This years GCA AGM, held at the Leeds Royal Armoury, was truly a grand day out! The annual event held by the Greeting Card Association brought together over 180 members from all across the industry from publishing, to printing, to share their experiences, catch up on industry news and celebrate the strength of our wonderful card-munity.
The day started with the GCA’s annual market report, supported by research from Kantar, reflecting on the current state of the greeting card market and celebrating it’s continued resilience to the cost of living crisis. This presentation was followed by guest speakers Sarah Laker (Independent shop owner) Wendy of Wendy-Jones Blackett (Designer) and Adam Dury of Cardfactory. Each talk was engaging and inspiring, sharing a different perspective of the greeting card industry.
This years event also included a mixer element, with individuals from different businesses seated together for dinner, this was a great opportunity to meet new faces, discuss the days talks and connect with different areas of the industry. The Loxleys team attending enjoyed this fresh take on the annual get together and left the event feeling inspired and informed about the future of the industry.
We’d like to share our thanks to the GCA council for organising such a successful event and celebrate the friendly and inclusive community of greetings cards. If you’d like to learn more about the GCA and how they can support your business visit: About | Greeting Card Association
The most glamorous get together in the greeting card calendar
Last week saw the return of our favourite event on the card industry calendar, the Henries. The annual award ceremony, hosted by progressive greetings, shares the achievements of greeting card designers and publishers across 20 award categories such as ‘Best Humorous Range’, ‘Best Photographic Range’, and ‘Best Diversity and Inclusion Range’.
As a print and production partner Loxley regularly hosts a table at the Henries, inviting a selection of publishers to join the celebrations. Hosted at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, this year’s Mardi Gras inspired Henries began with a buzzing drinks reception accompanied by music from The Steel Panthers – a Carribean steel drum band. Then it was time to get down to business and announce this year’s wonderful winners. As a key sponsor of the award ceremony Loxleys Managing Director, Tony Lorriman, was invited to the stage to present the award for ‘Best Childrens Range’ to the 2023 winner Raspberry Blossom (see video below).
The night ended on a high, with the incredible drag act Ruby Violet getting the 500+ guests up onto the dance floor, where the party went on until the early hours of the morning!
The Loxleys team in attendance had an incredible time and would like to send a special thanks to the GCA (Greeting Card Association) for hosting such a memorable evening! Their continued support of the greeting card industry plays a pivotal role in fostering connections among industry peers, promoting collaboration, and nurturing an exciting and forward-thinking community that we are proud to be a part of.
A special shout-out goes to our wonderful table guests who made the 28th Henries one of our favourites so far. Filled with laughter, wine, and plenty of confetti!
We can’t wait to do it all again next year!
1st Image – Table decorations, 2nd Image -Tony announcing the award winner, 3rd Image the table a few glasses of wine and confetti cannons later!
Recently we had a catch up with Yorkshire Legend, Julia owner of Dialectable. Julia has generously shared her experience of becoming an established greeting card and gift designer. Discussing her design influences, love for language and the building blocks of her Yorkshire brand.
Dialectable was started in September 2013 from a love for language and local dialects. Within 6 months the first range was created, launched and retailer ready. Almost 10 years on Dialectable has grown to a range of over 200 greeting card designs along with mugs, notebooks and even Jams! A one stop shop for Yorkshire lads and lasses!
All things Yorkshire…
What’s the best thing about being based in Sheffield?
The humour of locals, and the proximity of Peaks.
If you could collaborate with any other Yorkshire business, who would it be and why?
Yorkshire Tea. That would be a collaboration made in heaven. Nowt goes with our mugs better than Yorkshire tea.
What other Sheffield based independents/creators do you admire?
Pete McKee, James Green, Richard Hawley.
What is your favourite Yorkshire phrase?
Anything with ‘shite’ in it!
What is your favourite Yorkshire food?
All things Greeting Cards..
As the business owner, what does a day at Dialectable look like?
Every day is different. The basics are always fulfilling retail and trade orders. We do all the warehousing aspects directly from our office in Heeley now, so that side of things can be busy. It often means we barely have a square inch that isn’t covered with cardboard.
I’m also ordering, projecting, preparing marketing campaigns, doing artwork..all sorts of stuff.
My office manager Sarah is a total legend though, and she mops up loads of the graft. We get on great and I don’t know what I’d do without her.
Where are you from and how does this influence your work?
Hull. Definitely an influence as Hull dialect is very unique and different to the rest of Yorkshire. I’m now a hybrid of East and South Yorkshire after having lived in Sheff for 30+ years. The Hull accent is a bit of a talking point, as its flat vowel sounds are really distinctive. Maybe that’s where my interest started. Yorkshire people are very patriotic about their county and proud of their accents. It seemed right and proper to offer a card and gift line that reflected that.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I think that colour is just about my favourite thing. I also love fonts. So Dialectable was kind of born out of being passionate about both. I love retro poster design and bold graphics. Classic Penguin book covers from the 50s and 60s are wonderful and definitely inspired me.
What makes Dialectable unique?
The products are humorous but the designs are classic and quality is premium. Sometimes cards and gifts that are considered ‘fun’ can also be a bit naff. We pride ourselves on being amusing and tasteful at the same time.
What is your proudest business moment?
Maybe being shortlisted for Gift of the Year the first time I applied. But actually I just love it when I’m working a stand and I hear people killing themselves laughing as they browse the cards. And then they say something like “‘av you come up with this?… it’s brilliant!”. Those moments are the best 🙂
Do you have any tips for designing greetings cards?
If you have an idea, draft it and keep reworking until it’s 110%. My design looks simple, but it wasn’t simple to create. I had the concept – but I had to harness it in a design that would work over and over again and stand the test of time. And whenever I do something slightly different with it – I have to rework it billions of times until I know it’s perfect.
A huge thank you to Julia for her time and honest answers. We love seeing Julia’s iconic (and sometimes very cheeky) designs pass through our printers here at Loxleys. The added benefits of being just around the corner means Dialectable is able to collect their latest greetings cards hot of the press, printed, banded and ready to go.