Since launching her business off the back of a university course over a decade ago, entrepreneur Sara Davies has taken her company from strength to strength. She told us about how her company gears up in the months before Christmas...
What does your business do?
Established in 2005, Crafter's Companion is one of the leading players in the UK's papercraft market. We design, manufacture and distribute innovative crafting tools and materials, and have a number of brands in the papercraft, art and sewing sectors. Everything we do is with the aim of making crafting fun and simple, which has led us to create many inspiring products and become a household name in the craft industry.
How does Christmas affect your business?
Christmas certainly affects the type of products we design and produce for a few months each year, as customers look to create their own Christmas cards, decorations, gifts and home décor. Crafters like to begin their festive projects early. To cater for this, every year around June we begin our Christmas releases, so we have to start thinking about product development around the beginning of the year.
How do you cope with the extra demand that Christmas brings?
The craft industry works slightly differently in that we’re at our busiest a few months before Christmas. Our Birthday Week, which is in October, is also a very busy time, and to cope with this we take on extra agency staff to our warehouse team and switch from standard hours to shift patterns. We also temporarily extend our customer service opening times to account for the influx of orders during that time.
How do you market/advertise your business over Christmas?
We tend to roll back the advertising of the business during December, as that’s actually our quietest time. However, we have a lovely community of followers on social media, and we like to maintain engagement with our customers over Christmas by running competitions and sneaky peeks of what’s to come in the New Year.
What has been the biggest achievement in your business so far?
I would say that had to be moving to larger premises in my hometown of Newton Aycliffe and opening my first bricks-and-mortar retail store next door. It had always been a dream of mine, so to see it actually come true has been amazing! We now have two further stores based in Chesterfield and Evesham, so our growth has been phenomenal these last few years.
Where do you see your business in five years’ time?
Ideally, we would like to have opened even more retail stores around the country in the next couple of years. We have expanded our US business over the last 12 months, and I would like to see this growth continue. Our ultimate aspiration is to become a £100 million business.
What’s your favourite thing about the holiday season?
I absolutely love Christmas, but my favourite thing about the holiday season is that it’s the one time of the year where all the family can get together. This includes extended members of my family, as some of my staff members are also very close friends and they come over to my house so we can all celebrate together. I’m a real home bird in that way!
How does your business celebrate Christmas?
We always make sure we have fun in the lead-up to Christmas, with plenty of frivolities and a big party for my staff, although that’s getting harder to coordinate now as my team grows! We use this time of year to show everyone how much we value their hard work and support, and that goes for the customers too - for the last two years, we’ve distributed exclusive advent calendars to our Platinum customers, which contain a craft die behind each window. It’s our way of saying thank you.