The company, based just outside of Durham, is an online card and gift retailer. It’s unique selling point is that each card is handwritten and posted with a first class stamp, giving the impression it has been sent personally.
“We have teams of people who come in and handwrite all the cards. It can be quite good fun,” Gibson says. “We get some amazing messages. On Monday mornings, after people have a row with their partner, we’ll get an order for a card where they apologise. We get loads of marriage proposals and we also get quite a few guys buying cards, particularly on Valentine’s Day, for their wives and also for their girlfriends with the message ‘this time next year, I’ll dump her’. We’ve got to be really careful because if we mix that up, they have major problems."
Gibson currently employs 10 people but numbers go up at peak times such as Father’s Day or Christmas. He says: “It’s great for the people around here. We get a lot of women in who have children as their work fits with the schools hours. The key thing is they have to have good handwriting – that’s why I can’t do the cards.”
Gibson only launched The Card and Gift Company in late 2007 with his business partner Chris Bradley but turnover is expected to reach £250,000 this year. Gibson says margins are very good because he and Bradley make sure costs are kept to a minimum.
Corporate cards has been an area that’s “absolutely astounded us”, according to Gibson. “Companies use the service for birthdays, anniversaries of contracts and believe it or not, we have some that want to send Valentine’s Day cards to their staff as well. If that’s what they want, we’ll provide it.”
However, divorce cards are also extremely popular. Gibson says: “We have a card in our congratulations section celebrating getting divorced and that card is a big, big seller. The messages in that are quite amazing. That’s the beauty about it – we make people happy with the service we provide and we have a good laugh.”