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valuable lessons I learned right at the start of my career in the industry was when I joined Gibson back in 1991, then a tiny company, was to listen to your customers as without them and without responding to what they are telling you the company will not reach its potential. It sounds simple, but it is amazing how many businesses just do not listen.” Nigel Quiney’s latest development into

planning for its retail customers has come about as a result of listening to its customers’ wishes, according to Alison, to find “a publisher to create a plan to suit the retailer’s needs not the needs of the publisher”. However, while this was an aspiration long before Alison took over as md, it was only made possible when the company installed the Cardmanager software system from Exponential. Using this technology, coupled with the know how of industry planning expert Jean Wayland, so Nigel Quiney was able to christen its first planning experiment in leading department store, Barkers in Northallerton. “We have a large model line of our own, which includes 700 captions as well as general birthday designs,” says Alison, who has a greater product knowledge

A Gifted Move This month sees the launch of C’est la Vie, a collection of female gift stationery which comes on the back of the success of Nigel Quiney’s Doggies and Moggies range. “We have learned a lot since we launched the Pizazz

gift stationery range back in the early days of the brand. Back then we made the range too large and the merchandiser was just enormous. C’est la Vie comprises nine items and is sold in a compact merchandiser for only £70, which is attractive for many of our customers,” explains Alison. “Fiona

Douglass joining us as sales director a few years ago, meant she

Above: The C’est la Vie stationery collection continues the company’s careful expansion into gift stationery.

brought her great gift experience to us [she previously worked for Really Good/Soul], which we have put to good use!” adds Alison. The plan is to follow on from C’est la Vie with an African Animals collection scheduled to launch at PG Live at the start of June.

Left: In a contemporary style, Barkers’ planned racks by NQ. Below left: Among the designs from Nigel Quiney.

of these designs than most mds in middle-sized publishers as she was instrumental in creating the range. “We also are more than happy to plan in whatever other publishers a retailer would

like to suggest. It is all about finding the best selection to suit their specific customer base. There is no place for a ‘one size fits

all’ approach in our mature

market,” says Alison. With the Barkers trial off to a good

start, Alison says that talks are underway with other independents and small groups to extend its planning services to other retailers. Looking beyond this, Alison would also

A Sister Act

Alison Butterworth admits that having more than a passing resemblance to your sister can create confusion, especially if both of you work for the same company and are likely to be seen on the same trade show stand! Both Alison and her sister

Jenny Weare, NQP’s area manager for the North West, are both primed for the annual onslaughts of ‘a case of mistaken identity’ on the Nigel Quiney stand at the Spring Fair. “We both worked at Gibson at the same time too, Jenny joined a year after me in 1992. When she joined Nigel Quiney in 2008, I did ask her “why are you following me?” but it’s fine really, except for the people who think they have seen her, but wave to me and vice versa!”

Above: (Far right) Alison Butterworth with her sister Jenny Weare (middle) at the Cardgains’ charity challenge a few years ago with NQP’s studio manager Carl Pledger (far left), Nick Lee (finance and operations director) and the company’s former sales director Trevor Sowster (right).

like to explore the opportunities of collaborating with other parts of the Simon Elvin Holdings group (which includes Nigel Quiney, Paper Rose/The Art Group, Glick, Polytint and Simon Elvin) on the planning front. “Being part of such a strong group of companies and brands must offer benefits to our customers. Glick already offers impressive display management to create colour themed giftwrappings displays and Paper Rose uses the same Cardmanager software as we do at Nigel Quiney, so a lot of the groundwork is already in place. Something for the future anyway!” It seems as though Nigel Quiney is

entering its second half century with a female managing director who is going to make her mark!


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