Yesterday over 50 top greeting card retail buyers scrutinised 14,000 of the best greeting cards and wrappings in the world at the judging for The Henries greeting card industry awards.
The results of the Judging Panel’s votes will be revealed tomorrow, when a full list of finalists for The Henries product awards will be revealed.
“Never in The Henries’ long history have we ever had such an extensive, distinguished and knowledgeable judging panel of retail buyers as you collectively form,” said Warren Lomax, joint managing director of Max Publishing, as he welcomed the judges. “It’s a good job you know your stuff though as you have over 14,000 cards and wrap to judge today!”
The judging panel included card buyers from right across the retailing spectrum, from top multiples and department stores, through to many leading independent retailers. They included buyers from Paperchase, WHSmith, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Scribbler, Waitrose, Klondyke, Moonpig, Fenwick, Funky Pigeon, Barkers, Longacres and National Trust.
Commenting on the day, Kerri Sorbie, buyer for Klondyke Garden Centres, who had travelled down from Scotland to London, where the judging took place, said: “It was definitely worth the trip! It has been like an intensive buying experience – and I definitely want to follow up on several ranges that I saw with a view to introducing them into our card selection.”
Katherine O’Connor, card buyer for the National Trust, summed up the judging day as a “fabulous experience. There were so many cards and ranges that I have never seen before – I will be contacting the publishers concerned once I am informed of their identity.”
All the entries are displayed anonymously, with the brand’s identity concealed, however the judges will now be sent the Henries entries’ identity by Max Publishing (which owns and organises The Henries) so that they can follow up on those publishers they are interested in introducing into their stores.
Hazel Walker, senior card buyer of Paperchase, said The Henries Judging Day was “like a fast track trade show, but one where you see all the comparative cards together in their distinct categories. It was also so encouraging to see so much fresh new talent entered into the newly named The Lynn Tait Most Promising Young Designer Award category.”
For Savita Marsh, co-owner of Northwood Cards & Gifts, being part of the judging panel was invaluable in that “while it gave me an endorsement that we are on track with the card selection for our customers, it also made me appreciate that some ranges have a great crossover potential – some ranges that I stock in my art section were entered into humour and vice versa, for example.”
After they are announced tomorrow, the finalists in all the product categories will be featured on The Henries website from Wednesday 9 August (www.thehenriesawards.co.uk)
Want to see some retailer reaction to products entered into The Henries 2017?
Take a look at these buyer soundbites, taken in real time from judging day: