After the relaxation and recuperation of a summer break, and the occasional chilled gin and tonic, the September issue of Progressive Greetings is gearing up for the autumn trade shows and has its ear to the ground to share the industry’s news, views, current happenings and new greeting card ranges, plus the 2019 finalists of The Henries Awards.
The excitement spread like wildfire when The Henries Awards 2019 finalists were announced last month.
The judging responsibility lay entirely in the hands of The Henries’ 2019 Judging Panel, which comprised 50 retail buyers from top multiples through to leading independents, who came to PG’s HQ in north London to consider and adjudicate the record number of entries – well over 14,000 cards and wrappings – that were submitted by well over 200 different publishers, large and small.
“We were all absolutely stunned to see the nominations – to have five nominations for Paper Salad and another one for our licensed range by Glick – it is a dream come true! Thank you to all the judges, you have made our year!” Karen Wilson, co-owner of Paper Salad exclaimed when she discovered that the publisher had reached the finals in a multitude of categories in this year’s Henries Awards.
Among other publishers to have received several nominations in the finalists’ list are Paperlink (which appear in seven categories), while Rosie Made A Thing and UK Greetings each earned five nominations. Redback’s ranges are feted in four categories, with Paper Rose/The Art Group/Avocado Designs also receiving four mentions. In fact the Simon Elvin group (of which Paper Rose and Glick are a part) achieved seven nominations in total.
Different to the judging format of the other Henries categories, the finalists for the hotly contested Henries’ Best Service to the Independent Retailer Award 2019 were derived from UK independent retailers’ votes – either online or through the post.
To read more about the building excitement of The Henries (click to page 9). And to take a peak behind the scenes of this year’s Henries Awards’ judging process in this month’s issue of Progressive Greetings (click to pages 26-27). Then to find out who the finalists of The Henries 2019 are (click to pages 33-70).
“We opened in 1990 just as Forever Friends from Andrew Brownsword exploded in popularity as a card brand, so it would be how its captured the hearts of the nation through cards,” says Michelle Ellingham, partner of Box of Delights, Flitwick, when asked at The Henries’ judging day at the end of July to pick a significant event in greeting card history.
Tying in with this year being the GCA’s centenary, the theme of The Henries 2019 awards evening event on October 3 will be ‘100 Years of Greeting Cards’, so this year’s Henries’ judges were asked a trio of historical questions, including picking two famous people of the last century they would like to walk into their shop and what would help safeguard the industry’s future.
Sara Gibson, buying manager of cards and giftwrap at Tesco, adores Coco Chanel, “a true legend who illustrated what women could achieve during the era”, adding “and Quentin Tarantino as I love his films’ humour and think he would challenge my thinking.”
While Hazel Walker, senior buyer of Waterstones feels “Further eco-friendly innovations, both on the cards and finishes, as well as packaging” will aid the future of greeting cards (click to pages 29-31).
Following on from last month’s PG, more retailers reveal how reflecting their region on their card racks and gift selections is working for them.
“I sense that there has been an increasing interest in local communities and businesses. This may be a reaction to the woes on the High Street combined with a realisation that communities without thriving businesses would be far less interesting places to live in”, perceives Denise Laird, co-owner of Spirito, Glasgow, adding, “We have been really interested in both building and maintaining a local flavour since we opened back in 2000. Stocking greeting cards and products designed and produced locally is a good way of making the shop feel more personal and individual, and as buyers we really get to know the people behind the designs as they will often pop in to personally deliver their orders. Plus, customers always appreciate the story behind the products too.”
Go to Viewpoints to discover more retailers’ local flavours (click pages 24-25).
With the Brand Licensing Europe trade exhibition approaching (October 1-3 at London’s ExCel for the first time), PG September shines a light on the growth in greeting card design licensing.
The interest in licensing characters, brands and artwork onto greeting cards, and likewise the activity of card publishers licensing their artwork for use by other companies, is booming.
Prominent character/entertainment brands remain an attractive prize for licensees (worth over $9.5 billion at retail in the UK), hence the recent jubilation of Danilo, IG Design Group and Amscan being able to seal the deal for eOne’s Peppa and PJ Masks programmes for cards, wrap and partyware respectively from Gemma International when it ceased trading.
PG Live 2019 saw licensing at work in so many permutations, with the guest appearances of fashion icon Dame Zandra Rhodes, who there to launch a range of cards and stationery with MGML; culinary guru, Prue Leith was on the Ling Design stand where Prue’s cards made their debut; and street artist, Angry Dan went ‘legit’ with Cardmix, appearing at the show along with the publisher’s new range showcasing his artwork.
And with the UK greeting card industry’s creative pre-eminence not gone un-noticed by the major players in other fields, and the inter-sector activity, licensing agreements with greeting card brands are currently hot-properties.
To discover more greeting card licensing tie-ups (click to pages 80-81).
It was a fruitless search for a gift for a friend that was to be the catalyst for husband and wife duo Rachel and Paul Roberts, co-owners of mini retail group Mooch, discuss their swift business expansion in September PG.
to set up an online shop three years ago that led swiftly onto the opening of their four gift and card shops, Mooch in Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire in quick succession over the last couple of years.
And certainly their rapid expansion and establishment of their own flavour of gift and card retailing has earned them the respect of the trade and delight from their customers, as reflected in Mooch winning The Retas’ Best Non-Specialist Independent Retailer of Greeting Cards – South award for its greeting card approach, as well as Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – Best Newcomer Midlands, North and Scotland in The Greats gift retailer awards (sister awards to The Retas’ sister awards).
Having spent the previous 15 years as colleagues and store managers for Dixons, and before that working in retail as teenagers, Paul and Rachel share some of their background before taking their own retailing plunge (click to pages 78-79).
With plans underway for the GCA’s 100th anniversary, Simon Elvin shares his views on how the trade has evolved over the 50+ years in which he has been working, and as a member of the trade association.
“Back in the 1970s, someone who’s opinion I respected said to me: “Get out of the card trade now. This industry is going nowhere”. I am glad that I ignored his advice,” said Simon Elvin, whose achievements include building a formidable group of greeting card and giftwrap businesses that span the market, in Paper Rose, Nigel Quiney, Glick, Polytint, the recent savvy acquisition of the Grassroots/Write from the Heart brands, and of course the wholesale publishing heart of Simon Elvin.
Back in 1968, as a far-sighted ‘newbie’, Simon realised, “if we, as card publishers, collectively took steps to grow a healthy industry then all of those within it would have a better chance of prospering, so I quickly joined what was then known as the GCCA (Greeting Card and Calendar Association).”
Simon first joined the association when he started card publishing company Image Arts, and he has been a member ever since. “It is good to hear that there are plans to celebrate the GCA’s 100th anniversary, I can’t quite believe that I have been a member for over 50 years!” says Simon. “Back when I started Image Arts greeting cards were not as omnipresent as they are now. It was a much smaller industry, with far fewer publishers and retailers stocking them,” he explains.
Read more about Simon Elvin in PG September (click to pages 76-77).
And, of course, September PG also includes new product pages Innovations (click to pages 71-75); wise words from regular columnists, card publisher Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner, discusses the Rising Retail event (click to pages 87-88), and David Robertson of Scottish retailer JP Pozzi, reflects on positive language to get ahead (click to pages 20-21).
All this in the pages of a lovely glossy magazine and online too!
Click here to read the whole PG September 2019 edition online.