"I founded my online luxury gifting website, Gift Library, in 2008 after seeing a gap in the market for a website that provided consumers with a range of high quality, luxury gifts that suited any budget. I have always been involved in the fashion and luxury industry, working as a stylist since a teenager. Many of my clients frequently asked me to buy bespoke gifts for them, and I quickly realised establishing a ‘one-stop-shop’, sourcing the best gifts for cash rich, time poor individuals would make a successful business concept. However, I knew that in order to make the business a real success I had to offer this service at a range of price points without compromising on quality. Gift Library now caters to every budget, with gifts from £5 all the way up to £10k, but with each gift chosen by me to make sure it adheres to the website’s ethos of stylish gifts of the highest quality.
"When I founded Gift Library in 2008, it was the height of recession when there was limited investment for new businesses and speculation that the luxury market would suffer. This made it difficult to convince potential investors that the concept was worth investing in and it is one of my proudest moments that I managed to secure a strong backer. I ended up partnering with a friend who had a strong business background along with experience in working in the luxury market. After speaking with a number of potential investors, I realised it was important that I didn’t dilute my share in the business or have too many people dictating the direction of the company. My first investor has remained my only business partner and she has been key in the growth of the company.
"I also reached out to my network of contacts when I started the business to gain expert advice on both the e-commerce sector and general tips on how to set up a business. Brent Hoberman, founder of LastMinute.com, was a huge help and inspiration but there were many entrepreneurs who imparted valuable advice that I still use in the business today. I would urge anyone thinking of setting up their own business to speak to those who have been there before – there are so many ups and downs when you start a company and their guidance will help you navigate these successfully.
"My day-to-day role in the company is to nurture and drive staff as well as have the final decision on any product that comes on to the site, however not one day is ever the same. It’s been fascinating running my own business, as I have had to learn different skills that were not on my radar before. SEO and online marketing have been two skills I have had to learn and have been key to the growth of Gift Library. The size of the company now means we have a dedicated team who concentrate on this day-in, day out.
"Since 2008 the company has grown by 100 per cent year-on-year and now employs 12 people full time. I am extremely excited about the next few years. I am confident that in the next three years we will break the £5m turnover mark and I will achieve this through a number of measures.
"The company has always invested in public relations spend, but this year will signal the first investment into online and print advertising to further grow consumer awareness of the brand.
"In October this year, we will be launching our first Gift Library Collection catalogue, taking Gift Library ‘offline’ for the first time. We hope it will prove an invaluable Christmas gift buying guide. Targeting high-net individuals, it will also be sent to the PAs who control the corporate gift spend.
"Early next year, we are unveiling a brand new website, which will allow us to showcase our exceptional products even more strongly, encouraging client acquisition and targeting our international clients."
To view Gift Library, click here