The Giftware Association met up with Louisa Aspinall from The Pop Out Card Company to talk about their past, the present and the future
Can you tell us a bit more about your company?
The Pop Out Card Company is a greeting card and stationery brand which was founded by Jonathan Aspinall in late 2011. Having studied a product & furniture design degree at Northumbria university, Jonathan has a creative background and really enjoys taking everyday items and giving them a unique twist. This can be seen in his namesake product, the pop out card, which is a card and a gift in one. Each comes with a miniature greeting card and a keepsake model for the recipient to make.
I (Jonathan’s wife, Louisa 😊) started working for the company officially in the summer of last year. However, prior to that, I had spent 5 years playing Santa’s little helper at trade shows and the like. I’m really enjoying working alongside Jonathan and knew that my bean counting skills and love of all things admin would come in handy one day! We’re also really proud of the fact that we can now say that the business is family-run.
Who is your audience?
Our audience are people who are looking for something a little bit different from everyday greeting cards.
How long have you been trading and what is the history of the company?
The brand started with the design of just one pop out card which Jonathan’s brother and sister-in-law (who run their own stationery and giftware brand) took along to a Christmas fair to sell alongside their own products in late 2011. It went down really well with their customers which began a coffee-fuelled creative flurry and the creation of many more pop out card designs. That very first design came in the form of a Christmas dove and we still produce that design all these years on although, its appearance has changed a little over the years.
What three words best describe your business and its products?
Quirky, fun and different.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Jonathan’s inspiration comes from taking everyday items and giving them a unique twist. We often take suggestions from retail customers too as they know their customers and what they like best.
Do you use social media to promote your business? How has this landscape changed over the years within the home and gift industry?
Yes. When we first started to use social media platforms, we used Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. We quickly learned that some of these platforms lend themselves to promoting our products better than others and are currently focussing on just Facebook and Instagram.
The social media landscape has changed significantly over the years. What started out as platforms designed very much for personal use, have now grown into opportunities for business to promote themselves.
Do you do any advertising/PR?
We don’t currently do any advertising/PR but it is something that we are definitely interested in pursuing.
What do you wish you’d known at the very beginning of starting your business that you know now?
Jonathan often jokes that he would tell his younger self “don’t do it!”. In all seriousness, we think knowing your own limitations are key. When you first start out, you essentially have to be a jack of all trades but making sure you bring the right people onboard to allow you to do what you do best which, in Jonathan’s case is designing, is so important.
Do you feel the economic climate is improving or is it getting tougher to trade?
Although we have noticed that some retailers are more cautious when it comes to gift and greetings buying, on the whole, we have found that the majority of our stockists have adopted the very British attitude of ‘keep calm, drink tea and carry on’ which we admire.
What do you see as being the biggest problem for giftware suppliers in the gift industry?
We think that the biggest problem for giftware suppliers within the gift industry is that it is a particularly competitive industry. More topically, the call to action from retailers and direct consumers for giftware products to be more eco-friendly has presented a challenge.
If we could help you with one aspect of your business, what would that be?
Advice regarding advertising and also email marketing geared towards consumers would be great.
What are you looking to achieve in 2020?
In 2020, we are looking at our options to expand our core product range of greeting cards as well as ideas for new stationery products altogether – watch this space!
A big focus for us this year is to make our products more environmentally friendly and we are looking at our options for materials, particularly cellos, in a drive to be more eco-minded. We do our best to recycle and repair at home and we want to ensure that we are doing the same within the business too.
You can find out more about the Pop Out Card Company at their website here – https://www.thepopoutcardcompany.com/