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Climbing the ladder to card success

Hannah Dale inspires as Ladder Club speaker line-up helps newbie publishers

 

Informative, fun and well worth attending was the verdict on the revived Ladder Club from the 40 would-be and newbie greeting card publishers who attended the one-day annual seminar organised by PG Buzz owner Max Publishing with support key industry figures and companies.

“I’ve really enjoyed it,” was artist Georgina Whitelock’s verdict about the seminar on Friday, 1 December. “Getting the info from all the different companies for paper, printing, etc has been great because it’s a real minefield.”

Above: Hannah Dale was an inspiration to many attendees
Above: Hannah Dale was an inspiration to many attendees

And Ladder Club alumni Hannah Dale, who attended the sessions herself when she was setting up Wrendale Designs back in 2012, was a star of the show with her presentation on her company’s journey from the kitchen table to the present award-winning multi-million-pound business.

Utterly Conkers’ Emma Harrison admitted: “Hannah was my favourite because she started where everybody else did, and she’s an icon.

“I liked that she shared the highs and the lows because you can look at someone like that and think it’s just happened, but it’s been hard work – and also, she still doubts herself, which is unbelievable, she’s absolutely lovely.

Above: Emma Harrison (left) and Heather Trefusis (second right) were among those who thoroughly enjoyed the day
Above: Emma Harrison (left) and Heather Trefusis (second right) were among those who thoroughly enjoyed the day

“I could have done with the Ladder Club a few years ago – I think it’s a brilliant day, it’s perfect for what it’s meant to be, it’s pitched just right for newbie publishers and people thinking about it. I really enjoyed it, I came looking to network and I also loved retailer Sally Matson’s insights very much too.”

Heather Trefusis, of Heather Trefusis Art, added: “A big thank you for The Ladder Club on Friday. It was an absolutely fantastic day. Packed with really valuable content. I’ve already been making changes to my business as a result of some of the advice!”

Above: Ben Hickman (left) and Iain Hamilton excelled on the humorous presentation front
Above: Ben Hickman (left) and Iain Hamilton excelled on the humorous presentation front

It was an “informative and inspiring” day for Julie Loydall, who said: “As a complete newbie, it was a unique opportunity to hear from the experts and to chat to other aspiring publishers – I came away buzzing! I’m looking forward to being part of your industry next year and hope to see you all again in the future.”

After being started by the late publisher and gallery owner Lynn Tait with PG’s Jakki Brown over 20 years ago, the first Ladder Club seminar in four years was held as a one-day event with Bob and Adam Short, founder and md of The Imaging Centre, explaining the digital print side of things, Loxleys md Tony Lorriman chipped in with litho info, G.F Smith paper consultant Mark Jessett explained board and sustainability, and Enveco’s sales support Lucy Glover talked envelopes.

Above: The full speaker line-up covered the whole greetings industry
Above: The full speaker line-up covered the whole greetings industry

British-born Andy Meehan, who is a consultant to Designer Greetings in America and president of the US GCA, opened proceedings with an explanation of the differences between the world’s two biggest greeting card markets, before GCA ceo Amanda Fergusson and membership and marketing manager Adriana Lovesy explained how the UK association is able to help, while JJ Agencies’ Jo Bannister took attendees inside a sales agent’s brain, and Sally Matson, of Petworth’s Red Card, explained what retailers want and how they can work with publishers to everyone’s benefit.

Trade show tips and etiquette came from PG Live operations director Jim Bullough, and the PG editorial and sales team gave a whirlwind tour around making the most of free editorial opportunities, why entering the free Henries Awards puts publishers in front of retailers, and setting the scene for PG Live.

Above & top: The class of 2023 made attentive attendees at the Ladder Club seminar
Above & top: The class of 2023 made attentive attendees at the Ladder Club seminar

Everyone had a hard act to follow thanks to Brainbox Candy co-founder and director Ben Hickman’s hilarious take on the business side of publishing, including costs, margins, marketing, and understanding brokerage – with the added spark of how friendly the industry us – but Bewilderbeest’s chief nitwit Iain Hamilton did an excellent job with his own brand of tall stories following his journey from the 2019 Ladder Club event through to winning the Best Young Designer Henries Award last year and forward to his current licensing deals.

Above: Hattie Gordon (left), of Hattie Gordon Art, said: “It’s been really interesting, possibly Hannah was my favourite because she’s been there and done it, and Sally I really liked because she showed you can have different points of view”. Menopausal Me’s Jackie Woolf, added: “I’ve enjoyed today, Hannah was amazing, Ben was fantastic, and Sally was really helpful. There’s been lots of info too. Everyone’s been really informative – and Iain was brilliant!”
Above: Hattie Gordon (left), of Hattie Gordon Art, said: “It’s been really interesting, possibly Hannah was my favourite because she’s been there and done it, and Sally I really liked because she showed you can have different points of view”. Menopausal Me’s Jackie Woolf, added: “I’ve enjoyed today, Hannah was amazing, Ben was fantastic, and Sally was really helpful. There’s been lots of info too. Everyone’s been really informative – and Iain was brilliant!”

 

Above: Georgina Whitelock (right) with Amy Sinclair, of Badgerbee Design, who said: “My heroine was Hannah Dale, she’s so inspiring,” and Wild Earth Art’s Rebecca Hyde (left) added: “I found it invaluable. I can’t wait to implement the useful info this next year. It’s the very beginning of my journey, and I am so glad I found you via the GCA. The Brainbox presentation was my favourite bit – I was late arriving and nearly missed it, but it was great.”
Above: Georgina Whitelock (right) with Amy Sinclair, of Badgerbee Design, who said: “My heroine was Hannah Dale, she’s so inspiring,” and Wild Earth Art’s Rebecca Hyde (left) added: “I found it invaluable. I can’t wait to implement the useful info this next year. It’s the very beginning of my journey, and I am so glad I found you via the GCA. The Brainbox presentation was my favourite bit – I was late arriving and nearly missed it, but it was great.”
Above: David Todd (left), from Kirsty Todd Illustration, commented: “I’ve enjoyed today, especially Sally and how retailers want things and understanding the market. The most interesting thing I’ve seen is that there is an element of competition but everyone is willing to help others”, and Paul Boardman, of Glynart, said: “I enjoyed it very much and found it all very useful. I wouldn’t say I had a favourite, they all did a fantastic job of putting it together from start to finish.”
Above: David Todd (left), from Kirsty Todd Illustration, commented: “I’ve enjoyed today, especially Sally and how retailers want things and understanding the market. The most interesting thing I’ve seen is that there is an element of competition but everyone is willing to help others”, and Paul Boardman, of Glynart, said: “I enjoyed it very much and found it all very useful. I wouldn’t say I had a favourite, they all did a fantastic job of putting it together from start to finish.”
Above: Arrthi’s Arrthi Little (third right) said: “Thank you, the Ladder Club was a brilliant event! Insightful and nice to meet new people and seeing friends. Every single bit was good, I can’t fault anything.”
Above: Arrthi’s Arrthi Little (third right) said: “Thank you, the Ladder Club was a brilliant event! Insightful and nice to meet new people and seeing friends. Every single bit was good, I can’t fault anything.”
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