Manchester United GCA Members At The AGM and Conference

The GCA’s AGM and Conference, which took place in Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall last Thursday (October 14) scored highly on so many levels, feeding the hearts and minds of the 160 members of the Association who felt lucky to be there, and feel very much part of the ‘greeting card tribe’.

Above: The GCA’s ceo Amanda Fergusson with Cardzone’s md Paul Taylor (right) and Rod Brown, joint md of Words ‘n’ Wishes.
Above: The GCA’s ceo Amanda Fergusson with Cardzone’s md Paul Taylor (right) and Rod Brown, joint md of Words ‘n’ Wishes.

The keynote presentations were exceptional, with memorable speeches from Jo Bennett (studio director of Card Factory) whose ‘Great big bowl of spaghetti’ talk unravelled how consumer card buying habits have and are changing; David Robertson (of indie retail group JP Pozzi) whose ‘Rock Star Retailing’ hit the high notes about life as an indie while David Greaves (co-owner of Emotional Rescue) sent emotions into orbit with his candid personal rags to riches story, and what we can all do to help the UK’s current child poverty situation, with one in three kids living in extreme poverty today.

Chris Bryan, joint general manager of Second Nature, really struck a chord with his first presidential address, in which he looked back at the momentous events of the last two years and how these have all been reflected on greeting cards.

Above: It was a full audience, made up of publishers, retailers and trade suppliers. Jo Bennett, studio director of Card Factory (front row) gave a wonderful keynote about the consumer’s card buying habits.
Above: It was a full audience, made up of publishers, retailers and trade suppliers. Jo Bennett, studio director of Card Factory (front row) gave a wonderful keynote about the consumer’s card buying habits.

Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA highlighted just some of the incredible achievements of the association over the last year. These have included bringing huge benefits to bear for members, including the revamped website which is now crammed with invaluable advice as well as the webinars and events such as the recent Dragons’ Speed-dating event that have taken place. Under Amanda’s stewardship, the GCA’s and that of the industry has been heightened with government bodies, education, the media and Royal Mail.

In her report Amanda told how the GCA Thinking of You Week initiative this year reached record levels of engagement with UK retailers, but how the Week has also now spawned activities all over the world, while the collaboration with Sainsbury’s with a design competition not only supported the GCA’s drive for diversity and inclusion, but also has brought new designers into the community.

The afternoon panel session of ‘hot topics’ was introduced by Darren Cave, commercial director of UKG and vice president of the GCA, who prefaced the deeper delve down into sustainability (covered by Rachel Hare, md of Belly Button Designs and Helena Mansell-Stopher, ceo of Products of Change), online (covered by Sarah Jane-Porter, head of cards and licensing at Moonpig) as well as diversity and inclusion (covered by Mark Callaby, md of Ohh Deer and chair of the GCA Diversity & Inclusion committee) by revealing findings of some recent consumer research that was commissioned by the GCA.

There were some common threads that ran through the day’s discussions – the importance of sustainability and driving on diversity & inclusion, among them – but it was the feeling of camaraderie and the pride of being part of such an incredible industry that added the real sparkle.

This is just a flavour of the day, with more details to be shared in subsequent PG Buzz stories, in Progressive Greetings’ November edition and on the GCA’s website.

 

 

Above and below: One of the slides in Jo Bennett’s presentation which showed the effects of the Covid lockdowns on card buying…but then shared how things have improved since and the new opportunities.C3.
Above and below: One of the slides in Jo Bennett’s presentation which showed the effects of the Covid lockdowns on card buying…but then shared how things have improved since and the new opportunities.C3.

1C3 Screenshot 2021-10-20 at 08.09.03

Above: Rock Star Retailing was the title of (left) David Robertson’s talk that he peppered with references to Manchester’s Oasis. He accepts that he looks a lot less like a cool Manchester rock star than Stripey Cats’ Jonathan Crosby (right).
Above: Rock Star Retailing was the title of (left) David Robertson’s talk that he peppered with references to Manchester’s Oasis. He accepts that he looks a lot less like a cool Manchester rock star than Stripey Cats’ Jonathan Crosby (right).
Above: Amanda Fergusson highlighted how the GCA’s constantly updated Brexit blog on the new website has received an extraordinary number of views.
Above: Amanda Fergusson highlighted how the GCA’s constantly updated Brexit blog on the new website has received an extraordinary number of views.
Above: Emotional Rescue’s David Greaves in full flow…he went back to his childhood which gave insights into his drive and personality.
Above: Emotional Rescue’s David Greaves in full flow…he went back to his childhood which gave insights into his drive and personality.
Above: It was a great ‘tribal’ meet up. (Left-right) Bex Hassett (Bexy Boo), Rosie Harrison (Rosie Made a Thing) and Laura Darrington (Laura Darrington).
Above: It was a great ‘tribal’ meet up. (Left-right) Bex Hassett (Bexy Boo), Rosie Harrison (Rosie Made a Thing) and Laura Darrington (Laura Darrington).
Above: As incoming president Chris Bryan of Second Nature presented outgoing president Rachel Hare, md of Belly Button Designs with a bouquet of flowers and thanked her for heading up the association’s council for the last two years.
Above: As incoming president Chris Bryan of Second Nature presented outgoing president Rachel Hare, md of Belly Button Designs with a bouquet of flowers and thanked her for heading up the association’s council for the last two years.
Above: In his Presidential address, Chris Bryan highlighted how greeting cards have been there to reflect the changing times and events of the last 20 months.
Above: In his Presidential address, Chris Bryan highlighted how greeting cards have been there to reflect the changing times and events of the last 20 months.
Above: Woodmansterne Publications’ md Seth Woodmansterne (left) and David Falkner, director of Cardology joined the GCA Council.
Above: Woodmansterne Publications’ md Seth Woodmansterne (left) and David Falkner, director of Cardology joined the GCA Council.
Above: After over 24 years on the Council, Paul Woodmansterne has retired. In recognition of his incredible contribution to the GCA, PG’s Jakki Brown presented him with a special framed picture, made by Belly Button’s Rachel Hare.
Above: After over 24 years on the Council, Paul Woodmansterne has retired. In recognition of his incredible contribution to the GCA, PG’s Jakki Brown presented him with a special framed picture, made by Belly Button’s Rachel Hare.
Above: PG’s Jakki Brown (second left) with the afternoon panel discussion panel (left-right) UKG’s Darren Cave, Helena Mansell-Stopher (Products of Change), Rachel Hare (Belly Button Designs) and Sarah-Jane Porter (Moonpig). Mark Callaby of Ohh Deer also participated but is not pictured here.
Above: PG’s Jakki Brown (second left) with the afternoon panel discussion panel (left-right) UKG’s Darren Cave, Helena Mansell-Stopher (Products of Change), Rachel Hare (Belly Button Designs) and Sarah-Jane Porter (Moonpig). Mark Callaby of Ohh Deer also participated but is not pictured here.
Above: UKG’s Darren Cave presented the findings of a consumer research project which gave insights into the public’s card buying habits.
Above: UKG’s Darren Cave presented the findings of a consumer research project which gave insights into the public’s card buying habits.
Above: Encore envelopes was one of the sponsors who had display tables in the foyer of the main room.
Above: Encore envelopes was one of the sponsors who had display tables in the foyer of the main room.
Above: Scribbler’s Francis Burkle (left) with Paper Salad’s Karen Wilson and Belly Button’s Rachel Hare, the latter two, being Manchester based were instrumental in the organisation of the event.
Above: Scribbler’s Francis Burkle (left) with Paper Salad’s Karen Wilson and Belly Button’s Rachel Hare, the latter two, being Manchester based were instrumental in the organisation of the event.
Above: A reassuring slide that Amanda Fergusson showed in her final sum up, based on findings from the GCA’s recent consumer research.
Above: A reassuring slide that Amanda Fergusson showed in her final sum up, based on findings from the GCA’s recent consumer research.

1P. Thank you for coming! copy

Top: The GCA’s AGM and Conference took place in Manchester last Thursday (October 14) at Bridgewater Hall.

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