Signature Gifts – Who We Are
- Signature Gifts was launched in 2003 in the UK by Kevin Spindler and Mike Herbert
- In 2010 we launched in the US with a licence from the NY Times.
- In 2013 we teamed up with Debbi Hancock, creating Signature PG to focus better on general personalised gifts
- Signature Group HQ is in Harpenden, Herts. Signature PG is based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.
- Book manufacturing & large newspaper archive dating back 200 years are based near Wigtown, Scotland.
- The company employs over 100 people and produces and dispatches over half a million one-off products every year.
- A leading personalised gift E-Commerce Retailer, Wholesaler, and Producer
The Beginning – An Archival Goldmine of History
In 2003. Long-time friends and colleagues Kevin Spindler and Mike Herbert created an exciting new company that they felt had much potential. Creating e-commerce websites to sell personalised gifts. Signature Online (later Gifts) was born.
In 2003, online retailing was still very much in its infancy, and the first e-commerce website had been set-up just nine year prior. Nine years in the gift industry is a long time however, and even back in 2003 it was clear that the upward trend for e-commerce websites was going to continue. The question at that time for Mike and Kevin was which personalised products to focus on.
Between 2004 and 2006, Signature Gifts acquired Historic Newspapers Ltd and Remember When Ltd, creating the largest private archive of original newspapers in the UK and US. Roughly 3 million newspapers sit safe and secure in a warehouse the size of an air hangar in Baldoon, an idyllic location on the west coast of Scotland with its damp and temperate climate. Newspapers held there go all the way back to 1800. Papers make ideal commemorative gifts and are popular for a milestone occasion such as a 60th or 50th birthday and are picked, prepared, and then carefully placed inside a gift box alongside a certificate of authenticity – personalised with the recipient’s name and occasion before being shipped directly to customers
It was at this time that Signature started its wholesale operation selling newspaper gifts to other online and mail order retailers as well as supplying its own sites
The longest-running Signature Gifts product shows no signs of slowing down – with over 40,000 original newspapers sold each year at an average value of £45 providing a healthy margin stream. Re-Supply of newspapers is assured with fulfillment and supply contracts with most newspaper groups in the UK and ongoing purchases from wholesalers.
Newspaper Books – Windows of History Relevant To You
With the acquisition of Historic Newspapers, Signature Gifts acquired fledgling production of newspaper books that were manufactured in Wigtown, aka “Scotland’s National Book Town” and only a stone’s throw away from the newspaper archive in Baldoon. A license with News International for The Times and Trinity Mirror , along with years building up a scanned database of original newspapers, ensured we could offer more creative and bespoke newspaper gifts based on a date. One example is the bestselling Birthday Newspaper book which reproduces the front page from a date of birth and every birthday since!
Today this format of book is offered for The Telegraph and Mirror in the UK and Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, LA Times and Seattle Times in the US.
The scanned database also allowed Signature to develop a range of book themes dedicated to a sports team or event documenting successes and landmark events throughout history. These books are also tabloid or A3 in size and also bound in a leatherette or a choice of coloured leather covers, and can be embossed with the recipient’s name as well as featuring an easy-peel label with a personal message that appears on the opening page. Over the years, the newspaper books have constantly evolved to stay relevant in today’s market, from improved covers and embossing designs to new lines commemorating celebrity icons such Muhammad Ali or David Bowie. Sporting books are also updated every year to include the most recent season or event. These updates provide us with the unique capability of keeping an old product fresh and relevant, and to this day they remain one of our most popular products.
Our license with the Mirror grants us access to an extensive archive of copies of the Mirror that go back to the early 20th century.
More recent articles are available in colour pages
We have an extensive collection of sports books that are dedicated to individual teams.
Check out the below links to browse our selection of newspaper books.
Expansion: Book Publishing and New Production Facilities
By 2013 Signature Gifts had expanded from a newspaper gift business into general personalised gifts, selling and making everything from books, calendars, prints, mugs, t-shirts, and alcohol. The range and breadth were becoming unwieldy and thus all general gifts were divested into a new company Signature Personalised Gifts based in Stoke. Book and print production were expanded in 2016 in Scotland with a brand new 14,000 sq foot purpose-built bookmaking facility.
State of the art printing capability was installed with Signature being the first transactional company to operate Canons’ latest ink-jet, sheetfed printer; the i300. Further investment in book finishing has been made as well as box making and die cutting with state of the art equipment from Zund.
Today, Signature’s publishing arm and book making capability give us a unique competitive position. We are the only major personalised book publisher to print in-house enabling greater control on quality and costs, capturing more of the value chain, and allowing us to be more innovative in book finishing, with foiling, premium lamination, cloth covers, gift boxing, etc.
With highly experienced technical, production, and design teams working together, Signature’s product development is first class enabling us to launch new books efficiently to market quickly and to match the latest trends. This and a growing reputation has attracted all the leading publishers and today Signature Gifts publishes personalised editions for 80-90% of all licensed books on the market in the UK and USA – including Disney, Harper, Nickelodeon, Marvel, Egmont, Hachette, Penguin, Mattel and more.
With our sister company Signature PG covering general personalised gifts and Signature Gifts focusing on newspaper gifts and personalised book publishing, we can provide customers with a one-stop-shop with the widest choice but two specialist arms focused on their respective skill sets. Publishing however has been the real star and today accounts for over half our business and the fastest growth.
Not forgetting our founding as an e-commerce gift retailer. It is still our core, and our consumer websites www.historic-newspapers.co.uk and www.inthebook.com are managed by a large and experienced digital marketing team, and are leading sites in their own right, providing more than half our sales and growing. All together Signature Gifts Ltd provides an enviable and secure position as a leading Producer, Wholesaler, and Retailer.
Our Customer Service
We take a great deal of pride in our Customer Service. Our contact details are easily found on all of our websites. And our phone lines are always answered promptly because we don’t believe in annoying multiple touchtone options.
We also provide easily accessible facilities to further enhance our after-care service. These include our online tracking service, through which an order status can be checked, as well as a facility that allows customers to change their personalisation details after ordering.
It’s worth noting that because we create and manufacture the products ourselves, there’s always the assurance that we can solve issues quickly, without having to go through numerous third parties.
Our companies are currently located in three locations in the UK. Our SG Head Office is in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, our UK newspaper archive is in Wigtown, Scotland and SPG is based in Stoke-on-Trent.