Card Sample Packs now available – oh yeah!

Membership cards samplesNow you’d think that all printed plastic cards are the same, wouldn’t you?

Well they’re not.

The quality of print and materials can vary from supplier to supplier. And then there’s the vast array of finishes and features available, from spot UV varnish to foiling and metallic stripes. These can turn a good card project into a stunning card project – if you know what to ask for.

Try before you buy

We don’t expect you to take our word for it when we say we create great quality plastic cards.Loyalty cards samples

So if you’re thinking about ordering some plastic cards, we’ll happily send you out some samples of what to expect. You’ll get to physically hold and see the difference between matt and gloss finish; and to see for yourself the difference a bit of foiling or varnish can make.

Because a photograph just can’t convey that ‘ooh’, in the same way that a tactile print finish can.

We have samples of everything from Membership Cards to Loyalty Cards, Cloakroom Tags, Hotel Key Cards, 2-part snap-off cards, Key Tags and car park passes. And if you’re interested in a particular feature, like barcode, metallic stripe or QR code, or in a special finish, we can send examples of those too.

Cloakroom Tags samplesSimply email us at sales@thecardnetwork.co.uk or give us a call on 01244 526009 to give us an idea about your card project, and we’ll get our card samples on their merry way to you.

Oh, and one other thing. We manufacture all our printed plastic cards right here in the North West – we never outsource overseas. It’s the only way we can stay in control of the quality process.

 

 

New Turnaround Times for custom printed cards

We’ve just pinned down our turnaround times to make it easier when ordering a custom printed product from us.

Standard Turnaround time

Our Standard Turnaround time is 10 working days from card proof approval.

Whenever you place an order for custom printed cards from us, we’ll always send you a PDF proof of your artwork to sign-off. Approve that, and in most cases, we’ll also send you an actual card proof from our printing press to sign-off too. That way, you’ll know exactly what to expect from the final cards.

When you approve the card proof, we’ll get your run of printed cards to you within 10 working days.

You can choose to skip the card proof stage if you need your cards faster.

Fast Track Turnaround service

You can upgrade to our 7-working day Fast Track Turnaround for just £30.

The same applies as above – we’ll get your order to you within 7 working days of you signing off the card proof.

If your deadlines are tight, you can choose to move directly to print from PDF approval and skip the actual card proof.

We’re hiring for a Customer Services & Sales Advisor

Jobs at the Card NetworkIt’s exciting times for The Card Network. We’re growing, so we’re looking for a new addition to our Customer Service and Sales team to handle the steady stream of enquiries from a broad range of customers.

There’s real potential to grow and develop in this role as the business does.

This role is a predominately inbound Customer Services role, where you’ll be the first point of contact to customers calling in or emailing to enquire about our products or place an order.

About the role

You’ll be the first point of contact for any customers calling in for information on our products, or to place an order, so delivering great customer service is something that will come naturally to you.

At the same time, you’ll also handle email enquiries and our Live-chat facility through our website, providing information and quotations to both new and existing customers. We’ll expect you to manage the whole enquiry process, pro-actively looking to convert interest into an order, as well as for opportunities to cross-sell or up sell new products.

When an order has been placed, it will be your role to manage it through the pipeline until it is despatched, keeping the customer updated throughout.

This is a busy environment where you’ll be regularly switching between our accounts, CRM and Email packages, so you must be comfortable working with technology and good at multi-tasking.

Duties

  • Be the first point of contact for all Card Network customers over the phone and email
  • Answer inbound enquiries relating to our off-the-shelf and custom printed products, identifying customer needs and maximising sales opportunities
  • Take orders over the phone and process accurately on our system
  • Provide information to customers enquiring about the progress of their order
  • Provide quotations to customers via email and follow them up in order to convert into a sale, liaising with production on time lines and keeping the customers informed
  • Handle our Live Chat function on the website
  • Up sell and cross sell other products wherever possible
  • Work with our CRM system and keep it up to date
  • Work with our accounts, production and packing functions to ensure a job is completed to time, and accurately

You will need:

  • Proven experience in a busy customer service role
  • Ability to build and maintain excellent rapport with customers
  • Ability to spot an opportunity to maximise a sale
  • Computer literacy and good IT skills (including Microsoft office packages such as outlook, word and excel). You’ll be someone who is comfortable around technology and quick to learn new packages
  • Ability to work unsupervised, and comfortable in a target driven environment
  • Good organisational and listening skills
  • Attention to detail to follow jobs through to completion, and ensure they are processed accurately

You will ideally be from a business to business background.

There is also the opportunity for additional staff bonuses based on Company performance.

Interested? Please email your CV to lsmith@thecardnetwork.co.uk

No agencies please.

 

2016: A review in Cloakroom Tags

Cloakroom Tags Restaurants Rocksalt

As we look back on a year of some cracking Cloakroom Tag orders, we wonder what’s in store for 2017.

Here are just a few of our favourites.

We’d happily have any one of these looking after our coats. Must organise a road trip for later in the year…

JanuaryPontio, Bangor Pontio Cloakroom tag

Pontio, Bangor University’s Arts and Innovation Centre, opened its doors at the tail end of 2015. We proudly printed the Cloakroom Tickets for all the lovely people who’ve visited since.

FebruaryRocksalt, KentRocksalt cloakroom tag

This is by far one of our favourite Cloakroom Tags, ever. Beautiful branding, quirky messaging – exactly how it should be. We hear tell that the food is knock out, too.

 

MarchJamie’s Fifteen, London Jamie Oliver Fifteen Cloak Tag

Doesn’t need much by way of introduction. Suffice to say, we were pleased as punch to send these beauties down to London.

 

 

AprilBirmingham Hippodrome hippodrome cloakroom tags

Simple, yet brilliantly effective. The bold colours make a collection of Cloakroom Tags that really stand out.

MayRoux at the Landau, London

It was a run of Cloakies® for Roux at the Landau, the gourmet French restaurant based in the Langham Hotel. This is one order we really wish we could have delivered in person.

JuneFairway Village in Wimbledon Wimbledon Cloakroom Tag

More Cloakies® – this time for Sports World and their hospitality offer at the Fairway Village, during the Championships at Wimbledon. Very jealous of the people who got their hands on one of these. And the strawberries and cream.

JulyThe Langham, London Langham Cloakroom tag Cloakie

Cloakies® again (can you spot a theme)? We’ve worked with the Langham for a number of years and just love their iconic pink, which is to be found across their wallpaper, teddy bears, crockery … and now their mini Cloakroom Tags.

Sky Garden Restaurant coat tagAugustSky Garden, London

Delighted to have printed more Cloakroom Tags for the spectacular Sky Garden with its breathtaking views across London. The only question is, which restaurant to choose?

 

SeptemberOxo Tower, LondonOxo Tower Cloakroom Tags

Why have one Cloakroom Tag when you could have four? It’s the first time we’ve ever printed a separate tag for coats, bags, mobiles and umbrellas – and since then, we can’t help wondering why everyone else doesn’t do it. Genius.

Dabaar restaurat cloakroom tagOctoberDarbaar, London

Next time you’re in London, we highly recommend you hang up your coat and get hold of one of these. Great food. Great elephant.

 

John Soane museum cloakroom tagNovemberSir John Soane’s Museum

If you’re on the road trip, you’re probably full up by now and in need of some culture. So go and pick up one of our full size tags or mini Cloakies® and enjoy all that the Sir John Soane’s museum has to offer. We think they look great together.

December – Santa’s very own cloakroom tag Christmas Cloakroom tag

This one formed part of our Christmas Card last year. Let’s hope the big man didn’t forget to pick up his red coat…

Check out our Cloakroom Tag prices.

We’re hiring for a Packer/Production Assistant

We're hiringThis is a great opportunity to join a growing company, and to develop your design and production skills within a supportive environment.

Packer / Production Assistant

Annual Salary £14,000
Full time, Monday to Friday, 9am – 5.30pm

About us

The Card Network is a relatively small, but growing company specialising in printed plastic cards, access control products and card accessories from our base in Sandycroft, near Chester.

We design and print bespoke plastic cards including membership cards, ID cards, loyalty cards and hotel key cards for some of the biggest names out there – including EE, De Vere Hotels, American Express and the NHS.

We also supply access control products, ID card printers and accessories, lanyards and ID card accessories ‘off the shelf’.

We’re looking for another team player to join us, this time in a packing/production role.

The Role

This role will be split across two business areas:

Preparation of orders, packing and despatch

–          Accurately prepare orders from stock, checking the quality of goods is up to standard

–          Work quickly and accurately to deadlines

–          Picking and packing goods securely and to company guidelines

–          Pack in accordance with the company’s branding and processes

–          Despatch orders via the correct delivery service

–          Maintain accurate records and log courier tracking of orders.

Assisting in the production and printing of plastic cards

–          Assist the Production Supervisor in the design and preparation of artwork for plastic cards, to the correct artwork guidelines

–          Assist in the printing of cards in-house, using the correct card printers and to specified standards

–          Check cards produced by third party printers and flag any issues to the Production Supervisor

–          Maintain quality standards throughout.

Time will be shared across the two areas depending on business needs, however it is likely that around 2/3rds of your time will be spent in the packing role.

About you

Basic computer skills are essential. You’ll have good communication skills, be organised and methodical in following processes and procedures, and comfortable working to deadlines.

You must be a team player, willing to jump in and help in other business areas if needed.

Design skills, including knowledge of Photoshop would be advantageous but are not essential as training will be given.

To apply

Please send your CV with a covering letter telling us what attracts you to this role to jobs@thecardnetwork.co.uk

 

Win an iPad Mini 4

We’re celebrating the launch of our new, improved website here at The Card Network, and we want to share the happy feeling around. So we’re offering the chance to win an iPad Mini 4, 16GB Wifi.

To enter the competition, simply tell us which plastic card in your wallet you use the most (excluding bank/credit cards).

Closing date for entries is 31st March 2016. We’ll be in touch with the winner shortly after. Good luck!


No purchase necessary.

Entries are subject to the competition terms and conditions. We promise not to share your details with anyone else.

Our new site is live!

Cue much cheering and eating of cake here at Card Network Towers.

We’ve spent the last few months working away on our new and improved website, to make the shopping experience a better one for our lovely customers.

So here’s what’s new:

LiveChat

Don’t want to pick up the phone? LiveChat with us instead! This is an immediate and easy way to get answers to any questions you might have whilst you’re browsing. Ask us anything (just keep it clean).

New products

We’ve introduced a load of new products onto the site, in-line with customer feedback, including:

Printed event passes
Credit-card size and oversize event passes

Custom printed Event passes regular and large sizes to brilliantly brand your events

Printed Bag Tags regular ones for cloakrooms and luggage, large ones for extra visibility on sports bags like golf bags

Custom shaped cardsdon’t be constrained to a rectangle, we’ll do our best to make any shape you like!

Branded Visitor Passes – brand your visitor experience

Sports bag tags
Large bag tags are perfect for sports bags

Access Control Cards, keyfobs & smart cards – we’ve extended our range of products from Paxton, HID, PAC, Impro, Indala, Bewator, Cotag, ACT & Kantech

Fresh design, easier to navigate

Lots of pictures, lots of space. We’ve designed the site to make it much easier to find what you’re looking for. And when you do, it’s now much simpler to find the prices you need, and to checkout.

Gallery

Check out our Gallery to see what other people are doing with printed plastic cards.

Blog

Regularly updated with stuff about the world of printed plastic cards, and a few other random things too.

Any comments on the new design and layout? Tell us what you think!

The Card Network produces the first Hynt cards

Hynt access card
New Hynt cards to help disabled patrons access the arts in Wales

PART OF A WALES-WIDE SCHEME TO HELP THE DISABLED ACCESS THE ARTS

The Card Network in Sandycroft has just begun to print the first ever Hynt cards, part of a new initiative to support disabled patrons and their Carers in accessing the arts at venues across Wales.

Hynt, which launched at the beginning of April in Cardiff, is a pan-Wales initiative, commissioned by Arts Council of Wales and managed by Creu Cymru in partnership with Diverse Cymru.

Hynt is made of three main components: a centrally administered card scheme, entitling cardholders to a ticket, free-of-charge for a Carer or Personal Assistant; a website providing a range of accessibility information; and an ongoing training programme for its network of venues.

The Card Network were awarded with the contract for the production and administration of the Hynt card, mainly thanks to their experience of delivering similar programmes.

ID card specialists

For the last ten years, The Card Network has managed and administered the Cinema Exhibitors Association (CEA card) – a national card scheme for disabled guests visiting the cinema. Disabled patrons with a valid CEA card are also eligible for one complimentary ticket for their carer.

Neal Smith, MD of The Card Network said:

We’re delighted to see the first Hynt cards rolling off our presses and being posted out, and we’re really pleased to be part of such an important and ground-breaking scheme. It’s great to know that we’re supporting a Wales-wide initiative from Flintshire.”

30 of Wales’ cultural venues are currently signed up to the scheme, including Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold and Venue Cymru in Llandudno. It is expected that up to 9,000 disabled patrons will sign up as scheme members.

Hynt Project Manager Emma Evans said:

The Card Network has been much more than just a supplier on this project, they’ve been a true partner. Their experience in managing the CEA card has proved to be invaluable to us. We’re looking forward to seeing the first Hynt cards presented in the venues themselves, then all our hard work will have become a reality.”

Those who wish to apply for a Hynt card can do so online at www.hynt.co.uk. The process is simple – fill in a short application form, provide a passport style photograph and proof of eligibility. A photo ID card is then printed and sent to you.

The Hynt scheme is the first initiative of its kind, placing Wales as a leader in the improvement of equality of access across the arts.

New lower delivery costs

Now just £3.90 for standard delivery

We’re driving down delivery costs – just £3.90 standard delivery for all UK orders

With the dawn of a new financial year comes new delivery charges from The Card Network.

We’ve just slashed our delivery costs to just £3.90 for all UK orders, regardless of the cost or size of your order.

Why? Because we wanted to give our customers a cheaper option than paying for an overnight courier service.

With our new standard delivery option, goods will arrive within approximately 3-5 working days. We aim to despatch all orders received before 3pm the same day (Mon-Fri), subject to availability.

But what if you need it faster?

We’ll still be offering our next day courier service, for delivery the next working day.

For standard mainland UK addresses, the cost is £8.85. Other delivery areas such as Northern Ireland or Scottish Highlands & Islands will be higher, and may be subject to a longer delivery time. You’ll be shown your delivery charge for this service when you enter your shipping address.

Please note that weekends and Bank Holidays are not considered a working day. If you require a Saturday delivery please contact us.

Deck the halls with… printed plastic cards

What do you do with your used gift cards & old printed plastic cards?

We generally have a load of old printed plastic cards lying around (no surprise there).

There are only so many guitar picks we can make, especially given we don’t even play the guitar. And we already have an inexhaustible supply of ice scapers. So we’re always looking for new ways to recycle them.

printed plastic card wreath
Forget the Holly & the Ivy & upcycle instead

Here are a few different ways you can get crafty and put your old loyalty cards, gift cards or discount cards to good use.

1. Adorn your door with a festive loyalty card wreath

Definitely our favourite this one. We’ve started on ours, so we’ll let you know how it goes. But we doubt very much it will ever look as good as this by Lauren Venell.

2. Turn it into a lunch fork

Recycled plastic fork
Handy!

This clever fella came up with the idea of a pocket sized piece of disposable cutlery. Ta Dah! The credit card fork was born. Easy to carry and doesn’t cost you anything. Brilliant.

3. Create some stables for your nativity.

Get the kids involved in sticking together some of your old printed plastic cards to make miniature buildings – the cards make good walls and roofs.

We’ve had a lot of fun making sheds for the sheep, but you’ll note we’re not showing any photos. There’s a good reason for this.

recycled plastic card necklace
A gift for the woman who has everything?!

4. Make a necklace

It’s hard to believe that this necklace is made out of Starbucks gift cards, but it is. You’ll have to put some serious time and care into pulling this one off, but we reckon no-one would know what it’s made of when you’re done.

5. Bookmarks and paperclips

Bookmarks with a difference – good little stocking filler gifts. You can find some templates & how to do it here

printed plastic card plant marker
The ‘green’ green choice

6. Mini blackboard plant markers for the garden

Another great idea this. Get some blackboard paint and a plastic fork and hey presto, you’ve got some funky little plant markers. You’ll have to source a grease pencil though (whatever that is) as obviously chalk isn’t exactly weather proof.

If you’re looking for a few ideas that take a bit less time and effort, here are a few suggestions:

– Cut out some collar stays for your shirts

– Put them in your cutlery drawer – printed plastic cards are great for scraping up biscuit dough or pastry

– Give them to young kids to put in their purses and play pretend ‘shop’ with

– They make great art implements for kids – use them with paint and get them to scrape the paint along the paper

– Put them in the toolbox for the next DIY job, they’re perfect for smoothing on Polyfilla or scraping jobs.

Any other ideas? Have you created a full Noah’s ark out of last year’s gift cards? Please let us know. Oh, and send pics.