At the end of last week I attended the first day of the ladder club which is a brilliant seminar organised by Lynn Tait of Lynn Tait Gallery in Leigh on Sea and her trusty helpers, Trudi and Pauline. The first day is for budding greeting card publishers (like me!). Everyone is so friendly and generous with their help and advice.
Wednesday 19th October I travelled to Southend-on-Sea to meet up with some of the delegates on the seminar and all the speakers. We gathered in the Westcliffe Hotel for a three course meal where there was a speaker on each table and we all spent a lovely evening getting to know new people.
Thursday 20th October was the first day of the seminar. After a welcoming cup of coffee and a photo we kicked off with Lynn giving us a potted history of how The Ladder Club started and its aims. Basically, it is to help budding greeting card publishers climb the ladder to success in this inspiring and friendly industry.
Jackie Brown, the Editor of Progressive Greetings and Founder of the Henries Awards (the equivalent of the Oscars in the Greeting Card world) came next. She explained how her magazine is a useful tool for us to get our work known and find out all the current trends in greeting cards. I have read the last three issues and it is packed full of useful information and news.
Next up was Sharon Little, the Chief Executive of the Greeting Card Association. The GCA is a brilliant organisation run on a non-profitable basis for greeting card publishers. Their website is a mine of useful information and Sharon is at the end of the phone to help with any problems and answer any questions. Sharon's talk outlined how the GCA can help new publishers.
Claire and Karen of Paper Salad, who set up their company 6 years ago and have just won a Henries Award spoke of the pitfalls that can occur as you grow your company. They gave a very realistic slant on what it is like to take this exciting journey and some of the mistakes they made.
All this was before our first coffee break.
After coffee, Jeremy Corner owner of an award winning greeting card company, Blue Eyed Sun gave a talk on the nuts and bolts of the industry. Jeremy is known as the guru to new publishers, helping them out with advice and insider knowledge. He certainly did that. Jeremy explained about the many different hats a greeting card publisher has to wear from doing the accounts, boxing up and dispatching cards, creating and designing and what to prioritise. He also gave some excellent advice on marketing and selling, trade shows, agents and cash flow planning. Phew!
After a delicious lunch we listened to presentations from Bob Short of The Imaging Centre who runs a very successful company specialising in digital printing. Digital is the way to go when you start out as you can do short runs and test out your designs. However, when you get more successful and established and you need to do bigger print runs of your designs then Litho Printing is a good option. Steve from The Sherwood Press explained all about Litho Printing.
Next we had a very informative talk by paper manufacturers G F Smith. Debbie Wigglesworth and Mark Jessett shared their love of paper and how it is an integral part of the design of greeting cards. Most people work out their designs and then think about what board they will use. Debbie feels it should be the other way round with paper taking the centre stage and working the design round it. It certainly makes sense as paper behaves differently when printed and so can become an integral part of the design process.
What a day! Thank you to everyone for all your help and advice. I am now on my way!!
Nina Green, Director Cherry Picked For You