The heart and soul of the greeting card community is really coming into its own as publishers, retailers, agents and trade suppliers all seek to support each other financially, psychologically and practically in this time of complete turmoil.
“We are all in this together, and it is horrendous, but for many of us publishers, our retail customers are our friends too as are their end customers to them. It is great to see everyone doing their bit to help each other,” said Katie Meeke, co-owner of Holy Mackerel.
The publisher is among those to have communicated with customers in the last few days to pay tribute to their resilience as well as inform them that they have waived their minimum order value for the next few months to help on stockholding.
“It has been amazing to see the positive messages that our customers have been posting, and the determination to keep services going for as long as possible and in very creative ways. We hope that the Chancellor’s announcements signal a real light at the end of the tunnel and we look forward to being able to celebrate with everyone when we come out the other side,” said Katie.
Katie cites Calliope Gifts’ free home delivery service for customers of its Haywards Heath, Alton and Dorking stores as a great example of how retailers are looking to support their customers. Accepting that many cannot leave their homes, Baxters Gallery in Dartmouth is among those to be offering to not only write cards, but giftwrap items and post them for free.
Paul Jarman, owner of Creased Cards in Brighton told PG Buzz that he has received a really positive reaction to a very honest emailer he sent to all the customers on his database sharing the importance of supporting local businesses.
“It is difficult to know what to do in this situation. As a small independent business owner, I want to reflect the government guidance in what we do; however I also want to serve our customers and – really important – try to protect the livelihoods of my team,” says Paul.
He reminds of the importance of sending cards to remain connected as well as fanfaring its service of handwriting cards for people and posting them direct.
He ends the emailer with the message ‘I am just one of many, many independent businesses up and down the country, who will be feeling the pinch right now. For many businesses, income has simply dropped off a cliff almost overnight – and many operate without cash reserves and will struggle without normal cashflow levels coming in.
I urge you to support as many of those types of businesses as you can whilst the world deals with this challenge.”
In addition to holding out the hand of friendship to retailers understanding their plight in the face of the dramatic fall in footfall, many publishers have extended credit, offered discounts as well as some freebies to help ease the pain. And no doubt others will follow.
As reported on PG Buzz on Tuesday, Rosie Made A Thing and Louise Tiler have extended their terms to 60 days, with the latter also offering a 20% discount on all orders placed by June 15. https://www.pgbuzz.net/louise-tiler-designs-and-rosie-made-a-thing-extend-terms-to-help-retailers/
Abacus Cards has removed all carriage charges on orders placed with its sales team or online. Plus, as an extra thank you at point of order its area managers will be happy to give retailers three units of cards free of charge from their ‘car stock’, worth a minimum of £30.
Redback Cards has announced that in addition to offering 60 day credit terms to indies it is also to give two free packs of cards on orders placed by the end of April.
“We’re doing everything we can our lovely independent customers at this difficult time’” proclaims a colourful Shine On message from Rachel Ellen Designs announcing that it is offering a 15% discount on orders of its cards and gifts placed until for delivery by the end of June – and it’s carriage free on orders above £75 (normally £150).
What’s more, retailers using the code Shine On when placing their order will be able to benefit from an additional 5% discount on all orders for the rest of the year.
Top: The Holy Mackerel owners are there with smiles for customers.