Here I’m chatting with founder Chris Fox to find out more about the Hub and his reasons for starting it.
Please introduce yourself and let us know what you do.
My name is Chris Fox and I’m a 37 old graphic designer from Chesterfield, Derbyshire. I’m a rock music lover (vinyl collecting is a new obsession), biscuit connoisseur (Granola bars are a current favourite) and all round geek. I work for Wishes an independent greeting card and gift shop in Cudworth, Barnsley (South Yorkshire) which is owned and run by Julia Keeling. As well as restocking the biscuit supplies (most of which I’ve eaten) I also produce their point of sales (posters, leaflets, stickers), and run the shop’s social media (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook).
Alongside my work for Wishes of Cudworth, I have a monthly column in Greetings Today Magazine and run my new blog; Gift Shop Hub. Gift Shop Hub is a friendly resource centre for independent shops, small businesses and artists. Offering advice and tips on how best to use online marketing to promote their business.
What inspired you to start Gift Shop Hub?
I spoke at the NEC Autumn Fair earlier this year and the feedback I got was that a lot of shops/retailers were struggling to promote themselves online as well as on their high street. The shops felt overwhelmed, alone and scared. Teaming up with Greetings Today Magazine allowed me to reach out to other shops, but I only had 800 words per article (I would need to take over the entire magazine to scratch the surface). Gift Shop Hub will feature fresh weekly content that taps into current trends and offers helpful advice.
Who is Gift Shop Hub aimed at and why should people get involved?
Gift Shop Hub is not just for shops. It’s for anyone who sells, creates and loves greeting cards, gifts, art and crafts. From social media to blogging, website design to the latest events we have great features written by people just like you and your readers. Run by retailers and artists to provide real insights and to pass on our successes, plus occasional missteps. It’s free and not run for profit but to help the artistic community (though we might have some occasional cheeky paid adverts on the site in the future).
My readers are always interested in any tips or advice I can give them for their businesses. Which advice articles have been your most popular so far?
Gift Shop Hub will cover all aspects of promoting your business. From social media to more traditional print based promotions. We’ve already published articles for companies just starting out (5 Things You Should Do Before You Get A Website and An Introduction To Promoting Your Business Online) to more opined, personal posts (Create Don’t Imitate – Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal).
I think the most important thing is not to get too carried away with creating a five year master plan at first. Don’t be afraid to start small: When it comes to promoting your business start with a simple Facebook business page and build up your confidence and followers. It’s tough out there for artists and shops, you’ll take a few knocks on the way but don’t be disheartened: If you build it, they will come (or paint it, draw it, sell it etc. – I just really like the film Field of Dreams!).
How should people go about being featured on the site?
Where can we find you on social media?
Thanks so much Chris - I’m looking forward to your upcoming articles!
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