Card Connection is one of Ireland & the UK’s most successful greeting card publisher and franchisor. It uses a proven, award winning merchandising system to place quality cards, gift wrap, gift bags and party product in retail outlets on a ‘consignment’ basis. This means the stock and display equipment are installed on free loan to the retailer. This is one step beyond ‘sale or return’ as Card Connection customers never have to buy the stock initially, only paying for what they sell.
Card Connection is part of UK Greetings Ltd, a subsidiary of American Greetings Inc., one of the largest greeting card publishers in the world. With an everyday range of 700 designs across cards, gift bags and gift wrap, and over 300 new everyday designs released last year, Card Connection always maintains a vibrant, fresh and on-trend offering to the customer.
Michael Johnson, Managing Director at Card Connection says: “We continue to see a lot of change in the retail landscape in Ireland and the UK. The boundaries between different outlets are blurring. Many retailers including corner shops, newsagents, convenience, forecourts are diversifying their offer in order to capture more sales from their existing customers and to survive in the current competitive market.”
Johnson continues: “Consumer trends today show that people are pressed for time and seeking as much convenience as possible.” Card Connection, market leader in supplying to the convenience sector continues to see strong growth after an increase in sales from all the various seasons last year.
Johnson explains: “We introduced “The Collection” range – exquisitely designed, boutique style cards early 2017 and a year on, we have seen excellent sales and a growing market demand for this style of product. We have seen that consumers are trading up as a shift in purchase patterns demonstrates a willingness to spend more on sentimental items like cards.”
Kelly Courtenay, Creative Director at Card Connection explains: “A range of bespoke designs are specifically created to suit the unique Irish market, taking into account St Patrick’s Day, Confirmation and Communion. We work closely with our Irish network to create designs, ensuring that our range offering includes meaningful wording and special sentiment inside and that there is enough choice to cater for both contemporary and traditional consumer tastes. St Patrick’s Day, Confirmation and Communion are huge seasons within Irish society, so we need to ensure that that we have a special card ready to go for such an occasion.”
Courtenay also says: “The Irish market is quite different to the UK market as they have a larger appetite for specific relations captions cards as opposed to general birthday ones. We produce certain designs within our relations ranges specifically with the Irish market in mind, as Card Connection have the capacity of range to cater for regional trends and product requirements. ”.
Card Connection are always on the look out to recruit the right dedicated professional to join their franchisee network, drive their franchising business and fulfil market demand. It currently has a network of 62 franchisees, of which six are based in Ireland distributing to ‘Blue Chip’ National Accounts such as BWG Spar, Topaz, Nisa, Supervalu, Centra, Costcutter, Mace, Londis, Barry’s Of Mallow, Gala Retail Services, ADM/Londis, and Musgrave/Daybreak.
Card Connection is a full member of the Irish Franchise Association and have some of the most successful franchisees in Ireland. One of which being Tony Lees who was Card Connection’s 2014/15 Franchisee of the Year. Additionally, Tony was a finalist in two categories in the 2013 Irish Franchise Association Awards. Tony comments: “Card Connection presents an opportunity for hard working franchisees who aspire to achieve. With the strong support from Card Connection, there is no doubt to succeed with this franchising.”