A businesswoman who set up a gift company from her kitchen table just eight years ago has delivered almost a million gifts in the last 12 months.
Jane Gokgoz set up Personalised Gifts Shop with just £5.50 from her kitchen table in 2011 and is set to hit £7million turnover at the end of this financial year.
The site expects to deliver at least 15,000 gifts a week this year and forecasts total sales for 2019 will number almost one million – including around 30,000 for Valentine’s Day and over 120,000 Christmas presents.
Jane started the site after struggling to find personalised presents for her two children who both have unusual names.
With just £5.50, she built the website from her kitchen table and signed up with a product supplier.
In the early days the site ran a limited range of gifts. Now Jane stocks over 14,000 personalised gifts with that figure growing each week.
The turning point for the business came when Jane took the decision to take everything in house.
She cut out the middle man, dealt with product suppliers herself and recruited a team of in-house designers to create hundreds of new products a year. Samples are now sourced from across the world by the team of buyers.
Owner of Personalised Gifts Shop Jane Gokgoz said: “The original investment in the company was kept low but I soon realised the personalised gifts market was going to be big and that if I invested in the right areas, I could create a very successful business.
“Cutting out the middle man was the best thing for us. It meant I had complete control when it came to dealing with suppliers and sourcing gifts. Having my own team of designers too has meant we can be quick to market with any new and emerging trends.
“Financially, that was a difficult time. I had to re-mortgage and borrow as much as I could, while at the same time developing a whole new product range.”
Jane’s investment paid off. She still retains 100% of the business and has grown from a team of just two in the early days to employing more than 40 people from her warehouse in Wellingborough.
Personalised Gifts Shop have employed ten new staff already this year and are planning to hire more over coming months, as well as continuing to invest significantly in specialised machinery and advanced technology.
Jane continued: “When I first set up the business there were very clear peaks in personalised gift buying – times like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter.
“That’s where we’ve seen the biggest change. Personalised gifts buying has become less seasonal and more of a regular occurrence. Customers buy to mark the arrival of a new baby, a christening, engagement and wedding. They shop for graduations, children starting school and teacher gifts.
“They’re also more discerning. The rise of social media has played a big role in this. First time shoppers will read reviews and will want to know how good a company we are.
“They also expect complete transparency on everything including dispatch time and delivery costs. We’ve always been very upfront with information like that and our customers reward our honesty and integrity with their repeat business.”