The Year So Far: Trade Shows & Industry Events

Spring Fair NEC – A Round-Up

2019 is already off to a flying start with the business!

I’ve settled into a new routine with fulfilling orders via a warehouse system which has been efficient resulting in less workload for me. January was busy with show prep for Spring Fair at the NEC, which takes place early in Feb. 2019 is my 3rd time exhibiting at this show. It’s a very long and expensive show to manage solo.

Are Trade Shows Worth Doing Anymore?

There are many new ways to market your business these days now with social media, plus directly hitting your own target audience. But I find trade shows force you to achieve results due to fast approaching deadlines. New collections are launched, new catalogues produced, and a chance to reach out to your current audience and of course to attract new orders, new accounts, and new interest. Trade shows also are so valuable in seeing/meeting fellow publishers, what’s on trend, how businesses are displaying their wares, meeting new and existing sales agents, hearing about various information on the ground via customers/organisers/suppliers etc which you would never come across back in your own office workspace.

For my business exhibiting is essential.

Speed Dating Dragons

I recently attended an annual event run by the GCA (Greeting Card Association), held at London’s Business Design Centre.

Speed Dating Dragons are where 72 greeting card publishers have a chance to pitch their companies’ products to 18 of the UK’s top greeting card retailers in a series of one-to-one 10-minute ‘dates’ with buyers from multiples, small groups and Indies.

The event also involves a knowledge-filled panel session during which industry stalwarts cover a whole gamut of pertinent business issues – from making the most of agents to how brokerage works, from buyers’ needs to the trade’s collective environmental responsibility.

Who was there:

National Accounts

John Lewis – Lisa Rutherford

Thortful – Katie Lillywhite

Moonpig – Vikki Connor and Dale Boreham

Card Zone – Owner Paul Taylor

Sainsbury’s – Buyer Carly Pearson

Scribbler – Buyer Andrew Webb and Sarah Bertram

Small Chains

Between the Lines – 15 shops – owner Lindsey Kleinlercher

Between the Lines – 15 shops – buyer Ellie Kleinlercher

House of Cards – 6 shops – partner Miles Robinson

Penmark – 11 shops – MD Mark Rees

Postmark – 4 shops MD Mark Janson-Smith

Unit 7 (Manchester) 4 shops, owner Andrea Pinder


Calladoodles Owner Liz Killick and buyer Clare White

Creased Cards Owner Danny Ingram

Papilio (Heritage) Owner Tabi Marsh

Red Card Owner Sally Matson

Cardies in Stevenage Owner Jo Sorrell

6th independent – tbc

Panel Discussion Session by five GCA Council Members, all senior leaders in the greeting card industry.


Paul Woodmansterne – MD Woodmansterne.

Rachel Hare – Owner of Belly Button and GCA Vice President

Ceri Stirland – Marketing Director UKG and GCA President

Ged Mace – MD of The Art File

Brett Smith – Sales Director at Danilo, previously a director at Clinton Cards

The event is also a great benefit from a buyer’s perspective to see lots of new product and companies coming through who they may overlook at trade events.

One of my Dragon’s; Lindsey Kleinlercher, co-owner of Between the Lines, having been persuaded to participate by her daughter Ellie, was ecstatic about the event and said: “I have loved it – and will be ordering from everyone I have seen!”

See her here:

The 18 top buyers departed, laden down with a bulging goody bag, full of card samples from all of the 72 publishers.

What a bonkers event it was!

Words From A Dragon!

From Jo Sorrell, owner of Cardies in Stevenage

“Among those who stood out for me was Deckled Edge and I will definitely be ordering from. Again I first saw this publisher last year at PG Live and there is now a great choice of product from which to choose. I also love horses so another personal choice. Luckily for me so many of our customers are animal lovers too I can get away with choosing what I love.”

Read the entire article here:

Jo Sorrell’s top picks:


Jo Sorrell Dragons IMG 9582 e1553085194356


Thanks for reading!


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