Progressive Greetings February 2019 Issue Out Now 

It’s showtime! With the buying season in full swing,  PG February steps onto the stage with a plethora of greeting card industry news and views, stories and hot topics and new greeting card launches, and much much more!

The PG Retail Barometer annual survey of independent greeting card retailers reports the findings of how the last year was for indies and their expectations for 2019. The snowy Beast from the East was massively disruptive to business and the grey cloud of Brexit was ever omnipresent, but last summer was one of the hottest on record and the World Cup lifted our spirits, but was this good for card indies?

Discover more of the findings in February’s issue. (click to pages 43-49).

How did your business fare in 2018, compared to 2017?

Above: Indies had a mixed experience last year.
Above: Indies had a mixed experience last year.

Mapping out the future of Cardzone, the dynamic father and son duo Paul Taylor, md, and James Taylor, trading director, discuss the specialist card retail group’s expansion of the last year (notably in Northern Ireland and the launch of its Paper Kisses concept), as well as their aspirations to trade by 150 stores by the end of 2019. (click to pages 50-51).

Above: Cardzone’s Paul Taylor (right) and his son and co-director James.
Above: Cardzone’s Paul Taylor (right) and his son and co-director James.

With a techicolour tide of rainbow icons currently on greeting card designs, PG follows this symbol of love, hope and inclusivity to discover where and why this design trend has appeared in our greeting card skies. A colourful sweep of card publishers share their thoughts on the bright and happy rainbow. (click to pages 53-55).

Above: The rainbow Pride colours on a card from Lagom.
Above: The rainbow Pride colours on a card from Lagom.

Well-respected for its sentiment and traditional ranges, last year saw the Tewksbury-based publisher Cherry Orchard really go for it on the humour front, launching a trio of humour ranges, each with its own interesting back story.

“Last year was the big one for us,” states Jackie Collins, md, about Cherry Orchard’s foray into humour. “I have been itching to get into humorous cards for some time, but was well aware that this was not an area you could just dabble in; you have to go for it,” says Jackie. And Jackie has gone ‘full funny’ with a triumvirate of brands – Wot A Mug, Lucy Like and Dirk and Shirl.

Find out more in February’s issue. (click to pages 56-57).

Above: Spring Fair sees Cherry Orchard extend its Wot a Mug card range onto mugs.
Above: Spring Fair sees Cherry Orchard extend its Wot a Mug card range onto mugs.

“Three key consumer trends which continue to gain momentum in Australia are a) sustainability b) a growing desire to support local and small business and c) mindfulness,” explains Eulinid Stevenson, ceo of Henderson Greetings and Waterlyn, about the greetings industry where the company is based Down Under.

Referring to Brexit, she adds: “It’s hard to pre-empt how the changing economic environment will affect our partners in the UK. We will of course continue to work closely with them during the changes and offer support where possible.”

PG’s International Report on the health and wealth on the global greetings front asks leading overseas distributors of UK product for their take on the impact of Brexit as well as how tricks are in their neck of the woods. (click to pages 67-71).

Above: Two designs from the Lisa Pollock range from Henderson Greetings.
Above: Two designs from the Lisa Pollock range from Henderson Greetings.

What drives the industry’s head creative minds? Museums and art exhibitions, original and inventive retailers, designers and crafts people, foreign travel, these are just a few of the stimulators that inspire some of the greeting card industry’s creative directors and artistic overseers to, in turn, drive and guide their own creative teams to produce imaginative greeting card ranges.

Discover more in February’s issue of PG (click to pages 61-65).

Above: GBCC’s Nick Adsett in Barcelona where the Catalan yellow ribbon icon is graffitied on the steps by the Roy Lichtenstein sculpture, among other places in the city.
Above: GBCC’s Nick Adsett in Barcelona where the Catalan yellow ribbon icon is graffitied on the steps by the Roy Lichtenstein sculpture, among other places in the city.

Retailers breathed a sigh of relief as their Christmas card sales turned out to be much better than expected.

“It was a real cliff hanger,” was how Lisa Rutherford, card buyer of John Lewis & Partners summed up its Christmas card trade, but its single Christmas card sales added lots of sparkle to its festive figures, being up 17% on the year previous.

However, it wasn’t sparkle and baubles for all retailers. Card Galore reported a drop in card sales, which Trish Corner, buyer, attributes largely to Christmas Eve falling on a Monday “as a lot of businesses in London [where a lot of the shops are based] finished for Christmas on the Friday previous so we missed out on some last minute sales.”

Read more about how the 2018 festive season panned out for retailers in PG February’s Viewpoints (click to pages 37-41) and in News (click to page 13).

Above: Forget me Not in Stubbington went for it on its festive displays.
Above: Forget me Not in Stubbington went for it on its festive displays.

After many lifetimes of being ignored, not spoken about, let alone confronted, there is now thankfully a growing understanding of mental health issues in the UK.

Charities do a great deal in building awareness and of course raising funding, and the greeting card industry should take some comfort in the knowledge that £100,000 of the funds raised by the industry’s charity, The Light Fund, (including through monies raised by the raffles at The Retas and The Henries last year) have been put to good use to help fund a helpline, over the next two years, for YoungMinds, the UK’s leading charity in fighting for the mental health needs of children and young people.

Others in the greetings industry are helping break through the stigma of mental health too, including Funky PigeonThortful, May the Thoughts’ creator Charlotte Reed (the cards of which are printed by Danilo) and Emily Coxhead who created The Happy News brand (published on cards by Pigment), ran several Happy Jar workshops in John Lewis stores as part of the retailer’s commitment to World Mental Health Day and raising awareness of the issues. (click to pages 73-75).

Above: YoungMinds’ ceo Emma Thomas (3rd right) and Jo Hardy (3rd left) were delighted to be presented with the cheque from The Light Fund committee members (right-left) Ian Hyder (Max Publishign), Jakki Brown (PG), Trevor Jones (formerly of Danilo) and Kelvyn Gardner (Lima).
Above: YoungMinds’ ceo Emma Thomas (3rd right) and Jo Hardy (3rd left) were delighted to be presented with the cheque from The Light Fund committee members (right-left) Ian Hyder (Max Publishing), Jakki Brown (PG), Trevor Jones (formerly of Danilo) and Kelvyn Gardner (Lima).

During his talk at The Ladder Club, Ged Mace, md of The Art File highlighted that such is the paucity of sales agents and that few are coming onto the scene, that they are something of an endangered species.

Andy Fletcher, an agent whose territory covers Herts, Beds, Bucks, Berks and Oxon, feels: “The world has moved on in the last 30+ years since I joined this trade, but then so has our industry. The agent ‘species’ may be challenged, but is not yet endangered.

Agents in general have contributed such a great amount of knowledge and time to the development of so many companies, providing their ‘coal face’ experience through the retailers with whom they have relationships.”

February PG ‘trailed’ a number of these wonderful agent ‘beasts’ to discover how life in their habitat has been over the last year and do they believe agents are close to extinction? (click to pages 77-81).

Above: Agent Sarah Caldicott up close with a real endangered species!
Above: Agent Sarah Caldicott up close with a real endangered species!

With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and new cosmic realms being explored, extra-terrestrial, space rocket and astronaut art influences will be launched in to the creative galaxy in 2019.

Additional orbiting trends landing into the design planet will be fuelled by the empowerment for the women’s movement, the zeitgeist of diversity, equality and inclusiveness. And another bright fiery spirit, dragons, will be joining the ranks of the mythological messengers.

An interstellar cluster of image library connoisseurs reveal their exploration into the visual trends of 2019. (click to pages 111-117).

Above: Artwork by Claire Coxon from Image Source.
Above: Artwork by Claire Coxon from Image Source.

And, of course, February PG also includes new product pages Innovations, this month featuring some of the new launches at Spring Fair (click to pages 91-109); a Ladder Clubbies’ spotlight (click to page 59); wise words from regular columnists, card publisher Blue Eyed-Sun’s Jeremy Corner, who considers the highs and lows of trade shows (click to pages 87-89), and David Robertson of Scottish retailer JP Pozzi, who, in the Year of the Pig, discusses how hard it is for retailers to ‘bring home the bacon’ (click to pages 29-31).

Plus, what’s currently the hottest card product for retailers (click to pages 119-121) and the industry’s latest news (click to pages 9-25).

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

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

* And there’s more, with this issue comes Progressive Calendars, a special supplement highlighting the current market and fresh calendar launches for 2020.

Above: A Peanuts calendar from BrownTrout.
Above: A Peanuts calendar from BrownTrout.

 

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