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10 Top climbers from a decade of the Ladder Club

The Ladder Club Top ClimbersLast year was my tenth as a keynote speaker at the Ladder Club for new and growing greeting card publishers. With this year’s seminars coming up next month, I thought that it would be fun to take a look back at some of the fantastic publishers that have come through this wonderful event over the past decade.

10 TOP CLIMBERS

These Ladder Club companies have had great success in the card business over the years. They are often at trade shows and have a good presence in the marketplace. Our retail customers may have mentioned them as good sellers or it may be that I think what they do is particularly innovative or inspiring. They also regularly feature in the trade press and work hard at improving their businesses. You can click on the images to visit their websites.

Full Colour Black

Specialising in art cards with a funky, retro feel they have a large collection of Banksy images and cards. Their selection appeals to those with an off-the-wall sense of humour and is stocked in a range of stylish stationers, museum and art gallery stores. They’re proactive with their marketing and are often seen in trade magazines.

Full Colour BlackGreen Pebble

Founded by Michael Charles and Ruby Ormerod, Green Pebble have come a long way in a short period of time since they attended the Ladder Club in 2010. Specialising in fine art greeting cards they have worked hard to expand their offering and cover their niche well. What I love about them is that they are not afraid to get on the road and sell. A rare thing amongst new publishers.

Green PebbleLesser Spotted

Dominic Greyer’s unique place names project started as a side line and has now become his day job. He has travelled far and wide to capture funny road signs and place names with his outstanding photographic range. He’s done his fair share of trade shows since attending the seminar in 2007 and has successfully expanded his range to include mugs, coasters and cushions.

Lesser Spotted Cards

Megan Claire

Personalisation specialist, Megan Purdie has successfully translated her style into a popular selection of mainstream cards and now boasts an enviable stockist list including John Lewis, Harrods and Harvey Nichols. A regular finalist at there Henries, she does a lovely job with her trade show stands and is regularly featured in the trade press.

Megan Claire

Mollie Mae

After six years of running her own card and gift shop, retailer Stacy Barthorpe partnered with graphic designer Jude Kennedy and launched their business in 2009. The company is named after a combination of their daughter’s names and their distinctive, commercially savvy, contemporary style has led them to being snapped up by many of the country’s leading sales agents. They have an excellent line of complimentary stationery and gift products and are often seen exhibiting at shows.

Molly Mae cards

Pango Productions

Founded in 2004 by business partners, Cindy and David, Pango boast an enviable stockist list including Selfridges, Paperchase, Scribbler and Harrods as well as a great number of boutique shops around the world. Their innovative, colourful and cute designs are fun and bright and they have even expanded into toys with their Craftholic license from Japan. I was lucky enough to organise a design-led area called Fresh with them both at Spring Fair a few years ago and they were a joy to work with.

Pango ProductionsPaper Salad

Founded by experienced card designers, Claire and Karen, in 2005 after attending the Ladder Club, the company has a really fresh look and their children’s ranges are particularly strong. They’ve successfully expanded and are now distributed in 15 countries and are stocked in top multiples like Waitrose. They’ve won Henries awards and have had a profitable licensing partnership with Glick (amongst others) who create gift bags and wrap to compliment their cards. They now regularly speak at the Ladder Club themselves and have supported many other new publishers.

Paper Salad

The London Studio

PR, design and social media whizz Soula Zavacopoulos has done a wonderful job creating distinctive, best selling, award winning ranges including the popular Wisdom of Kids. Often shortlisted at the Gift of the Year awards, Soula has now got together with Saffron Cards in a savvy licensing deal that will allow her to focus on design and grow her product offering with a very experienced and successful partner.

The London StudioThe Art Rooms

Jacky Al-Samarraie started her award winning company in 2007 whilst holding down a challenging full time job in social services. Today her cards and gifts are stocked in many of the world’s most famous galleries and retailers. Her original, eye catching style is often seen at trade shows on a range of gift products. What she has done with her business is very inspiring.

The Art Rooms - Jackie Al-SamarraieWrendale Designs

In three years Hannah and Jack Dale have grown their start up to in excess of £2 million in annual sales through hard work and Hannah’s original take on the classic medium of watercolour. Hannah’s distinctive trade mark splatter effect has won her several Henries awards and a successful licensing deal with Portmerion. With ambitious expansion into the US on the cards too, Wrendale are one of the most impressive Ladder Club alumni to date.

Wrendale Designs

It has been a privilege to be a part of the Ladder Club all these years and to help so many talented creatives and publishers (there were actually too many great businesses to include on my lists). It is so important that we all support new talent coming into the industry. They are the future of our business and they keep us fresh.

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