Blue Eyed Sun

Blue Eyed Sun - gorgeous greetings cards

The Ladder Club

  • The Ladder Club 2016

    The Ladder Club 2016 - Day 1

    The Ladder Club 2016 was one of the best I have attended in thirteen years of speaking at the event. This year's seminars for new and aspiring publishers were held at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend-on-Sea and featured a host of greeting card experts to help those starting out or seeking to grow their greeting card businesses.

    Founded by Lynn Tait and now organised by Jakki Brown, editor of Progressive Greetings Magazine the Ladder Club has been an incredible support for so many artists, creatives and newbies for the last 17 years helping them to save time, money and heartache. If you are new to the card industry and have never attended, I would highly recommend doing so.

    Here are some photos and a summary of the two days at the Ladder Club 2016:

    The Ladder Club 2016 - DinnerIf you ever attend the event it's worth staying over the night before and attending the delegates dinner at the Westcliff Hotel. Speakers are seated amongst delegates on every table. It's a great opportunity to network and pick up some informal tips from the experts.

    The Ladder Club 2016 - Day 1

    Day 1 at the Ladder Club 2016 was for absolute beginners and those considering setting up a greeting card business. The day started at 9am sharp with an introduction from Lynn and  Jakki. After the speakers were introduced, Sharon Little the Chief Executive of the Greeting Card Association said a few words about the GCA and why it's worth being a member.

    The Ladder Club 2016 - Day 1Karen Wilson and Claire Williams then gave a wonderful news reader style presentation of the highs and lows of their company Paper Salad. Then Jeremy Corner of Blue Eyed Sun (that's me) spoke on how to wear different hats within your greeting card business and the different ways of thinking needed to run a successful greeting card company.

    The Ladder Club 2016 - Suppliers

    After a short break, Julie Brightley from Enveco talked us through the nitty gritty of envelopes. Mark Jessett from GF Smith gave an amusing talk on how to choose the right boards for printing your cards on. Bob Short from The Imaging Centre took us through printing digitally. His son Adam demonstrated their fantastic new online ordering and marketing system called Simplicity. Simon King from Sherwood Press spoke on litho printing. Sharon returned to wrap up the morning's session telling us what to include on the back of our greeting cards.

    The Ladder Club 2016 Day 1

    After lunch we learned about PG Live from co-founder Warren Lomax and Tracey Arnaud who runs the a section of the show called Springboard for new publishers. Jim Bullough then took us through the practical aspects of exhibiting at trade shows. I wrapped the section up with a short talk on how to evaluate the success of trade shows.

    The Ladder Club 2016 - Day 1

    Midlands sales agent, Ian Bradley, showed us the inside a sales agent's brain. Miles Robinson from House of Cards shared the independent retailer's perspective. Finally, Ben Hickman and Mark Williams from Brainbox Candy talked about standing out from the crowd with effective marketing.

    Day 2 at the Ladder Club 2016 was for those who have already exhibited at a trade show or are turning over several thousand pounds. Day 2 is more about climbing the ladder once you are on it.

    The Ladder Club 2016 - Day 2The day was filled with some fantastic talks from Ladder Club alumni. Jack and Hannah Dale of Wrendale Designs who have grown their business from £0 to £2.5 million in four years shared their story and insights. Tish Bas and Hazel Williams from Paperchase gave a large multiple retailer's perspective and answered loads of questions from an inquisitive audience. Jessica Hogarth spoke brilliantly on licensing and copying issues.

    The Ladder Club 2016 - Day 2

    I shared my experience of export, cash flow and financial growing pains. Mark Coulson from Coulson Macleod discussed warehousing and fulfilment options. Gale Astley, Warren Lomax and Jakki Brown spoke on PR and how to generate sales and leads through PG magazine. The day ended with a panel Q&A session with the speakers and an interesting discussion on price increases that are expected in 2017.

    The Ladder Club 2016 was a fantastic example of the wonderful and supportive nature of the greeting card industry. I loved speaking at it and am so grateful to Lynn and Jakki for starting it. It has helped so many publishers and creatives over the years. If you are thinking about setting up a greeting card business don't miss it next year.

    10 Top Climbers from the Ladder Club

    10 Ladder Cub Alumni on their way up

    The Ladder Club 2016 - Day 2

  • 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.

    Discover 10 Ladder Club publishers on their way up

    Attend the 2015 Ladder Club seminar for new card publishers in November

    Read all of the Ladder Club related posts

  • 10 Ladder Club publishers on their way up

    We've been helping new greeting card publishers for over ten years at the Ladder Club founded by Lynn Tait and Jakki Brown. Below are some interesting new publishers that are successfully working their way up the industry ladder. Many have done well with Henries nominations, have been featured in the trade press and I regularly see them in shops when I visit our customers. You can click on the images to visit their websites.

    Ten new Ladder Club publishers to keep an eye on (in alphabetical order):

    Coulson Macleod

    Stylish graphic cards with some humour from Mark Coulson and Hannah Macleod.

    Coulson Macleod

    Dry Red Press

    A lovely selection of art cards from Laura and Jackie MacDonald and Sue Campion.

    Dry Red Press

    Eloise Hall

    Delicate, elegant illustrations that have been beautifully designed to create distinctive cards.

    Eloise Hall

    I Drew This

    Hugely experienced card designer, Ilona Drew, self publishes her own beautiful card illustrations.

    I Drew This

    Jessica Hogarth Designs

    Stylish, contemporary surface pattern and textile design translated into unique cards.

    Jessica Hogarth

    Perkins & Morley

    A popular collection of art cards and gifts from Janet Morley and Jill Perkins.

    Perkins And Morley

    Redback cards

    A great range of humorous, original and fresh cards from Chris Stanley.

    Redback Cards

    Sarah Kelleher

    Artistic, well styled and carefully considered cards that work well for their respective occasions.

    Sarah Kelleher

    Tache Crafts

    Quirky, playful and stylish handmade cards by Penny Bryant and Frank Nichols.

    Tache Crafts

    Wraptious

    An exciting range of artists across cards and gifts from founder Simon Wadsworth.

    Wraptious

    Click here to read more Ladder Club posts

    Find out more about attending the 2015 Ladder Club Seminar in November

  • The Ladder Club 2015 dates have been announced

    The Ladder Club 2015 Seminar DatesThe Ladder Club 2015 dates have been announced. These are day long crash course seminars in card publishing held in Westcliffe on Sea each year and run on a not-for-profit basis by Lynn Tait of the Lynn Tait Gallery. You must choose one of the following days to attend as you cannot do both in the same year:

     

    The first seminar, Getting on the Ladder, for brand new greeting card companies or those considering card publishing will be held on Tuesday 17th November 2015 with the highly recommended networking dinner the night before. If you haven't done the first day before then book this one first.

    The second day, Climbing the Ladder, which is for more experienced new publishers who may already have been to the first day seminar the year before, is to be held on Wednesday 18th Novmber 2015. There will also be a dinner the night before for these delegates to network and meet the speakers one on one. Only choose this seminar if you have a turnover of at least £3,000 and have exhibited at least one trade show.

     

    The seminars are packed with great speakers and industry experts including Karen Wilson and Claire Frost from Paper Salad, digital printers from The Imaging Centre, litho printers from Sherwood Press, paper merchants GF Smith, envelope suppliers Enveco. There will also be retailers, sales agents, trade show organisers from PG Live, Jakki Brown from Progressive Greetings and Sharon Little from the Greeting Card Association.

     

    This will be my eleventh year of speaking at these seminars and I highly recommend them to new greeting card publishers. They are an invaluable source of great information that will help you make the most of your greeting card business. If you are considering card publishing they will give you everything you need to be able to decide if it is right for you.

     

    Held in Westcliffe on Sea, Essex these Ladder Club 2015 dates should go straight into your diary if you want to improve your new greeting card publishing business. The cost for each day is an incredibly low £48 and includes lunch.

     

    To book a place at the Ladder Club email clare@createvents.co.uk

     

    Click to read about previous Ladder Club seminars

     

    Read more business tips on our blog

     

    See how we doubled the income from our handmade card business

     

  • The Ladder Club Seminar 2014

    The Ladder Club Seminar 2014 - Day 1

    The Ladder Club is an annual seminar to support new and aspiring greeting card publishers to climb the ladder to success in the card industry. It's organised by Lynn Tait and has been an incredible support to so many artists and new card publishers for many years, helping them to avoid the pitfalls that can cost time, money and a whole lot of heartache. 
     

    I have enjoyed speaking at the event for the past ten of it's fifteen year history and have had the privilege of meeting and helping many wonderful new businesses during that time. Often the seminar has been regarded by attendees as a success even when they have decided not to become a publishers. For £48 and a day of their time some artists and photographers have realised that their passion is creating beautiful things and they choose to find other ways of generating income including licensing their work, partnering with businesses or simply selling their work in other ways. I have just returned from this year's seminars, which were two of the best to date and included some great speakers and many talented delegates. Here are some of my photos of the day and a brief summary of everything we went through.

    Lynn Tait, Sharon Little and Jakki BrownWe had a fantastic turn out for the first day of the seminar this year, which is all about helping the delegates to take their first step onto the Ladder. Lynn Tait compered both days that began with an introduction to the Greeting Card Association from CEO Sharon Little. Jakkie Brown from Max Publishing spoke about PG Live, the Henries Awards and how to make the most of Progressive Greetings magazine's free editorial section called Innovations.

    Simon King, Bob Short and Nicky MarshallSimon King and Nicky Marshall from Sherwood Litho Press showed everyone how to prepare for and print litho on B1 presses and the technical issues involved with doing so. Bob Short from The Imaging Centre took us all through the Digital Printing process which most card publishers these days use for short runs to test the market with their products. Both printers ran through the costs of getting started and the Ladder Club delegates were given useful information packs.

    Mark Jessett, julie Brightly and Tracey ArnaudEveryone got to learn about the different substrates and boards they could print on in an entertaining talk from Mark Jessett at paper merchants GF Smith. Julie Brightley from Enveco Envelopes Plus talked about how envelopes are made, what prices they start at and how to save money by using standard off-the-shelf sizes for your first greeting card ranges. Tracey Arnaud from Progressive Greetings Live talked us through the important things to consider when exhibiting at trade shows for the first time and how to get the most out of your trade fairs. 

    Lynn Tait, Karen Wilson, Claire Williams, Jeremy Corner and Ian BradleyLadder Club alumni, Karen and Claire from Paper Salad, spoke about their adventures in greeting card publishing and the things that new publishers must keep an eye out for before rushing into big deals with large multiple card retailers. I had a few things to so say about my experience in the card business running Blue Eyed Sun and how to cope with wearing different hats whilst doing soIan Bradley, a Midlands greeting card agent, then gave everyone to gain an insight into how working with freelance sales agents can benefit their greeting card business.

    Henri Davis, Miles Robinson and Chris HoufeThe second day was a more advanced Ladder Club seminar. Retail expert Henri Davis spoke about how to approach large retailers in a very informative talk drawing on her experience of buying at the National Trust and WH Smiths. We also heard how best to approach retailers from Miles Robinson who co-owns a small chain of independent card shops called House of Cards. Finally, Chris Houfe, from Waterwells Distribution (part of the Great British Card Company) taught us all the basics of brokerage and how to work with brokers to best serve multiple retailers. 

    Everyone had a great time and all of those attending found the Ladder Club extremely useful and well worth their time. It was really interesting to see that almost everyone attended the meal the night before the second day event as more experienced publishers recognised the importance of this great networking opportunity. I look forward to seeing those who attended this year's Ladder Club at trade shows and other card industry events in the future. A special thanks also to Trudi who organised the day, to Jim for keeping us all on time and to all of the speakers who gave their time so freely.

    Click here to join the Ladder Club Facebook Group (only open to attendees and Ladder Club alumni)

    For those that attended the Ladder Club and want to know more. Here are some links to useful content on my blog:

    Looking Back from Perfect - How to achieve your goals

    Overcoming the challenges of exporting abroad

    Our top ten business tools

    Are trade shows still worth it?

    10 Business Basics to get right before using social media

    The Ladder Club Seminar 2014 - Day 2

  • The Ladder Club 2014 Dates Announced as 4th and 5th November

    The Ladder Club 2014 DatesThe Ladder Club 2014 dates have been announced. These are day long crash courses in card publishing held in Westcliffe on Sea each year and run on a not-for-profit basis by Lynn Tait of the Lynn Tait Gallery. You must choose one of the following days to attend as you cannot do both in the same year:

    The first seminar, Getting on the Ladder, for brand new greeting card companies or those considering card publishing will be held on Tuesday 4th November 2014 with the highly recommended networking dinner the night before. If you haven't done the first day before then book this one first.

    The second day, Climbing the Ladder, which is for more experienced new publishers who may already have been to the first day seminar the year before, is to be held on Wednesday 5th Novmber 2014. There will also be a dinner the night before for these delegates to network and meet the speakers one on one. Only choose this seminar if you have a turnover of at least £3,000 and have exhibited at least one trade show.

    The seminars are packed with great speakers and industry experts including Karen Wilson and Claire Frost from Paper Salad, digital printers from The Imaging Centre, litho printers from Sherwood Press, paper merchants GF Smith, envelope suppliers Enveco. There will also be retailers, sales agents, trade show organisers from PG Live, Jakki Brown from Progressive Greetings and Sharon Little from the Greeting Card Association.

    This will be my tenth year of speaking at these seminars and I highly recommend them to new greeting card publishers. They are an invaluable source of great information that will help you make the most of your greeting card business. If you are considering card publishing they will give you everything you need to be able to decide if it is right for you.

    Held in Westcliffe on Sea, Essex these Ladder Club 2014 dates should go straight into your diary if you want to improve your card publishing business or are considering publishing cards. The cost for each day is an incredibly low £48 and includes lunch. 

    To book a place at the Ladder Club contact Trudi or Pauline on 01702 480180 or email waiteandtaitbakery@hotmail.com 

    Click to read about previous Ladder Club seminars

    Read more business tips on our blog

    See how we doubled the income from our handmade card business

  • The Ladder Club Seminar 2013

    Ladder Club 2013 GCA Speakers

    The Ladder Club is an annual seminar to support new and aspiring greeting card publishers to climb the ladder up the card industry. It's organised by Lynn Tait and has been a fantastic support to many publishers for over a decade, helping them to avoid the pitfalls that can cost time, money and a whole lot of heartache.

    I have been the keynote speaker at the event for the past nine years of it's fourteen year history and have had the privilege of meeting and helping many fantastic new businesses during that time. Often the seminar has been regarded by attendees as a success even when they have decided not to become a publishers. For £48 and a day of their time some artists and photographers have realised that their passion is creating beautiful things and they choose to find other ways of generating income including licensing their work, partnering with businesses or simply selling their work in other mediums instead of on cards.

    We had a fantastic turn out for the first day of the seminar this year which is all about helping the delegates to take their first step onto the Ladder. Jakki Brown, the co-founder of the Ladder Club, compered the day in the absence of Lynn Tait who organises it with the help of her two stars Trudy and Pauline. The day started with an introduction to the Greeting Card Association with CEO Sharon Little. Warren Lomax from Max Publishing spoke about PG Live, the Henries Awards and how to make the most of Progressive Greetings magazine's free editorial section.

     

    Ladder Club 2013 Greeting Card Printers

    Simon King and Nicky Marshall from Sherwood Litho Press showed everyone how to prepare for and print litho on B1 presses and the technical issues involved with doing so.

    Bob Short from The Imaging Centre took us all through the Digital Printing process which most card publishers these days use for short runs to test the market with their products. Both printers ran through the costs of getting started and the Ladder Club delegates were given some useful information packs.

    Ladder Club Car Industry Suppliers 2013

    Everyone got to learn about the different substrates and boards they could print on in an entertaining talk from Mark at paper merchants GF Smith. Julie from Enveco Envelopes Plus talked about how envelopes are made, what prices they start at and how to save money by using standard off-the-shelf sizes for your first greeting card ranges. Simon Boyd from Progressive Greetings Live talked us through the important things to consider when exhibiting at trade shows for the first time and how to get the most out of your trade shows.

    Ladder Club Card Publishing Speakers 2013One of my favourite talks was from Ian Bradley, a Midlands greeting card agent, who helped everyone to gain an insight into how working with freelance sales agents can benefit their greeting card business. Karen and Claire from

    Paper Salad spoke about their adventures in greeting card publishing and the things that new publishers must keep an eye out for before rushing into big deals with large multiple card retailers. Retail expert Henri Davis spoke on the second day about how to approach large retailers in a very informative talk drawing on her experience of buying at large chains like the National Trust and WH Smiths. I found it incredibly useful

    to gain an understanding of what buyers of large multiples need and want from publishers. I also had a few things to so say about my experience in the card business running Blue Eyed Sun.

    It seems that everyone had a great time and all of those attending found the Ladder Club extremely useful and well worth their time. Thanks to the Ladder Club delegates and sponsors I have raised almost £500 towards my £1000 goal for the Anthony Nolan Trust, who I am running the Berlin Marthon for next year. I was inspired to do this by Lynn Tait, the organiser and founder of the Ladder Club, who was in hospital undergoing a stem cell transplant on the same day.

    Click here to help me raise £1,000 for the Anthony Nolan Trust.

    Click here to join the Ladder Club Facebook Group

    Click here for the Ladder Club LinkedIn Group

    For those that attended the Ladder Club and want to know more. Here are some links to useful content on my blog:

    Looking Back from Perfect - How to achieve your goals

    10 Business Basics to get right before using social media

    Social Media Tips on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

    The Ladder Club Delegates & Speakers 2013 - Day 2

  • The Ladder Club 2013 for New Greeting Card Publishers

    The Ladder Club seminar for new greeting card publishers (and those considering the industry) will be take place on the Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th October 2013. It will be my ninth year as keynote speaker at this fantastic annual not for profit event and I am looking forward to an enjoyable two days helping our industry continue to grow.

    There are two seminars being held over two days at the Cliffs Pavilion, Leigh on Sea, Essex. It usually sells out so book early by emailing waiteandtaitbakery@hotmail.com or by calling Trudi or Pauline at Lynn Tait Gallery on 01702 480180.

    What is the Ladder Club?

    Organised by publisher and retailer Lynn Tait, this event is to support and nurture the UK card industry to be the best it can be. If you are new to greeting card publishing then this is the perfect place to start. Speakers include Sharon Little from the Greeting Card Association, Jakki Brown from Max Publishing (Progressive Greetings MagazineThe Henries Awards and PG Live), Claire Frost and Karen Wilson from Paper Salad, Jeremy Corner from Blue Eyed Sun and many other industry professionals including printers, envelope manufacturers, warehousing specialists and paper suppliers GF Smith.

    Who's the Ladder Club for? 

    Day One - Getting on the Ladder - Is for anyone considering the greeting card industry or who have just started their card business and is well suited to artists, photographers, illustrators, designers, writers and cartoonists considering their options.

    Day Two - Climbing the Ladder - Is more advanced and helps new card businesses that have been to one or two trade shows, have a turnover of more than £3,000 and would like to grow their businesses further. Anyone who has already attended the first day the year before may attend this day the following year.

    Networking Dinner

    Lynn also organises a dinner the night before each day, which is well worth attending if you are staying over. She seats card industry insiders on every table so you can pick their brains for help with your business and grow your knowledge as well as take the opportunity to network with other publishers. The dinner usually costs £23 for 3 courses.

    Is the Ladder Club worth it?

    It is very affordably priced at £40+VAT per day and I have received dozens of thank you cards for doing this over the years. Those that attended the Ladder Club answer this best though. Here's what some previous delegates have had to say about their experience of the day:

    "I just wanted to say thank you for putting on such an informative and useful day. I certainly felt I got my money's worth!! All the speakers were excellent and helped to put together the jigsaw puzzle of publishing cards." - Rayya

    "Thanks for my Ladder Club experience on thursday – it was well, well worth the trek from Bristol! It provided me with so much useful information and inspiration – it was just brilliant to hear from so many different people, and important to hear about the negatives as well as the positives. I drove home just buzzing with thoughts and excitement about my business" - Jenny

    "I have to say that you are all so inspirational and generous to organise these events and give up your precious time and I just wanted you to know that it's really appreciated. It's a fantastic industry to be working in and I wouldn't even be putting my toe in the water without all the help and encouragement that you and your industry colleagues have selflessly given." - Rose

    " I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the seminar. I am amazed at how much was packed into the day and I have come away with some new ideas and useful contacts." - Jocelyn

    " I was very impressed at how open and helpful everyone is to potential newcomers/competitors. Obviously paper manufacturers and printers are happy to help new customers but I was also impressed by the lack of any kind of 'sell' by them." - Caroline and Greg

    " I loved it! Was the best seminar I've ever been to! Thank you so much." - Cheryl

    Ladder Club Alumni

    Many good card businesses have benefited from the Ladder Club seminar training and are making their way successfully in the card industry. Including: Wrendale Designs, Molly Mae, YTR Design, The Artrooms, Shine Publishing, Luvio, Full Colour Black, Lesser Spotted, Open Box Design, Iona Cards, The Art Lounge, Rosa Kitt Designs, Moobaacluck, Cutture, Megan Claire, Aiania and Big John.

    Why are you involved?

    Even though I am, in effect, helping the competition, I do this event every year for free because I believe a great card industry is good for all of us. Thanks to the generosity of the organisers and delegates, who have supported my many charity races over the years, I have also raised quite a bit of money for various good causes. With the support of last year's Ladder Club attendees and others I raised £1,162 for Save the Children by running Edinburgh Marathon. Thanks to everyone who donated.

    How do I book a place at the seminar?

    Please note that Blue Eyed Sun does not organise or take bookings for this event. You must email waiteandtaitbakery@hotmail.com or call Trudi or Pauline at Lynn Tait Gallery on 01702 480180 to book your place in advance. It sells out every year and is only held once annually so don't miss it.

  • The Ladder Club 2012 for New Card Publishers

    This year's annual Ladder Club seminar for new greeting card publishers (and those considering the industry) will be held on the Thursday 27th and Friday 28th September 2012. It will be my seventh year as keynote speaker and I am looking forward continuing to help as many people as I can to find the right path for themselves within the world of greeting cards.

    The seminar is being held over two days at the Westcliffe Hotel, Leigh on Sea, Essex. It usually sells out so book early by emailing waiteandtaitbakery@hotmail.com or by calling Trudi or Pauline at Lynn Tait Gallery on 01702 480180.

    What is the Ladder Club?

    Organised by publisher and retailer Lynn Tait, this event is to support and nurture the UK card industry to be the best it can be. If you are new to greeting card publishing then this is the perfect place to start. Speakers include Sharon Little from the Greeting Card Association, Jakki Brown from Max Publishing (Progressive Greetings Magazine, The Henries Awards and PG LIve), Claire Frost and Karen Wilson from Paper Salad, Jeremy Corner from Blue Eyed Sun and many other industry professionals including printers, envelope manufacturers, warehousing specialists and paper suppliers GF Smith.

    Who's the Ladder Club for? 

    Day One is for anyone considering the greeting card industry or who have just started their card business and is well suited to artists, photographers, illustrators, designers, writers and cartoonists considering their options.

    Day Two is more advanced and helps new card businesses that have been to one or two trade shows and would like to grow their businesses further.

    Networking Dinner

    Lynn also organises a dinner the night before each day, which is well worth attending if you are staying over. She seats card industry insiders on every table so you can pick their brains for help with your business and grow your knowledge as well as take the opportunity to network with other publishers. The dinner usually costs £23.

    Is the Ladder Club worth it?

    It is very affordably priced at £48 per day and I have received dozens of thank you cards for doing this over the years. Those that attended the Ladder Club answer this best though. Here's what some previous delegates have had to say about their experience of the day:

    "I just wanted to say thank you for putting on such an informative and useful day. I certainly felt I got my money's worth!! All the speakers were excellent and helped to put together the jigsaw puzzle of publishing cards." - Rayya

    "Thanks for my Ladder Club experience on thursday – it was well, well worth the trek from Bristol! It provided me with so much useful information and inspiration – it was just brilliant to hear from so many different people, and important to hear about the negatives as well as the positives. I drove home just buzzing with thoughts and excitement about my business" - Jenny

    "I have to say that you are all so inspirational and generous to organise these events and give up your precious time and I just wanted you to know that it's really appreciated. It's a fantastic industry to be working in and I wouldn't even be putting my toe in the water without all the help and encouragement that you and your industry colleagues have selflessly given." - Rose

    " I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the seminar. I am amazed at how much was packed into the day and I have come away with some new ideas and useful contacts." - Jocelyn

    " I was very impressed at how open and helpful everyone is to potential newcomers/competitors. Obviously paper manufacturers and printers are happy to help new customers but I was also impressed by the lack of any kind of 'sell' by them." - Caroline and Greg

    " I loved it! Was the best seminar I've ever been to! Thank you so much." - Cheryl

    Ladder Club Alumni

    Many good card businesses have benefited from the Ladder Club seminar training and are making their way successfully in the card industry. Including: Molly Mae, YTR Design, The Artrooms, Shine Publishing, Luvio, Full Colour Black, Lesser Spotted, Open Box Design, Iona Cards, The Art Lounge, Rosa Kitt Designs, Moobaacluck, Cutture, Megan Claire, Aiania and Big John.

    Why are you involved?

    Even though I am, in effect, helping the competition, I do this event every year for free because I believe a great card industry is good for all of us. Thanks to the generosity of the organisers and delegates, who have supported my many charity races over the years, I have also raised quite a bit of money for various good causes. With the support of last year's Ladder Club attendees and others I raised £609 for UNICEF by running Paris Marathon. Thanks to everyone who donated.

    How do I book a place at the seminar?

    Please note that Blue Eyed Sun does not organise or take bookings for this event. You must email waiteandtaitbakery@hotmail.com or call Trudi or Pauline at Lynn Tait Gallery on 01702 480180 to book your place in advance. It sells out every year and is only held once annually so don't miss it.

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