Card Connection: Robin Brisbourne
North Wales 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. The company was established in 1992 and became a full member of the British Franchise Association in 1995. It now distributes greeting cards to over 14,000 outlets through its network of 70 franchisees.
What’s the business model?
Card Connection’s franchisees use a proven system of placing quality greeting cards and associated products in retail outlets on a ‘consignment’ basis. This is one step beyond ‘sale or return’ as Card Connection customers never initially have to buy the stock, only paying for what they sell. Card Connection’s award winning merchandising service provided to retailers by local franchisees has proved popular with retailers all over the UK and Ireland including Card Connection’s key national accounts such as Spar, Nisa, Supervalu, Centra, Costcutter, Londis, BP and Total.
Why did you decide it was the right one for you?
Card Connection was hotly tipped by my friends Dave and Di Tudor, who are Card Connection franchisees for the Hereford and Worcestershire region. I loved the product and it was time to do something different.
How popular is the franchise already and how long has it existed?
Card Connection is part of UK Greetings, which is a subsidiary of the largest publicly owned greeting card publisher in the world. Next year will be its 21st year of trading.
What were you doing before buying the franchise?
I was a farmer and racehorse trainer!
Why did franchising appeal to you?
Since leaving school I have run my own businesses in dairy and arable as well as training up to 100 racehorses with my brother. With the on-going challenges facing the agricultural industry, we had reached a crossroads. It was either time to invest heavily and expand the existing business, or do something completely different. I was recommended to Card Connection and took it from there. Franchising represents the opportunity to run your own business using an established and proven business model.
How much did it cost and how did you arrange the finance?
Lloyds TSB recognise Card Connection as a ‘gold standard franchise company’ and were happy to lend me the funds I needed to purchase the franchise.
What challenges do you have in establishing the franchise in your region?
I purchased an established business, however, I will look at developing this further. The main challenge in North Wales is the mix of rural and urban geography which means a fair amount of traveling and being really organised with call routes.
What advice would you give to others looking at franchising?
Choose an established franchise with a popular product and one that is a member of the British Franchise Association as this means the organisation must adhere to the BFA’s ethical guidelines and will have the franchisees’ best interests at heart.