Lisa Rutherford, cards and stationery buyer for John Lewis:
“My fave shop at the moment is still kikki.K. What’s not to love? Its innovative and thoughtful product is great for gifting, but also lovely for a treat to yourself. The minute you walk in you fall in love with the concept. The environment is calming and the product is both stylish and useful.”
Debbie and Jerry Brown, owners of First Class Greetings and Plum Green, Hadleigh:
Jerry: “The initial appeal is normally the brand, but having then shopped in a store what keeps us going back is a combination of product, style and personal service.
One of my favourite stores is Ralph Lauren on Bond Street. The staff know us personally and let us know when new collections are about to arrive. The staff always make sure that we receive a warm reception and refreshments (normally with bubbles) which get you in the mood for spending!
My other favourite clothes shop is an Italian brand called Slowear. The clothes have typical Italian flair with superb cut and comfort. The staff are really friendly and an Espresso is always on offer. What keeps me going back to both these stores is the personal service and the knowledge that the staff have of my likes.”
Debbie: “Just like Jerry I am also a great fan of Ralph Lauren on Bond Street. Apart from the warm reception and refreshments, the ambiance is calm and welcoming and there is always a wonderful aroma from the candles which are burned all over the store.
I also love Michael Kors and the Chanel Boutique, both on Bond Street. Here too we are greeted with bubbly, refreshments and looked after by friendly staff who stay in touch via text and email to advise me when new collections will be arriving or to invite us to special events.
As you can probably guess, shopping is our hobby!!”
Chris Beards, partner of Mantons Cards, Port Erin, Isle of Man:
“I rate Beans and Bagels, a Dutch independent chain that is more coffee shop than retailer, but does a fantastic job of impulse sales at the counter. Also the service and product quality is consistently excellent, so there is always a retail lesson to be learnt every time I visit.
In the UK, I generally look at retailers outside of the greeting card and gift trade for inspiration (although we do have lots of amazing retailers in our industry) and my favourite is the men’s suit and shirt retailer Charles Tyrwhitt. The product quality, service and product knowledge is fantastic, and it does a great job of encouraging impulse/add-on purchases. I also like how it captures customers’ details at the till to provide direct catalogue marketing. As my last business started with a mail order catalogue it’s good to see a company still using a catalogue successfully. Although not a business model for many card and gift retailers, Charles Tyrwhitt is one of the most inspiring retailers for us all.”