Progressive Greetings’ April 2019 Issue Is Out Now  

As spring is bursting all around so the April edition of Progressive Greetings delivers an abundance of industry news and events, views, trends and fresh product launches.

With Paperchase recently receiving the approval from its creditors (which includes many card publishers) for its CVA (Creditors Voluntary Arrangement), Timothy Melgund, deputy chairman of Paperchase gave his assurance to its concerned suppliers that the retailer “can continue paying to terms”. He also said that a top priority was to “start rebuilding trust and trading relationships with our valued partners. They have been very supportive, which is really appreciated, and it makes you realise how lucky we are to have such strong relationships in the trade.”

Read more about the terms of Paperchase’s CVA in PG April’s News (click to page 9).

Above: Timothy Melgund, deputy chairman of Paperchase is thankful of the support from card suppliers.
Above: Timothy Melgund, deputy chairman of Paperchase is thankful of the support from card suppliers.

Long-established traditional card publisher, Grass Roots International is no more having ceased trading last month.

The Liverpool-based publisher, best known for its Write from the Heart brand, was co-owned by Rob Brown and Lisa Ardren, and had been trading for 24 years.

According to one of the joint liquidators of the business, Parkin S Booth’s Robert Rutherford, “a difficult market, competition and struggles on the high street” were among the reasons for the business’ failure (click to page 13).

Above: Grass Roots’ best known brand was Write from the Heart (that has been acquired by Simon Elvin
Above: Grass Roots’ best known brand was Write from the Heart (that has been acquired by Simon Elvin

In a positive move for the greeting card sector, Canadian private equity company Ardenton Capital Corporation has bought a 51% stake in the UK’s largest greeting card wholesaler, Budget Greeting Cards (BGC) for an undisclosed sum.

The wholesaler and card publishing operation was set up in the 1970s by Paul Lavery and his brother, Martin, who expanded the business to eight cash-and-carry wholesale operations in Britain and Ireland, with a head office in Manchester.

Paul summed up: “The business has been trading well for more than 30 years, so it was crucial for us that we found an investor who believed in the long-term growth of the company.”

To find out more (click to page 18).

Above: Canadian private equity company Ardenton Capital has bought a 51% stake in Budget Greeting Cards.
Above: Canadian private equity company Ardenton Capital has bought a 51% stake in Budget Greeting Cards.

Accentuating the positives as an antidote to all the current never-ending wash of negativity, April issue’s Viewpoints shines a sunny spotlight on indies, who reveal what or who has recently raised a smile, highlight a local hero and share a bonus business decision.

“Lots has made me smile today in the shop… I was listening to strangers: a lady in her 20s, pregnant with her first child, due date passed, and a great grandmother telling her how her family has enriched her life and showing such humility to the younger woman. Beautiful,” shares Deborah Tingay, owner of Southbourne Cards, Bournemouth.

Find out more in April PG (click to pages 21-23).

Above: Deborah Tingay, owner of Southbourne Cards, Bournemouth with her Retas 2018 trophy.
Above: Deborah Tingay, owner of Southbourne Cards, Bournemouth with her Retas 2018 trophy.

Fittingly, for someone who has given his all to Hallmark for over two decades – driving the UK company through a major change of structure, seen it win some key accounts, and also share the responsibility for the brand’s presence elsewhere in the globe – Steve Wright, managing director of Hallmark UK and co-ceo of Hallmark International, received a great ‘retirement do’ send off last month.

“I feel like the time is right for me to leave the business and I’ll take with me very fond memories of the journey Hallmark has been on,” said Steve. “Prior to joining Hallmark, the longest I had spent working for a company was three years. However, having spent the last 22 and half years with the company, I can honestly say I have had an amazing time – the business, the people, the industry, there’s no better”, he added.

Read more on Steve’s two decades in the trade at the helm of one of the largest global players (click to page 35).

Above: Steve Wright (right) with Harry Birtley, another notable Hallmark md retiree.
Above: Steve Wright (right) with Harry Birtley, another notable Hallmark md retiree.

“My heart missed a beat as soon as I saw the Valentine’s as I knew that it was something very special,” says Charles Hanson, founder of Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall and Teddington

Auctioneer Charles is well-known on TV shows such as Antiques Road Trip, Bargain Hunt, Flog It! and For What It’s Worth, as well as a popular choice to undertake high profile charity auctions, but Charles knew he’d found something special when, among a collection of around 200 mainly Victorian and Georgian greeting cards, which had belonged to Lawrence Randle, a keen card collector philatelist, he discovered one of the world’s oldest Valentine’s card, bought at auction recently by PG’s Jakki Brown.

Discover more in April’s issue (click to pages 42 – 43).

Above: Charles Hanson with the delicate Valentine that dates back to 1790-1810 that is now owned by PG’s Jakki Brown.
Above: Charles Hanson with the delicate Valentine that dates back to 1790-1810 that is now owned by PG’s Jakki Brown.

With April’s Progressive Greetings, Focus On Male Cards takes a look at the retro trend and why the 1970s and 80s revival is ‘flaring’ up on male card designs.

“I think nostalgia has a huge part to play when it comes to us blokes. Most of us have fond memories relating to the 70s/80s/90s, ranging from video games through to mix tapes. You just have to think of the vinyl revival and the retro arcade games you see when you visit a Brew Dog pub or Urban Outfitters,” believes Frank Mountain, operations director for Lola Design.

Discover more about this retro rewind (click to pages 36 – 37).

And Suits You Sir! highlights new male card ranges tailored for men (click to pages 39 – 41).

Above: A Panache male design from Real & Exciting Designs (Mint).
Above: A Panache male design from Real & Exciting Designs (Mint).

Lee Keeper, Woodmansterne’s creative director, ‘pours’ the news about the publisher’s new Emma Bridgewater greeting card collection that was nicely brewed with the well-respected pottery brand.

After discovering the business card of Eleanor West, licensing manager of Emma Bridgewater while Lee was tidying his desk, “It was immediately apparent to me that Emma Bridgewater would be such a great ‘brand fit’ with Woodmansterne as there are so many shared values of product quality, commitment to UK manufacturing and distinctive design. Within a week a meeting had been arranged,” he reveals.

Read more about the licensing tie-up (click to page 46 – 47).

Above: Being a British brand, that produces all its products in The Potteries, Emma Bridgewater is a great fit with Woodmansterne.
Above: Being a British brand, that produces all its products in The Potteries, Emma Bridgewater is a great fit with Woodmansterne.

And, of course, April PG also includes new product pages Innovations (click to pages 29-33); wise words from regular columnists, card publisher Blue Eyed-Sun’s Jeremy Corner, who discusses glimpsing your business blind spot (click to pages 44-45), and David Robertson of Scottish retailer JP Pozzi, who talks about clichés surrounding the current retail climate (click to pages 24-25).

Above: Are you avoiding glimpsing your businesses blind spot? Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner discusses his experience.
Above: Are you avoiding glimpsing your businesses blind spot? Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner discusses his experience.

Plus, what’s currently the hottest card product for retailers (click to pages 52-53), Cardsharp (click to pages 26-27) and the industry’s latest news (click to pages 9-19).

All this in the pages of a lovely glossy magazine and online too!

Click here to read the whole PG April 2019 edition online.

 

 

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