The team at International Cards and Gifts introduce the award-winning, family-run firm, home to Barley Bear – find them at Hall 3 Stand M10-N11
Tell us a little about IC&G’s background.
In early 1991 Clive and Glynne Wagstaff started trading from their garage, producing Christian greeting cards. In 2004, their sons Ian and Simon formed their own company trading as International Cards and Gifts Limited servicing the general High Street market.
IC&G is now recognised as one of the fastest-growing UK greeting card publishers in the industry, having become both a friend and well-known trusted supplier of greeting cards to independent retailers.
Throughout years of trading, the company has always focused on supplying quality products to independent retailers and working with them, to develop products of the highest quality at competitive prices.
With this achieved, the company has been awarded the Henries Gold Award for Best Service to the Independent retailer for a total of six successive years – something that the whole IC&G team are immensely proud of. There’s also a dedicated sales team to support and visit customers and we strive to deliver orders within 24 hours of receipt. The design department constantly work to produce regular new and exciting designs, including seasonal products to promote sales. The head office in Ferndown, Dorset, employs more than 50 members of staff, and all designs are artworked, printed and finished in the UK.
Tell us about the aims and values of IC&G.
As a family-owned and run business, we endeavour to include our family values in our business model, so it’s important to us to listen to our staff and our customers. We include both in our business journey and keep moving forward as a publisher that supplies cards for the independent market.
Being polite and caring is also at the heart of what we do, which is why we often include small gestures like a few sweets or a thank you note with packed orders and a chocolate Advent calendar leading up Christmas.
What about new ranges?
Having launched our lovely Barley Bear greeting cards five years ago, International Cards and Gifts has now created a range of wonderful fluffy cuddly teddy bears [find out more in our gifts for card shops feature] October 2022 saw the arrival of the company’s first gift product, and we look forward to seeing how our gift ranges develop during 2023 and beyond. For January 2023 we released eight new card collections that were on display from the New Year onwards, and we plan to continue to launch new card products on a regular basis.
What are your best selling ranges?
Our key products are Relations cards and Relation Age cards. Alongside the caption cards we enjoy success with our Year You Were Born and Month You Were Born card ranges. The details and information in each card really resonate with all our independent retail customers and card buying general public.
Tell us about your religious cards collection.
Religious cards are still published under the larger umbrella of IC&G and the range covers the most popular everyday and seasonal captions as well as traditional Christian occasions such as Baptism, Christening, Confirmation and First Communion.
As the Christian bookshops are predominantly located away from the main footfall of the towns and busy shopping areas, many of our customers are stocking these specialised captions and including them within their general market range to cater for this niche market.
What about eco-friendly credentials?
International Cards and Gifts Ltd is proud to be a part of the World Land Trust’s Carbon Balanced Initiative, encouraging organisations to strive towards a more environmentally friendly way of working. By using Carbon Balanced Paper, we are helping to protect the world’s most threatened habitats, by funding World Land Trust’s ecosystem protection and restoration projects.
So far, this brilliant initiative has enabled brands and organisations to balance more than 200,000 tonnes of CO2. This has helped the World Land Trust to protect 19,000 acres of threatened habitats. We are also supporting responsible forestry, so when you purchase one of our FSC-labelled products, you will be helping to ensure forests thrive and biodiversity is preserved.
From January 2023 all reprinted and new greeting cards will carry the FSC and World Land Trust Carbon Balanced logos on the back page. We are also reviewing our waste management strategy and are very prudent when it comes to stock control. We carefully plan our print runs, in order that we rarely need to write off obsolete stock.
How do you support retailers?
We have worked hard to supply appropriate eye-catching POS and have developed content across the seasons and for Confirmation & Communion too. We also provide personalised POS for any customer that selects IC&G as their Planning/Stock Control Partner.
In October we shipped our long-awaited Barley Bear cuddly teddy bear range to stores that had placed their Starter Pack pre-orders. A totally free POS kit shipped with our Starter Pack of bears along with notes on how to personalise Barley with our unique range of Gift Tags.
Are you planning to exhibit at any shows this year?
We will be displaying our wide range of designs at Spring Fair, exciting new lines, our support services and of course Barley Bear.