Excitement builds for Retas finalists

Now ear this – Danilo’s licensed Van Gogh cards are just the thing for awards

Ear, ear! Things are hotting up among The Retas’ finalists as they start to plan for the glitzy London awards event which this year will take on a Van Gogh theme, to tie in with the 50th anniversary of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

And award sponsor Danilo is providing a selection of cards from its licensed Van Gogh range of greeting cards, wrap, bags, calendars and diaries, for the menus at the celebration on Thursday, 6 July, at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

Above: The menus will look fab thanks to Danilo’s greeting card designs
Above: The menus will look fab thanks to Danilo’s greeting card designs

With the finalists having been announced a few weeks ago, there are lots of happy retailers who are overflowing with joy at being feted as among the best greeting card retailers in the UK.

Kate Hodgson, of Design@six in Wetherby – who can be seen celebrating in the video below – has her fingers crossed for the awards event: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been nominated once again.

“It’s testament to our continued hard work in difficult economic times and keeping our wonderful Wetherby customers happy. Fingers crossed 2023 is our year to take home the trophy!”

At Artichoke in Tynemouth, co-owners Cilena Easton and Dawn White are very happy. “We’re really honoured to be a finalist,” Cilena told PG Buzz. “We have worked hard over the last 13 years to create our little world. We opened our first shop Fezziwigs which is a home and gift shop then, in 2019, the shop next door became available and Artichoke was created.

“We sell mainly cards, wrap, local gifts and books. It’s been received really well by the residents and tourists in our little coastal village of Tynemouth.”

Above: Cheers from Artichoke’s Cilena Easton and Dawn White
Above: Cheers from Artichoke’s Cilena Easton and Dawn White

In Castlederg, Northern Ireland, Maura Quinn was over the moon at Bus Stop Cards & Gifts: “I was totally overwhelmed to hear that my shop was a finalist – for once I was completely speechless!”

“To celebrate I hosted a staff appreciation day with afternoon tea and, of course, some bubbly. We’ve been overwhelmed by all the congratulations and good luck wishes from our customers and also all the local businesses in the area.”

Above: The Bus Stop team has been celebrating its finalists’ place
Above: The Bus Stop team has been celebrating its finalists’ place

“This is wonderful news,” Sainsbury’s head of buying and design – celebrations Abi Wilson commented, “and means a lot, thank you. I know we’re a large grocer, but we really appreciate the competition is ever increasing, and don’t take our nomination or finalist position for granted.”

It was great news for Tiffa Easmon-George, director at Gift in Crouch End, who added: “A big thank you for the nomination. It’s a pleasure to be part of such a creative industry – 27 years on the High Street and the card designs from my suppliers just keep getting better.”

Above: Tiffa Easmon-George loves the greetings industry
Above: Tiffa Easmon-George loves the greetings industry

“Wow! What incredible news to receive as we celebrate our special 25th year!” was the reaction from Lingfield-based Joyce’s With Best Wishes’ owner Sue Miller and shop manager Sue Thayre – known as Sue and Little Sue. “We’re absolutely thrilled to hear that we’ve made the finals of the prestigious Retas 2023!

“It’s a true testament to all of the hard work, dedication, and passion that we have put into our shop, and I couldn’t be prouder of our team. This is a moment to celebrate, to bask in the joy of our accomplishments, and to look forward to the exciting possibilities that lie ahead. I can’t wait to see what the future holds and to continue to build upon this incredible success.”

Above & top: Sue and Little Sue made a great display for the Retas
Above & top: Sue and Little Sue made a great display for the Retas

At Tettenhall’s Hugs & Kisses, Caroline and Jon Ranwell were celebrating after hearing the news while on their jollies in Cornwall: “Absolutely flipping amazing news that we’re a Retas finalist again this year – third year running! This is a huge honour and absolutely made our holiday! We can’t wait to celebrate with the other fabulous finalists in London.”

Above: Caroline and Jon Ranwell are jolly pleased
Above: Caroline and Jon Ranwell are jolly pleased

And Hayleigh Nolan, director of Totton’s Maddy Moos, declared: “This has made our year! We were lucky enough to be nominated for best newcomer in 2012 and my mum and dad Karen and Kevin had a great time at the awards. Sadly, Kevin is no longer with us but myself and Karen, who’s my business partner, are thrilled to be nominated again He’d definitely be proud!!

“After the last few crazy and unpredictable years of so many up and downs, we’re so excited to be coming to the Retas again as a finalist!  We’re very grateful to be a part of such a wonderful industry, not to mention how proud we are of our small business.”

Above: Kevin would be so proud of Maddy Moos’ Karen and Hayleigh Nolan
Above: Kevin would be so proud of Maddy Moos’ Karen and Hayleigh Nolan

Lara Wares, who owns Threads in Harpenden, raised a glass of bubbles with her card buyer Emma Watson after discovering the store had made the finalists’ list. She said: Thank you so much for the great news, we’re really chuffed to be nominated!”

The Retas’ theme marks the 50th anniversary of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which is working closely with awards organisers Max Publishing for the event.

Above: Lara Wares (left) and Emma Watson are bubbling over at Threads
Above: Lara Wares (left) and Emma Watson are bubbling over at Threads

And Marijn Veraart, head of global partnerships and licensing of the Van Gogh Museum, is someone else delighted to be involved in The Retas.

Marijn commented: “We are very excited to be part of The Retas Awards 2023. It’s a privilege to celebrate our special year, being the 50th anniversary of the Van Gogh Museum, with such a prestigious retail awards programme. We hope to contribute to this exciting event by inspiring everyone with the life and art of Vincent Van Gogh! Good luck to all the finalists.”

Vincent Van Gogh is considered one of the world’s greatest painters and completed more than 2,100 works in less than 10 years as an artist, including the iconic Sunflowers.

In 2020, Danilo signed a licence agreement with the Van Gogh Museum, through Licensing Link, the Museum’s UK licensing agent, giving access to the iconic artwork assets held within its vaults to develop stunning ranges of greeting cards, gift wrap and bags, alongside calendars and diaries.

Licensing director Dan Grant said: “Danilo is traditionally known for working with the world’s leading entertainment, sport and gaming brands but, utilising such a strong brand as Van Gogh, has allowed us to go into new areas and reach different retailers.”

Origamo is another Van Gogh Museum licensee, having recently signed an agreement for its 3D cards which will be exhibited on its stand at PG Live on 6-7 June, at London’s Business Design Centre – where Danilo will also be showing off its licensed ranges.

Above: Origamo has reimagined Van Gogh’s work as 3D cards
Above: Origamo has reimagined Van Gogh’s work as 3D cards

Reimagining some of the artist’s most recognisable pieces into three-dimensional handcrafted greeting cards, Origamo’s Flora Collection brings Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers painting to life, utilising all of the company’s paper techniques, including pop-up and paper quilling, with artwork carefully modelled and colour matched to the original painting. The second design is inspired by a mixture of Van Gogh’s paintings of flowers combined to celebrate the museum’s anniversary.

It’s now all Gogh-go-go for The Retas 2023 event at which the winners will be announced on Thursday, 6 July, at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, and will be attended by over 400 members of the greeting card community, with a strong roster of sponsors ready to hand out the trophies.

The Retas 2023 sponsors include AfroTouch Design, The Art File, Belly Button Designs, Carte Blanche Greetings, Cath Tate Cards, Danilo, GBCC, Hallmark, Ling Design, Lucilla Lavender, Meraki, Museums & Galleries, Ohh Deer, Paperlink, Paper Salad, Pigment, Progressive Greetings Live, Rosie Made A Thing, Sensations/Express Yourself, Spring Fair/Autumn Fair, UK Greetings, Wendy Jones-Blackett, W Select, and Woodmansterne Publications.

To be among the UK’s best greeting card retailers as well as some great card publishers, book your ticket online via Max-Tickets.net or contact The Retas’ awards manager Clare Hollick, director of Createvents, on 0118 334 0085 or email clare@createvents.co.uk.

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