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Contest cards on sale BUDDING greetings card designers have seen their

Christmas offerings go on sale to raise money for charity after the Bedfordshire youngsters won a contest organised by Chums child bereavement and wellbeing service with Design Hog, and the fi nal results are on sale in Frosts garden centres in the county, as well as from the Bedford-based publisher.

Personalised package TESCO and International Greetings are two of the

companies already using the ISL’s Catfi sh web-to-print platform and they’ve now launched Greetings To Go to enable retailers and publishers to enter the expanding market for personalised cards and merchandise.

Saturday heaven LOVE and fairy dust are defi nitely on the cards for

The Saturdays as the all-girl group have had Lucy Heavens design their Christmas missive for the fourth year running. The creator and MD of Juicy Lucy is thrilled: “It’s such an honour to be asked to design their Christmas card, the girls are so fabulous – and my son is chuffed to bits!!”

Scout power saves Xmas ESCALATING postage costs have seen Christmas

card lists slashed for many but in Bideford, Devon, they’ve come up with a Scout-powered solution where special stamps sold for 25p in local outlets with the cards then posted in festive post boxes and deliverted by youngsters from the 2nd Bideford, 1st Edgehill And Torridge and Torridge Explorer scout groups.

Winter is wonderful A WINTER wonderland certainly paid off for Nina

Kathryn Claridge and the Lake District Search And Mountain Rescue Association as her charity cards have sold out. In just two months the whole stock has gone, raising £460 for the lakeland charity which makes the national park a safer place.

Cuteness goes digital THE world’s cutest bears have gone digital with a

Christmas animation and iBook featuring Forever Friends. The bears are now available in the Forever Friends Storybook on iPad for the fi rst time with the interactive book, aimed an increasingly tech-savvy children, available for download from iTunes at £2.99.

Town loses retail appeal THE former Clinton Cards store in Morley town centre

is to become a betting shop despite protests from local councillors. Leeds City Council had refused the planning application by William Hill to open a second shop in the area, but they appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, who approved the change of use from A1 retail use to A2.

A licence to text

QUITTING Hollywood have licensed designs to Textcards digital greetings card service along with London Letters and Ananya. Created by Darren Garland, Textcards is the fresh way to instantly send a unique personalised digital greetings card, and the new licences bring something new to their range.


● Goodbye – David Howard is pictured with Cardgains’ Georgina De Terry and, inset, Georgina with Dudley Osborn SEE MORE NEWS ON

Keeping watch on initial concept

A BRAND-new concept store is being trialled by Hallmark to bring greetings cards fi ghting back in the age of digital communications. The store – named just the initials HMK – in Kansas

City, Missouri, is set to test out new products and retail experiences that will keep the print brand relevant after sales of greetings cards fell – and the UK side of the company is watching developments closely. With the GCA US reporting that the seven billion

cards sold annually for the past decade is expected to drop to 6.5bn, Hallmark have no plans to cut the number of Gold Crown stores yet but creating destination stores with different products on offer and cookies for customers as they enter could well be a shrewd move. “We have to change. We have to be more nimble, more fl exible,” CEO Don Hall Jr told the Kansas City Star. “We think our greeting card business is still exciting. It isn’t growing, and we have to keep its cost proportional to the size of the business.

“But even in the digital world we have the antidote.

We believe in what unites people. That’s not going to change. That’s part of our brand.” Mark Young, commercial director at Hallmark UK,

told Greetings Today: “The Kansas HMK store is a ground-breaking concept and we’re really excited to see how the US consumers respond.

“The customer experience has been carefully crafted to include a range of personal touches, from the welcomes that people receive as they enter the store to the customisable products on offer. “By combining this attention to detail with innovative

products in this way, the store will really stand out from its competitors. “Personalised products are now available from many outlets but there are few retailers that offer in-store customisation by hand, cards, gift and wrap; all alongside a complimentary warm cookie!”

Mark added: “This concept store is a great example of Hallmark’s unique ability to showcase exciting new products while maintaining the truly personal touches that we are synonymous with.

“We will be watching the success of the store, as well as exploring some ideas of our own. For instance our market-leading consumer insights programme provides us with a closer understanding of our customer aspirations at a product and retail level, and so is helping us develop new product and retail innovations.

“I think we have some exciting times to look forward

to here in the UK, for now and the future.” T: 0800 902 0900

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