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Ladder Clubbies Sally Puddifoot, founder and

designer for Small Red Bird: Twinges And Tweaks: “When I first started my cards were wholly handmade from intricate cut-outs, but this clearly was not going to be practical as an ongoing business model. My solution was to create a card that was part printed and part hand-finished that still captured the essence of the Small Red Bird look. My main growing pains were cost

Above: As Small Red Bird has grown it has been able to offer a wider collection of designs that were initially made with beautiful origami papers.

related issues, as getting to my wholesale price point was not easy as a small publisher. All the supplier discounts are offered to large orders. So I try to order if a supplier offers a special offer so I can offer a competitive wholesale price. My origami papers are my most expensive cost but they are so central to my look that I feel

they are worth the extra pennies!” Business Boost: “As my company has

enlarged I find I am better able to be use the

economies of scale by ordering greater quantities. Expanding my range also creates greater opportunities as I am able to offer a wider range of cards, which means I can sell to a broader span of outlets.” The Next Rung: “The Ladder Club was enormously helpful. I

feel I can now anticipate some of the pitfalls instead of just stumbling into them. Meeting other card designers and hearing the experiences of established publishers was not only very inspiring but it has helped me think in a more focused way about the direction I would like my business to move in.”

Grace Turner, founder and designer

for GracieGirl Designs: Twinges And Tweaks: “I would say the biggest 'pain' has been starting completely from scratch, as I never set out to become a card publisher. The hardest tasks have probably been researching suppliers, being confident in designing and making all the decisions that will ultimately determine how the business direction grows. It has been amazing to see how the card collections have developed - I started with scanned in origami on the cards and now they are totally hand-folded. The direction changed as buyers showed a lot more interest in the embellished ranges and how unique they are. It has been a mixture of many highs and lows, but I wouldn't have changed anything.” Business Boost: “I studied at The London College of Fashion and once I had graduated I was fighting for 'that dream fashion job' but it never gave me the buzz I now get from cards. I feel extremely lucky to have fallen into what I consider my dream job, through chances and meeting the right people who have helped me to pursue my career. The industry is such a lovely one to be apart of. All the

Sabina Kovacheva, founder and

designer for Sabivo Design: Twinges And Tweaks: “Building a portfolio of ranges, both in commercial strength and variety has been a challenging task. I sell directly to retailers, so, talking to them beyond the trade shows and finding out what and when they want and getting ranges ready, and in sync with their buying cycle, has been paramount for me. One of my biggest pains has been timing. Some opportunities

came too early for the business and I couldn’t pursue them. I wish they had come later on, but I believe they will be back. And like most publishers, another challenge has been finding a

good and reliable agent with room in the bag.” Business Boost: “It is cliché, but

discovering greeting card publishing has allowed me to realise a childhood dream. There is such satisfaction to see those repeat orders coming, as they are a reflection of a product I have created that is viable on the market. I also find great pleasure in the fact that my stockists continue to grow across the UK, irrespective of high or low buying season or distance.” The Next Rung: “I found the ‘real-life’

Above: Through phone calls, meetings, trade shows and editorial coverage, Sabivo Design's stockists continue to grow.

stories at The Ladder Club seminars and the opportunity to network with industry peers and fellow publishers extremely valuable. I’ve missed attending The Ladder Club for two years and had to make my own version by reaching out to what I thought are key people in the industry. I am really grateful that nobody ever refused to give me advice, however, I would urge any aspiring publisher to get on The Ladder Club first as it is fantastic to learn industry details from the start. The Ladder Club Facebook group is priceless as all publishers can post queries post seminars and discuss with experts in every field.”

Lorraine Rush, creative director

for Rush Design: Twinges And Tweaks: “Growing pains, we all have them, and none of us like them. When you start up any business you do feel as if you are working on your own and also maintaining an ‘I must do it all’ attitude. There’s drawing up that business plan, maintaining costs, market research and thinking about how you can stand out from the crowd. Also there is confidence in your own designs - will they work?

Above: GracieGirl Designs has received support from both The Ladder Club and the greetings industry.

- using technology to your best advantage and marketing to get your brand known.” Business Boost: “As a publisher,

professionals in the industry look after us newbies. I wouldn't be were I am today without their guidance and support. The highlight for 2014 obviously has to be winning my Henries

Award, I look at ‘him’ every day with immense pride!” The Next Rung: “The Ladder Club’s guest speakers have a wealth

of knowledge to share; it is great to hear it first hand from people who have already got through those obstacles I am now facing.”

you’re your own boss. I love getting involved in all aspects of running my business, it gives me creative freedom to work in an industry that I really enjoy and gain personal satisfaction.” The Next Rung:“The Ladder Club has been a great learning curve for my business. At the

Above: 'Presenting' a stunning card from Rush Design.

seminar you are like a rabbit in headlights, thinking ‘Oh my goodness how am I going to

do all this alone?’ But actually you’re not alone because all the speakers and new publishers in the industry want to help and share experiences, give advice and most of all want you to succeed as much as you do yourself.”


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