Oliver Bonas, Scribbler, Sainsbury’s, National Trust breathe fiery feedback

It was fast-paced, full of passion, noisy and fully embraced by everyone involved. The GCA’s Speed-dating with Dragons 2 event, which took place last Friday (April 20) at London’s Business Design Centre was fabulous example of the UK greeting card industry at its best.

The ‘Dragons’ (and the GCA’s Sharon Little) all lined up ready for action!
The ‘Dragons’ (and the GCA’s Sharon Little) all lined up ready for action!

Some 20 leading retailers – from major multiples through to a potent clutch of pioneering indies – gave their time and input freely as over 80 greeting card publishing execs gave it their all in one-to-one 10 minute pitches about their products and their companies.

While one half of the publishing posse entered the ‘den’ to interface with the ‘dragons’, the other half listened intently to sage advice from two ‘giants of industry’ – Ged Mace, md of The Art File on business strategy and Kelvyn Gardner, md of LIMA UK, who demystified the potential of licensing.

The speed-dating in full flow!
The speed-dating in full flow!

Commenting, Sharon Little, ceo of the GCA said of the second ever Speed-dating with Dragons event: “It was bigger, better and by the sounds of it, more business is likely to come out of it than even our inaugural event last year, which is just fabulous.”

Endorsing Sharon’s words, Ellie Kleinlercher, buyer of the Between the Lines chain of 14 stores said: “It was great to meet suppliers we didn’t know, I would like to order for five or six of them, which is great.”

Natalia Kosteria, card buyer for Oliver Bonas’ 70+ stores summed up the afternoon event as “a really fun experience – I so enjoyed meeting the new publishers.”

Publishers prepare to enter the ‘Den’. (Left-right) Rosie Harrison (Rosie Made A Thing), Belinda Morris (1790 Cards), Marina Brooks (Marina B) and Celia Law (Doll Truths).
Publishers prepare to enter the ‘Den’. (Left-right) Rosie Harrison (Rosie Made A Thing), Belinda Morris (1790 Cards), Marina Brooks (Marina B) and Celia Law (Doll Truths).

Sainsbury’s senior buyer Carly Pearson said that the speed-dating “gets me in the mood for PG Live in a few weeks time, where I get to meet lots more great new publishers” making reference to the Business Design Centre being the venue for both events.

Meanwhile, card buyer for all National Trust’s properties, Bianca Mastrodomenico said: “It has been so lovely to meet so many people who are passionate about their business, rather that to just receive samples in the post.”

It was all smiles from (left-right) Laura Clamp (Flying Teaspoons), George Peters (Ooh I Like That Design), Jo Clarke (Toasted Crumpet Designs) and Laura Truby (Laura Truby).
It was all smiles from (left-right) Laura Clamp (Flying Teaspoons), George Peters (Ooh I Like That Design), Jo Clarke (Toasted Crumpet Designs) and Laura Truby (Laura Truby).

 

It was a win-win for indies too. Unit 7’s co-founder Andrea Pinder was rewarded for actively selecting humorous publishers to lure back to her ‘den’. “I wanted to find some new humorous suppliers and a couple really stood out as they made me really laugh.”

Another indie known for his humour card radar is Paul Jarman of Brighton-based Creased Cards. He too was full of praise. “There was no one that we saw this afternoon whose cards we wouldn’t stock – so a big success!”

 

Everyone was all ears as the GCA’s ceo Sharon Little addressed the audience at the sellout GCA Speed-dating with Dragons 2 event.
Everyone was all ears as the GCA’s ceo Sharon Little addressed the audience at the sellout GCA Speed-dating with Dragons 2 event.
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