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Personalised gifts have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years but are notoriously difficult to manage for shops and if you are a toy wholesaler!
When people think of personalised gifts they usually think of handmade products with the individual's name and other personalised information incorporated in to the design. They are aspirational, expensive, gorgeous and impractical in a busy souvenir shop!
Personalised gifts by their very nature need to be unique and that is only really possible for a shop if you sell on the internet and can also have a reasonable time gap between order and fulfillment.
Alternatively in a shop setting you can have a craftsperson personalise product on site which is great on busy days (although a bit costly and time consuming) but not so cost effective on quieter days.
Its probably fair to say that as a toy wholesaler our main contact with personalised product is when we manufacture branded ranges for a customer. Everyone knows and likes products with your town/venue's name and/or major feature on it and they are justifiably popular with visitors as a memento of their trip.
The only draw back with own brand ranges is that they normally entail minimum order quantities which start in the thousands.
Up until now the only way to avoid the expense of designing your own range was the "T Shirt on a Teddy" product where a normal product is personalised with your brand using a t shirt or scarf. Always popular they have sold well for years which presents something of a problem when you are trying to design a viable alternative!
We have been working on a way to offer a unique branded product to our customers for quite a while but were caught between high minimums and just offering a "Me-Too" product.
Juggling the need to supply an exclusive product with minimal order requirements attached has been occupying our thoughts a lot over the years which is why we are so happy to announce that we now have an own brand proposition which will not require substantial investment but will still be unique to a particular place.
We call it Localisation.
Our thought processes started with our London range. The whole range is obviously popular as a souvenir item and the toys are all closely linked with London.
While we came up with new ideas for the range we also decided to commission some artwork to show the toys in the natural setting. We partnered with a very talented textile artist to create 2 different designs incorporating our toys in to recognisable London scenes, an A-Z and this wonderful Abbey Rd image.
We will be printing both designs up in to cards and postcards to support the toy range, and we are also intending to use the design to work with British producers to develop new products and extend the range beyond toys.
However the clever thing is that in the designs our crochet toys are all represented by individual pieces of embroidery. This means that if you wanted us to create a unique design showing just the red bus outside your particular venue that is something we could do quite easily (and at no cost to you!).
If you are thinking that this is all very well but how does this help my rural stately home to have a unique range then fear not! This is a concept which translates easily in to different toys and/or locations and we are already working on different locations with different people.
So for instance we could have a picture of our knitted swan outside your stately home or we could have one of our dinosaurs lurking over your museum. There is no charge for design and the minimum order quantities for products made in the UK would be around £100 across the range.
We could develop a range of products with the design or we could just print cards for you using the design? Or perhaps we could sticker the product with the design? Or print a gift bag using the design. Or perhaps change the swing tag so that it has the design on it? Or perhaps we could print a t shirt with the design on it? The possibilities are endless!
This also works if we currently manufacture a doll or soft toy for you. We can take your unique product and create an artwork around it which could then be used to extend your range outside of just your doll/teddy in to a new range of products or even to make stickers or postcards at events.