Who’s The Daddy? Father’s Day Better Than Expected

Contrary to many of the worries about Father’s Day dwindling in popularity, this year many retailers were pleasantly surprised by the sales.

A Dandelion Stationery card design that was shared on Calladoodles’ Facebook page that reflects the broadening of Father’s Day card sends.
A Dandelion Stationery card design that was shared on Calladoodles’ Facebook page that reflects the broadening of Father’s Day card sends.

“We had a great Father’s Day, finishing at +6% compared to last year,” revealed Lizzie Batchelar, John Lewis’ assistant buyer of cards, gift wrap and seasonal events. She said that “trade overall was strong and steady throughout the period – much less last minute than Valentine’s, Mother’s Day and Easter!”

She said that design choice was a great mix of sentimental, classic and humour cards with cards from Woodmansterne, Susan O’Hanlon and Emotional Rescue having performed “very well for JLP”.

On the indie front, Deborah Tingay, owner of Southbourne Cards in Bournemouth was even more cockahoop. “We had great sales on Father’s Day – all growth in greeting cards!” She experienced a “double digit increase on the four days leading up to” the event and “almost a complete sell through on Paper Rose and Woodmansterne”, with Dandelion and Rachel Ellen’s ranges also performing well.

Calladoodles’ Father’s Day window display.
Calladoodles’ Father’s Day window display.

Deborah was most encouraged that “average spend and footfall was up so all round very encouraging. We have seen a shift from popping in for one card to popping in for one card and then leaving with a couple more.”

Liz Killick, owner of Calladoodles in Carshalton also had a cracking Father’s Day and refutes that it is an event in decline. “Each year we are seeing an increase in interest and sales, which I am guessing is aided and fuelled by social media. Our Instagram engagement is steadily rising, in addition to a more locally focused interest via Facebook.”

Liz says that she ordered more ‘Dad’ cards than ever this year yet despite this they all sold through. “Next year we are hoping to see more choice for the associated groups – stepdad, father-in-law, mum being mum & dad etc!”

Savita and Steven Marsh of Northwood Cards clinked glasses at PG Live’s Retas’ champagne reception recently, but Father’s Day also was cause for celebration.
Savita and Steven Marsh of Northwood Cards clinked glasses at PG Live’s Retas’ champagne reception recently, but Father’s Day also was cause for celebration.

Savita Marsh, co-owner of Northwood Cards, Northwood also hailed Father’s Day as “a huge success” with sales rolling in, making for “a very busy week, which we were delighted by.” To her mind: “Dads were definitely not forgotten this year. Humour sold well but also our cards with heartfelt messages and meaningful words were top sellers this year!”

Maggie Wym of Just Cards in Honiton was happy about reaching the finals of The Retas, but she is also chuffed at the store’s Father’s Day sales.
Maggie Wynn of Just Cards in Honiton was happy about reaching the finals of The Retas, but she is also chuffed at the store’s Father’s Day sales.

Down in Honiton, Maggie Wynn, owner of Just Cards is another retailer giving Father’s Day the thumbs up, though they are less prepared down in her neck of the woods. It was “very last minute” with sales building to a crescendo in the last three days before the event. She was gratified that the average price spent on cards was on the up while gift sales were more eratic. “I found the more expensive cards sold well this year. Customers wanted a nice card with nice words. UKG had some large Father’s Day, which sold well while humorous designs went really well. Gifts did not do so well and sales were a bit slow, so I will be looking for something really different next year that is away from the norm.

World Cup ‘daddies’

  • As for predications for the ‘daddy of the World Cup’, Maggie is in no doubts – “it has to be the lovely Christiano Ronaldo – what a player!”
  • Deborah Tingay, owner Southbourne Cards called on a younger pundit for her World Cup prediction: “My son says, “erm… maybe Brazil”. He’s 10 years old, so well placed for a good tip!”
  • Savita Marsh of Northwood Cards’ bet is a little closer to home: “Spain to win!” is her verdict.
Royal Mail commissioned a special Father’s Day video featuring comments from some of its employees about what their fathers mean to them.
Royal Mail commissioned a special Father’s Day video featuring comments from some of its employees about what their fathers mean to them.

Clintons Father’s Day PR

While Paperchase clocked up impressive ‘column inches’ for its inclusive Father’s Day card designs aimed at mums, Clintons adopted a different PR tack. It attracted attention for its ‘From ‘Homo Erectus’ to ‘Homo Click-and-collectus’ press release which claimed how Father’s Day cards chart the changing roles of dads.

The premise of the release is that Dads who were born in a pre-IKEA world are more likely to be involved with construction, plumbing and carpentry for their children.

In the sixties, seventies and eighties, Father’s Day cards would routinely reference ‘handyman’ tools, including drills, hammers and saws, depicting dads as somewhat aloof, if practical, ‘Homo Erectus’ characters. Leisure pursuits tended to concentrate on golf and fishing. More recent depictions tend to focus on dads’ roles in the families, engaged in a wider array of activities and tasks, with the focus on leisure, becoming more of a ‘Homo Click-and-collectus’ figure.

A poll for Clintons has found that dads aged 53 or over are far more likely to be asked to carry out construction, plumbing, carpentry, electrical and general household maintenance tasks for their kids. Younger fathers, who came of age when IKEA heralded the arrival of the Flat Pack era and the Allen Key, are more likely to be tasked with courier services, cooking tasks and arranging e-commerce deliveries to their offspring.

According to an omnibus survey of 2,000 UK adults, the most common regular support from dads comes in the form of general advice (68%), financial support (43%) and DIY (38%). Cooking, cleaning, washing and gardening were also high on the list for some of those polled with 25% of those under 24 placing dad’s cooking as a primary form of support.

Nicola Miller, head of cards at Clintons said: “Outdated views around parental roles have shifted in recent years. Dads are often the first person we turn to in times of trouble and this relationship continues long into adulthood. Despite this, it can be hard to tell dads we love them. Sometimes the words ‘I Love You’ just don’t come naturally. Father’s Day is a wonderful chance to show some love to the gardeners, the plumbers, counsellors and taxi drivers that for many, work tirelessly to make our lives easier.”

The survey found that Northern Ireland is home to the most counsellors, with 85% of those polled saying they regularly rely on their dad for advice. Meanwhile, handymen are plentiful in both London and Wales, with 44% in those regions saying they call upon their dad for regular help with household DIY.

In the North East, Dads often take on the role of taxi driver (38%), whereas Welsh fathers are most likely to be the on-call mechanic for their children (45%). The survey finds that Yorkshire and Welsh dads are the most likely to be providing financial support, even after their children have left home. In fact, 40% of adults aged 55-64 admit to regularly relying on financial support from dad.

According to respondents, other things dads help with range from teaching maths, pet-sitting, decorating and financial accounting to “keeping me up to date with Scottish Railway Preservation”.

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