Born October 9, 1940, John Lennon would have been celebrating his 80th birthday this year. Instead, shot on December 8, 1980 we will all soon be commemorating the 40th anniversary of his death. With this in mind, we’re taking a look back at this legendary musician’s life. Born in Liverpool, John Winston Lennon had humble […]
I set out to write this blog about how the ongoing pandemic has affected eCommerce, but as that’s such a broad topic, lets zero in on our eCommerce. We all know retail has been changed by the current Covid-19 pandemic, people have adapted their shopping habits. Stockpiling, switching to grocery deliveries, and the closure of […]
I set out to write this blog about how the ongoing pandemic has affected eCommerce, but as that’s such a broad topic, lets zero in on our eCommerce.
We all know retail has been changed by the current Covid-19 pandemic, people have adapted their shopping habits. Stockpiling, switching to grocery deliveries, and the closure of all ‘non-essential’ shops have boosted some sectors, while leaving other sectors struggling to keep their footing. Sectors dealing in beauty products and eveningwear suffered – who needs to look good if you’re stuck inside? Whereas demand for sports equipment and loungewear skyrocketed now that gyms were closed.
Some sites have seen a decline in sales as their customers’ loyalty has also shifted as their shopping habits change. Those who maybe would return to their highstreet shops have now been turned on to the idea of online shopping and the world of choices that opens up to them. And with the majority of sales shifting from the real world to the virtual one, those who work within the delivery industry will need to be sure their infrastructure is on point with all the increase in demand for their services. Considering local lockdowns are back in force, we may have to face the possibility that the world will not be resuming any time soon.
Royal Mail conducted a survey to how people’s ordering habits have changed since lockdown began on March 23rd. 45% of UK adults have confirmed they have received more parcel deliveries, and around 80% of consumers admitted their online spending will remain the same, or even increase once lockdown lifts; meaning smaller retailers like yourselves can reap the benefits of a wider audience than ever before.
I could continue all day about the numerous stats for YoY increases for other retailers, but what about the personalised gift market?
When comparing our figures since the beginning of lockdown in March to the same timeframe last year, we’ve seen an increase of 57% in sales across all our lines. Breaking down our sales figures into separate parts of the Signature family, Signature PG saw an increase of 66%, while Signature Books saw a rise of almost 35%.
It would seem that people are looking for any excuse to celebrate an occasion. The world may have been paused but birthdays, anniversaries, births and retirements were not. People are looking forward to celebrations more than ever, and possibly spending a little more on gifts to compensate for not being there in person to pass on their best wishes and happy returns.
Nobody celebrates like the British, hardly surprising our sales of personalised alcohol have risen nearly 54%!
On Sunday, January 26, 2020 the world of basketball was shaken to its core. Lakers legend, Black Mamba was dead. Kobe Bryant had been killed along with his daughter and 7 other people when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. How can the NBA ever recover from this immense loss? Even those not familiar with […]
On Sunday, January 26, 2020 the world of basketball was shaken to its core. Lakers legend, Black Mamba was dead. Kobe Bryant had been killed along with his daughter and 7 other people when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. How can the NBA ever recover from this immense loss?
Even those not familiar with the world of basketball will be familiar with the name Kobe Bryant, a man who dedicated his 20-season career to the Lakers, making him the second longest one-franchise player in NBA history. Bryant’s beginnings with the NBA made history as he was the youngest player to be drafted at that time, but equally his exit from the NBA set him in the record books. The letter Bryant wrote in 2015, announcing his retirement, became the basis for Dear Basketball, an animated short film which won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. As Kobe wrote and narrated the film, this gong put Kobe Bryant’s name in the record books as the first professional athlete to win an Oscar.
Retiring in style in April 2016, he scored a season-high 60 points in his final game and the same year was honoured by the Los Angeles mayor with his own day, August 24th, taken from his two jersey numbers. During a special half-time show during the 2017 season, the Lakers retired both his jersey numbers. Kobe’s impact on the court was unquestionable, and the chapter of his life after retirement was tragically cut short.
A father of 4 girls, including 13-year-old Gianna who died with him, Bryant left a legacy that will remain in the hearts of Lakers and NBA fans alike.
There have been many tributes to Black Mamba, including the unforgettable Kobe & Gianna Bryant ‘Celebration of Life’ ceremony held at Staples Center on February 24, 2020. Though there is no way to truly capture the incredible career and tragic death of Kobe Bryant, we have teamed up with the LA Times to create our own memorial to him.
Within a special hand-made purple and gold giftbox you will find two special edition books. One contains the history of the Lakers franchise since it began in 1960. It includes all the highlights and triumphs using newspaper reports written at the time. Kobe’s many achievements during his 20 seasons with the Lakers are included within this complete story of the franchise – but one edition is not enough of a tribute to the man who is arguably the greatest player in their history.
The second book within this set is comprised of every LA Times article within our archive which commemorates Kobe Bryant. From the Calabasas helicopter crash, to the Kobe and Gianna Bryant Memorial service. There is no other publisher who can replicate this unique commemorative gift, and we can only hope that it does justice to the great man it has been created to honour.
The diversity within children’s books has been an important, and much discussed topic lately; especially with recent incidents and reports surrounding the incredibly important BLM movement. Though only recently brought to most people’s attention, organisations such as We Need Diverse Books, which was founded in 2014, have long been campaigning to bring diversity into the […]
The diversity within children’s books has been an important, and much discussed topic lately; especially with recent incidents and reports surrounding the incredibly important BLM movement. Though only recently brought to most people’s attention, organisations such as We Need Diverse Books, which was founded in 2014, have long been campaigning to bring diversity into the world of children’s books.
The representation of BAME characters within children’s books has left a lot to be desired in the past, and currently falls far short of accurately representing the world to young children. At Signature Books we have tried to be mindful, but this shortfall is an industry-wide issue.
With the technology we use to create our personalised books we were limited with what we could offer in regards to changing the illustrations on each page. Our team have always been happy to create the characters, but as each book is created as a one-off print, the more options added to each character, the harder our technology needs to work.
All of our children’s titles include a preview function, allowing you to see inside the pages, read some of the story, and view the illustrations. We actively encourage our customers to utilise these preview links on their sites so that their customers can see the story they’re ordering, and also to see if our illustrations are what they want their child to see.
Many of our stories have been created through in-house ideas, using market research, customer feedback, and our own children for inspiration. We, of course, choose our titles with sales in mind, after all we are a business; but we have found that it’s hard to sell to the majority without marginalising some of the audience we aim to reach.
Previously we have created books which centralise around animal-based characters, or books where the narrative is directed towards the reader, using them throughout the story but not showing them as an illustrated character throughout the book.
The Guardian have reported that a 2019 report, titled Reflecting Realities, written for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education reveals that 42% of children’s books published in the UK in 2018 follow this method of storytelling. A method which chooses not to specifically represent anyone is great as it doesn’t then misrepresent anybody. That’s no big deal, until you stop to think that children from a BAME background are much more likely to encounter a book where an animal is the main character than one which has characters that share their ethnicity.
Backing up the Guardian’s summary, figures from Cooperative Children’s Book Center of Education (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, found that 29% featured animal characters or “other”, while almost 42% of books they were sent featured a white main character. It is therefore safe to conclude that white children are far more represented by humans, than they are by animals.
Adding the option to change the ethnicity, gender, and even add a disability to our personalised characters was always something we looked to do. However, to fully ensure that our technology could cope with the different combination of characters we need to be able to create, it took us a while to get it right.
We never wanted to promise something we were unsure would work. Now we do know this is something we can do, the function will be here to stay. Some of our current offerings of this avatar function offer around 39,750 possible combinations of personalised characters, and so we can boast that there’s no way to make a book more personal than that. However, we know that translating this functionality onto our customers’ sites is also a gauntlet we need to run. And so, we are now offering the unique choice of vouchers for our brilliant Build a Bear books. With this simple method, all our you need to do, to offer this amazing book to your customers, is list one SKU, use our product imagery and book previews, and watch the sales come through.
The voucher will contain steps to follow and a unique code that can be redeemed online for one Build-A-Bear storybook, which will also be delivered free of charge to their chosen address. When redeeming the code, they can then customise the characters in the book by adding a name, choosing gender, clothing, and other aspects of their appearance. Designed for children with their own Build-a-Bears personalised illustrations within this title are created for the child’s cuddly friend. But more titles where you can customise illustrations of the child are also available.
At Signature we pride ourselves on releasing new product every month (sometimes every week), so here’s a few things from the last quarter, just in case you missed them. Peter Rabbit Birthday Surprise Board Book Created for toddlers with an early learning challenge on each page along with their name. This is the perfect birthday […]
At Signature we pride ourselves on releasing new product every month (sometimes every week), so here’s a few things from the last quarter, just in case you missed them.
Adding to our popular personalised On This Day sports books, the following football teams are now available with an embossed name on the cover.
Ireland, Norwich, Sheffield Weds, Stoke, Ipswich, Aberdeen, England, Scotland, Wolves, Watford, Southampton, Charlton, Derby, Hibernian, Hearts, Birmingham.
The above are all in addition to the original 14 titles available.
The world was shocked by the tragic death of this basketball legend in January. To commemorate his career with the LA Lakers the man who was dubbed ‘one of the greatest basketball players of our time’ has his legacy summed up through news coverage from the games as they took place.
Available in purple leatherette or black leather
RRP from £44.99
Perfect for little swimmers and those obsessed with magical creatures. This personalised mermaid book takes your little one on a journey to the bottom of the ocean while also setting challenges on each page. Can they count the mermaids, and find the shiny treasure? Available in hard or soft cover versions
RRP from £14.99
An odd combination which is proving very popular; unicorns and poop. Not only is the objective of this book to find glittery swirls of poo, but the recipient’s name is hidden, not once, not twice, but three times! Some pages will have you tearing your hair out to find the personalisation but we guarantee it is there!
RRP from £17.99
Licensed with Build-a-Bear, this official story book is our most advanced yet. Not only is the story personalised with the child’s name, but their very own bear also appears throughout the book. Going the extra mile, each illustration is personalised to include the child’s bear, and their bear’s outfit. Eight bears to choose from – leave them undressed or choose from four ready-made outfits – or eight tops and seven bottoms to make combos from. Then choose whether to add one of five pairs of shoes, one of two pairs of glasses, and/or one of seven head accessories… that’s a total of 88,704 combinations (trust us we’ve done the maths!)
View our Top books for Mother’s Day. Choose titles that resonate with your customers from our large selection.
Choose the books which connect with your audience. We have numerous titles dedicated to this occasion.
Best Sellers With Mum in Mind
This little book for Mum has been around for a while, but with a brand new size and updated imagery, you’d be mad not to include it within your Mother’s Day listings. There’s a reason we’ve kept it around so long; this quirky little book is filled with sentiments such as “You spoil me rotten…and I like it” and “I don’t even mind you’re on Facebook”. Designed with the idea of grown-up kids (who maybe understand what a pain in the bum they were/are) who wish to thank their mum… without being too mushy.
A relatively new launch, this licensed book from Purple Ronnie includes our Just for You giftbox within the price and is packed full of colourful pages of complimentary poems, all worded as if the recipient wrote them (don’t worry we won’t tell her they didn’t).
Another title that’s been around for a little while, this book is part of our I’d Do Anything range. Each double page lists something silly you’d do to prove your love for the recipient. Who wouldn’t arm wrestle an octopus for their mum?!
4. My Mum
From the point of view of a young child, this book includes realistic rhymes about every day life – and how Mum is awesome at everything.
3. The Mum
From Ladybird’s hysterical How it Works range for grown-ups, The Mum includes . Giving The Mum as a gift will at least acknowledge that she does everything – even if it’s not a promise to help out in future. Ideal gift to give the mother of your children.
...and finally, our best-seller.....
Full of squishy hugs and rhyming couplets, this sweet little title is perfect for younger children to buy for mum – or (let’s face it) for dad to buy on behalf of younger kids, to then give to mum.
Part of the Enid Blyton for Grown-ups spoof range, this short novel is full of humorous observations about modern life. Ideal for mums who grew up reading the adventures of Julian, George, Dick, Anne and Timothy (yes those are the characters’ actual names).
All about the number one person on Mother’s Day. It’s got a choice of covers, a gift box and is choc-full of facts. If this doesn’t put a smile on her face, maybe it’s time to get a new Mum…