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Publishers on fire

Fast-paced pitches slay retail dragons with great mix of designs

 

Fast-paced sales blasts characterise the GCA Dragon Speed Dating event and gave the participant retail buyers plenty to chew on.

And the 2024 outing saw 19 retailers become dragons for the day to hear from 72 publishers and take home goodie bags to look through and sort out their thoughts on who really slayed them.

PG caught up with some of the dragons to find out who was really on fire with their pitch – this time round it’s Sainsbury’s, Diverse, and Jumping Bean.

Above: Shar Grothier (right) enjoyed the whole experience of meeting a broad range of publishers
Above: Shar Grothier (right) enjoyed the whole experience of meeting a broad range of publishers

Shar Grothier, buyer of cards and wrap for Sainsbury’s

Dragon flying: “Being a dragon for the day was a great opportunity to meet a broad range of new publishers and see an amazing variety of card designs. The event also allowed me to offer advice to new publishers while also learning about the amazing businesses that have been set up by the publishers. On top of that, it was such a fun day!”

Above: One of the designs from Bird & Co Studio
Above: One of the designs from Bird & Co Studio

Den delights: “They were all great publishers, however, I loved talking to Bird & Co Studio, Mifkins and Feel Good Supplies as they all had such a lovely mix of designs.

“I’ll be reviewing all the samples submitted by publishers and exploring if there are any opportunities to range any within Sainsbury’s.”

Above & top: Anita Thorpe left with On A Level’s Nadia and Rae Williams
Above & top: Anita Thorpe (left) with On A Level’s Nadia and Rae Williams

Anita Thorpe, owner of Diverse, Brixton

Dragon flying: “I really enjoyed seeing new designs that I hadn’t seen at the trade shows. Being asked to be a dragon is quite flattering as it means your opinion is valued – but it can also be a bit daunting.”

Den delights: “I don’t want to name specific brands, but I was very pleased with the number of micro brands and inclusive designs represented. I would stock all the brands I picked and usually that’s not the case.

“I’ll definitely be placing orders as a result of the event and, in fact, I’ve already made contact with some of the brands I met!”

Above: Lauren Marina with some of her cards at the event
Above: Lauren Marina with some of her cards at the event

Nilou Noorbaksh, co-owner of Jumping Bean, Honor Oak, Beckenham & East Dulwich

Dragon flying: “The event was fun and vibrant, and it was exciting being a dragon, albeit at a speedy pace. I loved the contemporary feel.

“It was fantastic to have the opportunity to meet new publishers and see their incredible products, and also understand how they work. The effort and love and attention they expended into presenting their products was excellent.”

Above: Nilou enjoying the pitch from Jessie Wood of Jessiemaeve Studio
Above: Nilou (right) enjoying the pitch from Jessie Wood of Jessiemaeve Studio

Den delights: “The striking black and white illustrations and warm messages from Lauren Marina caught my eye as did Bird & Co Studio for its beautiful flowers and birth month cards. I also loved the colourful and fun cards from On A Level.

“We have already placed some orders and there will be more to come. It felt like there were more strong artists and better-quality ranges.”

Above: The Dragons of 2024. Back row (left-right) Liz Killick, Calladoodles; Miles Robinson, House of Cards; David Colman, Only Place For Pictures; Kaye Thurgood, Sincerely Yours; Andrea Pinder, Presentation; Shannon Fisher, Postmark; Kerry Nicholls, John Lewis; Jason Billings-Cray, John Lewis; Charlotte Green, Cardfactory; Laura Clarke, Scribbler; Vicky Joshi, Cardfactory; Tim Reynolds, Medici Gallery; Anita Thorpe, Diverse; and Sean Austin, Austin & Co. Front row (left-right) Priya Aurora-Crowe, Lark; Sarah Laker, Stationery Supplies; Sally Matson, Red Card; Shar Gothier, Sainsbury’s; and Nilou Noorbaksh, Jumping Bean.
Above: The Dragons of 2024. Back row (left-right) Liz Killick, Calladoodles; Miles Robinson, House of Cards; David Colman, Only Place For Pictures; Kaye Thurgood, Sincerely Yours; Andrea Pinder, Presentation; Shannon Fisher, Postmark; Kerry Nicholls, John Lewis; Jason Billings-Cray, John Lewis; Charlotte Green, Cardfactory; Laura Clarke, Scribbler; Vicky Joshi, Cardfactory; Tim Reynolds, Medici Gallery; Anita Thorpe, Diverse; and Sean Austin, Austin & Co. Front row (left-right) Priya Aurora-Crowe, Lark; Sarah Laker, Stationery Supplies; Sally Matson, Red Card; Shar Gothier, Sainsbury’s; and Nilou Noorbaksh, Jumping Bean.
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