Tales from the road

Northwest agent, Neil Greenwood has been out and about in the blazing sun talking Christmas!

Having been an agent in the Northwest now for eight years, it still never ceases to amaze me how unpredictable this industry can be. The first few months of the year are generally quite busy but that doesn’t seem to have been the case this year. I know it’s not just me as I have the benefit or working alongside my colleague Rachel Williams who covers part of the area. This helps me to gauge if it is generally quiet or just me. Unfortunately there are so many external factors out of our control that can play a part in how busy the high street is. The weather obviously impacts on this, which sadly no amount of sun/rain dances from me can improve!

Easter window display at Raffia in Clitheroe
Easter window display at Raffia in Clitheroe

As Easter is fast approaching this should hopefully mean sales of everyday products will start to pick up. This time of year we do tend to jump straight from one seasonal event to another. Valentine’s Day leads straight into Mother’s Day which is then taken off the shelves to make way for Easter and windows are invariably changed to reflect this. It also seems to be the time to do stock taking so quite a few of my customers are holding off placing orders until they have gone through and counted everything. They don’t really want to add more to the piles of cards they need to count. Last week alone I saw two customers that were in the middle of counting stock when I arrived, a task I don’t envy. You could almost see the relief as I walked in as they then had a legitimate excuse to put it to one side for a bit!

I have started to get my Christmas appointments off to an earlier start than normal. Even if customers don’t need anything now they all know that Christmas is a necessary evil that will come whether we like it or not. It’s always the way though, it can rain all week and the one day you are doing a Christmas appointment the sun comes out in full force. It just feels so wrong looking at Christmas cards when the sun is out, especially when people come into the shop and see them on the counter.

Once this Easter weekend has passed I am confident that retail customers will want to fill the space they have with fresh new products (fingers crossed).

Cinnamon Aitch card
Delicate pencil drawings from Cinnamon Aitch are popular.

Neil’s three hot picks

Debonair from Rosanna Rossi: A great men’s range without your typical sports or beer themes.

Fizz bang Pop from Brainbox Candy: A great modern text-based everyday range of cards that are embossed and glittered. Again very minimal design.

Piccadilly from Cinnamon Aitch: Delicate pencil drawings with a real photo to enhance them and touch of sparkle. Customers really like these because they are clean and not too fussy.

About Neil

Neil Greenwood and his colleague Rachel Williams (aka Reil Agencies) cover the Northwest, including North Wales and Isle of Man. They have been agents for eight years. Among the companies they represent include Brainbox Candy, Cinnamon Aitch, Deva Debut, Gift Wrap UK, Handcrafted Card Company, Laura Darrington, Museums & Galleries, Piccadilly Cards, Rosanna Rossi and U Studio.

Off the road,Neil has a thriving DJ business, with him spinning his own mix of discs in the north west in clubs and venues all year round at weekends. However, in July, after 25 years he is to hang up his headphones to concentrate on his ‘day job’, to tick more things off from his ‘I wish…’ app and spend more time with his ‘children’ – Bonnie (a Cockerpoo) and Bella (a Shitsu).


REtail barometer Feature image
Annual survey into health of independent greetings retail sector now live...
Moonpig RM Feature image
Online greetings giant still upbeat, claiming 16% of card sales now online...
LF handouts feature image
59 charity projects helped thanks to efforts by greetings, gift and licensing community...
Ponks win Feature image
Stevenage indie Cardies crowned most dog-friendly shop for third time...
Viewpoints pricing 1 Feature image
Price increase insights from Noel Tatt, House of Cards, and Woodmansterne Publications...
SF Trends Feature image
It’s all bright as Spring Fair and TrendBible release report for Christmas 2023...
Get the latest news sent to your inbox
Subscribe to our daily newsletter

The list doesn't exist! Make sure you have imported the list on the 'Manage List Forms' page.