After 34 years in the greeting card industry, Simon King, the well-respected sales director of specialist greeting card printer Sherwood Group, is making a complete career change and is re-training to run a care home. He leaves Sherwood on March 1.
“I have loved my time in this industry, and feel privileged to have been part of what must be the most exciting chapter in its evolution on the publishing side, but having worked in the printing industry since I left school at 16, I felt I wanted to try join the care industry,” Simon told PG Buzz. “From being at the heart of one industry whose product is all about showing you care to another!” he added.
Paying tribute to “his colleague and friend”, Jeremy Bacon, ceo of the Sherwood Group acknowledged that Simon, who joined the Nottingham-based Sherwood Group in the year 2000, has been “instrumental in developing the Sherwood Group’s business and reputation as a specialist greeting card printer.” He added that “Simon has been a ‘wise old bear’ of our board meetings and his experience and insight has played a part in our strategic decisions.”
Recalling the major industry changes he has witnessed over the last three and half decades, Simon says: “It has to be the proliferation of great new card publishers. When I was 24 I joined Kenrick & Jefferson, a Midlands-based printer. My first three greeting card customers were Gemma, Second Nature and Avocado Designs (now part of Paper Rose). It was my introduction to the lovely people in this great industry,” said Simon.
Simon has many fond memories of then working for Burgess, which was seen as “the ‘crème de la crème’ of greeting card printing in the late 80s/early 90s when what was described as the small house publisher revolution really started happening.”
It was at Burgess that Simon says he had the “good fortune” to work for Duncan Spence, now shareholder of Carte Blanche and former owner of Ling Design. “Duncan taught me so much about business and I will always hold him in very high regard,” adds Simon.
As to other major changes, Simon highlights how the absence of digital printing in those early years meant that “all card publishers, even those just starting out, had to print litho, meaning a minimum of 3,000 sheets, so thousands of cards right from the off.”
Simon says that he starts the new chapter of his life with so many fond memories of his many years in the greeting card industry. “I feel very honored to have been a part of so many publishers’ journeys – meeting many of them right at the start of their journey and seeing them grow to great heights. I am lucky to have made many friends in this trade and will be looking to keep in touch with them.”
Top: Simon King with industry friends and colleagues at a Henries event.