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GOTY triumph for I Drew This, Paper Mirchi and Peace & Blessings

Sarah Ward, the GA’s chief executive giving her welcome speech.
Sarah Ward, the GA’s chief executive giving her welcome speech.

Greeting card and giftwrap companies, I Drew This, Peace & Blessings and Paper Mirchi were among the winners of the GA’s Gift of the Year awards, which were announced yesterday evening (Sunday 4 February) at an event held at The Vox, adjacent to the NEC where the Spring Fair is taking place (February 4-8).

PG Buzz’s sister publications, Progressive Gifts & Home and Licensing Source Books were among the sponsors of the event which this year was co-organised by the Giftware Association and Ascential (organisers of the Spring Fair) to mark the 40th anniversary of the GA’s Gift of the Year awards programme.

Rory Bremner in full flow.
Rory Bremner in full flow.

Impressionist and satirist Rory Bremner was an inspired choice of host for the awards event.

Wiping away any feelings of exhibition fatigue, Rory Bremner had the 300 strong audience in stitches as he delved into the rich melting pot of political protaganists for his preamble.

“What a crazy time we’re living in…I feel like I have been given three boxed sets – one named ‘Trump’, one named ‘Brexit’ and one named ‘Corbyn’. I don’t want to watch any of them; I just want to know how they will end!” he quipped before delivering a pacey presentation peppered with impeccable impressions of a myriad of celebs and politicians.

Ilona Drew of I Drew This with her award.
Ilona Drew of I Drew This with her award.

It was certainly a memorable evening for Ilona Drew, founder of card publisher and gift brand, I Drew This as she won the Home Product award for her limited edition Brighton Royal Pavilion print, part of her Landmarks range.

“The Brighton Pavilion design was the first ever design I did in the range, on the back of which my life has changed,” Ilona told PG Buzz with reference to the fact that the range has won a Henries award plus also led to several bespoke commissions.

The Greetings and Stationery Award was won by Peace & Blessings, a newbie card publishing business, owned by Zakera Kali, for her Mono and Pastel range.

Although Peace & Blessings only launched last May, it is the culmination of an idea that Zakera has been nurturing for the last 20 years.

A trio of winners (right-left) Ilona Drew of I Drew This, Rani Moochhala of Paper Mirchi and Zakera Kali of Peace & Blessings.
A trio of winners (right-left) Ilona Drew of I Drew This, Rani Moochhala of Paper Mirchi and Zakera Kali of Peace & Blessings.

“I always wanted to launch to premium, ethically-sourced greeting cards covering many cultural and religious events from the around the world that uses many traditional techniques, from block printing to hand-stitching. Having completed a masters degree in design management and strategy I felt the time was right to launch,” a delighted Zakera told PG Buzz.

It was also a night to remember for Rani Moochhala, owner of giftwrap company Paper Mirchi, which won the Shirley Frost Award (for designer makers).

Former textile designer Rani, only started Paper Mirchi last Summer. She creates handmade paper decorated using a variety of techniques such as marbling,

The Gift of the Year awards programme has grown in stature over the last four decades.
The Gift of the Year awards programme has grown in stature over the last four decades.

“I am absolutely elated,” said Rani. “This is all happening so quickly.”

Other winners included Talking Tables, which scooped the Novelty Gift award for its Prosecco Pong drinking game which taps into the current penchant for the Italian sparkling libation, while Sara Miller’s distinctive artwork that first debuted on greeting  cards and wrap (with The Art File, Penny Kennedy) won the Fashion Accessory category with the silk accessories collection from My Gifts Trade.


The complete list of 2018 Gift of the Year winners are:

Home Product – Limited Edition Brighton Pavilion Print by I Drew This

Greetings & Stationery Collection – Mono and Pastel Greetings Cards from Peace & Blessing

Shirley Frost Award (for designer-makers) – Handmade Artisan Giftwrap from Paper Mirchi

Hot Novelty Product – Prosecco Pong from Talking Tables

Fashion Accessory – Sara Miller Silk Accessories from My Gifts Trade

Kitchen & Dining Product – Apron Made from Old Denim by Ian Snow

Festive & Occasional Product – Christmas Roast Dinner Box from Ross & Ross Food

Contemporary Gift – Octagon One Desk Lamp from Gingko Electronics

General Gift – Hand Painted Gin Glass from Sunny by Sue

Gift Food – Indian Spice Tin and Handmade, Silk Sari Wrap from Spice Kitchen UK

Children’s Gift – Fantastic Dragon 3D Colourable from Ooly

Body, Bath & Home Fragrance Product – Great British Bee Co Handcare Range from Great British Bee Co

Under £10 Product – Gin & Tonic Handbag from Bath House

Garden & Outdoor – Green Picnic collection from Fallen Fruits

Licensed Product – Natural History Museum Gift in a Tin from Apples to Pears

The Judges’ Choice award (selected from the winners of all categories) – Octagon One Desk Lamp from Gingko Electronics


All 15 product categories in the GOTY awards were judged by a panel of industry judges, including buyers from John Lewis, Ocado, Dobbies,, Fortnum and Mason, Beales and Haskins Garden Centres.

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