Card Connection: Michael Hayes
Bury St Edmunds and Kings Lynn franchise territory for successful card publisher Card Connection
Tell us what the franchise brand does:
Card Connection is one of the UK’s most successful card publishers and is the market leader in the franchised distribution of greeting cards.
What’s the business model?
Using a proven system, franchisees place greeting card ranges in retail outlets on a ‘consignment’ basis. This means the stock
and display equipment is installed on free loan to the retailer. This is one step beyond ‘sale or return’ as Card Connection customers never have to buy the stock in the first place, only paying for what they sell. The award winning merchandising service provided to retailers by local franchisees is second to none and has established the company’s excellent reputation especially within the convenience sector. Franchisees have their own exclusive territory and can operate from home, calling on their customers typically on a monthly basis. Customers include convenience stores, sub post offices, petrol station forecourts and staff restaurants in large offices. In addition, Card Connection supplies numerous national accounts.
Why did you decide it was the right franchise for you?
In the summer I spent four months researching the market thoroughly. As a former maths and economics teacher I am quite logical and so planned the purchase of the franchise like a military operation! I looked at every single British Franchise Association member including all their pros and cons and the result added up to Card Connection! I also evaluated other greeting card suppliers but none could match Card Connection’s product range and the professional support and training the head office staff provide.
How popular is the franchise already and how long has it existed?
Card Connection was established in 1992 and became a Full Member of the British Franchise Association in 1995. It now distributes greeting cards to around 15,000 outlets through its network of 71 franchisees. The company is the market leader in the franchised distribution of greeting cards.
What were you doing before buying the franchise?
Previously I was a sales executive and maths teacher.
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Why did franchising appeal to you?
I have been considering running my own business for a number of years. Running the franchise will allow me to take advantage of some of my existing skills in sales when it comes to meeting retail customers. I am also looking forward to the slightly creative element of merchandising greeting card displays in retail outlets.
How much did it cost?
Since the Card Connection franchise network in the UK is complete, the available opportunities now consist of acquiring an already-established territory from an existing franchisee. These vary in price according to their level of development, but start at £20k (+stock) with earnings potential in excess of £50k per annum.
What challenges do you have in establishing the franchise in your region?
I am really excited to now be running my own franchise. In the short term there will be a learning curve, but quickly I would like to develop the franchise and perhaps even expand the territory if the opportunity arises in the future.
What advice would you give to others looking at franchising?
Do your research thoroughly and only look at franchisors that are BFA members.