Discover the Latest Opportunities for Your Card & Gift Business

Are you seeking opportunities for your business?

Maybe you want to take part in more awards to get your business noticed?

Or want to show your expertise to the industry?

Perhaps you’re looking for promotional opportunities that will shine a light on your latest products?

Opportunities come in many different forms, but they all provide a great chance to grow your business.

Card & Gift Network’s monthly Opportunity List is a round-up of chances for card & gift businesses to develop.

Let’s look what the month ahead has in store…

General Opportunities

Waterstones Urging Greater Sustainability in Calendars

PG Buzz has reported on a recent talk given by Waterstones’ buyer Hazel Walker, which calls for greater sustainability in calendars and dated products. The fascinating article, which can be found on the PG Buzz website.

The article also gives some interesting statistics about which types of calendar sell best within the store; including an interest in local products.

For anyone considering designing calendars for 2021 and beyond this article suggests great opportunities for products that consider the environment.

Greetings Today Report Paperworld’s Focus on the Green Office.

Greetings Today have reported that Paperworld, the international trade fair for paper, office supplies and writing instruments has been addressing the “green office” theme for many years but is due to highlight the issue even more in 2020.

On Tuesday, January 28 2020, the fair will hold a “Sustainable Office Day” dedicated to sustainable products and environmentally conscious purchasing. Lectures will be setting an example to the entire industry, showing buyers practical solutions to staying green with their stationery purchases.

As with Waterstones’ call for sustainable calendars, this report shows that the opportunity for companies that have strong eco-credentials are going to grow in 2020 and beyond.

Read the article here

Sustainable Materials for New Products

Continuing the sustainable theme that is popping up again and again on this month’s Opportunity List, trend researcher Owen Wright has written an interesting article on sustainable materials.

The 5 materials highlighted are rammed earth (or Taipa), mycelium, Piñatex, Solidwool and Totomoxtle.

For anyone looking to develop more environmentally friendly products in 2020, it’s worth reading this article and researching each of these materials in more depth. They may offer the opportunity to advance your product lines and reach a new customer base.

Read the article here.

Stationery Matters Shares Paypal Research into Social Selling

For anyone selling (or considering selling) online Stationery Matters has shared some interesting research from Paypal.

The report suggests that the number of UK businesses selling on social media and apps is set to double over the next 6 months.

The research shows the growing interest in mobile shopping amongst consumes and highlights, with an average monthly spend of £71. This research shows a growing opportunity for card and gift businesses to expand their online selling channels.

See the article here

Trend Hunter Publish December 2019’s Top Toys

Even though this Christmas is still to come, many card & gift businesses will be already thinking and planning for the 2020 festive season. With this in mind, it’s worth taking a look at Trend Hunter’s summary of this year’s top toy trends.

The list shows many opportunities that can be found for new products lines. Including customisable products, nostalgic toys, issue-related products (inclusiveness, feminism etc.) and gift products that incorporate new technology.

While many designers and makers might not want to get tied to trends these reports can be useful for highlighting bigger themes that consumers are interested in; themes which can then be developed in any number of unique and interesting ways by out industry’s creatives.

Awards & Competitions

Gift of the Year Awards

gift of the year

Image credit: Giftware Assoction

The Giftware Association has announced an extension in its deadline for this year’s Gift of the Year awards. Companies now have till midday on the 6th December to enter their fabulous new gift products.

As a high profile event, Gift of the Year is a great opportunity to get your gift products in front of buyers, retailers, and key industry experts who make up the judging panel. To be upfront I am one of this year’s judges, so I am probably a little biased, but I honestly wouldn’t have agreed to be a judge if I didn’t believe in the competition and have high regard for the Giftware Association.

Now in its 42nd year, the competition celebrates innovation in the home and gift industry.

With 20 categories, including Cards & Wrap, Stationery, Ethical Gift and Design & Craft, the awards are a great way to get your products and business noticed.

Entries start at £55 for members of the GA, JDA, BTAA, NAJ and DesignGAP.

Deadline: Extended till midday 6th December 2019.

For more information on the Awards please visit the Gift of the Year website.

24th Annual Webby Awards

Established in 1996, The Webbys is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), a 2000+ member judging body comprised of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries, creative celebrities,  former Webby Winners, nominees and other Internet professionals.

Reflecting the tremendous growth of the Internet, The Webbys now honours excellence in 7 major media types: Websites, Video, Advertising, Media & PR, Social, Apps, Mobile, & Voice, Games, and Podcasts.

If your online offering deserves a little awards attention be sure to check out the Webby’s website for application details.

Deadline: 20th December 2019.

Creative Retail Awards are Open for Entries

The Creative Retail Awards are an annual event designed to recognise and reward innovation and excellence in retail design and experience.

Organised by the Shop & Display Equipment Association (SDEA) and Retail Focus, the awards span a number of disciplines, including store design, surfaces, display systems, innovative technology, lighting and more.

The awards are judged by a panel of industry leaders and experts.

Entry costs are:

  • Retailers – Free of charge
  • SDEA Members – Free of charge (Max 10 Entries)
  • Non-SDEA Members £99.00+VAT

To see the full list of award categories & take part, visit the Creative Retail Awards website.

Deadline: 31st December 2019.

FSB Search for UK’s Most Outstanding Small Businesses

The FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards recognise and celebrate the huge contribution that smaller businesses and the self-employed make to the UK.

Entering awards provides you with an opportunity to market your business in a way that attracts new business, collaborators and top-quality employees. People are influenced by awards when searching for products or services. Everybody likes an ‘award-winning’ business.

The awards are free to enter and you do not have to be an FSB member to apply.

Deadline: Various (10th January 2020 – 14th February 2020).

Find out more on the FSB awards website.

The British Quality Foundation (BQF) UK Excellence Awards 2020

BQF’s awards celebrate organisations and individuals that represent excellence, whether it be through customer experience, employee engagement or leadership. Our awards are open to all types of organisations – regardless of size, sector or industry.

For 2020 the BQF has added 4 new award categories as part of their ‘Excellence In’ series; bringing more opportunities to showcase commitment to quality.

Deadline: Various (7th February – 31st March 2020).

To find out more and register your interest in applying please visit the BQF website.

The international Bridgeman Studio Award

the art of diversity

Image Credit: Bridgeman Studio Award

The International Bridgeman Studio Award celebrateS Black History month in the UK and promotes the Art of Diversity. This year’s prize is a £5,000 cash commission for the design of a limited edition print and tote bag to be sold online on Artsy and in a London Gallery exhibition in 2020.

There are also 5 runner-up prizes worth £500 each. The runners up will also have the opportunity to exhibit their works in a London gallery. 50% of the sales of the limited edition prints will go towards the charity Mama Biashara.

Deadline: 16th December 2019.

Artists & designers can find out more about the competition and submit their entries at the BSA19 website.

the opportunity list december 2019

Business Support Opportunity

Rising Retail Masterclass

Rising Retail is a Masterclass for independent gift shop retailers and leading experts to come together to share best practices that they can then take home to improve their businesses and enhance their high streets.

The packed programme will cover:

  • Trends – What’s coming and how to take advantage
  • Visual merchandising – How to create exciting shopping experiences
  • Lessons from the top – Tips from majors that indies can benefit from
  • Staff – Recruiting, motivating, and retaining great retail teams
  • Making Mistakes  – Classic mistakes Indie Retailers can learn from
  • Going Green – How retailers can reduce their environmental impact
  • Instagram – Retailer tips for growing sales through social media
  • Social Selling – How using online groups can boost sales
  • Google My Business – How to boost footfall to your store
  • How to build an engaged community for £50
  • Negotiating – how to cut costs and save money as an independent

The Rising Retail event has been rescheduled for Monday 1st June 2020.

More information will be shared about the new date as it arrives.


Industry Events

BCTF Adds Day for the General Public

The Giftware Association have reported that this year’s British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF) will open its doors to the general public for one day only on Saturday the 4th April 2020.

For the first time in 45 years, this traditionally trade-only event will be open to non-trade craft fans. Reflecting the growing demand for British crafts and art, show organisers are keen for their creative exhibitors to share their love of arts and crafts with more people.

For those who would like to be part of the show, you find out more at the BCTF website.

TV Opportunities


britain's most gifted jewellery maker

Image credit: Twenty Twenty

‘All That Glitters’ (working title) is a brand new talent search to find Britain’s most talented jeweller. Produced by Twenty Twenty for BBC Two, it will feature a specially built workshop where jewellers battle it out to make real clients’ dreams come true, transforming emotion into objects of beautiful jewellery that last forever. 

The 6-part contest is looking for 8 talented jewellers from all walks of life. Applications are open to amateur or professional jewellers, aged 18 or over – everyone is welcome to apply, provided they meet the Eligibility Requirement set out in the Application

Deadline 13th December

For more information & to apply visit the Twenty Twenty Casting page.

Netflix Series Seeks Glassblowers

blown away

Image credit: marblemedia

marblemedia is casting glassblowers from around the world for season 2 of Blown Away. The critically acclaimed Netflix series sees glass artists race against the clock to compete for a grand prize and to be named the Blown Away champion.

Applicants must:
– Be able to travel to Canada on or around February 1st and stay until approximately March 15th, 2020.
– Have a valid passport.
– Be at least 19 years of age.
– Be proficient in speaking and comprehending English.
– Be willing to undergo a background check.
– Be passionate about art and have a sense of adventure!

Deadline: 31st October 2019

If you’re interested in taking part you can fill out the application form. For more information email [email protected].

Previous applicants are encouraged to re-apply.

Promotion Opportunities

Small Business Saturday UK is this weekend, 7th December 2019.

Small Business Saturday UK falls this weekend on the 7th of December.

It’s a fantastic day to celebrate & support small businesses, with a campaign that will reach millions of people across the country.

This year the event incorporates a number of activities and there are lots of ways to get involved from collaborating with local business networks to joining the Small Business Saturday bus tour.

There’s always lots of activity on social media too, which helps to encourage members of the public to shop small.

You can find out more about the event and download logos and the marketing pack from the Small Business Saturday website.

find your local hero

Indie Retail Launch #INDIEXMASWINDOWS Instagram Campaign

Indie Retail UK has announced a new campaign that celebrates all the hard work and creativity that independent retailers put into creating their shop window displays.

Launched on Instagram, the campaign gives shops the opportunity to share their shop windows and have them reposted onto the Indie Retail Instagram page.

The campaign will be using the hashtag #IndieXmasWindows to build on the buzz and excitement that surrounds Christmas; providing a great opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness that independent retailers bring to the high street.

To take part in the Instagram challenge post a photo of your Christmas shop window tagging @shopindieuk and use the hashtag #IndieXmasWindows. I’d love to see your festive creations too so please feel free to tag me @cardandgiftnetwork as well!!

Opportunities for Artists & Designers

Makers Wanted for Rising Stars 2020.

Rising Stars is a curated, national platform to support and champion students and recent graduates from BA and MA crafts, design and applied arts programmes across the UK; Aiming to offer new makers their first step into the market place, through a curated, selling exhibition.

The programme will consist of the Rising Stars exhibition at New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham; professional development including knowledge transfer and skills exchange, a national symposium; and a catalogue to act as a promotional tool for the selected makers.

One of the makers will also receive a professional development award of £500 and a solo exhibition at New Ashgate in 2021.

Deadline: 13th January 2020

For more information and to download the application form please visit the New Ashgate Gallery website.

Host a Selvedge Workshop

From week-long workshops in the South of France to half-day guided tours through otherwise unseen textile archives, Selvedge events form a huge part of the Selvedge community.

The Selvedge team are currently putting together a series of workshops for 2020 and this year they will be opening applications for workshop hosts. If you are a practising designer, textile expert or maker and think you have a great idea for a workshop, Selvedge wants to hear from you.

To apply email a short 200-word description of your workshop idea along with 5 images of your work to Catherine Harris on [email protected] if your application is successful the team will be in touch.

Deadline: 31st December 2019.

To find out more please visit the Selvedge website.

Decorating Dissidence Guest Editor Seeks Queer Craft

Decorating Dissidence has invited Daniel Fountain to be a guest editor for a special issue relating to queer craft, due for publication in Spring 2020.  They are looking for pieces of writing, exhibition reviews, maker interviews, artwork (or creative responses more broadly) around themes of queer identity and the legacies modernist craft.

Proposals from individuals identifying as trans, non-binary and BAME are particularly welcome. If you’re interested in pitching for the publication check out the previous issues for an idea of the submission types on the Decorating Dissidence website.

Deadline: 13th December 2019.

Ideas and queries can then be emailed directly to Daniel on [email protected].

Like Opportunities for Your Business?

Well, that’s it for the December 2019 Opportunities List.

I hope you’ve found some inspiration in this month’s updates.

Check back next month for more opportunities to grow your business.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!