Progressive Greetings December 2017 Issue Out Now

Nibble a mince pie and enjoy some ‘food for thought’ in PG’s December issue, which is out now.

In PG’s last edition of 2017, explore how British greeting cards are a favourite in the amazing stores of Tokyo, find out how indies Zoe and Paul Carter transformed their four card stores, hear how independents are finding huge benefits in joining forces with fellow retailers and other local bodies and tap into the golden rise of IC&G, great columnists (Cardsharp, David Robertson and Jeremy Corner) and lots, lots more.

Wizardry and magic, don’t believe all that the papers say.
Wizardry and magic, don’t believe all that the papers say.

Bill Greeno qualifies for Wimbledon 2018. Andy Murray reportedly worried at the new UK tennis threat.’ ‘Clintons in rumoured takeover of Card Factory wants to form largest card chain in UK history’. ‘Garfield car window plush outselling Moz the Monster and Paddington as the fastest selling soft toy of Christmas 2017’. ‘Footfall on Britain’s high street at its highest level since figures began’. Of course, fake news is now part of our everyday lives, but David Robertson, co-owner of JP Pozzi in Scotland, highlights some recent fake headlines about retailing that have made the news (click to pages 20 to 21).

“We always know that when the Tokyo stock exchange is up then sales of greeting cards from UK publishers will increase too,” reveals Kayoko Kubo, general manager of Toy Symphony, a leading distributor of UK publishers in Japan.

Toy Symphony’s Kayoko Kubo in a National Azabu store in Toyko.
Toy Symphony’s Kayoko Kubo in a National Azabu store in Toyko.

Passing some familiar greeting card ‘faces’ on the way, such as The Art File, Ling and Five Dollar Shake, Louise Mulgrew Designs, Lola Designs and Rose Hill Designs, Kayoko took PG on a whistle-stop tour of some key greeting card retailers in Tokyo, including the flagship, nine storey branch of Itoya (the Japanese equivalent to Paperchase); Isetan, a department store on a par with Harrods; Maruzen, a WHSmith equivalent, and National Azabu, a boutique supermarket group, the ‘Waitrose of Tokyo’. (Click to pages 40 to 41).

Winning the ‘Gold’ Best Service to the Independent Retailer award at The Henries last October for the second year in succession, it’s hard to believe that card publisher IC&G came into the mainstream greeting card world only six years ago, and has continued its glistening rise ever since.

One of the many double captioned cards from IC&G.
One of the many double captioned cards from IC&G.

“Independents have always been very much our main focus. Giving them the best service and the best service possible was our remit on day one and is still today,” says Simon Wagstaff, who together with his brother Ian, runs the Dorset-based publisher.

With its upward trajectory continuing, find out what’s on the cards for IC&G in 2018. (Click to pages 36 to 37).

Life as an independent retailer can be a solitary one, but some indies are finding huge benefits in joining forces or a local business association which can provide advice and support. This community spirit can open lines of communication, improve the local community and bring footfall to the area.

4D-Cudworth-is-Cool-1400x700
Wishes of Cudworth kicks-off its ‘Cudworth is Cool!’ local shop campaign.

Janet Stow, partner of Love Letters in Hull, not only amplified the ‘City of Culture’ rally call to Anlaby where the shop is based, but is always on hand to help local charities’ fundraisers with her ‘on tour store’. While helping to build a better Cudworth for retailers and residents, Chris Fox, the brains behind giftshophub.co.uk and digital content manager of greeting card shop Wishes of Cudworth in Barnsley, has helped form a local business association.

A bira retailer of the year and a leading light in the Small Business Saturday campaign, Chris and Debbie Beards, co-owners of indie Mantons on the Isle of Man, can also be applauded for its multiple initiatives to raise over £18,000 for a local charity so far.

This trio of card retailers share their collective stories in PG’s Viewpoints. (click to pages 25 to 27).

The Cheadle Zo and Co store.
The Cheadle Zo and Co store.

With a striking contemporary grey frontage, wood flooring, ‘floating shelves’, modern card fixtures and curated feature gift areas, Retas Awards winners husband and wife team Paul and Zoe Carter’s investment in a radical overhaul of their Cheshire and Manchester-based Zo & Co group of four greeting card stores have been beautifully transformed.

“No one will ever see an improvement in their business by just sitting back and moaning about trade and all the difficulties of being an independent card retailer – you have to grab the bull by the horns,” explains Paul.

Believing that to survive as an independent in today’s current retail climate you have to continue to push things forward, Paul and Zoe elaborate on their new Zo and Co retail concept. (click to pages 42 to 43).

New for Spring 2018 from Kali Stileman are lots of new children’s cards in its tiddly widdly range… kiddly tiddly widdies!
New for Spring 2018 from Kali Stileman are lots of new children’s cards in its tiddly widdly range… kiddly tiddly widdies!

Sometimes it can be tough being a kid, but maybe greeting cards can help with a few of those growing pains. The Focus On Kids’ Cards ‘climbs the frame’ of some innovative children’s card publishers who will have top marks for creating cards to kids to send to their friends or by building confidence through teen card creativity.

And with the current stomping of dinosaurs, cute party-loving animals, mythical creatures or the latest movie or book heroine or hero on their birthday card, the trials and tribulations of being a kid should be a little bit easier. (click to Focus On Kids Cards supplement).

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