Spring sunshine brings sales

Easter cards and events do well for indie greetings retailers

 

Spring definitely sprung over the Easter weekend with some fabulous sunshine and good sales for cardies as well as lovely events.

Cardies had the pleasure of hosting a special visit from Barley Bear as part of Stevenage Old Town Business & Community Partnership’s Easter event where IC&G’s cuddly character had fun egg-sploring the area and meeting lots of locals.

Above: Jo Sorrell and the Ponks helped Barley Bear choose his Easter cards
Above: Jo Sorrell and the Ponks helped Barley Bear choose his Easter cards

And, of course, with owner Jo Sorrell and Cardies being the current Most Dog-Friendly Shop award holders, her Ponks team of canine meeters and greeters were on hand to help Barley Bear with all the cuddles required on Saturday, 8 April.

“What a wonderful day we all had,” Jo said. “Thank you to everyone for coming to see us at Cardies for the High Street Easter egg hunt. And a huge thank you to Barley Bear for being such a star from International Cards & Gifts.

“The Ponks were living their best Easter dream – it was an amazing day.”

Above & top: Barley Bear hugs were the order of the day at Cardies
Above & top: Barley Bear hugs were the order of the day at Cardies

Down on the south coast, the Royal British Legion is £100 better off thanks to Southbourne Cards’ raffle of a 2.3kg (5lb) Belgian chocolate bunny.

After selling tickets in-store, co-owner Deborah Tingay drew the raffle on Thursday, 6 April, making two little boys very happy when their name was picked out, and they popped into the shop on Good Friday to make sure they had plenty of chocolate for Easter.

Deb offered a full range of Easter cards, yellow tissue paper and giftwrapping, plus lots of Jellycat bunnies, chicks and eggs – with the Belgian chocolate range also including sweet rubber ducks definitely not for the bath and lots of other treats.

“Spring is here!” Deb said, “and congratulations, the 2.3kg Belgian Chocolate Bunny has gone to a delightful family and it was an absolute joy to see them all in the shop. A big thank you to everyone that took part in the RBL raffle. We raised over £100!”

Above: Southbourne Cards had plenty of Easter treats for customers, and the big bunny helped the Royal British Legion
Above: Southbourne Cards had plenty of Easter treats for customers, and the big bunny helped the Royal British Legion

The Easter Bunny paid a visit to Serendipity House in Kirkham to draw out the winning ticket to give the giant Jellycat bunny a new home.

In the week leading up to Easter, owner Heidi Hopkinson gave a raffle ticket to everyone spending over £10, and the lucky winner was revealed on Thursday when the big Bunny hopped in to do the honours.

Regarding the season’s card sales, in Tettenhall Wendy Jones-Blackett’s Quicksilver range and Caroline Gardner’s cards were the bestsellers in singles at Hugs & Kisses while Woodmansterne and Ling Design did well on the packs side.

“Easter never ceases to amaze me, we do so well with it,” owner Caroline Ranwell told PG Buzz. “This year we had 8ft of Easter and the beauty of it is that it rarely dates so we have a certain amount of new designs but then add some older stock too!

Above: Heidi Hopkinson greets the Easter Bunny at Serendipity House, and the Jellycat bunny’s new owner grabs a cuddle
Above: Heidi Hopkinson greets the Easter Bunny at Serendipity House, and the Jellycat bunny’s new owner grabs a cuddle

“This year’s sales were slightly up on last year with more customers wanting specific relations and friend cards. We always sell lots of religious cards at Easter but lots of floral and cute ones too. This year the more expensive cards didn’t seem to sell as well but, as always, we sold a huge amount of packs. Money wallets, however, didn’t seem to sell very well at all.”

At Mantons Cards on the Isle Of Man, co-owner Chris Beards saw better than expected Easter sales, with very few returns.

He added: “Having said that, we ordered less than last year as Easter doesn’t seem to be a big card-sending season any more and this has especially affected sales of packs. Our single card sales were pretty similar to last year with no one caption or style selling much better or worse than expected.”

Noel Tatt cards did very well for Cards & Gifts Dronfield in the first year with the publisher for co-owner Carl Dunne, while UK Greetings and Cherry Orchard’s packs also sold nicely.

Carl said: “Nigel Quiney’s single cards were a hit too and we found our sales were up on last year. I feel this is due to everyone being back to normal now. We sold more across the board this year on religious as well as floral designs. I’d say it was UKG top then Noel Tatt, Second Nature, Cherry Orchard, Nigel Quiney, and Abacus.”

Above: Hugs & Kisses’ 8ft stretch of Easter cards went down well
Above: Hugs & Kisses’ 8ft stretch of Easter cards went down well

For Sarah Laker at Stationery Supplies, in Marple and Wilmslow, Easter cards have declined over the last few years, but she still has a small stalwart band of customers wanting Easter cards with a religious theme.

“Our best sellers are packs by The Art File,” Sarah said. “I add in lots of blank pretty spring cards to my Easter range and the Ginger Betty new blank range Little Windows sold really well as did tulip and daffodil designs by Penguin Ink.

“Interestingly, we do well with stationery gift sales in the run up to Easter, either as an alternative gift to chocolate or because families are going away so are looking for stationery to entertain their children while travelling.”

Nigel Williamson is still compiling the figures at the House of Cards small retail chain he co-owns with Miles Robinson in the Home Counties, but expects Easter cards sales to be “a little up but steady”, with top sellers coming from Woodmansterne, Tracks and Wrendale, covering both packs and single cards.

“Customers were asking for more religious designs in our Caversham store and packs of Easter cards are an important part of the mix,” Nigel added.

Above: Some of the top Easter sellers for House of Cards
Above: Some of the top Easter sellers for House of Cards

Up in Elgin, David Robertson saw steady sales for Easter cards and gifts at his JP Pozzi and Bijou stores, and added: “We did see a lot of Jellycat sold as parents and grandparents opted for a gift rather than chocolate.

“Our customers still like traditional cards and religious designs do work in terms of light religious. With bunnies and eggs cute colours are all, of course, winners and we also saw Easter money wallet sales do well for kids ‘getting a penny’ as we say in Scotland.”

Sean Austin finds Easter more of a driver for gifting than cards at Malvern’s Austin & Co, but he was happy with the card offer performance where premium single cards came out top over card packs by a long way, especially designs by Cinnamon Aitch, Caroline Gardner, and Roger La Borde.

“Of the single cards, it was definitely humour over religious,” Sean explained, “religious cards still tend to be the preserve of local churches who sell them. Our humour range with designs by ArtPress were very well received.

“But our bestsellers are still those blank cards with spring imagery that sell through the whole season, especially cards featuring daffodils such as the Pretty As A Picture range by Wendy Jones-Blackett and the letterpress range by Penguin Ink – their daffodil card has been selling through since St David’s Day, through Mother’s Day and Easter, and probably into summer!”

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