Anu Hartonen, managing director of Helsinki-based retailer, publisher and distributor Putinki Oy was a visitor at the very first ever PG Live exhibition back in 2009 and has visited everyone since. This year, the 10th anniversary of the show, she and her team will be there again, only this time as an exhibitor as well as a buyer.
“We are loving the boom for Nordic design, which is exactly our thing!” states Anu Hartonen, Putinki’s md. The company will be showcasing a wide collection of greeting cards designed by many talented Finnish artists. In addition, it will also be exhibiting cards and stationery that has come about as a result of a collaboration with leading Finnish interior design brand Pentik.
Anu says that the company’s “move into export” is a “big and important change” as hitherto all the ‘traffic’ was one way, with Putinki having distribution agreements with many UK publishers – including Roger la Borde, Bug Art, The Art File, Hammond Gower, Lagom, Busy B, Belly Button, Noi, Caroline Gardner, Paper Salad and Go Stationery. Apart from an agreement with Roger La Borde who distributes Putinki’s Letterpress range, this is the Finnish publishers new venture into seeking to sell its ranges to retailers and publishers outside of its homeland.
Looking back at the company’s evolution since that very first PG Live, 10 years ago, Anu sums up: “A decade ago Putinki was a distributor with a large assortment of imported designs (many from UK publishers). Back then we only had a few Finnish artists that we worked with, publishing their art as cards, posters and calendars. Over the last 10 years we have grown our turnover by more than 50%. We now work with a great number of Finnish illustrators, and today half of our collection is ‘home grown’. We have also expanded into new product areas, such stationery products, have two shops in Helsinki and an in-house letterpress printing production.”
As for the industry changes she has seen over the last decade, Anu highlights how “there are fewer big companies in the market as many have merged. Luckily we are working with card companies that have remained independent and grown to be stronger, in the same way that we have. These companies have developed their business in this changing world by remaining passionate about doing it their way.”
As she prepares for this year’s show as an exhibitor as well as a buyer, Anu vividly recalls the inaugural PG Live. ““It is hard to believe that 10 years have passed since the first PG Live. As a buyer I have visited every single PG Live from the very beginning.
In a funny way PG Live always feels like ‘the new show’. I love coming to London every year and going to PG Live feels like coming home, but not in a boring way! I feel that of all the shows I have ever visited around the world, PG Live is the friendliest. Its strong selection of exhibitors and concentration on cards, makes for easy and potent purchasing. PG Live has a special way of bringing people together and making work fun.”
Putinki will be showing on Stand 244 at PG Live (June 5-6 at London’s Business Design Centre).
To register for PG Live go to www.progressivegreetingslive.com