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Sarah Ward is The Giftware Association’s new Chief Executive

Sarah Ward, who spent the early part of her career as a store manager for Next and The Burton Group and went on to become director of Penny Kennedy, the upmarket gift packaging division of Swan Mill Group, has been named as the new chief executive of The Giftware Association. Sarah (42) attributes her “enthusiasm and

passion” for retail to the “many, often stressful years” spent as part of fast-paced dynamic businesses, which included senior management roles with The Arcadia Group and Coast. For the past 11 years Sarah has been director of Penny Kennedy, during

which time the brand became synonymous with great design and innovation, earning Sarah a reputation in the industry for both her drive and great sense of style.The move to The GA follows her decision to “embrace a complete life change”. She explains: “I have a plaque on my wall at home that says, “Courage is

taking the first steps to your dream, even if you can’t see the path ahead. And, excitingly, the role within The Giftware Association gives me the opportunity to step out boldly on my new path. I am so looking forward to working with everyone involved in the gift and home industry and I’m sure great things can be achieved in the coming months and years.” GA chairman Michael Papé says of the appointment: “We are thrilled to

have someone with Sarah’s retailer and supplier experience leading The Giftware Association into an exciting new era. She understands our mission to create more trading opportunities for our members and subscribers through new GA initiatives, helping them to prosper and grow.”

Award winning greetings cards 2015

The Henries greeting card awards took place at the Lancaster London Hotel with a ‘Roaring Twenties’ theme. The hotly anticipated Gold award for Best Service to the Independent Retailer, a

category sponsored by the buying group Cardgains, was presented to UK Greetings for the sixth year running, with International Cards and Gifts taking the Silver and Noel Tatt the Bronze. Independent retailers were also given the Honorary Achievement Award for

2015, with John and Jenny Proctor of Scribbler expressing their surprise and delight at joining other industry legends as recipients of the prestigious accolade. Paper Salad scooped a much deserved award for Best Children’s Range with the

quirky Dungarees range. Paper Salad took to the stage once again later in the evening when the fabulous Glick won the Best Giftwrapping award for its Paper Salad licensed collection. UK Greetings brand Hanson White joined the Henry Cole Classic hall of fame

award for its brilliant Giggles range, while Wrendale Design was once again winner of the Best Art category for the distinctive and delightful The Country Set range. Rising Star Cathryn Jones of Carte Blanche brand Hotchpotch Publishing was

named the Most Promising Young Designer or Artist, the second time in recent years that a Hotchpotch designer has won this award. Christmas cards were given two categories, reflecting their value to the overall

trade, with Five Dollar Shake winning the Best Christmas Counter Range yet again (have they won ALL of these?) and Form Christmas Box from The Art File named winner of the Best Christmas Box or Pack. Hearts Design is the 2015 leader in Traditional Words & Sentiments for Mad Dots

Wedding, with the Best Contemporary Words & Sentiments award going to UK Greetings for Little Voice. The best overall Contemporary Range was judged to be Stephanie Dyment’s Colour Me Happy.

6 Giftware Review & Home Interiors November / December 2015

Giftware Review editor Charlotte Cowell with members of the Spring Fair team, Cardgains and Nigel Quiney Publications.

Scrabbly Neons from Bexy Boo took the prize for Best Handmade or Hand

Finished range, while Ling Design – which was recently bought out by Swan Mill – winning the Best Photograhic category. Redback Cards won the best Humorous range award for Wulffmorgenthaler, while Danilo scooped the Best Licensed prize for its Despicable me range. Top of the Wholesale category was Keepsake Treasures from Xpress Yourself and

the Best Male Range was named as Platinum by Belly Button Designs (also the best dressed of the night in our book in a stunning outfit) Belly Button immediately took home another award, this time for Best Relations or Occasions Range for the elegant Paloma. One of our favourite smaller publishers, Cinnamon Aitch, won the award for Best

Spring Seasons range for Springtime Easter, while Little Creatures from Pippi & Me was deemed to be the Best Cute Range.

Jeremy Corner is named vice chairman of the GA

Henri Davis has chosen the man who will succeed her as GA vice chairman next Summer when she steps up to become chairman. Jeremy Corner

(right) managing director of greetings and wedding stationery publishers Blue Eyed Sun and Ivy Ellen, is getting ready for the top job and will become Chairman of The GA in 2018 when Henri completes her two year term. Jeremy said: “I am very excited at

the prospect of helping The GA to become even more relevant over the

coming years. We are living in a world that is shifting from institutional thinking – which is closed, selective and controlling – to network thinking which is open, random and supportive. “This is led by massive

changes in the internet and digital technologies which are disrupting industries globally. Our own, as a whole, will benefit hugely from a GA

that is more in line with these changes - open to everyone; random and accepting of the variety of members’ needs, and supportive of growing and protecting the giftware industry.”

Shop closures continue

Research from the British Independent Retailer’s Association and the Local Data Company has found that more British shops closed than opened in the first half of 2015. This is a marked change from the five-year trend since 2010, which saw the number of independents opening grow consistently. This year numbers fell in every part of the country except the North East, where there was a small net gain of openings. Property costs and wages have continued to rise ahead of inflation.

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