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Manchester family launches new business venture during lockdown

Steal family

When their teenage daughter exclaimed, “Why don’t we have advent calendars for birthdays?” Andrew and Charlotte Staal didn’t have an answer. After pondering the idea and deciding that it was a brilliant one, they got to work creating a unique premium concept that is already shaking up the UK gifting market.

SevenYays officially launched this month after the idea and production were developed during the various national lockdowns over the past year. The new personalised gifting service allows users to create customised countdown calendars for birthdays and other occasions for friends and family or there are several ready-made boxes with themes including gin, wellbeing, and celebration. Customers simply choose six small, high-quality gifts and one larger gift – the Seventh Yay – plus a card with a personalised message to complete the SevenYays experience online. The boxes are sent to the recipient in time for the countdown to their special occasion.

SevenYays aims wherever possible to support independent British businesses with ethical and sustainable values. The team has also taken great care in the development process to make all packaging as planet friendly as possible. Cardboard is sourced from FSC-approved sustainable sources and is 100% recyclable. The trays within the SevenYays calendars are made from 86% recycled plastic (produced from drinks bottles and other clean plastic waste) and are 100% recyclable. The gifts selection includes craft gins and rum, wellbeing products, high-quality beauty items, sleep masks, socks, books, and tech items, which are sourced from smaller, independent British businesses where possible.

Charlotte Staal says: “Our daughter had to create a business idea for a GCSE project. She asked us, “Why don’t we have advent calendars for birthdays? We couldn’t answer, and the more we thought about it, the more we saw what a brilliant idea it was.”

“We put our heads together as a family and talked it over. It seemed like the perfect fit for the current situation. With friends and loved ones stuck in lockdown, what better way to spread some joy? Then we got to work.”

Andrew Staal adds: “Right from the start of this journey, we knew we wanted to offer the very best gifts to customers. High quality, fun, useful, but always with ethical and sustainable values a priority. Our key criteria: does it make you go ‘Yay!’?.

“There are so many amazing SMEs out there creating some wonderful gifts and incredible products. We can give them the opportunity to boost their brand and increase their sales – and bring some exciting new gifts to our customers. SevenYays is a fun, fresh approach to gift-giving, one that prolongs the fun experience.”

Research in November 2020 by Censuswide for Roland DG found that UK shoppers were set to spend over £750m on personalised gifts over the festive period alone, with buyers of personalised gifts predicted to spend more than £40 each on unique presents for their loved ones. According to the study, UK shoppers are prepared to spend an extra 7% on gifts with personalisation elements because they consider personalised gifts more thoughtful.

To raise awareness and drive sales for the SevenYays brand and products, the team has partnered with Manchester PR agency, Purple Riot, to launch the brand with a mix of social media, PR, and influencer marketing over the summer months.

SevenYays launched this month with 12 different pre-selected themed boxes and 130 different premium gifts to choose from in the create-your-own box option. The countdown calendars are available from the SevenYays website, with prices starting around £30.