I believe that notebooks, journals and gift stationery can form a very natural range extension for card retailers because it is paper based in the main and carries strong and usually on trend designs that will link into the colour palette and imagery that you will be offering on your cards. A good example of this is the stationery range from Matthew Williamson which is stunning with lovely details and extravagant finish and this picks up on all the best elements of the beautiful cards.
It is also worth thinking about the impact of the current economic uncertainty on how consumers are feeling. It is likely that many of us will be valuing the support of our friends and family more as we search for a feeling of certainty and stability and because of this we will be keeping in touch more either by sending a card, writing a letter or using a notecard to drop someone a line. Stocking some stationery that is relevant in design and function for your key customer groups is a great way of increasing sales and driving up your average transaction values. These types of product are a real strength of Portico Designs who some of you will know as a card publisher too.
Price point is also an important factor to consider, if you sell mainly cards then offering pens makes as much sense as selling stamps but if customers are coming in to buy a card the pen should not be too expensive so it becomes an easy add on sale. From functional basics to stylish fountain pens from Kaweco and Parker - the pens that have caught my eye this year are the Uniball Air in fantastically bright colours! They are individually barcoded and can be sold loose too so make the ideal range addition for a card retailer.
Hopefully you can see the value of offering stationery as part of your product range this year but if not now maybe sometime in the future.
If so, you may be interested in the second Stationery Show that will be held this year by The Stationery Show Ocean Media - in Manchester on 31st October and 1st November. Having a stationery show in the UK has made a huge difference to the industry over the last 7 years because there is now a showcase for buyers and exhibitors. Knowing that this is now going to grow further with a second show is very exciting!