Increase in corporate gifting boosts Tipperary hamper company

Hampers & Co expect to increase production by 20% this year to up to 30,000 hampers

Hampers & Co founder Emer Purcell said the extension of the State’s benefit-in-kind tax rules to €500 is a boost for the company.

Hampers & Co founder Emer Purcell said the extension of the State’s benefit-in-kind tax rules to €500 is a boost for the company.

 

A Tipperary-based hamper company expects to increase production by 20 per cent this year on the back of a rise in corporate gifting, returning their business to pre-recession levels.

Hampers & Co, in Thurles, plans to ship between 25,000 and 30,000 hampers in advance of Christmas, helping it increase turnover beyond the €2 million mark.

Company founder Emer Purcell said the extension of the State’s benefit-in-kind tax rules to €500 is a boost for the company which suffered in the aftermath of the recession.

“The average spend used to be €250 but it’s now €500,” she said, adding that companies don’t just want to give gift cards but rather a more personal gift.

Hampers & Co is 27 years in business and was forced to diversify in the aftermath of the 2008 crash. A fall in corporate demand pushed Ms Purcell to create hampers for births, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and other occasions.

The company also improved its online presence and Ms Purcell developed the business into a year-round enterprise before the corporate market began to return in 2013.

While the company’s primary competitor now is voucher suppliers, Ms Purcell suggests “clients are back looking for the personal touch”. One example, Ms Purcell said, is a client that “sends their remote workers a gift every quarter”.

Gin and craft beer

In addition to their online and corporate customer base, Hampers & Co provide for the Dunnes Stores “simply better” hamper range. Ms Purcell, a former race-horse trainer, secured that contract for a trial run in 2017 and subsequently a longer contract for 2018.

“We’re just working at getting long-term relations and one of those is with Dunnes Stores ‘simply better’,” Ms Purcell said.

The traditional Christmas hamper from Hampers & Co
The traditional Christmas hamper from Hampers & Co

The company will begin packing hampers in the first week in October in Thurles until December 15th. “It’s a logistics business for November and December.”

Although the business grew about 30 per cent last year, Ms Purcell expects that to taper slightly to 20 per cent this year.

While the latter half of the year is spent preparing hampers, Ms Purcell said the first half is used to source new goods including wines from France and produce from local Irish producers.

More than 30 people are employed at the company’s Tipperary facility where specialised hampers include an Irish gin box, a craft beer crate, a chocolate gift box and a ready made chef crate.