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Cath Tate, Founder of Cath Tate Cards Honored At The Henries

The grand finale of The Henries 2020 greeting card awards ceremony, which took place virtually last Thursday (December 10) was the presentation of the prestigious Honorary Achievement award, which was presented to Cath Tate, founder of Cath Tate Cards.

In what was a fitting tribute to the entrepreneurial publisher, in the build-up to the award’s presentation Progressive Greetings’ editor Jakki Brown, highlighted Cath’s achievements on the product front, as a trailblazer as well as her calibre as a person.

Above: The photomontage created by Cath at night school that was to mark the start of Cath Tate Cards.
Above: The photomontage created by Cath at night school that was to mark the start of Cath Tate Cards.

Here is an excerpt of her speech…

“The Honorary Achievement award is a very special and personal accolade, which is ever more poignant in a year when we have come to really appreciate those who make our world – from close family members to our friends in the greeting card community.

Above: A classic Cath Tate design.
Above: A classic Cath Tate design.

The person we honour tonight has been a part of my and many others’ greeting card worlds for as long as I can remember and has made it all the richer for knowing them.

For almost four decades their independent spirit, spot on moral compass, willingness to take risks, unfailing sense of humour and innate people skills has seen them make their own mark in the greeting card industry – trailblazing countless greeting card concepts that have very much led rather than followed.

Above: Cath with her daughter Rosie, with whom she co-runs the business.
Above: Cath with her daughter Rosie, with whom she co-runs the business.

It was back in the early 1980s, at a photomontage night school class that the teacher, impressed with the design our award recipient had created, that featured Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pinching someone’s purse from their handbag remarked that would make a decent greeting card. That was it, they were off. And a new and enduring greeting card publishing business was borne.

In the early days, the ranges they created were best suited to the alternative bookshops, championing social issues and featuring the talents of under-represented women cartoonists. The cards were popped into their bag and round the shops they’d go, selling their wares.

Running the business initially from their kitchen table, they came up with some corking ideas – adding witty captions to retro knitting patterns for starters, as well as being an early pioneer in juxtaposing serious vintage photographs with an humorous message.

Above: The vintage looks and contemporary humorous wording have always been one of Cath Tate’s talents.
Above: The vintage looks and contemporary humorous wording have always been one of Cath Tate’s talents.

And those ideas have just continued to flow. Now sharing the running of the business with their daughter, as well as developing their own ranges, they have collaborated with several contemporary illustrators, such as Veronica Dearly, Wotmalike’s Jo Burrows as well as a tie-up with horticulturist Charlotte Day. And remaining true to their roots, they have even managed to fit in co-writing a book recently that celebrates 250 years of female cartoonists, which saw them cajoled into appearing on Woman’s Hour.

Above: One of the designs in the Modern Icons collection which was created in collaboration with Jo Burrows of Wotmalike.
Above: One of the designs in the Modern Icons collection which was created in collaboration with Jo Burrows of Wotmalike.

Well tonight it is one special woman’s time to put her natural self-deprecating humour to one side and enjoy the limelight that she so deserves. You have been an inspiration to me, both as a woman and as an entrepreneur who has very much done things your way.

It gives me great honour to announce that The Henries 2020 Honorary Achievement Award goes to Cath Tate, founder of Cath Tate Cards.’

Cath was surprised with the good news a few days before The Henries, meaning that she could record an acceptance speech in which she relayed her unlikely entry into the trade, her early aspirations as well as her thanks to those who have supported her along the way…

See and hear Cath’s acceptance speech for yourself by clicking below:

 

Top: Cath Tate with her Henries trophy that was hand delivered the morning after the event.

 

 

 

 

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