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It’s a wrap – PG Live 2017

As the doors closed on the ninth PG Live last week, the general reaction was that it had been one of the best ones yet. PGBuzz caught up with a few visitors and exhibitors who shared their thoughts about the show.

Over 280 exhibitors collectively revealed thousands of brand new designs and ranges to multiple and indie retailers, agents and overseas distributors at PG Live last week (June 6 and 7) at the Business Design Centre in London. Some of the big names who visited included: Paperchase, John Lewis, Scribbler, Clintons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Next, Waterstones, Oliver Bonas, Squires, Waitrose, WHSmith, Card Factory, Dobbies, Cards Galore, Amazon, House of Fraser, TKMaxx, McColls and Ocado, as well as many more independent retailers.

Keith Taylor, Area sales manager for Cherry Orchard at Beverley Heyworth at PG Live
Keith Taylor, area sales manager for Cherry Orchard at Beverley Heyworth at PG Live

Attending for the first time were Retas finalists, Beverley and John Heyworth, co-owners of Blue Rose Gifts, greater Manchester. “It was great to meet up with so many retailers who are in the same business and to chat with designers who are showcasing the best of what this industry can offer. It was a particular pleasure to meet the heads of UK Greetings and its parent company AG [James Conn and Jeff Weiss] and it allowed me a small moment as an independent to explain the vital role we play on the high street. A surprising trend we spotted was the increasing number of adult x-rated cards, perhaps something that we may consider in the future. The show was worth the long journey, traffic and weather, and we would certainly be going again and recommend it to other retailers.”

Another Retas finalist, Nicky Goodman, owner of Paddock Wood Cards in Tonbridge, Kent said: “I just loved the atmosphere at this year at PG Live. There are some really nice new cards coming through in the Springboard section. Some of the card companies are really coming up with fresh ideas too; for example the scented cards from Cherry Orchard are really different. Everyone was so friendly, the meal was so nice, and free tea, coffee and water all day just give it that extra touch. You feel as though you belong there which is why I love going.”

(Far left and right) Postmark’s Mark and Leona Janson-Smith were delighted to spend their Golden Ticket with The Grumble Company.
(Far left and right) Postmark’s Mark and Leona Janson-Smith were delighted to spend their Golden Ticket with The Grumble Company.

For Mark Janson-Smith, co-owner of four Postmark shops in London, PG Live is a trade show he really looks forward to. “Over the last nine years PG Live has really proven its worth, attracting a very strong selection of publishers and new talent. So when it comes into view on the calendar and the reminder emails are coming thick and fast, I always get excited about what the day will hold, and this year did not disappoint. Standing out for us was The Grumble and Co, who we chose to spend our Golden Ticket from last year’s Retas awards with. We’d been aware of the Grumble guys before the show, as they’d contacted us through social media, but at the time we didn’t feel their products were right for us. However, meeting them in person and seeing where the brand was going first hand changed our minds and we’re looking forward to introducing them instore very soon.”

It wasn’t just the visitors who had a great show, feedback from PG Live exhibitors was positive as well.

Jo Clarke from Toasted Crumpet with her stash of special tickets
Jo Clarke from Toasted Crumpet with her stash of special tickets

Jo Clarke of Toasted Crumpet made her debut this year and had an amazing show – being presented with six of the coveted special tickets: two Greats Tickets, two Sunshine Retas Tickets and two Silver Retas Tickets. “We had a fantastic debut show at PG Live meeting lots of lovely retailers, agents and exhibitors. It is a lovely size which means retailers can walk around and see everyone. And we really noticed how much all of the retailers enjoyed visiting the show too. The event has opened up so many new doors for us and we are already looking forward to returning next year.”

Business was good for leading brand Wendy Jones-Blackett, with co-owner Steve Jones-Blackett commenting: “It was yet another cracking show – plenty of leads and orders from the UK. And this year was certainly very strong with overseas export partners; a great show.”

Next year the exhibition will take place June 5 and June 6, again at the Business Design Centre, London.

Check out the photo gallery from the show at

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