How to start a gift shop

A business idea to get wrapped up in

What is it? Who is it suited to?
Setting up Training and regulations
How much does it cost? How much can I earn?

What is it?

We all like getting presents. Admit it. Even if you’re someone who tells their friends not to bother with a birthday present, you still feel a tinge of excitement when that gift-wrapped package inevitably finds its way into your hands.

Giving gifts is a tradition that spans all sections of society, no matter what age group, income group or region of the UK, helping celebrate almost every major occasion of the year.

And on top of the domestic market, the gift industry in this country is also boosted by the tourist trade. Planeloads of foreign visitors come to Britain each year to visit our seaside resorts, stately homes and historic cities, and most of them will want a souvenir to take home.

So if you’re someone who adheres to the adage that it’s better to give than to receive, you will have undoubtedly spent many hours in gift shops searching for the ideal present. But have you ever thought what it would be like on the other side of the counter?

It is extremely difficult to define the gift retail sector for the simple reason that it is almost impossible to restrict the definition of a gift. From CDs to theatre tickets, plants to cuddly toys, anything can be bought and given as a present.

In fact, as more high-street retail outlets set up gift services and add gift products to their core range, the market is becoming increasingly fragmented. Nevertheless, three distinct breeds of pure gift shop still survive:

  • Traditional -stocking a range of local products, often drawing on the reputation of the area. Also may stock traditional gifts such as candles and soaps.
  • Design-led – stocking well-designed gifts and accessories, often at the higher end of the price bracket.
  • Card and gift shops – placing a much greater emphasis on cards with a smaller selection of gifts. High-street chains dominate this sector.

The MarketGift giving in the UK is so popular that an entire industry sector has developed to serve it. Manufacturers and specialist suppliers serve thousands of gift retailers scattered throughout Britain, selling gifts of every description.

According to the Giftware Association (GA), the national trade body for the UK gift industry, the sector is worth an estimated £10 billion per year. The Gift market is large and there is potential for considerable profit.

However an economic downturn could spell trouble for the industry as the sector receives much of it sales from tourists. According to a survey conducted by the GA, 44% of gift retailers said they experienced a drop in sales as a direct result of foot and mouth, while 31% experienced a similar drop as a result of 11 September.

However, businesses are long-term prospects, and if you believe a good idea remains a good idea no matter what the economic climate, then gift shops are still worth investigating.

Ready to get started? Find out everything you need to know about how to start your own business here.


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