Derbyshire businesswoman celebrates gift shop's anniversary after 'genius' idea almost attracted too many customers
A Derbyshire gift boutique business is celebrating its first anniversary next month, after the owner came up with the ‘genius idea’ which almost too many customers.
Michele Hill, who runs Poppy Hill, was inspired to set up the online gift shop while she was sat at her kitchen table during lockdown last year.
The business woman who lives in the Peak District, recognised that many people were still stuck at home and unable to get out to buy birthday and Christmas gifts, let alone deliver them in person and came up with the idea for the boutique.
She decided to add another string to her bow and offer clients a personalised gift wrapping service when buying products at Poppy Hill – with hand written labels and items individually wrapped inside a gift bag.
Michele said: “Many of my customers have said how they really appreciate the gift-wrapping, especially when the shops were not open.
“I take great care over every gift which is wrapped in black tissue paper and Poppy Hill label.
"For the gift wrap option, the tissue wrapped product is then placed inside a high quality white gift bag, and finished with a hand-tied black grosgrain ribbon.”
The business woman will celebrate the one-year anniversary of her company in August - which is named after her 13-year-old Lhasa Apso, Poppy Hill.
She gave up her almost 20 year career in estate agency in March last year after her life outside of work became too busy, giving her the chance to work for her herself.
“Whenever I visit anywhere on holiday or a day out, I always seek out the gift boutiques", Michele added.
"I just appreciate lovely things.
“My life outside work was getting busy.
"We own a couple of holiday lets nearby so I was becoming engrossed in more than my job."
The 51-year-old initially kept her business idea a secret from family and friends and spent four months building her website and researching suppliers.
Michele has also converted two of her outbuildings at home to house her stock of candles, accessories, jewellery and bags.
But the success of Poppy Hill almost left the boutique owner more customers than she could handle.
“I am pleased to say that, after a year, many of my customers have come back to me time and time again”, Michele added.
“Christmas was exciting but exhausting and almost overwhelming as I handled everything on my own.
"My turnover in December was three times that of the previous month.
"The day after the last posting date for Christmas, I literally collapsed in a heap.
"I will definitely be getting in some help this year!”
The gift shop owner also recently launched a luxury candle range – which are each hand mixed and poured using oils, along with eco and vegan friendly wax and wicks.
Michele admitted that she has turned to her 25-year-old daughter Emily and her friends for market research.
She added: “What I love is that my family and friends are part of the informal focus groups I’ve set up on WhatsApp.
"I suggest a product and ask what they think and whether they would buy it.
“They are very honest and really make a difference to my views on buying certain products.”