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Tributes Pour In For Industry Legend David Hicks

David Hicks, founder of The Really Good Card Company and its gift sibling Soul, was a true one-off. A great friend to many, and an inspiration to everyone who had the good fortune to meet him, David most definitely made the most of his life, but sadly, the cruelty of motor neurone disease cut it too short.

David died on Friday April 8, in Switzerland with his wife Nicole by his side, and good friend Miles Robinson, co-owner of gift and greeting card retailer House Of Cards, close by.

He will be remembered for many reasons – his character, his wicked sense of humour, his vision, his entrepreneurial talents, his principles, his dress sense, his love of travel, photography and food, but most of all, his love of people and interest in their lives.

During his career, David received two industry Honorary Achievement Awards: one in recognition of his contribution to the greeting card industry, presented at The Henries in 1997, and the other for his achievements in the gift sector, which was presented at The Greats Awards in 2017. He will never be forgotten.

Having “stumbled by accident” into the greeting card industry in the late 1980s, David did things his way right from the off, something that was to continue right to the end.

The Really Good Card Company, David’s first publishing venture, made its mark initially with postcards featuring the cartoons of Rob Duncan, published under the typically oblique range name of Not Particularly Orange. This led on to a vast array of over 250 greeting card ranges.

While not a designer himself, as a publisher, they all had the David Hicks touch, adhering to his mantra of having to be different from what was on the market –no “me too’s” for him, that was for sure.

While some were incredibly successful, most notably Happy Hefalumps, Edward Monkton and Bright Side – by David’s own admission, he “also published some awful failures, but they were always a bit different”!

Above: From left to right: Happy Hefalumps, Edward Monkton and Bright Side were some of Really Good’s most successful ranges.
Above: From left to right: Happy Hefalumps, Edward Monkton and Bright Side were some of Really Good’s most successful ranges.

The expansion sideways for both Really Good and Soul, which launched as a sibling brand in 1997, from cards into gifts, provided another avenue for David’s entrepreneurial nous to come into play. Only he could have come up with the idea for a Man Tin, where an astonishing three quarters of a million were sold over a five-year period.

While David took the decision to close down both Really Good and Soul in 2019, with the intention of spending more time travelling and on his photography, he retained strong links with his many friends in the industry.

Above: Really Good’s Man Tin was among the winners for the company.
Above: Really Good’s Man Tin was among the winners for the company.

However, less than a year ago, David was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Aware that his health would deteriorate rapidly, in true David fashion, he made no secret of the fact that when the time came, he would be going to Switzerland to take control of the inevitable. Sadly, that time came last week.

Below are just a few of the tributes that have been sent in . . .

Miles Robinson, co-owner of House Of Cards

“A tribute to David Hicks…where does one start…?! A very tall man who conformed to no rules but his own. He broke new and very successful ground in many areas of greeting cards and gifting concepts, while also launching a fair few rubbish ones.

“He was the most charismatic, generous and determined chap, who didn’t suffer fools and did it all with an amazing sense of humour! He became a true friendand I’m very thankful to have learned many things from him and been grateful for the many experiences we shared.

“David was an ordinary bloke from Manchester who ended up being an extraordinary human being that created so much and touched so many lives – I think that all adds up to him being a Great Man or, to use a favourite phrase of his, ‘it’s a beautiful thing’.”

Above: Miles Robinson (third right) with David Hicks, his wife Nicole (second left), and Max Publishing’s Ian Hyder, Jim Bullough, Jakki Brown and Jen Hyder at a meet up a couple of weeks ago.
Above: Miles Robinson (third right) with David Hicks, his wife Nicole (second left), and Max Publishing’s Ian Hyder, Jim Bullough, Jakki Brown and Jen Hyder at a meet up a couple of weeks ago.

Greg Warrington, managing director, Sourcing Support Asia

 

“David has been so brave in sharing these last months with all his friends, helping us be part of his last journey and to understand his timing decision. David’s memory will always be with us, and we will miss him desperately… along with the sadness, remembering him and that fabulous wit, will always make us smile. I’ll see you later David… love you mate.”

Kishor Shah, managing director of Xpressions

“We worked with David for many years on gift ranges Happy Heffalumps, Not Particularly Orange and Kid Art. He was probably one of the most charismatic people in our industry, always with a smile, always something to say and always funny. He was his own man and did what he wanted and believed in. A true character.”

Warren Lomax, chairman of Max Publishing

“What can I say about my great friend David Hicks that hasn’t already been said? He was a visionary, the driving force behind the reformulated Greeting Card Association and its first president.

“He was a creative genius, responsible for so many iconic card ranges and gift products – Happy Hefalumps, Not Particularly Orange, Edward Monkton, Bright Side and the famous Man Tin, to name just a few.

“But what mattered most for me were the memorable times we shared together for the last 30 plus years. Our 40th, 50th and recently 60th birthday parties, our fun-filled trips to the US, Ireland, Amsterdam, Paris, Spain and Frankfurt, the industry football team we created with Mike Gray, our party times at The Retas, The Henries, in Harrogate and Birmingham. So many great memories! I feel a part of me died with David’s departure.”

For more tributes, click here: Great sadness: Industry legend David Hicks has died and Remembering David Hicks

 

Top: David Hicks, founder of Really Good and Soul, is shown at The Greats in 2017 where he was thrilled to receive the Honorary Achievement Award.

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