Agents Rosie Trow, Nigel Willcock and The Two Jos reveal all

Sales experts rabbit on about trade on their respective patches

 

In the Chinese horoscope this is the Year Of The Rabbit, with vigilance, wit, quick-mindedness, and ingenuity the characteristics of those born in rabbit years.

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.

First up with their rabbitings are Rosie Trow, Jo Bannister, Joanna McFarlane, and Nigel Willcock

Above: Rosie Trow enjoying a Bashful Bunny hug in the Jellycat offices
Above: Rosie Trow enjoying a Bashful Bunny hug in the Jellycat offices

Rosie Trow’s patch covers Avon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall

Her dangling carrots?

Rosie represents…Belly Button Designs, Bewilderbeest, Crumble & Core, Emotional Rescue, Glick, Go La La!, Janie Wilson, Jellycat, Life Charms, Oli Olsen, Museums & Galleries, Paper Salad, Park Lane, Real & Exciting Designs, Redback Cards, Wendy Jones-Blackett and Wrendale Designs.

Happy bunny or mad hare?

“For me 2022 was like a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. The year started and bunny hopped along with no lull, with plenty of newness from all companies to keep the carrots dangling for my lovely independent retailers.

Above: The White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland would be Rosie’s alter ago, as her customers know only too well
Above: The White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland would be Rosie’s alter ago, as her customers know only too well

“I turned into a mad hare, though, when the strikes started affecting the High Streets by limiting people’s travel and the sending and receiving of Christmas cards, meaning so many people missed out on that all-important social communication.”

Watership Downs and hare-raisers of 2022?

“It’s no secret retailers aren’t breeding like rabbits in the High Street. In the last week I learned of several retailers closing down, having decided not to renew their leases.

“The most hare-raising bit of 2022 was realising in the middle of the year that it was costing me £29 more to fill the car up with fuel than it did in 2021 – the erratic hopping up and down of fuel costs has gnawed at my profit line, but we’re all in the same hutch!”

Above: Rosie with Brocante’s David Lorriman in his Mevagissey store
Above: Rosie with Brocante’s David Lorriman in his Mevagissey store

Rosie’s hop(e)s for 2023?

“That we buck the trend of worrying about price increases that have to happen for all companies, publishers and retailers, and make the most of what we have to work with and weather that storm together. My nan, a salt-of-the-earth West Country wise old bird, always had a lucky rabbit’s foot brooch, which may have been lucky for her, but I couldn’t help thinking it wasn’t for some bunny!”

Rabbit alter ego?

“The White Rabbit, as I’m always late!”

Above: Jo Bannister (right) and Joanna McFarlane soaking up the sunshine
Above: Jo Bannister (right) and Joanna McFarlane soaking up the sunshine

Jo Bannister and Joanna McFarlane’s patch covers London and Middlesex, with Oxfordshire for Glick

Their dangling carrots?

Jo and Joanna represent…The Art File, Brainbox Candy, Coco Pzazz, Glick, Louise Mulgrew, Meri Meri, Paper Salad, Sally Scaffardi, Say It With Songs and Think Of Me.

Happy bunny or mad hare?

“We were pretty hoppy bunnies with how 2022 turned out. It wasn’t the best year but, based on the previous two years, there was a definite improvement in the carrot yield.”

Above: There was a high carrot yield in 2022 for Jo and Joanna
Above: There was a high carrot yield in 2022 for Jo and Joanna

Watership Downs and hare-raisers of 2022?

“It was a year of extreme ups and Watership Downs with getting back to seeing our customers at trade fairs, then the sad passing of David Hicks, the high of the Diamond Jubilee, then the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Then we followed with real sales meetings which, in Glick’s case, was the first in three years.

“The most hare-raising bit of 2022 was definitely the instability everyone is feeling, the anxiety did, and does, mean that customers are much more calculated in their spending.”

Above: A 6'4" invisible white rabbit named Harvey was the unlikely hero of the 1950s film starring James Stewart
Above: A 6’4″ invisible white rabbit named Harvey was the unlikely hero of the 1950s film starring James Stewart

Jo and Joanna’s hop(e)s for 2023?

“That the year brings a resurgence of the High Street, with sensible rents that enable to shops to expand or stay open and an end to the current cost-of-living situation.”

Rabbit alter ego?

“We’d have to be Harvey the big white rabbit – obvious to anyone in the know! – as he often symbolises hope and friendship.”

Above: Nigel Willcock with some rabbit-centric designs from his hutch
Above: Nigel Willcock with some rabbit-centric designs from his hutch

Nigel Willcock’s patch covers the North West, with Yorkshire only for Otter House

His dangling carrots?

Nigel represents…Allsorted, ArtPress, Bold & Bright, Holy Mackerel, Icon, Kali Stileman, Louise Tiler, Lucilla Lavender, Otter House, Peartree Heybridge, The Porch Fairies, Redback Cards, Sabivo Design, Special Delivery Cards, Susan O’Hanlon, and The Unique Paper Company.

Happy bunny or mad hare?

“Always a happy bunny – we all know how challenging these times are, but I’m so lucky to have lovely professional customers and great agencies.”

Watership Downs and hare-raisers of 2022?

“The Watership Downs were the difficulty in planning journeys effectively and economically, zig-zagging like a hare most days.

Above: The Energizer Bunny would be Nigel’s rabbit alter ego
Above: The Energizer Bunny would be Nigel’s rabbit alter ego

“I made a decision to go out every day despite the fuel costs and think my customers appreciated it – that way you can usually pull a rabbit out of the hat. But road rage made me a hot cross bunny!”

Nigel’s hop(e)s for 2023?

“Lettuce pray that consumers will continue to support local businesses, that Putin disappears into his own warren and that carrots fend off all pandemics.”

Rabbit alter ego?

“The Energizer Bunny, I want to keep going forever although, if you clocked the chocolate wrappers in my car after a day on the road, you might think I’d want to be the Cadbury’s Bunny!”

Top: Agents Joanna McFarlane, Rosie Trow, Nigel Willcock and Jo Bannister rabbit on

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