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Progressive Greetings May 2019 Issue Out Now

Perched on the edge of summer, a time for sunshine and picnics in the park, the May edition of Progressive Greetings brings an abundance of greeting card industry news, views, tasty columnists’ musings, fresh product launches and much, much more!

It’s been a big month for news… for starters, Lincolnshire greeting card and gift brand, Wrendale Designs, founded by wife and husband team Hannah and Jack Dale, has been honoured with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade.

Launching the business at PG Live in 2012 with The Country Set range, the Wrendale Designs’ portfolio has expanded to include a wide range of gift, stationery and homewares, with its export sales growing more than 400% over the last three years

Read more about Wrendale’s accolade in PG May’s News.

Wrendale Designs.
Above: Hannah and Jack Dale, co-owners of Wrendale Designs will be off to the Palace next month.

The Retas Finalists 2019 have been announced, representing the crème of greeting card retail stockists in the UK. The winners will be unveiled at The Retas Frida Kahlo-themed afternoon event on Wednesday 10 July at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane, not at The Dorchester as previously announced.

The decision to change the venue for the awards event was in protest to the anti-human rights laws that came into force on April 3 in Brunei. (The Dorchester is among the nine luxury hotels that are owned by the Sultan of Brunei).  Max Publishing (which also owns Progressive Greetings and organises The Retas Awards) as well as many from the card trade joined the international outcry. It was announced this weekend that bending to pressure, the death penalty will not be enforced for same-sex relationships so the protest was worth it.

Discover more about industry stalwarts who pledged their support of The Retas’ boycott of The Dorchester in PG May’s news.

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Above: Malvern’s Austin & Co were among those to join in the boycott of The Dorchester.

There’s been a lot more naked action, with both Paperchase and John Lewis & Partners preparing to stock cellowrap-free cards in their stores.

Paperchase has instigated a trial of naked cards in its stores involving a trio of the retailer’s best selling card ranges. And John Lewis & Partners is now working towards going naked on cards to coincide with its Autumn replan, which goes into stores in October.

Meanwhile on the publisher front, Ohh Deer has pledged to adopt Windles Kard Klasp and take off the cellowrap while Wraptious, another naked warrior is also planting three trees for every card sold. To find out more click to page 11.

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Above: Ohh Deer is ditching cellowrap in favour of a Kard Klasp.

“Our Mother’s Day Card sales were fantastic. It was our strongest ever Mother’s Day week in 20 years of retailing. Not including our Manchester store (which opened less than two weeks before Mother’s Day) our year-on-year sales with our existing stores were over 30% up – an actual rise of over 1,200 single cards,” says Katie Cowie, director of Utility, which has three shops in Liverpool and one in Manchester.

And it seems it was a good Mother’s Day for many card retailers, with the event falling later in the month, the gorgeous weather and, of course, that we wanted to show our love and gratitude to our mums.

Rod Saunders, co-owner of Card Shack in Broadstairs, had a stonking Mother’s Day, but he saw “a notable uptake on cards featuring a ‘Mothering Sunday’ caption. We were surprised as we are known for our quirky humour, but people couldn’t get enough of the more traditional floral designs featuring Mothering Sunday.”

PG May’s Viewpoints reveals how this major Spring Seasons card sending event stack up for retailers, which publisher’s designs were the star performers as well as share whether they had noted any changes to buying habits for this year’s event.

To read more on retailers’ Mother’s Day card sales 2019 click here and in News.

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Above: Paperlink’s Mothering Sunday designs flew out of Card Shack.

 “We first met Frank and Pennie [the co-founders of Tache] at PG Live five years ago. We have very different looks to our greeting cards, but it is so good to have friends in the industry that are growing at a similar rate enabling you to share the journey together,” believes Louise Tiler, the namesake of Louise Tiler Designs.

Sharing their fifth anniversaries as both card publishers and friends, publishers Tache and Louise Tiler will celebrate their half-decade by inviting the visitors and exhibitors of PG Live to lunch two days running, and will also be putting on a great evening party to boot, as co-sponsors of the lunchroom and opening day drinks bash at this year’s PG Live show (June 4 and 5).

Above: (Left-right): Tache’s Frank Nicholls and Pennie Bryant with Michael Jellie, the head chef at the Business Design Centre (where PG Live takes place) with Louise Tiler Designs’ Louise Tiler and Gavin Nicholas in the kitchen.
Above: (Left-right): Tache’s Frank Nicholls and Pennie Bryant with Michael Jellie, the head chef at the Business Design Centre (where PG Live takes place) with Louise Tiler Designs’ Louise Tiler and Gavin Nicholas in the kitchen.

An art form that has been going on since the 8th century with Japanese Origami, creative paper engineering is currently having a renaissance in the greeting card industry, with much activity in the modern day 3D and pop up cards ‘fold’.

“We’ve all seen the increasing crossover in the greetings market towards gifting, and 3D cards provide the opportunity to combine the two,“ says David Falkner, director of Cardology.

Echoing the views held by others, David says that the recent addition of new competitors into the fold has served “to bring the whole category even more to the forefront of consumers’ minds – and it’s great to see some of the stunning work people are producing.”

Above: An Alljoy Message in a Bottle design.
Above: An Alljoy Message in a Bottle design.

Accompanying May’s Progressive Greetings, the Focus On Humour Cards supplement takes a look at the chortling news, retailers’ views, fresh launches and tittering topics in this sector of the market, with a spotlight on cartoonists’ funny and side-ways life observations, and also how a wave of current social, cultural and edible changes and trends are inspiring humour card designs.

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Above: With a totally topical taste, a Dean Morris design.

And, of course, May PG also includes new product pages Innovations wise words from regular columnists, card publisher Blue EyedSun’s Jeremy Corner, who discusses going the distance in business, and David Robertson of Scottish retailer JP Pozzi, who takes the greeting card taste challenge.

Above: PG retail columnist, David Robertson.
Above: PG retail columnist, David Robertson.

Plus, what’s currently the hottest card product for retailers, Cardsharp and the industry’s latest news.

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

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

However, it is always better to read it ‘in the flesh’. Why not take out a subscription? And while you’re at it, Max Publishing publishes some other great mags too that you might be interested in. Take a look.

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