60 seconds with… Rod Brown, joint md of Words ‘n’ Wishes

Rod Brown, joint md of Words ‘n’ Wishes.
Rod Brown, joint md of Words ‘n’ Wishes.

Rod’s potted greeting card industry history: Some 30 years in the card trade with Hallmark, Paper House (now GBCC), Second Nature, Rainbow Cards (that he co-owned for several years), Wishing Well Studios and now Words ‘n’ Wishes (of which he is a major shareholder). Prior to joining the card trade, he was a professional footballer (Arbroath FC) and continues a connection the sport in a management capacity with Redditch FC.

Winston Churchill is on Rod Brown’s dinner party ‘wishlist’.
Winston Churchill is on Rod Brown’s dinner party ‘wishlist’.

Who would be top of your list to have dinner with tonight?:

“Winston Churchill, George Best and my parents – all sadly passed away.”

What three words would your mates would use to describe you?:

“Talkative, positive and personable.”

How have greeting cards’ importance to indie stockists changed over the years?:

A Galloway pie is a ‘meat-ing’ of minds for Rod.
A Galloway pie is a ‘meat-ing’ of minds for Rod.

“I can remember back to the days when an independent card retailer’s sales came from 80% cards and 20% gifts. Now many have to work to a 50:50 split to survive. The good ones have of course and we are proud to be part of their business.”

What is your guilty pleasure?:

“Galloways’ chunky steak pies – Wigan’s finest!”

One of the many chocolate bar designs from Words ‘n’ Wishes.
One of the many chocolate bar designs from Words ‘n’ Wishes.

Acting on good ideas is key to any business owner, name one that has impacted positively on the growth of Words ‘n’ Wishes?:

“The launch of our chocolate bars last year. They came about I was over in Ireland doing store visits with Watermark, our Irish distributors who told me how well they were doing with a spinner of chocolate bars. My initial response was “No, cards are our thing” but we launched a range and over 140 of our accounts took them in the first couple of weeks. We have sold over £100,000 worth of bars in the last few months – all additional sales for our customers and our sales team.”

If you had to share a few lessons that you have learned from others what would they be?:

“Working for Hallmark gave me structure; working for Paper House ignited the passion of entrepreneurialism, David Evans, the founder of Wishing Well reminded me that it is our retail customers who put food on our table so exceed their service expectations.”

Words ‘n’ Wishes’ joint mds Rod Brown (far left) and Carl Salt (far right) with Cardgains’ marketing director Penny Shaw and Chris Dyson at the recent Henries awards.
Words ‘n’ Wishes’ joint mds Rod Brown (far left) and Carl Salt (far right) with Cardgains’ marketing director Penny Shaw and Chris Dyson at the recent Henries awards.

How do you treat yourself?:

“I love buying clothes. Church and Clements in Birmingham is my favourite shop for men’s tailoring.”

You are always on the go, how do you relax?:

“By walking the dog – it gives me time to think.”

To where do you most like to escape?:

“Dubai.”

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