Gift specialists have given themselves the perfect present by unwrapping a great move which has put their online company on target for an even-brighter future.
Lincoln-based chartered surveyor Banks Long & Co has just leased premises at the city’s Sadler Court to Gifts from Handpicked – giving a business which started life in a bedroom and graduated to have a seven-figure turnover – much-needed breathing space.
Gifts from Handpicked Director Natalie Yates said: “It’s great to have made our expansion move and got settled-in well ahead of our busiest time of the year, the run-up to Christmas.
“We already have a team of four employees, but we plan to have eight by the end of September. Soon after, of course, we will be looking to welcome our seasonal Christmas temps.”
Natalie’s company used to be based at The Hereward Business Centre in North Hykeham, from where it operated for four years, before she finally had to search for bigger premises.
Now she is still in the increasingly busy LN6 area, where the online business is well-placed for fast access to the A46, A1 and other key distribution routes.
“We stock more than 2,500 lines, from around 100 suppliers of 250 popular branded goods. Our worldwide customer base, which includes Europe and America, has grown and we are delighted to have made our move after a year in which we have doubled our turnover,” said Natalie.
“During the Coronavirus, which has been a real challenge for many companies, we have continued to trade and even picked-up new customers. This has undoubtedly come about because of the protracted lockdown when more people than ever have turned to technology to buy their essentials.
“We have appealed to shoppers determined to help family and friends to celebrate special occasions whilst having to stay at home and we have seen more people taking advantage of our gift wrapping service – where we pick, pack and wrap their chosen gift and despatch it for delivery.”
Natalie is almost modest about the success of her family-run business, which she started almost by accident following redundancy.
“I used to be a support manager within the catering industry, then I was made redundant. I thought about having my own café, but it was whilst I was shopping on a trip to Harrogate, with my son who was one-year-old at the time,” said Natalie.
“We went into a really lovely gift shop and I was inspired to ask the woman who served me about it and how she sourced her stock. She told me to go along to some trade fairs to find out more.
“I took her advice, and discovered it was a great way of discovering what is out there, including the latest products and designs, as well as talk to wholesalers.”
Suitably impressed, Natalie – who by now had decided what to do with her £8,000 in redundancy money – returned home with a load of stock. She went to move house and built a garage in which to store her goods and started off selling on eBay then through her website. Soon family and friends found themselves lending a hand. Her mum Sue has only recently retired!
Today’s www.giftsfromhandpicked.co.uk, which also offers a click-and-collect service, continues to grow thanks to its dedicated team, professional website, customer testimonials and its use of social media, especially Facebook and Instagram.
Banks Long & Co Trainee Surveyor Harry Hodgkinson said: “It is great to see how Natalie’s company has grown in terms of size and worldwide sales.
“We are delighted to have let her a modern 3,611 sq. ft. warehouse unit, which benefits from being on a well-maintained business park which is conveniently located to the major roads network.”