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Speed-Dating with Dragons 2 - Relationships Blossom!

“A week on from our Speed-Dating 2 event and business romance is blossoming with our loved-up Dragons and the publishers from the Den,” a delighted Sharon Little, ceo of the GCA told PG Buzz, referring to the considerable business interest that has ensued following the Speed-Dating with Dragons 2 event, which took place a week last Friday.

The retailer Dragons who participated in the event from large players (such as Sainsbury’s, National Trust, Oliver Bonas and Scribbler) to smaller groups and indies said that they would be planning to place orders as a result of what they saw.

While Paul Jarman of Creased Cards in Brighton would probably win the prize for placing the highest number of orders, selecting 10 publishers as being ‘definites’ to make it onto his card racks, others would not be far behind him.

David Wertheim, owner of card publisher Ezen has struck lucky at both GCA Speed-Dating with Dragons events. “We met with Frosts Garden Centre buyers at last year’s Dragon’s event. They showed interest and we had liaised with Alexis via email afterwards. But sometimes, one meeting doesn’t quite do the trick. This time, with Karen Denton, the newly appointed buyer participating, I was able to update her – she said she would like to consider our art prints alongside our greeting cards!”

David also came up trumps with Between the Lines with buyer Ellie Kleinlercher telling PG Buzz on the day that she was planning to order from 5-6 of the companies she saw.

“We have been in correspondence with Between the Lines for over a year now. Several phone calls and emails have been exchanged, but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. After liaising with Ellie to confirm the ranges she is interested, we’ve just sent our top sellers from three of our ranges, and it looks as though, thanks to Dragons Den 2, that we will be able to start working with Between the Lines.”

‘Dragon’, Mark Janson-Smith, managing director of Postmark thoroughly enjoyed his 12 speed dates with publishers. “I have already placed one order (The Pattern Book Press) and expect to place some more once I have had time to go through my goody bag of samples!”

Nick Crowe, partner of The Pattern Book Press was delighted that as a result of the event an order was placed for Postmark’s Turnham Green and East Dulwich stores “with the possibility of rolling out to all five stores later in the year. We’re thrilled!”

Since the event the publisher has also had interest from Paul Jarman at Creased Cards in Brighton while Red Card’s Sally Matson “also promises to put us in touch with her business partner at the Petworth Bookshop in Sussex. Fingers crossed!” said Nick.

Anna Victoria was also publisher who is loved up about her experience in the ‘den’. As Anna Victoria revealed: “National Trust, Unit 7 and Between the Lines are keen to order. We’re also in talks with Sainsbury’s!”

Tabi Marsh, director of Papilio (Heritage) in Thornbury said that being a ‘Dragon’ cemented her decision to re-arrange her shop to accommodate more cards and has placed orders as a result.

“I’ve now got a spinner from one of the companies that pitched to me (Megan Claire), plus another from Toasted Crumpet, a company I have ordered from once before at PG Live last year, but never got around to doing another order,” revealed Tabi. With two additional spinners already installed in her shop as a result of the event and a third is arriving by the end of this week. “I’ll also be placing some smaller orders over the next few months from some of the other suppliers who pitched to me and have already requested more details from a company I didn’t get to talk to, but who put a sample card in my goody bag that I took away.”

Sounds like Lucy Sticka and Heidi Richards, co-owners Little Paperie in Ashbourne may have to do some reorganising of her store as a result of the day.

“We are a bit spoilt for choice as we saw so many fab designers. We will definitely be placing an order with Rosie from Proud Couture as we think her cards will fit perfectly in Little Paperie.

We’re pretty sure there are a few other publishers that we will also be placing orders with over the next few weeks too! It’s just so hard to choose as most of the brands we saw would fit perfectly in Little Paperie, we just need a shop twice the size!”

Meanwhile at Sainsbury’s, senior buyer Carly Pearson confirmed that she is “in the process of arranging a follow up day to have some more in depth conversations with a couple of the publishers we met at the event and who left us samples.”

Deadpan Cards were delighted to receive an order from Creased Cards in Brighton while a leading multiple who participated has told Neil Taylor, founder of the publisher that “They would do a test order, but I don’t want to talk about that until the deal’s done!”

Rosy James of Papagrazi was another publisher to receive an order for Creased Cards “as well as great feedback and encouragement.”

Janna Cossettini of Deckled Edge has high hopes that John Procter of Scribbler’s request for samples of her children’s collections, particularly Dinky Doo results in an order.

“He was impressed with my designs for older ages 9-12 which are printed on Shiro Alga Carta, an ecological paper, which uses the damaging algal blooms of the Venice lagoon!!”

Janna has also heard back from another five of the dragons following the event.

As Lucy Spence of Lucy Maggie Designs summed up, in addition to any orders, the event provided “a real confidence boost and one that won’t wear off any time soon!”

See all the photos of the event here

This article first appeared on PGBuzz.net