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Blue Eyed Sun Blog

  • 15 things I learned at Sage Summit 2016 in Chicago

    15 Things Learned Sage Summit 2016I was recently invited by Sage to Chicago to speak at their annual Sage Summit. The business focussed event, held over 3-4 days, is an opportunity to network, learn and grow. It featured some amazing keynote speakers and loads of smaller breakout sessions and interesting seminars.

    As you can see by the photos on this page I was lucky enough to meet some of these amazing people and learn some useful business lessons from them. Here are my highlights:

    DeterminationJeremy Corner at Sage Summit 2016

    On my Virgin Atlantic flight there I wondered what it would be like to meet Richard Branson and decided to do everything I could to make it happen. Incredibly, the very next morning I was shaking his hand. I then set myself the challenge of meeting the rest of the celebrity speakers that week. It wasn’t easy. I was just determined and had a good energy for making it happen. I believed that I could do it. I even managed to blag backstage access to The Killers gig that week. Determination and self belief are so important to achieving your goals.

    Don’t be needy

    At the same time as being determined it’s important not to be desperate. Although I believed that I could achieve my goals, I was also prepared to fail. I just didn’t focus on the failure. I focused on what I wanted but not to the point where it consumed me. In a cab ride in Chicago, the adventurer and philanthropist Justin Packshaw shared similar advice he once received from an experienced entrepreneur, “Needy ain’t sexy.” It sums this up nicely I think.

    Your Team

    Richard Branson, whose Virgin group comprises more than 400 companies, could never have grown without delegating. As he says, “Find someone better than you to run your business.”

    Star of  Shark Tank (America’s Dragon’s Den) Robert Herjavec agrees “If you’re going to do everything in your business, you’re always going to stay small. The only way to grow is with a great team.”

    Do what you love

    Fellow TV Personality and entrepreneur Daymond John explains how to achieve this: “Make a list of things you love doing and things you don’t. Then, outsource everything you don’t love doing and it will change your life.”

    One Word

    I caught up with business youtuber Evan Carmichael who has a book coming out called: Your One Word. The book is about finding the core word that has meaning for you and truly inspires your business and team. Evan’s word is ‘Believe’ and his team is so into 'believing in entrepreneurs' that one of them even has the word 'Believe' as a tattoo on her arm. Having a focus for what you are about and what you want to achieve with your business is so powerful.

    Power of Focus

    Hearing actress Gwyneth Paltrow talk about KPI’s (key performance indicators) and sales funnel strategies was an eye opener. I find it inspiring that anyone can shift career, take on new challenges and start up a business. As the founder of successful online retailer Goop, Gwyneth’s key take away was to remember to focus, “Where you look is where you go. Keep your eye on the prize and believe in yourself.”

    Understanding Customers

    Another actress, Zooey Deschanel, also made the shift to business even though she didn’t see herself as particularly business minded. She partnered with experienced people and created HelloGiggles, a positive online community focussed on empowering millennial women. For Zooey, she felt instinctively that “If I like it someone else will like it.” She then shaped her brand around her audience which helped it to grow. It’s so important to put yourself in the shoes of your customers to understand your business and grow.

    Solicit Feedback

    I was invited to lunch with Donald Brydon the Chairman of Sage and a handful of Sage customers. He was very interested in what customers thought about Sage, good and bad. It really doesn’t matter whether you have a small business of a large FTSE 100 plc to run, soliciting feedback from your customers is essential. If the Chairman can make time to do it, so can we.

    Social Conversation

    Actor and tech investor with over 150 companies in his portfolio, Ashton Kutcher, is a social media whizz and arguably has generated a lot of his business success through his use of Twitter and other social platforms. Social media is not a broadcast platform he says, “It’s a conversation with a feedback loop.” You must engage with your followers. Just as you must engage with your customers.

    What’s your Story?

    I’m fascinated by how companies create the emotions attached to logos, how customers perceive brands and how brands endure over time. Understanding what your focus is and communicating that well are key to success. I was lucky enough to spend some time with branding expert Sasha Strauss from Innovation Protocol who reminded me how important it is for the brand message to work at every level throughout your company. For example, did you know that every employee at Disneyland is called a cast member? From the toilet cleaners through to the performers they are all cast members focussed on creating an amazing show for their customers.

    Saving Time and Money

    Taking time to of my busy schedule to attend an event which isn't directly connected to my card business doesn’t seem that sensible, but opportunities are everywhere to generate more business or to cut costs. I always pick up useful titbits of information at Sage Summit. On the export panel I sat on, my friend Gemma Price from SuperFood Market mentioned how she saved thousands renegotiating her courier costs. That single piece of advice has now been actioned and will save our business in excess of £5,000 this year alone.

    Not just about the money

    Global public benefit company Kickstarter has generated over $5 billion for start ups and created over 300,000 jobs through it’s crowd funding model that helps a range of creative projects get off the ground. It’s co-founder Yancey Strickler reminded us at Sage Summit that supporting someone’s idea and investing in their passion, even without receiving equity in return, is a hugely valuable way of contributing to the world.

    The Value of PR

    One of the reasons I’ve been able to maintain such good levels of PR and marketing over the years is that those in the media know that I am quick to respond and happy to help. Because of this I got the opportunity to be interviewed on Bloomberg Radio in Chicago which was broadcast throughout America. I shared the success of our greeting card business and even generated a sales lead from an American business wanting to send cards to their customers. It’s important to make PR a regular activity in your business. Click here to listen to my interview.

    Network Power

    Last year I made friends with Huffington Post blogger, Sandy Abrams, and Social Media Expert, Rebecca Coleman. We kept in touch online and supported one another’s talks, blog posts and social media activity at Sage Summit. If you want to have good reach on social media you need to build a network of supportive friends. I think it’s essential in business too.

    Picture It 

    It’s so easy to dismiss selfies as narcissistic and self indulgent. I changed strategy this year with the aim of increasing my personal brand and awareness of my businesses. Images are a very powerful way of doing this. When you tag people in the images it shows up in their feed so they can then easily remember you and share you with their networks. Search engines all index them. Images with celebs have a similar power and high level of engagement so grab selfies whenever the opportunities arise.

    One of the reasons I leapt at the chance to attend my second Sage Summit is the insatiable appetite I have for learning and growing. Being around inspiring people who are all focussed on improving their businesses and their lives is incredibly energising. It’s definitely worth setting aside time in your calendar each year to sharpen your saw rather than keeping on hacking away with the same blunt instrument and wondering why it’s not working.

    Jeremy is speaking on ‘Ten things to do in business before using social media’ at the Autumn Fair eCommerce Theatre on Sunday 4th September.

    Read my daily diary from the Chicago Sage Summit on the Sage UK blog

    Discover the 12 business lessons I learned at Sage Summit 2015 in New Orleans

    Chicago Sage Summit 2016

  • Thinking Of You Week 2016 starts 26th September

    Thinking Of You Week 2016Thinking of You Week 2016 is the Greeting Card Association's campaign to send a card a day and create a worldwide wave of love, caring and happiness during the last week of September each year. This year Thinking Of You Week runs from the 26th September to the 2nd October 2016.

    More people than ever are getting involved in Thinking of You Week 2016 including retailers, publishers, suppliers, schools, charities and individuals all organising special activities to promote this exciting event and to create that special feel-good wave.

    Below is a a flyer that you can download and print out for your shop window display. Just drag the image to your desktop or right click on your mouse and save. The GCA are also giving a prize for the Best Event and Best Window Display to retailers so be sure to share your images on social media using #ThinkingOfYouWeek for a chance to win!

    Feel free to download the banner from the top of this page by right clicking and selecting 'save image as' to add it to your desktop. From there you should be able to use it as a cover image for your Facebook and Twitter pages during the months of August and September.

    We'd love to share what you are doing for Thinking of You Week 2016 so do let us know what you get up to.

    Why you should care about Thinking of You Week

    Download the GCA Thinking of You Week PR toolkit

    Science proves that receiving cards is good for people

    Thinking of you week flyer

  • Blue Eyed Sun add to Vintage Too range

    Vintage Too Age CardsBlue Eyed Sun have added twelve new designs to their best selling Vintage Too collection

    Vintage Too is based on original embroidered artworks by textile artist, Jo Corner. These beautiful cards are litho printed and embossed to give a realistic look and feel. They are all hand finished with jewels.

    Vintage Too cards are all blank inside and all come cello wrapped with an envelope that is 165mm x 165mm. Sold in sixes the designs are available for trade customers to order through our agents, by brochure, at shows or on our website. All board used for Vintage Too is responsibly sourced from sustained and managed forests by FSC accredited suppliers.

    You can see these wonderful Vintage Too greeting cards first in person at:

    Autumn Fair 2016 at the NEC in Birmingham 4-7 September - Hall 4 - Stand 4D03.

    To stock these cards 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 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. To see what else is new from Blue Eyed Sun click here.

  • Autumn Fair 2016 - Essential Information

    Autumn Fair 2016 - Essential InfoBlue Eyed Sun will soon be exhibiting at the Autumn Fair 2016 trade show at the NEC. Officially launching at the show are additions to our beautiful new 2017 Spring Seasons designs along with our new best selling ranges Vintage TooFleurAlchemyTahiti and Crochet Critters so be sure to stop by and see us.

    About Autumn Fair 2016

    Autumn Fair 2016 runs for four days from Sunday 4th September to Wednesday 7th September from 09:00 - 18:00 at the NEC in Birmingham. It brings toether an inspirational showcase of over 1,400 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 2016 please click here

    Seminars not to missJeremy Corner Autumn Fair 2016

    10 Things to do in your business before using social media

    Sunday 4th September - 14:10 - 14:40 Ecommerce Theatre in Hall 5

    Panel: Lessons learned from journeys into ecommerce

    Monday 5th September - 13:25 - 14:00 Ecommerce Theatre in Hall 5.

    Where to Stay at Autumn fair 2016

    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 Arden, and a Premier InnClick here for more accommodation options at Autumn Fair.

    Where to Eat at Autumn Fair

    Check out our 5 Great Restaurants near the NEC Birmingham blog post.

    How to get to Autumn Fair 2016

    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.

    When you get to Birmingham do remember to come and see us in 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

  • Fathers Day Cards 2017 from Blue Eyed Sun

    Carnival Father's Day cards - Blue Eyed SunNext Father's Day falls on the Sunday 18th June 2017 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, and Valentines cards. Here's what's new for Father's Day 2017...

    Pictured above is our new Carnival range. Hand finished in the UK with decoupage elements and jewels, these beautiful Fathers Day cards are 160mm x 160mm.

    Sold in sixes to trade buyers only, all of our Fathers Day cards are blank inside, barcoded and cello-wrapped with an envelope. All are printed on lovely thick board from sustainable sources. Retailers can order online from 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.

    See these Fathers Day cards in person at Autumn Fair 2017 - Stand 4D03

    Click here to see our 2017 Valentine designs

    See our 2017 Mothers Day designs

  • What is the point of Trade Associations?

    Why Trade Associations?Just what is the point of trade associations? I’ve been asking myself this question a lot of late, having just become the new Vice-Chairman of the Giftware Association (GA) as well as being Treasurer for the Greeting Card Association (GCA). Since getting more closely involved with these two trade groups over the last few years and helping to improve their offering and membership numbers it’s really got me thinking hard about what makes joining them a must rather than just a should.

    Blue Eyed Sun has been a member of the GCA, the GA and the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) for over a decade now. We’ve also been approached by a number of others over the years including local enterprise groups and other specialist trade bodies like ACID. It’s quite easy to see the direct debits siphoning off your hard earned cash each year and wonder whether it’s all worth it. So what are the benefits of joining?

    Financial Benefits

    As supplier members, there are key financial benefits that each offer. In Blue Eyed Sun’s case we enjoy 5% off our stands at the Spring Fair and Autumn Fair trade shows through the GA and 10% off our stand at PG Live through the GCA.

    We also get discounted rates from key suppliers through both organisations. Both leverage the numbers of their memberships to negotiate member deals with website designers, courier companies, insurers, credit controllers and credit checkers.

    GA retailer members benefit from member to member trade show discounts, discounted hotel costs, cheaper Retail Week subscriptions, retail advice and legal insurance protection.

    Each trade association also has free half hour calls to top legal experts dealing with key industry issues like brand protection, sales agents and copyright law.

    Protection

    The GA has a scheme set up called Copywatch which helps companies register and protect their designs as well as warding off plagiarists with their Copywatch logo on brochures and websites. They also have a credit discussion group to identify and help deal with customers who are slow to pay or in danger of defaulting.

    The GCA has a really useful Range Name Register which Blue Eyed Sun checks every time we release a new range so that we don’t inadvertently market products with the same range name as another publisher. With so many companies and ranges out there this is easily done even after the usual Google and the IPO Trade Mark Register checks.

    Marketing

    Members of both the GCA and the GA have profile listings on their websites, which makes it easier for customers and suppliers to find them and help grow their businesses. More customers means more sales and better suppliers can mean cost savings and improved service for your customers. These listings also have strong SEO (search engine optimisation) benefits and are a good opportunity to show off what you do. The GA also offers competitive advertising opportunities on their website for those looking to enhance their industry profile.

    GCA Associate members who supply publishers and retailers get listings in the supplier directory on the GCA site, free access to the GCA market report (worth £500) and exclusive access to members at GCA events and online.

    Both organisations offer the opportunity to be featured in their newsletters or magazines. Progressive Greetings, the official journal of the GCA, has a section called Innovations which offers free editorial to members and newcomers to the card industry. The GA have an email newsletter called Giftwrap which goes out regularly to a large database of retailers and suppliers and is always looking to feature stories on it’s members. They also have a free weekly email called GA Reflect which includes relevant industry news.

    Credibility

    The GA and the GCA logos add credibility to your business. You can use them on our website, email signatures, letterheads, at your premises and in your brochure. We have their logos on our trade show stands as they add another level of reassurance to customers that we are a credible well established business with strong links to our industry community.

    Events

    Both associations put on regular events like seminars and networking gatherings. The GCA has some fantastic seminars on subjects like improving sales with sales agents and distributors. Recently they’ve also been adding video footage of their events to their website so you can see their latest seminar on licensing and distribution on their YouTube channel. These events give members a chance to keep up to date with legislative changes and ask questions from more experienced members.

    Similarly the GA have had some excellent Business Boost days to help members drive sales and cut costs. They also organise Meet the Buyers days with retailers like John Lewis where suppliers get face time and invaluable feedback with leading retailers who in turn get to discover exciting new products for their stores.

    Both trade associations have inspiring AGM / Members’ Day events that are well worth adding to your diary and attending. This recent GA Members day included keynotes specialising in customer service, branding and network thinking as well as informative talks on auto-enrolment pension changes, resale price maintenance compliance and HR recruitment.

    Last year’s GCA AGM featured brilliant keynotes from the experienced card retailer Dominique Schurman (CEO of Clintons), rising publishing star Hannah Wrendale and inspirational comedian Sanderson Jones (founder of Sunday Assembley). If you missed them you can catch up on the GCA YouTube channel.

    This year’s GCA AGM is on the Tuesday 8th November at the Royal Horseguards in London and promises another fantastic lineup.

    No Trade Associations?

    All of these benefits and more for both retailers and suppliers deal with the “what’s in it for me?” question most non-members ask before joining. Understandably, prospective members want to know the immediate return they get for their money.

    There is a more important consideration though: What would we do if they didn’t exist?

    For example, how would we respond to industry threats? Who would lobby government on our behalf to protect our interests when legislation changes or needs changing? Who would support new companies into our card and gift industries to keep our industry fresh and vibrant? Who would help us when we find ourselves in difficulty? Who would mediate and offer opportunities for competitors to come together and protect their industries? As busy business owners or companies, these are not tasks you or I might be able take on on our own and yet they are absolutely vital to all our livelihoods. It’s easy to forget that the real purpose of these organisations that is to make us stronger together as a group.

    Both Chief Executives of the GCA  (Sharon Little) and the GA (Sarah Ward) have a wealth of experience, industry knowledge and a network of contacts that can help almost any member in a business situation they are having difficulty with. I find having these two experts on the end of the phone an invaluable benefit of our membership.

    Community

    When you sit on the committees at these organisations you join a group of passionate business men and women who see beyond their own businesses and recognise the importance of the bigger picture. It’s a great way of connecting with influencers and thought leaders and I have grown so much from spending time with such wonderfully inspiring industry peers. The organisations thrive on these hubs of passion and dedication to our industries. All are volunteers and most don’t even claim expenses for travel or their time attending multiple meetings in London and Birmingham each year.

    Beyond the committees, the membership of these associations is a thriving community of businesses and entrepreneurs who all want the best for their industry’s future. After the recent EU referendum we are all aware of how important being a member of a group can be.

    Those who set up the GA, the GCA and other trade bodies decades before us recognised the importance of contributing a small share to provide a focus for the well being of the industries in which they trade and we must continue to do the same.

    Even if the benefits I’ve listed above are of little or no use to you, contributing to our community is something worth paying for. This is what makes membership a must rather than a should.

    Join the Giftware Association

    Join the Greeting Card Association

    Are Trade Shows still worth it?

  • Mothers Day Cards 2017 from Blue Eyed Sun

    Vintage Too Mother's Day - Blue Eyed SunWith Mothering Sunday on Sunday 26th March 2017, it's time for retailers to start thinking about getting their Mothers Day cards and Valentines cards ordered before Christmas. We have two wonderful new ranges for Mothers Day 2016...

    Pictured above is our Vintage Too Mother's Day selection, based on original stitched artworks by Jo Corner. These delightful cards are 160mm square and hand finished with jewels.

    Pictured below is our Tahiti Mother's Day selection, based on original illustrations by Jo Corner. These delightful cards are 160mm square and hand finished with jewels.

    Sold in sixes to trade buyers only, all of our Mothers Day cards are blank inside, barcoded and cello-wrapped with a matching envelope. All Blue Eyed Sun Mothers Day cards are printed on beautiful thick boards from sustainable managed sources. 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.

    See our cards in person at Autumn Fair - Stand 4D03

    Click here to see our 2017 Valentine designs

    See our 2017 Father's Day designs

    Scientists prove that cards are good for your Mother

    Tahiti Mother's Day - Blue Eyed Sun

  • Blue Eyed Sun meet the Queen

    Jeremy Corner and Jo Corner at Buckingham PalaceBlue Eyed Sun founders, Jo and Jeremy Corner, recently attended a special event at Buckingham Palace in London that was held for the select companies who won Queen’s Awards this year.

    “It was an incredible honour to meet the Queen and to present her with one of our 90th Birthday cards and tell her a little bit about Blue Eyed Sun. The reception was attended by the Duke of Edinburgh, The Princess Royal , Princess Eugenie of York, The Duke of Gloucester, The Duke of Kent, Prince Michael of Kent and Princess Michael of Kent, who we were also lucky enough to meet. It was a fun and exciting evening.” - Jeremy Corner, MD.

    Blue Eyed Sun was awarded the Queens Award for International Trade in recognition of their continued export growth over the last three years.

    "Our Queen's Award is testament to the hard work and dedication our fantastic team and the wonderful partnerships we have with our fantastic distributors in the many countries we export to around the world.” - Jeremy Corner, MD.

    The award was especially significant for Blue Eyed Sun in the year where the Queen is celebrating her ninetieth birthday and has received over 80,000 greeting cards congratulating her on reaching her birthday milestone.

    Read more about Blue Eyed Sun's Export Award Win

    Read about our visit to Downing Street

    Advice on winning awards

    Blue Eyed Sun - 90th Birthday Card

  • The Retas Awards 2016 - Winners and Finalists

    The Retas 2016 - Winners and FinalistsCongratulations to all of the finalists and winners of the Retas Awards 2016 celebrating Greeting Card Retailing in the UK. We would especially like to thank all of you who stock our cards! We consider ourselves very privileged to be serving such a fine host of retailers.

    Waterstones won The Retas Award for Greeting Card Retailer of the Year

    The Retas Awards Winners 2016:

    Emma Cole, manager of Postmark, Balham won Greeting Card Retail Employee of the Year

    Finalists 2016
    Monica Bagley, manager of CGX Accessories, Piccadilly, LondonPostmark - The Retas 2016
    Pat Green, assistant of Hallmark Celebrate, Chigwell
    Matthew Anderson, manager of 1st Stop Stationers, Reigate
    Shelly Frost, sales assistant of Country House Gift Company, Winscombe
    Emily Huntbatch, assistant manager of The Wishing Tree, Codsall
    Gillian Jack, area manager of Hallmark Thorntons, Dumbarton store
    Vicki Waltho, sales assistant of Calliope Gifts, Dorking

    Supersales - Belvedere won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - London

    Finalists 2016
    Cherry Cards - Upminster
    Etc - Islington
    Greetings - Dulwich
    Rhymes With Orange and New Frames - Marylebone and Soho
    Snap - Bow

    Creased Cards - Brighton won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - Home Counties

    Finalists 2016
    Darwins - Olney and Northampton
    The Gorgeous Gift and Card Company - Biggleswade
    Paddock Wood Cards - Paddock Wood
    Quirk - Brighton
    Really Fab Cards - Eton

    Dzodzo - Woodbridge won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - East Anglia

    Finalists 2016
    Cards R Us - South Woodham Ferrers
    Just Cards and Abigail’s - Norwich, Sheringham and Dereham
    The Osokosi Gallery - Holt
    Sincerely Yours - Shenfield
    Spots - Southwold

    Romantica - Bristol won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - South West

    Finalists 2016Romantica - The Retas Awards 2016
    Cilla & Camilla - Bridport and Beaminster
    Country House Gift Company - Winscombe
    Jane Armour Trading - Taunton
    Lorelei - Truro
    Saltash Cards - Saltash

    Celtic Cards & Gifts - Welshpool won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - Wales and the Midlands

    Finalists 2016
    Crown Cards - Matlock and Rowsley
    Daisy Daisy - Cardiff
    Doodlebug - Cwmbran
    Halls - Llandaff
    The Tutbury Present Company - Tutbury

    Love Letters - Hull won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - North and Northern Ireland

    Finalists 2016Love Letters - The Retas Awards 2016
    Butterfly Kisses - Harrogate
    Cool! Cards and Gifts - Skipton
    Design@Six - Wetherby
    Greetings of Haxby - York
    Hallmark Reflections - Nantwich and Rugeley

    Present Boutique - Edinburgh won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - Scotland

    Finalists 2016
    Best Wishes - Ellon
    Cloudy Blue - Aberdeen
    Papyrus - Glasgow
    Polka Dot - Dumfries
    Quirky Coo Edinburgh - Dundee

    Hallmark Celebrate - Chigwell won Best Greeting Card Retailer Newcomer Or New Branch – South

    Finalists 2016
    The Card Shop - Portishead
    Card Stop - Bletchley
    Castle Card Gallery - Chepstow
    Memories - Twickenham
    Sweet Autumn - Buckingham

    Little Paperie - Ashbourne won Best Greeting Card Retailer Newcomer Or New Branch – North

    Finalists 2016
    Best Wishes - Lower Gornal
    Cariad Cards & Gifts - Denbigh
    Forget Me Not - Crosshills
    Joy! - Heswall
    Occasions - Thirsk

    Holman’s Bookshop - Whitby won Best Independent Bookstore Retailer of Greeting Cards

    Finalists 2016
    Barnes Bookshop - Barnes, Kew and East Sheen
    Gerrards Cross Bookshop - Gerrards Cross
    One Tree Books - Petersfield
    Review - Peckham
    Walkers - Oakham and Stamford

    Gallery 339 - Halifax won Best Non-Specialist Independent Retailer of Greeting Cards - North

    Finalists 2016Gallery 339 and Little Papery - The Retas Awards 2016
    Armadillo - Kings Heath
    Boroughbridge Post Office - Boroughbridge
    Dalesway Gallery - Ilkley
    Ivad Gifts - Paisley
    Marmalade Meringue - Hinckley

    Natsons - Barnes won Best Non-Specialist Independent Retailer of Greeting Cards - South

    Finalists 2016
    AG Flowers - Nunhead
    1st Stop Stationers - Reigate
    Hatch End Post Office - Hatch End
    The Loft - Teddington
    Utility - London and Liverpool

    Hallmark Thorntons/K&Q Trading won Best Greeting Card Small Multiple (4-20 Branches)

    Finalists 2016
    Bentleys – 4 stores in the Midlands
    Between The Lines - 12 stores in the south-east
    Maythers - seven stores in the south
    Occasions Cards & Gifts/M&P Cards - 16 stores nationwide
    Smart Ideas - 8 stores in the Midlands

    Bentalls - Kingston won Best Department Store Retailer of Greeting Cards

    Finalists 2016Dragonfly Cards and Jakki Brown at The Retas 2016
    Bratts - Northwich
    Browns - York
    Fenwick - Brent Cross
    Fortnum & Mason - London
    Liberty - London

    Sainsbury's won Best Supermarket Retailer of Greeting Cards

    Finalists 2016
    Asda
    Booths
    Morrisons
    Tesco
    Waitrose

    Waterstones - won Best Non-Specialist Multiple Retailer of Greeting Cards (4+ branches)

    Finalists 2016
    Marks & Spencer - 852 stores nationwide
    National Trust - 200+ stores nationwide
    Oliver Bonas - 54 stores nationwide
    Poundland - 700+ stores nationwide
    WH Smiths - 600+ stores nationwide

    Card Factory won Best Specialist Multiple Retailer of Greeting Cards (20+ branches)

    Finalists 2016
    Cards Galore
    Cardzone
    Clintons
    Paperchase
    Scribbler

    Beckworth Emporium - Mears Ashby won Best Garden Centre Retailer of Greeting Cards

    Finalists 2016
    British Garden Centres - 10 branches nationwide
    Garsons - Esher
    Klondyke/Strikes - 24 branches nationwide
    Longacres - Bagshot
    Webbs Of Wychbold - Droitwich Spa

    Dragonfly Cards & Gifts, Knaresborough won Best Greeting Card Retailer Initiative for its 10th Anniversary campaign

    Finalists 2016
    Early Bird, Stoke Newington, London - for its Thinking of you Week activity
    House of Cards, Home Counties - for its charity fundraising for Child Autism UK
    Mantons, Isle of Man - for its Small Business Saturday initiative
    Paperchase - for its On The Cards initiative
    Postmark, three shops in London - for its Millionth Customer celebrations

    Budget Greeting Cards won Best Greeting Card Wholesaler

    Finalists 2016
    Archway Cards - Norwich
    CAPS - Bury
    Crosswear Trading - Enfield
    Greetings House - Walsall
    Paul White - Leeds and Manchester

    Now in their twelfth year, The Retas Awards are established in recognition of the tremendous contribution that retailers - both large and small - make to the success of the greeting card industry. Launched by Progressive Greetings magazine in 2005, The Retas Awards recognise and celebrate not only the top independent and multiple greeting card retailers regionally and nationally, but also the new generation of retailers as well as employees of outstanding excellence.

    This year the Retas Awards, the ‘Oscars’ of greeting card retailing, was held at at a Moon and Stars themed luncheon at at The Dorchester Hotel on Wednesday 13th July, where the 2016 Retas winners were announced by comedian Tim Fitzhigham. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists!

    Click here to see previous winners of The Retas Awards
    To visit the Retas Awards Website click here
    Click here to request more information on Blue Eyed Sun

  • Valentines Cards 2017 from Blue Eyed Sun

    VintageToo Valentines - Blue Eyed SunBlue Eyed Sun have launched two new ranges of Valentines Cards for 2017. Valentine's Day falls on Tuesday 14th February 2017 and you can order from us right up until the last minute. Lines do sell out so don't leave it too late! Here's what's new for Valentine's Day 2017:

    Pictured at the top of this post is Blue Eyed Sun's Vintage Too Valentines range, based on original hand stitched artworks by textile artist Jo Corner. These gorgeous new Valentine's Day designs are 160mm square.

    Pictured below is the new Charming Valentine range hand finished with decoupage elements and jewels. Charming are also 160mm square.

    Sold in sixes to trade buyers only, all of our new ranges of Valentines Day cards for 2017 are barcoded, cello-wrapped with a red envelope and blank inside. Our Valentines cards are all printed on FSC board from sustainable managed forests. There is still time to order these cards for your store and we have a large selection of designs online in the trade only section of our site.

    To stock these Valentines Cards in your shop click here. If you'd like to see them in your local shop please tell them and point them towards 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 stockist near you.

    See our cards in person at Autumn Fair - Stand 4D03

    Click here to see our 2017 Mother's Day designs

    See our 2017 Father's Day designs

    Charming by Blue Eyed Sun

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