Buyers from John Lewis, Scribbler, Fortnum & Mason, Waterstones, Paperchase, RHS, Card Factory, WHSmith, Cardzone, Sainbury’s, Clintons, Moonpig, and Oliver Bonas, as well as a host of leading small groups (including Between the Lines, House of Cards, Gee Tees, Mooch, Zo & Co, 3 Wishes, Baileys and Utility) and incredible array of independents scrutinised over 9,000 greeting card and giftwrappings which were submitted into The Henries 2020 to arrive as the worthy finalists.
The collective votes of the 60-strong judging panel (each of whom individually selected what they deemed were the top six entries in each award category) decided which UK greeting card ranges are deemed the best of the best!
Here are some snippets from just a few of the wonderful retailers who formed this year’s judging panel…
Sarah Moughtin, and Chloe Cartwright, buyer and buying assistant of John Lewis and Waitrose:
“We have contacted a few of the publishers whose entries caught our eye already – we saw some really lovely designs!
It was good to see the Black Lives Matter movement being incorporated into some designs, with some publishers using both black and white characters. I thought that was great, as it’s something we are missing in the cards market currently.”
Penny Bailey, co-owner of Baileys (Ainsdale, Crosby and Maghull):
“Being a Henries’ judge felt like such a responsibility, but I enjoyed it.
There are so many talented artists out there. I’ve picked up a couple of publishers who I am going to order from for the first time, which is a great added bonus.”
Jo Georgiou, owner of The Ark, Stoke Newington (pictured top):
“Wow, that was a mammoth task! Great to see so many entries, one advantage to judging online was the ease at gathering contacts. My notebook is bursting with new publishers and new ranges to check out. An order from Hole in my Pocket is already on its way. Fabulous to see more diversity. So much creativity in this industry and I love that greeting cards are an affordable, accessible way to own mini works of art!”
Yasmin Twist, card buyer of the Gee Tees group:
“I loved the judging; it was a true privilege. There is so much wonderful product, created by the talent here in the UK. The whole judging process took a lot longer than I anticipated, but I could not miss any or skip over any entry as clearly so much love, passion, integrity and wonderful creativity abounds in all categories.
The time it has taken to judge has allowed me to take note of future links with publishers and opportunities for potential gaps I have in the ranges we carry. We are so blessed with the artistic design that surrounds us in our industry.”
Nigel Williamson, co-owner of House of Cards, Home Counties mini group of card shops:
“It was so great to see the creative flare – including in the new Lockdown Range category, many of which gave us all a laugh, which is much needed.
Victoria Robinson, director of Wishes in Cockermouth:
“Although a very different experience from judging The Henries in the flesh, it was fantastic to see so many ranges and card publishers together, especially at a time when we haven’t been able to visit tradeshows and see reps/agents regularly.
It was so good to vote for publishers and ranges we’ve loved having in the store and sold well for us in hope they may receive recognition for being fabulous. But also so valuable to discover publishers we’ve not stocked or seen before. I have a collection of notes and screenshots from my experience as a judge to refer to when the time comes to be buying new.
My favourite category was The Lynn Tait Most Promising Young Designer or Artist Award. It’s exciting to see younger talent and read about these designers.
I also loved that this year there is a Best Lockdown Range! The publishers who entered this category all absolutely deserve recognition for putting to paper how we’re all feeling, finding the right words to send and/or giving a laugh when it was needed. All should be applauded for reacting in a positive way in a very challenging time.”
Jon May, co-owner of Mooch Gifts & Home, Bewdley and Stourport-on-Severn:
“Wow, that’s a lot of cards! I now have a handful of new suppliers ready to contact, so well worth doing – especially with the lack of trade shows!”
Sarah and Paul Henderson, co-owners of the 3 Wishes group:
“We so loved the opportunity to be a Henries judge. Although we thoroughly enjoy the normal social aspect of the physical judging days, this year’s solution was perfect for us. It was great seeing lots of new designs, and definitely helps make up for the devastating lack of trade shows this year. It was also really good to focus on such a positive activity.”
And the final word has to go to Sarah Laker, owner of Marple Stationery Supplies, who did not let her camping holiday interfere with her Henries’ judging commitment:
“Just WOW! How much is there is to look at!!!!! Really impressed with the standard, such an eclectic mix of amazing designs.”
Top: Jo Georgiou, owner of The Ark, Stoke Newington in judging mode.