Discover the Latest Opportunities for Your Card & Gift Business

Do you wish you had more opportunities for your business?

Perhaps you want to win competitions or awards to boost your profile.

Maybe you dream of seeing your products featured in the press?

Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, but they all provide a great chance to grow your business.

Which is why I created The Opportunity List, a monthly round-up of opportunities that provide a chance for greetings and giftware companies to learn a new skill or reach a new audience.

So without further ado, lets take a look at some of this month’s best business opportunities.

General Opportunities

Small Business Saturday (UK) Bus Tour

The Small Business Saturday UK bus tour is taking to the road again in 2019 and is aiming to be bigger and better than ever.

Here in the UK, Small Business Saturday falls on 7th December this year so we can expect the bus tour to take part around that date.

Each year the bus tour visits a number of towns and cities across the UK, playing host to activities, workshops and exhibitions from small businesses.

Small Business Saturday is a big event for independents so could present a great opportunity for networking and promotion.

If you would like to get involved you’ll find the information to contact organisers on the Small Business Saturday website.

Just a Card at Scotland’s Trade Fair

The Just a Card campaign will be heading to Glasgow SEC later this month to take part in Scotland’s Trade Fair.

The team will be chatting about the campaign, handing out free window stickers to retailers and selling their pin badges to help raise funds.

The Just a Card campaign helps retailers and small business show the importance of small purchase to small businesses.

For anyone attending the show meeting the team is a great opportunity to see how small businesses working together can make a big impact.

Scotland’s Trade Fair runs from 22nd-23rd September and the Just a Card team will be at Stand J50

Find out more about visiting the show and register for your ticket on their website.

Giftware Association Hosting Social Media Workshops

The Giftware Association has announced 2 upcoming events covering the potential Social Media can open up for creative businesses.

The 4-hour workshops are ‘Creating a Social Strategy for Your Business’ and ‘Facebook and Instagram Advertising’ which will be held in London on the 24th and 25th September respectively.

Spaces for each course are strictly limited so book quickly if you’re interested.

You can find out more (including how to book a place) on the Giftware Association blog.


Round-Up of Business Awards with Approaching Deadlines!

Awards are a great way to get extra promotion for your business. These 4 award programmes have deadlines in the next 2-6 weeks.

Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – deadline midday 10th September 2019. Find out more.

Amazon Growing Business Awards – deadline 12th September 2019. Find out more.

The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 Awards – deadline 27th September 2019. Find out more.

The Good Web Guide Website of the Year

The Good Web Guide is inviting everyone from established players to kitchen table startups, bloggers and influencers to enter the Website of the Year awards.

Now in its 10th year, the competition is a chance to raise your digital presence and get your website in front of journalists, influencers and potential investors.

Entry prices start at £75 + VAT and shortlisted entrants will be invited to attend the Awards’ reception in November free of charge.

Find out more on the Good Web Guide website.

Extended Deadline is Friday 20th September.

Best Small Shops 2019 Open for Entries

Independent retailers from all sectors across the UK are invited to enter the Best Small Shops competition 2019.

25 of the most impressive applications will be shortlisted and invited to attend the Best Small Shops reception in November 2019.

For more information & to see how you can enter the competition for free, visit the Indie Retail website.

Deadline: 9th September 2019.

The Lovie Awards Search for the Best in the European Web

The Lovie Awards honour the best of the European Internet and is sister to the International Webby Awards.

Lovie Winners are selected by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a global organisation of industry experts and technology innovators. The online public also choose The People’s Lovie Award Winners by casting ballots for their favourite Finalists during the annual voting period.

The Deadline has been extended to the 13th September and this year sees new categories in advertising, social media and more.

Find out more about the awards and how to enter on the Lovie website.

Deadline 13th September.

FSB Search for UK’s Most Outstanding Small Businesses

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is searching for the best of the small businesses in the UK in their Small Business Awards 2020.

More information can be seen about these awards in August’s Opportunity List.

Deadline: Various

Find out more on the FSB website.


Open Call for 2nd Chaiya Art Awards (£10,00 Top Prize)

The biggest art awards in the UK exploring spirituality through art is now open for submissions; with winners in the running for an exhibition at London’s South Bank [email protected]

The Chaiya Art Awards is open to any artist and covers all mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, glass, textiles, mixed media, photography and video. Entrants are invited to be authentic and daring as they respond to the theme.

Full details of the awards, theme, criteria, deadlines and how to enter, can be found at the Chaiya Art Awards website.

Deadline: Early bird entry closes 18th October 2019.

The Hopper Prize

The Hopper Prize is offering 5 individual artist grants in the amount of $1,000.00 USD.

Awarded through an open call art competition, the winners will be chosen by a  jury of leading contemporary curators.

Alongside the main winners, 30 artists will have their work archived on The Hopper Prize website.

Full information on the competition, prizes and application process can be found on the Hopper Prize website.

Gift of the Year Awards Launch

gift of the year

Image credit: Giftware Assoction

The Giftware Association has launched the Gift of the Year 2020 competition.

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.

A 20% discount applies to all entrants until the end of September 2019.

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

the opportunity list september 2019

Business Support Opportunity

Business Support for Up & Coming Makers

Hothouse is a national programme run by the Crafts Council to support makers at the start of their career. This means anyone who has started in the last 4 years.

The Hothouse initiative is a part-time programme run over the course of six months that gives makers the tools they need to build a successful and sustainable craft business.

The deadline is Monday 9th September 2019 so any makers interested in taking part need to act quickly.

Full information on how to apply can be found here.

Information is no longer available as the deadline has expired.

Deadline 9th September.

Industry Events

thinking of you week

Dates Announced for the UK’s Thinking of You Week 2019

The UK Greeting Card Association has announced the dates for this year’s Thinking of You Week.

A week-long celebration of greeting cards, Thinking of You celebrations start on Sunday 22nd September and run till Saturday 28th September.

For card publishers, the event offers an opportunity to spread some goodwill and shine a light on the core value of their products.

Publishers can find a toolkit to take part in the event on the Thinking of You Cards website.

thinking of you week usa

Thinking of You Week in the USA

Image credit: Elizabeth Silver/American Greeting Card Association

Thinking of You Week is also being celebrated in the USA, but starting a day later; the event will run from the 23rd – 29th September 2019.

Sponsored by the American Greeting Card Association,  the event was held for the first time in the USA in 2018 and was such a success that it’s back for its 2nd year.

For more information on America’s Thinking of You Week please visit this website.

Retail Opportunities

Retailer Seekology is Looking for Innovative Stationery Companies

Rebecca Saunders, a retail analyst who has worked for brands including John Lewis, Tiffany and Not on the High Street, is launching a new retail concept that aims to introduce small, up-and-coming brands to consumers.

Saunders is looking for stationery brands with a wellbeing or sustainability slant for the first Seekology store, which will open in South West  London in October 2019; there will also be an eCommerce website for online shoppers.

Seekology is searching for retail partners with products that can help people with their wellbeing. This could be goal-setting, mindfulness, products for new mothers, or notebooks and journals which help with staying healthy.

Stationery Matters magazine has reported that Seekology will be interested in products made from innovative and sustainable materials.

If you’re a stationery company that fits the bill, this could be a great opportunity to partner with a new retailer in the wellbeing field.

Contact Rebecca Saunders via the form on the company website

Natural Trust Seeks Makers

The National Trust has partnered with the Crafts Council to sponsor the 2019 National Trust Artisan & Craft Retail Open Call.

This unique opportunity gives artists, designers and makers that chance to develop a range exclusively for the National Trust.

The winner of the open call will also receive a profile on the Crafts Council Directory for the best UK makers, the opportunity to develop their professional practice at a Crafts Council professional development workshop and a one year subscription to Crafts magazine.

For more information on how to take part please apply via the Crafts Council Dashboard (you will need to create a free account for access).

Deadline: 16th September 2019.

Press Opportunities

Vegan-Focused Businesses Attracting News

BBC News has recently reported a growing interest in vegan products; A trend that goes beyond the kitchen to the world of fashion.

Press interest in this subject could provide a great opportunity for card & gift businesses with vegan products. Particularly if you pitch the original article’s authors with a follow-up piece.

You can read the BBC article here.

Opportunities for Artists & Designers

Artists, Designers & Makers Wanted for Christmas Display

MOSTYN, a contemporary gallery and visual arts centre in Wales has a Christmas Window Commission up for grabs.

For the 10th year in a row, MOSTYN is inviting proposals for their Christmas window display. Giving designers, makers and artists the opportunity to dress its double-fronted art nouveau style windows.

The full brief can be downloaded here

Deadline: 5:30 pm on Sunday 8th September 2019.

Goodwill Opportunity

Ryman’s Vouchers For Classrooms Initiative Continues

rymans vouchers for classrooms

Image credit: Ryman

Until September 21, for every £5 a customer spends they will be given a 50p voucher, which can then be handed in to schools to be redeemed at any of Ryman’s 204 UK stores.

Ryman predict they will be handing out more than £500,000 worth of vouchers; providing valuable support for local schools and teachers.

The Teachers’ union (NASUWT) recently highlighted the funding pressures in schools. A
Study showed more than 64% of teachers said they had bought paper or stationery for the classroom using their own money.

For those of you looking for an opportunity to give back consider making your stationery purchases at Ryman’s while the scheme is in operation so you can help out a school in need.

Like Opportunities for Your Business?

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

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

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