Marking 40 years with Paperworld

Maltese distributor reveals huge strides over four decades in business

In an industry that’s very raison d’être is to mark all of life’s moments – not just hatches, matches and dispatches – it’s fitting to celebrate some of this year’s notable company anniversaries.

PG has been checking in with various celebrators across the greetings world to share some of the significant moments in their business’ evolution as well as their plans to mark the milestone.

In the latest instalment of the series we visit Paperworld Malta, a leading greeting card distributor on the island nation, where managing director Suzanne Mizzi shares the journey so far, having worked with UK publishers for 40 years…

Above & top: Suzanne Mizzi is celebrating 40 years of her Maltese greetings business Paperworld
Above & top: Suzanne Mizzi is celebrating 40 years of her Maltese greetings business Paperworld

Suzanne Mizzi, md, Paperworld Malta

 “Greeting cards are a life-long passion for me, having fascinated me from a very young age. I remember, back in those days, the Christmas cards, decking and decorating every corner of the house and them forming part of any occasion. I loved cards so much that I always dreamed of working in the industry.

“My first real opportunity came while I was working as a secretary. Going through a UK business directory, I spotted an advert from the Medici Card company looking for overseas agents for its cards. I posted a letter to its representative Norman Dodd, who then came to Malta to meet me. It was the opportunity I needed, and that’s when my amazing 40-year greeting card journey really all started.

Above: Medici Cards was Suzanne’s first agency and she still represents it under current owners GBCC
Above: Medici Cards was Suzanne’s first agency and she still represents it under current owners GBCC

“In order to import greeting cards you needed to be granted a special licence from the trade department, but despite being only 19 years old, I was determined so got my licence and started my business.

“I had no car, but had great determination, resilience and loads of passion. I travelled by bus showing my few samples to shops. As with all new businesses, it was not easy, but my enthusiasm prevailed and I soon added Museums & Galleries and Paper House cards to my Medici offer. These are brands that I still represent, even though they have changed ownership since I started carrying them.

“Business in those early years was done after my normal working hours and on Saturdays as I still had to keep my full-time job. It was only later, when my business grew and I had my family that I could afford to dedicate more time to it. Today we are a team of five, but I still handle the sales.

Above: Suzanne has been visiting Spring Fair since the early 90s and enjoyed a PG Pub drink with M&G co-owner Debbie Williams (right) at the 2024 event a few days ago
Above: Suzanne has been visiting Spring Fair since the early 90s and enjoyed a PG Pub drink with M&G co-owner Debbie Williams (right) at the 2024 event a few days ago

“My first real breakthrough came in the early 90s when I attended my first trade fair, Spring Fair. I still remember the awe at seeing all those greeting card publishers’ stands! It was back then that I managed to start representing Talking Pictures and, later, Ling Design. Handmade cards were an innovation my customers loved, even though they were pricey.

“When demand for handmade cards waned, the market for verse cards started increasing. This created an opportunity that proved to be another pivotal moment in my journey. I started to represent companies such as IC&G, Nigel Quiney and Grassroots who all had such cards, which were very well received in Malta and their demand remains very strong today.

“During my 40-year long journey I have met some incredible people. After my initial meeting with Mr Dodd, I met others who have inspired and motivated me to achieve more, including Peter Reichwald, Robin Littman, Ian Bant and Simon Elvin, to name a few.

Above: Cards are still a passion for Suzanne
Above: Cards are still a passion for Suzanne

“My journey would not have been so successful had it not been for my suppliers, past and present, that have supported me all the way. In a recent meeting with Simon Elvin, he recognised my passion for the industry and presented me with a certificate that I will always treasure.

“I accept that 40 years sounds a long time but, when you do the job you love, you never have to work a day in your life. Here’s to many more years of Paperworld Malta!”

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