Blue Eyed Sun

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Blue Eyed Sun Blog

  • The Marketing Disenchanted Podcast meets Blue Eyed Sun

    Marketing Disenchanted Podcast

    I recently spoke to a group of small business owners at at Sage Summit in Atlanta. In the audience was author and podcaster, Temitayo Osinubi, from The Marketing Disenchanted Podcast. The podcast has featured several marketing greats including Scott Monty, Mark Schaeffer and Brian Fanzo.

    Temi invited me on his show and a few weeks we later I found myself being interviewed on my first ever podcast. We discussed all sorts of things ranging from greeting cards to digital marketing. Temi had some really great questions and I had a fun time answering them.

    We chatted about my Looking Back from Perfect exercise, the relevance of greeting cards today and being more open, random and supportive. We also discussed how this blog transformed Blue Eyed Sun, why I started The Greeting Card Project, my work at The Ladder Club as well as how to compete with larger corporations.

    Our discussion even covers fake news and the controversial ways influencers like PewDiePie, Kendall Jenner, Katie Hopkins and Donald Trump grab our attention. I also reference Louis CK, Justin Packshaw and The Start Up Van.

    You can listen to the hour long podcast now by clicking the triangular play button below:

    Read Marketing: Then vs Now

    How to market you retail business online

    See Jeremy speak about the Digital High Street at Autumn Fair

    Visit the Marketing Disenchanted website

  • The Retas Awards 2017 - Winners and Finalists

    Retas Awards 2017Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners of the Retas Awards 2017 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.

    The Retas Awards 2017 Winners and Finalists are

    Postmark, London won Greeting Card Retailer of the Year

    Tim Reynolds, shop manager of the Medici Gallery, Kensington, London
    won Greeting Card Retail Employee of the Year

    Finalists 2017
    Carol Budd, manager of The Card Hall, Maidstone, Kent
    Heather Clarke, senior merchandiser/sales of Ivad Gifts, Paisley, Renfrewshire
    Lisa Dean, manager of Feathering Your Nest, Rayleigh, Essex
    Hilary Hayes, senior sales assistant of Coles of Sidmouth, Sidmouth, Devon
    Denise Keers, sales person of Cards 2 Confetti, Brixham, Devon
    Susan Robertson, greeting cards & wrap supervisor of The Mains of Drum, Banchory, Aberdeenshire
    Sue Williams, retail assistant/buyer of The Hollies Farm Shop, Lower Stretton, Cheshire

    Nor - West Norwood won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - London

    Finalists 2017
    The Cherry Tree - East Finchley
    Hallmark - Hornchurch
    Northwood Cards & Gifts - Northwood
    Postmark – Greenwich
    With Best Wishes - Petts Wood

    Threads - Harpenden won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - Home Counties

    Finalists 2017
    The Card Hall – Maidstone
    Dee's Cards – Leighton Buzzard
    Paddock Wood Cards – Paddock Wood
    SWALK – Lindfield
    Zest - Crowborough

    Spots - Southwold won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - East Anglia

    Finalists 2017
    First Class Greetings and Plum Green - Hadleigh
    Love It! – Stamford and Bury St Edmunds
    Pedlar’s Gold – Fakenham
    Mackenzies Cards – Gainsborough
    Snape Maltings – Aldeburgh

    Paper Gangsta – Bristol won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - South West

    Finalists 2017
    By The Way – Bradford On Avon
    The Card Collection – Bath
    Celebrations – Waterlooville and Eastleigh
    Coles Of Sidmouth – Sidmouth
    Expressions - Swindon

    The Tutbury Present Company – Tutbury won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - Wales and the Midlands

    Finalists 2017
    Celebrations – Stourbridge
    Doodlebug – Cwmbran
    Sentiments – Whitchurch
    Something Special – Kingswinford
    Special Occasions – Castle Bromwich

    Wishes Hallmark – Cockermouth won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - North and Northern Ireland

    Finalists 2017
    Belly Button – West Didsbury and Heaton Moor
    Blue Rose Gifts - Heywood
    Cards & Candles – Lancaster
    On Church Hill – Knutsford
    Mantons Cards – Port Erin

    JP Pozzi and Bijou – Buckie and Elgin won Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer - Scotland

    Finalists 2017
    Blueberry - Musselburgh
    CloudyBlue – Aberdeen
    Kairds - Kirkwall
    Papyrus - Glasgow
    Polka Dot – Dumfries

    Peppertrees - Northampton won Best Greeting Card Retailer Newcomer Or New Branch – South

    Finalists 2017
    Ceri Jam - Warwick
    Expressions - Broadstairs
    Ohh Deer - Ipswich and Loughborough
    Paper Turtle - Lewes
    Sweet Autumn - Buckingham

    Zo & Co – Knutsford won Best Greeting Card Retailer Newcomer Or New Branch – North

    Finalists 2017
    Baileys Cards & Gifts (Hallmark) - Ainsdale
    Card Heaven – Mexborough
    Celebrations - Kirkham
    The Hummingbird at Shrewsbury - Shrewsbury
    Joy! - Heswall

    The Guisborough Bookshop - Guisborough won Best Independent Bookstore Retailer of Greeting Cards

    Finalists 2017
    Aldeburgh Bookshop - Aldeburgh
    Daunt Books – London, Saffron Walden and Marlow
    Gerrards Cross & Chorleywood Bookshops – Gerrards Cross and Chorleywood
    J&G Innes – St Andrews
    Simply Books - Bramhall

    Proudfoot - Scarborough won Best Non-Specialist Independent Retailer of Greeting Cards - North

    Finalists 2017
    Cloud 9 – Edinburgh
    Gee Tees - Wigan
    Give the Dog a Bone - York
    The Hollies Farm Shop - Tarporley
    Paper Moon - Dore

    Farrants - Cobham won Best Non-Specialist Independent Retailer of Greeting Cards - South

    Finalists 2017
    The Alphabet Gift Shop - Burton-On-Trent and Mickleover
    Berts Homestores - Brighton
    Darts Farm Shop – Topsham
    Little Boat Gifts – Brightlingsea
    Loveone - Ipswich

    Bentleys – four stores in the Midlands won Best Greeting Card Small Multiple (4-20 Branches)

    Finalists 2017
    Between The Lines – 13 stores in the South
    House of Cards – six stores in the Home Counties
    Mayther – seven stores in the South
    Paper & Script/ Funky Pigeon – 10+ stores nationwide
    Three Wishes – Ferndown, Lymington, Ringwood and Verwood

    Fenwicks Of Colchester won Best Department Store Retailer of Greeting Cards

    Finalists 2017
    Barkers – Northallerton
    Bentalls – Kingston
    Harrods – London
    John Lewis – 29 stores
    Selfridges – Oxford Street, Manchester and Birmingham

    Tesco won Best Supermarket Retailer of Greeting Cards

    Finalists 2017
    Asda
    Co-Op
    Morrisons
    Sainsbury’s
    Waitrose

    WHSmith – 612 stores nationwide won Best Non-Specialist Multiple Retailer of Greeting Cards (20+ branches)

    Finalists 2017
    Marks & Spencer – 914 stores nationwide
    National Trust - 200+ stores nationwide
    Next – 500 stores in the UK and Eire
    Oliver Bonas - 42 stores nationwide
    Waterstones –275 stores nationwide

    Card Factory – 850+ stores won Best Specialist Multiple Retailer of Greeting Cards (20+ branches)

    Finalists 2017
    Cards Galore – 46 stores
    Cardzone – 100+ stores
    Clintons – 400+ stores
    Paperchase – 130+ stores
    Scribbler – 34 stores

    Frosts – Brampton, Millets Farm, Willington and Woburn Sands won Best Garden Centre Retailer of Greeting Cards

    Finalists 2017
    Bents – Glazebury
    Klondyke Strikes – 22 garden centres
    Longacres - Bagshot
    The Mains Of Drum – Banchory
    Thurrock Garden Centre - Ockenden

    Postmark, four shops in London – for its Feel Good Friday initiative won Best Greeting Card Retailer Initiative

    Finalists 2017
    Clintons – for its Thinking of You Week activity
    House of Cards, six shops in the Home Counties – for its Sympathy Card initiative with The Ladder Club
    The Lynn Tait Gallery, Old Leigh - for its Queen’s 90th Birthday Card Competition
    Nor, Norwood – for its community Okido mask-making workshop and poetry balloon day
    Ohh Deer, Loughborough – for its Gemma Correll instore charity event
    The Secret Garden, Borough Green – for its ‘Win Kylie for Valentine’s Day’, Beany Boo and Pots of Dreams initiatives

    Archway Cards - Norwich won Best Greeting Card Wholesaler

    Finalists 2017
    Budget Greeting Cards – eight branches UK and Eire
    Crosswear Trading - Enfield
    Jacksons – Sheffield
    Merseyside Greeting Cards – Liverpool
    WJ Nigh – Isle Of Wight

    Now in their thirteenth 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 Enchanted Tales forest and animal themed luncheon at at The Dorchester Hotel on Wednesday 12th July, where the Retas Awards 2017 winners were announced by comedian Charlie Baker. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists!

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

  • Blue Eyed Sun additions for best selling Vintage range

    Vintage cards by Blue Eyed SunBlue Eyed Sun have added eighteen new designs to their best selling Everyday greeting card range: Vintage.

    Based on original machine stitched artworks, they are printed and embossed to give a beautiful look and a realistic feel. Hand finished with jewels the new 18 new additions include 12 open birthday captions and 6 occasions cards. The Vintage range has previously also included designs in ChristmasValentine's Day and Mother's Day.

    The cards all come cello wrapped with a coloured envelope that is 165mm x 165mm square. Sold in sixes the designs are available for trade customers to order through our agents, by brochure, at shows or logging into our website.

    A new supplement brochure with Summer 2017 Additions is on its way to retailers featuring all our latest designs, which are available for delivery from 15th July.

    You can see them all first in person at the events below:

    Home and Gift at The Majestic Hotel in Harrogate 16 - 19 July 2017 - Stand GS -58

    Autumn Fair International at the NEC in Birmingham 10 - 13 September 2017 - Hall 3 - Stand 3R02

    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 an overview of Blue Eyed Sun ranges click here.

  • Will the greeting card industry be Vaporized?

    Greeting Cards VaporisedI recently attended a masterful talk by Robert Tercek, author of Vaporized, on the subject of disruption in business. It was startling to hear example after example of industries being displaced by a new dematerialised world. Robert believes that every aspect of our economy and society is set to be reconfigured by technological forces that only a small number of companies have yet mastered.

    It often seems obvious in hindsight when companies disrupt markets and yet we seldom see it coming. The most recent examples in the greeting card business have been Card Factory and Moonpig. The former disrupting the wholesale space through a vertically integrated model that offers consumers rock bottom prices in well presented retail environments. The latter disrupting through the digital substitution of bricks and mortar retail space by offering extensive choice and customisation that cannot be matched by traditional retail. Both have been rewarded with incredible growth and financial success by offering value to consumers.

    Yet these companies haven't really revolutionised the greeting card market. They’ve brought business models from other industries into the card business and forever changed aspects of it. They haven't vaporized our industry. In fact, I believe that they’ve kept the wolf from the door. By offering low cost cards, Card Factory has helped people to continue sending cards when they might otherwise have abandoned them in order to save money during the recession. Similarly, Moonpig has allowed men and people who are short on time to use a more efficient process to stay connected with their loved ones through cards. The card industry has yet to be vaporized.

    Or will it?

    In sci-fi movies there are plenty of representations of futures where greeting cards don’t exist. It’s not hard to imagine a future without greeting cards. Having said that, there is one vision of the future that does incorporate the handwritten letter. It’s the delightful movie ‘Her’ by Spike Jonze. In it the protagonist works for a company called BeautifulHandWrittenLetters.com The sentiment is still created by humans and the letters are printed out in fonts that look handwritten.

    ‘Her’ is a clever re-imagining of the future that recognises our innate human need for nostalgia. Nostalgia is an idealised past. It relates to an emotional state that we place into a specific time frame. As long as we keep sending cards there will always be an element of this nostalgic element in our lives.

    That’s what my YouTube channel, The Greeting Card Project, is all about: Acknowledging the special importance of hand writing cards. Remembering to think of others and reminding them that they are in your thoughts. Although, I’m halfway through my project and I can tell you first hand that card sending is incredibly inefficient. As such, it is a target for being vaporized. I know because I’ve sent around 100 different cards to people in the last six months.

    This is because, to send a card...

    You have to remember the birthday or occasion required for card sending. This takes time and organisation. You often need to track down the recipient’s current address, then record it correctly for accurate delivery. You need to have postage stamps or be prepared to weigh and send at the post office, especially if the card is to go abroad. Stamps aren’t cheap either. Even if you are delivering it by hand you need to remember it and deliver on time.

    You then have to choose a card that’s suitable for the recipient. This can take time and you might not always be able to find the right card in the first shop you visit. Recently I went to one store to buy a fiftieth birthday card for a customer of mine. Despite six options, none were suitable. I had to compromise with a decent generic birthday card rather than a poor occasion specific design. Not ideal.

    Once you have the card, you have to think about what to write in it. For some people this can feel like hard work. Given how seldom we need to write these days, you might even have to remember how to write by hand! You need to write the card carefully so as to avoid mistakes. If you mess it up you might have to buy another card and start again in order to avoid looking like a child that can’t spell… or write.

    After this you have to get it to a post box that collects on time. A lot of post boxes are now emptied at 9am, so you can’t leave it too late. Frustratingly, Royal Mail don’t share post box information online so you have to visit the post box for up to date info. Royal Mail also don’t offer many later collections. In Brighton & Hove the whole town has to travel up to 3 miles into the centre to reach the single post box that collects at 7pm!

    Finally, you have to rely on Royal Mail to deliver the card on time. Out of the 100 cards I’ve sent this year so far, there are at least two, that I know of, that never arrived. Admittedly the postal service in the UK is superior to some other countries I’ve visited. Of the three cards I sent from Italy in my Milan episode, the first took a week to arrive within Italy, the next took 3-4 weeks to reach Wales and the last took 6 weeks to reach Los Angeles.

    And yet…

    It is the very inefficiency of the process that makes receiving a card so special. That and the fact that all we tend to receive through the letter box these days is junk mail, bills and bank statements. It is deeply personal receiving a handwritten letter. It’s a wonderful gift from a close friend and a delightful surprise from anyone else. For anyone that recognises the importance and value of close personal relationships for business or pleasure, it is still a powerful tool to send a card a or handwritten note.

    Stephen Kelly, the CEO of software company Sage, agreed with this when explaining to me why he uses Blue Eyed Sun cards to send to friends, family and colleagues:

    “It’s so powerful if one of our colleagues opens a card and I’ve personally written that card. It takes time, it shows love, it shows dedication. We love social media, but sometimes it’s really important to show that touch that is very personal and you can only get through a card.” - Stephen Kelly, CEO Sage

    Whether or not the card industry will be vaporized is still up for question. Time will tell. Let's not wait for it to happen and keep fighting to maintain and support this wonderful tradition that offers such a powerful way of connecting despite of, and perhaps because of, its inefficiency.

    So what can we do? Two things:

    1. Send more cards

    So many of us in our industry don’t do this enough. Send cards every week. Tweet about it, Instagram it. Most of us in the industry have access to excess stock in our warehouses and shops. Make these available to your staff and encourage them to send cards too. Share your card sending stories on social media. Most importantly, send cards to young people and kids. In years to come they will have that wonderful feeling of nostalgia for greeting cards and want to share it.

    2. Support card sending

    A great example of a retailer initiative is Feel Good Friday from the Postmark stores in London. They offer a free card from a special box of clearance stock on special Fridays. As long as you write it in the store there and then, they’ll even post it for you.

    Other great initiatives include:

    #JustACard campaign each week on social media

    #NatStatWeek in April

    #ThinkingOfYouWeek in September

    #FestiveFriday early December each year

    Involve your team by giving them an hour to write as many cards as they like and pay for the postage. Involve your card loving friends by giving them small gift packs of cards to send. Get others sending more cards. We are all helping to spread more love in the world by doing this and supporting our beloved card industry.

    Last, but not least, be sure to watch, like and share The Greeting Card Project videos - www.youtube.com/thegreetingcardproject

    Read more:

    Five ways to improve your retail business

    Ecommerce Tips for Retailers

    Seven habits of highly effective retailers

    Watch Robert's talk below:

    THE RISE OF DIGITAL SERVICES: Robert Tercek's keynote speech at Sage Summit 2017 from Robert Tercek on Vimeo.

  • The Greeting Card Project - June Review

    The Greeting Card Project - June ReviewThe Greeting Card Project is my year of sending more greeting cards and recording a video diary of my experiences, the shops I visit, the cards I send and my own personal journey.

    Amazingly I have reached the halfway point of this year long project! A big part of my New Year's resolution to send more greeting cards is sticking to it and making a video per week. So far so good. I've also started posting the videos natively on a new Facebook page. Having taken over five months to gain 100 subscribers on YouTube, I managed to reach 100 followers on Facebook within five days. Here are this month's videos to catch up on if you missed them:

    This week I visit beautiful lifestyle store, Dulwich Trader, to buy New Job cards for friends of mine at Sage Plc. I also talk to their CEO, Stephen Kelly, about why he uses greeting cards and why he finds them so powerful.

    Clintons had a huge selection of Father's Day cards, so I visited their branch at Lakeside in Essex to see what I could find for my son's Grandpa and Grandad. I also talk about the importance of fathers and Father's Day cards.

    I found some lovely wedding cards on my recent trip to America where I was speaking at Sage Summit. This week I buy cards from Posman Books and Archer Paper Goods in Ponce City Market, Atlanta and head to three weddings.

    This week I visited South Downs Garden Centre. It's my local and I love shopping there. They have recently had a refit and have an excellent new cafe and deli. The Garden Centre Buyer Magazine loved the video and featured us here.

    The sixth month of the channel had 792 views with viewers watching over 27 hours of The Greeting Card Project for an average of 2:01 per video. The channel gained 18 more subscribers,  36 shares and accumulated 49 likes and 1 dislike. The total lifetime channel views is now 5,970. The first two Facebook videos racked up 190 views totalling 74 minutes view time.

    If you do watch and enjoy the videos please pop over to YouTube and subscribe. I'd also love it if you followed the project on the new Facebook Page. Keep up to date on other platforms via my personal Twitter account @JeremyCorner and my personal Instagram @JeremyCorner.

    Where possible there are hyperlinks to all of the featured companies beneath each YouTube video.

    May Review of #TGCP

    April Review of #TGCP

    March Review of #TGCP

    February Review of #TGCP

    January review of #TGCP

    Learn why I started #TGCP

  • Home and Gift 2017 - Essential Information

    Home and Gift 2017Blue Eyed Sun will soon be exhibiting at the Home and Gift 2017 trade show in the Greetings & Stationery Marquee in front of the Majestic Hotel. Officially launching at this well loved show are lovely new additions to our best selling everyday ranges Vintage, Jangles and Charming. We also have sneak previews of our wonderful Spring 2018 selection and an exciting new range, so be sure to stop by and see us.

    Quote Voucher code HG17 when ordering during the show (online or offline) for FREE CARRIAGE.

    About Home and Gift 2017

    This annual trade show is a highlight on buyers' calendars for it's relaxed Summery atmosphere and great range of products on offer in the run up to Christmas. It runs for four days from Sunday 16th July to Wednesday 19th July from 09:00 - 18:00 at the Harrogate International Centre. It really is a pleasure doing business at this show, so don't miss it!

    To register for Home and Gift please click here.

    Where to Stay at Home and Gift 2017

    The closest hotels to the show are the Holiday InnTravel LodgePremier Inn and The Old Swan a short walk away with prices from £65-£150. You can search a List of Hotels in Harrogate by clicking here. A good tip if you can't find a room is to stay in York, a short train ride away.

    Where to Eat at Home and Gift 2017

    Harrogate has many wonderful restaurants and cafes including the world famous Betty's Tea Rooms. We've sampled lots of them over the years and have short listed some of our favourites for you to try below:

    4 Great Restaurants near the Harrogate International Centre

    How to get to Home and Gift 2017

    The roads into Harrogate can get very congested so allow plenty of time if you are coming by car. The Harrogate International Centre post code is HG1 5LA and there are 400 car spaces on site with a daily cost of £13. These spaces get pretty full so you may like to use the park and ride scheme running from the Great Yorkshire Showground on the A61 (Post code HG2 8NZ).  All parking will be available on a concrete surface, which will be safe for use for any visitors.

    Trains run every half hour from Leeds and every hour from York. There is a free shuttle bus from Harrogate train station to the show. You can fly to Leeds Bradford airport (20 minute drive from the show). Buses go every 90 minutes and take half an hour.

    For more information on travel for the show click here.

    How to find the Greetings & Stationery Marquee at Home and Gift

    When you get to Harrogate do remember to come and see us in the new card marquee by the Majestic Greetings & Stationery - Stand 58.

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

    Home And Gift 2017 - Floor Plan

  • Blue Eyed Sun launch new Charming cards

    Charming cards by Blue Eyed SunBlue Eyed Sun are proud to present their colourful new range of 42 handmade CHARMING cards.

    All CHARMING cards are based on original watercolour artworks by artist, Jo Corner. These beautiful cards are litho printed then hand finished with jewels and decoupage elements in the UK.

    CHARMING cards are all blank inside and all come cello wrapped with an envelope that is 170mm x 120mm. 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 Charming is responsibly sourced from sustained and managed forests by FSC accredited suppliers.

    You can see these wonderful Charming cards first in person at:

    PG Live 2017 at the Business Design Centre in London 6-7 June 2017 - Stand 524

    Home and Gift at the Harrogate International Centre 16-19 July 2017 -  Stand GS-58

    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.

    See our new everyday range of Jangles cards

    See Blue Eyed Sun's Christmas cards 2017

  • 20 lessons in creativity from Elizabeth Gilbert's: Big Magic

    Big Magic by Liz GilbertThis year I’ve been rediscovering my creative self via my YouTube channel: The Greeting Card Project. It’s got me thinking a lot about creativity.

    I recently devoured a fantastic book on the subject. I found it refreshing, life affirming and incredibly inspiring. In fact, I loved Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, so much that I thought I’d share my key learnings from it with you

    Fear

    There are many ways we can be afraid to live a creative life. You can be afraid that you have no talent. Afraid that there’s no market for your creativity. Afraid that other people are already better. Afraid that the greeting cards you create are not original. Afraid that you’ll embarrass yourself. Afraid that nobody will be interested in what you make. Afraid you’ll waste your time. The list is endless. It’s terrifying. Fear is boring. It stops you from living. You must be brave.

    Courage

    Being brave is not the same as being fearless. Being creative requires courage. The courage to bring forth the treasures within yourself. Acknowledge your fear and allow it to join creativity and you on your road trips. Just don’t allow it to make any decisions - and definitely don’t let it drive!

    Magic

    Creativity is a force of enchantment, like magic. Gilbert believes that the planet is inhabited by ideas that are disembodied, energetic life-forms looking for places to manifest by collaborating with a human partner. If you don’t pursue an idea it’ll leave and resurface somewhere else with someone else (I’ve seen this happen with card range ideas we never pursued).

    Ownership

    Ideas don’t belong to any one person. They are born out of collaboration with the creativity of people. Ideas can collaborate with more than one human and arrive in similar forms. This is an artistic form of multiple discovery - a term used in the scientific community whenever two scientists from different parts of the world come up with an idea at the same time. A common occurrence throughout history. In the end, it’s all just flowers seeking light.

    Torment

    You don’t have to be a tormented artist that brings forth ideas at a cost to your relationships and yourself. In the end it’s all about the work, not the suffering. A different way is to cooperate fully, humbly and joyfully with inspiration. You can support other’s creativity. Measure your worth by your dedication to your path of creating beautiful cards, not by successes or failures, wealth or fortune.

    Genius

    Unlike us, the Romans didn’t believe that a gifted person was a genius. They believe they had a genius. Like a sort of spirit guide. This psychological construct is useful to keep the artist’s ego in check by distancing them from taking the glory or blame for the work. That way they are not burdened by the reaction to anything they create. It’s useful to think of your creative talent as separate from you, so you don’t beat yourself up when your latest card range flops in the marketplace.

    Making Space

    You have to make space for the work. Setting aside time each day or week. Creative work is labour; like farming. It’s not a never ending series of enlightened moments. It’s hard. Forces of inspiration cannot be seen, proven, commanded nor understood. Yet they are relied upon in our industry as a way of generating income for tens of thousands of people. Be disciplined with regular design time.

    Permission

    You don’t need anyone’s permission to live a creative life. You don’t need to do a course or get a certificate. We are inherently creative beings. The earliest example of human art is 40,000 years ago, thirty thousand years before the earliest evidence of human agriculture. Which means we were more interested in creating than regularly feeding ourselves! Give yourself permission to create.

    Originality

    I remember my high school art teacher telling me that nothing is original. Try not to get hung up on this. Most things have already been done - but they have not been done yet by you. Say what you want to say with all your heart. If it’s authentic it will probably feel original.

    Stop Complaining

    The world is busy. Nobody wants to hear you complaining about being an artist or that it’s difficult. Get on with it. Stop getting in your own way. The commercial results of your work don’t have a lot to do with you as creator. Your job is to produce the work itself. That job is tough enough. This is where it helps to have a business partner who focuses on selling and marketing your greeting cards as a separate job. It’s tough doing both.

    Child’s Play

    Children make up things all the time. They aren’t burdened by being artists or by the work. They create and toss their creations out like paper airplanes. Relax. Enjoy creating your card designs. Be light. Have fun with it.

    Criticism

    What people see in your work has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. People make all sorts of connections and assumptions driven by their own emotional stories all the time. Don’t get caught up in this. Your focus is on the work.

    The Paradox

    Art is absolutely meaningless. It’s also incredibly meaningful. Sending someone a card is the same. It can be completely meaningless. It can be incredibly meaningful. It needs the freedom to be both. We need to be able to throw away what’s not working and start afresh when creating.

    Suckage

    Everything sucks, some of the time. What are you passionate enough about that you can endure the most disagreeable aspects of the work? Similarly, you will never find all the hours you need for your creativity. You have to find ways to fit it in.

    Perfection

    Don’t worry about what other people think either. Other people are mostly thinking about themselves and not you. Remember that done is better than good. I’ve found this with The Greeting Card Project, some videos are better than others. Twenty two videos done is better than trying to make one good video.

    A Chore

    Creativity is a chore. If it’s too painful, you may want to quit. Life is short and should be enjoyed. Take up a new hobby, travel, spend time with friends. After a while, if you find yourself drawn back towards creating because nothing in life brings you the same pleasure, then you will have no choice.

    Playfulness

    Be a trickster with your work , not a martyr. Have fun with it. Make it work for you. Be playful. Your work is not your baby. Let it go. If you have to cut it or adjust your new card range to make it happen in the world then do so.

    Curiosity

    Forget about your passion, follow your curiosity instead. Rather than waiting for passion to strike or deciding which passion to pursue, be inquisitive about things. It may lead you somewhere, it may not. Following it opens up things. The Greeting Card Project has definitely done this for me. I’ve learnt more about greeting cards this year than all my pervious years in the card industry.

    Failure

    You will fail. It sucks, but it’s true. Creative risks won’t always pan out. Sometimes your work fails on your own terms, sometimes it fails to connect with anyone when you put it out there. That’s the nature of creativity. Nobody simply designs a best selling range of greeting cards. It happens outside of them. Successes are rooted in the manure of failures. When you fail, let it go. Forgive yourself.

    Top Dog

    How do you top a best selling range of cards? This assumes that reaching the top and staying there is the only reason to create. If anything it’s a hindrance. The mysteries of inspiration do not operate on the limited human scale of commerce and reputation, of units sold and markets won. If you only have one designer in your business, it’s important to acknowledge the commercial limitations of this and not put pressure on your creativity.

    Summary

    Be sure to live a life driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear. A creative life is an amplified life, where Big Magic is to be found. Time marches on. Look within to unearth your creative treasures. We don't have the time anymore to think small.

    Eight Ways to Deal with Failure

    Freedom from Standard Thinking

    How to create best selling greeting cards

    Watch Liz Gilbert's TED talk on creativity by clicking on the image below:

  • The Greeting card Project - May Review

    #TGCP - May Review

    The Greeting Card Project is my year of sending more greeting cards and recording a video diary of my experiences, the shops I visit, the cards I send and my own personal journey.

    Hooray! Thanks to everyone's support, this month I finally reached 100 subscribers and claimed my custom URL, find it at https://www.youtube.com/TheGreetingCardProject. I'd love your feedback on the project so far. Please tell me what else you'd like to see in the comments beneath the videos on YouTube. Click on the images below to watch each of May's videos.

    I'm late, I'm late. This week I send some belated cards, which I purchased from a small independent shop called Box of Delights in Flitwick. In keeping with the theme this is the first video I've loaded up late too!

    This week I visit Waterstone's flagship store in London's Piccadilly Circus and buy congratulations and well done cards from some lovely American greeting card publishers.

    This week I visit the Tring branch of a small independent chain called House of Cards and shop for birthday milestone cards. Some lovely reactions to the cards from recipients at the end of this video.

    This week I visited the branch of a small chain of independent shops in Berkhamstead called Temptation Gifts and bought some funny birthday cards for old university friends.

    The fifth month of the channel had 750 views with viewers watching over 25 hours of The Greeting Card Project for an average of 2:02 per video. The channel gained 11 more subscribers,  13 shares and accumulated 51 likes and 1 dislikes. The total lifetime channel views is now 5,000.

    If you do watch and enjoy the videos please pop over to YouTube and subscribe. I'd also love it if you followed the project on my personal Twitter account @JeremyCorner and my new personal Instagram @JeremyCorner.

    Where possible there are hyperlinks to all of the featured companies beneath each YouTube video.

    April Review of #TGCP

    March Review of #TGCP

    February Review of #TGCP

    January review of #TGCP

    Learn why I started #TGCP

  • PG Live 2017 - Essential Information

    PG Live 2017 - Essential InfoBlue Eyed Sun will soon be exhibiting at the PG Live 2017 trade show . Officially launching at PG Live 2017 are our beautiful new Christmas cards 2017 along with our gorgeous new everyday ranges Charming and Jangles, so be sure to stop by and see us.

    Quote Voucher code PGL17 when ordering during the show (online or offline) for FREE CARRIAGE.

    About PG Live 2017

    The International Greeting Card Show is a highlight on card buyers' calendars as the UK's only trade exhibition dedicated to the greeting card industry. It runs for two days from Tuesday 6th June to Wednesday 7th June from 09:30 - 18:00 at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

    To register for PG Live please click here.

    Where to Stay at PG Live 2017

    The closest hotels to the show are the HiltonPremier Inn and Double Tree by Hilton a short walk away with prices from £75-£150. However as the show opens next week they seem to be fully booked now. You can search AirBnB for apartments and rooms nearby.

    Where to Eat at PG Live 2017

    Islington has many wonderful restaurants and cafes. We've sampled lots of them over the years and have short listed some of our favourites for you to try below:

    5 Great Restaurants near the Business Design Centre

    How to get to PG Live 2017

    The Business Design Centre is easily accessible from Angel Tube station on the Northern Line and is close to Kings Cross and Euston rail stations. The Business Design Centre's post code is N1 0QH. It's outside the Congestion Charge Zone  and there are 250 car spaces on site with a daily cost of £3.10 per hour.

    You can plan your journey with the TFL journey planner or you might like to download the mobile app CityMapper which we love using for journey planning in London.

    For more information on travel for the show click here.

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

    PGLive 2017 - Floor Plan

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