Gift Focus inc Attire Accessories - March/April 2024

COMPANY PROFILE 13 that we bring a little of that in everything that we do. How are you finding the current climate in the UK? Is it affecting business? We’re still struggling to make sense of Brexit, we’re not a wealthy country anymore and still don’t have a plan. We should have used Brexit as a springboard to relaunch UK craft and fashion production, that was the obvious win, but there doesn’t seem to be enough leadership from government, councils or education. We’ve lost too many skills over the last 50 years by outsourcing overseas. How do you view the future of independent retail? The high street is far from finished, in fact its best days are just around the corner. I’m seeing an evolution from soulless department stores to dynamic specialist retailers run by experts in their field, people that actually know what they’re talking about and attract customers who are not only looking for products but also advice. Look at the cycling industry, which is now dominated by the small independents, the drinks industry which is led by the craft sector - it’s all about knowledge and expertise Are you active on social media? How is this important for the business? I’m useless, I know I need to do more but it does my head in! Do you have any advice for new businesses starting out in the world of gifts? If you’re good at buying, go out and find things that people haven’t seen before, visit overseas trade shows and always be on the look-out when you’re on holiday. If that’s not your thing, then stock brands that sell themselves, brands that have high profiles and work on amazing customer service and wonderful buyer experience. What can we expect in the future from the company? We’re always bringing on new brands, we can help it. I’m sure your readers know exactly what I mean. Always space for one more! Anything you’d like to add? I want to give a shout out to five amazing women who in my opinion are showing the way in independent retail: Suzi Somers of The Golden Sheaf Gallery in Narbeth Vanessa Hodgson of Collen and Clare in Southwold Caroline Bloomfield of the same name in Midhurst and Barnes Meike Cassens from Burford Sue Parkinson of the same name in Cirencester ACADEMIE T: +44 (0)7565 241 356