Meet our Franchisees

Munawar-1.jpgMunawar Mohammed took over Card Connection’s Aberdeen territory in 2016, attacking his new challenge was great enthusiasm. He was the network’s Franchisee of the year in 2018 and Northern & Scotland regional top performer in 2019. After three successful years, he has no intention of slowing down!

Tell us something about your franchise

It’s been a lot of hard work, but I’ve grown the business by nearly 30% in three years. Gaining the trust of all my customers was key, and you must be seen to be a highly dependable supplier to them. Cultivating good relationships with area managers hasn’t dome me any harm, either. It’s helped me cement my position as sole greeting card supplier to the bulk of the stores that I’m in.

What’s the secret of your success?

I’m always looking for ways to offer a better service, so I keep detailed records for each of my stores and use their sales data to drive better future performances by really understanding what customers want and what they might be missing out on. I install the widest possible product range and invested heavily in new display fixtures wherever I think they would benefit me in the long run. I also decided to trade up to higher priced product across all my stores. It’s proved a hit with both store owners and their customers!

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What are your plans?

Continue to find ways to get more out of the business. One area I’ve paid attention to recently is with my Seasonal ranges. I started with Christmas 2018, when I copied the high street by getting my cards into stores early. “In our convenience sector stores, we’ll always capture those last-minute distress purchases, so my extra sales have come from those organised people who are prepared to shop for their cards early. With that in mind, I’ve followed the same pattern with Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and even Easter. Sales have shown already that it’s a strategy worth sticking with.

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David and Marie Clements took on their franchise 12 years ago and despite Cornwall being one of the UK’s hottest tourist destinations, it’s not a holiday for them holiday for them!

Tell us about your franchise

Cornwall has some very specific challenges to do with the local economy and the population mix. Although we’ve had the territory for quite a while, we never stop learning little tricks that help us to work smarter and more importantly, more rewardingly! A glut of new business means we’ve taken on 24 new stores recently and we’ve seen a big sales growth for the territory.

What is a typical store visit?
We work differently to many couples owning a Card Connection franchise. Instead of one being based back home in the office while the other goes out merchandising, we both prefer to visit the shops together.
One of us strips down the displays, looking at the design styles and price points that are selling, then makes any adjustments in the picking profile to help maximize sales in that store in future visits. Meanwhile, the other counts the old card stock by code, doing the same for the non-card items around the store, like giftwrap, bags and party products.
Then, while one of us refills with fresh stock, the other replenishes any outstanding stock from the van before entering everything into an iPad and producing the invoice for payment for the owner or manager.
Finally, before leaving the store, we always take a few minutes to check our displays are really the best they can be, then we speak to the retailer to ensure they are completely happy with everything, too.

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What has been you biggest challenge in your franchisee recently?
Adjusting to the added workload of the new business. As we won the larger, more profitable stores, we took the conscious decision not to let go of any of our smaller, less lucrative outlets. It’s meant us having to work harder, but then why should we take from our competitors with one hand and give them anything back with the other?!”

What do you find most rewarding about running a franchise?
Being our own boss but knowing we can call on the support from head office. As we’ve both chosen to work together out in the field, we really enjoy the close teamwork. The big benefit is we both have a 360-degree picture of our business, which helps with planning as well and lots of other day-to-day decisions.