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LYNN’S LINES Reinvention L

The big trend in the pop world now is asking whether a retro group will get back together again for a reunion tour? But can you get the magic back and is it right to try and reignite something or should you reinvent at all?

Everything gets reinvented - fashion, hairstyles, friendships, holidays and of course retail and greeting cards - but reinvention is important as you mustn't get complacent. I feel you need to review things all the time as fashion, personal tastes and of course your own situation changes.

Over 20 years ago I specialised in male greeting cards and I commissioned several ranges of retro transport cards. However recently the appeal for retro cards has returned, giving my cards a second ‘outing’ with a loyal following. Thank goodness they didn't get shredded!

As many of you know I now specialise in photographic cards, something that really kicked off when I started working with Charlie Waite at the beginning of 2000. His photographic images as well as some of my own photographs (many of which are occasion cards of family weddings and babies) still remain my core business. However, since I have been working much closer with card illustrators and artists in The Ladder Club (and have also joined a marvelous Australian artists weekly challenge

group), I felt I wanted more of the ‘art action’. Even though I should really be thinking of winding down, I feel I need to reinvent myself. I think I have become so involved with my projects and other publishers that it has been easy for me to be complacent with my own cards, which are not trendy and

therefore have a long shelf life. If it ain't broke and all that.

So, this February sees the launch of 24 occasions art cards, designed by a local surface pattern artist whose children are now at school and who has no connection with the greeting card industry and who has never been to a trade fair.

I have worked with artists in a former life who created local pictures and also with Coalport China so it is not completely new to me. With this latest project I have given this artist a free hand, most unusual for me! I loved her unique style, which I have seen on her entries to my competitions.

The process has been so useful to me to understand and appreciate what new publishers go through when they are launching a new range, questioning how it will be received and whether I will get any orders.

On The Ladder Club Facebook page we always ask new members to introduce themselves by

uploading a few cards. I can now understand how difficult and agonising it is for them to show their work in front of other artists. However, such is the ethos of the Facebook group that everyone is very supportive and complementary, giving the newbie publisher added confidence.

Above: Recently there has been a reinvention of the 1980s in fashion, hairstyles and toys.

Below: One of the new designs created by a surface pattern artist Esme Taylor and printed on cards by Lynn (launching at Spring Fair).

I am already feeling excited about the launch of my new range in February, combined with mixed feelings of anticipation and nerves. Of course, I always bring out new card ranges at trade fairs, but nothing like this big departure from my photographic cards. It is so lovely to have that buzz back for my own cards, an energy that I have for so long channeled into aiding other publishers and other projects.

I think as a retailer a lot of us in this economic climate go for the same but different, but with that comes a certain complacency, which we mustn't convey to the customer. Also if we aren't feeling the adrenaline we can't expect out customers to. One thing I have noticed recently with publishers is that they have one very successful unique range, which they then find difficult to follow up. This is ok if it isn't an ‘on trend’ range, but difficult if it is of the moment.


On the ball comments by retailer and publisher Lynn Tait of The Lynn Tait Gallery.


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