Yippee…the UK greeting card industry is back, fully open for business, with today’s reopening of card shops in Northern Ireland (April 30) following on from our friends up in Scotland at the start of the week. And cardies in England and Wales are fully back in the swing of it since flingin open their doors on April 12.
And doesn’t it feel good to be back in the running?! Adding to the joy, Progressive Greetings’ April edition is out now, full of news, views, insights and fantabulous new launches.
Of course, we are not out of the woods yet and there is much to be done to ramp up trade to pre-pandemic levels, but at least we are back in with a chance, and there are opportunities out there.
Cardzone is all set to open another 22 stores by the mid-year point while its joint venture with Postmark signals growth for this plucky entrepreneurial card retailer. (Click to pages 12-13)
After such a long lockdown, indies were more than ready to fling open their doors again and welcome back their lovely customers, especially those coming in with their greeting card shopping lists!
The Viewpoints section is full of retailers’ revelations on their reopening experiences. (Click to page 24-25)
“I now feel like I can stop holding my breath as things begin to feel more normal again,” said Sarah Laker, owner of Stationery Supplies in Marple and Wilmslow. “Through all this I was determined that I wasn’t going to let the pandemic take away all I’d worked so hard to achieve so my motto was ‘I will survive’ in true Gloria Gaynor style, and I have. Phew. #onwardsand upwards!”
Sadly, the extended lockdowns and ‘work from home’ pattern has unfortunately resulted in Cards Galore, one of the industry’s longest standing specialist multiples, going into administration. Cardsharp covers this and other retailing developments in his column in this month’s edition. (Click to pages 22-23)
Meanwhile, David Robertson shares his views on the passing of Prince Phillip and the common media thread that the Duke had a ‘life well lived’ and questions how, as lockdown measures ease, we will be ensuring our lives (business and personal) are being ‘well lived’. (Click to pages 20-21)
Certainly, doing its bit to care for the future wellbeing of the planet, Danilo Promotions has set up a ‘Green Team’, and is well underway on its sustainable journey. The publisher’s Dan Grant (licensing director) and Claire Bates (marketing manager) share their experiences in the hope that it will help other card and calendar companies follow suit. (Click to pages 28-29)
Meanwhile, a recent project initiated by the GCA is helping to sustain the next generation of greeting card designers, publishers and purchasers.
“New designers and publishers are the lifeblood of our industry, bringing in fresh ideas and approaches, yet so many talented illustration students out there have little idea of the opportunities that are open to them within our sector,” a view Chris Bryan, joint general manager of Second Nature (and vice president of the GCA) knows to be true, as his own son Thomas is in his final year of an Illustration & Graphic Design degree at the School of Creative Arts at University of Hertfordshire. Set to form a blueprint for other collaborations with schools, colleges and universities, Chris and fellow GCA-ers gave a lecture to the Uni students all about the greeting card industry as a potential career well as setting a design brief for a greeting card competition. You can read all about it! (Click to pages 36-37)
Proof that there is certainly no let-up in the creativity from card publishers or indeed their agility in adapting to the psychological as well as the aesthetic tastes, a special focus on male cards highlights how a yearn for adventure (both near and far) while acknowledging mental health needs are being well met on the card front.
Added to this, the Innovations pages are brimming with inspiration, to cover all of today’s card buying needs. (Click to pages 30-31)
Meanwhile, a quad of leading independent retailers share what card ranges and gift products having been catching the eyes of their customers in the popular What’s Hot section. (Click to 44-45)
And someone who has created hundreds of greeting card designs for different publishers and is still full of ideas is artist Andrew Thornton. He reveals his inspirations and aspirations in the Art Source section. (Click to pages 42-43)
All this and more in the pages of a lovely glossy magazine. Wouldn’t you like to hold it in your hands so you can flick through and read it wherever it takes your fancy?
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However, if you can’t wait, to read the whole PG April 2021 edition, you can click here.