Articles

Here is a selection of features from Gift Focus magazine.

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Adapt and conquer

How can UK businesses adapt to the lack of warehouse space? Slingsby Group Chief Executive, Morgan Morris, tells us more... The number of business premises used for warehousing and logistics has almost doubled in the last decade, according to the Office for National Statistics. This has been largely driven by the massive increase in e-commerce and online retailers such as Amazon – a company that accounts for a quarter of all warehousing space in the UK. In late 2021, property agent Cushman & Wakefield predicted that the UK could run out of warehousing space within a year. Over 12 months later, demand continues to be at an all-time high, with vacancy rates having been sat at less than 2 percent for the past year. This is way below the rate needed to balance fluctuations between supply and demand, which is 8 percent.

Photo ready

Dids Macdonald, CEO of Anti Copying in Design (ACID) looks at intellectual property, and what you can and can't do with images and photography. Intellectual property (IP) encompasses a wide range of creations, including images, photographs, and visual content. Whether you're a creator, a business owner, or simply an internet user, understanding how to properly use and protect images is essential in today's digital age. In this guide, we'll explore the proper use of images, common misuses, and tips for protecting your intellectual property.

Stylishly practical

Primeur Managing Director, Jenny Douthwaite, discusses the company's heritage, and highlights its sustainable future... The business began in March 1968. The company was originally founded to supply Grattan mail order catalogue with Stainless Steel Tea service sets from Denmark. Whilst these products are no longer in our ranges, they were pivotal in our launch into the retail sector more than 55 years ago. From day one, our ethos has always been to supply products to our customers that add value to their ranges. Over the years, our sourcing has brought many different products categories to the UK and we continually seek innovation to bring to our customers. We began supplying doormats many decades ago and are very proud of the heritage and reputation we have built in this category.

10 questions about pop-up retail

Charley Crocker, Founder and Lead Agent of The Pop Up Shop Agents, answers themost common questions about pop-up retail. The high street is going through a restructure, as the previous model of long commercial contracts is no longer fit for purpose. An interesting proposition is to open a pop-up shop for a limited period of time in a popular location, to test the market and drive brand awareness. Pop Up Shops in concept form have been around for hundreds of years, if you consider Christmas Markets and other festival market days, when local businesses would gather to show their products. In the current form, pop up shops, or 'guerilla stores' became common in Los Angeles in the 1990's. By the early 2000's brands were using pop ups to create a memorable experience for their customers. A great example is Comme de Garcons, who opened a pop up in Berlin in 2004.

Mission accomplished

Bruce Penson, Managing Director of cyber security and IT support company Pro Drive IT, offers five ways small businesses can lower their carbon emissions by optimising technology. In 2019, the UK government committed to achieving carbon neutrality, otherwise known as 'net zero', by 2050. This target might seem part of a distant future, but research has proven that we're already falling far short of what's required if we have any chance of meeting it. According to the latest update to the UN Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Synthesis Report, a sizable 13.7 per cent increase in global greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2010 is anticipated by 2030. As limiting global average temperature increases to 1.5 °C requires a 45 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, there's a lot more work to be done.

Employee experience

Looking to make a making a positive impact on your business with recruitment and onboarding?Caroline Gleeson, CEO of Occupop, a provider of industry-leading hiring systems, offers expert insight. When recruiting for vacant roles within your company, a huge concern may be how to retain the talent you're bringing in. Especially considering the research showing that 30 percent of new starters leave their roles within the first three months, and the financial impact of replacing them can be as much as £30,614 per research from Oxford Economics and Unum. This is a great example of why a good onboarding program can play a huge role in the retention of top industry talent.

Like Clockwork

Clockwork Soldier's offering covers gardening kits, stationery sets, puzzles, games, and novelty gifts. Discover more about its company journey. Over the years the brand has developed to include holistic learning themes and the use of sustainable materials. Our offerings have covered gardening kits, stationery sets, puzzles, games, and novelty gifts. Now we focus on creative kits that encourage building or making which can also be used to decorate a bedroom wall or desk.

Gorgeous Gifts

In partnership with wholesaler Ancient Wisdom, Agnes + Cat offers beautiful eco-friendly products to market. Here, Account Manager at AW-Aromatics, Radek Wlodarczyk shares their industry knowledge and expert advice. When did you start up and why? Agnes + Cat was created in the beautiful Lake district in the North of England. That's where we started designing our iconic range of candles and bath products, getting inspired by the surrounding nature and scents. To respond to the high demand from customers, Agnes + Cat creators partnered up with Ancient Wisdom Marketing, a wholesaler based in Yorkshire, to promote and produce their products and make them even better.

Occasional art

Simply Mourne Founder Catherine Bradford spotted a gap in the market for a potential work-from-home business to help support family life. Now, the business has a plethora o fin-demand products. "I started in 2016. I initially designed pictures for a hobby but saw a gap in the market. It was then that I could see a potential business from my hobby. I was on a career break supporting our eldest child through a challenging time. I thought if I could turn this idea into a business, I could work from home and be able to generate an income.

Social situations

Do you worry about your employees' use of social media? Here, guest blogger Sue Tumelty from Hr Dept looks at the benefits of implementing a social media policy. TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and now Threads – social media provides employees with a million and one ways to bring a company into disrepute: from posing in uniform and bad-mouthing customers on a personal channel to making an ill-judged comment on their official page. With 98 per cent of workers saying that they have social media for personal use, it is intrinsic to a business that they have legislation in place to prevent any mishaps from happening. Down under, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of New South Wales even had to warn its members about creating (presumably adult) content on OnlyFans.

Message to sender

With the UK consumer being a fan of a celebration, there are greeting cards for every occasion. Take inspiration from these beautiful examples. Award-winning company, Cinnamon Aitch has a gorgeous selection of greetings cards to suit all ages, genders and styles. From the colour popping, graphic, on trend She and He ranges featuring bespectacled faces, to the sensitively hand painted, nature inspired Skylark range, the contemporary mix has ensured the company has gained an enviable reputation over its near thirty years of trading.

Computer generated

Artificial Intelligence – should you embrace it or fear it? Dids Macdonald, CEO of Anti Copying in Design (ACID) tells us more...Whatever area of the giftware sector you're in, there are many more questions than answers about using artificial intelligence (AI). AI is all around us and developing at an exponential pace and it's on the tip of everyone's tongue. AI's uses span the gamut of ground breaking and enabling, to its unauthorised use by machines plundering others' intellectual property with little or no regulation. Some may say plundering is a sanitised word for stealing the consequences of which threaten many with this sector. This rise on access to AI tools raises the question, will AI replace the traditional approach to designing are jobs on the line? Currently big business AI developers have written off the need for licensing so many ask, how will it be regulated?

Apprenticeships: a cornerstone, not a casualty

The dynamic nature of our economy has propelled apprenticeships to the forefront as a key instrument for nurturing young talent. This is not just a passing fad, but a concrete method to prepare the next generation with hands-on skills and valuable knowledge.

Martin McTague, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shares why bridging the skills gap is important . However, the latest Government figures give us reason to stop and reflect. Apprenticeship starts saw a 4.1 percent dip, shrinking to 195,600 from August 2022 to January 2023, compared with the last period's 203,990. This decline is not just a statistical hiccup: it underscores untapped potential and the knock-on effect on our economy. It also reveals the missed opportunity to leverage the full potential of our small businesses as engines of skills development. The current setup is woefully unprepared to accommodate the specific training requirements of small businesses.

Mental welfare in the gift sector

Faith Capstick from ACID's communications team shares some of her thoughts for better mental health. A great way to create some positive mental health techniques is to indulge in more creative pastimes. Creativity can be a way of slowing down anxious thoughts, it allows you to perceive your surroundings in a different way, taking focus away from your fear or panic and channeling your energy into a positive action which results in creating something beautiful. It can enhance your self-esteem, your positive thoughts, and make you feel better about yourself. Research has shown creative pursuits to lessen the stress and anxiety felt by trauma experiences, PTSD, and depression. Writing or painting, especially, can give your subconscious an outlet to express emotions which are difficult to speak about. Being immersed in creative activities allows your mind to go into 'the fl ow', it focuses your thoughts, allows mindfulness, relaxes you, and can even be euphoric, along with a feeling of accomplishment.

The LinkedIn Effect

Kayleigh Gresty, founder of Kreate Socials talks to us about how networking on LinkedIn can be beneficial to your business. Are you a business owner looking to grow your presence on social media? Whether you want to grow your engagement or want to increase sales, social media can be seriously overwhelming, so to begin with, just focus on one, until you get to grips with this.

Going global

Blade and Rose owner Amanda Peffer found a distinctive product format which resonates with a wide audience, and is now looking to further its UK and European expansion When did you start up and why? When I was on maternity leave after the arrival of my daughter, I found I was constantly on the lookout for cute little leggings but never quite found what I wanted, so I designed my own. Initially there were only three designs, each with the unique and very cute 'design on the bum', which were a huge hit and sold out immediately. What prompted you to launch the business? The business just grew organically. I gave up my job to concentrate on Blade and Rose then twelve months later my husband Jon joined the company too.

Long-term success

This issue UK mailing service Washington Direct provides an insightful look at how to keep a long-term consumer base happy. Customer satisfaction is an integral part of business' ambitions if they wish to be a long-term success. Building a loyal customer base is important, but keeping those customers happy to ensure they will return in the future is essential as a business grows. Here, we look at how different brands can successfully maintain customer satisfaction, and how in some cases this has been refreshed to put a fresh spin on it.

Check out Gift Focus' November/December bookstand!

This issue Gift Focus showcases the latest releases in the literary world, from books for green-fingered gardeners to must-haves for children, and The Queendom Within a guide to help you feel empowered as a woman - there really is something for every one! Whether you're buying for you, someone else, or your store, we're sure a few of these will get added to your reading list.

Repeat custom

Pomegranate London Founder Katie Bulatovic evolved her brand from market stalls to a bricks and mortar stall in London, and has developed a loyal customer base that returns year-on-year. Tell us a bit about your store and how you came to open the business. I had been trading for many years through fairs and various market stalls and my sister, who owned the restaurant next door to my shop, let me know that it was available to rent and I jumped at the chance to finally have a fixed address – and also to work next door to her! Is the location important to the success of your store? Our shop is on one of the oldest garden squares in London and, whilst not on the high street, it is a frequently used walk through up to the high street. We are in such a beautiful spot and I think customers like us being this hidden gem they have chanced upon.

Target Market

Visiting garden centres is a culturally British pass-time that's as popular as ever. In fact, over two-thirds of adults in the UK visit garden centres at least once a year. More young people are interested in green spaces and houseplants, with 83 percent of 18-34-year-olds thinking gardening is 'cool', and over half choosing a garden centre over clubbing. So, ensuring you are offering what young people might like is important. Here, we will explore some ways to entice more young people to visit your garden centre. Planting workshops: one way to keep young visitors coming to your garden centre is to focus on the growing hobby of caring for and rejuvenating houseplants. In 2021, the average Brit spent £300 on house plants, and members of Gen Z are the ones investing in their plants the most, study finds

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