WHAT AM I UP TO THIS MONTH?
What happened to April? May is half-way through already. This is always the case when you have a Trade Show looming. You think you have plenty of time, and then BOOM, it’s gone in a blink!
I am currently prepping for my next Trade Show, PGLive at London Islington on the 4-5th June.
I am waiting on proofs from my printer to finalise my new designs before I can order stock in and product display for the show.
Somehow new tasks and customer request seem to come out of nowhere, adding to the long to-do-list. I still am trying to slot in time to do one or two more drawings to add to my new launch at PG…. nothing like last minute stress pre a show!
HOW AM I PREPARING FOR MY SHOW?
• Keep adding to my online show profile, I try to re-visit the profile and edit it to keep it fresh as more buyers start to use the show exhibitors section and plan who to visit.
• Update my show offer. This year I am raffling off a professionally framed print of my newest art at the show. Names of all buyers who place orders at the show will be pulled out of a hat at the end of the final day, with the lucky winner announced.
• My stand is being clad and painted this year, a Dulux Trade colour has been carefully chosen to stand out and differentiate my stand from any others.
• Show invites have been printed, and need to be posted out usually around 7-10 days before show opening day.
• New catalogues need to be designed with new launches added. I send this to print around 10 days before the show, along with business cards.
• Order form and T&C’s updated and print up enough order forms for the show. I also add them into each catalogue I have to hand out at the show to make it easy for the buyers to use to place orders whilst eating lunch, having a coffee, or later back at the office.
• Plan the look of the stand. Consider a WOW factor.
• Look at the floor plan and work out where traffic flow will come from. This will impact how/where I display to catch the passing traffic, to maximise being seen.
• Plan the products on display and make sure I have the stock here packed and ready.
• Plan out any logo vinyl’s (colour/size) and order them in.
• Make sure all stand charges and insurance is paid.
• Book parking.
• Triple check online exhibitor zone for health/safety, insurance, lighting, furniture etc. I bring my own track lights, and I get these PAT tested each year. I bring my own small stool. I use daylight bulbs which result in a fresh, bright stand.
• Design up a mailshot and include the free show registration link for buyers, a web link to my show profile plus my website URL.
• Double check stand size/height to ensure what I set up from a past show does fit in the space of the next show.
• Always check I have strong velcro.
• Capture device booked for scanning buyers name-tags. I also back this up with a show logbook to add in any business cards and notes. Bring stapler, pens and calculator.
• Back-up any new work on my external hard-drive.
• Update website: with news, upload new products to launch, add in a new Home Page slider.
• Stash of snacks and water for show days to keep energy up.
• Keep a pair of flip-flops hidden on the stand just in case of sore feet.
• Plan any membership logo’s to have on the stand, ie: GCA, Ladder Club, Acid etc.
• Use small boxes for buyers to flick through entire ranges if wall display only holds best sellers.
• Familiarise myself with my pricing; TP and RRP of singles, packs of 6’s, general amount of packs to meet my min order value, plus other products.
• Know what Q’s you need to ask your customers, especially if they place an order. ie: required delivery date, catalogue added to the order, if they would like a copy of the order or happy to have one emailed post show. Do check area postcodes for any clashing neighbouring customers. I leave this for after the show.
• Check through tools needed for the show set up. Check set-up times.
To take time out to recharge your batteries. Often days are spent sitting down in front of the computer, or designing, or in the car driving/commuting. It’s so important to balance this with exercise and getting outdoors to clear your mind to avoid feeling bogged down, overwhelmed and stressed.
Thanks for reading!
Here is a new branding promo video which presents who and what is Deckled Edge Ltd;
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:
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
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
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: https://www.pgbuzz.net/unit-7-
Jo Sorrell’s top picks:
Thanks for reading!
Hello and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I thought I would write about many suitable opportunities which are out there to help grow your brand awareness.
To find such opportunities, is to be active on social media, chat to fellow organisers and exhibitors at trade events, and just be more aware. Simply entering gets your products eyed over and your name recognised. This is so important as you grow and develop your brand. Being short-listed, and even winning are just the extra icing on the cake.
You just never know where it leads you. At the very worst, you simply learn.
These are the types of industry related opportunities I am aware of, and have made full advantage of to date with my business;
BRAND LICENSING EUROPE
BLE License This! Competition opens end June, and closes mid September.
It is a great opportunity to show your licence to an international market. It opens great possibilities to you in every sense
Two awards categories are presented – Brand & Design and Character & Animation.
The competition is aimed at unlicensed brands and properties to help them secure new deals and extend their brand.
https://ubm.brandlicensing.eu/license-this-competition/ to register.
Six finalists pitch against one another live at the show to win one of two free stands at BLE 2020 and LIMA membership for one year which gives them access to free content, networking events, training and more.
#ble2019 #brandlicensingeurope #licensethis! #ble #licensing
LONDON STATIONERY SHOW
Stationery Show LaunchPad competition
The closing date for entries is: 28 February.
This is a product/service design competition open to new stationery suppliers looking to break into the dynamic, design-led stationery market.
The competition aims to find up to 12 winners to showcase at the Stationery Show London, which runs on 30 April and 1 May at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London.
The Stationery Show London is a specialist trade show, offering a fantastic range of writing and paper products which attract the UK’s biggest retailers and most influential buyers and brands in the sector. The show creates a specific display area in the show for the LaunchPad competition winners to present their ideas to visitors.
#lss #londonstationeryshow #stationeryshowlaunchpad
GIFT OF THE YEAR
Gift of The Year Awards
Celebrating the best in home and gift retailing, the Gift of The Year Awards are the most highly-respected industry accolades aimed at recognising the best new products.
Being crowned a winner can give your business industry-wide recognition and increase sales and revenue. The ultimate winner wins a stand at Autumn Fair but just entering raises your profile amongst the judges.
The winning products are revealed on the first evening of Spring Fair Nec, the UK’s largest gathering of retailers, offers the opportunity for unrivalled sell through for the winner and short-list. Equally, it pin points buyers to their next best seller as identified by their most respected peers. An evening event allows people to celebrate their sheer hard work and allow themselves to feel a sense of achievement.
FREE exhibition stand for the overall Judges’ Choice winner at Autumn Fair.
Endorsement of your business with an acclaimed Gift of the Year status.
Display of your winning products in the Gift of the Year showcase at Spring Fair and Autumn Fair at the NEC, Birmingham.
Promotion in a full colour catalogue for all winners and highly commended, widely distributed within the UK and overseas.
Participation in a high-profile awards ceremony at Spring Fair, with trophies presented to the winning companies
Gain exposure to a panel of distinguished buyers and retailers.
Profile-raising media coverage within a major PR campaign to national trade and consumer press
Point of Sale material to place on products and in store
Competition Launch Date – Sunday, 15th July
‘Early Bird’ 20% Discount ends – Sunday, 30th September
Competition Closes – Friday, 30th November
Online Judging Commences – Wednesday, 5th December
Short-listed Products Announced on the Gift of the Year Website – Thursday, 13th December
Short-listed Sample Submission – From 13th December. Latest date samples should arrive is Tuesday, 8th January.
Live Judging Day – Thursday, 10th January
Awards Announcement – Evening of Sunday, 3rd February, at Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham
The Henries Awards
The Henries Awards open up for greeting card entries in June. Annual awards to shine the spotlight on greeting card ranges. The Henries Awards are the ultimate accolades in greeting card publishing, and each year some 14,000 cards are entered!
The Henries award categories span the whole gamut of greeting card publishing, from humour to cute, art to handmade and everything in between.
The majority of the awards are for card ranges that have either been launched in the preceding year or for new designs to an existing range. The Henries awards are open to all UK publishers from the largest multi-national to the smallest one-man band.
All entries are judged by an extensive panel comprising top retail buyers from right across the retail spectrum including specialist multiples, design-led independents, small groups, department store selectors, supermarket buyers etc.
PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS MAGAZINE
PG Magazine: monthly news/innovations section
Progressive Greetings Worldwide (or ‘PG’ as it is affectionately referred) has been the eyes and ears of the greeting card industry for over 26 years. A monthly trade magazine dedicated solely to greetings cards.
Submissions for new products within the monthly Innovations section – contact editor Jakki Brown
#progressivegreetingsmagazine #pgmag #pglive
I hope you find this useful!
Thanks for reading.
So proud and extremely pleased to be shortlisted for #giftoftheyear2019 !
This cute vibrant boxed note card set will be on display at Spring Fair stand 3V17. Pop by and say 👋
Thank you 🙏 to @the_ga_uk and the lovely judges for selecting me!
#stationery #notecards #unicorn #giftoftheyear #feelinglucky#madebyme #britishmade
Hi, I’m Janna, creator and do-er-all of a tiny publishing company: DECKLED EDGE LTD!
I’m a Mother, a business owner, an artist and an avid horse rider. Here at D.E headquarters, I produce greetings cards and paper goods specialising in equine and animal art.
Why I took the path of a publisher?
I went from artist, ski bum, to horse rider, art director, to Mum of 2.
Once my kiddies began school, I wanted to combine all of my skills/talents/creativity, so I decided to start producing greetings cards using my own art. I began the company. “It can’t be that hard”, I recall thinking…. how wrong I was!!
I knew no-one or anything at all about the industry. But having two children with no family support, I knew I had to work from home so I could still be there for the kiddies.
At the start my children were the main focus for subject matter; dinosaurs, unicorns and ponies were a focus, expanding now to horses and animals.
I sell direct to Trade, and launched the company at my first trade event called BCTF (British Craft Trade Fair), in April of 2015, then followed with PG Live (Progressive Greetings Live) in June, and H&G (Home&Gift Harrogate) in July, to see how I fitted in the market place, and what I needed to change and learn about the industry.
I repeated these shows in 2016. By 2017 I changed tactics and felt I had enough experience and perfected my product to exhibit at a bigger show; Spring Fair at the NEC.
I do all of the show set-ups, manning the stand, pack-downs, marketing, admin, sales, and of course design and product management myself. It’s a lot of endless hard work.
Exhibiting is a great way to meet your customer face 2 face. It’s a good learning curve too. There are times where you have to cope with your work not being of interest to all buyers, and the times when no-one comes onto your stand and bee-lines to others like bees to honey. The competition is fierce, but there is enough room for everyone who produces something different.
If we were all the same, then the buyers wouldn’t buy!
I knew I needed a website, and in the past had ‘silly’ quotes way out of my price range. At a Trade Show, I was fortunate to hear of Paul and Collette at Aura Creative Media through a fellow exhibitor. It was their knowledge and personal approach which won me over. I had zero time free to even contemplate designing my own website. So was really happy with their help.
Stages of a biz
Running a small biz on your own I can compare to having children;…. it grows in stages, its a HUGE amount of endless ‘to-do-lists’, it’s ever-changing plus very rewarding. It seems to grow from; Baby, Toddler, Child, to Teen, Young Adult, and Adult to mature Adult etc. I would say Deckled Edge is currently at the Child stage. All businesses are at various stages, so you can never really compare yourself to another who is at a very different level to yourself.
What did I do this week?
– Popped in to visit my printer and drop off catalogues to add to orders and hand sign art prints
– Placed print orders
– Chased a late payer and invoiced customers
– Began plans for a new collection to begin illustrating soon
– Posted on social media
– Sorted through receipts etc for Vat return
– Paid bills
– Submitted insurance cover for rate deduction on Trade Events for 2019
– Wrote this blurb
– Packed up stock
– Ordered replenishment stock for product stickers
– Received stock replenishment order of gift wrap. Some had gone missing so chasing this atm
– Renewed GCA membership
– Motherly household duties
– Always make time to go horse riding, and weekly PT session otherwise I’m always sitting down at the computer or in the car!
Thx for reading!
As I am currently exploring stepping over from ‘print on demand’ to fulfilment services, I thought I would talk about this topic and explain what I have learnt so far.
Printing to order
Over the past 18 months I have worked with a print-on-demand method where greeting cards and art prints etc with no finishes are printed to order. I have a minimum of stock held at my printer’s warehouse. Stock is only held of greeting card designs which contain a finish, ie: foils, flitter, die-cut etc. These are held in up to 100 units per design. So when a customer’s order comes in, the job is printed and packed and dispatched. Generally with a turn-around of 5-12 working days. The benefit of this system, is as you are small, the risk is low. You can test out your market and if a range of designs doesn’t hit the mark and is a slow seller you can remove it from your offering with little expense. The downside is you are stuck with the pricing structure of your printer. The shipping charges are higher at £10 net, but you have no % pcm to pay off your invoices, but you do pay a storage fee of £10 net, plus if using an online ordering system costs are £9.99 net approx.
What is fulfilment? This is a business which has a large warehouse and they pick, pack, dispatch out your orders same day or next day. At the end of each month you are charged a % of your invoices which have gone out.
What do you get for your money?
- Fulfilment Warehouses I have found charge anything from 4%-10% of your monthly Net invoices which they service from your stock to your customer. Orders come in, get picked from your shelves, and dispatched out within 6-12 hours Some of the bigger fulfilment centres I have found, wont even look at small publishers as the orders are too small and not worth their time.
- They offer a range of services from the packing of raw stock, hand finishing, and labelling of individual packs and boxes.
- Pricing to pack your cards into cellos with envelope can vary; for example,£18 – £30 for packing 1,000 cards including VAT.
- Hand finishing is often priced per job. Some charge nothing to pack smaller orders of between 10-12 packs of 6 cards.
- Orders are dispatched via courier and royal mail services. Orders placed before 12 pm will be sent out the same day.
- Stock is securely stored and orders will be efficiently fulfilled.
- Generally you receive a stock check daily of comings-in and goings-out via shared google docs/spreadsheets. With a yearly stock check where orders are held for the day to ensure a complete check.
- Packing materials are included in the % price; jiffy bags, bubble wrap, tape etc although some can charge 45p per box, or the price for speciality boxes if they need to be ordered in specific to your needs.
- To sort returns, labelling and stickering or any work which is over and above the contract will be charged at around £10.50 per hour.
- Deliveries in the UK via next day courier is charged at rates from £4.50-£6.50 plus VAT
- Full pallet delivery is charged at £54 plus VAT but some companies offer free pallet collection of your current stock to move over to them.
- Royal Mail costs are £3.22 for a small parcel. Medium parcels are £5.25.
- Shipping out of the UK will be quoted for on individual basis.
- Orders are in customers shops faster, which will increase re-ordering and customer confidence.
- Initial set up of your stock ready for servicing orders can be from 2-5 days depending on company.
- Get a copy of the fulfilment centres Terms & Conditions to ensure you are aware of everything.
- Do up your monthly invoices net value and factor in the fulfilment % charges, and deduct any savings of packing of cards, dispatch prices and of course the option of cheaper bulk printing. Give a month’s set of sales figures and detail of product which went out in the month, and ask the fulfilment company to give you a set of example charges for that period so you are clear on what your month charge will be.
- Make sure you check things like: If orders fall under £100 they may attract an extra delivery charge, and also do they expect a turnover through them of around £XXXXXX per year.
- Be aware that if you’re not turning over enough annual business they can slacken their service to you and eventually force you out through poor service to make space for a better performing customer.
- If you can do view the warehouse, or be aware that your stock could be housed in damp horrid conditions and will affect your precious stock.
What did I do this week?
- Placed new customer orders.
- Sketching new illustrations for a collection to launch at Spring Fair in Feb 2019.
- Sorting missing product, which hasn’t been found so had re-ordered to go out to the customer.
- Deciding on fulfilment options.
- Chasing late payers.
- Ordered replenishment stock of stickers.
- Paid bills.
- Statements to Sales Agents.
Thx for reading and HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!!!
Can’t quite believe its now a month on from the Dragons Den Speed dating Dragons event.
What an amazing, slightly bonkers event run by the GCA.
Here I am pitching away to my first Dragon, Catherine Laycock from Belly Button designs, and waiting in the Lair along with other publishers.
The Greeting Card Association write up here
PGBuzz dragons pitch read all about it here
Busily preparing for my first show of the season! So many lovely new designs to show you!
For those of you who are visiting, please remember to pop by and say hi!
Looking forward to seeing you all there.
Don’t forget to view the show profile here.
See this months Greetings Today Magazine for the BLE Review on page 36.
Brand Licensing Europe sees Deckled Edge make the final!
Read the head-to-head battle article (see page 36) here: