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....and returned with four new stockists and a pinch of Covid.


Last week, Rob and I packed up the car and drove from the Isle of Wight, past the Houses of Parliament and into Islington for our first wholesale greetings card trade show - PG Live. As well as selling directly through my website and Etsy store, I'm keen to reach new customers (and make it even easier for current customers to buy!) through wholesale to brick and mortar shops, including independent retailers and zoo shops around the UK.


When I'm not packaging orders, I'm often doing my best to encourage buyers and owners of lovely shops to welcome eco-friendly, wildlife-themed cards and gifts onto their shelves, marketing the opportunity for them to offer their customers something a bit different to the brands we see up and down the high street.


So far, thanks to Covid, my efforts have mostly taken the form of many, many enthusiastic emails. But with restrictions largely behind us, this summer was the right time to dip my toe into the real-life world of trade shows, which buyers visit with the sole aim of finding new brands and products to offer their customers.


PG Live is a greetings card-specific show, attracting buyers primarily from the south of England. It felt like the best place to start, and I planned every detail of my stand space as best I could months in advance. When it came to it, after hours of wall painting and lots of careful industrial-strength velcro placement, we had a slightly nerve-racking night as we left everything to set before we could stick the shelves up and arrange the cards the following day. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when that first shelf stuck confidently to the velcro in the hours before the show opened!


Visitors browsed the hundreds of talented publishers showcasing their work on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I was delighted to meet representatives from gift shops Farrago, French Grey, En Route and Maybugs, who will all be stocking Wild Lines cards within a couple of weeks! Special thanks to Jackie at French Grey, who chose to spend her 'Sunshine ticket', won at the prestigious Reta Awards, at our stand.


The next stop for us will be Top Drawer in September - please come by stand W29 to sample Wild Lines' eco-friendly animal artwork, cards and gifts in person (this time with a festive feel!)



What is the role of art in wildlife conservation?


Conservationists are working tirelessly to gather species and ecosystems back from the brink of extinction, grabbing them by the wrists/stems just as the cliff-edge crumbles beneath their feet/roots. We need those heroes. But my focus for this post is on art, and its role in a synchronous, often undervalued, arm of the planet-saving plan: human behaviour change.


Human behaviour is a complex topic and the in-depth science around how behaviour is wired into our strange, stubborn brains has only recently begun to surface. It seems we’ve been tackling a lot of behaviour-based issues in the wrong ways for a long time. There are some great examples in health campaigns – like when we decided to tell everybody that smoking kills you and so everybody stopped smoking. Oh, wait…


We are optimistic, socially-driven beings and once we know the facts, for the best results, we now know it's important to feel an emotional connection to the cause. And that we need to feel as though we are part of a communal movement towards positive change.


Luckily for this cause, we all feel an inherent connectedness with the outside world. Even if we spend most of our lives tucked up on an office chair staring at a screen, every single one of us knows the grounding feeling of walking through a forest or diving into the ocean and being transported back to our roots.


Though it is a deeply unfortunate and painful truth that we can’t all live a life akin to Sir David Attenborough’s, there are ways that the wonders of the natural world can be brought to us – including through the many mediums of art. Beyond raising funds for conservation organisations (which some wildlife artists and organisations excel at), art can be an effective tool for triggering positive change. Paintings, music, stories and films can send messages, raise awareness, prompt conversations and facilitate emotional connections.


For me, wildlife art is also a way to spark optimism. We are surrounded by so much negative media, especially when it comes to conservation. Yes, we need to know what’s going on. But we also need to know what can be done to help and how we can achieve success. We need to hear about the small wins and the amazing projects underway all over the globe. We need to be reminded of the reasons we're trying to make changes – and to feel like when we’re washing out the jars for our sustainable-palm-oil-containing peanut butter ready for recycling, we’re actually making a difference, together.


I hope my artwork fosters that sense of community, reminds us what we’re working towards and helps us feel connected with our ultimate goal: biodiversity! Biodiversity everywhere!