The Literary Gift Company
The Literary Gift Company gains ‘brainspace’ to double turnover
Stationery and gift
The Literary Gift Company was founded in 2009 by Dani Hall. Having worked for Waterstones – the major UK bookshop chain – she was familiar with the literary world and spotted a gap in the market.
“I knew book lovers would also love beautiful, bookish things,” she said. “I thought there’d be a good audience for literary gifts, so I started the business at home, in my spare time.”
As The Literary Gift Company grew – and competitors began to imitate it – Dani worked hard to ensure it remained the biggest and the best. Collaborating with artists, authors and publishers, she created a diverse selection of clothing, accessories, stationery, games and more.
“Early on, we started to develop our own products, rather than buying from suppliers,” Dani explained. “While other retailers try to get their products on as many marketplaces as possible, we try to protect ours and ensure they’re only available on our website. As a small business, we can have an idea and get it on sale in just a couple of weeks.”
By 2014, Dani’s strategy was paying off. The Literary Gift Company had moved into offices, hired its first staff and launched a spin-off site – Present Indicative – which sells similarly intelligent gifts, but to non-fiction fans.
There’s no way we could’ve managed the volume of orders we receive at Christmas now. Outsourcing was definitely the right thing to do.
With popularity of products came success. With success came logistical problems. The Literary Company needed physical warehouse space and help with keeping up with customer orders.
What we created
We create so much more than simply providing shelf space – but our operation and efficiencies wowed Dani. She soon realised it would be more cost-effective to outsource fulfilment to James and James.
“We were running out of space,” she says. “Where we’re based in Reading, it’s not easy to find mixed use office and storage. Even if we did find somewhere, it would be expensive to have something big enough to cope with the extremes of Christmas. We wouldn’t need all of the space all year round.”
“At the busiest times of year, we were struggling to keep up with orders and working quite odd hours. There’s no way we could’ve managed the volume of orders we receive at Christmas now. Outsourcing was definitely the right thing to do.”
What we delivered
Using James and James has enabled The Literary Gift Company to grow at an impressive rate – the business has more than doubled its turnover in the last four years and now has over 2,000 gifts in its range.
Dani cites James and James’s ControlPort technology, integration with Shopify and adaptable service as key benefits. The biggest, however, has been the time she’s saved.
“Part of the reason for outsourcing was to spend more time planning – thinking about next year and the year after, not how many orders are coming in tomorrow,” said Dani.
The Literary Gift Company has used this time for new product development, stock control, marketing, strategy and more.
“If you’re looking to develop your business, outsourcing your fulfilment is an opportunity to focus. It gives you the brainspace to think about growth, not worry about the day-to-day.”