Andrea Pinder, owner of the Unit 7/Presentations mini retail group received a special Valentine’s Day card this year – from publisher Blue Eyed Sun, a gesture she feels could be extended to other events further cementing bonds between suppliers and customers.
“We’ve never ever received a card from a supplier for Valentine’s Day. I know we are ‘in the business’, but maybe we are missing a trick that is under our noses,” Andrea told PG Buzz.
“Receiving a Valentine’s card from one of your suppliers really makes you value their genuine support. It certainly made our day!”
Andrea said, that she noted an upturn in Christmas cards that she received from suppliers this year, but feels that there could be opportunities for other occasions too. But she also recognises that retailers can play their part too, using the opportunity for using cards to thank their customers and suppliers.
“Yes, we should set the trend off for all occasions – we are in the card trade after all!” says Andrea.
How were your Valentine’s Day sales?
“I’m pleased to say that our Valentine’s sales were up 8-10% at three shops, with sales through the Party Planet shop slightly down, reflective of a drop in sales for Valentine’s balloons.”
Were there any noticeable changes in buying patterns?
“Card sales held up well and we sold more sentiment gifts, candles, Continental chocolates, but fewer balloons this year.
Men tended toward high end design-led, larger format cards, sometimes also buying a humour card too. Women, meanwhile were drawn to smaller design-led smaller cards in their selections.
Sadly the younger generation don’t seem to send as many anonymous cards as they have in the past, but do like to buy boyfriend/girlfriend captioned cards. Fiancé , Fiancée are still in demand but only if it’s going to be the last time before becoming a wife or husband.
How are you approaching Mother’s Day being so early?
“We had disappointing Mother’s Day sales last year, so we have gone all out with our Mother’s Day displays this year so hopefully we will do better and the same customers that were in for Valentine’s Day come back for the second Spring Season.
What is helping is that the new everyday cards from suppliers are being well received by customers and we have received many favourable comments which is pleasing.
Among the new ranges that are doing well are, Belly Button’s new Paloma and Platinum collections;Blue Eyed Sun’s Daydream and Charming; Bexy Boo for her Scribbly Pom Poms; Five Dollar Shake’s fabulous Meadow Sweet; Hammond Gower’s Love Letters; Janie Wilson’s Copper Leaf, Paper Kisses.
Meanwhile, new humour cards from Brainbox Candy, London Studio, Pigment, Paperlink, Redback and Rosie Made a Thing are also doing well for us.”