Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Ladder Club

So the wedding went off with a bang. Helen looked beautiful, and myself and the Graphics Girls helped the happy couple celebrate with a drunken knees up to remember. I think I've just about recovered!

Anyway, I'll let Helen fill you in about her big day. For whilst she was busy sunning herself on honeymoon in the sun drenched, picturesque hills of Sicily, I had important Rosie and Radish business to attend to … in Southend.

Yes, I know what you're thinking. To some that may seem like I got the bum deal. But what do you know? I bet you couldn't find 65 greeting card enthusiasts and industry experts with a burning passion for pretty bits of folded paper in Sicily. Nope. I knew where it was at. The Ladder Club Seminar! I was even greeted with some lovely Southend sun on my arrival :-)

The Ladder Club was held at The Cliffs Pavilion in Southend

The Ladder Club is an annual two day event held in Southend, designed to help designers and illustrators (like ourselves) learn everything they need to know about entering the world of greeting card publishing. The first day is dedicated to us newbies, and the second day is for those with a bit more industry experience. Set up by Lynn Tait of the Lynn Tait Gallery 14 years ago, The Ladder Club has grown from strength to strength and has helped many greeting card publishers on their road to success.

The day was jam packed with speakers and suppliers offering advice on all aspects of the industry. After a brief introduction from Sharon from the Greeting Card Association and Warren and Jakki from Progressive Greetings Magazine the fun and games began.

First up were Claire and Karen from Papersalad. They graduated from The Ladder Club nine years ago and have never looked back. As two friends who met at art college, and have now set up a successful business together their story really resonates with ours - They were truly inspirational. They told us of the highs and lows of running your own greeting card business and showed us how determination and hard work really can pay off.

Jeremy From Blue Eyed Sun was next. Jeremy was a great speaker and spent a lot of time talking about marketing, production and financial planning, before scaring the living daylights out of us all and warning us of 'The Valley of Death'. Yeah, thanks Jeremy! Joking aside, Jeremy gave a very honest insight into the world of publishing and provided us with some invaluable financial projections and models that we can use.

The Valley of Death

We heard about Litho (Simon and Nicky from Sherwood Press) and digital printing (Bob from The Imaging Centre) and we were also told how envelopes were made by the lovely Julie from Enveco.

Now I thought I was passionate about all things paper related. That was until Mark from GF Smith took to the stage and showed us what it was really like to have an obsession with the white stuff. This is a man who knows his Callisto Soft White from his Callisto Pearl. The world of paper really is our oyster with this guy as a contact.

Next up Simon, Operations Director from PG Live (a greeting card trade show) made us realise that taking our cards to a trade show is definitely the way the forward. It really is the best way to get our work out there and attract buyers and agents. Which brings me nicely onto our last speaker of the day, a sales agent Ian. Ian told us what to look out for when finding agents to sell our cards, and how getting the right agents can make or break your card sales.

My head was well and truly spinning by the time I boarded the train back up to Newcastle. Armed with my Ladder Club goodie bag (which can only be described as a bag of paper porn) my business partner in crime, fresh from her honeymoon, met me off the train and we retired to the pub. We spent the next few hours eating fish finger sandwiches and going through my pages and pages and pages of Ladder Club notes. With so much information to take in and digest I think I can safely say we both left the pub a bit shell shocked.


A few weeks on we have finally managed to get our head around it all. We are back on track, and more determined than ever to get our Rosie and Radish greeting cards into shops nationwide. The Ladder Club really has given us the push we needed. With lots of hard work ahead, we are aiming to exhibit at our first trade show next year so we had better get cracking. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the seminar, but I made some lovely new friends and it clarified that greeting card publishing is definitely the friendly, creative industry that Rosie and Radish want to be part of. We love it!

Amy Xx

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