“Today will be a big one,” predicts Mark Janson-Smith, managing director of award-winning specialist Postmark, echoing the views of fellow card retailers anticipating a last blast of Valentine’s Day card sales. “Historically, the 13th of February is always our busiest day of the year for actual transactions and I don’t see it being any different this year.”
Jon May, co-owner of Mooch in Bewdley and Stourport on Severn is ecstatic about the love-struck action in his neck of the woods. Even at the start of this week, the retailer’s card sales were up 25% on last year and that’s “without the last minute panic that normally occurs.”
Love is conquering all up in Scotland too with Michael Apter, managing director of Edinburgh-based Paper Tiger was happy to report that its Valentine’s Day card sales are “up like for like” despite the horrendous weather conditions.
It was a similarly heart-warming story at the Nest stores in Stonegate which is enjoying strong gift and card sales, “especially Rosie Made A Thing and Think of Me,” confirmed owner Sam Gibson.
The UK greeting card industry has received a welcome ‘love note’ today (13 February) in the form of a two page article that appeared in The Guardian newspaper in as well as on its online news site.
Written by journalist Amelia Tait, the article, which is entitled ‘Lots of Love’ in the newspaper and ‘Enduring love: how greeting cards are surviving the smartphone’ online makes an engaging read into the business and the human side of the industry.
‘The British have been sending cards since Victorian times – and still send more per head than any other nation. But can their popularity see off the threat of constant texts and emojis?’ begins Amelia’s piece, before going straight into the emotional power of greeting cards, relaying a touching personal story from Rachel Hare, founder of Belly Button Designs as to how, aged four, a Bugsy Malone card from her parents saw her through a night in hospital.
Having been persuaded by Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA to attend the Spring Fair last week Amelia made the most of her day at the show, interviewing not only Rachel, but Paul Woodmansterne (md of Woodmansterne Publications), Paul Taylor (md of Cardzone), Rosie Tate (director of Cath Tate cards), Lucy Creed (founder of Poet & Painter), Daniel Prince (md of Danilo), Dominique Miranda (director of Lanther Black) as well as Amanda.
The broad reaching article covers the industry’s long heritage as well as its evolution, current issues and developments, such as how it is rising to the environmental and societal challenges.
“The real growth we’re seeing is among people sending a message to cheer someone up,” is one of many quotes from the GCA’s Amanda Fergusson, explaining that there has been a huge rise in “No occasion” cards sharing her belief that ‘millennials and gen Z are buying these cards because they are more powerful than social media messages’.
However Paul Taylor’s family comes in for a bit of ribbing. The retailer head honcho reveals how he had to reprimand his own siblings for not sending his daughter a birthday card (they left messages on social media instead). “I sent a note out saying: ‘Do you not realise we make our living from selling cards?”
The GCA receives a big thumbs-up from the journalist, championing its influence, including the creation of Thinking of You Week. ‘The GCA may have a warm exterior, but they’re definitely not Blank Inside,” quips Amelia.
As Amanda Fergusson, who spent the best part of the day with the journalist introducing her to cardies said. “Amelia was genuinely so interested in our sector which really comes across in the finished article. I can’t see anyone who reads the piece today forgetting to buy a Valentine’s Day card. Every card helps!”
Top: Postmark’s Valentine’s Day Instagram post.