A look behind the scenes of the Twins Gift Company.
The Twins Gift Company is a leading e-commerce shop specialising in stylish gifts for twins, triplets and multiple births of all ages. Today’s blog post is a look behind the scenes of the company, their day-to-day operation, products and inspiration. An interview with company founders (and twin sisters), Lindsey Civil and Karen Davidson.
Describe your typical working day…
Lindsey: Firstly we print off our orders and answer emails about products, marketing, stock, and general business enquiries. In the afternoon we work on dispatching orders. We both have quite defined roles within the company, I’m in charge of finance and dispatching, Karen controls all the marketing, sources new products and designs all literature, products and advertising. Having worked together previously in a restaurant we knew that we were compatible working together and also have different strengths and weaknesses. I’m definitely more commercial and Karen more creative.
What is the best thing about your job?
Lindsey: We love our products, so when people choose to buy them it’s a very personal feeling, it makes us feel very proud. Running a business is probably in our blood, our parents were entrepreneurs and we both have a ‘can do attitude’ and are not frightened of failure. The response from our customers on finding us online has been so positive, we really feel we are serving customers with original products that simply cannot be bought anywhere else.
We are both very family orientated and although our children are grown up, we both happily dedicate time and energy to supporting our children and parents. Having your own business does enable you to generally be around for the important events, whatever they are: hospital visits, collecting from university or helping them move flats. Our children are more like siblings than cousins and all get on very well despite being scattered all over the place.
Who are your customers?
Lindsey: Mothers of twins, husbands and fathers of twins, godparents of twins – in fact, anyone who has a connection with twins!
What would you like to do next with the business?
Lindsey: We aim to ensure that as many people as possible know The Twins Gift Company exists, so we are looking now to increase our marketing. Our biggest challenge is educating the public to our existence – so we can become the go to place for gifts for multiples. We continue to do this through social media, search engine optimization, advertising, sponsorship and partnering. We are now working with a PR agency JHPR who are helping us to be more visible.
It is always a challenge to know how best to increase brand awareness and it is a little bit of trial and error. With Google Analytics it is now possible to analyze where your customers have come from and how they have found you. However Social Media is forever changing and it is a constant trial to stay on top of the ever changing channels. When we first launched Facebook and Twitter were the leaders in Social Media for our company, now Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest are more and more prevalent.
What tip would you give to someone starting their own business?
Lindsey: Try and stay focused and motivated on a daily basis, and be prepared for a huge amount of hard work. Remain open minded the business might go off on a tangent but always stay true to the brand.
What is your favourite product?
Lindsey: The ‘Pearls in Pod’ necklace (shown above) because this was the reason we started The Twins Gift Company. My twin sister Karen gave it to me on my birthday, and it gave us the idea to start a gift company for twins. Two Peas in a Pod have long been a symbol and quote relating to twins, and with nature being very ‘en trende’ in the jewellery market it is no surprise that this continues to be our best seller.
Two peas in a pod symbolises the sharing of the womb, the shared birthing experience and the importance of growing together, the co-dependence and the closeness that twins share. It was discovered by examining 3D images, a study in Padova, Italy found that foetuses start deliberately interacting at fourteen weeks.
What are the most popular products you’re currently stocking?
Lindsey: The ‘Pearl in a Pod’ necklace as mentioned and our plaques. The plaques are unique to us and are not available anywhere else. We have a selection of three types – A rustic plaque (£6.99); a painted plaque (£8.99) and a large shabby chic plaque (£19.99). All our plaques have quotes and sayings for example:
“Real Men Make Twins”
“We made a wish and two came true”
“Happiness is growing up with a twin sister”
“Twin Mummies are like buttons they hold everything together”
“Genes so nice they made them twice”
All of our plaques and signs are manufactured in the UK. They are quality products that we are proud to stock and feel offer great craftsmanship and quality at great value prices. When people receive the plaques they are always pleasantly surprised not just with the plaque but also with the gift wrapping service.
Are you introducing any new products this year?
Lindsey: We have just extended our jewellery range to include a beautiful birds nest range of pendants, bracelets and earrings.
These nature inspired jewellery items are supremely wearable, poignant and unusual. A really memorable gift that you can just keep on wearing. The Silver Nest is chic and can have two or three silver eggs nestled in the nest celebrating not only multiple births but also siblings.
These items are made for The Twins Gift Company by Sonya Bennett and only available from us, we also have them with birds on a branch with the nest. They really are a superb gift, fabulous quality for someone very special to treasure forever.
What new products would you like to add next?
More children’s clothing – we would like to provide hampers for new borns, with a wonderful collection of gifts that are useful and usable, divinely presented and just what is required for the recipient. We would like to expand into the “leaving gift” market so when a collection is made at work everyone wants a Twins Gift Company Hamper to be their leaving gift.
Quality is key to all our products, we always want to exceed customer expectation in quality, price and creativity.
We will be continuing our research to find the best products to be included in the hampers. We are already in talks with a select group of manufacturers to provide us with well made, originally designed and useful products that provide a WOW gift.
What inspires your product selection?
A strong, unique bespoke twin theme is number one then we quickly move to quality, price and originality. Our suppliers work with us, they know our standards and brand, we work together in partnership to create the right gifts at the right price. We have found some lovely people to work with who share our beliefs and principles, and we are always on the look out for new partners.
Who are your favourite card and gift designers?
Lagom Designs, they are stylish, appealing and appropriate for all occasions and people. They believe that life’s personal stories and moments are best told through the gift of a handwritten card or note. They also believe in trying to attain something that is ‘just right’ for the occasion. We too try to challenge the norm but also to provide a service and product that is ‘just right’ and in perfect balance for a particular person or occasion.
Lagom has managed to create a viable business without compromising on their concern for the resources they use and still maintaining the constant creativity required to keep on delivering and growing.
What other retailers do you admire?
Aldi, about to open store number 500, the growth that Aldi has achieved is extremely impressive. The way they have conquered ‘middle England’ is inspiring. Their advertising has clicked with the British in it’s understated way – appealing to the reverse snobbism of boasting about bagging a bargain at Aldi. From their Mother’s shop in Germany in 1913, Karl & Theo Albrecht have built an empire to challenge Tesco and Sainsbury’s by consistently sending out the message that their products are just as good but cost less. “Spend a Little – Live a Lot!” is brilliant.
Simplicity – Consistency and Responsibility – their three core beliefs are in tune with middle England. Last year 12.9% of Aldi’s regular customers were from A/B Socio-economic groups – this year the figure has risen to 18.6%.
Aldi has 3.8% of the grocery market, compared to Waitrose 4.9%, Tesco 30.1% but it is the fastest growing chain and hopes to claim 10% of the market in the future. Which Consumer Organisation as voted Aldi the best supermarket for the last two years. Which is very impressive when you realize they stock 1350 lines compared to Tesco’s 30 000 – perhaps less really is more.
Aldi is simple, it knows what it is, it delivers clear consistent messages to it’s customers – the customers expectations are exceeded when visiting the store. This more than anything gets customers returning.
We want to let our prospective customers know that we exist, what we do and how we do it. In a niche market like ours it is even more important to have a clear defined brand that is easy to access.
What brands inspire you?
Not on the High Street, Joules and also Aldi (with a 35% growth sales in the last three months).