Dragons Speed Dating 2022

Apr 4, 2022 | GCA Events

It was great to welcome over 100 GCA members to the Business Design Centre in London for our March 2022 Dragons Speed Dating. It was an exciting day, really good to be meeting in person again, with members able to network, discuss key industry issues and find new business partners. See PGBuzz for more reports and pictures.

Retailers Attending

We were delighted to be joined by greeting card buyers from multiples John Lewis, Sainsburys, Cardzone, Card Factory, Paperchase, Postmark, House of Cards, Lark London and Mooch Ealing.

Plus online retailers Moonpig and Funky Pigeon, and lovely indies Austin & Co Malvern, Diverse Brixton, Fortnum & Mason, Presentation Cards and Gifts of Barrowford, Heirloom Teddington and Medici Gallery Kensington.

The buyers all met at least 12 different publishers, some buyers placed orders on the spot, everyone shared feedback and ideas. All the buyers wheeled away their suitcases of samples from the 72 publishers attending – which we know has resulted in more orders already!

Panel Discussion

Our Panel of GCA Council Members were there on the day to discuss the hot topics of the day and answer members questions:

 Chris Bryan, General Manager, Second Nature Ltd, spoke about producing seasonal product and the planning required “It can take between 9 and 12months to design, sell, produce and deliver a seasonal programme, and with current issues within the supply chain it’s vital that publishers allow a little extra time for unforeseen delays. Unfortunately, this means a lot of the initial design work has to be undertaken prior to the current season’s sell through information being available but ‘tweaks’ to a programme can be made along the way before going to production”.

Daniel Prince, Managing Director Danilo spoke about the sustainability journey that Danilo has been on and why it matters to all businesses. “Retailer and licensors are putting more sustainable plans into place and customers are becoming increasingly concerned with environmental consequences…..by prioritizing sustainability at the heart of the business, it has already begun to infiltrate and develop the way we, as a company, really think about how we design, create and use our products. To change a company’s mindset and process can be a hard ask, but we are delighted to really see a united mentality on sustainability coming though in Danilo”.

David Falkner, Director at Cardology, spoke about Cardology’s focus on increasing the skills the team possess around techniques thus preventing subsequent re-work, and building more flexible business case models. Also the importance for publishers to have a singular focus and a clear, accessible message which customers could recognise in the present environment, as well as conducting regular benchmarking.

Adriana Lovesy, Owner and Creative Director of Mrs Lovesy, shared her experiences working with the emerging online buying platforms. And finally Brett Smith, Managing Director of Emotional Rescue spoke about exclusivity, investing in product and best sellers, and working to briefs.

We were also delighted to welcome Louise Healy-Adonis, from The Better Trends Company, who gave us an interesting talk on trends and how understanding changes in the way people are behaving, and current and social drivers, are key to help us identify which trends and design directions feel right for our business. Visit their website to find out more and sign up for their free taster report.

Preparing for the Event

Publishers interested in signing up for Dragons Speed Dating were invited to visit the Members’ Library to view a recording of our recent pre-event zoom, How to Slay the Dragon. This meeting covered Top Tips to get the most out of networking and buyer meetings. It was led by GCA CEO Amanda Fergusson with GCA Council Members Carolyn Verderame from Caroline Gardner and Adriana Lovesy from Mrs Lovely, and one of our Dragons – Sally Matson owner of Red Card Petworth.

This blog is particularly recommended for those looking to supply to retailers, and attend events such as Dragons Speed Dating, for the first time as it covered lots of top tips for preparing to get the most out of Retailer meetings.

Our next Dragons Speed Dating

Our next Dragons Speed Dating will be early in 2023, all GCA members will be notified as soon as the date is announced and booking open.

Retailers interested in attending are asked to email amanda@gca.cards

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