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NEWS TOP STORY


Melting Hearts UK Card Buyers Have The 'Hots' For Frozen


UKG had to rush through some urgent reprints of its Frozen Christmas cards such has been the unprecedented uptake for merchandise based on the Disney film. Frozen has certainly sizzled for UKG


stockists, with the publisher anticipating that retailers will have sold over two million Frozen Christmas cards, including the rush reprint of half a million cards. The UKG FSDUs of


Frozen cards (which was created to display the 16 card designs and money wallet)


brought very welcome sales for the 3,500 independents and national accounts that stocked them.


"Some 1.5 million


Frozen cards were shipped by December 10, almost 10 times that of an average Christmas SKU," enthused Ceri Stirland, director of marketing for UKG. "This is a really positive message to our industry and for indies in particular."


Left and above right: Frozen has been a runaway success on the card front for UKG stockists.


A New Option For Retailers Showcase Greetings, launching this month, is determined to overhaul conventional thinking with a new greeting card publishing business model. Headed up by Steve Pepper (formerly of IG and The Umbrella Group) and with other well-known industry figures as part of its management team (Peter Fitzpatrick, John Botting and Nicky Dawson), Showcase Greetings offers a route to market for artists and designers (some of which may have had their own card companies). Under creative director Nicky Dawson's guidance, in its initial launch,


the company will be presenting the collective work of 20 of the industry's brightest creative talents. "The overall card portfolio will present a balanced


alternative to retailers who can then select across the full collection, with styles or designs to suit their specific requirements," explains the company's marketing director Peter Fitzpatrick (formerly of Wishing Well). "The proposition is one order, one delivery and one invoice. Stock will be printed on demand." A network of agents will carry the initial collection of over 300 designs. There


will be a further release of over 100 new cards in February. Releases will then be scheduled at regular intervals with subsequent launches being along themes such as wedding, sympathy and minor captions. Looking ahead, the company is planning to increase new design


contributors on a regular basis with the range doubling by the end of 2015. "Such has been the interest that we have a waiting list," adds Peter. Visit: www.showcasegreetings.co.uk


Top Drawer Highlights Top Drawer will be taking place at London's Olympia from January 11-13, co-located with Home and Craft. Among the line-up of greeting card publishers will be Caroline Gardner, Saffron, Cinnamon Aitch and The Art File. Over 1,000 exhibitors will be exhibiting across all three shows. A new floor will be devoted entirely to fashion


accessories and jewellery products, while the New Talents area will be making its debut on level one, taking the most innovative elements from all three shows into one dedicated area. Alongside new visitor attractions, successful aspects of previous shows will be returning to include the Retail Masterclass programme, a curated selection of short, informative and live presentations from industry experts. Keynote speakers this year include Heal’s chairman Will Hobhouse, Sebastian Conran and Trend Bible. Visit: www.topdrawer.co.uk l Clarion Events has announced a new partnership with iZettle, a leading provider of mobile payment services and apps suited to small businesses.


Above: New designs from Saffron, who will be among the exhibitors at Top Drawer.


Above left: Peter Fitzpatrick. Paddington Helps To


Fund Raise Greeting card and gift shop Mantons, based in Port Erin on the Isle of Man, has been helping to raise money for the charity


Crossroads Care by donating 100% of its sales of Paddington Bear plush. Featured in the local newspaper, the Isle of Man Examiner, Mantons’ owner Chris Beard said: "Everyone at Mantons is proud to be able to help such a worthwhile charity”.


Cards For Pet Lovers Greeting card designer Rose Hill was featured in the Financial Mail at the end of last year, with the focus on Rose's thriving business and her Christmas card range featuring people's pets. Rose's business


Above: Among the pet-themed Christmas cards from Rose Hill.


concept includes 'make my pet famous', with Harrods, the British Museum and over 60 independent greeting card retailers currently stocking her greeting cards.


Stars In His Eyes Could more stardom be beckoning for Simon Flynn, the South East rep for Abacus Cards? Although he has been with the company for 10 years, very few customers know of Simon’s ‘other life’ - that of an actor specialising in horror films. And this month he is expected to make an appearance on TV's Stars In Their Eyes (the new series being presented by Harry Hill). While it will be Simon’s wife, Cylvian, who will be doing the singing, he will be a ‘supporting actor’ in the introductory filming! With Harry Hill writing the script, Simon


says that it will be funny and plays on his horror film acting skills! As to the similarities between his career with Abacus and his horror film ‘life’, Simon says, "Being a sales rep is acting to a certain degree, so not very different. The acting has given me much more confidence.”


Below: Indulging his passion for horror, Abacus rep Simon Flynn made up to look like a zombie!


Above: The newspaper story that appeared in the Isle of Man Examiner.


PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 17


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