It’s been a true British summer of rain and shine; great news for the garden! And along with the showers and heatwaves is the August publication of Progressive Greetings, which is out now, a rainbow that reflects the greeting card industry news, events and views as well as fresh product launches.
Positivity was all around at this year’s Retas Awards with retailers cheering on and supporting other retailers at the start of July. Then, at Harrogate Home & Gift, publishers were showcasing some beautiful greeting card product that are sent as messages of caring.
With lots of happy industry happenings in the last four weeks, the wonderful issue of August PG packs a positive punch!
The Retas 2019 winners were announced at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Mayfair last month. On a ‘Frida Fiesta’ theme in homage to the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the greeting card retailer awards event was hosted by comedian and improvisation maestro, Pippa Evans and attended by over 425 greeting card retailers, publishers and suppliers.
Welcoming guests, Warren Lomax, co-owner of PG, which organises The Retas, said: “As with so many of the talented retailers that we celebrate in The Retas 2019, Frida’s skills were totally self-taught, not only that but she overcame adversity to produce brilliant end results of astonishing beauty. And much the same can be said of the inventive entrepreneurial retailers here who have fought the tough retail landscape using their own passion and tenacity to craft an inspiring retail environment to delight customers.”
Find out who the winners of The Retas 2019 are (click to pages 33-43).
See The Retas’ Frida Kahlo-themed awards captured in pictures at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Mayfair last month – wonderful Retas compere Pippa Evans, The Adelitas all-female mariachi band, the gorgeous menus created by Paper Salad, Eurowrap’s Mexican style goodie giftbags stuffed with take home treats, the bold and colourful blooms that adorned the room from Budget Greeting Cards and the ‘higher and lower’ quiz sponsored by Cath Tate Cards, plus some moustache and uni-brow antics (click to pages 29-31).
As we embrace mid-summer, PG discovers which card ranges are currently bringing a ray of sunshine to retailers’ racks. Sizzling on her shelves, Maggie Wynn, owner of Just Cards, Honiton says: “We really like what Dollyhotdogs is doing. The company is based in Devon so it is nice for us to have local cards to sell in our shop. The cards are very different and the colours so vibrant,” adding, “We were also impressed with what Apple & Clover launched at PG Live; the Bow Ties range was fantastic. We also ordered the nice male range from Richard Partis at the show.
Siobhain Watkins, assistant buyer of Oliver Bonas, has some sunny favourites that are shining in the multiple’s stores: “We are really loving the Oh Squirrel glitter text range, and some recently added lines have had really great reactions for us.
Also Ohh Deer’s new pin range looks great and we’re really excited to see these in our stores. Cards with added extras are real winners at the moment for us, and are really driving sales.”
Go to Viewpoints to discover more retailers’ hot picks (click pages 25-27).
With localised card designs and gifts appealing to both tourists and regional residents, a neighborhood of retailers share a ‘taste’ of the local-themed cards and gifts that their customers are lapping up.
Utility has three stores in Liverpool and one in Manchester. Steph Lloyd, retail buyer for the retailer has noticed that, “There is definitely a loud tribal calling in Liverpool especially. Liverpool-themed gifting has always been a very strong department for us, and while we always see a rise in sales over the summer months when the city is full with tourists, we also find Liverpool gifts are extremely popular with our local customers, especially in the lead up to Christmas. Year to date our Liverpool gift sales are up 22% on last year which is largely thanks to LFC’s Champions League win and the addition of Wotmalike’s Jurgen Klopp and Mo Salah keyrings and coasters to our range.”
And Graham Fraser, owner of Alba in Oban, revers local product: “Local is good, very good! This gives us our unique point of difference from large chains and the dreaded Internet. Customers like ‘local’ because they are able to show off where they live/visit to the recipient of the card and/or gift.”
Go local and discover more in PG August (click to page 51-53).
The Blue Diamond Group is on fertile ground. Not only was the garden centre retail multiple doubly feted at The Retas – winning Best Garden Centre Retailer of Greeting Cards as well as the top accolade of Greeting Card Retailer of the Year – the retail group announced that it has acquired another six garden centres, taking it up to 36 locations.
Blue Diamond’s inspiring approach to its retailing emporiums has seen it win plaudits, from customers and the trade alike. And this anewed embrace of opportunities has extended into greeting cards. Angie Goosen, who single-handedly buys all the greeting cards, wrap, stationery, gifts and books for the group, only joined at the start of this year but she is already making her mark.
“I walked through the card hall at Spring Fair with Alan Roper, md and he said to me “our mission is to create a look that is different to that of any other garden centre”. Each card department needs to be a beautiful space that is unique, which customers really enjoy being in, which is what the last six months has been all about,” Angie said.
Read more about Blue Diamond Group’s greeting card ‘polish’ (click to pages 56-57).
And, of course, August PG also includes new product pages Innovations (click to pages 45-49); wise words from regular columnists, card publisher Blue Eyed-Sun’s Jeremy Corner, who experiences The Landmark Forum (click to pages 63-64), and David Robertson of Scottish retailer JP Pozzi, who reflects on the positivity in the room at the recent Retas Awards (click to pages 20-21).
All this in the pages of a lovely glossy magazine and online too!