Monthly Archives: November 2017

  • Top five charity Christmas card packs

    Posted by Mark on 27/11/17

    With December 1st later this week Christmas is officially about to begin. Although we've been preparing for months we only start putting out Christmas stock in early November with Advents and Christmas card packs first.

    Charity Christmas card packs are hugely popular, and rightly so, as they are not only great to give to friends and family but also support a huge number of brilliant causes across the UK.

    Choosing one can be hard when you're faced with a big selection so here's our top ten.


    Woodmansterne - Conducting Christmas 20 pack of Christmas cards


    5. Woodmansterne - Conducting Christmas

    A fantastic box Christmas cards, designed by Quentin Blake, with proceeds supporting Childline UK.

    Great value too at £7.99 for 20



    ArtPress are incredibly proud to be launching their Royal Academy Collection. The Royal Academy is an independent institution led by distinguished artists and architects whose purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate. This wallet contains 10 cards with matching envelopes of Ian Ritchie's Mary on a Mule with Joseph.4. ArtPress - Ian Ritchie 'Mary and Joseph'


    A very popular charity Christmas card set at Postmark, this simple yet striking design is from Ian Ritchie and is in support of the Royal Academy of Arts




    Art File are immensely proud to support CLIC Sargent and their outstanding work they do across the UK for children with cancer. For every Charity pack sold, 48p will be donated to CLIC. Each pack contains 6 cards and 6 matching envelopes.3.The Art File - Festive Llama

    Next year's big thing, Ilama's have made an appearance this Christmas including this fun and festive pack from The Art File. Supporting CLIC Sargent this pack of six cards retails at £4.99




    2: Caroline Gardner - Christmas Tree Caroline Gardner's wonderful Christmas charity packs are a great way to help support Meningitis Now. For every pack sold 30p is donated to the trust. 5 cards are included in each pack with 5 matching white envelopes. The cards are printed on FSC board with a foil and embossed finish.

    This wonderful Christmas charity pack supports the work of Meningitis Now and impress family and friends this Christmas with each card enjoying a foil and embossed finish. £5 for five cards.




    An exceptional Christmas card charity pack from The Almanac Gallery, helping raise much needed funds for The Royal Marsden Charity. 8 high quality cards are included this pack with matching white envelopes1: The Almanac Gallery - Collection 

    The Almanac Gallery produce a fantastic range of charity Christmas cards each year including this wonderful traditional set. Supporting a wide range of charities they card packs come in a variety of sizes 8, 12 and 20 and range in price from £5.50 - £8.50

  • Independent Thinking.......Spooky thoughts with Postmark

    Posted by Mark on 01/11/17

    Hi all,

    Hope you all had a fun Halloween.

    Here's the latest in our 'Independent Thinking' article for PG Buzz

    See you next time

    Mrs PM

    Independent Thinking: Spooky stuff from Postmark

    Leona (centre), Aoife and Dannan Janson-Smith,
    all geared up for Halloween – no sign of Mark!

    Mrs Postmark (Leona) is a huge fan of Halloween. In fact as I’m writing this she’s happily decorating the house with bats, huge fake spiders, skulls and a whole host of other spooky creatures ahead of our annual Halloween get together with neighbours and friends before we head out ‘trick o treating’ with the kids who share her demonic enthusiasm in equal measure.

    I honestly couldn’t understand her passion for it when we first met until she explained that growing up in Ireland Halloween was a really big thing. “American rubbish” I’d say, but of course, as she happily pointed out, I was very wrong. Halloween is in fact deeply rooted in Celtic culture and has its origins in the Irish festival of Samhain, all of which found its way to the US.

    Postmark is a fan of this Pango Productions’ Halloween card.

    Postmark is a fan of this Pango
    Productions’ Halloween card.

    She’s got a whole stash of stories about hacking Jack O Lanterns out of turnips (very hard apparently, no pumpkins in Ireland in 1982), wishing for the ring in the Barm Brack and always getting the rag (don’t ask me, it all sounds a bit crazy) and roving around collecting money and sweets dressed in a variety of costumes which seemed to be almost entirely based around a black bin bag sprayed with left over Christmas snow and a cheap plastic mask.

    However, her enthusiasm for the 31st of October is a bit infectious and since we’ve had the kids it’s become a very fun time of the year for us. And we don’t seem to be alone. Halloween has really taken off as a calendar event for UK retailers in the last five years, with consumers expected to spend almost £500m on decorations, food and costumes this year alone.*

    The stockrooms are piling up with Christmas cards ready to go out on display when the time is right.

    The stockrooms are piling up with Christmas
    cards ready to go out on display when the time is right.

    There still isn’t much call for Halloween cards, and I doubt it’s ever going to be a huge card giving event, but in solidarity with Mrs Postmark’s love of the scary season, this year we decided to stock a very small selection of the cute Pango Halloween cards, which have gone down really well with our customers.

    Aside from all the spooking goings on this is also the time of year when many smaller retailers start thinking about putting out Christmas stock. We’re pretty traditional at Postmark and try to wait until the week of November 1, but in the last few years we’ve seen an increase in requests for Christmas stock in some of our shops from about mid-October onwards.

    I know for a lot of retailers the decision of when to put out Christmas stock can be really tricky and getting it right is a real art. Go too early and you risk annoying those customers who are fed up with Christmas lasting four months, go too late and you’ll lose out to competitors.

    Timing it just right to turn the shop festive is something Mark Janson-Smith wrestles with. Seen here (right) with Scribbler’s Eliot James (left) and House of Cards’ Nigel Williamson at the judging for The Calies, UK Calendar Awards.

    Timing it just right to turn the shop festive is
    something Mark Janson-Smith wrestles with.
    Seen here (right) with Scribbler’s Eliot James (left)
    and House of Cards’ Nigel Williamson at the judging for
    The Calies, UK Calendar Awards.

    We hold back mainly because that is what the majority of our customers want. They are pretty clear that they’re happy to wait and will actively say how nice it is to come into the shops and not have to look at Christmas in October. However, as already mentioned, there is a small, but significant, number who are asking for Christmas cards, sometimes as early as September.

    To help balance all these needs we’ve started to direct any early Christmas shoppers to our website where we open our Christmas shop in late September. Plus, we also keep a selection of Christmas cards to hand for them to browse instore if they ask.

    This does mean getting our Christmas orders in and processed as early as we can (late August/early September) but this online/instore division seems to be working well for now. However that’s not to say in future years we won’t find ourselves staggering our Christmas roll out at different dates in different stores to ensure our customers are happy.

    Christmas is coming… to Postmark.

    Christmas is coming… to Postmark.

    Apart from customer feedback, one of the other major reasons we don’t put Christmas stock out until as late as possible is the impact it has on everyday card sales. Shelves packed with Christmas stock may generate interest but unless they are selling through it means less space for everyday items, which people are keener to buy there and then. Getting that fine balance right – gauging the point when a Christmas bay will generate more revenue per day than everyday stock in that same space is always front of mind for me at this time of year.

    To my mind, whenever you decide to set the Christmas ball rolling is really down to when you think you can start selling it. For me I’m happy to hold back as long as I can and then see the sales come through right from day one of the roll out. Admittedly, this can be hard to do when you’re facing a stock room full to bursting, but I think it’s a decision customers appreciate it is one that will benefit in the long run.

    Halloween may be when you are supposed to be spooked out, but for me ensuring you get Christmas right is far more scary!

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