Interview with David Hicks, founder of Really Good

Today, gift entrepreneur David Hicks is a main stay within the greeting card and gift industry. There is a significant possibility that you have bought one of David’s cards and if not, one has been bought for you – such is the prominence of the Really Good brand within the British gift market.

A company which started with a £200 investment and has blossomed into a £4million pound business selling to over 30 countries globally.

Is your career as a gift brand owner fulfilling?

Oh yes, I love it, and always have. When I started the business, for a little while, I always said that I wasn’t sure what I’d do when I grew up, then I suddenly realised that I loved what I was doing. Yes, the logistics have made me want to weep at times, but the creative side has made everything worthwhile, although it’s also fair to say that I haven’t got it right all the time !

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What advice would you give to somebody thinking of starting a card or gift brand in 2018?

Ooh, that’s hard. When I started there was no internet, social media etc. so things were both easier and harder. So nowadays, launching a new business is quite a different process.

But what I would say is this. Understand the market. Understand what your customers want. Understand that if you have the best designs ever and that you can’t supply reliably, then you’re you’re not interesting as a supplier. You have to have both sides of your business balanced, the creative side and the supply side, and that’s what separates artists from publishers.

What has been the biggest high of your thirty-year career in the industry?

Well, there’s been a few, but last year being awarded a lifetime achievement award by the gift industry was hard to beat. I was astonished and wasn’t expecting it at all. It’s not often that I’m speechless, but I actually was then. The rest of the day and evening was a blur of Champagne I’m afraid !

What’s the secret of a winning design?

Is it a secret? Is it clever? Is it lucky? Actually, nobody knows and if anyone did, it wouldn’t be common knowledge. What I would say though is that you can over design. The best design is simple, but something that a lot of people can relate to.

In a digital era, is the demise of the greeting card a valid concern?

Yes and no. I’ve got kids, and can I get them interested in sending a greeting card at all, well no. They don’t get them at all. However, there’s plenty of others that do, and there’s been scientific studies that prove that the brain gets a high when people get a card through the post.

So, the process of making people happy, or expressing a sentiment will still exist for a long while, as sending an email or a text just doesn’t cut it. But forever, now that’s a question isn’t it ?

Twenty years from now, what do you see yourself doing?

Well I’ve always made sure I’ve had a good work/life balance. I’ve just been to my  86th country, and I do a lot of photography. I love food and used to be a chef a long time ago, and my boat, which I live on, is a constant joy, and sometimes a concern. And I’ll always love design. So, I’ve got things that I’m interested in, if I last that long!

David Hicks has launched a nationwide search for a new aspiring giftware designer who at a panel of industry judge’s discretion, will gain the opportunity to have their work published and taken to market globally, valuable exposure and a £1,000 cash prize. You can enter here.