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Cardiff & Swansea

Franchisee Case Studies

What does it take to be Franchisee of the Year?

Alistair Black was awarded the Plan-it Cards 2016 franchisee of the year.

Although he had been in the industry for over 25 years, his motivation for joining Plan-it Cards was very clear. He wanted to create something tangible from his experience and efforts in the business. To build an asset that he could develop, grow and sell on in the future.

"My choice of Plan-it Cards was based on knowing that you are only as good as the product you sell. The Plan-it Cards range of greetings cards, gift wrap and gift bags and display equipment options are second to none – with a regular infusion of new designs across the product ranges coming out monthly, including seasonal as appropriate." explained Alistair.

"I've seen a change in buying habits as consumers now treat cards as a convenience product and not as a planned purchase. I was used to dealing with specialised card shops in my previous job but realised that changes in retail with more access to greetings cards, as an impulse purchase, was becoming more the norm. Shops that never before thought of selling cards are now benefitting from stocking cards. This change has made greetings cards available in many more outlets, giving me more opportunities so that now limited space is the most common objection to overcome."

The market has now moved on, and Alistair has capitalised on his vision through a wide variety of shapes and sizes of shops. He has expanded his business especially over the last few years. Having originally run the business from home, he outgrew the space and now rents storage space nearby. He employs two part-time merchandisers and a packer to help service his area to best effect.

"You need to have a certain drive to succeed and not be afraid of hard work. I know, compared to other Plan-it Cards franchisees, that I do not have as many shops but I prefer to spend my time developing the opportunities available in each outlet. I feel for the first time that I have the right work/leisure balance as I want to spend more time with my wife Dawn and son Louis.

My role within the business has changed over the last five years so now I have staff to manage as well as the stores. I now have to bring many more skills into play and this makes it more enjoyable.

I have just renewed my franchise agreement for another five years as I feel there is still a tremendous number of opportunities available. New Everyday product lines, like gift wrap, gift bags and seasonal products like roll wrap, big value boxes and money wallets ensure that we are not standing still. As the size of my displays within the shops grows, our range of products has developed to suit the space available."

Alistair Black, Plan-it Cards Sheffield & Doncaster Area Franchisee


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