The British are thoroughly spoiled when it comes to the amazing variety of available greeting cards, an industry where the UK leads the rest of the world and which grew in the past year to an overall worth of around £1.7bn.
This is one area where you should try to be bold and branch out, as there as so many innovative designers – with an ever-expanding and refreshed series of products – that it’s a pity to get stuck in a rut with your displays.
Many smaller design houses are happy to sell greetings product in small quantities, so you can afford to test new ranges before taking the plunge with a big order. In a highly competitive and service-oriented trade, the world is the retailer’s oyster when it comes to choosing card suppliers.
Following on from the typically stunning greetings showcase at Top Drawer, which now incorporates Paperfest and holds seasonal Paper Awards, we now have the huge Spring Fair presentation to look forward to.
My first serious taste of the vibrant and sociable greetings trade was at Spring Fair 2005 – oh, the glory days of super high-heels at shows! – and this has been my favourite part of the exhibition ever since. I find a spot of networking with the greeting card gang always gets the year off to a flying start, from the long-time northern stalwarts at Cardgains through to friends I’ve seen evolve their small new companies into fabulous, flourishing businesses.
New to Greetings & Gift at Spring Fair 2017, located in Hall 3 of the show, will be the Debut area, curated by the Greeting Card Association (GCA), which incorporates 24 individual card designers, exhibiting at the show for the first time. These include:
Kate Phythian Design, Go La La, Eloise Hall, Lucy Truman, A Made Hand, Catherine Kleeli Cards, Pippi & Me, Lizzie Chancellor, Choco Greetings, Mary-Bo-Beany, Jelly Armchair, Paper Bird Publishing , Stormy Knight, Helen Wiseman Illustration, Elaara Islamic Greeting Cards, Old English Company, Stripey Cats Cards, Doodleicious , Country Colour, Dialectable, Proud Couture Ltd and English Graphics.
This is a fabulous assortment of exciting designer-publishers with a broad range of styles between them, and well worth a visit for anyone who loves their cards and wants an easy, affordable way to spice up their merchandise.
These newbies will perfectly complement the massive contingent of well-established publishers and more familiar Spring Fair faces, which this year includes some of the most successful and well-loved companies in the trade, such as Carte Blanche Group, The Great British Card Company, Woodmansterne, Roger la Borde, Santoro Graphics and giftwrap specialist, Penny Kennedy.
I’ll also be making a beeline for a few exciting designers who have some gorgeous new graphic and beautiful illustrative designs to present at the show, including Paper Salad, The Little Dog Laughed, Madame Treacle, Lora Verner, Deckled Edge and Moongazer cards.
Images from top to bottom: Lola Designs, Periodic Society, Deckled Edge, Popshots Studios, Fitzwilliam Museum, Stormy Knight, Doodelicious, Pigment Productions, Leonard Smith