Henri Davis, Independent Retail Advisor
I have worked in the retail industry for 35 years with retailers which include Habitat, Next, WH Smith and the National Trust specifically in new product development and buying roles. For the last 14 years I have worked as an Independent Retail Advisor in the cards, gifts, stationery and heritage industries, working with many small and medium-sized businesses, including multi-site retailers, national and international manufacturers and suppliers. I am also Chairman of the Giftware Association .For more information, visit www.henridavis.co.uk.
Jeremy Corner, Managing Director, Blue Eyed Sun
Jeremy is the current Vice-Chairman of the Giftware Association. He is the co-owner of award winning, handmade card publisher Blue Eyed Sun and wedding stationery specialists, Ivy Ellen. Jeremy has been a GA member since 2003 and the keynote speaker at the annual Ladder Club seminars for new card publishers since 2004. He joined the GA National Committee in 2011. With a passion for marketing and social media, Jeremy is a blogger, a Sage Business Expert and current Treasurer of the Greeting Card Association. A regular industry speaker on digital marketing, export and personal development, Jeremy also writes a monthly column for Progressive Greetings magazine and is often quoted in the press as an industry thought leader. A previous Henries and Gift of the Year winner, Blue Eyed Sun recently won a Queen’s Award for International Trade.
Amanda Fergusson, Business Development Consultant, Dec 2016
Amanda has worked in the gift and card industry for 25 years. She has run her own business and held senior roles at Hallmark Cards and The Andrew Brownsword Collection. Latterly she was Sales and Marketing Director at Caroline Gardner, seeing the business through a period of exciting growth. She has served as a non-executive director for a manufacturing business and as a committee member with the Greetings Cards Association. As a business consultant and mentor Amanda is now focusing on helping small and medium sized businesses achieve their potential. She is also serving on a public sector Independent Monitoring Board, and is a judge for the national Gift of the Year Awards
Lindsey Adam, Owner, Bonkers Original Gifts
Lindsey is the owner of Bonkers Original Gifts in St Andrews and Edinburgh. The business started in 1982 when Lindsey and her mother opened a craft shop which rapidly expanded to sell cards and gifts as well. Business growth in recent years has been achieved by embracing IT systems and focussing on coaching and developing the shop staff. Consistently great customer service is what the shops are all about. Lindsey believes in making the most of the community you work in and has always been involved with local business organisations and has been a member of the GA’s National Committee since 2008
Patrick Newton, Director, Mulhouse Design Co Ltd
Patrick Newton is a Director of Mulhouse Design Co Ltd which has been operating in the gift trade for 28 years. Mulhouse Design distributes the American brand Two's Company in the UK and includes a diverse range of 2000 lines in Home Accessories, Giftware and Fashion. Mulhouse exhibits at 5 trade shows each year and has 14 sales agents on the road. Mulhouse also has two retail outlets. Patrick brings to the Giftware Association his experience managing these sales channels as well as having plenty of experience in importing and distributing brands from abroad, managing stock and forecasting, and key accounts. He feels optimism and adaptability are key attributes of anyone running a business in the gift trade.
Gary Schaffer, Managing Director, United Oddsocks
Gary graduated as a Landscape Architect but soon realised that the business world would offer more challenges, and soon developed a passion for customer service. After roles with American Express Platinum Card, Nortel Networks and management roles with other telecoms companies, Gary became an Executive Consultant for KPMG focussing on private and public sector customer management improvement programmes. Following this he became Head of Customer Service for easyJet PLC and then Vice President of Customer Service for DHL Express. Whilst at DHL, he started United Oddsocks with his partner and now runs that business full time as MD. Gary is passionate about customer service, leadership and developing others.
Gert Schyberg, Managing Director, Sebrini
Gert Schyberg is the founder and MD of Sebnini Ltd, a supplier and manufacturer of luxury candles to the gift market, as well as volume private label productions to larger retailers. After finishing his business studies, Gert moved to the UK from his native country Denmark in 1982. He has been working in the Giftware Industry since 1987 and enjoys the many aspects of his job, where he has a special passion for design and developing new products. Gert has extensive experience in the sourcing of products and has gained invaluable knowledge from his many travels throughout Europe and the Far East. Outside of work, Gert has a wife and 2 children; for 10 years he has been Deputy Chairman for the Parents Association at his children's school, where he has also chaired many sub-committees, raising thousands of pounds for the students at the school and for local charities. Serving on the National Committee is an honour and privilege, and where he hopes to be able to make good use of his many years of experience in the industry.
Howard Thomas, Director, Giftscribes Gifts Ltd
My wife and I started our business in a recession and in an industry we had no prior experience or knowledge. We had to learn very quickly and developed many new skills and knowledge along the way. Our early years also gave us experience of both wholesale and retail operations. I see my role within the Giftware Association National Committee is to utilise the experience gained to champion any start ups and small businesses within the gift industry.
Louise Young, Divisional Director at Ascential
Louise Young is Divisional Director at Ascential PLC and is responsible for its retail brands, Spring Fair, Autumn Fair, Glee, Pure, Jewellery and Watch and Inside Retail. Spring Fair is the UK’s largest exhibition and is recognised as the gateway to UK retailing. Louise has over 15 years’ experience working in the retail sector, and aims to bring retail communities together with content to create commerce opportunities for both suppliers and retailers.