All the fun of the Spring Fair

Greetings in the picture thanks to keen retailers, card wall – and striped boots!

 

At least two best yets, keen retailers, a card wall, prizes, charity presentations, bubbles, and lots of fun made up Spring Fair 2023 which finished yesterday – along with a pair of kinky boots!

Although the greetings and stationery section was still a little smaller than pre-pandemic events at Birmingham’s NEC, regular exhibitor Eco-Friendly Card Company crowed about having its best-yet Spring Fair Sunday while Emma Ball Ltd recorded its top trade show day to date.

Tache Crafts also had a good show but co-owner Pennie Bryant was pretty glad the four-day event, which ran from Sunday to Wednesday, 5-8 February, and the conundrum of the kinky boots was finally over.

Sporting the incredible zebra-striped heels with her four fabulous show outfits, Pennie garnered plenty of comments and admirers – but no retailer made the connection to claim the £100 worth of cards prize for spotting her boots.

“I had to wear them as we’d put out the prize for the first retailer to spot them,” Pennie told PG Buzz, “then I had to keep them on each day just in case. I got very hot and my feet did hurt as I was parading around the show just in case.

“Overall, we had a super successful show and we met so many great people, I’m very excited about the conversations we picked up at the show and we had so much fun. No one claimed the offer, although my boots were commented on quite a bit – maybe they just weren’t obvious enough!”

Enjoy PG Buzz’s pictorial round-up of Spring Fair 2023…

Above: Eco-Friendly Card Company’s co-owner Sue Morrish saw customers such as the UK’s Charity Christmas Cards with others travelling from Japan, Ukraine, The Netherlands, and Spain, and the majority ordered card clasps rather than corn-starch bags. “It was our best-ever Sunday at Spring & Autumn Fair,” Sue said – and she was rather keen to eat all the remaining chocolate!
Above: Eco-Friendly Card Company’s co-owner Sue Morrish saw customers such as the UK’s Charity Christmas Cards with others travelling from Japan, Ukraine, The Netherlands, and Spain, and the majority ordered card clasps rather than corn-starch bags. “It was our best-ever Sunday at Spring & Autumn Fair,” Sue said – and she was rather keen to eat all the remaining chocolate!
Above: Glick were constantly busy with director Becky Dobson saying: “It’s wonderful to see our overseas customers again, here is our very own lovely Michelle with the equally lovely Simone, from Austria, who was making her Christmas selections.” And agent Ian Bradley impressed with his impeccable shirt to product matching, this year toning with Glick’s new Louise Mulgrew peacock bags.
Above: Glick were constantly busy with director Becky Dobson saying: “It’s wonderful to see our overseas customers again, here is our very own lovely Michelle with the equally lovely Simone, from Austria, who was making her Christmas selections.” And agent Ian Bradley impressed with his impeccable shirt to product matching, this year toning with Glick’s new Louise Mulgrew peacock bags.
Above: Ian Doyle (left) has returned to join Jim Girvan and the team at Cardgains after a 13-year gap. And the buying group also presented the Alzheimer’s Society with the £26,645 proceeds from the Ultimate Ullswater 2022 charity challenge.
Above: Ian Doyle (left) has returned to join Jim Girvan and the team at Cardgains after a 13-year gap. And the buying group also presented the Alzheimer’s Society with the £26,645 proceeds from the Ultimate Ullswater 2022 charity challenge.
Above: Bridget from Cheltenham-based online card retailer The Wonky Tree won some fizz in Dandelion Stationery’s draw for all customers who placed an order, and the publisher’s owner Jo Wilson (left) and Jess Greaves (right) had a giggle with indie retailer Julie from Liverpool’s Voglio.
Above: Bridget from Cheltenham-based online card retailer The Wonky Tree won some fizz in Dandelion Stationery’s draw for all customers who placed an order, and the publisher’s owner Jo Wilson (left) and Jess Greaves (right) had a giggle with indie retailer Julie from Liverpool’s Voglio.
Above: Rush Design’s Lorraine Bradley gave a special personal service to indie retailer Caroline Ranwell – Christmas cards featuring her two Tettenhall stores, Hugs & Kisses greetings and gifts and No 43 clothing outlet.
Above: Rush Design’s Lorraine Bradley gave a special personal service to indie retailer Caroline Ranwell – Christmas cards featuring her two Tettenhall stores, Hugs & Kisses greetings and gifts and No 43 clothing outlet.
Above: With the full Gift Of The Year shortlist on display, judging went on throughout the show. Pictured are judges Tracey Bearton from PG, Hugs & Kisses’ Caroline Ranwell and Andrea Pinder of Presentations, Barrowford, along with This Is Iris licensing agent Sarah Lawrence (centre) and Claire Hembrough, of Strawberry Blue in Bradford-On-Avon. Claire said: “It’s quite competitive and difficult because you can’t just judge on what you like, you have to think about the commercial side.” Sarah added: “It’s really exciting and full of fresh ideas and a fresh take on classic licensing as well as own brands, which is what we need. After the past few years, for people to come back with something new, that’s exciting and great production, is really to be commended.”
Above: With the full Gift Of The Year shortlist on display, judging went on throughout the show. Pictured are judges Tracey Bearton from PG, Hugs & Kisses’ Caroline Ranwell and Andrea Pinder of Presentations, Barrowford, along with This Is Iris licensing agent Sarah Lawrence (centre) and Claire Hembrough, of Strawberry Blue in Bradford-On-Avon. Claire said: “It’s quite competitive and difficult because you can’t just judge on what you like, you have to think about the commercial side.” Sarah added: “It’s really exciting and full of fresh ideas and a fresh take on classic licensing as well as own brands, which is what we need. After the past few years, for people to come back with something new, that’s exciting and great production, is really to be commended.”
Above: Busy stands at Spring Fair – Nigel Quiney, Wrendale, Emma Ball, Museums & Galleries, and The Art File – and Lucy at Emma Ball Ltd said: “Sunday was the best-ever day we’ve done at any show in 22 years.”
Above: Busy stands at Spring Fair – Nigel Quiney, Wrendale, Emma Ball, Museums & Galleries, and The Art File – and Lucy at Emma Ball Ltd said: “Sunday was the best-ever day we’ve done at any show in 22 years.”
Above: Retailers enjoyed looking around the stands with Sara and Nigel Morris checking out the Holy Mackerel stand with a view to adding their designs to the small selection in their two Rhubarb stores in Malvern. Sara said: “I’ve enjoyed the show, it’s buzzy and lovely to see so many people out and about buying. It’s quite chatty – I’ve realised we could get the show done in two days but have to allow three for all the talking!” And Susie Allen, of Bedford’s Kitchenalia, added: “It’s nice to physically see the cards because in the catalogues it doesn’t do them any justice, especially for all the gold leaf and 3D elements. I sell Rush Design, Alex Clark, Ling, Lola and Wrendale – I’ve been here for three days and found Alljoy’s paper cut-out bottles with are different from the Cardology ones I already stock. I’ve been coming for 28 years as it’s a necessity to do the shows as you need to see the products.”
Above: Retailers enjoyed looking around the stands with Sara and Nigel Morris checking out the Holy Mackerel stand with a view to adding their designs to the small selection in their two Rhubarb stores in Malvern. Sara said: “I’ve enjoyed the show, it’s buzzy and lovely to see so many people out and about buying. It’s quite chatty – I’ve realised we could get the show done in two days but have to allow three for all the talking!” And Susie Allen, of Bedford’s Kitchenalia, added: “It’s nice to physically see the cards because in the catalogues it doesn’t do them any justice, especially for all the gold leaf and 3D elements. I sell Rush Design, Alex Clark, Ling, Lola and Wrendale – I’ve been here for three days and found Alljoy’s paper cut-out bottles with are different from the Cardology ones I already stock. I’ve been coming for 28 years as it’s a necessity to do the shows as you need to see the products.”
Above: Lots of great leads and a folder full of orders can only mean one thing for Laura Darrington Designs (top left) – Laura’s got her lucky gold trousers on! Cinnamon Aitch was also busy while Rebecca from Middle Mouse Group and Sabivo Designs’ Sabina both posted their Enveco competition entries as the envelope company’s John Jones met a new friend.
Above: Lots of great leads and a folder full of orders can only mean one thing for Laura Darrington Designs (top left) – Laura had her lucky gold trousers on! Cinnamon Aitch was also busy while Rebecca from Middle Mouse Group and Sabivo Designs’ Sabina both posted their Enveco competition entries as the envelope company’s John Jones met a new friend.
Above: Cath and Rosie Tate, of Cath Tate Cards, were busy catching up with distributors, shops and fellow publishers, including Hotfoils’ designer Jessica Watson, Notes & Queries co-owners Vanessa and Alan Harnik, and Jenny Cummins of McMillan Cards.
Above: Cath and Rosie Tate, of Cath Tate Cards, were busy catching up with distributors, shops and fellow publishers, including Jenny Cummins of McMillan Cards.
Above: Stationery Supplies’ Sarah Laker is always a busy bee at trade shows, and for her three-day Spring Fair stint she bought over 1,000 cards across her two stores in Marple and Wilmslow from Penguin Ink, Think Of Me and Heyyy Cards, stocked up on stationery and “had dinner with the delightfully bonkers Ben and Mark from Brainbox Candy Cards”, and ­met Cardology’s Stormtrooper, plus gatecrashed a Spring Fair party with Creative Cove’s Sandra Jervis and Dom Early from Earlybird Designs.
Above: Stationery Supplies’ Sarah Laker is always a busy bee at trade shows, and for her three-day Spring Fair stint she bought over 1,000 cards across her two stores in Marple and Wilmslow from Penguin Ink, Think Of Me and Heyyy Cards, stocked up on stationery, “had dinner with the delightfully bonkers Ben and Mark from Brainbox Candy Cards”, and ­met Cardology’s Stormtrooper, plus gatecrashed a Spring Fair party with Creative Cove’s Sandra Jervis and Dom Early from Earlybird Designs.
Above: John and Jennie Procter, co-founders of Scribbler, were in Birmingham for the first trade show for the retailer’s that have been kiosks launched in collaboration with FujiFilm. “We had great interest from both UK and overseas,” commented John.
Above: John and Jennie Procter, co-founders of Scribbler, were in Birmingham for the first trade show for the retailer’s that have been kiosks launched in collaboration with FujiFilm. “We had great interest from both UK and overseas,” commented John.
Above: At Jen Whinnett Eco Art the lady herself went above and beyond to ensure customers could see the whole range of products.
Above: At Jen Whinnett Eco Art the lady herself went above and beyond to ensure customers could see the whole range of products.

Top: All the fun of the Spring Fair – the GCA Card Wall; there’s a mixup between phones and sarnies by Brainbox Candy’s Ben Hickman, Bexy Hassett of Bexy Boo, and Cath Tate Cards’ Rosie Tate; and Tache’s Pennie Bryant shows off her kinky boots.

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