Cath Tate Cards is one of the UK's leading greeting card wholesalers with some of the most innovative and witty cards on the market. 


Based in Brixton, South London, Cath Tate Cards was previously using Sage Line 50 to handle customer and supplier orders, stock processing and invoicing. Management and financial accounts were also being produced in Sage.


Although Sage was doing the job, most of the time, business was so busy that data processing had become very slow (despite modern PCs, network and a good server being in place). The Sage files often became corrupt causing downtime for the business.


Our solution was to replace the high-volume transactional elements of the system with a custom-written system based on SQL Server and Microsoft Access 2007 Runtime.


Chris Tate, Cath Tate Cards' IT Manager

Chris Tate, IT Manager, explained the problem:


"Our systems had become slow and unreliable.  As our business grew and the volume of orders increased, the systems could not keep up.  Sage Line 50 was working well as our accounts package, but not for order processing."



After installing SQL Server, we were able to re-use all of the existing data (and some of the data structures) but at the same time increase processing speed and completely eliminate the issues of database corruption.


The new order processing and stock control system is easy to use, is able to link directly to the Cath Tate Cards website and image catalogue, and has facilities to automatically import new web orders.  The use of pocket PCs for reps to process orders whilst out with their client shops is also being trialled.



With business volumes growing, Chris is confident that the new system will continue to perform. "Scalability is key," Chris said. "The system developed for us by Start will enable us to keep growing and keep introducing innovation into our business."




Contact Robin Bennett, lead developer, to discuss how this style of development could help your business.


Cath Tate Cards wholesale website is


Cath Tate Cards Direct can be reached at

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