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A watercooler moment with... Caroline Stanbury

on Tuesday, 21 August 2012. Posted in Snapshots, Interviews

Caroline Stanbury, CEO and founder of the Gift-Library, the luxury gifting retailer

A watercooler moment with... Caroline Stanbury

In a nutshell, what does Gift-Library do?

Gift Library is a luxury online gifting service. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with a seamless shopping experience that offers a bespoke personal shopping service with some of the most luxurious products on offer. All of our gifts are beautifully wrapped and to top it off we have some of the fastest delivery times in the Capital and beyond.

Where did the idea come from?

I have always been involved in fashion and styling, but spotted a gap in the market for a one stop shop that sourced the best gifts for cash rich, time poor individuals. However, I was fully aware that to make the business work, there needed to be several different price points to cater for the varied market, but that all products had to retain the highest quality; that’s why I chose, and still choose all the products, be that a gift for £5 or one for over £10,000.

When did you start up?

I founded Gift Library in 2008, and I haven’t looked back since.

How’s it going so far?

Since 2008 the company has grown by 100 per cent year-on-year and we now employ 12 people full time. So it’s safe to say we are doing well but I have ambitious plans for the next few years.  

What’s been the biggest challenge?

The most challenging part of starting the business was learning about areas of the company and business in general, where I had no prior expertise in. For example, I had no knowledge of SEO but knew that it was imperative to make sure the business was well represented online. I credit the staff we have hired and agencies we have worked with in helping educate me on some areas where I did not have experience. 

What’s the best decision you’ve made to-date?

My best decision since founding the business was simply that. I started the business during the recession and some people thought I was mad in trying to set up a luxury business when consumer spend was down. However, I was confident in my concept and knew the marketplace – and my potential customer – extremely well so I knew I could make the company a success.

Where will the business be in 12 months’ time?

I am extremely excited about the next 12 months, and the next few years in fact. 

We are launching the first Gift Library Collection catalogue in October – this will increase and improve our position within the luxury market, and also open up various opportunities with our current brand partners and future brand partners too. 

Early next year, Gift Library will unveil its new website that will inevitably allow our client acquisition to grow, as well as allow us to specifically target international clients too.

I am confident that in the next three years we will break the £5m turnover mark. It’s an exciting time for us.

If you had one piece of advice for entrepreneurs, what would it be?

My best advice to anyone thinking about setting up a business is to speak to people who have already been there.  Mentors are key in the early stages of setting up any business, regardless of industry, as they can give you guidance as to how to get through the good and the bad. 

It’s vital to know your marketplace and your customer.  If you know and understand both the marketplace and who your customer is then you will always have the right product or service to grow your business.

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