Chris Houfe At Centre Of A Six Publisher Collaboration

Experienced industry exec, Chris Houfe, is at the centre of a six-way greeting card publisher collaboration that is to operate as Tailored Planning Solutions (TPS), to provide a viable greeting card planning and supply option for retailers that is not brokerage.

Abacus, IC&G, Paperlink, Pigment, MGML/Mint Publishing/Real & Exciting Designs and Second Nature are all equally involved in backing the new initiative, which officially launches this month.

Above: The logo fanfaring the new collaboration that features all the partner publisher logos.
Above: The logo fanfaring the new collaboration that features all the partner publisher logos.

“TPS will be all about providing retailers with an easy solution of a strong plan of great selling greeting cards, into which they have total input, with the simplicity of being paid by a single invoice if they so wish,” said Chris, whose industry expertise spans over 20 years, with a career that has involved him working for Emotional Rescue, GBCC and CCA, among others. He is now working as a consultant for all of the six publisher partners

Above: Chris Houfe (left) with WHSmith’s Claire Castle and Martin Nevin (formerly of Is It Art and Emotional Rescue) at a Retas event when Chris and Martin were working together at Emo.
Above: Chris Houfe (right) with WHSmith’s Claire Castle and Martin Nevin (formerly of Is It Art and Emotional Rescue) at a Retas event when Chris and Martin were working together at Emo.

The idea for TPS was sparked by a conversation between Chris and Simon Wagstaff, md of IC&G. “We both agreed that as a group of like-minded publishers with complimentary product portfolios working together, we could really help retailers looking for a topnotch greeting card display, planned totally focused on their customer requirements, but without any one publisher having a dominating interest,” said Chris.

Highlighting the strong card publishing attributes of each of the six parties, Chris summed up: “Pigment and Paperlink are incredibly strong in humour and contemporary design; Abacus and MGML/Mint/Real & Exciting offer great art, photographic and licensed ranges; Second Nature is an expert in hand-finished and 3D lines while IC&G’s core is in traditional captions. Of course if a retailer wants to include other publishers’ designs in their plan we will be only too willing to accommodate their wishes and can liaise with those publishers.”

Above: (left-right) The TPS portfolio includes designs from IC&G (including this Fairlight design); Abacus (including this Countryfile design) and Pigment (including designs from the Happy Jackson range).
Above: (left-right) The TPS portfolio includes designs from IC&G (including this Fairlight design); Abacus (including this Countryfile design) and Pigment (including designs from the Happy Jackson range).

TPS’ planning will be undertaken from IC&G’s Dorset premises, but publishers will be dispatching from their individual warehouses unless a retailer requests otherwise.

“The last thing we want to be is prescriptive. TPS is about providing a helpful solution to retailers, while bringing them a potent mix of greeting cards. We are all very excited,” added Chris.

Top: Chris Houfe will be at the centre of TPS.

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