The ongoing excitement of Wimbledon certainly sustains the nail-biting thrill of a summer of sports, with England in the semis of the Cricket World Cup this Thursday following on from very respectable performance of the England Lionesses’ performance in the Women’s World Cup. But it’s far from ‘game, set and match’ yet as the July publication of Progressive Greetings is out now, bringing an ace serving of greeting card industry news, insights and views as well as an abundance of fresh product launches.
There was a definite festive feel to the PG Live show last month. Not just the buzz of business with reactions to the many thousands of stunning new card designs being launched, but also the happy sounds of industry friends from far and wide catching up.
“What another great PG Live! As always there was a super vibe, making it a real pleasure to chat to publishers old and new.
The timing of the show and being able to compare and contrast cards all under one roof without other distractions is why this show is so beneficial. Springboard is also a big part of the draw for us because we love working with up and coming publishers as well as the established ones,” states Lisa Rutherford, buyer of stationery and seasonal events for John Lewis & Partners.
Lisa spotted some showstoppers at PG Live, including “Wendy Bell whose photographic florals were stunning – a real highlight of the show. Also great to see Raj Arora at Davora with a new contemporary look across his multi-faith assortment.
We were also really pleased to see the amount of publishers who have quickly embraced ‘plastic free’ into their offer, making those discussions very straightforward,” adds Lisa.
Find out from a selection of retailers at the show which publishers’ collections stood out at PG Live last month (click to pages 33-41).
See PG Live 2019 in pictures – the meeters and greeters wonderfully attired in dresses made from exhibitors’ greeting cards and wrap, Lagom’s ‘I’m a card-aholic’ PG Live visitor keepsake tote bags, Tache’s and Louise Tiler Design’s fabulous job decorating the Gallery Hall for lunch and the Opening Night Party, GF Smith’s colourful and eco badge holders, fashion icon Zandra Rhodes on MGML’s stand, and the global greeting card community that converged at London’s Business Design Centre for PG Live 2019 last month (vclick to pages 43-47).
Wrendale’s co-owners Hannah and Jack Dale received a Royal welcome recently at Buckingham Palace as the Lincolnshire-based publisher was a recipient of a 2019 Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade in recognition of the company’s extraordinary global success.
“We were so delighted to receive the Queen’s Award in recognition of our export growth, but this would not have been possible without the continued support of our UK retail customers and of course our team. This award is very much shared with them,” states Hannah.
Read more about Wrendale’s accolade in PG July (click to pages 66-67).
Stuart McKay, chairman of Paper Rose, talks about the decision to add Grass Roots’ Write from the Heart ranges to the publisher’s portfolio.
The Grass Roots/Write from the Heart launch at PG Live last month on Paper Rose’s stand came two and a half months after the news broke that the long-established Liverpool-based publisher Grass Roots International had ceased trading and was to be liquidated. Alerted to an opportunity, the Simon Elvin group (which comprises Nigel Quiney, Glick, Simon Elvin, Polytint and Paper Rose) acquired the vast design and verse bank of Grass Roots International, 90% of the Grass Roots’ stock from the receivers, as well as thousands of cards from three of the company’s printers, and the publisher’s brand names, Grass Roots and Write from the Heart.
“The most important thing was to get up and running as quickly as possible to be able to serve Grass Roots’ existing customers so as to ensure continuity of supply, but we had to first work out what products we could offer them straightaway from the stock we had bought,” says Stuart.
Discover more in PG July (click to page 48-49).
Taking the pulsing heartbeat of the first of Valentine’s, celebrating female empowerment and superhero mums for Mother’s Day, it’s a bunny bonanza for Easter, and a league of trophies awarded to dads for service to the family on Father’s Day, PG July spotlights some of the trends and influencers on 2020 Spring Seasons designs (click to pages 63-65).
Numerous cardies have revealed their special greeting card memories through featuring images of their treasured cards on the GCA’s #cardtokeep Instagram campaign, an initiative that’s just a part of the GCA’s 100th anniversary celebrations.
Sharing her own greeting card memory Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA, says: “In the 1980s, I worked as a Saturday girl in a card shop that was owned by Andrew Brownsword’s mum. My diary entry explains that my favourite card at the time was the panda design from the Andrew Brownsword Dino range. I could not believe it when my best friend sent it to me without realising how much I loved it. Discovering that I had kept it safe in my diary for over 30 years is a lovely reminder of the time when I first fell in love with greeting cards and appreciated the connection they bring.”
Encouraging everyone to post an image of their respective #cardtokeep and share the story behind it on Instagram – tagging in the GCA on @GCA_UK for re-post submissions – those who are not on Instagram can email their card images and story behind it to Amanda on Amandagca@max-publishing.co.uk
Go to Viewpoints to discover more greeting card stories (click pages 29-31).
When last September the Fenwick department store group, centralised all its functions across its estate, including its greeting card buying there were groans of disappointment from many card suppliers fearful it would result in a homogenous card offering, a drop in sales and a step back from the enjoyable working relationships with the store buyers.
However, PG discovered from talking to Abigail Ball, who heads up the card buying for all nine stores, and Lizzie Tillmanns, who provides the sales analysis and forecasting, the new thrust at Fenwick is to give the card selection “a fresh look”, one that is very much tailored to each of the stores’ demographics and customers’ buying tastes.
“Local is at the heart of our business and this needs to be reflected on our card displays too,” explains Abigail. “Some 30% of the cards in each store will cater for local tastes,” whether that is in the words used on a design, specific type of cards or from a local designer. “So, we need to offer a selection of ‘Mam’ cards in Newcastle, while in our Brent Cross store, to cater for its customer demographics, we need to ensure there is a dedicated display of Jewish cards.” (Click to pages 60-61).
Within July’s Progressive Greetings, the Focus On Art Cards paints a picture of the gallery of news from this sector of the market and takes a look at artistic trend inspirations ‘brushing’ on to cards garnered from recent art, fashion, design, garden and photographic exhibitions in the UK (click to pages 68-71).
And, of course, July PG also includes some fabulous new launches in its Innovations section (click to pages 51-59); wise words from regular columnists, card publisher Blue Eyed-Sun’s Jeremy Corner, who takes the Plastic Free July pledge (click to pages 76-77), and David Robertson of Scottish retailer JP Pozzi, who ‘screens’ his sequel to comparing superhero indies to Avengers: The Endgame. (Click to pages 24-25).
All this in the pages of a lovely glossy magazine and online too!
Click here to read the whole PG July 2019 edition online, click here https://issuu.com/maxpublishing/docs/pg_july_2019
However, like a greeting card, it is always better to turn the pages of a real magazine – what’s more one filled with stuff you want to know!
Click here to place your order for a magazine you can read in bed, on the toilet, in the shop…in fact anywhere you damn well fancy! https://www.max-subscriptions.net/print-media/product/progressive-greetings/