It started with a candle

Andy and Cath Turner of Have It Personalised

Andy and Cath Turner’s first step into the world of personalised gifts started 16 years ago when the couple made a candle as a gift for their granddaughter’s christening. P&P editor Melanie Attlesey finds out more.

After the birth of their granddaughter, Jasmine, Andy and Cath wanted to present to their daughter and son-in-law with a gift that would be cherished for many years.

The candle that started it all

After searching high and low for a company where they could purchase a christening candle from and being unsuccessful, the pair set about making their own. They could not have been more thrilled with the response to the candle. What followed was a sudden influx of personalisation requests from family members and friends, setting in motion the couple’s change in career.

Over the years one thing has led to another and now the couple can personalise anything from confectionery to dog attire to wedding invites. With a growing list of more and more alternative and differing personalisation requests, one of the quirkier products the couple have started to personalise includes motorcycle seat upholstery. “Adding embroidery to motorbike seats makes them very unique,” explains Andy.

The transition into garment decoration was a natural add on for Andy and Cath. With a love of huskies, the couple also run SLeD DoG Clothing, producing personalised clothing for pet owners. The couple take photos, create an image that can be cut out of vinyl and then heat press this onto almost any garment. Not only this, but the couple count schools and local businesses among their customer base.

If we can, we will

With a motto of ‘If we can, we will’, the pair have never found a product they could not personalise. You want it personalised, Andy and Cath make it possible. However, to this day their favourite task remains the creation of their granddaughter’s christening candle because if they hadn’t of done so, they would not be where they are today.

In 2015 the couple purchased their first industrial sewing machine, followed in quick succession by another. Now, after little deliberation the Andy and Cath are about to purchase a third to add to their growing armoury. “The Ricoma 1501-TC came thoroughly recommended as a solid workhorse,” says Cath. “The 15 needles and 200 design memory capacity gives us an opportunity to pretty much embroider anything we are asked of.”

Also in the couple’s embroidery machine collection is the recently purchased smaller Ricoma EM1010 portable embroidery machine. Andy says this little 10 needle machine will open many doors for Have It Personalised, such as craft fairs and rallies.

Both machines were purchased from the team at Hobkirk Sewing Machines, who Andy says: “I would give Mark, Marcus and the rest of the team 10 out of 10 for service and 10 out of 10 for knowledge. We chose Hobkirks for their recommended service level and as an authorised Ricoma distributor, the team offer excellent service and I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone.”

Many people treat others as they expect to be treated, and when you are receiving such great customer service from your suppliers, it’s only right that this level of service is passed along to your own customers, which is why Cath says: “I can honestly say that in 16 years we have only ever had to refund one person where we couldn’t resolve an issue. This level of customer service means we have a growing return customer base. Our returning customers speak for themselves and we are always eternally gratefully for their business. Our customers are what put us where we are today.”

The future is bright

Despite the threat of coronavirus knocking at their door, Andy and Cath are very optimistic about the future for Have It Personalised. Plans include purchasing a multi-head embroidery machine so they can expand their reach and offer employment to the local area of Bridlington in Yorkshire where the couple are based.

Have It Personalised’s shop front in Bridlington

“We have taken time to get to where we are today. Every stage has been planned and financed with a back up plan. If I could offer advice to anyone, I would say be patient, be consistent, be honest and overall enjoy your work,” concludes Andy.

The candle which started Andy and Cath’s journey into product and garment decoration is still owned and much-loved by Jasmine and her parents to this day. A true testament of the power of a personalised gift and the memories it can hold.

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