Fave Raves: Postmark’s Mark Janson-Smith, Diverse Gifts’ Anita Thorpe and Bentley’s Stephen McHale Share Their PG Live Top Picks

Creativity was in abundance at PG Live and all the newness was lapped up by the many buyers who attended.

Here a trio of leading card retailers share their views on the show and what specific ranges and companies caught their eye…

Mark Janson-Smith, managing director of Postmark, a group of five shops in London

“What a warm and welcoming show. PG Live was the perfect kickstart to trade shows for us. It was so great to be back in a room with so many friendly faces after being apart for so long.

Seeing the new product close-up again was also wonderful – PDFs just don’t quite do it for us!”

Above: Mark Janson-Smith taking a close look at some of Roger la Borde’s lovely products with the publisher’s Sarah Smith
Above: Mark Janson-Smith taking a close look at some of Roger la Borde’s lovely products with the publisher’s Sarah Smith

What ranges and companies stood out for you at the show?

“Our old favourites continue to innovate and move forward. The Art File, Pigment, Paper Salad all caught our eye as well as many new lines from people we haven’t dealt with in a while.”

Above: One of the PG Live meeters and greeters on Paper Salad’s stand.
Above: One of the PG Live meeters and greeters on Paper Salad’s stand.

“We are taking a closer look at Meraki, Stripey Cats, Globe Enterprise and Wendy Jones-Blackett and hope to add them to our offering very soon.

We also plan to have a chat with Say it with Songs which we missed at the show, but was recommended by a friend and it looks very interesting.”

Anita Thorpe, owner of Diverse Gifts, Brixton

“I had an amazing day at PG Live. As my first trade show in almost two years, it was great to be back meeting suppliers and doing business in the real again.
It was also good to see that several major card brands have heeded the diversity message and are offering more inclusive card collections, including UKG with its Kendra Dandy range, Noi and Poet & Painter.”

Above: Anita Thorpe with Njeri Illustrated’s Michelle Njeri Small and her husband Pephas.
Above: Anita Thorpe with Njeri Illustrated’s Michelle Njeri Small and her husband Pephas.

What ranges and companies stood out for you at the show?

“I was really pleased to spend my Silver Ticket with Njeri Illustrated whose landmark-based cards are very popular with our customers.

I also discovered some amazing new brands that we’ll be stocking along with our old favourites.”

Above: A design from Poet & Painter that Anita has ordered for her shop.
Above: A design from Poet & Painter that Anita has ordered for her shop.

Stephen McHale, co-owner of Bentley’s and Maddison in Solihull, Stourport and Harborne

“With all the uncertainty surrounding shows and travel etc, we really wanted to come to PG Live to show our support to our industry. We so enjoyed seeing most of the usual smiling faces and meeting some new ones.

I enjoyed all the rock star comments and being serenaded by Ben from Brainbox Candy singing Bee Gees songs. It’s amazing what a bit of lockdown hair can do!

We placed a few orders before we even made it up the stairs to the main mezzanine!

It was very apparent how much people had missed the interaction with other people face to face rather than on Zoom. So, although there was a bit less hugging and kissing there were plenty of smiles and a warm welcome to all that had come.

We are all a little unsure of exactly what lies ahead but will face it prepared and with a smile.”

Above: Stephen McHale with Rush Design’s Lorraine Bradley.
Above: Stephen McHale with Rush Design’s Lorraine Bradley.

What ranges and companies stood out for you at the show?

“We were pleased to be able to spend our Silver and Gold Tickets with Lorraine and Ian Bradley of Rush and with Thea Musselwhite of Bold & Bright. From Rush we liked a lot of the new larger square ages and relations cards as well as its beautiful wedding cards. The entire Bold & Bright stand featured new designs which is always a good sign. We were also happy to find Stripey Cats, a new company for us, and ordered from them. The Halloween designs initially attracted us, but then we also bought some of the publisher’s googly eye animal designs.”

Above: One of the new wedding designs from Rush Design.
Above: One of the new wedding designs from Rush Design.

Top: Stephen and Julie McHale (second right) with colleague Beverley Yates and PG&H’s editor Sue Marks at the champagne reception at the show.

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