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Fired-up pitches

Publishers get to work slaying dragons with newness at GCA event

 

Retailers were firing on all cylinders at the recent Dragon Speed Dating event as 72 publishers stepped forward to show off their wares with fast-paced face-to-face sales pitches.

As the 19 retail buyers turned dragons for the day, they snaffled their treasure of bundles of goodie bags to look through after the in-person chats, and PG has caught up with some to find out which publishers slayed them – here it’s Cardfactory, House of Cards, and Austin & Co…

Above & top: Cardfactory’s Charlotte Green and Vicky Joshi (centre) with Lex Rogy of Little Roglets
Above & top: Cardfactory’s Charlotte Green and Vicky Joshi (centre) with Lex Rogy of Little Roglets

Charlotte Green, buyer for Cardfactory, 1,000+ stores

Dragon flying: “It was a great event, so lovely to meet new publishers and get time to talk about their products face to face.”

Above: Lucky Ink designs
Above: Lucky Ink designs

Den delights: “There were so many amazing and talented publishers who participated, but the stand outs for were Lil Wabbit as Georgi Doig made such an amazing pitch selling her products; The Queer Store for its diverse cards and Lucky Ink for its contemporary style.

“We will definitely be placing some orders as a result of the event – I can’t wait to get some of these designs into our stores!”

Above: Miles Robinson with Jo Hawkins of Apple & Clover
Above: Miles Robinson with Jo Hawkins of Apple & Clover

Miles Robinson, co-owner of House of Cards, seven shops in the Home Counties

Dragon flying: “It was a lot of fun – quite exhausting, but the best one yet that I’ve participated in. The overall quality of publishers pitching has definitely improved and that’s not just my picking I’m sure!

“The event is such a great way to network and get a focused insight into new and emerging publishers as well as some established players.”

Above: A Cheeky Legends design from Arrthi
Above: A Cheeky Legends design from Arrthi

Den delights: “I really liked Arrthi, Crumble & Core, Emily Nash Illustration, Lil Wabbit, Little Roglets, Molly Mae, Paper Mirchi, SJE London and Wild Earth Art in that they were doing something different. I’m pretty sure something will come from the event order wise.”

Above: Sean Austin with fellow Dragon Sally Matson of Red Card
Above: Sean Austin with fellow Dragon Sally Matson of Red Card

Sean Austin, owner of Austin & Co, Malvern

Dragon flying: “It’s always a pleasure and a privilege to be invited by the GCA to be a Dragon. Out of the 18 Dragons in attendance, and one of the six indies with a single shop, I really appreciate the recognition that my buying prowess of 13 years is up there with the likes of Postmark, John Lewis, and Sainsbury’s.

“The sheer quality and depth demonstrated by the 72 greeting card publishers who participated was so impressive, and elevated since my previous time as a dragon two years ago. The sheer amount of talent at Dragons gives me assurance that the future of greeting card publishing is in very safe hands.”

Above: Back at the shop, Sean laid out the sample packs from his goodie bags
Above: Back at the shop, Sean laid out the sample packs from his goodie bags

Den delights: “With a shop with only so much space in the racks, and a buying budget that has to go further these days, as in previous years tough decisions have to be made.

“Out of the 72 publishers who participated, 12 are already supplying Austin & Co and, of the remaining 60, there are 25 that caught my eye. I’m more than confident the other 35 will find a home elsewhere. They’re commercially viable and their owners have the business savvy to take their dreams forward with other retailers.

“My eye-catching 25 need a little further investigation. The pitches helped, but I would need to see more of the ranges on offer – either at PG Live or their websites. Instagram is a powerful tool too, especially when you get an idea of the person behind the brand, and not just the product on offer.

“So, who I think would be an ideal fit for Austin & Co? The following is by no means an exhaustive list, nor does it guarantee an order in the next few weeks, but very much in my eyeline and thoughts are The Design Dealership, Feel Good Supplies, Little Roglets, Lucky Ink, Sharon King-Chai, and The Visual Narrator, whose designs would complement my current suppliers.”

Above: The Dragons of 2024. Back row (left-right) Liz Killick, Calladoodles; Miles Robinson, House of Cards; David Colman, Only Place For Pictures; Kaye Thurgood, Sincerely Yours; Andrea Pinder, Presentation; Shannon Fisher, Postmark; Kerry Nicholls, John Lewis; Jason Billings-Cray, John Lewis; Charlotte Green, Cardfactory; Laura Clarke, Scribbler; Vicky Joshi, Cardfactory; Tim Reynolds, Medici Gallery; Anita Thorpe, Diverse; and Sean Austin, Austin & Co. Front row (left-right) Priya Aurora-Crowe, Lark; Sarah Laker, Stationery Supplies; Sally Matson, Red Card; Shar Grothier, Sainsbury’s; and Nilou Noorbaksh, Jumping Bean.
Above: The Dragons of 2024. Back row (left-right) Liz Killick, Calladoodles; Miles Robinson, House of Cards; David Colman, Only Place For Pictures; Kaye Thurgood, Sincerely Yours; Andrea Pinder, Presentation; Shannon Fisher, Postmark; Kerry Nicholls, John Lewis; Jason Billings-Cray, John Lewis; Charlotte Green, Cardfactory; Laura Clarke, Scribbler; Vicky Joshi, Cardfactory; Tim Reynolds, Medici Gallery; Anita Thorpe, Diverse; and Sean Austin, Austin & Co. Front row (left-right) Priya Aurora-Crowe, Lark; Sarah Laker, Stationery Supplies; Sally Matson, Red Card; Shar Grothier, Sainsbury’s; and Nilou Noorbaksh, Jumping Bean.
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