From Employee to Franchisee!

Penny inside store room

Former Card Connection Regional Sales Manager, Penny Ellis and her husband Colin, invested in the Card Connection Windsor/Reading territory in 2017. With Penny’s wide-ranging industry knowledge, they now deliver Card Connection’s extensive range of quality greeting cards, gift wrap, bags and accessories to retail outlets throughout their region.

Prior to joining Card Connection in 2013, Penny spent 6 years working as Area Manager for Cardies, the specialist Franchise Greeting Card Retailer in South Africa and a further 2 years for South African Greetings. So she certainly knows everything the industry has to offer!

“I have been impressed over the years by Card Connection’s product range as an employee,” confirms Penny. “When this territory became available we were very interested, as Colin was the merchandiser for the previous franchisee so we knew it would be a great business to invest in. With support from Head Office in Farnham, Surrey, the Card Connection team are a strong, dynamic and forward thinking organisation that we were keen to invest in.”

When Colin & Penny bought their Card Connection territory in September 2017 it was one of the busiest times of the year for greeting card sales. However, with their previous experience, they were quickly able to optimise the opportunity this franchise could bring.

“A testament to their hard work came in July 2018, when they achieved the highest ever everyday monthly sales for this territory,” quite an achievement confirmed Card Connection Managing Director Michael Johnson. “Knowing Penny and Colin, we expect this to be the first of many more record sales months!”

Colin & Penny describe themselves as “real people people”, who as small business owners have lots in common with the retail managers. They have used their skills and knowledge to build relationships quickly with key accounts to manage a seamless handover of the territory.

Penny continues “The design quality of cards themselves is fabulous. The Card Connection in-house design team has a genuine understanding for the market and really care about what the franchisees are putting out there. We also love the accessories, such as the gift/bottle bags, wrap and party products which add a further string to our bow!”

“Each day, we are generally on the road early visiting as many as 12 stores, depending on their size and location. The geographical area covers Windsor, Maidenhead, Bracknell, Reading and Basingstoke. We merchandise the displays by taking out unsold stock and replacing it with the latest designs and seasonal products. Colin aims to be back home late afternoon to help prepare for the following day’s deliveries. We have worked really hard over the past year to get the franchise running efficiently and it now has a lot more potential to grow.”

Card Connection is part of UK Greetings, which is a subsidiary of American Greetings Inc., one of the largest greeting card publishers in the world and has limited vacancies for franchisees that are keen to run an expanding business. Since the franchise network in the UK is complete, the available opportunities now consist of acquiring an already-established territory from an existing franchisee. These vary in price according to their level of development, but start at £35k + Stock + Card Connection fee with earnings potential in excess of £50k per annum.