Progressive Greetings March 2019 Issue Out Now

Spring almost here with the green shoots and daffodils offerings a sense of optimism as PG March edition shares its bounty of greeting card industry news, views, hot topics confronted, fabulous new greeting card launches and insightful columns.

In an ‘emotional acquisition’ David Greaves has bought Emotional Rescue (Emo), the greeting card company he ran (and co-owned) for 22 years until 2013 from industry stalwart Martin Nevin.

Brett Smith, former sales director of Danilo, has joined Emo as joint managing director, with a shareholding in the business. Discover more on this publisher development (click to page 9).

Above: A prophetic photo at a Henries event. Brett Smith (left) with David Greaves (right), Martin Nevin (second left) and Ruth Young (Clintons).
Above: A prophetic photo at a Henries event. Brett Smith (left) with David Greaves (right), Martin Nevin (second left) and Ruth Young (Clintons).

Hearts were beating anticipation for Valentine’s Day, and thankfully card sales pulsed strongly. Among those delighted by the performance of the first Spring Seasons event of 2019 was Scribbler, who revealed that its Valentine’s Day card sales were 9% up on the previous year.

John Lewis experienced a passionate last minute surge, seeing in the final week sales come through at +18%.

Read more about how Valentine’s Day panned out for retailers in PG March’s News (click to page 11).

Above: Scribbler had a stonking Valentine’s season this year.
Above: Scribbler had a stonking Valentine’s season this year.

The world’s oldest Valentine’s card was successfully won by co-owner of Progressive Greetings, Jakki Brown, when it went under the hammer recently at auction.

When the historic card went on sale at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall, Derbyshire on 14 February a flurry of escalating bids came in from all over the world, but Jakki held her nerve to clinch the winning bid.

This special Valentine’s card, which dates back to the reign of Mad King George III, belonged to the late Lawrence Randle, a keen philatelist and card collector, and fetched £7,192 at Hansons’ auction, way over the expected selling price.

As soon as the news broke of the sale of the world’s oldest Valentine’s card the global media interest went into overdrive resulting in a mass of coverage of the story. (Click to page 15)

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

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the GCA. The industry’s trade association christened its centenary with the unveiling of a new logo and the promise of a whole programme of initiatives.

Unveiling its new look branding at the recent GCA Speed-dating with Dragons event, Amanda Fergusson, chief executive of the GCA, stated: “Greeting cards are all about celebrating and marking life’s events and moments, so it is wholly appropriate that we celebrate the GCA’s own significant 100 year milestone.”

Read more about the GCA’s milestone year (click to page 19).

Above: GCA’s ceo, Amanda Fergusson holding the new GCA logo.
Above: GCA’s ceo, Amanda Fergusson holding the new GCA logo.

‘Fired up’ to meet the retailing panel at the third GCA’s Speed-dating With Dragons event at London’s Business Design Centre, some 72 greeting card publishers made the most of the opportunities of pitching their companies’ ranges to 18 of the UK’s top greeting card retailers in a series of one-to-one 10 minute ‘dates’ with buyers from multiples, small groups and indies.

Additionally, industry stalwarts, Ged Mace of The Art File, Paul Woodmansterne of Woodmansterne Publications and Brett Smith, now of Emotional Rescue, covered a whole gamut of pertinent business issues in a knowledge-filled panel session during the event (click to page 21).

Above: A Dragons pitching session in action.
Above: A Dragons pitching session in action.

With card buyers out in force at Top Drawer Spring and Spring Fair at the NEC (click here for photo moments of the show, pages 32-33), PG March asks retailers what new greeting card publishers’ new launches are showing ‘strong green shoots’, as well as their view on the industry’s eco pursuit.

“There are lots of lovely new fresh card ranges and additions to existing collections,” states Michelle Ellingham, owner of Box of Delights, Flitwick. However, Michelle highlights how some of the public’s environmental concerns are a little eractic. “I recently had a customer, buying her Christmas cards in our ‘half price sale’, who said to me, “I won’t be buying your glittery cards and wrapping paper next Christmas if I can’t recycle them”. She then asked me to put her purchase in one of our plastic carrier bags as it was raining!”

Discover more in March’s issue (click to pages 27-31).

Above: Box of Delights’ Michelle Ellingham tidying her Valentine’s display.
Above: Box of Delights’ Michelle Ellingham tidying her Valentine’s display.

Elevation is the key trend in the ascent on cards in 2019. From the celebration of enriching female bonds to optimistic coral hues and abundant ocean reef life, or sparkling brazenly with disco maximalism to Apollo 11 taking to the skies, there’s a sense of soaring into the stratosphere on card designs, serving as some relief from earthly troubles and strife.

PG takes a look at the cornucopia of inspirations and visual trends rising high on greeting cards in 2019.

Find out more in March PG (click to pages 35-37).

Above: Going boldly into space, Lorna Syson’s Astro Pets range.
Above: Going boldly into space, Lorna Syson’s Astro Pets range.

From the rising costs of paper to environmental awareness, licensing tie-ups, awards, design trends and new launches, the annual Focus On Giftwrappings parcels, presents and delivers news from this vibrant and creative sector. (Click to pages 49-57)

Above: Rani Moochhala, founder of Paper Mirchi, recently won a Gift Of the Year award in the Design & Craft category for her beautifully hand-crafted giftwrap papers.
Above: Rani Moochhala, founder of Paper Mirchi, recently won a Gift Of the Year award in the Design & Craft category for her beautifully hand-crafted giftwrap papers.

And, of course, March PG also includes new product pages Innovations (click to pages 39-45); wise words from regular columnists, card publisher Blue Eyed-Sun’s Jeremy Corner, who discusses the importance of feedback (click to pages 58-59), and David Robertson of Scottish retailer JP Pozzi, who reflects on grief and the power and support of Sympathy cards after the recent sad loss of his dad (click to pages 46-47).

Above: David Robertson with his mum Lynda and dad Jim, who sadly passed away recently.
Above: David Robertson with his mum Lynda and dad Jim, who sadly passed away recently.

Plus, what’s currently the hottest card product for retailers (click to pages 64-65), Cardsharp on Brokerage (click to pages 24-25) and the industry’s latest news (click to pages 9-23).

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

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

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