Go La La goes la la at Top Drawer 2018

Having been trading for just over 18 months, Go La La! is fairly new to this trade show malarkey; we’ve exhibited at PG Live twice (2016 was our launch show) and Spring Fair, and plenty of people suggested that Top Drawer is a good show to do, so a little later than we should have we booked our stand (ZA59 in the Gift area to be precise).

Top Drawer takes place at Olympia in Kensington, London and is one of the UK’s leading retail trade events for lifestyle buyers.  As a result there are some beautifully designed and crafted trade stands brimming with amazing products – for me The Sex Pistols – 1977: The Bollocks Diaries coffee table book was the top item on display.

Getting to the venue for us is easy to from Glastonbury – the coach outside our house runs into Hammersmith and then it’s just a short taxi ride to the venue; we would have walked but laden down with so many bags it was impossible.  We travelled up on Friday, anticipating 2 days to set up, but once we had actually found our stand in the cavernous building, Laura painted it in about an hour – I just watched the paint dry (about an hour), and the velcroed shelves took us another hour to put up; so, by early evening we were in the pub; and then had most of Saturday to explore West London.

We weren’t turning cartwheels when we saw our stand, but that is no-one’s fault but our own; we had booked late, and there was very little choice left, so we ended up with a 2m x 1.5m stand, which as you can picture is a bit boxy and uninviting – even worse when we measured it, as it was actually 2m x 1.46m – in the sneered words of Johnny Rotten “it’s a swindle”.  We were probably conned out of 50 quid by the measurements – though I’ve not drilled down into it ;-).  Our stand also looked a bit cluttered to us (it’s amazing how much stuff you can chuck into it, and that we did), although others said that it looked fine.

Finding somewhere to position yourself on a trade stand like that is tricky – I felt I was always in the way wherever I stood, but I guess that’s nothing new!  I personally felt it seemed like a bit of a backwards step for us, as we really would have liked a 3m x 1m stand which looks more stylish and demonstrates our excellently designed and presented cards perfectly.

We launched 3 new ranges at Top Drawer (Blunt Instruments, Nice Little Ditties and Laugh a Minute), as well as additions to our bestselling Bawdy Banter range, and a totally revamped Rules of Engagement.  We also had our non-humour range, Found in Translation which we released in December.   Feedback for all ranges was extremely positive, and we managed to attract several lovely new stockists as well as some great potential leads, as well as renewed orders from previous customers.  It is always satisfying when you see people stop to look at your products and burst out laughing.  One lady was actually crying with laughter at Nice Little Ditties, while explaining HRT and the word Cumbubble to a German distributor was a challenge I left to Laura.

The Greeting Card industry is a friendly one and we had great and creative neighbours in our area; these lovely people included Memelou, Arch & Ivy, Paper Sole and Kapelki Art who kept us smiling with silliness and laughter (as well as being very professional with the customers of course).  We also managed to catch up with old friends from previous shows: Jelly Armchair, Papagrazi, Pabuku, Sarah Lovell Art and Objectables.  All of these publishers have created a wide range of cards and some really fantastic offerings to appeal to the most classy and discerning retailers.

It was also interesting to talk to 2 old pros in the area, Penny of Penny Lindop Designs and Ge Feng of Forever Cards; both have been in the industry for 20 years, and had some useful knowledge to impart; they also told me how Trade Shows have evolved over the years, and unfortunately how much more difficult the industry is now.  Ge was also hilariously funny and kept me entertained with jokes and quips throughout.

Weirdly there was one publisher nearby appeared to have a severe allergy to the show.    Despite having a beautifully presented stand, they turned up late and went home early on the first 2 days and didn’t even materialise on the final one.  They made little attempt to socialise with anyone around them, and were pretty non-communicative with customers.  I assume they paid for their place at the show and had money to squander.

At the moment, we haven’t decided on whether to return to Top Drawer; on balance we think we preferred Spring Fair, and we would also like to trial other shows like Glasgow or Harrogate.  Shows are very expensive and time consuming at the relatively young stage of our business we’re not sure if we can spare the time or the money, so ask us again in a few months.

Michelle and Rob – Memelou

Lara of Arch and Ivy

Jenny and Susan of Paper Sole

Liz and Cat – Jelly Armchair

Tim of Objectables

Emily Brooks

One of our well received new ranges – Blunt Instruments

By |2018-03-20T07:26:29+00:00January 18th, 2018|General, News, Trade Fairs|

Top Drawer London – 12th to 16th January 2018

We love exhibiting at Trade Shows, and next week will see us travelling to London for Top Drawer, which takes place between 14th and 16th January at Olympia.

We (especially Laura) would do a trade show every month if we could, but for newish publishers they are very expensive, with the cost of travel and accommodation also adding to the cost of the show itself.  It would also mean being away from our business for long periods of time, so (for now) we can only manage a couple each year, and for 2018 Top Drawer is one of our choices.

Top Drawer is the UK’s leading retail trade event for creative lifestyle buyers; and being a new show for us results in an exciting prospect as we have the chance to showcase our products to buyers from both the UK and internationally – hopefully many of whom haven’t seen us before; and we also hope to reconnect with previous buyers.

We have been working extremely hard over the past few months, and have a plethora of new card designs to show to potential purchasers – we have developed four new ranges, as well as adding to our bestselling Bawdy Banter range, and in addition there is also one totally revamped range which we are extremely pleased with.

Alongside meeting new people (both customers and other folk from the industry), Top Drawer will also give us the chance to catch up with old friends from the industry that we have befriended at previous shows, and who are also exhibiting here, and that adds to the fun, although it’s hard work too; it’s daunting showing your product (especially as we are not natural sales people), with long days spent on your feet, and with just the two of us, we are on the stand pretty much the whole time; but of course we don’t mind this as it’s exciting as well as challenging, and we thrive on that.

Anyway, if you are visiting the show, you can find Go La La on Stand ZA59 in the Gift Section, please pop by and say hello.

By |2018-01-04T18:06:50+00:00January 4th, 2018|News, Trade Fairs|

Seasonal Veggies – Vegan Friendly Christmas Cards


Revitalised and relaunched for Christmas 2017 is the Go La La range of Vegan Christmas cards – Seasonal Veggies – Eight cute but not sickly designs.  We launched and sold 4 of these from our website and eBay last year and they sold like (dairy free) hot cakes, and the customers were very pleased with them.

I’ve been a vegan for over 3 decades; and vegetarian longer, and I have seen the movement evolve and grow over that time.  Veganism is growing month on month here in the UK, and every few days there is an article in the national press about it; celebrities are also endorsing a plant based diet as a lifestyle choice (although veganism is really about the non-exploitation of animals) and people are rethinking their attitude to animals.

Shops are full of vegan products, food, clothes, cosmetics, shoes etc. yet there are still very few vegan Christmas cards and we are attempting to change that.

Our local card shop took some Seasonal Veggies last year but didn’t really know what to expect, and were extremely happy at the sales, and have already snapped up all of the new range, yet the difficulty we face is persuading new retailers to stock what I guess is still a niche product, although I assume in a few years’ time Vegan Christmas cards will be mainstream, so if you are a retailer who would like to try them, take a look here and contact us if you are interested info@golala.co.uk or 01458 835415

Alternatively, if you are just a regular punter who would like to buy one for a friend or relation, you can do that too from our website.


By |2017-10-03T13:32:19+00:00October 3rd, 2017|General, News, Products|

What’s in a card?

Greetings Cards are funny things aren’t they.  Folded sheets of card with pictures, words or both on them.  Sometimes foiled, or flittered or otherwise embellished they are given for all manner of reasons.

Cards are given to celebrate a special occasion: a birthday, a new baby, passing a driving test or moving home; to express a get-well wish or a message of sympathy; to thank someone for an act of kindness; or maybe just to show a person that you care or are thinking of them.   The British public buy millions of them every year as you can see from this Greeting  Card Association report.

My favourite ever card was a Christmas card, given to me by Laura.  I loved it so much that she gave me the same card the following Christmas, and again the year after.  And when she ran out of space to write her thoughtful Christmas messages she bought another card exactly the same….and I received that one for another 4 or 5 years….until they both got lost in preparation for a house move.  We were both extremely annoyed, yet it shows that something that can in many cases be seen as a throwaway item can sometimes mean so much to the recipient.

Today, out of the blue, we received an email from a customer, which really touched us both.  It said “I came across your Alf Skitten/ Mick Jagger card this week: it made me laugh and cry as he is practically a doppelgänger for my beautiful cat who was put down the day before.  I love your style of drawing so thank you for making me smile/cry every time I look at the card”.

As cat lovers ourselves it brought tears to our eyes – after all the Alf Skitten range is based on our two four legged boys – so for one of our cards to have evoked such an emotional response was touching.  We tend to design our cards to be humorous rather than sentimental, so it is great to see that they can be appreciated as so much more than just a piece of printed cardboard.

By |2017-03-03T17:29:22+00:00March 3rd, 2017|General, News|

Go La La! at Spring Fair 2017

Spring Fair at the NEC in Birmingham is one heck of a massive event, and this year it took place from 5th to 9th February.

Billed as the UK’s No. 1 home and gift show for the retail industry it is spread across 20 Halls and showcases everything there is to offer to the Gift trade, and  this year Go La La!  was exhibiting for the first time; a somewhat daunting prospect for us as relative newbies, and with only one other show under our belts, but unphased by the prospect, we spent several months planning; refining our ranges, designing our stand, and promoting ourselves, before cramming our cards, our shelves, paint, tools, clothes, an ottoman, food, laptops, 2 stools, a stepladder and finally ourselves into the Mini.  It is surprising what will fit into a car of that size, yet the faithful old girl managed to take the lot….and us 120 miles to Birmingham, without complaint, and we arrived at lunchtime on Friday.

Go La La stall before work begins

The Go La La! stand before work began

The first person we saw on arrival was Warren Lomax of Progressive Greetings.  PG had their stall dead opposite, and Warren was a great help and very supportive throughout the show, as were his colleagues Sue and Tracey, and of course the endless supply of sweets, as well as the free drinks at the end of the day were a welcome relief.

I’d never been to the NEC before, although Laura went along last year to check it out, and it really is massive; besides the exhibition halls there are sprawling car parks, hotels, restaurants, shops and concert venues: Donny Osmond had a show on Thursday, and local band Black Sabbath was playing its final concert on Saturday, and the contrast in fans was amusing; although there was a predominantly older crowd for each everyone was in pink and glitter one night, and black leather and denim the other…I’ll leave you to decide which was which.

Away from this, we were in Hall 3 in the New Debut Card section, part of a special scheme to help GCA member publishers try out Spring Fair for the first time, and it was an ideal place to be situated.

All the Debut stands were a 3m x 1m traditional shell scheme with white wooden walls.  We spent Friday afternoon painting ours with Farrow and Ball paint (only the best will do) and on Saturday attached our shelves of the same colour, before dressing the stand and putting up our cards etc. It looked very sophisticated and stylish and the shelves were pretty straight.  They didn’t fall down either, which was an added bonus!

Our next-door neighbour was the lovely Katie Phythian and her partner Mike, of Katie Phythian Design, with their delightful hand finished cards; and we couldn’t have hoped for better neighbours; funny, friendly, supportive and easy to get on with.

It wasn’t long before we’d hooked up with old friends from PG Live 2016 and the Ladder Club (namely the girls from Jelly Armchair and Chocogreetings) and during the show made friends with many other members of the GCA on the stands around us (Meany Bo Beany; Lucy Truman, Papa Grazi, Elaara, and Obody Designs deserve special mention).  It really is a friendly industry.

Katie Phythian at Spring Fair

Katie Phythian Design

Jelly Armchair at Spring Fair 2017

Cat and Jelly Armchair

Chocogreetings at Spring Fair 2017

Regina and Indra of Chocogreetings

Spring Fair 2017

Nick and Meany Bo Beany

The Show started on Sunday morning; as were staying in Digbeth (near the Bullring), we caught the train in…although didn’t realise that the first one to the NEC on a Sunday was at 8.30, and the show started at 9.00; nevertheless it was an efficient 10 minute service followed by a short walk from the station to Hall 3, and we made it to our stand with minutes to spare.

The Show was very good to us.  We had set ourselves what we considered to be realistic goals, but of course being our first show we didn’t meet all of them, yet we far surpassed others, in particular we have some very positive, exciting and encouraging leads to follow up in the next few days/weeks.   We also made sales to some lovely small shops across the country, including our first shops in Wales and Scotland, which was one of our aims.

Go la La at Spring Fair

Look at those fantastic Go La La Cards

I don’t think the Show was as busy as I expected overall, and this was the general view of those that we spoke to afterwards; some Halls seemed exceedingly quiet on the Wednesday and Thursday.  On Wednesday some of the bigger buyers were around, but the final day was painfully slow, although we did make sales and it wasn’t without its merits.

By the end of the week our feet ached and our backs ached but there was a great feeling of achievement and we were invigorated by the extremely positive comments from many of the big Card Buyers – even those like John Lewis and Wilko who we knew we wouldn’t be right for popped by and said hello.  So many loved our product and their feedback was valuable.  Our humour cards did cause a bit of a stir, but there is nothing better than seeing people belly laugh at them, or watch their shoulders shake with amusement, and that is fantastic to observe.

The Go La La buzz

We were dreading dismantling and taking down the stand, then loading the car; but this was much easier and less time consuming than we expected; Laura fetched the car and got it to the back door promptly, while I cleared up.  Loading was straight forward and we were off site in just over an hour.

We’d love to return next year…we’ll be evaluating the return on all our leads over the next 6 weeks or so, but overall it was a very worthwhile and enjoyable event!


By |2017-02-14T08:15:06+00:00February 13th, 2017|General, News, Trade Fairs|

The Festive Season…..when will it start?




Here at Go La La! HQ we’d really love to be winding down for the Festive break, but things are still very hectic here.  Even today we are sending out Christmas orders to customers who are leaving their card shopping to the very last minute, but it has been heartening to see that one of our more niche Christmas card ranges has gone down superbly with them.  As a result, we have revamped the range and added another 4 designs for Christmas 2017.

Meanwhile our printer has just returned proofs for two more ranges which we will be launching at Spring Fair, and they are both looking great.  One is somewhat risqué, and will appeal to a younger market while the other is suitable for all the family.

In media news this week we had a four question feature in the lovely local Somerset Cool blog and a few days later one of our saucy new ranges appeared in a feature in the industry’s Greetings Today Magazine, and we have been receiving some great feedback off the back of that.

This forthcoming week we will be completing design work on new cards for 3 of our most successful ranges as well as totally redesigning one range which we like, but is a little wordy.  There’s also our Spring/Summer catalogue to work on.  We are still finalising our planning for the aforementioned Spring Fair, and we will need to look into that quite carefully before Christmas is over.  Bear in mind that if you are attending Spring Fair, we can be found on Stand 3K43, so please feel free pop over and say hello.

With Go La La!, this is the first time Laura and I have worked together full time, although we did work part time together for a few years, and our works Christmas Party will just involve the two of us, so snogging the other staff under the Christmas tree, and photocopying our genitals is probably going to be right at the top our of priorities…but I just hope we don’t end up talking about work all night.

We will be taking a short break over the year, when we will be heading to a small piece of granite with no TV, no wi-fi and no mobile phone signal, and hopefully there we can relax and forget about the business for a few days, before returning fully charged and raring to go in early January.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all.

John and Laura


By |2016-12-19T13:23:34+00:00December 19th, 2016|General, News|

Go La La! at the Ladder Club November 2016

sp02-1So Go La La! attended its first Ladder Club this week, and what a great experience it was.

As fairly new publishers on the scene, we were keen to attend but were unsure as to whether the first or the second day would be more beneficial to us.  It seemed that we are better placed for day one and a half, as we have been around only since the middle of April; exhibited at PG Live in May; have found ourselves agents; are in numerous shops and have discussed licensing with a company in New York.  Alas day 1.5 doesn’t exist, so we opted for Day 2, preceded by the Tuesday evening dinner.

Westcliff-on-Sea is around 200 miles and 4 hours from Go La La! HQ and we also had to face the daunting Dartford Crossing on the way.  Despite this our journey was trauma free with no severe hold-ups, apart from getting from one side of Southend to the other, which seemed to take ages, and thus we arrived in plenty of time.  It was most disconcerting when we arrived in “Sarfend” that our SatNav suggested we straight away make a U-turn, but we ignored that advice.

The 3 course evening meal took place in the Westcliff Hotel, and we found ourselves on a table alongside Jeremy Corner of Blue Eyed Sun, Claire Williams of Paper Salad, as well as neighbours and now friends of ours from PG Live 2016: Cat Faulkner of Jelly Armchair and the girls from Choco Greetings.  It was a great chatty table, with plenty of laughter, some good advice and camaraderie and we came away looking forward to the following day’s events.

On Wednesday morning we arrived at the Cliffs Pavilion in plenty of time, and over coffee I had a quick look at the day’s itinerary.  For a moment or two I was concerned that in fact we had made a mistake in choosing day two over day one, but as the day progressed I realised that ALL of the speakers had something to offer us and were incredibly knowledgeable and insightful about the Greetings Card industry.  The subject matter was varied, never boring and we came away with great advice.

First up Jakki Brown and Lynn Tait, the co-founders of the Ladder Club welcomed everyone, introduced the speakers and sponsors and advised on how the day would pan out, and they then popped up throughout the day to announce speakers, keep us in check, close off the day and send us on our way.


Hannah and Jack of Wrendale spoke about the challenges of growing a business.  It was clear from the start that they were not used to public speaking, as they appeared to be quite nervous, but despite this they were very engaging and came across as a truly likeable couple who through determination and focus have managed to grow their business massively in just a few years.

Next up were Hazel Walker and Tish Bas from Paperchase (Senior Buyer Frances Burkle was also there, although not speaking, and it suddenly dawned on us that we had bumped into her first thing in the morning as we were all trying to locate the Maritime Room where the function was being held).  It was interesting to hear about the workings of a company that to us appear to be big players in the industry with their 130 UK stores; they imparted some interesting information and were far more human and approachable than we expected.

Following coffee Jessica Hogarth of Jessica Hogarth Designs gave an overview of licensing and included information about marketing overseas as well as advice on protecting yourself from design copying, as well as giving tips on things to consider when contemplating a licensing deal.

Final speaker of the morning session was Jeremy Corner, Managing Director of Blue Eyed Sun, who is a well-respected, confident and established speaker, and he gave a really interesting analysis for those thinking about moving into the export market, and with his company having recently been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade, he does know what he is talking about.  His advice about cashflow, and the dangers of discounting is something that we all need to be mindful of.

Over lunch there was a chance for us to chat to the lovely Sharon Little, the CEO of the Greeting Card Association (although there was more talk of veganism than the card industry) and Julie Brightley of Enveco (supplier of our envelopes), which is a company we find incredibly easy and friendly to deal with.

The afternoon session kicked off with a very interesting talk by Mark Coulson of Coulson Macleod, who discussed the pros and cons of warehousing in-house, versus using a fulfilment company, and I really enjoyed his presentation, even though we are still at the stage of boxes of cards in the oven and fridge in our home level of business.

There was definitely a lot to consider, and this progression, if and when it happens seems one worthy of careful consideration.

Next up Bob Short of The Imaging Centre (our card printing company) gave an overview of their recently launched fulfilment service, Simplicity, which is definitely something that Go La La! will be looking into in the near future, as it seems to be a simple and intuitive system which could make our life much easier.  I know a few other publishers who use it, and they seem to think it is very good.

Before the final coffee break, Gale, Jakki and Warren of Progressive Greetings gave a brief spiel about how they can help publishers to increase their public profile through the PG magazine.

After coffee, Sharon Little talked about the Greetings’ Card Association, and advised how to make the most of it.  As a fledgling company that has previously phoned and emailed Sharon, we are aware of how helpful she is, and will do her utmost to answer your query or find someone else who can. The GCA seems a no brainer to join if you are a publisher, and as newbies we found it invaluable.

The day concluded with a question and answer session featuring some of the aforementioned speakers, as well as sales agent Ian Bradley who had spoken on Day 1, Miles Robinson from House of Cards and folk from paper supplier G F Smith.  There was some interesting info about potential price increases across the industry following Brexit; and contracts for Agents.

This was a thoroughly worthwhile and valuable Seminar, and it sure feels good to be a small part of such a friendly and inclusive industry.  It gave us the chance to reflect upon the fact that many of the speakers and delegates, just like us, came to the industry from totally different backgrounds, started off with their homes filled with cardboard and bubble wrap, swamped by the pull off strips from cello bags that get everywhere (I had chuckled earlier in the day when I had looked down onto the Pavilion carpet and seen few of those strips – if anyone knows the technical name for them I’d love to hear it) and developed their businesses with mistakes upon the way, and that in itself was very comforting to know.



By |2016-11-18T14:22:11+00:00November 18th, 2016|News|