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Starting a Greetings Card Franchise

Starting a Greetings Card Franchise

Everybody loves to receive a greetings card, whatever the occasion. And let's face it, there's always an excuse to send one, as a cursory glance at the shelves will confirm. Whether it's a birth, a birthday, a wedding, an anniversary or even an exam, there's a card for it.

So that means there are plenty of business opportunities in the greetings card market. And franchising provides a way to take advantage of them.

Card Connection, for example, offers home-based franchise opportunities, with 68 franchisees covering the whole of the UK and Ireland. A closer look at the Card Connection setup will give you an idea of what’s involved in running a gift cards franchise.

The main component of the business is their “everyday” card range, which includes birthday cards, get well cards, etc. The company also offers full seasonal ranges, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc, and also “Gift Connection” party badges, gift wrapping and “impulse buy” gifts.

Card Connection’s franchisees provide bespoke card displays to around 12,000 retailers across the UK. These are mostly convenience outlets, with around 65% of the business coming through national accounts, such as Spar, Budgens, BP and Londis.

Franchisees are given an exclusive territory, visiting the customers within it on a monthly basis. They place greetings card displays in the retail outlets on a consignment basis, meaning the customer doesn’t pay for the stock upfront – they just pay for what they sell. So the stock and merchandise display units are given to the customers on a free loan.

Franchise owners can work flexible hours to fit in with their daily lives – especially as convenience stores tend to be open long hours.

Card Connection offers a comprehensive training programme for new franchisees, spread over several weeks and covering every aspect of the business. Each franchisee is supported by a business development manager, who provides guidance and help with developing the opportunities within their territories.

Franchisees are given the opportunity to meet regularly at twice-yearly regional meetings and an annual conference.

So how much does it cost? To buy a Card Connection franchise the minimum cost would be £35,000, of which you would contribute at least £15,000 of your own money.

According to the company, it’s ideal if franchisees have management skills experience because as their business grows they will probably need to employ a small team, operate a warehouse and have several vans on the road.

For example, Dave and Di Tudor, Card Connection’s Franchisees of the Year 2013, covering Hereford and Stratford upon Avon, used to run a post office but wanted a new opportunity that was flexible enough to fit around family life.

Di Tudor told Which Franchise: “We were not keen on taking on a retail outlet, but rather a franchise that offered a more flexible working arrangement.”

The couple raised the necessary finance through personal finance and selling their post office business.

Describing her typical day, Di said: “If I’m out on the road we usually start early visiting retail outlets. We take out old stock and replace with the latest greeting card designs and make the displays look attractive. An important part of merchandising is actually the rapport and relationship we build with the retailer.”

For more information on Card Connection, visit: http://www.card-connection.co.uk

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