Stationery Supplies’ owner confirmed as speaking at GCA conference with Wendy J-B and Kantar
A cheeky day out found indie retailer Sarah Laker getting in some practice for her just-announced speaker’s slot at the GCA’s annual conference – by being interviewed for the nation from a park bench!
The Stationery Supplies owner’s views on the economy and running a small business are echoed by many in the greeting card industry and beyond after she spoke sense in the media on the difficulties of keeping her stores in Marple and Wilmslow going through the pandemic and current cost-of-living crisis.
And, while enjoying a day out in Liverpool with hubby Matthew on Wednesday, 24 May, BBC Radio 5 Live rang for another chat, which was then broadcast on the 5am Wake Up To Money programme yesterday – the show can be listened to here, Sarah’s slot is around 35mins in.
“I took a cheeky day off with Mr L,” Sarah told PG Buzz, “but, of course, I never manage to switch off completely and BBC Radio 5 Live rang me to ask me to talk about the effects of inflation for Wake Up To Money!”
Sarah managed to find a bench at St Luke’s bombed-out church in Liverpool to sit down while explaining how rising prices mean she’s working twice as hard for less return, with the cost of the paper vital for her greeting cards and stationery products doubling in the past year being one of the many rises her business is facing.
She told the presenter that “falling inflation won’t change things overnight” and that she had to put product prices up because “margins are being squeezed”, adding: “Retail Is exhausting, we’re stumbling from one crisis to another continually inventing ourselves.”
However, when asked if she ever woke up in the morning to the thought that she couldn’t continue in this economic climate, Sarah declared: “No, I’m completely determined that my shops are going to keep going.”
Sarah has recently been confirmed as a speaker for the 2023 GCA Conference & AGM which this year is taking place at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, on Thursday, 28 September – tickets are now available with an special earlybird booking offer of last year’s price of £80, which will rise to £95 after 19 June.
Sarah will be joining Wendy Jones-Blackett, founder of the namesake Leeds-based brand and the creative maestro behind the branding for the September event.
Wendy will be the publisher keynote speaker on the day, at which she will reveal how she got into the world of greeting cards – from her blacksmithing days at art college via the Glastonbury Festival – plus a few highs and lows from her years in business and sharing where she finds the inspiration to design new ranges.
Members from the Kantar research company have also been confirmed as taking to the podium, returning after last year’s insightful presentation into the greeting card industry. Other speakers are in the pipeline and are likely to include more insights from the retailing side as well as trade supplier names.
And the networking is all set to start on the eve of the event, with Yorkshire-based publisher UK Greetings kindly agreeing to host a meet-up in a Leeds city centre hostelry from 6pm on 27 September.
All GCA members are invited to Leeds, the 2023 UK City Of Culture, for the industry’s annual get together on 28 September – tickets are available but the earlybird booking offer ends on 19 June.