Best Greeting Cards

A Look Behind the Scenes of Perkins & Morley Cards and Gifts

Get a Sneak Peek at What Makes Perkins & Morley Cards and Gifts Special.

For our latest ‘Inspiring Independents’ interview we wanted to share what makes Perkins & Morley cards and gifts special. We caught up with Jill Perkins, one half of the fantastic design duo Perkins & Morley to get an exclusive peek behind the scenes of this fab indie.

Perkins & Morley has a built a cool range of design-led greetings cards and gifts that include character, colour, fun, facts and lots more. A world away from their mass produced rivals, Perkins & Morley pride themselves on unique products and amazing customer service.

So without further ado let’s take a closer look at this inspiring indie business and find out more about Perkins & Morley cards and gifts.

What inspired you to start Perkins & Morley? When did you begin?

We were living in the U.K, but working in the U.S. which involved lots of travelling, so we were looking for some way of making a living here. We both love sending greeting cards so six years ago we started designing and publishing a few ranges to test the market and it took off from there.

What can you tell us about your indie business? What sets you apart from your corporate contemporaries?

We try to give really fantastic service. We’re small enough that we can attend to everything ourselves so if there are problems we understand and can immediately put them right. Sometimes customers like dealing with the artists and the owners of the business.

We are also able to do bespoke cards and gifts which some of our customers find very useful.

What’s your role in the business? What’s your favourite things about running an indie business?

I’m a partner in the business with Jan and we both do the designing which we love. We also both really enjoy exhibiting at trade shows. Jan runs P & M and I spend time visiting customers and finding new ones. I like the fact that every day is different and that we can try new ideas very easily.

Are there other people in your business? What can you tell us about the rest of the team?

We’re very small in terms of people – other than me & Jan – everything else is outsourced. We use an excellent VA (virtual assistant) and have a great team of accountants. We work with a great printing company who we have used since we started and they are always coming up with new ideas for products. We work very closely with the company who makes our coasters, clocks & key rings – we are always coming up with new ideas together. We are also enjoying working with a textile screen printing company who are also very keen to work together to come up with new ideas. That is the beauty of working with small companies in the UK – we all help each other.

Here at Piccadilly Lane, we believe that independents offer an amazing combination of unique design and high quality. Do you agree? How do you ensure this happens with Perkins & Morley cards and gifts?

Well as we are the designers we make sure we offer unique cards and gifts. We’ve been designing together for years and are used to providing goods that will sell. Everything is made in Britain which makes it easier to keep an eye on quality. We use some amazing British manufacturers.

You recently exhibited at some of the industry’s Spring shows. Can you tell us about those? What was the reaction to your designs?

We always get a good reaction at the shows. Existing customers know that much of what we exhibit is new each season, and new customers often say that we have unusual designs. We work very hard to keep them fresh.

Many of your cards and gifts feature the animal world. What inspires you about this area of design? Do you plan to continue in this area or can we expect to see other themes in the future?

We both love animals. One of the first conversations we had when we met in college was about the various animals we have owned and the ridiculous names we gave them! The woodland theme is still going strong and so are our general animal themes. We’ve been talking of what we’ll do next. Watch this space!

One of your most popular collections is the ‘Collective Noun’ range. What can you tell us about what inspired these designs and the reaction you’ve had to the collection?

The collective noun idea came out of the blue and we knew we’d hit on a winner. People love to debate on their authenticity. We don’t ever make them up and some of them have been known since Chaucer’s time. Coupled with Jan’s brilliant art work they go from strength to strength.

Perkins & Morley cards and gifts use high quality materials from carefully selected sources. What can you tell us about the craftsmanship involved in creating the range?

The coasters clocks and key rings are made by hand in a small family workshop in Worcester, and they care as much about quality as we do. Our mugs come from deepest Cornwall and another family business who check each mug themselves to ensure that the quality is top notch.

Our tea towels are made in North Yorkshire – they hand screen print and sew the edges giving a very high quality finish.

Our cards are printed in the UK using recycled card with a recycled paper envelope – it is very important to us that we are as eco friendly as possible.

Why should people shop with you? What makes you different?

Our design and our attention to detail. We see our customers as all important and try to make them feel that way.

We LOVE independents and think more people should be supporting them. Why do you think people should shop with independent businesses like yours?

If people want unusual gifts and cards they need to support independents like us. We respond to customer’s needs and make sure we don’t flood an area with our goods. This keeps our products fresh and interesting.

Last but not least, what’s your favourite independent business and why?

Ours of course!!!

Thank you Jill! 

Now you’ve read the interview why not take a peek at the Perkins & Morley cards and gifts collection featured here in the directory.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 31/05/16
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A Look Behind the Scenes of Eloise Hall Cards

Get a Sneak Peek at What Makes Eloise Hall Cards & Stationery Special.

For our latest ‘Inspiring Independents’ interview we caught up with Eloise, creator of the Eloise Hall cards, prints and stationery collection.

Eloise has a built a beautiful range of cards and gifts that are both elegant and meaningful. Designs of greeting cards, collage-style prints and stationery gifts that are a world away from their mass produced rivals.

Today we’re excited to take a closer look at this inspiring indie business and find out more about the Eloise Hall cards and gifts collection.

What inspired you to start your company, Eloise Hall? When did you begin?

I began designing and creating artworks almost by accident. I’d just moved house and was looking for a piece that would brighten up a wall in my hall. A butterfly landed on the window and the flash of its wings inspired me to make a collage around butterflies. Visitors to our home – I was running a bespoke millinery business from my house at the time – were soon commissioning me to make collages for their own homes, and things quickly snowballed from there. In September 2014, the greetings card and stationery range was launched at Top Drawer and I’m delighted to say that our nature collection has gone down really well.

What can you tell us about your indie business? What sets you apart from your corporate contemporaries?

Eloise Hall is run from a studio in Somerset and I’m passionate about producing beautiful products. There is a huge amount of care and detail that goes in to everything we make. We also pride ourselves on very good relationships with both our clients and our suppliers.

What’s your role in the business? What’s your favourite things about your job / running an indie business?

My role is founder and creative director. I love the variety this role brings, one moment I might be snipping pieces of beautiful chiogami paper creating a new design and then the next I could be talking to the important buyer before being interrupted by my three children bouncing in from school!

Are there other people in your business? What can you tell us about the rest of the team?

It’s small and perfectly formed here at Eloise Hall! I work with a wonderful team of sales agents around the country and I also have a fantastic fulfilment house who are way better at putting the right number of cards in the orders than I ever was! Rebecca sorts out the accounting, invoices and numbers and we’re currently recruiting for a Marketing Manager to help with some exciting plans for 2016.

Here at Piccadilly Lane, we believe that independents offer an amazing combination of unique design and high quality. Do you agree? How do you ensure this happens at Eloise Hall?

I’m passionate about producing beautiful products. The original artworks may take days to create and the care and attention with this makes a real difference to the end result. Having always been a stationery lover, the touch and feel of every element of the product is hugely important, hence high quality paper is used throughout our range, even inside our notebooks!

Your recently exhibited at the Top Drawer show in London. Can you tell us about that? What was the reaction to your designs?

Top Drawer was a fantastic show for Eloise Hall. Unlike other exhibitors who use a standard set up, our stand is an installation based on nature with branches for shelves and the cards are displayed on two large silver birch trees. Nature is brought to life at the show. It takes hours to put together but its definitely worth it in order to stand out! The new designs were very well received and we’re really exciting to now be working with the Papyrus, a large chain in the USA.

You currently specialise in nature-inspired designs. What inspires you about this theme?

Nature is a wonderful sanctuary from the bustle of everyday life. Down here is Somerset, my studio is surrounded by fields and flowers and I love to watch how they change with the seasons. I’m also interested in the symbolic meaning behind each species, for example Koi Carp for fortune, two butterflies for love, butterflies in general for renewal and rebirth and dragonflies for living for the moment.

You designs incorporate beautiful, elegant collages, which are very unique. What can you tell us about what inspired the style used on Eloise Hall cards and gifts?

As part of my millinery studies, I undertook a fashion illustration course and the style of my work is inspired by a technique studied on this course. I’m influenced by huge array of artists, I particularly admire Matisse and also the paper cutter Rob Ryan. Other sources include floristry, gardens, botanical drawings and a life long fascination with the East.

Eloise Hall cards and prints use high quality papers and bright, colourful decoration. What can you tell us about the materials and craftsmanship involved in creating the range?

The finished product is extremely important and it must feel wonderful to receive or use. There’s a lot of time and energy on every element to make sure the end result is great. Whether it is the shade of cream for the paper, the size of the butterfly on a particular design or even the colour of the barcode, it has all been highly considered! We use luxury stock from one of the top quality paper mills in the UK for every element of our products including our envelopes.

Why should people shop with you? What makes you different?

I design my products to be beautiful and also to have a hidden meaning. The meaning is subtly displayed on the products with written explanations. Much of my inspiration comes from Eastern traditions. My aim is for you to appreciate them in layers, as lovely to look at or because of the meanings, or for both. For example, Koi Carp for good luck or Dragonflies for living for the moment.

We LOVE independents and think more people should be supporting them. Why do you think people should shop with independent businesses like yours?

Independents are the lifeblood of the UK. They provide an amazing array of individual and enticing products that we should be celebrating, enjoying and using. Britain’s small businesses are a creative and talented bunch, in fact we lead the world in terms of card design so lets be proud!

Last but not least, what’s your favourite independent business and why?

Sipsmith, London’s first distillery for nearly 200 years. Its my husband’s business so I’m biased but the gin is pretty good!

Thank You Eloise.

Now you’ve read the interview, take a look at the Eloise Hall cards and gifts featured here in the Piccadilly Lane directory.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 29/02/16
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A First Look at the New Designs of 2016

A Sneak Peek at New Designs of 2016 Coming Soon.

Every new year brings the excitement of fresh, new things and for the card & gift industry this means the launch of new designs of 2016.

This weekend the card & gift insiders are all flocking to London to see the industry’s best designers and makers showcasing their new products at a trade show called Top Drawer.

At this show, products that will be gracing online shops, high street stores and indie boutiques in the coming weeks and months are being seen for the very first time.

Amongst the group of designers and makers taking part in the show are members of our very own Piccadilly Lane community.

Now normally you’d have to wait weeks and months to see the new designs but in today’s post we’re sharing a sneak peek at some of the lovely new designs of 2016.

Rocket68 Cards.

new designs of 2016 : rocket68 cards for top drawer

Rocket68 Cards will be unveiling their trademark retro style in a new range of greeting crdas called ‘Windowbox’. The collection features 18 spectacular floral designs blooming for special occasions and correspondence. Set on sunlit window sills these window boxes are adorned with radiant floral, cacti and succulent displays. Each card is illustrated by Jill White, founder and chief of Rocket68 Cards. Fans of retro design will love the fresh vintage-inspired colour palette and slight distressed look, which adds authentic retro charm to the Spring & Summer vibe.

See Rocket68 Cards in the Piccadilly Lane directory.

Always Sparkle.

always sparkle new cards for top drawer spring 2016

Always Sparkle will be launching 3 exciting new card ranges. Keep your eyes peeled for ‘Sparkle’, a collection of 24 cards with a striking font and stylish glitter gold border. Contemporary designs for birthdays and occasions these cards will be the perfect pick for the glamorous people in your life; those fabulous individuals that deserve a little sparkle in their life.

See Always Sparkle in the Piccadilly Lane directory.

Kali Stileman.

top drawer spring 2016 exhibitors the square card company

Kali Stileman will be showcasing ‘Little People’, a set of 21 new greetings cards featuring children’s hobbies and games. Alongside old favourites such as spacemen, super heroes and fairies, the collection also includes: bug boy, DJ, martial arts for the coolest kids on the block. To match the cards Kali Stileman will also be introducing co-ordinated gift wrap in rocking horse and super hero themes. Bright, bold designs that kids will adore.

See Kali Stileman in the Piccadilly Lane directory.

Eloise Hall.

Eloise Hall Cards Aganpanthus Better Soon

Following a hugely successful year Eloise Hall will be unveiling new greeting cards that deliver the distinctive, yet delicate designs that have become so popular. With growing global interest in Eloise’s designs we can expect to see more of these stunning hand-crafted collages, complete with meaningful sentiments and hidden messages woven into the design.

See Eloise Hall in the Piccadilly Lane directory.

Coulson Macleod.

Coulson Macleod 18th Birthday Card

Our favourite art studio is expanding their collection of greeting cards, with new additions to their hugely popular ‘The Truth Hurts’ card collection. The modern typographic cards in stylish black and white, bring fun and laughter to any birthday celebration and will continue to make us smile with the new designs of 2016.

See Coulson Macleod in the Piccadilly Lane directory.

Five Dollar Shake Presents ‘Counting Stars’.

Counting Stars Montage

Last but not least our lovely Five Dollar Shake will be introducing their new sister company ‘Counting Stars’. A boutique company specialising in contemporary stationery and fashion accessories made with a little stardust. Designed for creative, free-spirited souls the Counting Stars collection encourages individual style and a positive outlook on life. With a sense of adventure, spirituality, romance, magic and fun, we can expect to see beautiful stationery, precious stone dream bracelets, boho beach bags and fashionable ephemeral tattoos.

See Five Dollar Shake in the Piccadilly Lane directory.

Posted by Charlotte 8:00 15/01/16
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Spreading Smiles: Thinking of You Week 2015 Has Arrived.

Spread Smiles to the Ones You Adore with Thinking of You Week 2015.

Piccadilly Lane’s card community is once again excited to be supporting Thinking of You Week 2015.

What’s ‘Thinking of You Week’ you ask?

Well, quite simply, it’s a special week dedicated to spreading a little joy.

Running from the 21st – 27th September, the event aims to show the emotional power of sending and receiving greeting cards.

It’s a way to step away from your computer, your work and your chores, so you can focus on connecting and re-connecting with the special people in your world.

It’s been scientifically proven that receiving a hand-written greeting card makes people feel more special than receiving instant texts, emails or Facebook messages.

So this is the perfect week to turn the science into action.

Use Thinking of You Week 2015 to connect with your friends and family to make them smile.

How You Can Get Involved in Thinking of You Week 2105.

Getting involved is super simple. Just send 7 cards across the week. That’s it!

The Piccadilly Lane residents are making it even more fun with a fabulous array of card designs perfect for the occasion.

Pop over to Love from Lemonade and you’ll get free delivery when you choose 7 cards from their super sweet illustrated collection.

Thinking of you Week Offer at Love From Lemonade

Or maybe you’ll choose one of the new “ready to personalise” Bubbles cards from Kali Stileman.

kali stileman bubbles cards

You might even want to add a little sparkle to the mix, with a handmade card from Five Dollar Shake.

Five Dollar Shake Cards

Whatever your taste, Thinking of You Week 2015 is a perfect time to stop what you’re doing and send some messages of fun, friendship and love.

So, don’t delay. Start picking the cards you want to send to the amazing people in your life.

Posted by Charlotte 14:51 21/09/15
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Fab 3 in the Running for Greeting Card Award

Fingers-Crossed the Piccadilly Pack Take Home a Greeting Card Award.

At Piccadilly Lane we want to lead you to the very best websites for indie shopping. So you can imagine how pleased we are when we hear not 1, not 2 but 3 of our lovely Lane residents are in the running for a prestigious award for their greeting card designs; a sure sign of excellence in their field we think!

The Henries Awards (the Oscars of the greetings industry) are awarded annually to the very best greeting card designers. Chosen by a panel of retailers and industry bods, these highly respected awards are a sign of original, high quality design and we’re delighted to see some of our fave card companies in the running.

So which Piccadilly Lane residents are eagerly awaiting their chance to take home a greeting card award?

First up is Rocket68 shortlisted for their fabulous Zoo Buddies range in the ‘Best Children’s Range’ category. Rocket 68’s designer Jill White has been shortlisted for the greeting card award along with fellow Piccadilly Lane resident Kali Stileman, nominated for their ‘Animal Transport’ range. While we think they both deserve to win, we’ll have to wait till 8th October for the final result.

Our 3rd finalist is the fabulous Five Dollar Shake who are nominated in not 1 but 2 categories. Known for their fabulous use of glitter and embellishments it’s not surprising that once again they are nominated in two Christmas categories: ‘Best Christmas Box or Pack’ and Best Christmas Counter Cards Range’ for their ‘Ombre’ Christmas collections.

There’s another month to go but we wish them all well and hope they have a fabulous evening at the awards party.

 

Posted by Charlotte 16:09 7/09/15
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