Munawar Mohammed took over Card Connection’s Aberdeen territory in 2016 from the outgoing franchisee, Andrew Orr, who ran the area successfully for 18 years.
Munawar explains: “Previously, I worked for the well-known, house-hold furniture retailer: DFS, as a top sales representative. Although it was hard work, I was well paid and I really enjoyed the job.
Munawar continues: “I was aware of Card Connection as Andrew Orr originally supplied my brother’s retail outlets more 15 years ago and we had kept in-touch. When his territory came up for sale, I felt this would be the right time to start my own business and become more directly rewarded for all my efforts.”
Market leader in the UK for the franchised distribution of greeting cards, established in 1992 and a full member of the BFA since 1995, Card Connection and its network of almost 70 franchisees distribute cards and accessories to around 12,000 retail outlets. Card Connection is part of UK Greetings Ltd, a subsidiary of American Greetings Inc., one of the largest greeting card publishers in the world. Card Connection’s proven business model has enabled hundreds of franchisees to run successful businesses over the past two decades.
Munawar confirms: “I now supply Card Connection’s extensive range of quality greeting cards and accessories to almost 200 retailers in my generous North-East Scotland territory, which stretches from Carnoustie to John O’Groats.
“The system is simple: I visit my retail customers’ stores on a regular call cycle to deliver fresh supplies of stock including seasonal card designs, bags, wrap, party accessories and keepsake gift items called Little Wishes. I merchandise the displays of cards with new designs to keep the retail environment looking attractive and inviting. Card Connection’s franchisees work to a ‘planogram’ which has been developed following detailed research into how consumers search and select cards. Although there is still a creative element to managing the displays, this takes out the guess work and helps ensure buying behaviour is maximised for the benefit of retailer and franchisee alike.
“The retailer only pays for what they sell so from my point of view no hard-selling is needed. It’s a win-win situation and retailers become long-term clients.
“Typically, I’m on the road four days per week visiting around nine retail stores per day. I usually start early but am back home by 5pm. The hours suit me and mean I have time for my family. The fifth day is spent managing paperwork and preparing the stock room and my van ready for deliveries.
“One great aspect of this job is that I don’t have to work weekends! In home furnishing sales, I worked pretty much every weekend and often until 9pm at night during the week. That was fine when I was single but now I have a young son and being able to spend time with him and my wife is really important to me.
“The flexibility of self-employment has other benefits too: I am a big Formula 1 fan and haven’t missed watching a single race since joining Card Connection! I was also able to take a week off to celebrate a family wedding recently, which would have just been impossible in my old job.
“Financially, I’m better off too! I have calculated I earn 30% more than I did when I was employed. The extra income has enabled me to purchase three rental properties which are busy accumulating value while I manage the franchise.
“There is no doubt running your own business is hard-work. However, the Card Connection team provide all the necessary training and support. They are always on the end of the phone if needed. In addition, their commitment to managing the 100+ national account customer network including: Spar, Costcutter, WH Smiths Motorway Services, NISA and BP – shouldn’t be under estimated. The head office team maintain relationships at corporate level to enable the franchisees to continue to deliver a local service, usually on an exclusive basis.
“Similarly, no other card company can compete on product. Designed by Card Connection’s experienced in-house team there are cards to suit every occasion, season and taste. In addition, licenced product such as Boofle and Disney are always in demand.
“Card Connection franchisees provide 100% coverage of the UK. Because the motivated owners of the franchise provide a caring and carefully planned service to retailers, the company has built up a solid reputation as the UK’s leading supplier of franchised greeting cards and I’m proud to be part of that.”
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 £7k + Stock + Card Connection fee with earnings potential in excess of £50k per annum.
For further information about franchises for sale, please see: www.card-connection.co.uk