Business Information Factsheet

Setting Up As A Personalised Gift  Retailer


  • Introduction
  • Trading issues
  • Sources of further information


A personalised gift retailer supplies giftware such as jewellery, clothing, home accessories and other items that have been painted, printed, embroidered or engraved to order with a customer’s choice of text or imagery. Personalisation work may be carried out by the retailer themselves by hand or using specialist equipment, or outsourced to specialist sub-contractors. In some cases the retailer simply markets and accepts customer orders for products that are personalised and dispatched by one or more separate suppliers. Many personalised gift retailers trade via a print catalogue or e-commerce website.

A personalised gift retailer primarily supplies individual consumers, although many also target the corporate and promotional giftware market.

Trading issues

  • Under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (CCRs), personalised gift retailers that accept orders from consumers online, by mail order, or over the phone are required to provide them with specific pre-contract information such as their pricing, payment and cancellation terms, before confirming the order.
  • According to the ‘All Year Gifting in the UK – 2018’ report, gifting for nearly all occasions fell during 2018, and the report encourages retailers to focus on occasions that consumers are almost guaranteed to continue purchasing gifts for despite falling disposable income, such as Christmas and birthdays (
  • Research by Technavio has forecast that the gifts, novelty and souvenirs global market will have a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of around 5% during the period 2019-2023. Increasing demand for personalised gifts is also expected to contribute significantly to market growth over this period (
  • ‘Gifts Insight report’, published in January 2020 by Salience, has revealed that the online gifts industry grew by 7% year-on-year in 2019. However, the performance of gift suppliers has varied widely as grew its sales by 327% while almost disappeared, falling by 97% year-on-year (
  • Under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988, the copyright of original works of ‘artistic craftsmanship’ is protected by law. This includes images such as children’s cartoon characters or football team logos, which may also be registered as trade marks under the Trade Marks Act 1994. Personalised gift retailers should ensure they do not infringe the intellectual property rights of others, for example by printing a popular cartoon character on a mug or T-shirt without permission or licence from the copyright or trade mark owner.
  • A personalised gift retailer intending to carry out personalisation work in-house will need to budget for and source a range of equipment, depending on the variety of gifts and personalisation techniques they intend to offer. For example, an industrial embroidery machine can be purchased for around £5,000 (excluding VAT), while sublimation printing equipment, used to apply permanent designs to fabrics, ceramics and other materials, can be purchased for around £450 for a starter kit. For examples of suppliers go to and
  • A personalised gift retailer will also need to source a range of ‘blank’ gifts for personalisation from reliable trade suppliers. For examples of suppliers of printable gift items such as mugs, phone cases and bags go to For examples of suppliers of clothing suitable for embroidery and printing go to and
  • Some personalised gift retailers accept orders for items that are personalised and dispatched by another supplier. This arrangement enables the retailer to offer a wider range of products and potentially faster lead times on customer orders, but the retailer may be subject to the supplier’s Ts and Cs, which could include restrictions on how and where the supplier’s products can be advertised, and how much they can be sold for. Trade suppliers of personalised gifts include Prime Group ( PTG ( and PMC (
  • When pricing their products, a personalised gift retailer will need to apply a suitable mark-up on the cost of blank items. For example, blank white mugs suitable for sublimation printing can be purchased from less than £1 each, but personalised mugs can be sold from around £5.

Sources of further information

The Giftware Association represents retailers in the gift, home and fashion accessories industry.

‘Gifts Today’ is a trade publication for the giftware industry available online or in print. A free email newsletter is also available.

‘Giftware Review’ is a print publication aimed at buyers in the giftware industry with articles also available online.

The Autumn Fair is an annual gift and homeware trade event held each September at the NEC, Birmingham.

DISCLAIMER While all reasonable efforts have been made, the publisher makes no warranties that this information is accurate and up-to-date and will not be responsible for any errors or omissions in the information nor any consequences of any errors or omissions. Professional advice should be sought where appropriate.