With this being the 10th anniversary PG Live (June 5-6 at London’s Business Design Centre), PG Buzz turned back the clock and asked three industry bods from Noel Tatt, Kali Stileman and Carte Blanche about their memories of the first PG Live, their companies’ last decade as well as their planned launches for this year’s show.
Kali Stileman, owner, Kali Stileman Publishing:
In the beginning: “PG LIve has been a good show right from the beginning as the organisers talked to publishers and shops and did their research before they started. I love the fact that it has such a positive atmosphere, which is about building good relationships in a relaxed and supportive environment, which helps both the publisher and the customer. It’s the one show I wouldn’t drop. As far as evolution, the springboard section, which appeared I think in year two is a super way to nurture new talent.”
Kali Stileman’s decade: “The biggest area of growth for me is online as a quarter of our card sales are now direct to the public. 10 years ago I was purely a card publisher, I now have a growing gift selection, plus I have diversified and now spend a lot of my time working on licensing designs and illustrating children’s books.”
The industry’s biggest changes: “Shops are having a hard time now due to rising rents and rates. It is such a shame as small independents are closing leaving high streets dominated by charity shops, coffee chains and tattoo parlours! Quite a few of the businesses I sell to have closed their high street shops and have chosen to trade online instead.”
At this year’s show: “Our Tiddly Widdly adult range has been such a success that we have launched a ‘kids tids’ range with numbers with gold foiled stars which are on virtually every order. We have also developed two new sets covering relations and occasions. Our birds and butterflies range printed on lovely linen paper with silver writing for the girls and ‘Lads lads lads’ for the boys.
- Kali Stileman has found herself the adopted mum of a Canadian goose! One of the office girls found the gosling in the middle of the road with no sign of the mother. Kali has taken the gosling into the office until it gets big enough to join her existing flock of ducks and chickens at home. Kali says she is becoming a dab hand at typing with a sleeping gosling lying on her lap!
See Kali Stileman on Stand 162
Michael Griffiths, sales manager of Noel Tatt:
In the beginning: “The first PG Live show was met with some uncertainty, as a two day predominantly ‘card only’ event was a very new approach. However the first show was a big success and we have returned every year since!”
The industry’s biggest changes: “The choice of some independent retailers to move to a brokerage scheme I feel has been a retrospective step for the industry. To my mind it can significantly reduce their [a retailer’s] ability to have new designs as frequently as they could do, when compared to purchasing from publishers direct. Plus, it also reduces their ability to have a point of difference to other retailers.”
Noel Tatt’s decade: “What is clear (and particularly the case for our independent customer base) is that retailers’ thirst for new product has become ever more voracious. While we have always been a leader in the frequent release of new products, this has increased to even higher levels to satisfy this demand. We have released nearly 200 new designs in the last six weeks alone.”
At this year’s PG Live: “We recently released a fab new range called Fizz which will be predominantly displayed at the show – plus many other new designs!”
See Noel Tatt on Stand 301
Julia Andrews, trade marketing manager of Carte Blanche Greetings:
In the beginning: “I remember the first show very well… we drove poor Simon Boyd [PG Live’s ops director] mad with our many questions! We launched the extension of Softly Drawn there and also introduced the sub brand Vivacious Veg (hero brand Violent Veg). So, taken by the excitement of decided to sponsor the first ever PG lunch with a red carpet life size characters line up of Vivacious Veg, every waiter adorned with a branded Violent Veg apron. The show has grown every year with more of our friendly competition being added to the list, this for us is always welcome as we all bring something to the table which most importantly brings the much wanted buyers and retail owners in. PG Live is without doubt the top ‘go to’ card show in the UK.”
The industry’s biggest changes: “The closing of half of the Clintons’ estate overnight had a massive effect on us and many others. However, we managed to survive this thanks to great leadership and quick action from the CBG board. The grocers have really widened their card offerings so are now very much key customers of ours. We are all aware the struggles of the high street, however relationships are strong and we continue to work hard at delivering great product and service everyday.”
Carte Blanche’s decade: “With various acquisitions over the years Carte Blanche has changed quite considerably. Wishing Well followed by Hotchpotch were the first acquisitions building the CBG portfolio to cover further genres. Very recently the company acquired the licence for Blue Mountain Arts and distribution rights for Danilo, Emotional Rescue and Gemma International as part of our Is It Art business, another recent acquisition. And then of course has been the launch of our All Creatures plush brand which is gaining great traction. This all means we now have a uniquely comprehensive offering of some of the best brands the industry has to offer.”
At this year’s show: “We are building on our humour ranges, will have a new specialist range from Wishing Well and lots going on from Hotchpotch!”
See Carte Blanche on Stand 122