Penny Shaw to take the helm as Chris Dyson retires from Cardgains

One of the most well-known and popular figures in the greetings card industry, Cardgains MD, Chris Dyson, has announced that he will be retiring at the end of this year. Chris will hand over the reins to Cardgains’ long-standing marketing director, Penny Shaw, who will take over the role from 1st January 2023.


Officially announcing his retirement via his column in the Cardgains’ newsletter, Chris wrote: “It’s time for me to re-group, take things easy and enter the world of retirement. I have had nearly 30 years with Bridewell UK and Cardgains and loved every minute, getting to know hundreds of members and numerous suppliers as we carried on the fight on behalf of the independent retailer.


Chris, who has been with Cardgains and Bridwell UK for almost three decades, looked back at some of the highlights of the past thirty years, including “boon times with “Tatty Teddy”, “Ty Beanies”, “Yankee Candle”, “Willow Tree” and the arrival of many ‘small house’ card publishers (as they used to be known) growing into brands we now know as major industry players in the greeting card industry.”


Looking at the retail side of the greetings industry Chris added that “the spirit of the independent retailer the supplier support and the part we play still makes our group of independent Cardgains members a major player in the industry with turnover this year expected to reach £25mn.


Chris also gave a shout out to the legendary Cardgains Charity Challenge, which takes the form of an immense hike around the hills, dales and other walking trails of England, saying: “I’ve been proud of our charity work over the 22 years we’ve been fundraising. I have met some great people along the way whilst at the events; making friends for life and between us raising over £350,000”.


Having been on several of these walks over the years, Home & Giftware publisher, Charlotte Cowell, can definitely say “Cheers!” and raise a glass to that sentiment. The various walks apparently covered around 800 miles and I can personally attest that it feels like I walked all of them, even though I did not participate in every challenge!


The managing director baton is passing to Penny, who has spent the last 25 years with the company, latterly as marketing director, so is certainly no stranger to the industry or the needs of independent retailers.


Chris went on to say that he is “delighted to advise the membership that Penny Shaw, our current Marketing Director, will become Managing Director from 1st January 2023. Penny has been with Cardgains for almost 25 years and is well known to many of you. I know that Penny, along with the recent appointment of Miles Robinson as Chairman and Aga Marsden [owner of Highworth Emporium], as our new non-executive director, will continue to move the company forward in the years to come.”

Home & Giftware magazine would like to wish a very fond farewell to Chris and the very best of luck to Penny!

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