Greetings Today magazine, giving you the bigger picture

Eight picked for LaunchPad

Judges reveal new ideas and products worthy of Stationery Show debut


EIGHT winners have been picked out for a free exhibition stand at Stationery Show London with entries from Australia, Poland, India and the UK vying for the prize.

With nearly 40 entries from designers and established companies outside the stationery sector to review this year, the LaunchPad judges sifted through to pick Bloom Your Message, Boss Bird, Brahman Design, CardsHit, Handy Spelling, J+A London, Stib Pencils, and Vent For Change.
The judges were looking for well-thought out product ideas that were realistically priced, and which would benefit from the exposure a trade show can offer – either immediate orders, or the offer of support and development.
All the LaunchPad winners – more details below – have been awarded a free stand at this year’s Stationery Show London, which runs over Tuesday and Wednesday, April 30-May 1, at Islington’s Business Design Centre, where they can showcase their products and ideas, and they are also eligible to enter the Supplier Stationery Awards.
Event manager Hazel Fieldwick said: “We must say a huge thank you to our LaunchPad judges – Sarah Sibley of Got2Jot, Penny Green of Kikki-K, Jamie Mitchell of Ohh Deer, and Michael Owen of Lime Stationery & Art – who took the time to review and discuss each of the entries last week.
“We’re very grateful for their time and feedback, it has been very useful for all our entrants to hear back from them.
“The LaunchPad stands always draw visitors keen to see new ideas coming into the market – and often it only takes one order, or one recommendation to make a huge difference to one of the winners!”
Back Pocket Notebooks’ Justin Avery, who was one of last year’s LaunchPad winners and has returned to exhibit for 2019, said: “Being part of the chosen winners was amazing, it helped justify the work I'd put into the business, growing it from a side project with a single design into something that was recognised alongside industry peers.
“Off the back of this I've been featured in a number of publications and formed several new business relationships that otherwise would have taken many more months and years to foster.”
Fellow winner Julien Vassieres, founder of, added: “It helped with pushing the brand and the product to be ready so they could be showcased at the event. We were able meet many leading companies including Fortnum & Mason, Paperchase and museums buyers.
“Thanks to this show, we are currently working full time on an order for 200 stores across the UK and worldwide. We plan to have more people on board, new machines and, hopefully, a bigger space!”


Bloom Your Message
– developed by a Dutch start-up company these Growing Greetings Cards are made of sustainable and recycled paper with seeds inside. Under the soil this paper will grow out into a bunch of blooming flowers, herbs or tasteful vegetables.
Judges liked the range of seeds on offer and the design and presentation of the cards.

Boss Bird – Designer and founder Michelle Wilson-Stimson creates and offers a range of quirky desk and book planners to help you to “plan like a boss”. The planners include sections for wellbeing, reflection, brain storming, goals and organisational categories.
The judges liked the stand out designs and range of sizes on offer, identifying that the range worked well as gifts or for self-gifting.

Brahman Design – This young team design, manufacture and retail analogue stationery products ‘”aimed to last a lifetime”. They raised Kickstarter funding for their first product and tested customer reactions via their own market stall and a few small stores. Høvel is a pencil sharpener made of highly polished brass which planes layers of wood and graphite to a perfectly crafted point. The team will be launching a second product at the show.
Unanimously described as “beautiful” by the judges and “the perfect gift for any stationery fan”, they are already looking forward to seeing the next product from this team.

CardsHit – The team are “on a mission to combine our great passion for design with our inability to stop swearing” and have already have some success selling online. Their greetings cards range from cheeky to super rude and the collections include Simply Rude, Graphic By Design, Cats Are Tw@ts, In The Doghouse, and Santa's Grotty.
The judges’ reaction was that, while the range isn’t going to suit everyone, they are certainly memorable!

Handy Spelling – Designed by educational experts to support the National Curriculum, five products for younger children have been taken to the prototype stage and there are plans to create more than 20 across different price points to ensure everyone can benefit from Handy support. Each product is designed to bolster the confidence of children who find spelling and literacy difficult. Handy put the most frequent mistaken spellings and parts of speech at children’s fingertips and this repeated reinforcement, which is clear, humorous and age-appropriate, is helpful for all children.
The judges liked the combination of visual humour, quirky style and functionality which they felt would be popular with children and parents.

J+A London – Designers James Retief and Addison Soeder aim “to pair a refined graphic language with the sculptural, expressive potential of paper”. Their cards are beautiful and mesmerizing. The pair also ensure all their cards can be displayed in a variety of ways with a unique tab design that allows fixing in multiple configurations.
The judges immediately envisaged commercial interest in these cards from design-savvy customers looking for something contemporary and timeless.

Stib Pencils – Set up to help young people “feel good on the inside and do good on the outside” with 10 per centof profits going to, the international charity helping people lift themselves out of poverty. As a small one-woman team with limited budget, Stib have already achieved good PR coverage, and sell through several small independent stores. Their two prpducts are Stib Jumbo Pencils and Stib Mini Colouring Pencils, which come with on-the-go colouring sheets and a series of Stibler characters which match key Spark words embossed on each pencil such as Peacekeeper, Storyteller and Problem Solver, supporting children through “life’s lumps and bumps”.
Judges were impressed with the quality of the pencils and their presentation, saying they would make a great gift or parent purchase.

Vent For Change – A new eco-friendly and ethical stationery range. All items are made with both people and planet in mind and proceeds from sales going towards education projects worldwide. The collection includes pocket books made using reclaimed coffee cups, notebooks and sketchbooks from sustainable paper and pencils produced in the UK from recycled CD cases. First and foremost, the collection is beautifully designed to appeal to retailers and customers alike.
The judges felt the designs, materials and pricing were well thought through, with a strong ethical backstory that would appeal to consumers.

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