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Agents Corinne Forbes, Carl Stirk and Brendan Cahill rabbit on

Sales experts reveal what trade has been like on their patches

 

Those born in the Chinese Year Of The Rabbit are said to have vigilance, wit, quick-mindedness, and ingenuity as characteristics, and these traits are shared by the UK’s fluffle – that really is the term for a group of rabbits! – of greeting card sales agents.

So PG Buzz dangled a carrot to find out the Watership Downs of the last year as well as their hop(e)s for 2023 from this hare-raising bunch.

This time around the rabbitings come from Corinne Forbes, Carl Stirk and Brendan Cahill

Above: Happy bunny Corinne Forbes
Above: Happy bunny Corinne Forbes

Corinne Forbes’ patch covers the whole of Scotland

Her dangling carrots?

Corinne represents…Belly Button Designs, Five Dollar Shake, Janie Wilson, Paper Salad, Think Of Me, Wendy Jones-Blackett, and White Cotton Cards, among others.

Happy bunny or mad hare?

“A very happy bunny! Considering all the negative media re cost-of-living crisis, etc, our sales were well up on the previous year, and up on 2019, the last proper full year without Covid.”

Watership Downs and hare-raisers of 2022?

“A Watership Down was definitely the postal strike in December. I’m sure this will have affected how many Christmas cards people bought and sent, though I did have customers re-ordering Christmas cards in December.

Above: Like many, the postal strikes were a Watership Down for Corinne’s customers
Above: For many like Corrinne’s customers, the postal strikes were a Watership Down

“The hare-raising bits were the new ranges and products! It never ceases to amaze me how creative our publishers are and how they just keep coming up with something new and different all the time, especially for me who couldn’t draw a bunny if I tried!”

Corinne’s hop(e)s for 2023?

“To have another strong year selling fabulous products to our loyal and wonderful customers.”

Rabbit alter ego?

“I would be a Flemish giant rabbit – an old breed with a friendly nature, but it needs to be encouraged to exercise!”

Above: Carl Stirk donned his bunny ears in Forget Me Not in Sherburn-In-Elmet
Above: Carl Stirk donned his bunny ears in Forget Me Not in Sherburn-In-Elmet

Carl Stirk’s patch covers England’s North East

His dangling carrots?

Carl represents…The Art File, Cinnamon Aitch, English Graphics, Five Dollar Shake, Hammond Gower, Mr MQ, Rachel Ellen Designs and Rosie Made A Thing.

Watership Downs and hare-raisers of 2022?

“The year started off positively as a high percentage of retailers had an exceptionally good Christmas. Then, unexpectedly, Mr Putin decided to bang his drum and gun, throwing a whole bagful of spanners into the works. The cost of fuel, cost-of-living crises as well as the exceptionally hot summer were not kind to any of us.

“The most hare-raising issues have been the rail and postal strikes which, in the most profitable quarter of the year and busiest one for retail and hospitality, we could have done without.

Above and top: Roger Rabbit is Carl’s alter ego!
Above and top: Roger Rabbit is Carl’s alter ego!

“However, retailers are resilient, and the industry kept creating increasingly amazing products so most of us just became accustomed to the new challenges and carried on as well as we could.”

Carl’s hop(e)s for 2023?

“That things will calm down to more of an even keel with minimal unexpected extremes, and that the seasons and occasions are celebrated with people enjoying choosing and writing their cards to make a positive difference to others’ lives, this uplifting experience being an antidote to any media negativity.”

Rabbit alter ego?

“I’d be Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

Above: Brendan Cahill, a loveable, fluffy agent
Above: Brendan Cahill, a loveable, fluffy agent

Brendan Cahill’s patch spans Wales and Gloucestershire

His dangling carrots?

Brendan represents…Dandelion Stationery, Glick, Redback Cards, Tracks, Words ’n’ Wishes including Danilo and Emotional Rescue, Woodmansterne, and WPL.”

Happy bunny or mad hare?

“Cute, fluffy and hopping mad are probably a few of the best words to describe loveable sociable rabbits, just like us hardworking, devoted agents! It turned out to be a good year in 2022, and ended with me being a happy bunny, as always receiving the full support and appreciation from my principals.”

Watership Downs and hare-raisers of 2022?

“Unfortunately, I’m sure I wasn’t the only agent or retailer to experience a Watership Down moment during December. Just as 2022 was getting back to the so-called normal and we were all feeling buoyant for a hare-raising Christmas, we were hit with numerous postal strikes which had a knock-on effect on the sales of charity packs, and boxed cards in particular.

Above: Bug’s Bunny is the best rabbit, according to Brendan
Above: Bug’s Bunny is the best rabbit, according to Brendan

“One of my customers, who I spoke to just after Christmas, told me that in all his 15 years of being a postmaster December 2022 was the worst he’d ever witnessed in the decline of stamp sales, being 30% down versus December 2021.”

Brendan’s hop(e)s for 2023?

“I really love January when we hit our lovely customers with loads of new ranges and designs, a massive positive for the retailers as everyone wants to see new product. It sets us all up for a positive start, although I predict 2023 will be tough but, as Peter Rabbit said in the film: “A good rabbit never gives up”, something I adhere to.”

Rabbit alter ego?

“Bug’s Bunny…that’s all folks!”

Top: Agents Carl Stirk, Corinne Forbes, and Brendan Cahill rabbit on

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