With most schools breaking up at the end of this week (Friday 20 June), many pupils will be giving their teachers a card and/or gift. And while the debate on how much to spend and what to give goes around in circles in online forums, there’s no doubt the end of the school year is a growing occasion for card and gift retailers around the UK.
“Teacher appreciation is a big thing for us, as we have about seven primary schools in Knaresborough and the surrounding villages,” says Rachael Barnes, co-owner of Dragonfly Cards & Gifts in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. “The choice from publishers is ever-improving, although we struggle on head teacher and nursery teacher – both of which we get asked for. Price points need to be quite low for us as children often have one or two teachers, plus often two or three teaching assistants as well. On the gift front we do well with chocolate from Instant gifts, plus keyrings and candles. We also sell a lot of bottlebags around this time as a bottle of wine is a much appreciated gift!”
Paul Carter, co-owner of Zo & Co with four stores in the North West agrees that the end of school year is “an occasion growing year on year. Our customers like to buy a nice gift for their son or daughter to give to their teachers. We have a wide range of price points across the board from £5.00 up to £20.00. The Thorntons side of the business is strong too with personalised products such as chocolate plaques, trophies and champagne bottles all with their teacher’s name on. Card sales are strong too, so all in all a growing occasion which we feel is getting better year on year.”
Without a doubt ‘Thank You Teacher’ is a new mini season for Wishes of Cudworth, Barnsley according to owner Julia Keeling. “We’re in the last week of term and have seen a lovely increase in sales. We’ve two stands set up, one for our cards and one for our gift ranges. We’ve even had to do a restock as sales have been so good this year. The smaller independents like us can always try and stand out with more caption options, plus service and small details like gift wrapping. More and more publishers are offering a larger selection of Thank You Teacher cards with Nigel Quiney, Piccadilly and Hallmark part of our offer this year. We’ve seen new thank you captions like ‘Teaching Assistant’ and Piccadilly has even done ‘Lollipop Lady’. Much like our other seasons our suppliers are responding to the demand and feedback.”
End of school is so popular for Julie Donabie, owner of My Favourite Things in Raynes Park, London, that she has a window display dedicated for the occasion. “It’s very popular in the SW20 area. I have thank you teacher single cards and packs. Both are selling well. Many of the children like to come into my shop to choose the card and gifts.”
For Sally Wilde at the newly opened Planet Sal in Honiton, Devon, she keeps a small selection of cards “from Brainbox Candy, along with their ‘Best Teacher Ever’ coaster. I also have a ‘Super Brilliant Classroom Assistant’ card from Rachel Ellen. I will keep more gifts next year, but found that a card is generally enough, as often they make their own gifts, or offer a painting.”
Thank you teacher cards and gifts has grown as a category for The Hollies Farm Shop in Cheshire and the business has for the first time stocked specific teacher/best teacher/ thank you teacher related gifts and cards this year. “A few of our card suppliers have created some lovely singles for teachers which we have sold alongside generic thank you cards that we stock in both packs and singles,” says Sarah Holland, marketing executive for The Hollies. “We created a small ‘Thank you teacher’ display which included some specialist teacher gifts, but then mixed with lots of other stock we hold all year round.”
Hallmark recently ran a competition on Facebook and Twitter asking parents to nominate their child’s teacher to win a Superman or Wonder Woman Itty Biggy. “We were overwhelmed by the messages we received and picking a winner was very difficult,” says Amy Banks, trade, events and digital marketing manager. “The stories reflected truly amazing teachers who go above and beyond for their students.”