Blue Eyed Sun takes a sweet approach to woo-ing retailers

Spying some sweet treats, Liz Stephenson from You in Stamford.
Spying some sweet treats, Liz Stephenson from You in Stamford.

Blue Eyed Sun has delved into the inner psyche of many greeting card retailers – and is revealing all! The Brighton-based card publisher translated an innovative marketing initiative which has seen it find out card retailers’ favourite chocolate bars and surprise them with a sweet treat!

And there are 150 card retailers who are set to receive more than they bargained for when they go onto the Blue Eyed Sun’s stand at the Spring Fair.

It was after being inspired by author Geoff Ramm’s keynote speech at a Giftware Association’s Member’s Day last year that Jeremy Corner, owner of greeting card publisher Blue Eyed Sun, has been putting the idea to the test. In his talk Geoff shared the story of Simon Jones of Bonjour Photography who exhibited at a local wedding show. Simon contacted everyone on the list who was attending and asked them what their favourite chocolate was. He then asked them to visit his stand at the show to collect a gift from him.

 Paul Jarman (centre) and Danny Ingram from Creased Cards, Brighton.
Paul Jarman (centre) and Danny Ingram from Creased Cards, Brighton.
House of Cards’ Nigel Williamson (left) and Miles Robinson were along those who were delighted with their chocolate treat.
House of Cards’ Nigel Williamson (left) and Miles Robinson were along those who were delighted with their chocolate treat.

Jeremy continues the story: “Simon purchased the various chocolates and put them together as a gift pack along with an album of his photographs for each couple. The results were remarkable. Nearly 90% of the customers he cold-contacted shared their favourite chocolates. He successfully tracked them down, even an obscure chocolate from the US, and ultimately took £14,000 of bookings for an outlay of £400.”

Bowled over by the hit rate on such a simple idea, Jeremy has been translating the idea into the greeting card retail world.

Jeremy approached 72 customers who had visited the company at the Autumn Shows in the past three years and found out their favourite chocolates. Of these, 33 shops came and collected their chocolates (with a gift sample pack) and ordered at the show or shortly afterwards with a total sales value of £11k (plus higher than average order values).

Richard and Ann Gascoyne from Salhouse Garden Centre hold their favourite chocolates that were given to them by Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner.
Richard and Ann Gascoyne from Salhouse Garden Centre hold their favourite chocolates that were given to them by Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner.

Jeremy reveals that he has 150 specific chocolate gift packs waiting for customers at Spring Fair. “We had such amazing feedback from those we saw at Top Drawer who really loved the personal approach and almost everyone who collected their chocolate ordered. Although it’s not really about that. It’s about taking good care of our customers and letting them know how much we love them and are grateful for their business.”

Galaxy is a favourite with Sam Aspinall from Cadeaux in Leeds
Galaxy is a favourite with Sam Aspinall from Cadeaux in Leeds

This isn’t the only chocolate-inspired idea for Jeremy. When he met Willie Harcourt-Cooze (from Channel 4’s Willies Chocolate Revolution) it sparked a cross-promotion between the two companies.  Blue Eyed Sun customers received a free gift of Willie’s Cacao truffles with every Valentine’s greeting card order shipped, as well as a chance to purchase Willie’s products at a very special rate just for Blue Eyed Sun customers. There is also a Willie’s promotion for all new customers ordering until the end of March.

Blue Eyed Sun has joined forces with Willies Cacao to reach new customers.
Blue Eyed Sun has joined forces with Willies Cacao to reach new customers.

PG Buzz turned the tables on Jeremy put him in the hot seat…

What was your favourite chocolate bar as a child? “As a kid growing up in South Africa I loved brands that don’t exist in the UK like: Lunch Bars (like Lion Bars), Bar Ones (like Mars bars), Chomps, Tempos and Star Bars.”

What’s your fave now? “I now love single estate chocolate and my new favourite is Willie’s Praline Truffles with Seasalt. They are seriously good!”

 

Blue Eyed Sun will be showing in Hall 3 stand X31 at the Spring Fair.

 

* For the full article see Progressive Greetings’ February edition (out now).

 

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