-founder Ute Baurecker (left) and Astrid Reiner (right) of its printers, 1. Aichfelder Druck with the publisher’s Gold Fedrigoni award), tells PG Buzz about the company’s globetrotting.
How did you get started?: “We started to sell our first small collection two years ago in Vienna in Austria and almost at around the same time started touring Germany to make personal contact with shopowners. Ute did it using public transport and a Brompton folding bike, which had the added advantage that retailers remembered Pabuku’s first appearance with a folding bike which also underlines our efforts to do our best to care for our environment, evidenced by our use of compostable cellobags.”
What happened after your PG Live debut?: “As a result of showing at PG Live in June we secured Affirmations as our distributor for Australia and New Zealand!”
What’s this about you scoring in Hamburg’s football stadium?: “We were absolutely delighted to be presented with a prestigious GOLD CardCouture Award 2017 by paper company Fedrigoni, at a ceremony that took place at the stunning St Pauli football stadium in Hamburg, recently.”
You are back again in the UK, exhibiting at Top Drawer, why?: “Exporting is an absolute necessity for us. Austria is a small country, with no specialist card shops like Scribbler or independent ‘cards only’ shops. The average German-speaking European (Austrian and German) only sends eight cards per year, compare that to UK which has a per capita send of more than 40 and you appreciate why we’ll keep travelling!”
Why do your cards work for the UK market?: “Our cards do very well in English speaking countries, especially as we have been using English captions since we started, which has proved to be a good decision!”
Other than its size, what other benefits does the UK card market have compared to Austria? “There is not real ‘greeting card industry’ as such in Austria with no choice of specialist printers, no magazines like Progressive Greetings, no trade association for all sizes of publishers like the GCA, not to mention a supportive group like The Ladder Club.”
You came to The Ladder Club last year for the first time and will be there again this year. How useful did you find attending?: “Due to the lack of industry information from Austria we are so glad that we found out about and became a member of The Ladder Club. We are so grateful for the warm welcome we received from Lynn Tait (The Ladder Club founder) in the run to and during last year’s seminar, as well as the subsequent good advice from the Facebook group.”
How is Lynn Tait’s legacy living on with Pabuku?: “We were very, very sad to learn about Lynn’s death. However, it was such a great experience to meet so many ‘Ladder Clubbies’ at PG Live this year and to feel her spirit all around. Among our collection that will be on show at Top Drawer (Stand X35) are some sympathy designs, created in honour of Lynn Tait.”