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are also in decline, so how closely will we follow the American market? The supermarket sector already reflects the American market, so the jury is out as to how this move by a couple of our leading card retailers will move us nearer to or further away from our cousins across the Pond! At Paper Rose and The Art Group we are working on the premise


that generating new innovative ideas is the lifeblood of the industry and we continue to strive to achieve this in many ways. Projects such as our ‘On the Cards’ competition not only helps us to keep one step ahead, but also encourages young talent into our industry. Young, innovative people will help us keep all sectors of our market healthy!”


Above: Jayne Myers (centre) with fellow GCA Council member Sarah Porter (of My World) and Simon Elvin at the recent GCA Past Presidents’ Annual Gathering.


Sarah Porter


PR, marketing and NPD manager of My World: Significant Development: “It's clearly not something that's just been confined to one year, but I do feel that the UK economy gradually hauling itself out of recession has made a big difference. I'm seeing more and more new card retailers setting up, and on the whole it seems to be going really well for them. I've spoken to several retailers who began with an online business and are now expanding to a physical shop, whereas previously it tended to work the other way round. I think this has been particularly beneficial to small publishers, who can grow their businesses alongside that of their customers rather than trying to force entry into traditional established shops.” Future Impact: “Following the


Above: Greeting cards and stationery have more personality than technology.


inevitable rise of the machine, all technology will become untrustworthy


and people will resort once more to written communication. No, honestly? I feel like the whole technology-making-cards-obsolete thing gets a bit blown out of proportion sometimes. Realistically, we are already at a stage of technology which should render cards obsolete; nobody NEEDS to send a card or write a list in a notebook nowadays. And yet, here we still are! It's just that the focus of the industry has changed - stationery is a luxury rather than a necessity. Stationery still has more personality than its equivalent technology, and its potential for creativity and adaptability means you can really follow the current zeitgeist. Of course the industry is changing, but I don't for a second believe that means it's doomed because of technology. Quite the opposite!”


Robin Bradley, founder creative and marketing director of Phoenix Trading: Significant Development:“The increased number of charities that sent me marketing messages asking supporters to make a donations and send their loved ones emails instead of sending Christmas cards. We have stopped making donations to charities that are daft enough to send me such marketing messages, especially as they only have my direct email address because I have been working with them to fundraise by publishing and promoting Christmas cards on their behalf!” Future Impact: “The inevitable rise of the discount card shops which offer such a dispiriting shopping experience. This takes all the romance out of greeting cards.”


Above: Robin Bradley. Left: Phoenix Trading donates 1p to charity for every Christmas card it sells.


Jeremy Corner managing director for Blue-Eyed Sun: Significant Development: “It was great to see the Festive Friday event growing in our industry, with us sending our Christmas cards to arrive at the start of December to act as the first wave in a ripple effect that aims to encourage more people to send Christmas cards. We had a lot of fun at our studios on Festive Friday, the day really brings our team together. This event continues to be an important event in our


industry’s calendar to keep Christmas card sending alive and well. Another significant development was the launch of The Ladder


Club Facebook group, which has proven to be a vital resource for new publishers in the British card industry. Open to those who have attended The Ladder Club seminars, which help newbies up the card industry ladder, the support is just fantastic. The group is active and shows how useful Facebook can really be. New publishers are vital to the freshness, vitality and originality of our industry and it is our privilege to support this wonderful new talent.” Future Impact: “Changes to Royal Mail’s service will have far reaching consequences in our industry. This could arrive in the form of less delivery days or changes to their universal service obligations (which may mean reduced service to harder to reach areas). Greeting cards and a reliable service for delivering them across the entire country needs to stay present in the minds of politicians and Royal Mail executives as an important part of the nation’s well being and happiness.”


Above: Jeremy Corner speaking at the recent Ladder Club seminar. Right: The thought of Royal Mail reducing its delivery service is a real threat to the UK greeting card industry.


PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 31


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