Brother and sister team Dom and Geri Copsey are taking the gift wrapping world by storm. Nicky Solloway talks to them.
They may sound like a cartoon caper, but there are no cat and mouse tricks between the brother and sister who run Dom and Geri.
When it comes to a family business, the specialist card and gift paper company from West Yorkshire has it all wrapped up.
They’ve seen their business grow by 45 per cent in the last couple of months.
Dom and Geri, which is run by Dominic and Geraldine Copsey from Guiseley, is thought to be the only company in the world offering matching personalised gift-wrap and cards.
The siblings spotted a gap in the greetings card market a couple of years ago and decided to go into business together to launch their own brand.
Dom, 21, a student at Newcastle University, says he was inspired by an advert on the radio. “The first idea came when my dad and I were on our way to a rugby match in York and an advert came on the radio about personalised cards and I said ‘why does no-one make personalised wrapping paper?’
“We were very surprised that no-one else was doing it. There are so many personalised cards around but nobody doing wrap, so we couldn’t work out whether it was just a bad idea.”
In fact it turned out to be a very good idea. The personalised wrapping paper, which allows customers to choose a design, upload their own photos and then order a custom-made gift-wrap and matching card, has become their best seller.
“A few other companies are selling wrapping paper with a photo but no text.
“From what we can see we are definitely the only company in the world that does this,” adds Dom.
The siblings are following in their father’s footsteps by setting up their own business. Big Dom, as he is affectionately known, runs his own digital print company in Guiseley and Dom and Geri use his equipment to print their online orders.
They set up the greetings card business before Dom began his marketing and management degree at university. He now runs the business in between attending university lectures and tutorials.
Geri meanwhile, graduated from Falmouth University with a degree in textile design and works as a full-time designer at a textile mill in Barnoldswick.
She uses her drawing skills to create the company’s original cartoon characters, often working in the evenings and at weekends.
They created all the designs for the company’s humorous cards, banners and wrap themselves. Their website allows customers to personalise the designs with their own text and photos.
The cartoon caricatures behind the Dom and Geri brand represent the brother and sister team, but in reality the whole family work on the business together.
While Geri designs, Dom takes care of the marketing and social media, dad Dom works on production and mum Julie on packing and office organization.
Dom says: “I’m here during the holidays and I usually get home on a Thursday and work the weekend on the business. I do all the analytics and the marketing and the online stuff.”
He is in his final year at university and then plans to work on the business full-time.
“It works really well and when we’re not here, Dad makes sure the orders are printed out, packed and sent out.”
Their business is focused on matching wrapping paper to cards and they have 5,000 designs on their website.
And it’s proving to be a winning formula. One of their customers recently spent £78 on a wrapping paper order.
“The biggest order for something that wasn’t corporate was from a customer in Ireland who spent about £100 on wrapping paper for a child’s first birthday,” adds Big Dom.
“People tend to buy it for special occasions like 18th and 21st birthdays,” adds Geri. “They buy it for baby’s first Christmas and christenings or for a 50th or 80th birthday.”
Younger Dom adds: “We get a lot of orders for pets. We’ve never really worked it out but I’d say every day we get orders for dogs and cats, and cards sent from dogs.”
Coming up with a name for the business proved quite straightforward. “
“They’ve always been known as Dom and Geri since they were born,” explains dad Dom.
Affectionately known as Big Dom, he comes from a huge family with six brothers and five sisters so he’s used to family dynamics. But working together as a family has its challenges, especially across the generations.
Says big Dom: “Dom and I argue a bit purely because we’re both very stubborn. I don’t understand mobiles and Facebook and Twitter and I have a very old-fashioned attitude about why people have to have their life on show on Facebook, but Dom understands how important social media is.
“Dom and I have also had discussions about designs.
“When we first started we had this idea about what people wanted and the reality was different as time went on.”
It’s inevitable that the family dinner table conversation is dominated by shoptalk.
“It does take over our lives at home,” says Dom senior.
“It’s all we ever talk about,” adds Geri.
“It’s nice to get input from everybody and to chat about the products at home but we have to keep reminding ourselves that we’re still a normal family and we deserve to have time to relax together too,” says Dom jnr. “The good thing is that you’ve always got someone to talk to about it.”
“I never thought I’d end up working for these two,” laughs Big Dom.
Following reports which showed that smartphones had overtaken laptops as the UK’s top device for internet access, Dom and Geri have seen a huge rise in the number of customers who are shopping on their mobiles in the last six months.
According to the Ofcom research, a third of internet users (33 per cent) see their smartphone as the most important tool to go online and 55 per cent of 4G users use their smartphone to shop.
Dom and Geri have invested in a new mobile web site. Dom said: “In January 18 per cent of orders came from mobile, now it’s 35 per cent.”