Confetti clouds for Retas winners

Cheers and tears of joy at awards honouring greeting card retailers’ hard work

 

There was a whole lot of shaking going on as The Retas Awards winners were revealed yesterday – with lots of tears and plenty of cheers and confetti too.

The Ohh Deer team were behind the huge party poppers showering the stage with confetti from their position right at the front in the Ballroom at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel yesterday, 4 July, and event host and comedian Andrew Ryan was quick with off-the-cuff jokes about the massive bangs and being covered in coloured paper.

Above: Postmark’s Mark and Leona Janson-Smith collecting the Best Small Multiple award from David Byk, of category sponsor Ling Design, and the Overall Retailer of the Year from Ged Mace, of sponsor The Art File
Above: Postmark’s Mark and Leona Janson-Smith collecting the Best Small Multiple award from David Byk, of category sponsor Ling Design, and the Overall Retailer of the Year from Ged Mace, of sponsor The Art File

Topping out with the trophies was Postmark, as its rapid expansion over the past year or so to having 14 stores in London, Birmingham and Glasgow was recognised with both the small multiple award as well as the overall Greeting Card Retailer Of The Year title – nabbing the brace for the second year running.

A lost-for-words Mark Janson-Smith, who owns the indie chain with wife Leona, managed: “Genuinely, absolutely shocked, two years running winning both categories, we are just shocked, and so utterly grateful.”

Above & top: Confetti clouds for all the 2024 Retas winners
Above & top: Confetti clouds for all the 2024 Retas winners

With its delightful The World Of Beatrix Potter theme, there was a special guest in the shape of a live Peter Rabbit character who provided plenty of photo opportunities in the special feature setting that was created by N Smith Print & Packaging, while every place setting at the luncheon was marked with an individual Peter Rabbit or Flopsy Bunny plush keepsake, courtesy of sponsor Rainbow Designs, as well as a copy of one of Beatrix Potter’s timeless tales books plus, ahead of its official release, a Toasted Crumpet licensed The Tale Of A Snowy Day soap bar.

And everything in Mr McGregor’s garden was rosy on the day, which had the full blessing and support of brand custodians Frederick Warne & Co and Penguin Ventures, with images supplied courtesy of the Frederick Warne Archive, as industry pals had plenty of time to rabbit on about anything and everything with no noticeable political talk despite the general election going on yesterday too.

Above: Generous sponsorship ensures The Retas go off with a bang
Above: Generous sponsorship ensures The Retas go off with a bang

There was lots of fun as well with the traditional awards higher or lower game won by Raspberry Blossom’s co-owner Mark Green, winning a chilled magnum of champagne, a full set of Beatrix Potter books and a Peter Rabbit, while the wonderful raffle prizes pulled in a tidy amount for industry charity The Light Fund.

For the Best Independent Greeting Card South West category, sponsored by Rosie Made A Thing, Highworth Emporium co-owner Aga Marsden – who can be seen in the reel below – admitted, “I cried, and I was shaking going up on stage – I’m still shaking now!”

Aga, who runs the card, gift and balloon store in Highworth, near Swindon, with husband Richard, added: “I can’t believe it, I so wanted to win it because it’s such a big thing to me because we work so hard to promote cards. Getting this award is a high, I’m right up there now and it will hit me soon – probably in the morning when I put the trophy in the shop.”

Above: Waterstones’ Hazel Walker and Megan Douglas with Rosie Tate (right), of Best Non-Specialist Multiple Retailer category sponsor Cath Tate Cards
Above: Waterstones’ Hazel Walker and Megan Douglas with Rosie Tate (right), of Best Non-Specialist Multiple Retailer category sponsor Cath Tate Cards

Waterstones took the Best Non-Specialist Multiple Retailer title, and senior buyer Hazel Walker, who collected the trophy with buyer Megan Douglas, told PG Buzz: “It’s amazing, we weren’t expecting it so it’s really nice to be recognised, it’s nice to be seen because we have brought in a lot of new ideas over the past year, so it’s really great.

“We’re really excited to take the trophy back to the team, it will go on display in the office were we still have our one from 2016.”

Above: Set Leicester’s Stuart and Lisa Delahoy won the Midlands indie category, sponsored by IC&G
Above: Set Leicester’s Stuart and Lisa Delahoy won the Midlands indie category, sponsored by IC&G

And the peer recognition was the big thing for Stuart Delahoy, whose Set store in Leicester won in the Midlands category: “It’s nice to be recognised, nice to be noticed by your peers – these people here are our peers and our suppliers so it means more because it shows they recognise it’s a two-way street and it’s working well.”

Notcutts picked up the Best Multiple Garden Centre Retailer Of Greeting Cards for its 19 outlets, and buyer Tracey Pennell said: “We were delighted to win our award, particularly as we were up against some big names in the garden centre industry!

Above: Notcutts’ Tracey Pennell collects the Best Garden Centre Multiple trophy from Seth Woodmansterne, of category sponsor Woodmansterne Publications
Above: Notcutts’ Tracey Pennell collects the Best Garden Centre Multiple trophy from Seth Woodmansterne, of category sponsor Woodmansterne Publications

“We have worked closely with our key partners Woodmansterne and Glick who have helped us to achieve this.

“Despite the lack of summer, the gifting categories in Notcutts have had a strong season and we are looking forward to a positive autumn /winter.”

And the big guns are equally as pleased with their Retas wins as the indies – Cardfactory’s chief commercial officer Adam Dury told PG Buzz: “We’re all absolutely delighted to pick up such a fabulous award. As an entire business we work tirelessly to do our very best for all of our customers. To then be recognised by the industry is the icing on the cake and it is something we all very grateful and proud to receive.”

Above: Cardfactory’s Charlotte Green and Samantha Bradley with Emma Young (right) of Best Specialist Multiple sponsor Paperlink
Above: Cardfactory’s Charlotte Green and Samantha Bradley with Emma Young (right) of Best Specialist Multiple sponsor Paperlink

The trophy for Best Specialist Multiple Retailer was collected by buyer Charlotte Green and buyer manager Samantha Bradley, who added: “We had amazing hosts in Ohh Deer and would definitely want to sit with them next year! We’re shocked and honoured by everyone who voted. It’s nice that everyone gets together here to enjoy the greeting card industry, nice to be part of the day.”

For mum and daughter team Fiona and Victoria Robinson, Wishes of Cockermouth’s win in the north-west was great news.

“We’re in shock, utter shock,” Victoria said, “Mum’s in tears and I’m speechless. Never give up hope that it really can happen to you, never stop pushing. We love what we do and we hope that shows.

Above: Victoria and Fiona Robinson, of Wishes of Cockermouth, won the north-west indie title, sponsored by UK Greetings
Above: Victoria and Fiona Robinson, of Wishes of Cockermouth, won the north-west indie title, sponsored by UK Greetings

“We are absolutely over the moon. We are moved beyond words and so incredibly proud of Team Wishes –I will have so many thank yous to say, more words to describe what this means to us but for now it’s really still sinking in and we’re off to celebrate!”

All the pictures from yesterday’s celebrations are available to download here, and the full list of The Retas Award 2024 winners is here.

Above: The Bay Tree Company’s Nikki Halliday flew down from Edinburgh to collect the best indie trophy for Scotland – and take in a fab AC/DC gig at Wembley the night before – so her silver lady had the best seat in the house for the trip home last night. Nikki (left) is pictured with Chantelle White, of category sponsors The London Stationery Show.
Above: The Bay Tree Company’s Nikki Halliday flew down from Edinburgh to collect the best indie trophy for Scotland – and take in a fab AC/DC gig at Wembley the night before – so her silver lady had the best seat in the house for the trip home last night. Nikki (left) is pictured with Chantelle White, of category sponsors The London Stationery Show.
Above: Indie Bookstore category winner Kemps (left) with sponsor Woodmansterne W Select, department store winner Morleys (centre) with sponsor Spring & Autumn Fair, and East Anglia area winner Dzo Dzo with sponsor Abacus Cards
Above: Indie Bookstore category winner Kemps (left) with sponsor Woodmansterne W Select, department store winner Morleys (centre) with sponsor Spring & Autumn Fair, and East Anglia area winner Dzo Dzo with sponsor Abacus Cards
Above: Indie Garden Centre category winner Yarnton (left) with sponsor Museums & Galleries, Home Counties & South East area winner Objectables (centre) with sponsor Hallmark Cards, and Best Retailer Initiative winner Presentation with sponsor N Smith Packaging & Display
Above: Indie Garden Centre category winner Yarnton (left) with sponsor Museums & Galleries, Home Counties & South East area winner Objectables (centre) with sponsor Hallmark Cards, and Best Retailer Initiative winner Presentation with sponsor N Smith Packaging & Display
Above: London area winner Nor (left) with sponsor Ohh Deer, Best Newcomer winner Cards & Moor (centre) with sponsor Carte Blanche Greetings, and Non-Specialist indie winner Proudfoot Group with sponsor Lucilla Lavender
Above: London area winner Nor (left) with sponsor Ohh Deer, Best Newcomer winner Cards & Moor (centre) with sponsor Carte Blanche Greetings, and Non-Specialist indie winner Proudfoot Group with sponsor Lucilla Lavender
Above: Non-Specialist indie south winner Stationery House (left) with sponsor Pigment, Best Supermarket winner Sainsbury’s (centre) with sponsor Danilo, and north-east area winner Strickland & Holt with sponsor Wendy Jones-Blackett
Above: Non-Specialist indie south winner Stationery House (left) with sponsor Pigment, Best Supermarket winner Sainsbury’s (centre) with sponsor Danilo, and north-east area winner Strickland & Holt with sponsor Wendy Jones-Blackett
Above: Wales area winner Paperweight with sponsor Progressive Greetings Live, and Best Wholesaler winner BGC with sponsor Xpress Yourself
Above: Wales area winner Paperweight with sponsor Progressive Greetings Live, and Best Wholesaler winner BGC with sponsor Xpress Yourself
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