ShoW & TELL
We are a well-established producer of paper products for the promotions market manufacturing in the UK. We wanted to break into new areas and believed that the retail market might be suitable for us, we wanted to be sure that our understanding of the market was correct and which of the products we produced would be the best to start with given their specification and pricing but we needed a stationery specialist to help us.As a stationery buyer with product development experience, Henri was the ideal choice she scoped the market opportunity for us, identifying the retail sectors we should prioritise, the best product formats to launch with and the pricing models to use. This allowed us to launch at the Stationery Show with a robust offer and we are continuing to work in this sector 2 years on.
The Royal Mint Experience includes a large retail space, I needed help sourcing products of an appropriate quality and was recommended to talk to Henri as an experienced retail buyer in the Visitor Attraction market who had worked with the National Trust and Highgrove amongst others. Henri’s experience and knowledge of the relevant supply base meant we could scope the range and identify the right type of suppliers for the products we needed, both off the shelf and own brand, quickly and easily; Henri’s background in product development meant she understood the appropriate ways of working so we didn’t waste time unnecessarily.With tight timescale pressure imposed by the opening date, Henri’s understanding of our brand and business and collaborative way of working enabled us to open the retail store with a beautifully presented range which was a hit with our Visitors!
It was a really good day. It was very interesting to listen to other people’s point of views and to gain insight from them and Henri. I thought the group size was perfect too. It meant that Henri was able to personalise things more than if there were loads of people. I am excited to share all the info with my CEO and other staff to see how we can benefit from it all as a company.
I learned a lot about the buying cycle and the mindset of the buyer which was my main takeaway; I realised that I have to work on about 3-4 calendars in a year and that brought a lot of clarification for me. The other participants feedback on their businesses was insightful, and the pace was good. The session forced me to sit down and write down what I have been thinking, and the course motivated me to look at my business slightly differently with more objectivity.
Having been given sole distribution for a well-respected and good quality brand of Chinese made pens and writing instruments I wanted to establish this brand in the UK because I could see that it offered something new and different for retailers in the office supplies and domestic markets with significant margins for them too.Henri was recommended to me as someone to approach because of her experience as a retail buyer and with her detailed knowledge of pens having bought pens for WH Smith.Henri helped me understand more about the various routes to market. She helped me with a detailed analysis of competitors and their product offer so I could decide on which products focus. Henri outlined the types of questions retail buyers would ask, and what they would be put off by so I went into negotiations fully prepared and able to remove any potential barriers to them saying ‘yes’ to my proposals.Henri’s thorough, clear, and straightforward approach meant that I could assimilate the information quickly and was ready to move ahead within just a few weeks.Later, when I wanted to extend the product offering to include filing and office accessories products, Henri’s experience proved equally helpful.
Having developed a new range of ethical stationery, I was ready to take it on to the high street and wanted to know how to do this as quickly and effectively as possible. I met with Henri, and after a few hours discussion, we had drawn up a focussed plan of actions for the next three months. The results have been fantastic winning several industry awards, press coverage, and orders for the products in the first four months of this year; I couldn’t be more pleased.We had a limited budget, and Henri’s advise has definitely paid off, what’s more, her flexible approach means I can be in touch for further advise as and when I need it. As a new business knowing there is someone I can go to is really reassuring. I am glad we found her.
It is not an understatement to say that we would not be in business without Henri Davis. I am so grateful to the two people who recommended her to me.Henri helped me work out what I wanted my business to be. Her initial report showed me the viability of such a venture. She helped me put the first stationery and giftware collections together, navigate product specification, cost implications, trade and retail prices. Her magic excel spreadsheet is still something we use daily checking current production costs for re-ordering and assessing new product viability. She introduced me to potential suppliers who we still use today. Most importantly, she helped me realise I needed someone to help on a day to day basis with the right skills to compliment my own.She has provided me with much needed ongoing support. She has been a listening ear for any concern, technical or aesthetic, and is an invaluable objective opinion on the whole picture. Thank you!
When I took my chances and launched my card and stationery business in the first couple of trade shows, no-one was more surprised than me by the rapid growth that followed. There was a very steep learning curve, and it was often a case of trusting my instinct and hoping for the best! Fun as this was, I realised I needed a more considered approach, particularly when it came to thinking about the next steps for my business. Henri’s experience as a retail buyer was invaluable since she was able to give me insights into the needs and expectations of retailers and helped me plan accordingly. Many of the questions she posed in the ‘homework’ before the first meeting helped me consolidate my thoughts and start to develop a strategy. Henri was a great sounding board in terms of range planning and the pros and cons of various potential new products. In our second meeting, there were some big decisions to take for my business. As a small business owner, it’s beneficial to talk to some someone as experienced as Henri to consider what would be best. Henri’s in-depth knowledge of the sector proved to be extremely valuable and helped me choose the best direction to move in. It was turned out to great decision, the launch of our natural well-being collection has proved to be very popular with retailers and in a short space of time has collected six industry awards!
I first met Henri when she was a buyer at WH Smith, and I was selling own-brand sticky notes. It was a positive relationship.Fast forward many years, and I was on the brink of launching Otima - a Brazilian manufacturer of stationery and giftware products into the UK market, with little up-to-date knowledge of the market, its requirements, and challenges. There was only one person to turn to Henri of course, with her unique spectrum of knowledge and experience providing all the insights, guidance and contacts that have proved invaluable.91 All presented in clear and concise formats, without which we would not be in the position to develop the Otima business. Thank-you Henri.
Meeting with Henri Davis marked a real turning point in my business. After a few months into the launch of my purposeful stationery brand, I was in desperate need of her expertise and knowledge but initially felt concerned that her support would be out of my budget. However, from our initial contact, she suggested some incredibly practical and budget fitting solutions to provide the specific guidance and input I needed. Her knowledge contact base and industry perspective are considerable, and to work with her is a pure pleasure. Her consistent and supportive guidance in both developing an achievable, practical and logical strategic plan, but also being a much-valued sounding board as that plan has progressed, has been essential in the growth of my business and its profile within the stationery sector. For those in my position, I honestly can’t recommend working with Henri highly enough.
I am incredibly thankful to be referred to Henri for some help with my business. Sometimes it’s nice to hear things from another perspective, especially from someone that has been in the trade as long as Henri has. Feeling so much like a novice sometimes, and feeling there are so many paths to go down, it was nice to get some guidance. Henri helped me to feel more confident about my dealings with suppliers she was supportive when it came to preparing for a recent trade show leading into it, during and afterward. I also love that it wasn’t a huge commitment to work with her. Because it was hourly, I can contact her as and when I need to.I look forward to working with her more in the future.
As an established, successful stationery manufacturer in the gift market we wanted to develop our ranges further and were not sure of the best way to do this without the danger of it just getting bigger.We felt we needed the objective input from someone outside the business but with a good understanding of the industry. Having worked with Henri over a number of years we knew she had the market knowledge and product expertise we were looking for and this coupled with her ‘buyer’s perspective’ would be able to give us a clear and honest view of our options.Rather than producing a report Henri works with us in the office, in a discussion forum with other members of our team, sharing ideas so we combine the best of both worlds. Henri’s pragmatic and realistic approach has helped us come up with some very effective solutions.
As an established Book Publisher we are always looking for opportunities to broaden our product portfolio and wanted to understand more about our options in the stationery and related gift market. Henri was recommended to us as someone we should talk to as she has a good understanding of both sectors of the market and could therefore give us an honest and objective appraisal of the current position and how we could fit into this.We needed to make some big decisions in a short space of time and Henri’s report was comprehensive and insightful and allowed us to learn a lot about the market and the opportunities it held for us. It was also very realistic and ensured that we understood the size of the task ahead; her advise was invaluable.
Henri worked for me on a project as a consultant, and based on her work, I would rank her as one of the best consultants we have ever had. Henri distinguished herself by submitting well-researched and well-written reports on the stationery market. I have been impressed by both Henri’s attitude towards her work and her performance on the job. Henri has the listening and interviewing skills necessary to extract information while performing assessments. She possesses solid writing skills which have enabled her to compose quality reports. She also has the analytical skills to diagnose problems and devise viable solutions. If her performance for our company is a good indication of how she would perform for yours, she would be an extremely positive asset to your program. Henri is always willing to offer her assistance and I can highly recommend her.
My business was growing really fast and I needed someone who knew the student fashion stationery market and the products in it to help me develop new ideas for my customers. I knew Henri as a buyer at WH Smith and realised that her experience in product development, as well as her understanding of the market were the ideal skill set to work alongside me; having worked together before I knew we would get on.What really worked for me was that Henri was prepared to work as and when required, in the main from her office with us meeting up every couple of weeks. We worked like this for almost a year developing own brand ranges for my customers, Henri was happy to take control as and when I needed but we worked well as a team too bouncing ideas off one another. This arrangement ended when I decided to take on someone full time who needed to live locally so they could be in the office everyday.
As an established manufacturer of filing and organisation products, supplying the office products channel we wanted to understand the possible opportunities for us in the UK retail channel. What we needed was a retail strategy that fitted comfortably with our brand values. Henri’s experience at WH Smith meant she had a good knowledge of the products and an excellent working knowledge of the retail stationery market. Having worked with her on a previous project I knew she was a clear and logical thinker and would be able to produce a considered appraisal of our position, what could be achieved and how it should be approached.The final report gave us a clear assessment of the retail market and where we would be positioned within it with realistic short, medium and long term plans to help us achieve our desired goal.
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