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It’s a very special year for us as we celebrate our 20th birthday

Back in 2004, I arrived at Spring Fair bursting with enthusiasm for my new greeting card business.

It’s not always been easy! There was the day when I couldn’t get to our stand at the NEC because I was snowed in. Or when I had to hang on to our marquee in a Torquay tornado, and I once took an order in the pitch black “dungeon” at Harrogate during a power cut.

Two decades on, we’re proud to still be a small, family-run business, designing and printing all our cards in the UK. 

It makes me very happy to think about our cards bringing joy, friendship and solace to people, and even being framed and displayed in people’s homes.

Thank you to you, our wonderful clients with your lovely shops, museums and stately homes and gardens.

Thank you to our partners at David Austin Roses and the talented artists, Brian James, Diana Fegredo and Laura Andrew, whose brilliant artworks extend our collections. 

Today we have one of the most varied catalogues out there, making it easier for smaller retailers to put together a carriage-paid order.

A huge thank you to Rachel, who works alongside me bringing our designs to life, and my long-suffering husband, Duncan, as well as Elaine, our unflappable packer, our photographers, printers and envelope suppliers, and everyone who has supported us on this incredible journey.

Lastly, I’m pleased to tell you that with the exception of two ranges, we’ve held our prices on the complete Dyson Design collection.

Whether you’re a new client or someone who’s been with us since the early days, thank you very much for your support.

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Are you our lucky winner?

The Dyson Design stand at Spring Fair 2023

Visitors to our stand at Spring Fair had the chance to enter a prize draw to win a stunning Kingfisher print, signed by the artist Laura Andrew.

The image is one of 12 superb watercolours by Laura depicting favourite British birds that make up our Splash Birds greeting card collection.

Since its launch at PG Live 2022, customers old and new have made this one of our best-selling ranges.

Were you our lucky winner?

Click here to see our graphic designer Rachel Vernon making the prize draw with commentary from Helen Dyson.

Good luck!

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Thinking of you

During lockdowns, we’ve learned that the virus has far-reaching consequences beyond the threat to our physical health.

In March, confined to my home village, I really wanted to do something to help people who might be feeling lonely, isolated and afraid. 

So, I decided to distribute free packs of our greeting cards to every household in the village with a little note encouraging people to write a note to anyone they knew who needed a friendly word to cheer them up.

I wasn’t sure how this would go down. I needn’t have worried. The response was overwhelming. I received handwritten notes of thanks through my front door, people shouted their thanks across the street to me as I walked to our allotment, and there were dozens and dozens of thank you messages on our village Facebook page.

Writing to each other, by which I mean proper handwriting, is scientifically proven to boost people’s mood, so I hope my modest gesture will have radiated happiness to people far beyond the village.

“Scientifically proven?” I hear you ask. Yes indeed. Cognitive neuroscientist and psychologist Dr Lynda Shaw measured the emotional activity in the brains of volunteer women as a result of receiving a handwritten greeting card. The results clearly showed a more positive response to handwritten letters and cards compared with electronic messages.

That’s worth bearing in mind as Christmas is approaching. Yes, it’s time for the annual ritual of sending Christmas cards. Exchanging cards is tangible proof of a real link between people, whether that is a powerful family tie or an old casual friendship with someone you met on holiday years ago. 

By contrast, an electronic card or a round robin printed newsletter is soulless and is likely to be received by some people as almost an insult. Why is that? Part of the answer is that when you go to the trouble of choosing a card and handwriting a personalised message in it, there’s proof that you care. 

There’s something about handwriting, isn’t there? Nowadays, it’s only through Christmas cards, birthday cards and the occasional postcard from holidays that we see the handwriting of family and friends. 

And have you noticed how the handwriting of people you’ve known down the years somehow has something of their personality in it? You’d never see that in an email. That’s probably why for me and many other people, handwritten notes – from love letters to Christmas cards – are among my most treasured possessions. That’s true even though some of them weren’t even sent to me! They just ooze real feeling.

Sadly, I discovered in a recent article that a third of teenagers have never written a letter. Texting, email and social media are great for some things, but they can’t compare with a real letter. So, I was really pleased when I saw an advert in one of our local freesheets from a parent seeking handwriting tuition for his or her bright 15-year-old son. 

Lockdowns have taught us, if we didn’t know already, just how important human connection is for our wellbeing.

By keeping in touch with cards at Christmas, each of us can spread a little happiness to many people in just a couple of hours from the comfort of our own homes. 

This year more than ever, let’s enjoy sending out tomorrow’s treasures today.

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What lies beneath

It’s snowdrops for most people, but for me the nicest indicator of Spring is the hellebore.

They have been hiding underneath the snow, but now they are revealed. The flowerheads need to be upturned to fully appreciate just how lovely they are.

Apparently in Greek mythology, Melampus of Pylos used hellebores to save the daughters of the King of Argos. They had been overcome by a madness induced by Dionysus that caused them to run naked through the streets – crying, weeping and screaming. Goodness me!

Well here are some of my Dad’s lovely hellebores, photographed by Neil Robinson for our Fabulous Flowers range.

View all our Fabulous Flowers hellebore greeting cards

Originally blogged Wednesday, 30 January 2013