Want to know the latest on how much the UK market is worth? Interested to learn what are the service bugbears of independent card retailers? Keen to get the low down on Waitrose’s ambitious plans to double its card sales? Want to relive the wonderful Ladder Club seminars? All this and loads more are between the covers of the October edition of Progressive Greetings magazine, which is out now in physical form and online.
The recently published UK Greeting Card Market Report 2017 from the GCA has revealed the triumphant industry news that the British public spent £1.75 billion on greeting cards in the last year – more than £500,000 more than the previous year.
Sharon Little, ceo of the GCA, rightly points out: “The findings in this report prove that the British appetite for buying and sending greeting cards continues unabated, with cards remaining the preferred choice when it comes to expressing a personal message.” (click to pages 27-29).
With fewer agents, a spate of altering distribution arrangements, and the changing shape of card publishers’ sales forces, how do independent card retailers feel about the transformations on the service landscape?
As Stuart Delahoy, owner of Set Design in Leicester sums up: “All we want as indies is a phone call/email asking us what’s going well, product updates and a brochure and help with any niggles from a dedicated account manager who knows our name and shop. It’s what we as retailers have to do with our customers every day.” (click to pages 24-25).
You can ‘alpaca’ a bag and go in search of trends that are making their way onto greeting cards – or you can read PG!
“Who doesn’t want to have a South American vibe in their home? Especially with the British summer we have had! Pops of colour makes everyone happy, and the South American look and feel certainly does that, whether that’s in your home or on your stationery!” exclaims Bluebell 33’s Tim Clark.
The South American influences are ‘Amazonian’ in stature on greeting cards, in the form of cacti, colourful pompoms and especially alpacas and avocados, which are also perfect for some hilarious puns. (click to pages 48-49).
When it comes to words and sentiments cards, as long as the running prose, or succinct phrase, plucks at the heart-strings then it has resonated and accomplished its affectionate message.
“There’s so much instability in the world right now and it’s driving people to focus more on what they value most in life – their friends and family. The sentiments in greeting cards help people strengthen these relationships and stay connected, especially as many family and friends are geographically split”, expresses Ruth Turner-Blood, senior editorial manager for Hallmark, whose Heart Story range won the Best Traditional Words & Sentiments Range in The Henries. (click to pages 41-47).
With the ambition to “double our card sales in the next five years”, Waitrose’s buying manager Sarah Brett, and Kirsty Hicks, greeting card buyer, explain more about the grocer’s greeting card aspirations and revamp of all of the racks in its 350 Waitrose stores. (click to pages 30-31).
Over 150 newbie and expanding card publishers attended the two back-to-back Ladder Club one day seminars at its ‘spiritual home’ of Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex, the first since the death of Ladder Club main founder, Lynn Tait.
And the attendees lapped up the advice, insights and camaraderie that were so generously shared by fellow publishers, retailers and suppliers who took to the lecturn. (click to pages 59-60).
Here Simon Wadsworth, md of Wraptious sums up what he felt about the Day two Ladder Club seminar he attended.
All this, plus new products, news, and the latest thought-provoking musings from PG’s popular columnists. David Robertson delves deep into what motivates us (click to David Robertson), while Jeremy Corner takes a virtual stroll down the digital high street (click to Jeremy) and Cardsharp highlights some imports from down under (click to Cardsharp).
Click here to read the whole PG October 2017 edition online