Retail graduate’s online gift business goes from strength to strength
Retail Management alumnus Chris Threlfall launched his business Keep it Unique, with girlfriend Katie Palmer in October last year.
The couple, who sell a range of personalised gifts including cushions and framed prints, sent a selection of products to Made in Chelsea’s Binky Felstead and her mum Jane. Both were so impressed with their gifts that they expressed their appreciation with positive comments and photos of the goods, on social media sites Twitter and Instagram.
Speaking about the business, Chris commented: “We came up with the idea for Keep it Unique after Katie struggled to find a unique and personal present for a friend. We had top of the range printers at our disposal at Katie’s family’s business, Palmer Publicity Services in Preston, and decided to play around with our own ideas and designs. The results were great and the idea for our business www.keepitunique.co.uk was born.
“We’ve focused on five or six key products, and put them out on social media to see what demand was like. We’ve had a lot of interest, particularly over Christmas when people were really on the lookout for something special for friends and family. Also, getting Twitter and Instagram endorsements from celebrities such as Binky Felstead is fantastic for us, as it confirms to us and shows our customers that the products we are offering are unique, high quality, must-have items.”
After graduating in 2012, Chris undertook a graduate training scheme with supermarket chain Morrisons, but has since left to focus on Keep it Unique. In addition he hosts regular guest lectures at Leeds Beckett for Retail Management students.
“It’s been brilliant coming back to Leeds Beckett to lecture to third year students who are currently studying on the BA (Hons) Retail Management degree. Most recently I worked with them on a multi-channel retail project, where they were tasked with conducting different types of market research into Keep it Unique. They came back with some really strong work and great ideas for Katie and I, and we have already implemented some of their suggestions in the day-to-day running of our business, such as a lower price point product (prints starting at just £10) and a ‘Made in UK’ icon on each product page to highlight the fact we produce everything in the UK.”
Course Leader of Retail Management at Leeds Beckett University, Alistair Macauley, who taught Chris when he was a student, added: “Chris is another successful graduate from our Retail Management course who has not only worked for one of the country’s largest grocery retailers but created an extremely innovative new business. It is great to see one of our graduates being entrepreneurial and doing so well. Our Retail Management course is designed to encourage this as well as give our students the skills needed to secure graduate positions in the retail industry. Chris is a true inspiration to our current students and I have no doubt that his business will be a success.”
- Chris and Katie will be exhibiting their full range of Keep it Unique printed personalised products at the National Wedding Show at Manchester Central, Manchester on the weekend of Feb 7-8.
- Visit Keep it Unique online at: www.keepitunique.co.uk and follow on social media here: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.