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Company Profile


Keeping things Personal Giftware Review’s editor pays a visit to the UK’s largest personalised gift operation, PMC


Having set up their Stoke-based family business 12 years ago, Mark and Keren soon found that personalised mementos weren’t just going to be big, they were going to be huge. Starting out with simple, traditional items such as


candles, mugs, engraved crystal, wedding and Christening gifts, PMC quickly expanded into thousands of individual product lines. By 2008 the company had to move to a larger


headquarters in the famous potteries region of their home town, and this year opened up a new warehouse to cope with soaring demand for its customised gift lines. Now the clear market leader in the personalised


gift category, PMC employs 75 full-time staff at their manufacturing unit and is geared up to take on 140 temporary workers to cope with the Christmas rush. The machines will have been in operation 24/7


for roughly six weeks ahead of Christmas, ensuring PMC maintains its excellent reputation for same day production, decoration and fulfilment of thousands of bespoke orders. Hearing about the intricacies of such orders – and


the entire personalisation process – was something of a revelation, at peak up to 2,000 customised baubles are produced per day and shipped out to adorn Christmas trees across the length and breadth of the UK. Different products of varying materials require an


impressive array of machinery to keep things personal for customers, ranging from industrial embroidery mechanisms and customised pencil devices to wood or metal-burning lasers and ceramic kilns. “We are the biggest at what we do because of our


manufacturing operation,” says Keren, “most of our investment has gone into IT, it costs a lot of money to get the right system in place but it’s fundamental to the straight-through-processing that’s required if we’re


personalised range last Christmas and it was a huge success that we’ve been building on this year. This is a huge brand and it’s taken us a year to get all the occasions sorted out – we now have a teddy that fits every occasion” Speaking of occasions, the latest one to be taken


up by personalisation is Halloween, a good area of growth for many retailers that has an increasingly high public profile, partly thanks to the American influence but also because of celebrity fancy dress parties that achieve widespread media coverage. Already of great importance to the personalised


to fulfil our delivery promises. “Customers know that when it comes to


Christmas, no matter what the rush, we won’t let them down, even when we’re getting over 20,000 orders per day, as happens in December. We work closely with our customers to deliver the right website functionality, but it can be quite difficult explaining the IT side of things to them. It’s surprising how many big companies don’t invest enough in IT when it’s so important. “Home is one of the


areas we’ve really focused on in the past 18 months and it just keeps getting stronger. It doesn’t matter what we add, it just keeps going, including mixing bowls, which is a bit tricky at times as we can only get eight of those on a kiln at one time. “We launched our exclusive Me to You


gift trade are Catholic occasions such as Baptism, Confirmation and first Communion gifts – plus personalised Bibles, no less - while Godparent-specific messages and sentiments are also key areas. One occasion that Keren would especially like to


see grow is Grandparents Day, which takes place in September but is still largely overlooked. “We want Grandparents Day to take off,” she says, “as we can already see a lot of grandparent gifts being sent around Mothers and Fathers Day, so there’s obviously a big market for it. In fact, our top selling picture frame is for Grandparents.” One of the secrets to


personalisation of licensed product, says Keren, is “making sure the core sentiment is right for different sorts of product. What works really well on a greeting card, for example, may not translate perfectly to kitchenware,


so we collaborate with the brand owners to get the messages just right on each item.”


November / December 2015 Giftware Review & Home Interiors 11


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