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Mother’s Day delivers

Late sales surges help indie retailers as call for different captions increases


Late sales surges saw Mother’s Day deliver for most independent greetings retailers around the UK, as the demand for different captions continues to increase.

In Liverpool, Utility’s director Kate Cowie was very happy: “Mother’s Day was record-breaking for us this year. We sold 15% more cards in the week leading up to the day than the same week last year!”

It was a similar story at House of Cards‘ seven shops in the Home Counties where co-owner Miles Robinson was also pleased to report sales through the tills were up 15% in the two weeks prior to Mother’s Day.

However, he admitted:“Actually, Mother’s Day card sales were not up that much so most of the increase came from everyday and/or Mother’s Day gifting.”

Above: HBB Cards’ Hayley Bastable is tripling her Dandelion order for next year

Above: HBB Cards’ Hayley Bastable is tripling her Dandelion order for next year

Card sales were great for Hayley Bastable, who completely sold out of all the relevant ones with her Dandelion Stationery design personalised for her HBB Cards shop in Newport Pagnell the fastest selling, flying off the shelves within a week.

“Next year I’ll be tripling that order,” a happy Hayley told PG Buzz, “as Mother’s Day sales exceeded my expectations, and I actually completely sold out of cards – which I’m not sure was a good thing or a bad thing! Overall, I had a great Mother’s Day sales, a much-needed boost.

“There was a last-minute flurry of sales, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday last week sales of all my cards – anything that could pass as a Mother’s Day Card – took me by surprise. Customers also picked up small gifts, candles and books especially sold very well for me.

“We were asked specifically for cards with Mothering Sunday wording on the front, with long verses inside but, generally, all my lovely ranges, White Cotton, Paper Shed Designs, Counting Stars among many others, were well received. As always, the beautiful Sarah Kelleher cards sold and sold.

“Also, the brilliant Happy Mother’s Day From The Dog design by Paper Shed sold out very very fast and caused many comments from happy customers saying that was the most important card.”

Above: Fragranced gifts did well for Charisma
Above: Fragranced gifts did well for Charisma

For Sheffield’s Charisma, owner Janet Fowler realised she’d not ordered enough Grandma and Nan captions as these sold through early, while Mummy was a slower burn along with Wife.

“We always do well with Mothering Sunday,” Janet explained, “and this proved to be the case again this year. Sales were fractionally up on last year for Mother’s Day with a last-minute surge on the Friday and Saturday.

“On the gift front, fragranced products were by far the best, topping the sales were Marmalade Candles, our new Happy Stones and Ela travel reed diffusers.”

Different captions were sought by The Beverley Card Company’s customers in the Yorkshire town, as owner Donna Stocks explained: “My Mother’s Day From The Dog were popular as were From Both Of Us this year. We also sold Mam, Nan and Nannie cards. Customers asked for Mother’s Day For Daughter cards but I haven’t sourced these before, although Mothering Sunday cards are always a must have.

“I found Noel Tatt and Carte Blanche were my bestsellers, and we did have more of a flurry the few days before, particularly Friday and Saturday.”

Above: From The Dog was popular for Beverley Card Co’s Donna Stocks
Above: From The Dog was popular for Beverley Card Co’s Donna Stocks

Near Swindon, The Highworth Emporium’s co-owner Aga Marsden feared the big spring event would prove a damp squib after a very slow start, but it all came good: “I was worried it wouldn’t happen at all at one stage, but it did. The week leading to Mother’s Day was very strong, much stronger than last year in fact, so we’re happy.

“Special titles are always the ones that sell first, like Mother’s Day om daughter or son, First Mother’s Day, etc. This year we almost ran out of Mummy.

“The other quite new trend we noticed was a lot of young customers shopping on their own, in previous years they were supervised by dads, nans, etc. This year we had an increase in very independent young people, whose budget was actually quite high, holding tightly in their small hands £20 notes or more!”

Above: Special titles sell out first at The Highworth Emporium
Above: Special titles sell out first at The Highworth Emporium

There weren’t such celebrations at Wishes Of Cudworth, where owner Julia Keeling has had a very hit and miss year so far, and the lead up to Mother’s Day wasn’t very busy, so she let her staff come in late and leave early on Saturday.

Julie explained: “We had a few flurries but just didn’t get busy, although we did sell a bit in advance, so that was good. On Sunday I worked 8.30am till 1pm which normally isn’t very busy but, thankfully, this year it was all last minute and I was busy while I was there.

“Maybe people are a lot more strapped for cash than I expected or they have to make choices of what’s a priority. I’m sure things will pick up in the next year – guess we just keep on trucking and try to do everything we can to get those sales in and pay the bills.

“All our suppliers across the board did well – Kingfisher, Hallmark, Cherry Orchard, Wishing Well, Abacus, Second Nature, Words ’n’ Wishes, Nigel Quiney and wholesale. I feel we had enough captions, choice and price point for everybody. We do have a new range of food gifts in from Bon Bons which is doing well.”

Above: Wishes Of Cudworth offered plenty of choice in cards and gifts
Above: Wishes Of Cudworth offered plenty of choice in cards and gifts

There was better news in Elgin, even though Pencil Me In owner Sarah Holmes admitted she missed the boat a little on the gift front, telling PG Buzz: “Last year we went all in on add-on Mother’s Day gifts but this year I was slightly distracted by the buying for our new homewares shop – Seasgair Store, that’s two doors up. But we did have cute vases and flower pots, and dried flower bouquets which sold well among the cards.

“We had a good collection of cards in from Ohh Deer which sold well as they have a mix of genre in their ranges it helps keep our offering eclectic. We began stocking Rifle Cards last year and they’ve been very well received, their designs were lovely and sold well.

Above: Sarah Holmes has been busy getting this new outlet ready two doors down from Pencil Me In
Above: Sarah Holmes has been busy getting this new outlet ready two doors up from Pencil Me In

“My favourites on the stand and what I chose to send my own mother – and received from my kids – were the beautiful illustrations from Lomond Paper Co, while Stormy Knight’s Bloom range with the extra seeds also sell well as it’s like a wee extra gift inside the card.

“We still see a broad range of sentiment selling, but I think top sellers with our customers either say Mum on them or Happy Mother’s Day – our entire range are all blank inside too.

“The last two weeks into Mother’s Day were quite steady with the last two Saturdays definitely showing busier sales.”

Above: Mother’s Day cards covered 8ft of Hugs & Kisses’ racking
Above: Mother’s Day cards covered 8ft of Hugs & Kisses’ racking

The event was also a late starter for Caroline Ranwell at Hugs & Kisses in Tettenhall, but it came together in the end with Five Dollar Shake, Rosie Made A Thing, Woodmansterne, Paperlink and Nigel Quiney all doing well, along with some interesting caption requests.

“It ended up being pretty good,” Caroline said. “The final Saturday was busier than Christmas Eve and that’s a huge act to follow. We had 8ft of beautiful cards, mostly Mother’s Day, a selection of Mothering Sunday but also quite a lot of Mum cards that could be used afterwards. The general ones didn’t seem to sell as well, people definitely preferred the specific Mother’s Day cards.

“My customers do seem to prefer To My Mum On Mother’s Day, they sell much better for us than the plain Happy Mother’s Day, we always have a few Mothering Sunday as a few people prefer that traditional wording. This year a lot more people seemed to want traditional and wordy cards which is quite unusual for us.

“As usual we sold a huge amount of Grandma, Nan and Nanna cards, I can never seem to get enough of those. The same goes for Wife, I’d have liked more great designs in that title too. Mummy sold well and we also sold a few From The Bump and we were also asked for Auntie cards.”

Top: Mother’s Day sales were blooming lovely at Utility with this display from Stop The Clock Design

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