Merchandise designer aims for the top

Merchandise designer aims for the top

Sports goods and products creator The Gift Scholars is set to welcome an influx of new clients after setting up a new office at a Warwickshire science park.

The business, founded in Leamington Spa, has moved into the Rural Innovation Centre (RIC) at Stoneleigh Park, and has already secured  contracts to supply branded merchandise to a range of well-known sports teams, charities and retailers.

Chris Rogers set up the company last November after almost 14 years working in fashion, buying and merchandising.

The company counts football clubs Celtic, West Ham, Millwall, Watford, Hull City, AFC Bournemouth and cricket side Birmingham Bears among some of its current clients.

Typical products include ‘back to school’ items, such as stationery sets and luggage, homeware such as mugs, bedding, towels and curtains, gifts and novelties and mascot bears, toys and keyrings.

“What makes the Gift Scholars different is that we specialise in all the major merchandising categories – whereas a lot of our competitors might just do keyrings and badges or only focus on soft toys,” said Rogers.

 “For a lot of buyers we are a one-stop-shop – rather than having to deal with different suppliers they can use us to get fewer deliveries, better pricing, more consistent packaging and shorter lead times.

“As we establish a reputation for quality, service and price over the next 18 months we’re aiming to secure deals with some of the top European football clubs and retailers. Word of mouth will be our biggest selling point as many buyers speak to each other and recommend the best suppliers.”

Location, facilities and networking opportunities are the main reasons the company chose the Rural Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park as its base. 

Rogers said: “I live just two miles away so the location is perfect for me. Everyone is very friendly and in terms of facilities there is everything you could need - there’s conferencing facilities, a farm shop, gym and hotel.

“It’s also great that there are lots of potential clients on site so it’s really useful for networking. We recently sent out a flyer to businesses on Stoneleigh Park and are already starting to see some orders come in from this.”

LaSalle Investment Management which manages Stoneleigh Park has recently doubled the size of the Rural Innovation Centre, refurbishing an adjacent building to create an additional 20 serviced offices and two meeting rooms.

Liz Burkinshaw, manager of the Rural Innovation Centre, said: “The Gift Scholars is a very new company but has quickly been able to make inroads into its chosen market and we hope this new base can give them a springboard for further growth.” 

 

 

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