John Lewis & Partners Trials ‘Belly-banded’ Cards In Its Milton Keynes Store  

John Lewis & Partners has just launched a trial in its Milton Keynes store whereby all the everyday Woodmansterne cards are being sold ‘naked’ apart from a slim belly-band of polypropylene to keep the card and envelope together.

Lisa Rutherford, John Lewis & Partners’ stationery and seasonal events buyer, whose remit includes single greeting cards, told PG Buzz: “Like everyone we have been giving serious consideration to our environmental impact and Woodmansterne has risen to the challenge of possible solution. We are keeping this low key at the moment and did not want to involve other suppliers or involve Christmas stock, but a week into the trial and it’s looking good so far.”

Above: John Lewis & Partners card buyer Lisa Rutherford at the recent Calies awards, talking to House of Cards’ Nigel Williamson about how good Christmas singles sales are this year.
Above: John Lewis & Partners card buyer Lisa Rutherford at the recent Calies awards, talking to House of Cards’ Nigel Williamson about how good Christmas singles sales are this year.

She added that if this way of presenting the cards in JL&P stores was to be expanded, that the belly-band would be made of an easily recyclable material.

More good news from JL&P is that its Christmas card singles sales are “amazing”, according to Lisa. “We were 10% up last week year on year and 11% cumulatively, which is excellent,” she added, though could not comment on Christmas boxes and packs as they fall outside her buying remit.

Above: The Proper Mail Company/Woodmansterne’s Keith Gillespie talking with JL&P customers at the recent Christmas event.
Above: The Proper Mail Company/Woodmansterne’s Keith Gillespie talking with JL&P customers at the recent Christmas event.

The department store retailer added some artistic cheer for customers of its Peter Jones store in London’s Sloane Square as well as in its Oxford Street flagship, recently offering them the opportunity of having a personalised message created by talented calligraphers and brush stroke artists from The Proper Mail Company (a sibling to Woodmansterne).

As part of JL&P’s thrust to make shopping in its stores more experiential, Lisa has been keen to bring greeting cards ‘alive’ for customers.

Following on from a workshop it ran with the publisher in its White City’s Discovery Room, the recent Christmas events saw designers Emma Grant and Charlotte Mason set up stall in store, offering a free personalised calligraphy or brush stroke message in the card and on the envelope for any customers buying a card.

“The rationale behind the event was to engage people with The Proper Mail Company and to showcase the fabulous talents of our designers. It was a roaring success!” summarized Kate Leach, marketing manager of Woodmansterne and The Proper Mail Company.

Above: Woodmansterne’s marketing manager Kate Leach (centre) with designers Charlotte Mason (left) and Emma Grant in JL&P.
Above: Woodmansterne’s marketing manager Kate Leach (centre) with designers Charlotte Mason (left) and Emma Grant in JL&P.

As Lisa added: “Customers really enjoy the interaction with designers and fully appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into greeting cards and how sending them is something special for the recipient.”

She confirmed that there will be much more experiential activity on the greeting card front on a similar vein with talks underway with other relevant supplying publishers.

Above: Customers responded positively to the artistry at work at the recent JL&P Christmas instore events.
Above: Customers responded positively to the artistry at work at the recent JL&P Christmas instore events.

Top: The Proper Mail Company/Woodmansterne designer, Emma Grant at work in John Lewis & Partners.

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