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  • The Henries Awards Winners 2014

    The Henries Awards Winners 2014

    The Henries Awards Winners 2014 for the best greeting cards and card publishers in the UK have been announced!

    Here is a complete list of the Henries winners and finalists for this year.

    A very special congratulations to Louise Tighe MD of Paperlink who won the Honourary Achievement Award.

    We were delighted that Blue Eyed Sun reached the finals of The Henries Awards 2014 in two categories: with Allotment for the Best Occasions Range and with Picnic Time in the best Spring Range.

    The Henries Awards Winners 2014 are:

    Clare Tupper from Paper Rose won Most Promising Young Designer Or ArtistThe Henries 2014 Alun Cochrane

    Finalists 2014:

    Rebecca Crouch from Raspberry Blossom
    Dimitria Jordan from Love Faith and Hope
    Yasmin Rahmatullah from YTR Designs
    Tamsin Seed from Studio Seed
    Anna Whitford from Rosanna Rossi

     

    Happy Jackson from Pigment won Best Occasions or Relations Range

    Finalists 2014:

    Allotment from Blue Eyed Sun

    Champagne from Cracker Cards
    Cloud Cuckoo from Rachel Ellen Designs
    Sooshi from Sooshichacha
    Sunshine from Stop The Clock Design

     

    Four Eyes from Urban Graphic won Best Humorous Range

    Finalists 2014:

    Etched from Pigment Productions

    Frankie Dog from Frankie Whistle
    Good Things from Redback Cards
    Keyboard Commands From Rambling Mansion Publications
    Kook from Paperlink

     

    The Country Set from Wrendale Designs won Best Art Range

    Finalists 2014:

    Alice Scott from Pigment

    Form from The Art File
    Paste from ArtPress Publishing
    Portrait Puns from Modesty Designs
    Toasted from Urban Graphic

     

    Artisan & Magpie Valentine’s from Paper Rose won Best Spring Seasons RangeThe Henries 2014 Louise Tighe Paperlink

    Finalists 2014:

    Chalk Valentine’s from Brainbox Candy
    First Press Mother’s Day from Roger la Borde
    Picnic Time Mother’s Day from Blue Eyed Sun
    Pom Pom Easter from Janie Wilson
    Sooshi Father’s Day from Sooshichacha

     

    Moggies & Doggies from Fourth Wall Brands won Best Cute Range

    Finalists 2014:

    Animal Collective from The Art Group
    Beatrix Potter from Hype Associates
    Hello Sunshine from Cinnamon Aitch
    Kiddiwinks from Think Of Me
    Sweet Tweets from Mint Publishing

     

    Waitrose Male range from Hallmark won Best Male Range

    Finalists 2014:

    Alpha from Woodmansterne

    Gordon Bennett from Hotchpotch Publishing (CBG)
    Rocca from Black Olive
    Sasparilla from Think Of Me
    Trinkets And Trumpets from The Art File

     

    Noisy Noi from Noi Publishing won Best Children's Range

    Finalists 2014:The Henries Awards 2014 - Gracie Turner

    A Card to Treasure from Clare Maddicott Publications

    Wobbley Eyed from Stripey Cats
    Kiddiwinks from Think of Me
    Noah’s Park from Gemma
    Wonderland from Rachel Ellen Designs

     

    Alice Scott from Pigment won Best Contemporary Trend Range

    Finalists 2014:

    Du Jour from Noel Tatt

    The Crafty Fox Collection from Tache Crafts
    Piano from Hammond Gower
    Rambelin’ Collection from Pocket Typewriter
    Zoo Portraits from Lagom

     

    Snowfall Forest from Five Dollar Shake won Best Christmas Counter Cards Range

    Finalists 2014:

    Christmas from Sally Scaffardi

    Christmas Range from Fracas Studio
    Christmas Pizazz from Nigel Quiney Publications
    Footprints In The Snow from Wrendale Designs
    Words Of Wisdom from Dandelion Stationery

     

    Paloma from Belly Button Designs won Best Christmas Box or PackThe Henries 2014 Chris Fenner

    Finalists 2014:

    Candy Cane Christmas from Five Dollar Shake

    Glitter Robin & Santa Boxes from Ling Design
    Paper House (Tin) from The Great British Card Company
    Quentin Blake from Woodmansterne
    The Royal Academy from ArtPress Publishing

     

    Life Is Sweet from Icon won Best Words and Sentiments Range

    Finalists 2014:

    Beautiful Life from Lagom Design

    Happy Jackson from Pigment
    Piano Postcards from Hammond Gower
    Scrawl from Urban Graphic
    Words Of Wisdom from Dandelion Stationery

     

    Take A View from Camden Graphics (UKG) won Best Photographic Range

    Finalists 2014:

    1000 Words from Urban Graphic

    Life Is Sweet from Icon
    Loose Leashes from Woodmansterne
    National Geographic from Medici Cards (GBCC)
    Robin Stemp from Green Pebble

     

    Embellished Origami from Graciegirl Designs won Best Handmade or Hand-finished Range

    Finalists 2014:

    Colours May Vary from Wendy Jones-Blackett

    Form from The Art File

    Handmade Range from Fracas Studios
    Lacie from Paperlink
    Stardust Couture from Five Dollar Shake

     

    Harold’s Planet from Clare Maddicott Publications won Best Licensed Card Range

    Finalists 2014:The Henries 2014 - Hannah Dale - Jeremy Corner

    Beatrix Potter from Hype Associates

    Despicable Me from Danilo
    National Trust from Woodmansterne
    Pickle Parade from Hotchpotch Publishing (CBG)
    RSPB Birdsong from Really Wild Cards

     

    Le Petit Bear from Simon Elvin won Best Wholesale Range

    Finalists 2014:

    Bright Eyes from Simon Elvin

    Isabel’s Garden from Simon Elvin
    More Than Words from Hallmark
    Prelude Female Everyday from BGC
    Prelude Male Everyday from BGC

     

    The Art File Giftwrap from The Art File won Best Giftwrappings Collection

    Finalists 2014:

    Ella Doran from Penny Kennedy

    Platinum Giftwrappings Collection from Belly Button Designs
    Sherbet Crush Collection from Hallmark
    Victoria Beau from Deva Designs
    Wendy Jones-Blackett Collection from Glick

     

    Quentin Blake from Woodmansterne won The Henry Cole Classic Award

    Finalists 2014:The Henries - 2014

    Darkroom from Paper House (GBCC)

    Die-Stamped from Caroline Gardner
    Drama Queen from Cardmix
    Exposure Black & White from Icon
    Giggles from Hanson White (UKG)

     

    UK Greetings won Gold for Best Service To The Independent Retailer

    Noel Tatt won silver

    International Cards and Gifts won bronze 

     

    Finalists 2014:

    Carte Blanche Greetings Group
    Cherry Orchard Publishing
    Hallmark Cards
    Jonny Javelin
    Nigel Quiney Publications
    Paperlink
    Second Nature
    Woodmansterne Publications
    Words-n-Wishes

     

    The Henries Awards winners 2014 were revealed at a spectacular Highlands themed Henries Ball on Thursday 10 October at the Lancaster London Hotel, overlooking HydePark. Compere for the evening was comedian Alun Cochrane.

    Over 14,000 cards were entered into this year’s Henries and these were judged by an impressive Judging Panel, made up of 40 top retailers (including buyers from John Lewis, WHSmith, Tesco, Paperchase, Scribbler, Card Bar, Joy, Asda, Squires Garden Centres, Waterstones, Funky Pigeon as well as many leading independents). Congratulations to all of the Henries Awards winners and everyone who made it through to the finals.

    See the 2013 Henries Awards winners and finalists from last year by clicking here

    Read some award winning advice for the Henries and other awards here

    The Henries Winners 2014

  • Anthony Nolan, the Berlin Marathon and a Greeting Card

    Anthony Nolan - Berlin Marathon2014-JC

    Last weekend I completed the Berlin marathon to raise funds for Anthony Nolan, a charity which takes back lives from leukaemia by providing life saving donors for patients in need of a bone marrow transplant. 

     

    I had the most amazing run considering I only managed 8 weeks training due to injury (half my usual amount). I was pleased to finish in under 4 hours and felt good most of the way usng a strategy where I ran to my heart rate rather than to a specific time or pace. You can read more about the Marco technique here.

     

    It was also very humbling to meet people who had meaningful connections with my charity. An American lady, called Melissa, spotted my vest at the start and came through the crowd to tell me that two years ago Anthony Nolan saved her life. I was so moved that I spent the next few minutes trying to pull myself together before the race began. At the finish I also met a doctor, called John Snowden, who ran for Anthony Nolan as his hospital has had a lot of invaluable support from them. Later he tracked my charity page down online and donated to my fundraising, which was really generous of him. The running community is so friendly and inspiring.

     

    I also took part in an international 6km fun run the day before, which finished in the Olympic stadium. It was amazing to stand in the same place where the African American, Jesse Owens, won four golds in front of an the Aryan supremicist, Hitler, at the 1936 Olympic games. Luz Long, Owen's German competitor, helped him improve his run up to win the long jump medal and was the first to congratulate him. Even in troubled times the Olympic spirit rises above politics. Jesse Owens later said, "You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn't be a plating for the 24 carot friendship I felt for Luz Long at that moment." Watch a two minute video of this story here.

     

    The 41st BMW Berlin marathon was won by Dennis Kimetto who broke the world record completing the 26.22 mile (42.2km) course in two hours two minutes and 57 seconds. It was a beautiful sunny day for the 40,000 runners who took part in the race that finished through the iconic Brandenburg gate. It's pretty cool to be able to take part in the same race as the fastest man in the world.

     

    I had some wonderful support from my friends and family for the marathon. On my return to the UK I even received a lovely congratulations card from the Anthony Nolan events team, thanking me for raising funds for them. I have run for many charities over the years and they are the first to take the time to send me a card, which really felt special. 

     

    I would like to thank everyone from the card industry, and in particular the 2013 Ladder Club delegates, who kindly donated to the funds I raised in support of my dear friend, Lynn Tait, who has had to call on the help of the Anthony Nolan Trust this year. 

     

    If you wish to contribute you can visit my fundraising page by clicking here

     

    Read 15 ways marathon training can improve your business

     

    Click here to find out more about the Ladder Club

  • Overcoming the Challenges of Exporting Overseas

    Here are the slides from my talk on Exporting Overseas with UKTI at Autumn Fair International today. All of the links and logos in the slides are clickable and the hyperlinks will take you to the respective websites. A video of the talk is embedded below.

     

    Although Blue Eyed Sun has exported to a handful of international customers over the years, it is only since 2012 that the company has begun to focus on overseas expansion. As a result, we’ve distributed to over a dozen new countries in the last two years. Last month I was invited by UKTI (UK Trade & Investment) to speak at Autumn Fair International on the subject of “Exporting Overseas”. I also got to meet our new Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Livingston, at a special lunch during the show. The UKTI have ambitious targets to grow British export over the next few years and can offer businesses great advice on where to get started and how to export. Here’s what I’ve learned so far about export from a card publisher’s perspective.

     

    Firstly, I believe that it’s important to establish yourself and your product well in the UK before you start thinking about exporting abroad. You need to make all of your mistakes here first as they will all be magnified once you start distributing internationally. You also need to be sure that all of your operational systems are strong enough to support the increased volume of business. Do you have enough warehouse space? Can your operations team cope with the extra demand? As margins are greatly reduced when you export there is less room for error. Supply chains lengthen when you work with distributors and you need to be sure that you are a strong link in the chain. You not only let down your distributor when things go wrong, but their agents, retailers and consumers.

     

    The potentially negative impacts on your business include: strain on your cashflow, credit risks on bad debts that are difficult to chase overseas and fluctuations in currencies which can affect your profits if you don’t get paid in Sterling. Some countries have different laws regarding Intellectual Property and you run the risk of being copied abroad. You can also suffer quality control difficulties because of the increased volumes, freight forwarding issues because of third party couriers and miscommunication problems due to language differences. So why do it?

     

    Well the good news is that exporting can also improve your business. The larger volumes and lower margins have forced us to find better ways of doing things in our business. We’ve had access to new markets and sales we otherwise would not have had. Our products are sold across the world which is very exciting and we have met some great business people who have provided fascinating and inspiring insights into how things can be done in the greeting card business. All this whilst growing our business, flying the Great British flag abroad and providing more jobs for people in the UK.

     

    There are a number of ways you can export abroad when starting from scratch. The most popular for UK publishers is to work with a distributor in the specific country. This is helpful as they buy the products outright (at a discount) and assume the risk of selling them and paying for their sales force, freight forwarding costs and warehousing. The advantage of working this way is that you have someone on the ground to take care of the retailers, who speaks the language and understands the nuances of their local market. Alternatives are to sell direct to retailers abroad or to establish a network of sales agents or reps who cover the territory and report directly to you. You take on more risk, but gain more profit if successful.

     

    The best places to identify and target these markets is by reading trade magazines like Progressive Greetings, attending trade shows that are strong for international visitors (Spring Fair and Autumn Fair, PG Live), joining associations like the GCA, contacting the UKTI and networking with other publishers for recommendations or by joining groups on LinkedIn. You can also take advice on international distribution from specialist consultants like Robin Littman.

     

    Remember that you will need help once your export strategy starts to take off. The extra orders will mean more admin and paperwork that needs close attention. Sometimes you will need to alter products to suit different markets and you may have a variety of different logistical requirements that need keeping an eye on. You have to stay on top of your export sales once they start so that they don’t drop off and leave you with dips in turnover. Most importantly you have to keep your eye on UK sales so that current customers don’t suffer with slower lead times because export volumes have ramped up and overloaded your operations.

     

    Once we decided to expand abroad, I hired an assistant to help me with the extra workload. She has done very well within our business and has gone on to become our operations manager. Export has helped our team to become more focussed. It has helped us all improve our communication, time management and delegation skills. Our team has had to raise it’s game and is stronger and better for it. Those that didn’t grow with the business have moved on. We don’t carry anyone anymore as we can’t afford to. Everyone has to pull their weight because the team demands it from one another. This is exciting to be a part of.

     

    Our export strategy has also led to greater sales and improved profits. Because we sell to a number of countries, our company isn’t reliant on any single customer. Instead we have a nice spread of business across a range of retailers and distributors. The product life cycles of our cards have also improved as we extend their lives in new markets. Some of our older best sellers still sell really well abroad because they are relatively new to those markets. This in turn spreads the development cost of these products across a larger number of sales. Production costs are reduced through greater volumes as savings are made on purchases and operational efficiencies. We also have more options for clearing older stock which may have slowed down at the end of it’s product life cycle in the UK.

     

    Since we started distributing we have improved our warehouse layout and stock control systems. The extra space we have had to take on has made it easier to hold better stock quantities for our UK customers. This means improved lead times, which means more order cycles in the year and increased turnover. We’ve also made our marketing more efficient by using the trade shows we attend to regularly catch up with international distributors and develop our business with them. Upgrading to the latest version of Sage software also lets us handle international currencies with ease.

     

    Finally our export strategy has had an effect on how we’re now designing our products. For example, our market leading, embroidered Vintage range was adapted from square to rectangular shape for a German distributor. Because the changes on these adaptations were time consuming we developed a new range called Picnic Time which are much easier to adapt to our distributor’s needs with a new font and a shape suited to his requirements. This new range is up for a Henries Award this year and may not have come about in its current form were it not for our export strategy.

     

    Whilst export does have it’s challenges and was not something that Blue Eyed Sun really started to push until we were ready, it has had many benefits to our business. We’re looking forward to expanding our international sales further this year and working with UKTI for the first time.

     

    Exporting Overseas is one of many subjects covered in the Ladder Club seminars for new publishers organised by Lynn Tait and held in Leigh-on-Sea on the 4th and 5th of November. For details contact Trudi on 01702 480 180 or email waiteandtaitbakery@hotmail.com

     

    Click on the video below to watch my talk and slides together:

    Other blog posts you might like:

    Read How to get things done when you don't feel like it

    Click to see how Blue Eyed Sun doubled sales and halved the owners working week

    This article features on pages 30-31 of the October edition of Progressive Greetings which you can read online here

  • Why should you care about Thinking of You Week?

    Why Thinking of You Week

    Years ago I attended a greeting card industry seminar, not unlike the Ladder Club days for new publishers that I speak at each year. I remember a speaker proudly stating that she never sent greeting cards and that this was not uncommon amongst card publishers. The statement has preyed on my mind ever since as an insidious problem within our industry. I dont have the facts on how widespread this issue is, but I do know that I personally could do better with the number of cards I send each year.

     

    As card publishers, suppliers and retailers we should be the ones that are using these products the most. If we dont use them why should anyone else? Given that the industry is dominated at board level by men and 80% of card buyers are women, it must surely help us improve our offering and make the card sending tradition stronger if we are sending more cards ourselves?

     

    None of us know what will happen to the card industry in years to come and whether or not future generations will enjoy cards as much as those previous have. We cant control these things, but we can control what we do now. That is why I have been so excited about working with the Greeting Card Association Council to create and launch both Festive Friday and now Thinking of You week to help promote card sending by starting with card publishers ourselves. 

     

    This month I agreed to take part in a dry run of Thinking of You Week, a new event being held in the last week of September to highlight the emotional power of sending and receiving cards. I roped in some of my colleagues at Blue Eyed Sun to join me. Everyone who took part in the initiative had fun doing it and enjoyed taking the time to stop and think about friends, family and loved ones. I'll be updating more on their stories later this month.

     

    The quality of our relationships is based on the quality of our communication. Cards are such a great way of communicating that we care, by taking the time to consider others and what wed like to say to them. We know that scientific studies show that receiving cards makes people feel more special than receiving texts and Facebook messages. Because there are less letters and cards received in the post these days, I believe they may have an even stronger power now. It is said that receiving cards can even stave off depression for recipients. I think it can help the senders with this too. 

     

    Whatever you focus on youre going to feel. Focussing on being grateful for what you have in your life and the people you care for means that you take your mind off yourself. Fear disappears when you are grateful, as does stress. 

     

    What are you grateful for? Start with yourself, then your close family and friends and all those who are important to you. This is what I did when I sat down to write my cards for Thinking of You Week. Pretty quickly I found that there were a number of events or reasons to send cards to the people I care about. It wasnt as difficult as I thought it would be. It helped that somehow all of my Facebook contacts birthdays have downloaded into my iPhones calendar. The hardest part was tracking down all of the addresses I needed. Remember that card sending is an important, meaningful tradition for older generations who will greatly appreciate the time and effort that you have taken to think of them. You might also find that it's a more powerful way of connecting with everyone who is important to you.

     

    Staying connected in meaningful ways with my friends and family is so important to me that I am very grateful for the opportunity to take part in this initiative. I hope that you do too. This really is a wonderful idea thats worth spreading so please do get involved and send some extra cards between 22-28 September.

     

    Click to find out more about Thinking of You Week

     

    Read more about scientific studies on card sending

  • New Fathers Day Cards for 2015 from Blue Eyed Sun

    Fathers Day cards by Blue Eyed SunNext Father's Day falls on the Sunday 21st June 2015 and Blue Eyed Sun have some gorgeous new Fathers Day cards available to choose from, so it's time for retailers to start thinking about putting their Spring orders together including Mothers Day cards, Easter cards and Valentines cards. Here's what's new for Father's Day 2015...

    Pictured above is our new Hello Handsome range. Litho printed on specialist kraft board, these beautiful Fathers Day cards are 160mm x 160mm and blank inside.

    Below is a new range called Patch it Up that features original embroideries by market leading textile artist Jo Corner. Litho printed and hand finished with jewels, these Fathers Day cards are 160mm x 160mm and blank inside.

    Sold in sixes to trade buyers only, all of our Fathers Day cards are barcoded and cello-wrapped with a recycled envelope. Retailers can order online from our  large selection of designs in the trade only section of our site. 

    To stock these ranges in your shop click here. If you'd like to see them in your local shop please tell them and point them in the direction of  www.blueeyedsun.co.uk or you can recommend a shop to us by clicking here. You can also visit our stockists page to find a store near you that may be selling them.

    Click here to see these Fathers Day cards in person at Autumn Fair 2014 - Stand 4D03

    Fathers Day Cards by Blue Eyed Sun

  • Autumn Fair International 2014 - The Essential Information

    Autumn Fair International Essential InformationBlue Eyed Sun will soon be exhibiting at the Autumn Fair trade show in Hall 4 at the National Exhibition Centre (see show map below). Officially launching at this well loved trade show are over 60 new Spring 2015 designs including our latest Valentines, EasterMother's Day and Fathers Day cards. All of our best selling greetings cards, including new Picnic Time, Vintage and Gorgeous designs will also be on display so be sure to stop by and see us.

    Quote Voucher code AFB14 when ordering during the show (online or offline) for FREE CARRIAGE.

    About Autumn Fair International

    Autumn Fair runs for four days from Sunday 7th September to Wednesday 10th September from 09:00 - 18:00 at the NEC in Birmingham. It brings toether an inspirational showcase of over 1,600 British and International Exhibitors and attracts buyers from all over the world. It's a great opportunity to stock up on goods for that all important Christmas season and to see what's new for Spring seasons next year.

    To register for Autumn Fair International 2014 please click here

    Where to Stay at Autumn fair International

    Accommodation is a lot easier to find at Autumn Fair than Spring Fair and prices tend to be cheaper too. There are now several hotels on the NEC site, including Holiday Inn ExpressThe Hilton MetropoleThe ArdenRamada Encore and a Premier InnClick here for more accommodation options at Autumn Fair.

    Where to Eat at Autumn Fair

    If you are looking for somewhere to eat at the Autumn Fair check out our 5 Great Restaurants near the NEC Birmingham blog post.

    Seminars at Autumn Fair

    There are some great seminars on improving your business, display and trends. Jeremy Corner, MD of Blue Eyed Sun is speaking on the Challenges of Exporting Overseas at the UKTI International Business Theatre on Tuesday 9th at 11:45.

    Click here to find out more about seminars at the show

    How to get to Autumn Fair

    Travel to the show is easy with excellent rail and motorway links. The NEC post code is B40 1NT (if you use a sat nav). You can park for free in several car parks on site, all of which have free shuttle buses to take you around the complex. Birmingham International Rail Station is a 5 minute walk from the show as is Birmingham International Airport. It is an 80 minute train ride from London Euston Rail Station. You can also click on the map below to plan your journey.

    Download the app for Autumn Fair here

    When you get to Birmingham do remember to come and see us in the new Hall 4 on Stand 4D03.

    Can't make the show? Click here to request access all of our designs online.

    Autumn Fair 2014 Floor Plan

    View Larger Map

  • New Easter Cards for 2015 from Blue Eyed Sun

    Easter Cards by Blue Eyed SunNext Easter Sunday falls on the 5th April 2015 and Blue Eyed Sun have some gorgeous new Easter cards available to choose from, so it's time for retailers to start thinking about putting their Spring orders together including Mothers Day cards and Valentines cards. Here's what's new from Blue Eyed Sun for Easter 2015...

    Pictured above are our Easter cards in our best selling Picnic Time range, based on original embroidered artworks by market leading textile artist Jo Corner. Inspired by Blue Eyed Sun's best selling Vintage collection and Henries award winning Gorgeous stitched cards these new Easter cards are an exciting new shape and price point of £2.49 RRP. Picnic Time is also available in a range of everyday captions and occasions. Produced on FSC board, these beautiful greeting cards are 120mm x 170mm and blank inside.

    Sold in sixes to trade buyers only, all of our Easter cards are barcoded and cello-wrapped with a matching envelope. Retailers can order online from our  large selection of designs in the trade only section of our site. 

    To stock these ranges in your shop click here. If you'd like to see them in your local shop please tell them and point them in the direction of  www.blueeyedsun.co.uk or you can recommend a shop to us by clicking here. You can also visit our stockists page to find a store near you that may be selling them.

    Click here to see these Easter cards in person at Autumn Fair 2014 - Stand 4D03

  • The Henries Awards Finalists for 2014 Announced

    The Henries Awards 2014 FinalistsWe are delighted to announce that Blue Eyed Sun have reached the finals of The Henries Awards 2014 in two categories: with Picnic Time Mother's Day for the Best Spring Seasons Category and Allotment in the best Occasions Category.

    I am also very pleased to see so many shortlisted from the Ladder Club group of new publishers.

    Over 15,000 cards were entered into the Henries this year and these were judged by an impressive Judging Panel, made up of 40 top retailers (including buyers from John Lewis, WHSmith, Tesco, Paperchase, Scribbler, Card Bar, Joy, Asda, Squires Garden Centres, Waterstones, Funky Pigeon as well as many leading independents). We are very proud to have made it through to the finals. Below is alist of everyone who has been short listed for the Henries Awards 2014

    The Henries Awards Finalists 2014 are:

    Most Promising Young Designer Or Artist Finalists 2014:

    Rebecca Crouch from Raspberry Blossom
    Dimitria Jordan from Love Faith and Hope
    Yasmin Rahmatullah from YTR Designs
    Tamsin Seed from Studio Seed
    Clare Tupper from Paper Rose
    Anna Whitford from Rosanna Rossi

     

    Best Cute Range Finalists 2014:

    Animal Collective from The Art Group
    Beatrix Potter from Hype Associates
    Hello Sunshine from Cinnamon Aitch
    Kiddiwinks from Think Of Me
    Moggies & Doggies from Fourth Wall Brands
    Sweet Tweets from Mint Publishing

     

    Best Spring Seasons Range Finalists 2014:

    Artisan & Magpie Valentine’s from Paper Rose
    Chalk Valentine’s from Brainbox Candy
    First Press Mother’s Day from Roger la Borde
    Picnic Time Mother’s Day from Blue Eyed Sun
    Pom Pom Easter from Janie Wilson
    Sooshi Father’s Day from Sooshichacha

     

    Best Contemporary Trend Range Finalists 2014:

    Alice Scott from Pigment

    Du Jour from Noel Tatt
    The Crafty Fox Collection from Tache Crafts
    Piano from Hammond Gower
    Rambelin’ Collection from Pocket Typewriter
    Zoo Portraits from Lagom

     

    Best Humorous Range - Finalists 2014:

    Etched from Pigment Productions

    Four Eyes from Urban Graphic
    Frankie Dog from Frankie Whistle
    Good Things from Redback Cards
    Keyboard Commands From Rambling Mansion Publications
    Kook from Paperlink

     

    Best Art Range - Finalists 2014:

    Alice Scott from Pigment

    The Country Set from Wrendale Designs
    Form from The Art File
    Paste from ArtPress Publishing
    Portrait Puns from Modesty Designs
    Toasted from Urban Graphic

     

    Best Handmade or Hand-finished Range - Finalists 2014:

    Colours May Vary from Wendy Jones-Blackett

    Embellished Origami from Graciegirl Designs
    Form from The Art File
    Handmade Range from Fracas Studios
    Lacie from Paperlink
    Stardust Couture from Five Dollar Shake

     

    Best Words and Sentiments Range - Finalists 2014:

    Beautiful Life from Lagom Design

    Happy Jackson from Pigment
    Life Is Sweet from Icon
    Piano Postcards from Hammond Gower
    Scrawl from Urban Graphic
    Words Of Wisdom from Dandelion Stationery

     

    Best Male Range - Finalists 2014:

    Alpha from Woodmansterne

    Gordon Bennett from Hotchpotch Publishing (CBG)
    Rocca from Black Olive
    Sasparilla from Think Of Me
    Trinkets And Trumpets from The Art File
    Waitrose Male range from Hallmark

     

    Best Children's Range - Finalists 2014:

    A Card to Treasure from Clare Maddicott Publications

    Wobbley Eyed from Stripey Cats
    Kiddiwinks from Think of Me
    Noah’s Park from Gemma
    Noisy Noi from Noi Publishing
    Wonderland from Rachel Ellen Designs

     

    Best Wholesale Range - Finalists 2014:

    Bright Eyes from Simon Elvin

    Isabel’s Garden from Simon Elvin
    Le Petit Bear from Simon Elvin
    More Than Words from Hallmark
    Prelude Female Everyday from BGC
    Prelude Male Everyday from BGC

     

    Best Occasions or Relations Range - Finalists 2014:

    Allotment from Blue Eyed Sun

    Champagne from Cracker Cards
    Cloud Cuckoo from Rachel Ellen Designs
    Happy Jackson from Pigment
    Sooshi from Sooshichacha
    Sunshine from Stop The Clock Design

     

    Best Christmas Box or Pack - Finalists 2014:

    Candy Cane Christmas from Five Dollar Shake

    Glitter Robin & Santa Boxes from Ling Design
    Paloma from Belly Button Designs
    Paper House (Tin) from The Great British Card Company
    Quentin Blake from Woodmansterne
    The Royal Academy from ArtPress Publishing

     

    Best Christmas Counter Cards Range - Finalists 2014:

    Christmas from Sally Scaffardi

    Christmas Range from Fracas Studio
    Christmas Pizazz from Nigel Quiney Publications
    Footprints In The Snow from Wrendale Designs
    Snowfall Forest from Five Dollar Shake
    Words Of Wisdom from Dandelion Stationery

     

    Best Photographic Range - Finalists 2014:

    1000 Words from Urban Graphic

    Life Is Sweet from Icon
    Loose Leashes from Woodmansterne
    National Geographic from Medici Cards (GBCC)
    Robin Stemp from Green Pebble
    Take A View from Camden Graphics (UKG)

     

    Best Licensed Card Range - Finalists 2014:

    Beatrix Potter from Hype Associates

    Despicable Me from Danilo
    Harold’s Planet from Clare Maddicott Publications
    National Trust from Woodmansterne
    Pickle Parade from Hotchpotch Publishing (CBG)
    RSPB Birdsong from Really Wild Cards

     

    Best Giftwrappings Collection - Finalists 2014:

    Ella Doran from Penny Kennedy

    Platinum Giftwrappings Collection from Belly Button Designs
    Sherbet Crush Collection from Hallmark
    The Art File Giftwrap from The Art File
    Victoria Beau from Deva Designs
    Wendy Jones-Blackett Collection from Glick

     

    The Henry Cole Classic Award - Finalists 2014:

    Darkroom from Paper House (GBCC)

    Die-Stamped from Caroline Gardner
    Drama Queen from Cardmix
    Exposure Black & White from Icon
    Giggles from Hanson White (UKG)
    Quentin Blake from Woodmansterne

     

    Best Service To The Independent Retailer - Finalists 2014:

    Carte Blanche Greetings Group
    Cherry Orchard Publishing
    International Cards and Gifts
    Hallmark Cards
    Jonny Javelin
    Nigel Quiney Publications
    Noel Tatt
    Paperlink
    Second Nature
    Woodmansterne Publications
    Words-n-Wishes
    UK Greetings

     
    The winners of all the Henries award categories will be revealed at a spectacular Highlands themed Henries Ball on Thursday 9th October at the Lancaster London Hotel, overlooking HydePark.

    See all of the the Henries Awards winners 2013 by clicking here

    Read some award winning advice for the Henries and other awards here

  • New Mothers Day Cards for 2015 from Blue Eyed Sun

    Enchantment Mothers Day cards by Blue Eyed Sun

    With Mothering Sunday on Sunday 15th March 2015, it's time for retailers to start thinking about getting their Mothers Day cards and Valentines cards ordered before Christmas. Here's what's new from us for Mother's Day 2015...

    Pictured above are the latest Mothers Day cards in our new Enchantment range based on original hand stitched embroideries by Jo Corner. Produced on FSC board, these cards are 160mm square, blank inside and hand finished with jewels.

    Below are the Mothers Day cards in our best selling Picnic Time range, based on original embroidered artworks by market leading textile artist Jo Corner. Inspired by Blue Eyed Sun's best selling Vintage collection and Henries award winning Gorgeous stitched cards these new Mother's Day designs are an exciting new shape and price point of £2.49 RRP. Picnic Time is also available in a range of everyday captions and occasions. Produced on FSC board, these beautiful greeting cards are 120mm x 170mm and blank inside. They have also just been shorlisted in the Spring Occasions category at the Henries Awards 2014.

    Sold in sixes to trade buyers only, both ranges of Mothers Day cards are barcoded and cello-wrapped with a matching envelope. Retailers can order online from our  large selection of designs in the trade only section of our site. You can also click here to see our 2015 Valentine designs.

    To stock these ranges in your shop click here. If you'd like to see them in your local shop please tell them and point them in the direction of  www.blueeyedsun.co.uk or you can recommend a shop to us by clicking here. You can also visit our stockists page to find a store near you that may be selling them.

    Click here to see these Mothers Day cards in person at Autumn Fair 2014 - Stand 4D03

    Click to read: Scientists prove that greeting cards are good for your Mother

    Picnic Time Mother's Day cards by Blue Eyed Sun

  • How to get more customers to your retail business

    How to Get More Customers Retail Business

    There is no doubt that bricks and mortar retailers have had their work cut out for them in recent years. Take post offices, for instance, many used to enjoy high footfall with many regular visitors collecting benefits cheques, pensions, etc. Much of this is now done by direct debit and, as a result, footfall has dwindled both in their outlets and in their local shopping precincts.

     

    If falling footfall offline is difficult, building traffic to an ecommerce site can be even tougher. Opening an online store is a bit like opening shop in the middle of a desert. The upside is that you are not limited a single road leading to it. You can literally develop hundreds of roads for customers to reach your online store. This road building can be done using a combination of social media tools and even some old fashioned marketing. The good news is you can use some of the same principles and tools to get more customers to your bricks and mortar store too. 

     

    Getting started

     

    Personally, I think it’s really important that all roads lead back to a website that your business owns ie. your own website and not Facebook. Ideally this would be an ecommerce site or a blog with content that is updated on a regular basis. Even if it isn’t, make sure that you set up a simple page with some nice images on a domain that is yours. Over time the links to your website are going to be more and more valuable for search engine optimisation (SEO) and will act as a collection point towards which all of your online and offline efforts direct customers. The sooner you start on building this asset the better.

     

    Think of all your marketing and each social media profile you create as funnels that regularly channel engaged customers to your website and / or your bricks and mortar store. You might have 1,000 followers and get say 100 of them to visit your shop and 10 of them purchase £20 of goods each for example. Do you see how the numbers funnel down towards sales? From this example, you can see how each extra 1,000 followers you add could generate another £200.

     

    Content is King

     

    Your offers, insights, tips and humour all form the basis of the branded content (on your website, blog or social media) that you need to produce on a regular basis to drive visitors to your business. Content is becoming hugely important for generating SEO results that point to your business. Start thinking about the ways that people might find your business (E.g. asking friends, social media, Google, etc). Where and how are they looking for what you offer? Target the online search phrases they use (keywords) and search points (such as Google, Facebook and Twitter) in your content creation and marketing strategy. Use these phrases in tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, website copy and on product listings in your store. 

     

    Here are some examples of how you can use content to drive engagement with your customers and others in order to drive more customers to your business: 

     

    Images

    Great images are key to driving visitors to your door. Pinterest and Instagram are two image based social media sites that are performing very well for retailers. In fact there is evidence to suggest “reverse showrooming” from these sites, where customers visit retailers in store to purchase items they have seen online via these sites. Images also feature heavily in the feeds of Twitter and Facebook, so if you have shots of something funny, interesting or beautiful in your shop do post them online regularly. For example, some of our retailers have cafes and drive footfall to their door each day posting images of their beautiful cakes on social media. 

     

    If you are photographing greeting cards it is good etiquette to mention the publisher of the cards when posting. Another neat trick is to position a business card with your logo into the shot you take, just in case the image is shared away from your website and the connection is lost. All of our images have our logo on them for this reason and to protect our design copyright.

     

    Email shots

    It’s worth building your mailing and emailing lists because engagement with them is still strong. As an example, over 30% of my customers open my emails and I generate over £1,000 in sales every time I email them. Make sure that you only contact your list with information that is useful, timely and relevant to them. Try to keep your mailings to an acceptable limit, I tend to mail my customers in the run up to the five trade shows we do each year. Our customers often tell me that they love my receiving my emails as they are so useful and informative. The majority of the articles on my emails links back into evergreen content on our blog, trade show listings or social media channels. All of which funnel towards sales.

     

    Events

    See if you can speak at events that are relevant to those in your market. For example, I recently spoke at Widdop Bingham’s Summer event for retailers on the topic of social media and I am speaking again at Autumn Fair International next month. I get a lot of publicity, web links and referrals over time from these. If you dont like public speaking, get yourself to industry events like the GCA or GA AGMs or to local business networking events in your area. You can even hold events at your shop. How to wrap presents’ is a one that would be relevant to most consumers around Christmas for example. Video or photograph these events and add them to your YouTube channel, website and social media channels to drive more engagement with your fans.

     

    Reward Loyalty

    More and more retailers are feeding back to me how effective these are for their shops. Buy 10 cards get your 11th free is a popular one that drives customers back through retailers doors. Sometimes you can offer these deals through other outlets like local papers. One of our customers ran a successful 25% off promotion in their local paper, for example, and could track it’s success by people who bought their vouchers into the store to claim it.

     

    Cross Promotion

    Try to find local businesses which would be happy to cross promote your products in exchange for a plug for them in your shop. You might also be able to get flyers or brochures into the relevant press or another business’s mailout. All of these are ways of building new roads in to your business. Use Twitter and Facebook to engage with these businesses and to plan events and offers that can be shared. Track which offers work best using promotional codes. With our wedding business, Ivy Ellen, we even have different 0845 numbers in our different magazine adverts to monitor which work best.

     

    Referrals

     

    One of our retailers has built an offline sales funnel leading to her remote store by nurturing relationships with local tour bus companies who literally bring bus loads of customers to her door. She offers the tourists vouchers and finds they almost always spend more money in her shop than she gives away in discounts. Everyone wins. The tourists get a deal and a fun day out, the bus company has happy customers and the retailer boosts her sales. Can you think of something similar you could do in your area?

     

    Social Media

    All of these examples can be mixed into and promoted with your social media strategy thereby creating more funnels leading towards sales in your shop. Being overly promotional can drive customers away though. Engage with your customers in a meaningful way. All of these suggestions are ways of drawing customers to you without them feeling like they are being sold to. All will enhance your presence in the market place and help to further your business over time.

     

    To get more customers to your shop, try to focus on what makes your offering important to them. Keeping this in mind, the more useful, engaging and helpful your website and social media strategy the more customers you will find beating a path to your door.

     

    Read 10 Business basics to get right before using social media 

     

    See the slides from my recent talk on social media at Widdop Bingham

     

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