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Peartree Heybridge decides to close its doors

Directors of long-established publisher in negotiations to see the name live on

 

Long-established greeting card publisher Peartree Heybridge is to close its doors.

The decision, taken by founders and brothers Mike and John Partridge and fellow director Louise Martin, was announced today, 29 September, with the company stopping accepting orders at the end of October.

Above & top: A very happy John Partridge with The Henries 2022 Award seeing Camilla & Rose go into the Henry Cole Classic Hall Of Fame, and collecting the trophy from category sponsor John Skeet, of Skeet Print, with host Patrick Kielty
Above & top: A very happy John Partridge with The Henries 2022 Award seeing Camilla & Rose go into the Henry Cole Classic Hall Of Fame, and collecting the trophy from category sponsor Richard Bacon, of The Sherwood Group, with host Patrick Kielty

“For many years my brother John, fellow director Louise Martin and I have been dedicated to building our business in a fascinating industry full of hard-working, talented, creative and inspirational people,” Mike told PG Buzz.

“We want to thank sincerely all the employees, customers, artists, agents, printers and many others who’ve helped us on our journey.

Above: Camilla & Rose showcases Sarah Boddy’s gentle humour
Above: Camilla & Rose showcases Sarah Boddy’s gentle humour

“We’ve enjoyed every moment and we have no regrets, but the time is now right for us to concentrate on personal interests and challenges.”

The publisher has long been the sole licensee for the work of Sarah Boddy, the artist behind the gentle humour of the Camilla & Rose range as well as the nature drawings of Beetanical, and also offers Annie Tempest’s Tottering-By-Gently and Bev Williams’ Spring Chicken ranges as well as Pugh’s cartoons.

Although the business itself will cease trading it’s understood negotiations are underway in the hope that the Peartree Heybridge brand will live on within the card and gift industry.

The business began in the mid-1980s when Mike met the team from major Sweden-based publisher Pictura when they were attending the then Harrogate Gift Fair and stayed at the B&B he owned and ran with his wife in the Yorkshire town – and it’s still based there, with Mike now a Harrogate Town fan as his original love for West Ham plays second fiddle.

Above: Peartree Heybridge has specialised in humour, including Creeping Thyme, Tottering-By-Gently, Pugh and Spring Chicken
Above: Peartree Heybridge has specialised in humour, including Creeping Thyme, Tottering-By-Gently, Pugh and Spring Chicken

After six months as a “very naïve” sales agent, Mike was joined by his brother John and they began representing other publishers and gift manufacturers, including Bev Williams, under the name Peartree Sales & Marketing.

They expanded during the 90s with a national sales force and appointed LB Warehousing – who they still work with – as their fulfilment house. They changed the company name to Peartree Heybridge Ltd in 2003, with Louise joining a year later and subsequently becoming a shareholder and joint director.

Mike added: “We have witnessed enormous change, most significantly those resulting from the internet, digitalisation and methods of communication. These have affected every facet of the business, including order processing – in our early days we hand-wrote invoices! – marketing, product development, printing, distribution and simply engaging with existing and potential customers.

“And, of course, all this has happened against a backdrop of more and more intense competition, generated by a growing army of highly-talented artists and designers. Nevertheless we have relished meeting all these challenges and steering our business in an ever-changing environment.

“We have had a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Sarah Boddy, and will do our best to help her wherever she chooses to take the Camilla & Rose brand.”

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