Here at Corgi we’re lucky enough to work with a whole host of lovely retailers who stock our socks and knitwear.
And when we start working with a new retailer, we like to give our fans a chance to get to know a little bit more about them and what they do.
The Welsh Gift Shop has just started stocking some of our Regimental Collection and chunky knit Fair Isle socks – just in time for Christmas! – so we had a quick chat with the brains behind the operation, Becca Hemmings.
Here’s what she had to say…
Corgi: What is the Welsh Gift Shop?
Becca: A few years ago, I was looking for new jobs at my friend’s kitchen table. “Well what do you want to do?” he asked me as I clicked through the un-tempting job advertisements. “I’d like to run my own online gift shop” I replied. “Well why don’t you?”
That is honestly how it started – I had experience as an online gift shop manager for other companies, and all I needed was an idea. Wales and its beautiful craft was the first thing that came to mind; I love the Welsh language and traditions, and know I am not alone in feeling very proud to be Welsh.
The logo was also dreamt up on a kitchen table – my family and I were about to tuck into a curry. Uncle Neil (now also our accountant!) suggested using something with Welsh tapestry, and my mam said could I turn the design into a daffodil somehow. When I sketched it, we immediately knew this was the logo for us!
It was a long journey, but with a lot of help from my family and friends, welshgiftshop.com was launched in October 2012. At the beginning I was still working full time, but gradually I was able to lessen my hours until finally dedicating full time hours to the website in January 2014.
It was the best decision of my life! I love my job and have met so many lovely people. I pack the orders in the morning then have different tasks for different days – my favourite is new product day when I get to choose new stock and take pictures!
Corgi: Why do you think Corgi socks are a good fit for your shop?
Becca: Corgi socks are the perfect fit for our shop. My aim is to celebrate and preserve Welsh craft and traditions, and as Corgi is a family-run Welsh business spanning over 100 years it is ideal! I love the fact that Corgi is still based in the same town. Plus the socks are incredible quality! They have been tried and tested by my family (Christmas presents last year) and despite being firm favourites, they are still looking as good as new. Such quality is very rare nowadays – thank you Corgi for maintaining this in today’s modern world!
Corgi: Christmas must be an incredibly busy time for you – do you see orders coming in from all over the world for your lovely Wales-made gifts?
Becca: Yes, very busy – November and December means a lot of packing – which I really enjoy. I like to make the packages look as enticing as possible with tissue paper and twine.
We do have lots of order from all over, it is so exciting sending a little bit of Wales abroad. Our second most popular customer is USA – as they are finding out about their family history and are so thrilled and proud to find that they have Welsh blood. I have some lovely repeat customers who always buy their families something Welsh to remind them of their heritage.
Corgi: What Welsh Christmas gift would you love to unwrap on Christmas morning?
Becca: A pair of Corgi socks! I love the fair isle design, and a size small works well as ‘over socks’ like slippers. That with a drop of Penderyn, nomnom chocolate in front of an open fire – bliss. Trouble is, it is very hard for my friends and family to buy for me as I might recognise the address
Corgi: In your opinion, what makes a Welsh Christmas so special?
Becca: That is a good question! We know how to do Christmas in Wales; open fires and lots of clinking of glasses and cheers of ‘Iechyd Da!’ It is warm, welcoming. I think my personal favourite part of Christmas was anticipating Sion Corn’s (Father Christmas’s) visit when I was a child – OK – and maybe still (the stocking is the best bit!). I remember singing the Sion Corn song in Welsh at a school Christmas concert, a sure sign that 25th was just around the corner!
Thanks Becca for taking the time chat with us – and have a lovely Welsh Christmas! Nadolig Llawen!