Rabbits, Retas & Waistcoats

On Wednesday 11th June England held its collective breath and waited with nervous anticipation as the English Football Team kicked off in our first World Cup semi-finals for 28 years. Wishes watched the game in King’s Cross Station, London in a little pub just up from Platform 9 3/4. Why was Wishes of Cudworth in London you may ask… well let’s step back in time and we’ll tell you a story of glamour, rabbits and why sadly this time, football and the winner’s trophy didn’t come home…

The Cudworth Bunny Trail

The Cudworth Bunny Trail was created by a fluffle of local shops on Cudworth high-street way back in the not so hot summer of 2017. A super team of 9 shops agreed to have brightly coloured, cheerful bunnies hidden in their windows with the goal of encouraging children and their parents to find them all. Using special maps, parents and their children explored Cudworth visiting each Bunny Stop (shop) to find the colour-coded bunnies, picking up stickers on the way. There was even a free mini treat bag once they’d collected all 9 stickers.

Much like the reported spike in sales of waistcoats made famous by England boss Gareth Southgate during the World Cup at Marks & Sparks, we hoped to get Cudworth chatting about rabbits and shopping locally. To borrow a London idiom, a place we’ll return to later, we wanted to get Cudworth “rabbiting on” about our small shops and our wonderful high street. The Cudworth Bunny Trail was by all accounts a great success and we had some lovely feedback from the villages’ bunny hunters.

Fast forward to the summer of 2018 and England was not only experiencing its hottest June for years, the England Footie Team was smashing it too. Two things us English folk were quite uncustomised to. It was confusing but brilliant. A slightly mad time: A never ending summer of BBQs, blue skies and the odd shandy or two. We also had news that Wishes was nominated for its first ever Reta Award. It was quickly becoming the best summer ever.

Julia Keeling

The Retas 2018 Awards

The Retas are very much like the Oscars for card shops. Celebrating the tremendous contribution that retailers both large and small, make to the success of the greeting card industry. And Wishes of Cudworth made the final, yay!

On hearing the news we’d been nominated in the “Best Greeting Card Retailer Initiative” for the Cudworth Bunny Trail we double checked the news and then broke out into a little happy dance. It really was a proud moment to know our small shop in Cudworth was considered as one of the best shops in the country. Julia our shops owner really does put her heart into Wishes and it was great to see her hard work recognised. Well done Jools.

Thanks to one of our wonderful card suppliers Cherry Orchard Publishing http://www.cherryorchardpublishing.co.uk/ who invited us to be on their table, we were lucky to be able to attend the ceremony itself and see if we would bring the award back to Cudworth.

The friendly competition for the “Best Greeting Card Retailer Initiative” was:

  • Blue Rose Gifts & Balloons, Heywood – for its 1940s celebration and Armed Forces Day initiative
  • Calliope Gifts, Alton, Dorking and Haywards Heath – for its Thinking of You Week initiative
  • Dragonfly Cards & Gifts, Knaresborough – for its Thank You Teacher initiative
  • Ohh Deer, Ipswich – for its Creative Corner
  • Scribbler – for its Valentine’s Speed Dating Event
  • Wishes of Cudworth – for its Cudworth Bunny Trail – Yes!

Retas Finalists 2018

The Dorchester

We sat at what no doubt was the best table in the room, with our hosts Cherry Orchard and representing Yorkshire, the shops Cards & Gifts (Sheffield) and Dragonfly Cards & Gifts (Knaresborough) plus the Longacres Bagshot Garden Centre (Surrey). Our Northern troops had invaded London hoping to return victorious (It’s all gone very Game of Thrones. Hopefully that makes me the Jon Snow and not the Hodor of this story). There was a lot of love in the room, a friendly, glad to be here, yes secretly we all want to win, but nevertheless it’s amazing to get this far, vibe to the event.

The Trepidation as the Names Are Drawn

There were a lot of “good luck old chap”, tasty food, laughs from the comedian host and a man with a fish on his head. The venue, presentation and general good feels was a credit to the organisers from Progressive Greetings Magazine. Our category was some way down the list and we waited nervously until the big moment came.

Feeling very much like England Manager Gareth Southgate as he stepped up to take his penalty for England in the Euro ’96 semi-final, time seemly stood still as the nominees were read out. Each greeted with a mini cheer. Each a step closer to the final result. The moment we’d be waiting for finally came and… it wasn’t to be. The award went to the Blue Rose Gifts & Balloons and I tried my best not to replicate Samuel L. Jackson’s Oscar s-bomb. However well done to the winners and everyone who’d managed to get into the final 6. It’s a cliché but the truth is everyone in the room was a winner.

Cherry Orchard at the Retas

It’s Coming Home

After a quick drink at a nearby pub we then ran against the tide of 30,000 football fans heading to watch the game in Hyde Park and after frantic, not at all stressed honest search, found a TV for me and bowl of chips for Julia. By now you will know the result and like the Retas who could not proud of our team for going so far, against the odds. England remained where Germany, Brazil and Spain had fallen. Wishes too had stepped out onto a playing field along with Card Factory, Waterstones and Paperchase to name but a few.

England didn’t win this time and neither did Wishes. Still we took our bow on the big stage, played our best game and came away with our head held high. We really are just grateful to have the privilege of being nominated for such a prestigious award. Thank you again to Progressive Greetings magazine, Cherry Orchard Publishing and of course our amazing customers for all your support and kind words.

The Cudworth Bunny Trail has returned this summer and you can find out more about the event on the Visit Cudworth Website.

It may not be our year this but maybe next time the Four Lions and Cudworth Bunnies will bring the trophy home.

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