Gift Wrapped & Gorgeous, based in Bodmin, Cornwall, offers affordable media coverage and a bespoke selling platform for UK-based designers, artisans and small gift companies. Established in January 2010, here director Amanda Charteris talks us through her business journey.
What drives you to keep growing your business?
We are passionate about promoting UK design and the arts. We feel that we have more than enough home grown talent in the UK that we don’t need to import cheap gift imports. Working with these designers is rewarding both emotionally and financially. We are helping them to grow their businesses but their success is our success too.
How fast has your business grown?
It has grown very quickly from no partner companies to 150 and rising in our first year.
We hand pick our partner companies so we have the creme de la creme of designs and designers for our customers.
How have you continued to thrive despite the downturn?
We provide luxury, high-quality and unique gifts for our customers that don’t cost the earth. We have also kept registration fees as low as possible for our partner companies.
We also work with referral marketing techniques to provide low cost product photography and pr for our partner companies.
We had some great PR just before our launch when we won a competition to meet Peter Jones of Dragons Den fame.
What were the biggest obstacles to your success?
Time and lack of money but it’s amazing how inventive one can be!!
How did you fund your growth?
We received a grant from Creative Leicestershire where we were based originally. This gave us the deposit for our website and we have made arrangements with the website company to pay in installments.
All the income from sales and partner companies goes straight back into funding the business growth.
We received some funding from Plymouth University to help pay our admin assistant’s wages. We haven’t taken any salaries for ourselves. I was a stay at home Mum before starting the business and my co-director still works part time in another job.
What advice would you give someone looking to grow a business?
Make sure you know your cash flow down to the last halfpenny. With marketing we have used various techniques such as piggy back marketing, referrals, skill swops and most definitely social networking on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
You also have to be prepared to work harder than you have ever done in your life!
How do you build staff loyalty and trust?
Honesty is the key. Our staff know what is expected of them and we don’t ask them to do anything we wouldn’t do ourselves. We provide staff discounts for our products and pay them when they are off sick or allow them to work from home if need be.
We provide clear instructions and targets and give praise when it’s due. We never forget to say thank you and of course it always helps when they are paid on time!
We make our staff feel part of the team and part of our success. We have a friendly and supportive approach but there is a line drawn in the sand.
Hopefully we are popular bosses even though we have a micro staff at present.
What makes a great entrepreneur?
Good grief, who knows! Personally I think an entrepreneur is someone who always thinks of the solution to a problem rather than giving up but is also someone who knows when to quit when something is obviously not working. Entrepreneurs are positive people but practical too – oh and extremely hard working!
I don’t think that entrepreneurs consider their work as actual work because they enjoy it so much. I think you have to earn the right to be called an entrepreneur and most definitely cannot call yourself an entrepreneur until a real entrepreneur does – if that makes sense!