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Part of the family

Sophie and Tom’s wedding plans break M!nt’s run of PG Live appearances

 

When a business is a family affair, family takes precedence and that means there’ll be something different about the 16th anniversary edition of PG Live.

For the first time since the UK’s only specialist greeting card trade show started in 2008, M!nt Publishing won’t be exhibiting as there’s been the rather pressing matter of organising a very important wedding.

Above: Alan, Tom, Sophie, Andy and Debbie are behind the M!nt group family firm
Above: Alan, Tom, Sophie, Andy and Debbie are behind the M!nt group family firm

The nuptials on Saturday, 18 May, of group general manager Tom Williams and administration and relationships manager Sophie Bylina are the reason for the absence as he’s the son of business owners Debbie and Alan Williams, and brother to key account manager Andy Harrold.

“They all had to be at the big event,” laughed Sophie, “along with many of the M!nt, Museums & Galleries, and Real & Exciting Designs family – and with the organisation needed there’s not enough of us to do PG Live as well!

“We’ve only missed one show before, and that was in 2021 when it had to move from its usual early June slot to late July due to Covid restrictions. We were down to exhibit but the changed date clashed with a pre-booked family holiday to Cornwall.”

Above & top: Saturday’s wedding went extremely well
Above & top: Saturday’s wedding went extremely well

Debbie and Alan have been ever-presents at the show since the first one in 2008 when they exhibited with Mint, their original greeting card business, then Tom joined the company in 2013 when his parents took over Museums & Galleries.

M&G joined the exhibitor list in 2014, and RED became part of the group the same year, and the team are planning to return for the 2025 show.

Tom and Sophie have been together since 2016 “when his friend who I used to work with set us up on a blind date”, and she joined the business in 2018, while Andy has sold the products as an independent sales agent for a number of years before becoming a permanent part of the team.

And their closeness was cemented during the pandemic when Tom and Sophie moved in with Debbie and Alan to keep the business running.

Above: The M!nt group will be back at PG Live next year
Above: The M!nt group will be back at PG Live next year

Sophie explained: “It minimised the risk if we could work from home together, or travel to work together and effectively self-isolate together. Furloughing most staff meant we all took on new roles to keep the operations of the company going, picking and packing all orders received by phone, email or via our different websites.”

Having now moved back into their own home, it’s been all systems go for Saturday’s wedding at Titchwell in Norfolk, as well as the honeymoon, with Sophie utilising all the organisational skills she’s known for at the M!nt group.

Above: Tom and Sophie met on a blind date in 2016 and have been working together since 2018
Above: Tom and Sophie met on a blind date in 2016 and have been working together since 2018

“We were telling people about the wedding when we were at Spring Fair in February,” Sophie added, “and I kept being asked why I wasn’t panicking. But we’ve just got on with organising everything – and I don’t think I’ve been a bridezilla!”

And Debbie laughed: “Sophie’s been part of the family for eight years already, so we’re very happy to become formal in-laws – but we won’t be going on honeymoon with them!”

Although M!nt, M&G and RED will be very much missed, PG Live has more than 220 exhibitors for the 2024 edition taking place on 4-5 June at London’s Business Design Centre. To register to attend click here.

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