Say hello to ...
Tell us a little about yourself and your company?
Not The Usual has been set up by two brothers, myself & Richard, and two other halves, Yolanda & Hannah. Fed up with not being able to find suitable presents and gifts for friends and family, and frustrated by previous online shopping experiences, we are aiming to provide - great gifts and presents at sensible prices, and amazing customer service; always keeping our customers up to date with the progress of their orders . We stock popular brands such as Marmite, Touch of Ginger, Hello Kitty, Twisted Twee, Mr Men & Little Miss, Orla Kiely, Penguin Books, Ladybird, Rob Ryan, Ridley's House of Novelties ... and many more! We want to help shoppers find the perfect presents for their family and friends for all occasions from Birthdays, Weddings, Christenings to Christmas. We believe that Not The Usual provides those unusual gift that shoppers have been waiting for and we are passionate about finding the perfect gift for even those 'hard to buy for' people!
Describe your typical working day …
Well first things first you have to start the day with a cup of tea! Mine's milk no sugar. Then I'll go take Tilly, my chocolate cocker spaniel, for a brisk morning walk across the fields before heading into the office. The orders that we receive the night before need to be processed, packed and dispatched. We have a strong presence on our social media platforms so it's important that we keep that interaction on a daily basis as well as sending e-mails to our customers to inspire them with our new gift ideas. I am also always on the look out for new, unusual products to add to the website as well as reading blogs within the giftware industry. The beauty of the office being so close to home means that I can spend lunchtime with my daughter and take her to the leisure centre for a quick splash on a Monday!
What is the best thing about your job?
The freedom and flexibility of working for myself
Who are your customers?
We have a broad range of customers because of our broad range of gifts. I think we appeal to anyone that is looking for something special that is just that little bit different.
Your products …
It has to be our Scrabble Letter Mugs – people go crazy for them! I also had a nice surprise when I went to see the new Bond film Skyfall when I saw that Q had one of our letter mugs – that was pretty cool.
What are the most popular products you're currently stocking?
Vintage seems to be all the rage at the moment so our most popular range is definitely the Ridley's retro gifts and games which brings a hint of nostalgia to our customers. Our personalised prints, Imaginatures, are also a firm favourite when it comes to finding an unusual and unique gift.
What trend are you looking forward to introducing to your customers?
Vintage trends have exploded once again onto both the catwalk and the high street – it seems to be the buzz word on everyone's lips. We want to embrace the obsession we seem to have with clinging onto history and proudly preserving the past. So we want to inject that passion for vintage flair and retro cool, to satisfy our customers' time-warp desires.
What do you have planned for 2013?
We've got big plans for a bigger warehouse and distribution centre as well as lots of brand new products that obviously we can't reveal just yet!
Your inspiration …
What inspires your product selection?
Our main inspiration is definitely our customers – they give us feedback across our social media platforms, emails and on the phone, so they inspire us to change or introduce ranges on our website. We also go along to the Autumn and Spring Fairs at the NEC to check out the latest trends in the giftware industry.
Who are your favourite card and gift designers?
Suzi Warren at Twisted Twee, Graham Sutton from Imaginature and Wild & Wolf
Quick questions ...
What is your favourite book?
Lord of the Flies by Arthur Miller
What is your favourite film?
The Shawshank Redemption
What is your favourite song?
Mr Brightside by The Killers
What is your favourite card or gift brand?
Definitely Scrabble gifts
What is your favourite website or blog?
Not The Usual of course!
What can't you live without?
What is your guilty pleasure?
Glass of red wine in the evening
Thank you Jess!