Hallmark celebrates 30th birthday
This year (2022), Hallmark Consumer Services marks its 30th birthday. A lot has happened over the last 30 years, and we’ve enjoyed many good times as well as overcome many challenges to become the
company we are today – one of the most established businesses and biggest employers in Melton Mowbray.
To mark our milestone 30th birthday, our chief executive, Chris Hall, and managing director, Philip Hall, sat down for a Q&A session to provide you with an insight into Hallmark’s story and our ambitious plans for the future.
Why was Hallmark first set up?
Chris: I’d always wanted to work for myself, and spotted an opportunity to start a promotional fulfilment business that would deliver a superior service to those I’d had experience of. Hallmark is now managed by my son, Phil, the second generation of the Hall family ownership.
Phil: Today, we specialise in providing businesses across the UK with a range of outsourced fulfilment services and innovative direct mail from our base in Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire.
By how much have you expanded your facilities over the last 30 years?
Chris: The business started in my garage before moving to a 1000 sq ft unit in Melton. We expanded quickly, and we soon took up a 4000 sq ft unit on the same industrial estate. The next big step for us was taking up a 20,000 sq ft warehouse in 1998. At first, we wondered how we were going to fill it, but it didn’t take long! We then expanded again and leased more units on the same estate. In 2013, our current site – which covers 40,000 sq ft – came up for sale. We seized the opportunity to buy and renovate it, and moved in at the end of 2013.
Phil: Since then, we have embarked on a long-term growth plan to further extend our premises and capacity, adding an enhanced storage and shipping facility and more locations for carton picks. Excitingly, we have now taken on a second site in Grantham which will be up and running in May 2022.
How has your service offering evolved since you first started out?
Chris: The business started out in promotional sales fulfilment then evolved into direct mail. Clients used us to fulfil their orders from their mail order catalogues as we could ship and store items as well as process orders and payments. As E-commerce started to take off, our clients moved from printed catalogues to online shops, and that’s essentially how our business grew.
How have you created the family-feel within the team at Hallmark, and why is it important?
Phil: We really value our team members and care about them both professionally and personally. We are very open as a business and make sure to always share our successes with the team, as well as highlight when things aren’t going so well. This has helped us to build a strong feeling of trust with our team, and means that our staff will often go the extra mile as a result.
What do you think has been key to Hallmark’s recent growth?
Chris: I believe it is our ability to adapt to our clients’ changing needs and being brave enough to make changes to our service offering to align with these. We’ve overcome many challenges in the last two years as a result of the pandemic and Brexit, but have managed to come out of the other side successfully and with several new clients.
Phil: The pandemic forced retail companies to sell more of their products online and we saw demand rocket as a result. Fortunately, our business model and IT infrastructure are such that we can quickly scale our fulfilment services up or down in response to customer demand. It is this flexibility that our clients appreciate.
What part of Hallmark’s story to date are you most proud of?
Chris: Over the years, we have won numerous awards that recognise our high level of customer service and innovation. But the biggest thrill for us is having such longstanding clients. One of our clients has been with us for over 20 years.
Phil: We’re really proud of the growth and development in the team and the fact we’re one of the largest employers in the Melton Mowbray area. It means a lot to be able to contribute to the local economy and create jobs for people living in the area. We’ve gone from having one staff member to 70 full-time employees in our team.
What are your future plans and ambitions for Hallmark?
Chris: Our plans are to expand our current site as well as launch our new facility in Grantham, and continue to enhance our service offering to help our current clients grow and enable us to work with new ones.
How are you celebrating your 30th birthday?
Phil: On the date of our official birthday (1 April), the whole team enjoyed a fish and chip lunch and a company presentation with some extra surprises. In the summer, we will be holding a family fun day with a BBQ and games for our team and their families to take part in.
Watch this space for fun photos from our birthday celebrations!
To find out more about Hallmark, you can visit our About Us page here.