This ad will be closed automatically in X seconds.

The show so far!

What’s been going on around Spring Fair – and there’s still two days left

 

Birthday cakes, national tv filming, secret Valentine cards, plenty of orders, famous visitors, and lots of chatter dahn the pub – it’s all been going on at Spring Fair!

With today and tomorrow of the biggest trade show of the season still left, Creative Cove’s Sandra Jervis has been feeling lucky from when the doors opened at Birmingham’s NEC on Sunday.

Above: Sandra Jervis gets lucky with Earlybird's Dom Early
Above: Sandra Jervis gets lucky with Earlybird’s Dom Early

The Lampeter indie headed straight for her pals Dom and Heidi Early on their Earlybird stand 3Q35 and the Lucky Lolly competition – and promptly snagged the top prize of a 20% discount!

“We hadn’t even finished putting all the tags on the Chupa Chups sticks, and Sandra nabbed the top prize,” Dom laughed, “she didn’t even put it back – she ate the lolly!”

The odds were pretty high with 100 lollies in the display but, proving it was completely random, Stationery Supplies indie Sarah Laker drew a blank when she chanced her arm straight afterwards.

Above: Writing letters to mps is the serious side of the GCA’s stand while the fun element comes from Hyve Group delivering all the anonymous Valentine’s cards being sent!
Above: Writing letters to mps is the serious side of the GCA’s stand while the fun element comes from Hyve Group delivering all the anonymous Valentine’s cards being sent!

The GCA areas around the back of row 3K have been seeing plenty of visitors attracted by the complimentary tea and coffee in the buyers’ lounge along with the free cards from exhibiting publishers which can be written and posted to pals around the show as organiser Hyve Events has staff emptying the postbox regularly to deliver the mail to stands.

With the number of anonymous Valentine’s cards being sent, PG Buzz’s lips are sealed as to who have been the lucky recipients!

Above: Retailers flocking to Spring Fair include Sarah Holmes, from Pencil Me In, Elgin; Red Card’s Sally Matson, of Petworth; Michael Apter, of Edinburgh’s Paper Tiger; Heidi Early, of Earlybird in Stoke Newington; and Kaye Thurgood from Sincerely Yours in Shenfield and Hornchurch - with Stationery Supplies Sarah Laker added at the front as she was at the show but missed the photocall
Above: Retailers flocking to Spring Fair include Sarah Holmes, from Pencil Me In, Elgin; Red Card’s Sally Matson, of Petworth; Michael Apter, of Edinburgh’s Paper Tiger; Heidi Early, of Earlybird in Stoke Newington; and Kaye Thurgood from Sincerely Yours in Shenfield and Hornchurch – with Stationery Supplies Sarah Laker added at the front as she was at the show but missed the photocall

The GCA team is also on hand for the more serious business of helping people write to their mp to raise concern over the ongoing threats to Royal Mail’s universal service obligation to deliver letters six days a week across the UK for the same priced stamp.

“We had 27 letters written on Sunday, and 30 on Monday, which is pretty good going and there’s two days left,” GCA ceo Amanda Fergusson explained.

Above: ITN got down to business interviewing First Class Greetings’ Jerry Brown behind the scenes
Above: ITN got down to business interviewing First Class Greetings’ Jerry Brown behind the scenes

Also on the serious front retailer Jerry Brown, of First Class Greetings in Hadleigh, has been keeping up his efforts to bring Post Office Ltd to account for the Horizon tech system failure, as ITN news followed him to the show for an interview.

“They’d wanted to film me at the hotel,” Jerry told PG Buzz, “but then we got them to come here to interview me about the Post Office’s current problems with the Horizon system and ongoing shortfalls. It was due on the bulletins from 6.30pm yesterday evening.

“I’m determined to help bring the current Post Office’s management to account because the situation has been dreadful for postmasters, and it’s still not resolved – the compensation offered is derisory.”

Above & top: Leather-clad Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen met up with GBCC creative director Lucy Ledger
Above & top: Leather-clad Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen met up with GBCC creative director Lucy Ledger

Back on the lighter side of the industry, the fragrant celebrity designer Laurence Llewelyn -Bowen popped in to the show for a visit to the Great British Card Company stand 3L20-M21 where his licensed card collection was on display.

Above: Cake all round at Laura Darrington Design, Raspberry Blossom, Tache and Louise Tiler
Above: Cake all round at Laura Darrington Design, Raspberry Blossom, Tache and Louise Tiler

There’s been plenty of cake going round in the greetings hall thanks to Hyve Events delivering delicious boxes to mark a number of big birthdays as Laura Darrington Designs (3S31) hit 20, and Berni Parker Designs (3P32) celebrated its 15th year, while Raspberry Blossom (3S25), Tache (3S11), Louise Tiler (3S11)and Rush Design (3S20) have all reached double figures.

With such a creative industry, the artists are all important and Nigel Quiney Publications (3M24) had Tina Ramsbottom showing off her painting skills with an on-stand masterclass on Sunday. Tina is the artist behind NQP’s bestselling and ever-evolving Pizazz ranges along with her latest Chelsea Garden creation.

Above: Pizazz is a great seller for Cards & Gifts Dronfield so owners Ollie Guise-Smith and Carl Dunne enjoyed watching artist Tina Ramsbottom at work
Above: Pizazz is a great seller for Cards & Gifts Dronfield so owners Ollie Guise-Smith and Carl Dunne enjoyed watching artist Tina Ramsbottom at work

Sally Hunter is well known for her cute Humphrey’s Corner brand of children’s clothes in Mothercare which also had a greetings range and she’s now gone for something completely different with her new licensing deal at Emotional Rescue ((3R15), visiting the show on Sunday for the launch of the Model Family range.

“We like it because it offers something completely different to we’ve got in our portfolio,” Emo’s creative director Jennie Rutter explained, “and it’s an interesting way to present humour with the Plasticine models. There are 12 designs in the range at the moment, open humour with captions to come later.”

Above: Model Family’s naughty humour is something different for artist Sally Hunter (left), with Jennie Rutter
Above: Model Family’s naughty humour is something different for artist Sally Hunter (left), with Jennie Rutter

And at The Eco-friendly Card Company (3M52), artist Adam James Severn was on hand to promote co-owner Sue Morrish’s competition where all customers placing an order go into the draw for his signed Blue Sky Long-Tailed Tits print, with the winner to be announced after the show.

Adam explained: “The originals are always mixed media, newspapers, magazines, bits of fabric, whatever I can get my hands on, I never buy anything.

Above: Artist and retailer Adam James Severn with his prize signed print
Above: Artist and retailer Adam James Severn with his prize signed print

“In my day job I’ve been at the Henry Brewer Gallery in Nottingham for 25 years and I’ve been selling commercially for 20 years – I’ve now worked with Eco-Friendly Card Company for a year.”

Sue added: “Initially it was six designs in the collection and it was quickly put up to 12 which is unusual because we don’t usually increase outside our catalogue dates, and now there are 18 plus notecards and Christmas.”

Above: Bewliderbeest’s Iain Hamilton has made a feature of his 6’8” height on stand 3P48 as sales agent Neil Greenwood, of Reil Agencies, looks to measure up
Above: Bewilderbeest’s Iain Hamilton has made a feature of his 6’8” height on stand 3P48 as sales agent Neil Greenwood, of Reil Agencies, looks to measure up

As a retailer Adam also took in the show, and commented: “We’ve done about five orders so far, a new one for us is Sarah Kelleher, plus Mollie Mae, Paper Salad and Laura Darrington.

“We don’t see trends as such because we’re an art gallery so blank and art cards are good for us and the Printmakers range from Art Angels, and we’re looking at Silver Birch and Cardiau Nico who used to be Relief Press but have just split.”

Above: US GCA president Andy Meehan was one of the first visitors to the PG pub where Jakki Brown was happy to be barmaid
Above: US GCA president Andy Meehan was one of the first visitors to the PG pub as he was still on LA time, with Jakki Brown happy to be barmaid

And as the show closes each evening the PG Pub on N Smith’s stand 3K41 has been the hub of the day’s gossip with friends from across the industry dropping by for a drink – remember to turn up at 5.45pm tonight!

Show so far pic 13

Brainbox Candy’s Ben Hickman and Mark Williams (pictured above) kept their renowned sense of humour for this show shot on stand 3N20, with Ben commenting: “We’ve been really busy, literally from the doors opening we’ve been busy, lots of orders, the new ranges are going well – Heritage, the blue plaque range, is going very well and we have 150 new designs across our existing ranges so people are topping up and ordering ion the new too.”

Show so far pic 14

From the Gower Gallery in Mumbles manager Aimee Arnold and owner Arwen Hilton (pictured above) were enjoying the birthday cake and bubbles being served on Raspberry Blossom’s stand while making an order.

“We’ve been customers of Raspberry Blossom for a couple of years and they’re Aimee’s favourite cards in the gallery,” Arwen said. “we’ve also ordered from Cardiau Nico which are lovely art cards, Heaven Sent and Roger La Borde, also Poet And Painter.

“It was good, really good fun and I’ve loved all the people dressed up as sheep and sharks walking around, not seen that before here – and everywhere we’ve been given free prosecco has been great!”

 

Show so far pic 15Aimee added: “it’s my first time here and I’ve loved it. All the brands are amazing and all the people dressed up was really good fun. And to meet all the wonderful people I speak to on the phone regularly has been great.”

Kim Lewis, card buyer at Longacres Garden Centres (right): “It’s good but it’s tiring! I’ve done Christmas with a couple of companies and has quotes for Christmas warp and I’m just about to order on the Seed Card Company stand, and will be doing my order with Rosie Made A Thing and looking at her new chocolate cards. I love the show but I do find it tiring as it’s so big.”

Show so far pic 16

Sarah Laker, Stationery Supplies in Marple & Wilmslow, pictured with US distributors Vanessa and Alan Harnik of Notes & Queries: “I’ve only made six orders so far but there are more to do. I have missed the smaller publishers, I like seeing all the little ones but I think the show looks really good this year and it’s got a nice feel to it, everybody has done really well with their stands

“It’s also nice to see people like Heyyy Cards and Ginger Betty taking that next step, I’ve found more stationery and I’ve done my notebooks order with The Art File which I’ll be launching with a window display they’ve created for me. And their Christmas is beautiful so I’ve ordered for both shops.”

Show so far pic 17

Sandra Jervis, Creative Cove, Lampeter: “I wasn’t meant to spend so much but I’ve placed 10 orders! I’ve found new suppliers with House Of Disaster, such beautiful things and they even had mushrooms which are my favourite; Big Potato Games, I’ve been desperate for that sort of thing, and obviously I did a massive order at Legami for all their pens.

“There’s The Art File everyday and Christmas, and Brainbox Candy, because who doesn’t need a blue plaque!

“The show is different this year, there’s a buzz, it’s much better – I didn’t spend a penny last year, I was so disappointed, so this year is great.”

MORE NEWS
Clintons owners Feature Image
 
Greetings chain’s new owners confident of turnaround in next financial year...
Retas countdown Feature Image
 
Hop to it a book a Retas Awards ticket for 4 July and celebrate wonderful retailers...
FD round up Feature Image
 
Last-minute rush nets decent increases for many retailers as footie makes its mark...
GCA Yorkshire Feature Image
 
County’s newspaper covers industry issues in special Amanda Fergusson GCA interview...
AF reg open Feature Image
 
Over 800 brands already signed up for the 1-4 September show...
Amscan bust Feature Image
 
Wonder Group clarifies ‘strategic review’ position after news reports break...
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.