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WHSmith, Paperchase, Stationery Supplies, Calladoodles, and The Jumping Bean PG Live top picks

Five top retailers reveal all about their big greeting card trade show finds


So much to see you run out of time – that was Sarah Laker’s take on the recent specialist greeting card show, as she admitted she’s now “a proper PG Live convert”!

The owner of Stationery Supplies in Marple and Wilmslow made the trip to the Business Design Centre to join the many other retailers of all shapes and sizes checking out the best of the offer from more than 200 publishers at the 2022 edition.”

“I ran out of both time and budget at the show,” Sarah said, “you want to stand and look at them all, but there isn’t time, you want to buy so many of them but there’s only so much space in your shop and money in your bank.

“I was absolutely spoiled for choice! Such a riot of colour and design. I spent the first day walking the aisles, catching up with existing suppliers, taking in their new ranges and looking for something new and exciting. Then I sat in the pub Tuesday night making a shortlist and a plan for Day Two.”

Above: Fun with Dean Morris, and Sarah Laker is also pictured with Raspberry Blossom, Laura Sherratt Designs and Not At All Jack
Above: Fun with Dean Morris, and Sarah Laker is also pictured with Raspberry Blossom, Laura Sherratt Designs and Not At All Jack

Top picks: “I loved the new Richmond Park range by The Art File and Dandelion Publishing’s mini-card range, plus the new additions to its gift range. Toasted Crumpet’s Christmas was delicious and the mixed charity boxes from Museums & Galleries will fill a gap I’ve been wanting to plug.

“Unexpectedly, Cotton & Grey’s honey-scented beeswax candles really attracted me. I always said I’d never sell candles, which just goes to show you should never say never. I love that they are a card and gift in one which, given the current climate where people are looking to cut back on spending, they will attract sales, and I’m looking forward to seeing what my customers think of them.

“I wanted to spend both my Golden ticket and Sunshine ticket to trial new ranges, and all the better if I could find a new publisher in Springboard to support. Not At All Jack really stood out for me with its quirky humour cards. After a chat I knew we’d get along – it’s really important for me to have a good relationship with my suppliers, so I spent my first Sunshine ticket with them. I was looking for a new humour range for my Wilmslow store and sure enough, I sold two cards as I was unpacking the box to price them.

“Hanxmade’s designs were just a pleasure to look at, I particularly liked the same sex giraffe cards which I thought would be great for many occasions – I’m a sucker for a giraffe! Hannah was an absolute delight and almost cried when I got out my Sunshine ticket. Hanxmade are based in Cheshire, so that will thrill my customers as they love a local connection.

And my Golden ticket went to Laura Sherratt Designs. I think her cards will fit in well with my portfolio of publishers in Wilmslow and had been thinking about ordering from her for a while. So, it seemed like a golden opportunity to try her cards.

“Other orders I placed were with the legendary Dean Morris, James Ellis, and Stormy Knight who not only gave me a bar of yummy chocolate, but also 10% off in its lucky dip! I’ve also placed my first order with Wendy Jones-Blackett for Marple after successfully trialling the cards in Wilmslow. And I ordered Two Little Monkeys’ new humour cards for both shops. I love his contemporary cards as they appeal across the board and always sell well for me.”

“Now I’m back in the shop I plan to order age cards from Heyyy, a gender-neutral fun selection based on nostalgic games and toys, as well as some new super cute designs from Ginger Betty.

“And I’m cracking on with my Christmas ordering now I’ve checked out the many ranges out there! I’m also going to keep an eye on a few other publishers from Springboard and see how their ranges develop.

Above: WHSmith’s Claire Castle with Pigment’s Steve Baker
Above: WHSmith’s Claire Castle and Chrissi Bee with Pigment’s Steve Baker

Claire Castle, senior buyer, greeting cards for WHSmith High Street

“Both assistant buyer Chrissi Bee and I really enjoyed PG Live. It was great to meet up with people face to face again and all in one place.

“We have started our big range reviews for 2023, so having the show in June is always perfect timing for us. As usual, we came away with lots of ideas.”

Above: The Paperchase team with Lucy Maggie Designs, and Cool Source Cards
Above: The Paperchase team with Lucy Maggie Designs, and Cool Source Cards

Carlo Marinelli, senior buyer, Paperchase

“We had a great time at PG Live this year! It was card buyer Tori Heathsmith’s and my first proper PG Live after last year’s lockdown-affected show and assistant buyer Laura Clarke’s first card show and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

“The atmosphere was great, there was a real buzz around the show, we saw so many familiar faces who were all on good form, and also lots of new faces showing really strong ranges!”

Top picks: “We used our PG Live special tickets with Lucy Maggie Designs and Cool Source Cards, and are very excited to onboard them with Paperchase.”

Liz Killick, co-owner of Calladoodles, Carshalton

Another great PG Live, it was so good to feel normality’returning. It was just such a treat to be back in full on PG Live mode this year with a great range of exhibitors, plus the Springboard section restored.

“As ever, PG Live is such a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and pick up plenty of inspiration for the months ahead. Congratulations to the team!”

Top picks: “We were fortunate enough to have two Silver Retas tickets to spend and there was plenty of choice. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing I settled on the beautiful 3Evils calligraphic cards and also their fresh modern take on sports-themed cards – super cards and lovely people!

“My other top choice was Ginger Betty, for its soft and gentle cards with a hand-painted look which will appeal to the more traditionally-minded of our customers.

It was great to meet Ian on the Folio stand, and I’ve just ordered some of his funny, eye-catching cards. It’s not easy in the crowded card world to produce something very different which these certainly are. Bewilderbeast also proved to have brought originality to the show and its Father’s Day cards have been a great success for us even though we were late to that particular party!”

Above: The Jumping Bean’s Nilou Noorbaksh with Lucy Maggie Designs
Above: The Jumping Bean’s Nilou Noorbaksh with Lucy Maggie Designs

Nilou Noorbaksh, co-owner of The Jumping Bean, Honor Oak, Beckenham & East Dulwich

“We had a great time at PG Live this year and placed several orders. It was good to be out and connecting with everyone again. There really is something special about greeting cards – they’re important, inspiring, funny, and provide all the things we want to share with the people we buy them for.”

Top picks: “My favourite exhibitor was Poet And Painter and I’m super excited to be working with them. Sunshine Llama was also a great find while it was lovely to catch up and see the great new designs from our regular suppliers like Ohh Deer.”

Top: A proper greeting card welcome at PG Live

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