A Gift For Everyone At Calliope
by Frederick Latty
Philip Downer, Managing Director of Calliope Gifts, explains why shoppers on the lookout for that something special in Haywards Heath can find all the inspiration they need in this wonderfully eclectic shop.
Based in the town’s Orchards Shopping Centre, the eclectic emporium purveys an interesting and attractive selection of gifts, cards, books and homewares for the discerning shopper. “Our aim was to create a small shop where you’d be able to find a gift for anybody,” says Managing Director Philip Downer. “All of our ranges of gifts, homewares, fashion accessories, books and toys mean that we can o er a gift for everyone – family, friends, children and work colleagues. Wherever there’s a need for a gift, we can fill it.”
Philip and business partner Andy Adamson have a lifetime of retail experience, and they own two other Calliope shops in Dorking, Surrey and Alton, Hampshire. Five years ago, they decided that there was an opportunity to bring greetings cards and gifts together.
“We have an enormous range of about 5,000 greetings cards for every occasion, which is probably the biggest range that you’ll find in town,” he explains. “Greetings cards are very important to us and remain incredibly popular. Once customers have chosen a card, they can select an appropriate gift to go with it – and we’re happy to wrap gifts free of charge too.”
With additional items dedicated to children, as well as a series of ‘his and hers’ products to choose from, there’s something to suit all ages at this family- friendly outlet. And in spite of increasing internet sales, Philip believes that there’s still a market for a more tangible and organic shopping experience. “We’re also online, at www.calliopegifts.co.uk which we’re rebuilding and relaunching as a fully responsive site this summer,” explains Philip, “but for the full Calliope experience, customers should come along to the Orchards and meet Mel, Tracey, Charlotte and the team in person, and we’ll help you find an ideal gift.”
“We have a host of wonderful brands like Sophie Allport homewares, Estella Bartlett jewellery and accessories, Orange Tree toys and Kikkerland novelties – we deal with over 100 suppliers, and offer a sense of discovery in our shops – the sort of serendipity that’s hard to replicate online.”
Indeed, it’s up to Philip and his team to direct their customers towards that dream purchase. Calliope also stocks a wide range of their own craftsman-made candles and reed diffusers. Philip explains, “our manufacturers in the Cotswolds use fine quality oils combined with the all-natural plant wax material, and we typically carry around 40 different scents. We’re always on the lookout for new brands, new suppliers and new ideas – we’ve always got something fresh and different to offer. And with extra services such as gift-wrapping, loyalty cards and gift vouchers on offer, this really is the shop that keeps on giving.
Finally, excitedly, Philip announced, “we have been shortlisted for a national award, The Greats Awards recognise gift shops and gift retailers around the country, and we have been nominated for Best Gift Shop in the Southern Counties award. Fingers crossed – we won a Best Newcomer award a few years back, and it would be great to balance that on the mantelpiece with an award for an established shop!”