In a time when sophistication has becomes a main driver of people’s spending habits, independent retailers like Gifts Less Ordinary have found the winning formula. Bespoke and personalisation are key ingredients to this.
The idea for Gifts Less Ordinary came to its founder, Amy Read, when her best friend sent her a gift that contained a personalised baby blanket and a pair of shoes with her newborn son’s name imprinted on it.
“The gift came in a beautiful Tiffany-esque box. I was so overwhelmed with how beautiful and personal it was; it made me realise that we needed these kinds of gifts to be available in Asia,” says Amy.
First launched in Singapore and Hong Kong, Gifts Less Ordinary has recently expanded its reach to include Japan, Australia and the U.S. Its calling card remains its unique gifting concept — personalised luxury ‘giftables’ so popular, they’ve been picked up by The British Royal Family. Well if they’re fit for a royal, they’re good enough for us. We take 5 with Amy Read to understand how to take a independent brand and make it a global business.
I wanted everything to be personal and unique, from the products we deliver to the customer service we offer. I wanted to create an online shopping experience that was likened to shopping at a luxury boutique, handpicking only the most beautiful and unique products to feature on the site.
We are very selective about the brands we feature on the site, the most important thing for us is that the products are unique, and if they are bespoke and personalised, then even better.
Typical products on the site include luxury embossed cufflink cases, to personalised jewellery and beautiful embroidered blankets with a new baby’s name and date of birth.
We also try to find the very best locally themed gifts, whether it be typographic or personalised vintage maps, to redesigning historical objects of interest to create unique pieces of jewellery.
The Knack of Gifting
It’s all in the presentation and demonstrating that special someone means the world to you, whether it be by gifting an embossed necklace with a personal message or date on it, to gifting a new born a personalised blanket that they will treasure for life.
We focus on our niche. For us it’s all about personalisation or offering something unique. We really wish to own the gifting market, so we will always be the first brand someone would consider when trying to find something that is that bit different.
Secrets to Growth
Growth has firstly, come from our ability to scale and enter new markets quickly. Our operating model transcends all markets and we recognize that the demand for unique and personalised gifts is global and not just limited to Asia.
Secondly, for us it’s all about retention. We recognise that when we exceed a customer’s expectations in terms of delivery, quality and uniqueness of the products, that they will come back to us for all their gifting needs.
When we launched we had online stores in Singapore and Hong Kong. In June, we rolled Gifts Less Ordinary out to three new markets; Japan, Australia and the U.S.
When we launched our Australian online store, we issued a press release with a picture featuring one of the products on the site, a robe that was worn by Prince George when he met President Obama earlier this year. Within a day, a few major media publications including the Daily Mail, Women’s Weekly and Marie Claire featured the story, and within 5 minutes we had oversold that robe. We then had to go back to customers and apologise, which is when we recognised that we needed to sync stock and products uploads with some of our best selling partners, so this could never happen again.
When you start a business, you have to be open to change and resilient to the knocks you may encounter on the way.
I feel fortunate enough to work with an amazing team, who are as passionate and dedicated as me, and without them we wouldn’t be where we are now as a business.
It’s also important to make quality time for family and friends, as they are the ones who pick you up when it gets rough, and help you celebrate in the good times.
We are continuing to seek out the most unique brand and products we can feature on the site, whilst trying to increase brand awareness across all markets in which we operate. We will also continue to roll out to new markets over the course of the year, as we recognise in the international world we live in today, customers wish to ship globally.
We are also working with CrescoData to sync stock levels and product listings with Partners so we can better manage high surges in demand for select products.