That Was The Year That Was

As retailers are doing their final tallies of how the Christmas trade shook out in the end and publishers are gearing up for their first launches of 2021, PG Buzz takes a look back at just some of the news stories that made our ‘industry world’ in 2020.

Amid the cancelled events (including PG Live, The Retas, Home & Gift) and those that took place virtually (including The Henries, the GCA AGM and Conference, Top Drawer Online and Autumn Fair@Home), there were some sizeable achievements and developments. The most significant has to be how the greeting card community really pulled together responding to a real need and want for greeting cards to provide tangible connection at a time when hugging was severely curtailed.

January

Simon Elvin Group Acquired By Paper Design Group, Headed Up By Ian Jackson

The Simon Elvin Group – which includes Paper Rose, Nigel Quiney Publications, giftwrapping company Glick, own brand supplier Polytint and wholesale card and wrap business, Simon Elvin Limited – was been acquired through an MBO by Paper Design Group, a newly formed holding company which has Ian Jackson at the helm as its chief executive.

Above: Simon Elvin (left) with Ian Jackson, ceo of Paper Design Group
Above: Simon Elvin (left) with Ian Jackson, ceo of Paper Design Group

42% Of Indie Card Retailers Expected Business Growth In 2020

Independent card retailers started 2020 feeling cautiously optimistic with the results of the PG Retail Barometer showing that some 42% were expecting to see growth in 2020 over last year, albeit a marginal increase.

Noel Tatt Celebrates Raising £1.7 Million For 32 Help Charities

Noel Tatt Cards confirmed that, as a result of sales of its 2019 Help charity Christmas card range, it had raised an astonishing £1.7 million for the 32 charities that form the umbrella organisation, Helpcards.

Wrendale Designs Raises £Thousands For Australia’s WWF In Wake Of The Bushfires

Hannah Dale, founder and creative maestro of Wrendale Designs put her art where her heart is and led a charge to raise money for the WWF Australia Appeal to fund emergency care for injured wildlife and support the response, recovery and restoration teams in Australia caused by the ongoing bushfires. She raised £16,000 in just two days through the sale of a special koala print.

Above: The beautiful artwork that Hannah created especially for the WWF Australia Appeal.
Above: The beautiful artwork that Hannah created especially for the WWF Australia Appeal.

Second Nature Seals The Deal To Distribute Quitting Hollywood Ranges To Indies

Second Nature secured a distribution agreement with Quitting Hollywood to represent a range of its greeting cards in the independent sector from April 1. This would supercede the arrangement Quitting Hollywood had in place with Words ‘n’ Wishes for the previous two years.

IG Design Group Raises £120 Million Through An Oversubscribed Share Placing

Acquisition of CSS further strengthened IG’s global position on the gift packaging front.

Totally Overhauled Waterwells Brokerage Plans Are Rolled Out

Following Bianca Mastrodomenico joining GBCC as head of brokerage of its Waterwells side, revamped displays (including designs from 25 publishers) were installed.

February

Speculation Kicks Off About The Impact Of The Coronavirus On The Greeting Card Industry

As the human costs of the coronavirus escalated in mainland China, uneasiness mounts about the the impact on the production of greeting cards, giftwrappings, calendars and giftware. No one had any idea of what would follow…

All The Fun Of The (Spring) Fair

Retail expert Mary Portas; culinary celebs Mary Berry, Prue Leith, Michel Roux; Escape to the Chateau’s Angel Strawbridge joined the industry’s ‘famous’ faces at Spring Fair.

Above: Mary Portas urged retailers to focus on the ‘kindness economy’ in her talk at Spring Fair.
Above: Mary Portas urged retailers to focus on the ‘kindness economy’ in her talk at Spring Fair.

Scribbler, Utility and Between The Lines Reveal Their New Store Openings

Providing a positive antidote to the doom mongering about the retail sector, sizeable greeting card stockists Scribbler, Utility and Between the Lines all revealed their plans to open more stores in 2020.

83% Of Indies Believe Eco-Concerns Have Affected Card Buying

Some 83% of independent card retailers stated that environmental considerations had affected card buying decisions over the last year, up massively from the year previous.

Storms Dennis And Ciara Dampen Passions For Valentine’s Day

Less love about for the first Spring Seasons event than had been hoped with sales hampered by appalling weather conditions.

Duchess of Cornwall Has A ‘Dayo’ To Remember

Dayo Williams, founder of handmade card publisher Dayo’s Cards enjoyed a one-to-one with Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall using the opportunity to not only explain about her cards, but the importance of celebrating diversity.

Above: Dayo Williams (left), founder of Dayo’s Cards with The Duchess of Cornwall.
Above: Dayo Williams (left), founder of Dayo’s Cards with The Duchess of Cornwall.

Card Printer Windles Urges Publishers To Join Its World Land Trust Scheme

Specialist greeting card printer, Windles forged an alliance with environmental charity, World Land Trust to offer four boards that are officially ‘carbon balanced’. Publishers using these boards have the opportunity of featuring the World Land Trust logo on the rear of these cards. Impress Publishing (sibling to Noel Tatt) was the first to commit.

Carousel Calendars And Danilo Forge A Sustainability Working Group

Carousel Calendars and Danilo announced plans to collaborate on a long-term sustainability programme to improve the environmental practice within the calendar sector.

March

Brainboxers Turn Poster Boys To Support The NHS 

Compelled to do something to support “the amazing work that the NHS are doing”, Brainbox Candy’s co-owners, Mark Williams and Ben Hickman designed seven different posters which were free to download from the company’s website.

Above: A trio of the free downloadable posters from Brainbox Candy.
Above: A trio of the free downloadable posters from Brainbox Candy.

James Ellis’ Green Giving (Donating 1% Of Turnover) Receives Support From Retailers

James Ellis pledged its support to the 1% for the Planet movement, in donating £1 from every £100 order it receives to the cause.

Maghull Store Makes It A ‘Hat Trick’ For Bailey’s While Hallmark Newark Treated To A £13K Free Refit

With an aim of ‘measured growth’ for Hallmark’s Gold Crown programme in 2020, a new Hallmark Gold Crown store in MaghullMerseyside makes it a ‘hat trick’ for owners Penny and Simon Bailey, while Hallmark Newark (owned by Bob and Jill McGhee) benefitted from a £13,000 free refit, as a result of winning the Big Prize Draw at the Gold Crown conference.

Indie Papilio at Heritage Launches A Junior Retail Scheme

Papilio at Heritage in Thornbury Junior Retail, launched an innovative ‘young apprentice’ scheme (also offering the programme out to other retailers to adopt) which saw plucky eight and nine year olds learning the fundamentals of retailing.

Card Factory Expands Massively Down Under

Card Factory opened 356 branded concessions across the entire retail network of The Reject Shop, Australia’s leading value retailer. The exclusive five-year supply agreement with The Reject Shop marked Card Factory’s first international partnership.

Cardies shout about International Women’s Day

Greeting card retailers, publishers and artists agents were among those to bang the drum for International Women’s Day.

Above: Angela Chick on Scribbler’s blog for International Women’s Day.
Above: Angela Chick on Scribbler’s blog for International Women’s Day.

Indie Card Retailers Lap Up The Business Rates ‘Holiday’ Budget News

In a turbulent sea of negativity card retailers welcomed the first Budget by the then new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak confirming that retailers with a rateable value of £51,000 or below were to receive a business rates ‘holiday’ for 12 months.

Fingers Were Crossed For Mother’s Day As Lockdown Was Mooted

Trade was rocking for Mother’s Day and with Lockdown putting paid to the last-minute sales.

Publishers Pull Out The Stops To Support Retailers

Greeting card publishers Louise Tiler Designs and Rosie Made A Thing were among the first of many card publishers to make genuine gestures to help and support their independent retail customers during the time of crisis.

Royal Mail Reassured The Public That It Is Safe To Post Greeting Cards

Royal Mail issued a press release with the backing of Public Health England (PHE) advising that people receiving cards and parcels were not at risk of contracting the coronavirus as a result of their post.

Greeting Card Industry Pulls Together To Raise Spirits

The heart and soul of the greeting card community really came into its own as publishers, retailers, agents and trade suppliers all sought to support each other financially, psychologically and practically in what was the first taste of the Covid-19 turmoil.

Senior Management Changes At Paper Rose

Alison Butterworth and John Fowey extend their roles to also become joint mds of Paper Rose.

April

Over 90,000 Birthday Cards Sent To Captain Tom Moore For His 100th Birthday

Wonderful proof as to how the nation see the sending of greeting cards is the best way to communicate your affection and regard for your fellow man it was the 90,000 100th birthday cards that were sent to Captain Tom Moore for his 100th birthday.

Above: One of the 90,000 greeting cards that were sent to Captain Tom Moore in time for his 100th birthday.
Above: One of the 90,000 greeting cards that were sent to Captain Tom Moore in time for his 100th birthday.

Card Trade Urged To Help Windles Get PPE Visors Where Needed

Greeting card printer Windles diverted their attentions towards helping in the fight to stem the spread of Covid-19. They started manufacturing PPE medi-visors that are suitable for healthcare workers as well as providing protection for others in the frontline, including greeting card retailers and merchandisers. The PPE visors were sold at cost, with not one penny of profit going to Windles.

GCA Lobbies Govt On Behalf Of Publishers, Retailers And Suppliers

The GCA joined forces with other trade associations and relevant bodies to lobby government and the banking community so that the real concerns, worries and issues greeting card publishers, retailers and trade suppliers are facing during the stricken times will be heard.

Leading Card Retailers Zoomed In For PG Buzz’s First Industry Meet-Up

At the first of several PG Buzz Zoom Meeting, Karen Hubbard, (then ceo of Card Factory), John Procter, md of Scribbler, Paul Taylor, md of Cardzone, Mark Janson-Smith, md of Postmark put their competitive positions to one side and spoke openly about how they were dealing with life and business in this Covid-19 dominated world.

Bug Art Discovers Widespread Theft Of Greeting Card Designs On Facebook

Mike Wright, studio manager of greeting card company Bug Art, took action against how Facebook is riddled with advertising from online T-shirt companies selling products featuring stolen designs from greeting card companies.

Sparks Of Movement As Card Retailers Start To Receive Their Grants

As publisher’s push for their Business Interruption Loans, card retailers start to receive their Govt grants.

Cherry Orchard Publishing Commissions Poem For The Industry

Instead of marking the 25th anniversary of Cherry Orchard Publishing with a party, publisher owner Jackie Collins commissioned a special poem for the industry, written by famous author Patricia Rose.

Above: The specially written poem by Patricia Rose for Cherry Orchard.
Above: The specially written poem by Patricia Rose for Cherry Orchard.

Santoro’s Second Queen’s Award For Enterprise

Santoro, the card, gift and licensing company was awarded a Queen’s award for Enterprise, the UK’s most prestigious accolade of international business success.

With Safety Precautions In Place, UKG Re-starts Merchandising Supermarkets’ Card Displays

After a month’s interruption to service after the government lockdown, UKG started merchandising displays for Sainsbury’s and Asda.

May

Making A Difference Through Words, Cards And Envelopes

Echoing PM Boris Johnson’s words at a Covid-19 press briefing: “We can only defeat coronavirus by our collective discipline and working together,” the greeting card industry showed its true mettle in helping humanity amid the turmoil.

Above: Moonpig donated £200k to The Big Night In Appeal and created a special collection of eCards featuring quips from leading comedians.
Above: Moonpig donated £200k to The Big Night In Appeal and created a special collection of eCards featuring quips from leading comedians.

Scribbler Resurrects Plans To Offer Its Own Brand Cards To Other Retailers

Greeting card retail group, Scribbler announced plans to expand the reach of its own brand greeting cards, the majority of which are created by its in-house studio, by exploring the options of supplying a select number of other retailers on a wholesale basis. (See December news when a collaboration with Sainsbury’s was announced).

Lanther Black Makes Greeting Card Blockbuster Starring 30 Cardies

A cast of 30 publishers, retailers, agents and trade suppliers star in a wonderful new film entitled ‘Send a card, deliver a smile’, (commissioned by GCA and made by Lanther Black’s Jack Parker and Dominique Miranda) which rejoices in the reason to send and the joy of receiving greeting cards.

Hallmark To Give Away Half A Million Greeting Cards

Hallmark gave away half a million greeting cards across the UK to help the UK public show gratitude and appreciation for the everyday heroes (eg. doctors, nurses, care workers, postal service workers, teachers, supermarket workers, cleaners, caretakers, delivery drivers) in an partnership initiative with Royal Mail.

United Nations: Cardies From USA, Australia, Holland, France, Germany, Switzerland And Malta Zoom In

Leading greeting executives from the USA, Australia, Holland, France, Germany, Switzerland and Malta ‘Zoom-ed’ in to share views and experiences on the card front from their part of the world at a ‘united nations’ meet up convened by PG Buzz.

Above: (top left-right) Ton Hollander (Artige), Jakki Brown (PG), Jenny Cummins (McMillan Cards), Suzanne Mizzi (Paperworld), Vanessa Harnik (Notes & Queries), Olivier Draeger (Draeger), Stefan Hermann (Taurus Kunstkarten), Alan Harnik (Notes & Queries), Amanda Fergusson (GCA), Furio Cecliato (Origamo) and Markus Keller (Cart) at the PG Buzz Zoom Meet-up.
Above: (top left-right) Ton Hollander (Artige), Jakki Brown (PG), Jenny Cummins (McMillan Cards), Suzanne Mizzi (Paperworld), Vanessa Harnik (Notes & Queries), Olivier Draeger (Draeger), Stefan Hermann (Taurus Kunstkarten), Alan Harnik (Notes & Queries), Amanda Fergusson (GCA), Furio Cecliato (Origamo) and Markus Keller (Cart) at the PG Buzz Zoom Meet-up.

Card Shops’ Disappointment At Later Reopening Date As Many Were Ready

Card retailers disappointed that all ‘non-essential’ retailers had to wait until June 15 to re-open – a full fortnight from the anticipated June 1 date that had been mooted as likely.

June

The Henries 2020 Moves To Online Entry And Judging

With the ongoing Covid-19 situation, in order to safeguard The Henries 2020 greeting card awards for this year, the entry and judging process moved to online only.

Karen Hubbard, ceo of Card Factory Is Leaving The Business

Card Factory’s ceoKaren Hubbard left the business (by ‘mutual agreement’) after four years of heading up the UK’s market leading greeting card retailer.

Budget Greeting Cards Moves Into E-commerce With Trade Website Offering 7,000+ Products

The UK’s largest greeting card wholesaler, Budget Greeting Cards went live on its first ever fully-fledged e-commerce site (https://bgcwholesale.com/), offering over 7,000 different greeting card, giftwrap and party products, with thousands more to follow.

Above: Budget invested considerable sums in its e-commerce site.
Above: Budget invested considerable sums in its e-commerce site.

Speaking Out About Racism And Initiating Change In The Greeting Card Sector

Greeting card publishers, Dayo Williamsfounder of Dayo’s Cards and Georgina Fihosyfounder of AfroTouch Design (previously known as Special Touch Designs) were among those within the card trade to have spoken out since George Floyd’s death, urging everyone in the greeting card community to have much more open dialogue about eradicating racism and to look at ways that will result in better representation of black people on greeting card racks in many more stores.

Consumers’ Pent-up Demand For Cards Results In A Really Positive Start To The Retail Open-up

Cardies saw a very encouraging start as non-essential shops were allowed to re-open after lockdown with a pent-up demand among the public to buy greeting cards sending tills ringing.

Above: Card shops got off to a good start after Lockdown 1.
Above: Card shops got off to a good start after Lockdown 1.

Calendar Company BrownTrout UK Is To Cease Trading After 21 Years

After 21 years of trading BrownTrout UK, the calendar and stationery company that was headed up by industry stalwart Jack Straw, announced it was to cease trading and entered the process of liquidation.

Who’s The Daddy? Indies Lap Up Father’s Day Sales With Multiples’ Phased Re-opening

Re-opening less than a week before Father’s Day, indies made up for lost time, with many reporting amazing sales levels, helped by the fact that many multiples adopted a phased re-opening programme and some sizeable grocers did not have fully merchandised displays.

July

UK Greetings’ Entire Field Salesteam Get Back To Work

UK Greetings was among the first major greeting card publishers to commit to having its full field salesteam back at work (starting back July 1).

GCA Meeting Brought Publishers And Retailers Together To Discuss Diversity In The Industry And Initiate Progress

In what was a significant meeting for the whole industry and a starting point for change to happen, greeting card publishers and retailers attended a meeting convened by the GCA to discuss diversity in the greeting card sector and initiate improvements on this front.

Above: The recent GCA Diversity Meeting was attended by many publishers and retailers.
Above: The recent GCA Diversity Meeting was attended by many publishers and retailers.

Just A Card Smashes Its Crowdfunding Target

“Utterly bowled over!!!” was how Sarah Hamilton, the founder of the Just A Card campaign described how she felt, having absolutely smashed all of its targets for an ambitious Crowdfunder. “I’m finally coming to terms with being someone who uses a lot of exclamation marks!!!!!”

Major ‘New Beginnings’ Marketing And Product Push As Carte Blanche Salesteam Get Back To Work

The entire Carte Blanche Greetings sales team got back at work – their return coinciding with the launch of a raft of new products and a major marketing programme, which included a massive consumer competition offering £1,000 prize.

Cards Galore Owners Send Out A Cry For Help On The BBC

‘Dear customers, I face ruin, please come back’ was the urgent message from Rumit Shah, co-owner of Cards Galore that BBC News shared with millions of people, highlighting the plight of retailers in many UK cities.

Above: Rumit Shah, co-owner of Cards Galore speaking on the BBC News.
Above: Rumit Shah, co-owner of Cards Galore speaking on the BBC News.

Greeting Card Agent Neil Greenwood Drummed Up 39,000 Customers At His Virtual Tavern During Lockdown

North west sales agent Oldham-based Neil Greenwood (Reil Agencies) set up ‘The Virtual Tavern’ on Facebook, which took off big time. It attracted 39,000 punters worldwide in over 76 countries and territories in no time, with some of Neil’s retail customers among its ‘regulars’.

Scribbler Launches A SupportBlackDesigners Campaign

Scribbler announced it was launching a SupportBlackDesigners campaign to support the black card publishers it currently stocks, highlight the retailer’s diverse offering to customers as well as to encourage other black artists to get in touch.

Card Factory, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Paperchase Join Cardzone In Commit To Thinking Of You Week Initiatives

Asda, Sainsbury’s, Paperchase and Card Factory are the major multiple retailer names to have pledged their support for this year’s Thinking of You Week (September 21-27) through various initiatives instore and on social media. They join Cardzone, which was quick off the blocks to commit to getting behind the GCA-instigated card sending event.

Above: Paper Salad developed the on trend Thinking of You Week livery for 2020.
Above: Paper Salad developed the on trend Thinking of You Week livery for 2020.

Nicola Sturgeon’s 50th ‘Bojo’ Birthday Card Causes Media Flurry

While Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister have been at loggerheads over a number of issues ever since he became Prime Minister, Bojo featured prominently at the SNP leader’s 50th birthday celebrations– with a Twitter post from her husband Peter Murrell, which focused on a birthday card (from publisher The Grey Earl) featuring a caricature of the PM, sparking a huge wave of interest in the media.

Card Factory’s Future Growth Will Largely Be Through Partnerships With Other Retailers

Card Factory unveiled its ambitious five-year strategy, with a stated intention of becoming the “world’s best greeting card retailer.” As part of a mission, which the team believe will see Card Factory increase its UK market share of the everyday card market to 45% (by volume) by 2024 (up 11% on its current position) and 31% by value (up from the current 20%), the retailer will look to open a few more stores, but largely the growth will come from building its online presence as well as forging retail partnerships with other brands.

Above: Card Factory’s growth will not come through its own stores, but retail partnerships.
Above: Card Factory’s growth will not come through its own stores, but retail partnerships.

“The ‘New Normal’ Tastes Of Brussels Sprouts,” Says Dandelion Stationery’s Jo Wilson

As lockdown 1 eased, the flexi-furloughing scheme in operation and more of the greeting card community back to work, PG Buzz checked in Jo Wilson, founder and creative maestro of Derbyshire-based Dandelion Stationery to get her take on how the ‘new normal’ was panning out and what she thought it ‘tastes’ like.

Ohh Deer, Paper Salad, Santoro and Little Posy Win US Louie Awards

The creative prowess of Ohh Deer, Paper Salad, Santoro and Little Posy Press shone out brightly across the Atlantic as these four UK publishers won Louie awards, the US equivalent of The Henries.

August

Cardzone’s Set To Open Another 25 Stores By End Of 2020

Cardzone announced it was on course to open 25 stores by the end of 2020 (taking the specialist group, to 160 stores by Christmas. Of these, around 20 stores were former Clintons’ units.

Above: New Cardzone branding features on its Macclesfield store among others.
Above: New Cardzone branding features on its Macclesfield store among others.

Nigel Quiney Publications’ And Paper Rose’s Sales Teams To Merge

As part of an ongoing restructuring within the Paper Design Group a new merged Nigel Quiney/Paper Rose sales team offers products from both companies to the two companies’ independent retail customers.

Research Confirms Brits’ Card Sending Is Most Ingrained In The World

Over three quarters of the UK adult population (76%) have purchased a greeting card in the last 12 months, head and shoulders above engagement in any other country in the world, according to findings from research commissioned by Card Factory.

Woodmansterne Pulls Out Of Spring Fair Due To The “Uncertain Climate”

Woodmansterne made public its decision not to exhibit at Spring Fair due to the uncertainty of ‘normality’ returning by the time of February’s 2021 show that would make its presence beneficial enough to customers or the business to justify the investment. (Show organiser Hyve cancelled the show due to Covid a few months later).

Cherry Orchard Restructure Sees Its Sales Team Electing To Become Agents

“There is no way any of us could have foreseen the immense upheaval which this horrid Covid-19 has and is causing to people’s lives, livelihoods and businesses,” said Jackie Collins, managing director and owner of Cherry Orchard Publishing as she announced that to safeguard the company’s future the salesforce would be made redundant. All elected to become sales agents for the company.

Odds On For An Early Christmas

Card retailers put out Christmas displays earlier than usual due to changing shopping patterns and a fear of a second spike.

The Big Cover Up

Retailers and publishers react to a soaring market demand for face coverings.

Above: A bit of stylish wit from Five Dollar Shake.
Above: A bit of stylish wit from Five Dollar Shake.

Paperlink Pulls Out Of Brokerage Schemes For Indies

Paperlink ceases supplying independent retailers via brokerage schemes for the foreseeable future.

Waitrose’s New Card Replan Immediately Showed A Double-Digit Sales Increase

Waitrose’s card replan (which coincided with Woodmansterne taking over as its broker/category manager) resulted in an immediate double digit uplift in sales.

Bill Greeno’s Back In The Trade

Bill Greeno sets up BG Consulting and starts working with Abacus/Clare Maddicott.

Above: Having been made redundant from Paperlink in July it didn’t take long for Bill Greeno to bounce back with his own consultancy working for several publishers.
Above: Having been made redundant from Paperlink in July it didn’t take long for Bill Greeno to bounce back with his own consultancy working for several publishers.

September

The Henries 2020 Product Finalists Are Revealed

A judging panel of 60 retail buyers voted on the 1,800+ entries to The Henries greeting card awards to arrive at the finalists.

WHSmith, John Lewis, Waterstones, Sainsbury’s, Oliver Bonas, Card Factory, Cardzone Buyers Are Among The Henries’ ‘Who’s Who’ Of Judges

Views from the vast array of retailers who formed The Henries 2020 judging panel.

Public Opinion: How Has The Coronavirus Affected Consumer Greeting Card Buying Behaviour?

Above: This consumer didn’t quite understand the question about ‘unwrapped’ cards!
Above: This consumer didn’t quite understand the question about ‘unwrapped’ cards!

Moonpig Looks To Triple The Number Of Publishers It Works With

Online greeting card operator, Moonpig launched the largest ever publisher on-boarding programme in the company’s 20-year history.

Consumers reveal how the pandemic has affected their own card buying habits.

The ‘New Normal’ For Ordering: House of Cards

Miles Robinson, partner of House of Cards shares more about the ‘new normal’ for the Home Counties retail group.

Break Out The Tunnocks – It’s Cinnamon Aitch’s 25th Birthday!

One of the longest standing successful ‘double acts’ in the industry, Sara Burford and Sarah Fitzgerald, co-founders of Cinnamon Aitch reflect on the company’s silver jubilee.

Above: The Cinnamon Aitch co-founders, Sara Burford and Sarah Fitzgerald have been friends since their university days.
Above: The Cinnamon Aitch co-founders, Sara Burford and Sarah Fitzgerald have been friends since their university days.

Industry Provides Solace As Thinking Of You Messaging Continue To Build

As the UK responds to tightening coronavirus restrictions, the activity surrounding the GCA’s Thinking of You Week (TOYW), spread the love to millions.

Emotional Rescue To Be Distributed To Indies By The Nigel Quiney/Paper Rose Sales Team

It was announced that from December 1, Emotional Rescue cards were to be distributed to indies by the newly combined Nigel Quiney/Paper Rose independent sales team.

October

Card Factory Reports An “Encouraging Performance”

Card Factory sent out positive messages about how its trade been ‘better than expected’ since it has re-opened stores since lockdown.

Card Fame From Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, Jo Whiley And Cliff Richard

Rock legendDave Grohl revealed on Sky TV that it was the receiving of a greeting card that was to mark the start of the Foo Fighters.

Above: Foo Fighters’ front man, Dave Grohl revealed how it was because of a greeting card he started the rock band.
Above: Foo Fighters’ front man, Dave Grohl revealed how it was because of a greeting card he started the rock band.

Ling And GBCC Deliver Tasty Incentives For Retailers

Ling Design’s recent launch of its new planning service comes with tasty incentives for retailers signing up – the promise of Fortnum & Mason hamper.

Greeting Card Creator, Tracey Colliston Triumphs In License This! Competition

Tracey Colliston (of Ginger Betty and creator of Eliot and Buttons and Barley Bear) adds another claim to fame – her Owl’s Nest concept triumphed in the License This! competition.

Greeting Cards Deemed As ‘Essential Items’ In Wales Firebreak Lockdown

In a U-turn from the Welsh government saw greeting cards elevated to ‘essential items’ status and as such were able to be sold by ‘essential’ retailers during the country’s ‘firebreak’ lockdown.

GCA Initiates Industry Response To Concerns Over Royal Mail’s Review Of Postal Services

The GCA works to ensure that vital elements of Royal Mail’s postal service that are crucial to the greeting card industry remain in place.

Above: Safeguarding a highly regular and efficient postal service from Royal Mail is of paramount importance to the UK greeting card industry.
Above: Safeguarding a highly regular and efficient postal service from Royal Mail is of paramount importance to the UK greeting card industry.

The British Public Spent £1.7 Billion On Greeting Cards, Confirms Market Report

The UK Greeting Card Industry Market Report, (commissioned by the GCA) revealed that the British public spent a massive £1.7 billion on greeting cards last year.

November

The Industry Campaigns For Greeting Card Shops To Be Recognised as ‘Essential’

GCA unites retailers and publishers in campaign for greeting card retailers to be seen as ‘essential’ during lockdown 2.

Megan Claire’s Lockdown ‘12 Days Of Christmas’ Design Goes Viral, But Little Credit Is Given

Greeting card publisher, Megan Claire experienced some bittersweet success with its new Christmas lockdown collection, highlighting how posts on social media should acknowledge the source.

Above: Megan Claire’s 12 days of lockdown Christmas, which was initially shared in good faith by No.14 giving full credit to the originator.
Above: Megan Claire’s 12 days of lockdown Christmas, which was initially shared in good faith by No.14 giving full credit to the originator.

GCA Conference And AGM Keeps The Industry’s Heart Beating

Discussions on diversity, retailing, industry initiatives and the new website made for a packed agenda at the virtual GCA AGM and Conference.

Hallmark Ramps Up Its Consumer Engagement With New Website And Royal Mail Tie Up

Hallmark ramped up its consumer engagement, on a commercial as well as on the PR front with a new B2C website and Letter to Santa tie-up with Royal Mail.

Emotional Rescue x Paper Salad Collaborate

In a stand-out in industry practice, Emotional Rescue and Paper Salad, announce a collaboration on a huge launch of six card ranges, comprising a total of 150 designs.

Above: A couple of designs from the Senti collection produced by Emo in collaboration with Paper Salad.
Above: A couple of designs from the Senti collection produced by Emo in collaboration with Paper Salad.

Petition Pushes For Card Shops To Be Allowed To Reopen While Media Interest Soars

A petition entitled ‘Non-essential’ shops should be allowed to stay open during the current lockdown’ (instigated by Cards Galore’s director Rumit Shah) was granted official status by the UK Government and was signed by thousands.

Green For Go As The Imaging Centre Invests In New HQ

Digital printer and fulfilment company for hundreds of card publishers, The Imaging Centre to move into a state-of-the-art eco premises, with a brand new additional printing press.

Crowning Glory For Greeting Card Sending

Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh marked their 73rd wedding anniversary with the focus of the official photograph being a handmade card that was made by their great-grandchildren.

Above: The Daily Mail, not only featured the photo on its front cover, but also included a piece about the card inside the newspaper.
Above: The Daily Mail, not only featured the photo on its front cover, but also included a piece about the card inside the newspaper.

Festive Friday Activity Prompts Christmas Card Sending As Lockdown Eases

Publishers, retailers, trade suppliers, Royal Mail and Isle of Man Post all participated in the GCA’s Festive Friday initiative to kick off Christmas card sending.

December

Christmas Card Buying Frenzy As Stores Reopen After Lockdown 2

Consumers return to card stores as Lockdown 2 restrictions ease in England.

Above: A busy scene inside a Clintons’ store in Uxbridge on the day of the re-opening.
Above: A busy scene inside a Clintons’ store in Uxbridge on the day of the re-opening.

55% UK Adults See Sending Christmas Cards in 2020 As More Important Than Ever Before

In a year tinged by separation and restriction, more than half of Britons (55%) believe that sending Christmas cards to loved ones is more important than ever, according to the findings of new Royal Mail research.

The Henries 2020 Award Winners Revealed And Joyful Responses

To see some of the happy winners’ responses, click here.

Over 700 members of the global greeting card community were ‘out’ in force at The Henries – the industry’s ‘big night in’ which saw the winners crowned at an awards ceremony that was peppered with appearances from international well-wishers.

Above: Cath Tate (second left) of Cath Tate Cards received the Honorary Achievement Award while Simon Elvin and Rachel Hare (of Belly Button) not only won a Henries award but also shared their memories from the last 25 years of the awards event.
Above: Cath Tate (second left) of Cath Tate Cards received the Honorary Achievement Award while Simon Elvin and Rachel Hare (of Belly Button) not only won a Henries award but also shared their memories from the last 25 years of the awards event.

Small Business And Retail Minister Paul Scully Acknowledges Card Retailers’ Plight

Small Business and Retail Minister Paul Scully and a select delegation from the IRC (Independent Retailers Confederation), which included Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA met to discuss what could be done to help retailers.

Henry & Co Is Penmark’s New Blueprint, Launching With UKG Brokerage

New retail concept from Penmark, Henry & Co debuts in Nottingham with more to follow in 2021.

Liverpool FC Scores Above Sir Cliff In The Calendar League

Danilo’s 2021 official calendar chart showed it was a case of ‘Klop of the Pops’ this time around.

Frustration Over Stamp Supplies Causes Headaches For Card Retailers

Royal Mail’s decision to raise stamp prices on Jan 1 made worse by supplies being hampered to avoid stockpiling.

GMB Goes Really Wild Over Coverage Of The Piers Morgan Sound Card

Sound card from Really Wild Cards’ Politically Incorrect range given a shout out on breakfast TV programme.

Above: Shared mirth between Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid over the sound card.
Above: Shared mirth between Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid over the sound card.

IC&G Officially Launches Its Planning Service

Publisher aims to install 50 stock control planned displays over the next year.

The Final Push For Christmas Card Sales

It was always on course to be a Christmas like no other, but UK card retailers gave it a damn good go right until the final hour.

Darcy Willson-Rymer Appointed As Card Factory’s New Boss

Darcy Willson-Rymer was been appointed chief executive officer of Card Factory. As well as having been ceo of Costcutter Supermarkets, Darcy was also ceo of Clinton Cards (2011-2012).

Scribbler x Sainsbury’s Collaboration Debuts On Boxing Day

In a significant collaboration between two retailers, Sainsbury’s introduced Scribbler-branded greeting card displays into 280 of its stores on Boxing Day. In addition to the dedicated ‘feature ends’ (which are to remain in place for the next six months), the grocer has introduced various other Scribbler card designs into its main greeting card displays.

Above: Sainsbury’s has introduced Scribbler card displays into 280 of its stores.
Above: Sainsbury’s has introduced Scribbler card displays into 280 of its stores.

A Positive PR Bonanza

Ending the year on something of a ‘purple patch’ on the PR front for the greeting card sector, TV programmes, newspapers, radio stations and news sites were awash of late with positive media coverage about the sending of greeting cards.

So, as 2012 draws to a close. PG Buzz thanks all readers and contributors for their support and here’s to 2021 being much better all round.

Big hugs

Jakki Brown, editor of PG Buzz

PS…

All this and more has been covered in the pages of Progressive Greetings Worldwide, a lovely glossy monthly magazine. Wouldn’t you like to hold a copy in your hands every month so you can flick through and read them wherever takes your fancy.

To SUBSCRIBE NOW go to www.max-subscriptions.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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