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PGLIVE Good show - (from left) John Sutton - Ling Design, Bill Greeno and Paula Molloy - Back Of The Bus, Soula Zavacopolos, The London Studio

Publishers, retailers, distributors and suppliers – everyone descended on London’s Business Design Centre for the 4th Progressive Greetings Live event. Here Tracey Bearton reviews the trade show that’s exclusive to the greetings card industry.

visitor numbers on Tuesday really told with many fi nding it comparable to last year, while Wednesday was noticeably quieter.

It’s all in the game A

classic game of two halves was the verdict of the exhibitors at PG Live when they checked out their order books. First day good, second day so-so, was the general opinion as the bigger

Adopt A Pickled Onion co-owner Colin Hawes

The hot sunny weather may have been a factor as the listed former greenhouse that comprises the main hall got pretty hot, while the air-conditioned areas around the edge had the advantage. Coolest spot of the show was Alec’s Cards stand just inside the main entrance to Springboard. “Everyone keeps stopping under the cold blast of the air conditioning!” said owner/designer Alec McCarthy, who makes the hand-crafted original designs in the Lake District.

And the brightest spot had to be Brainbox Candy’s neon pink fun-fur clad stand where co-founders Mark Williams and Ben Hickman dispensed their own brand of humour.

Ben said: “It was good on the fi rst day, defi nitely better than last year. Not so good for us on the second day.

The show is now in its fourth year and grew to 285 exhibitors at the Business Design Centre in London on May 29 and 30, giving the opportunity to fi nd new stock, designers, artists and shop fi ttings, as well as meet face to face with suppliers. Daryl Stevenson, Director of Wiidgereedooda Designs and Dear Daphne, said: “I’ve made quite a lot of contacts and six orders so I don’t think I can complain about it for my fi rst time exhibiting.” Michelle Mills. of Windles Group, agreed: “It’s been

brilliant, it’s a great opportunity to see people and build relationships. We respect the fact that the publishers are here to sell not to buy print but it’s great just to say hello.” “Yesterday was very good,” said Grass Roots

International Director of Sales Doug Morrice, “today has been quieter. It was good for international business.” Bev Cunningham of Abacus Cards, said: “This fi rst day has been busier than last year, we’ve had quite a lot of enquiries from Holland.” Justin Church, co-owner of Rachel Ellen Designs


New boy - Greetings Today Advertising Manager Drew Smyth with the basket of Jubilee cards for the Queen

said: “Yesterday was brilliant, pretty full-on all day order- taking, good quality ones, today has been ticking along nicely. More people came on Tuesday. The quality orders were mainly from here but some from abroad too. “We always have new ranges and I think that’s good for the shops because they don’t have to spend all their money at the beginning of the year.”

Innocent Art owner Shirley Netherton: “I’m an artist and just at the moment we have 60 different designs, 20 new ones for 2012. “We’ve just taken on a new artist and called the range Mi Casa, which is Spanish for My Home – but it just sounds nice. That range was launched here and I’d taken an order by 10am, which has got to be good. “We’re looking at taking other artists on too. We’re only looking at art cards not in to the occasion market and to take on new artists as well as my own art because I keep on painting.” Artbeat Sales Director Darren Runnette had a

different take: ”This is our fourth year and we’re level with previous years but we’re not growing ourselves here. It’s a funny show. It’s nice for start-ups as places like the NEC must be a bit daunting for them, here it’s a nice start,

“However, we met a very nice American yesterday who has 220 shops, he loves the pencil sketches

added: “It’s our fi rst trade show, not as busy as we were hoping but we’re learning quite a lot. We’ve had a couple of orders, they’ve taken 12 cards so have chosen which they liked.” From Carte Blanche, Premier Account Manager James Burgess added: “It’s going really well, really busy, really positive. We’re sponsoring the show so we’ve got a good position which helps.

“Hotchpotch is one of our new companies, it’s contemporary, and also the new 3D cards in particular are very popular.” One of the newest fi rms was Gillgurgle Narratives

where owner Roger Gill said: “We launched for this show. We have three series which are all different. I’m an artist and painter and trying to get these images out. I think this is a very good way of exploring the market as it’s quite diffi cult to get exhibitions at the moment and hope with the public like them.” The Writing Bureau owner Jo Brierley enjoyed PG Live so much she’s planning to exhibit at more – but an impending baby may prevent it. “It’s our fi rst trade show,” said Jo, who’se assistant is her sister Kat Foy, “and it’s quite hard to know how it’s gone because we have nothing to compare it to. We’ve had a few orders – we had one guy who has ordered everything and that was our fi rst order yesterday so we were quite drunk with excitement after that as we didn’t expect it. “We’ve also had a lot of people who are interested in licensing my images so I’m really pleased with the exposure. It’s our fi rst fair but it’s gone well so we’re looking at other trade shows now – but with my second baby due in November we shall have to see how it goes. “And we were visited by a national retailer so I was a

little giddy, it being my fi rst show and all!” John Sutton, Director of National Account Sales at Ling Designs, added: “Our main focus here is Blissful from Paperclip and Goya gift wrap which is Indian, both are new and going down well.”

because they don’t have that sort of thing over there – and we wouldn’t have got that sitting in the offi ce.” Over at Otter House Sales Manager Graham

Goodhead said: “New here we have our recipe cards, Vintage Garden, Folklore and I Love Britain. It’s looking an a par with previous PG shows.”

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