Michael and Claire Welham, franchisees of Coconut Creatives’ client OPC, jumped at the opportunity to expand their Original Poster Company (OPC) business recently. They have been successfully operating the Twickenham/Kingston territory since 2010 and decided to build on the success from their first OPC franchise by buying the neighbouring territory as it became available for resale.
OPC is the world’s leading greeting card distribution franchise, operating in an industry worth over £1.4 billion just in the UK. Established in 1991, OPC’s franchise network has had complete UK coverage for over 20 years and is a full member of the British Franchise Association. In the UK, OPC is a great franchise for those with strong management and customer service skills. Over 90% of OPC’s franchisees surveyed agree that their home-based system gives them the flexibility to enjoy family life.
Prior to buying their first OPC franchise, Michael and Claire had become the proud parents of little Daniel, so they were both looking for an opportunity that would not only capitalise on their skills but also give them a great work-life balance. Claire had previously worked in fashion retail management and Michael had been working in the motor industry for many years as dealer principle, most recently for Land Rover.
“After having our son I mainly worked on a part-time basis and when Michael was made redundant at the start of the recession we were both looking for a new challenge. I was working as a merchandiser for OPC in the Twickenham/Kingston area at the time and I could see the potential in the area I was working in. After having a look into it we both saw it as a great opportunity to utilise my merchandising and his commercial skills. It also appealed to us that we would be in charge of our own destiny and decided this was the right next step for us,” explains Claire.
Some of OPC’s franchisees are currently selling their existing territories as they retire or move on to new business opportunities. So, when Michael and Claire found out that the South West London territory was available for resale they seized the opportunity.
“The South West London territory has a lot of development potential and it has a really big border with our current territory in Kingston. So it made a lot of sense for both of us to buy the territory to further expand our business. We can reach a lot more businesses but we don’t have to drive more, allowing us to also continue to grow the area we already have,” adds Claire.
Michael and Claire receive regular ongoing field support from a dedicated Business Development Manager (BDM) who provides them with all the support they need to grow their sales and keep overheads low, whilst achieving great profit margins in both of their territories.
“OPC helped us with the new stock purchases and the development plan for the new territory, which was really valuable to us. With our new territory it’s now all about building relationships and trust with the national account managers in the area to start stocking our cards in more stores. We now know what we are doing so we don’t need the hands-on support we received when we bought our first franchise but we know that if we need any help our BDM is just a phone call away,” explains Claire.
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