This week Coulson Macleod had a night away in Essex. Westcliff-on-Sea to be precise. Our white-washed hotel overlooked the wide estuary where the River Thames meets the North Sea. Which may sound like we were on a mid-week mini-break, but actually it was to attend something called The Ladder Club.
The Ladder Club is an annual two-day crash course in greetings card publishing. Day 1 is to help new publishers get on the ladder. Day 2 is for existing publishers (us).
Run by the well-respected matriarch* of the greetings card industry, Lynn Tait, who’s both a publisher & retailer (The Lynn Tait Gallery). *not her official title
Mark & I drove down on Tuesday, popping in to see a long-time stockist of ours in Leigh-on-Sea. Tuesday night was a delegates dinner. Having been in the industry less than a year we were surprised by the number of familiar faces; and even more surprised that they all knew us.
Jakki Brown, editor of Progressive Greetings magazine & runs Progressive Greetings Live trade show, who is a wealth of knowledge; our paper suppliers, one of our printers, our envelope suppliers, & a number of greetings card publishers we’ve met at trade shows.
One who I happily sat next to at dinner was Eloise Hall who designs the prettiest of cards…
The seminar on Wednesday was non-stop; back-to-back talks from representatives from the entire industry. Claire Williams & Karen Wilson, co-founders of Paper Salad, made us all laugh with their straight-talking account of the highs & lows of creating a major greetings card company. Jeremy Corner from Blue Eyed Sun advised on exporting & increasing sales. We heard from small chains (known as ‘multiples’ in greetings card language), buyers for multiples, agents, suppliers, & brokerage companies.
Other publishers that we met included…
Jessica Hogarth Designs
Louise Wright Design
Noah’s Ark Ink
Happy Nut Creations