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TALKINGSHOP


activity both in terms of income generation and also building awareness of our brand, the properties we look after and the work we do.


What’s the rough percentage split between sales of cards and gifting items? I think the defi nition of a gift is very diffi cult, for me a gift is a present that would be valued by the recipient. If you’re setting up an offi ce at home you may be very happy to receive a shredder for Christmas but it wouldn’t normally be considered a gift! On that basis there are the cards, we carry a small range of 180 designs, and really everything else could be classed as a gift.


How vast is the price range for gifts? £3- £200


What brands of cards and gifts does the National Trust sell and which sell well? A signifi cant percentage of all our ranges are NT own-brand while the other brands we stock very from season to season depending on what fulfi ls our range strategy. The continuity lines tend to be own brand but cards are one of the exceptions to this and some of our most popular ranges are Wrendale Designs from Hannah Dale, Tottering By Gently and Bernie Parker’s Ladies Who Love Life.


What are customers buying at the moment – is there anything that stands out as a bestseller? One of the new hit ranges is one that is in signifi cant growth in the market as a whole is ladies’ scarves.


What are the evergreen categories that consistently sell well on both the card and gift sides? For cards the category is so small for us it’s just cards in general but on gifts it’s probably the product types that refl ect what we’re known for, such as food, books and gardening.


What’s the most exciting part of your job? Sourcing a product that proves to be massively popular with our visitors because when we have a good product the profi t generated stays at the property for them to invest in their conservation work which really makes you feel that you can make a difference – it really does make it worthwhile.


What are the commercial considerations you have to take into account in your job, and have things changed since you’ve been with the Trust? As the income generated by retail becomes more important to the Trust we have had to become much more sophisticated in the way we work. We’re a team of professional buyers and our systems and processes are like those of any major retailer – which is a real shock to many potential suppliers!


You’ve just been chosen as the fi rst- ever retailer deputy chairman of the Giftware Association, and will be the fi rst such chairman in 2016, how do you feel about that?


I’m very excited and hugely honoured to have been asked to take on this role, I see it as a big responsibility given the diffi cult trading conditions for both suppliers and retailers and, while we do seem to be seeing some small signs of recovery, I do believe it will continue to be challenging for all of us for many years to come.


How do you hope your experience will help shape


● Bestsellers – souvenirs as you’ve never seen them before, this new look (above) for 2013 keeps the range moving forward and has been well received. Stationery top seller The Birds And Butterfl ies (below) is produced in the UK and is exclusive to the National Trust. The Curds range (below left) is made by hand in small batches to traditional recipes, and the coaster and mug (top left) are from the exclusive new spring range, Birds with illustrations by Alex Clark.


future policy and understanding between manufacturers and retailers? As well as working for the National Trust I also work as an independent advisor in the stationery, card and gift industry and I think it’s this broader understanding of the various issues that affect the different elements of the supply chain that will help me shape future policy.


What was the last card you sent – and why did you choose it? The last card I sent was a postcard, in fact it was three, which I sent to my mum, dad and father-in-law. I always do this when I visit an NT property so they can see what I’m up to.


www.greetingstoday.co.uk 33


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