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Manchester Stationery Show LaunchPad winners announced

By Mark Hayhurst 09 Oct 2017

Following its introduction at the London Stationery Show earlier this year, new sister show Manchester also ran a ‘LaunchPad’ competition to find fledgling stationery suppliers looking to break into the booming design-led stationery market.

The six winners, who will each be given a free stand to take part in show at the end of October are: Stationery Geek – useful stationery with a quirky twist; Peace & Blessings – stationery boutique offering British design to celebrate non-mainstream festivals; Emma Lawrence Designs – ‘Little Nature Explorers’ range from illustrator and author Emma includes cards, wrap and bug stickers; Mayblossoming – bright, fun and cute greeting and art cards and notebooks from Kirstie Gilleade; Paper Mirchi – stunning, handmade luxury gift wrap made from recycled paper; Green Pebble – a great range of ‘write, paint & print’ journals targeting artists and hobbyists.

The entries were judged by joint MDs of Fred Aldous, the iconic Manchester stationery, art and craft store, Mark Aldous and Paul Walker; along with Helen Riley-Ditchfield, designer at Widdop Gifts, Sarah Laker, owner and buyer at Marple Stationery Supplies and Nigel Anderson, owner of Silk Hat Greetings and exhibitor at the new show.

Judging took place in a classroom in the Fred Aldous store which is used to hold regular workshops for the city’s long-established art and craft community. The store offers over 25,000 products on three levels and is a fifth-generation family run business – a perfect back drop to the task of assessing the competition entries!

The judges were looking for products which showed clear thought and execution when it came to brand and offer, a value commensurate with the suggested retail price and which they think will be of true interest to the UK stationery industry and its huge number of stationery loving consumers.

“I found it so interesting. I loved the mix of judges, everyone with a different perspective, it felt like a mini Dragon’s Den,” said Sarah Laker, of Marple Stationery Supplies.

“We are pleased with the response to our first Manchester LaunchPad competition,” said Vanessa Fortnam, marketing manager for the Manchester Stationery Show. “Collectively the judges know so much about what sells and how to sell it. They will be at the show to meet the winners and discuss their products with them and offer advice and contacts. It’s great for the show to be able to foster this type of support for industry start-ups.”

The six deserving winners will also have the possibility of being awarded a 6sqm stand for the 2018 Show if the show team feels their product or service merits further support from the industry.

The next London LaunchPad competition will open next January to any company which, or individual who: Has not exhibited at either Manchester or London Stationery Shows previously; Has the rights to sell the featured product; Does not currently sell the featured product through any UK national retail accounts or distributors in the stationery retail sector.

Anyone interested in entering should contact Vanessa ( initially, and they will be informed when the competition opens for entries.

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