Wishful thinking from Henries judges

Retailers cast votes on hopes for the industry and awards’ importance

 

The recent Henries Awards live judging event brought together 35 retail buyers – from the largest multiples to leading indies – whose collective retailing expertise and keen eyes for winning greeting card concepts came to the fore in their voting decisions, making wishes come true for those reaching the finals.

Above: Cheers! The retail judges with the tables full of entries in the Henries live judging round
Above: Cheers! The retail judges with the tables full of entries in the Henries live judging round

PG also asked them to cast their votes on what their three wishes would be for the industry as a whole, as well as sharing their views on the importance of the Henries Awards themselves.

Today’s comments are from Waterstones, Milford Cards & Gifts, Panda Cards, WHSmith, Petworth Bookshop, MiMi and Card Factory

Above: Waterstones' Megan Douglas hopes paper costs stabilise
Above: Waterstones’ Megan Douglas hopes paper costs stabilise

Megan Douglas, cards and wrap buyer for Waterstones

Three wishes

“A continued push towards sustainability and for a viable option to be introduced to reduce plastic on rollwrap.

“That Christmas goes well – no postal strikes or pandemics please!

“That paper costs stabilise.”

Judge’s verdict

“The Henries Awards are extremely important for the industry. They are a wonderful way to recognise all the hard work put in by publishers and illustrators. And being part of the judging panel gives us retailers a great opportunity to see the best of the best and all the brilliant new ideas and trends that are emerging.”

Above: Kayleigh Hisim (left) with In Heaven At Home’s Anne Barber
Above: Kayleigh Hisim (left) with In Heaven At Home’s Anne Barber

Kayleigh Hisim, owner of Milford Cards & Gifts, Milford On Sea

Three wishes

“For more of the younger generation to embrace card sending to the same extent as the older generation.

“For more consumers to show loyalty to independent retailers for their card purchasing rather than buying them from the supermarkets.

“For Christmas card sending to grow back to the levels of yesteryears.”

Judge’s verdict

“The Henries are very important as they highlight the extraordinary amount of hard work that goes into creating and producing greeting card ranges. With such strong competition, it means that we as retailers judging the awards, get to see all the real talent.”

Above: Mary Singleton-Jones (right) and MiMi’s Julianne Moore
Above: Mary Singleton-Jones (right) and MiMi’s Julianne Moore

Mary Singleton-Jones, owner of Panda Cards, St Albans

Three wishes

“More support for independents.

“More support for independents.

“More support for independents!”

Judge’s verdict

“It’s so important that we continue to shine the light on the excellent talent of our card designers.”

Above: WHSmith’s Gemma Smith (right) and Hannah Arthur
Above: WHSmith’s Gemma Smith (right) and Hannah Arthur

Gemma Smith, buying manager of WHSmith

Three wishes

“For the greeting card industry to continue to grow.

“For publishers and retailers to continue to innovate.

“For us to celebrate what a great industry this is.”

Judge’s verdict

“The Henries Awards are a fabulous opportunity to highlight all the fabulous ranges this industry produces – Oscars for greeting cards!”

Above: Steve Howe with Red Card’s Sally Matson
Above: Steve Howe with Red Card’s Sally Matson

Steve Howe, owner of Petworth Bookshop

Three wishes

“A better postal service, like we used to have!

“Full eco status with all cards printed on recycled material and fully recyclable and to market that.

“For there to be better designed spinners.”

Judge’s verdict

“The Henries are an essential focus for such a diverse industry.”

Julianne Moore, director of MiMI, Hartley Wintney & Wokingham

Three wishes

“For there to be a continued expansion of new designers that are given the opportunity to expand their reach.

“For the push forward on sustainability to continue.

“For a further embracing of diversity, with new designs to react to now events and needs.”

Judge’s verdict

“It is so important to recognise companies that are progressive and ever changing, true leaders in creativity.”

Above: Card Factory’s Vicky Joshi (left) and Charlotte Green
Above: Card Factory’s Vicky Joshi (left) and Charlotte Green

Vicky Joshi, Card Factory’s new format assistant buyer

Three wishes

“For more diversity and inclusion.

“For an even great breadth of assortment so there really is a card for everyone and every sending occasion.

“For even more innovation.”

Judge’s verdict

“Anything which continues to stress how powerful greeting cards are is paramount – and The Henries awards play an important role in this. They keep the product and people behind them connected, plus also give new designers and publishers an equal chance to shine.”

The full list of Henries Awards finalists can be found here, with the Best Service To The Industry finalists here, and all the winners will be revealed at the industry’s Mardi Gras-themed big night on 5 October, at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel. Tickets for the event can be bought here.

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