GCA preps to slay retail Dragons

Publishers received top tips for the imminent dating event

 

Publishers were treated to a smorgasbord of insights on what retailers are really looking for at a preparation Zoom meeting in advance of the imminent GCA Dragons Speed-dating event, due to take place on 23 March.

Above: Just some of the attendees who Zoomed in for the recent meeting
Above: Just some of the attendees who Zoomed in for the recent meeting

th just a few places left for this year’s Spring Speed-Dating With Dragons, which will see publishers pitch their ranges to retailers in a series of 10-minute meetings, there was a full audience for the recent online preparation meeting.

Led by GCA ceo Amanda Fergusson, GCA council members Carolyn Verderame from Caroline Gardner, Adriana Lovesy from Mrs Lovesy, Karen Wilson of Paper Salad, and PG’s Jakki Brown explained how to get the most out of being face-to-face with so many of the UK’s leading card retailers, and what to expect from the panel discussion and networking opportunities.

Retail Dragon Sally Matson, owner of Red Card, Petworth, also shared invaluable tips for what she will be looking for from pitching publishers.

Above: (clockwise from top left) Sally Matson, Red Card; Jakki Brown, PG; Amanda Fergusson, GCA; Adriana Lovesy, Mrs Lovesy; and Carolyn Verderame, Caroline Gardner
Above: (clockwise from top left) Sally Matson, Red Card; Jakki Brown, PG; Amanda Fergusson, GCA; Adriana Lovesy, Mrs Lovesy; and Carolyn Verderame, Caroline Gardner

“What am I looking for? I’m looking for something unique, that fits a gap in my shop, but works alongside other ranges. if you’re brand new, I want to know if I will be the first shop in the area to stock you,” says Sally, who went on to highlight how important provenance is, suggesting that where they are produced, details of the artist or the design should be included on the rear of the cards.

Sally’s big tips to publishers are “know your product and how it fits into the market…you need to know who you want to sell to…know your trading strategy, simple things like will you be doing first orders proforma, what is your minimum order quantity, what is your minimum for carriage paid delivery, which carrier are you using for deliveries?  Think about your card size, you want your cards to be as versatile as possible, whether displayed in slat wall or on spinners. If you are including text, don’t put it right at the bottom of the card or it invariably won’t be seen when on display.”

Above: A pitching session in full flow
Above: A pitching session in full flow

She stressed the importance of publishers doing their research, making sure the price points for their cards match similar products, but that they can still make some profit.

“Understand that you have costs – don’t be desperate!” she urged. “Stay in touch, but don’t bombard us with free cards – watch us on Instagram and, remember, we want to fill our shops with beautiful things.”

The Dragons event takes place on 23 March at London’s Business Design Centre, running from 12.45-5.30pm. John Lewis’ new card buyer Claire Taylor will be one of those looking for publishers to add to its retail offer. Also making her debut as a Dragon is Tori Heath-Smith, Paperchase’s card buyer, with other confirmed retail buyers participating including Austin & Co Malvern, Card Factory, Cardzone, Diverse, Fortnum & Mason, Funky Pigeon, Heirloom of Teddington, House Of Cards, Mooch Ealing, Postmark London, Presentation Cards & Gifts of Barrowford, Red Card Petworth, and Sainsbury’s.

bove: Publishers preparing to go into the Den at the last event
bove: Publishers preparing to go into the Den at the last event

An expert panel – made up of Chris Bryan, GCA president and general manager at Second Nature; Daniel Prince, managing director Danilo; Adriana Lovesy, owner and creative director, Mrs Lovesy; David Falkner, director, Cardology; and Brett Smith, managing director, Emotional Rescue – will lead the panel discussion with attendees invited to contact Amanda about the subjects they would like to be covered on amanda@gca.cards.

A recording of the preparation Zoom meeting is to be hosted on the GCA Dragons blog post where tickets (costing £125+VAT per dating place) can also be booked. (www.gca.cards/product/dragons-speed-dating-2022)

Pic 6. PGL LOGO full 22 copy A double whammy

Making for a bonanza of a day at the Business Design Centre on March 23, a meeting all about Progressive Greetings Live 2022 will take place in the morning. The free-to-attend meeting, which will run 10am-12noon is open to all exhibitors as well as would-be exhibitors. The pithy agenda will cover exhibiting tips and ideas. To attend email Jim Bullough, operations director of PG Live, on jimb@max-publishing.co.uk.

Pic 7&8

 

Top: A Dragons thumbs up at the last September’s event

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