The variety and the flexibility that the business offers are two key elements that keep me going, as well as the fact that my franchise is flexible enough to fit around my family commitments.
I work in a fairly rural community and my Northampton territory is mainly made up of market towns and villages.
This can mean a certain amount of driving between retailers to deliver greeting cards and gifts, and so I need to be particularly organised with call routes – especially given the rise in the cost of fuel in recent times.
I generally visit anything between 4-12 stores in a day depending on the size of the retail outlet and how many cups of coffee I am offered while discussing stock levels with the retail manager!
It is important to maintain strong relationships with store managers and spending time with them ensures I understand their business challenges and can respond to them. Many I have known for so long now they have become good friends.
I have around 130 retailers I visit regularly and at each store I deliver a hand-picked range of Card Connection’s high-quality greeting cards and gifts.
Stock is merchandised in display units to ensure it always looks fresh and up-to-date with seasonal product like Valentine’s day, Mother’s Day, Easter or Christmas cards plus all the occasional sends like Birthday and Congratulations cards. The more attractive the display, the more appealing the products tend to be to consumers and this increases sales.
I first found out about the franchise at an exhibition. Even after almost two decades, I still love the idea that the products and cards are delivered to retailers on a consignment basis. This means the retailers only pay for what they sell and so are always keen to take quality stock which is merchandised and displayed well.
Over the years, the greeting card designs supplied by Card Connection’s in-house team have become extensive and now the range totals around 1,500 different designs from tall cards, to square, to luxury hand made cards. The designs meet almost any need from humorous to sentimental verse right through to the sophisticated blank Santé range.
These days, I deliver to numerous national accounts like BP, Musgraves, Budgens and Londis, although I still service many independent retailers. Larger stores need to be visited more frequently, so this means that no one day is ever the same as another. A day on the road, merchandising in-store, will always end with packing stock uplifted during the day and picking stock ready for the following day’s deliveries.
For anyone considering starting their own business I would certainly recommend considering a franchise. I still enjoy the work after 18 years and I think very few people would honestly make that claim!
Card Connection franchises start from £20,000 (plus stock) with earnings potential in excess of £50,000 per annum.