“Jason Hook and partner Vanessa Culliford joined Card Connection two years ago,” confirms Andrew Cutler, franchise and sales director for Card Connection. “In the past six months they have been focused on growing their business and have started to work with an additional 53 retail sites. This increases their portfolio of Card Connection retail customers to well over 200 stores and as a result, they have seen a significant uplift in sales figures.”
Ex Kent policeman, Jason, puts the team’s success down to: “Hard work and a focus on expanding the business through new retail customers. Our target is to get at least one new retailer to stock our Card Connection greeting cards each week and by calling on outlets, from farm shops to florists - in addition to larger retail stores, we are easily achieving this.
“Interestingly, we are not seeing the effects of the recession,” he continues. “Our sales figures are well up on last year and we have been able to improve our profit margins by stocking more premium product. The future looks bright and within the next 12 months we are aiming to employ an additional merchandiser and buy a new van to manage the growth of the business.”
Vanessa, an ex-shop keeper who spent the immediate years before purchasing the franchise working as a freelance events and sales manager states: “We always aim to provide excellent personalised customer service throughout our 235 customers. We are always on call and tailor our displays and diary to meet the needs of each shop; the customer always comes first. We have gained a great deal of extra space within existing outlets simply by being reliable and friendly.”
Using a proven system, Card Connection franchisees place greeting card ranges in retail outlets on a ‘consignment’ basis. This means the stock and display equipment is installed on free loan to the retailer. This is one step beyond ‘sale or return’ as Card Connection customers never have to buy the stock in the first place, only paying for what they sell. The award winning merchandising service provided to retailers by local franchisees is second to none and has established the company’s excellent reputation especially within the convenience sector.
Card Connection has limited vacancies for franchisees who are keen to run an expanding business. Successful candidates would ideally have some management experience as, once established, they would be expected to employ a small team, operate a warehouse and have several liveried vans on the road.
Because the franchise networks in the UK and Ireland are complete, the available opportunities now consist of acquiring an already-established territory from an existing franchisee. These vary in price according to their level of development, but start at £20,000 (+ stock) with earnings potential in excess of £50,000 per annum.