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Membership History

Full Member
Joined 1997

Membership History

Full Member
Joined 1997

Company Overview

Mail Boxes Etc. is one of the world’s largest non-food retail franchises with over 1,600 stores in five continents including over 160 in the UK and Ireland. We are the only high-street chain that offers consumers and local companies a truly comprehensive range of business services. Our high-street, one-stop-shop concept offers a mix of logistics, postal, print and copy services to help meet our customers’ everyday needs.

Franchise Overview

In order to open a Mail Boxes Etc. you will need to make an initial, investment of around £60,000 – £70,000. With up to 70% of this being funded by a high-street bank, the initial personal investment will be around £25,000. As a Mail Boxes Etc. franchise owner you will benefit from:

  • Established, growing network with a proven system
  • Multiple revenue streams
  • Continual operational and business development support
  • The only business to offer worldwide pack and ship, digital print and copy, mailbox rental and business services all under one roof

Training

The Mail Boxes Etc. training programme starts with a week of hands-on field training in one of our accredited training stores, followed by a week of seminars that focus on areas like marketing and sales, product and service knowledge, operating procedures, staffing, business management and customer service. Stores then have 2 weeks of pre-opening training and support from Mail Boxes Etc.personnel and suppliers – all accompanied by comprehensive notes and operations manuals.

Daily Life of a franchisee

The day is always full: time in the office, being out and about, visiting customers, meeting prospective new ones and attending business events are combined with handling queries, emails and letters. Much of the business is seasonal so in summer you can be busy packing and shipping for students, then in the run up to Christmas, printing bespoke calendars and Christmas cards, as well as special offer posters and leaflets.

Steve Sleigh

Steve Sleigh, owner of two Mail Boxes Etc. stores in Ipswich and Colchester, has been building himself a successful business since 2000. A printer by trade, Steve had spent a large amount of time working in different areas of printing and decided to use his skills to open and run a Mail Boxes Etc. franchise.

And it was a quirk of fate that led him to the brand. Steve explains: “I had reached a point in my career when I decided I wanted to work for myself. I was bored of being a sales rep and worked out that I had driven the best part of one million miles during my career. One day I was stuck in traffic and was channel hopping through various radio stations. I landed on a station that was featuring an interview with someone from Mail Boxes Etc. and it sounded like an interesting concept so I tracked them down and attended a meeting a few weeks afterwards.

“Franchising appealed to me because I knew I wanted to work for myself but I didn’t want to start a business from scratch. It can be slow and hard going and I just wanted to get up and running quickly. I knew I didn’t want to run a fast food outlet or be a ‘man in a van’ (which would have involved more driving!). Mail Boxes Etc. is a varied business because it’s not centred on just one product or service; it’s a multi-faceted and a much more interesting business to work in.”

On his journey so far, Steve said: “The first couple of years in the business were the hardest but that’s the same in every business. My business has grown year on year with some being better than others but we’re still here – we’ve stood the test of time!

“With Mail Boxes Etc. you can change and develop with the economy and the business. Cross-selling is a great way to earn more business. You might get someone in who wants to rent a mailbox for a business and eventually they will want business cards and letterheads printed. A large percentage of business can come from cross-selling due to the diversity of the business.”

Over the last 15 years, not only has Steve managed to build a successful and profitable business, he’s also managed to earn himself a few awards and accolades along the way, not to mention his involvement in the wider franchise network.

“A few years ago I was awarded the Franchisee of the Year award by Mail Boxes Etc,” he said. “I was very pleased to receive the award and I think I received it because I’m proactive in both my local community and within the Mail Boxes Etc. franchise network. I’m on both the national marketing committee and the network council. The network council is the representative body of franchisees and allows us all to meet and learn from each other.”

Alongside running two successful Mail Boxes Etc. stores and his regular involvement in the franchise network behind the scenes, Steve also has a pilot’s license so any spare time he had is spent up in the air…

“I don’t get to fly as much as I would like to but it’s lovely on a summer’s evening. After a hectic day, it’s extremely peaceful and puts everything back into perspective. There’s nothing else like it.”

As a successful global brand, Mail Boxes Etc. have learned what it takes to keep ahead in the retail sector and they’re sharing this knowledge with each and every one of their franchisees. With multiple revenue streams, franchisees benefit from a trusted high-street brand that has dominated in its marketplace for 35 years and their longest-serving franchisee in the UK network has just celebrated 21 years!

Steve concluded: “The training and support at Mail Boxes Etc. has been great. Mail Boxes Etc. is such a complex business to work in, you just couldn’t do it without good quality support. Life changes, business changes and the economy changes – you have to keep abreast of what’s going on and Mail Boxes Etc. are very good at supporting you through that.

“I enjoy the variety of customers with Mail Boxes Etc. One moment you could be dealing with photocopies and the next you could be on the phone to someone in China who’s looking to have antiques shipped over to them. You never know what each day is going to bring!”

Murli Mulchandani and Rikesh Nichani

London-based business partners and brothers-in-law Murli Mulchandani and Rikesh Nichani, who own four central London stores, were chosen as joint winners of Mail Boxes Etc.’s Franchisee of the Year award in recognition of their business acumen and success as well as their significant contribution to the network as a whole.

Murli and Rikesh shared the accolade with another franchisee who has stores in Watford and in Milton Keynes. The award winning franchisees were chosen from Mail Boxes Etc.’s network of over 135 high street ‘one-stop shops’ across the UK and Ireland.

They were delighted to receive the award. Murli and Rikesh commented: “It really was unexpected, as we had won the award previously, in 2007. What made it even more special was that we received recognition from the network as well. It is very humbling to be nominated by our peers.”

Franchisees for 11 years, Murli and Rikesh spent a year seeking the right franchise and first met Mail Boxes Etc. at a London franchise exhibition where they had gone to see what was on offer and talk to franchisors face-to-face.

Before joining Mail Boxes Etc., Murli headed a company that imported and distributed children’s wear and Rikesh worked in the IT industry. They were looking for a business where they could work together and favoured franchising because it is a safer route to self-employment than starting a venture from scratch.

“There were many different opportunities but none really appealed until we met Mail Boxes Etc.,” Murli said. “We particularly liked the combination and variety of the different services and also we struck a real rapport with the people we met. We went to see some centres, in London, Oxford and Bristol and talked to other franchisees.

“We were impressed with everything we were told and what we saw for ourselves. We had the support of our wives and families and plenty of advice and guidance to look forward to in the franchise, so we decided to go for it. We knew that Mail Boxes Etc.’s services meet a genuine need and ever since we opened our first centre we have discovered that the demand is constantly escalating, especially for courier services and mailbox rental. Our business has continued to grow, year on year.”

Rikesh added: “It is important to feel comfortable with the franchise you choose, so make sure you do your own research and thoroughly, and that you understand all aspects of the business, especially where your customers – and therefore your income – are likely to come from, which can vary enormously from one area to another.”

They enjoy having their own business but also being part of a much larger organisation with all its opportunities for mutual support and meeting others in the network. Murli says: “Make sure you choose a franchise that complements your skills and interests and which will keep you interested in the long-term. Don’t choose purely on the basis of how much money you will make but what you will enjoy doing for a long time.”

Now with stores in Mayfair, Bloomsbury, the Barbican and Covent Garden and employing dedicated teams of people to serve all the different local needs in each area, Murli and Rikesh have a wealth of franchising knowledge and experience. They believe that choosing the right staff is key to the success of the business. “We are selling service and expertise, so our staff must inspire confidence and be knowledgeable about all the services we can provide,” Rikesh said.

Neither would ever want to be employed again. Rikesh said an emphatic “no” and “I couldn’t imagine it” and Murli said: “Never, if I can help it!!!”

Justin Brookes

Justin Brookes, who owns two Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) stores in Oxford, was one of the early franchisees to join the network, which has now grown to over 120 “one-stop” High Street stores in the UK and Ireland. MBE offers a large and diverse range of business services to local businesses and consumers.

As well as running his successful business, Justin was appointed last year to the British Franchise Association’s main Board, one of only two franchisees in the UK to represent its 35,000 strong franchisee community.

Justin’s stores are in Summertown and Headington, Oxford. He was the 12th franchisee to join MBE, after visiting a franchise exhibition where he met them for the first time. He has been a representative on the BFA’s Franchisee Forum and also received a global accolade when the President of MBE Inc. awarded him “International Franchisee of the Year”, in recognition of his outstanding achievements.

London-born Justin studied hotel management after leaving school and then worked in Canada for three years. He returned to start a business with his wife and parents, a country hotel in an idyllic Cotswold village, which they ran until his father reached retirement.

Convinced that he wanted to run his own business, Justin explored franchising so he could be his own boss but with the support and benefits of being part of a much larger organisation. He chose MBE because he liked the people and the culture and says: “One of the things that really impressed me about MBE, both here and in Canada, is that many of the senior management had themselves been franchisees. They have an empathy with people in the network and a genuine understanding about running a small business.”

Justin wanted to open a store fairly close to home, so Oxford was the obvious choice. It was a wise decision and both current outlets are trading extremely well. He attributes his success to several factors and comments: “Having really good locations, with the right mix of customers, is very important. Previous experience of running a small business in the service sector has certainly stood me in good stead in knowing how to look after my customers. My wife has been an enormous help in pushing me in the right direction as far as marketing and promoting the business is concerned. Our customers range from large concerns, such as OXFAM, the universities and hospitals, as well as small businesses, people working from home and local residents.”

Justin enjoys being part of a franchise and welcomes the opportunities to chat to other franchisees. “I’ve been a franchisee now for some years and I’m very pleased to say my business in two locations is getting stronger and stronger, as we concentrate on the services that are the most popular and therefore profitable. Income streams vary between different locations but, here in Oxford, a thriving tourist city with two universities and a huge medical establishment, much of our business is generated by students, academics and tourists.”

John Shipley

Author, academic and former head teacher John Shipley wanted to start a new venture to keep him occupied when he retired from teaching.

He had enjoyed an extremely varied career that took him on educational exchanges to the USA and appearances on the NBC and ABC television channels, as well as working with Russian schools during the Perestroika and Glasnost era and writing books.

John also has a wide range of advanced academic qualifications gained over many years of study and had been a chief examiner for technology. He was head teacher of a demanding and challenging north London comprehensive school for 12 years until he retired in 2000.

“I’d had a very busy working life so I knew I would have to find plenty to do when I stopped being a teacher and running a school with 1,500 pupils. I wanted a new challenge and felt that retirement could be my opportunity to try something entirely different that was nothing to do with education,” John explained.

“I wasn’t sure what I would do so I started considering several options before I discovered franchising. I was used to handling a large school budget but with no previous business experience I was not confident about starting a venture on my own whereas I was beginning to appreciate the benefits and advantages of franchising, with training and support, so I decided to investigate it more closely.”

John made a serious and thorough study of the franchise sector and then started to consider individual franchises which might suit him, drawing up a shortlist of businesses to contact and then finally deciding that Mail Boxes Etc. was the one for him.

He knew that MBE offered a wide range of services so there would plenty of variety in the work of a store. He had little knowledge of the operation except from using an MBE store in the USA when he was in Connecticut and enjoyed excellent service.

He was impressed by everything he discovered about MBE’s network in the UK and by all the MBE people he met. He was also delighted to learn that he could open a store in Chelmsford not far from his home, so no commuting would be involved.

Apart from being a convenient personal location for John, Chelmsford is the county town of Essex. It is a busy tourist destination and business hub so there is a steady demand for the services that John offers in his store including mailboxes, print, packing, and auction shipping.

“After a lifetime in education, running a business services franchise is different but equally rewarding,” he comments. “Now I’m hoping that one day I can achieve my other post-retirement ambitions to own a narrow boat and go back to the Himalayas.”

John, Michael, Dag and John-Eirik

Four young men in Edinburgh are a great example of how sharing business responsibilities and rewards is an efficient way to run a successful franchise.

They own and run three Mail Boxes Etc. stores - in Morningside, South Bridge and The West End – aided by a staff of seven other people. The business was started originally by franchisee John Docherty some 15 years ago and grew very quickly in the early stages. When John bought his first store he was soon joined by business graduate Michael Smith, who was offered a partnership after three years as an employee.

John was keen to invest in talented people to help him develop the business. He recognised he could not offer an employee the kind of salary that they might command elsewhere but believed that offering a share of the business instead was a very attractive proposition.

When John and Michael opened a second store, they recruited another business graduate straight from university, David Hastings. He too proved to be a big asset and was later offered a partnership after being an employee for about five years. “While I was doing my business management course I always knew I wanted my own business,” David said. “I joined John originally as a part-timer but gained experience and became a full-time employee. I was delighted to be offered a partnership."

More recently, in the last four years, brothers Dag and John-Eirik Docherty have joined the business as partners. All four get on extremely well and work effectively as a team, holding regular weekly management and planning meetings that involve them all.

The day-to-day running of the stores is shared and each partner assumes responsibilities for different areas of the business. Dag is based at South Bridge, the store which handles a large share of the packing and shipping business. Mike and John-Eirik are at Morningside and also concentrate on business development, sales and marketing, working more 'on' the business than 'in' it. David, based at West End, looks after finance and administration.

The biggest part of the business is shipping, mainly art and antiques serving six major auction houses in Edinburgh and the surrounding area. In fact, there are two employees who work exclusively on shipping and are responsible for collecting, packing and despatching items. As well as the antiques trade, they serve hotel guests and students by shipping luggage, souvenirs and other possessions. In all, shipping accounts for some 65 per cent of total turnover.

Now, the partnership is turning its attention towards expanding the print and copy side of the business, as well as reviewing and consolidating other areas and their internal systems. The plan is to grow the business from its existing bases and not to seek additional premises at this stage.

The partners all enjoy being franchisees and value the support and comradeship they have. They appreciate the many benefits of franchising, particularly applied to multiple outlets, for example being able to bounce ideas off each other and also other franchisees. David commented: “It is very helpful to be able to discuss things in-house as well as ask advice from others in Mail Boxes Etc.’s extensive UK network. Similarly, seeking views from franchisees in other networks to learn from their experience can offer ideas we’ve never thought of ourselves.

“A partnership of four has to be dynamic and hard-working to drive the business forward and to succeed, so we are always looking for new services to introduce and other ways to add new income streams in our stores."

Jane Muffitt

Jane Muffitt was looking for a new direction after a long career in the hospitality sector which had taken her all over the world and brought her into contact with the rich and famous.

Now the York franchisee of Mail Boxes Etc., Jane had enjoyed a variety of different jobs in hotels, on ships and in international theme parks. These posts included being a hotel manager in London for seven years, a systems trainer and installer in hotels, running hotel operations with Euro Disney, a trainer with P & O Cruises and she also worked at Disney World in Orlando. She spent a month in India training the new crew for P & O’s ship “Oriana” and met the Queen and Prince Phillip at the luxury liner’s naming ceremony.

Originally from West Yorkshire, Jane chose to return to her roots with her Mail Boxes Etc. franchise. “I had become seriously interested in franchising and was looking at a new store location in either west London where I was living at the time or somewhere in Yorkshire, possibly Harrogate,” Jane explains. “But an existing store in York became available for sale and I thought that buying a going concern was an easier, quicker and better commercial prospect than starting a new one.”

Jane first came across franchising when she worked in a hotel franchise. She recognised the benefits and advantages of franchising and concluded that buying a franchise offered reduced risk, a positive brand identity, a proven business model and ongoing central support.

When she decided she needed a change, she re-discovered the concept and began some serious research before finding out more firsthand by going to a franchise exhibition in Birmingham. She met Mail Boxes Etc. on their stand and was impressed by the franchise. She explains: “It has a professional image, it is a clean business where you don’t need to carry masses of stock and nothing is perishable. Mail Boxes Etc. offers a wide range of different services, generating a variety of revenue streams as well as creating plenty of interest in the working day.

“My first impression of Mail Boxes Etc., gained from meeting franchisees, franchise support staff and the head office team, was very positive. I decided to buy the York store because there was an established business and I was confident that the potential for profit and growth was strong in the city, which has a good representation of MBE’s target markets.

“These include the university, with its international links, tourists throughout the year, a plethora of businesses and an apparently affluent local population who need our mailboxes, packing, shipping, copy and design and printing services.”

Jane has been running her store for six years and in the last 18 months she has concentrated on developing the antiques part of the business, working with auction houses to pack and ship rare and valuable items to all parts of the UK and abroad. Some of the more interesting items have included a couple of Chinese dishes which had been listed by the auctioneers as being worth around £30 but which actually fetched £11,000 and were shipped back to the Orient; and a pair of very large stuffed sea eagles in a glass cabinet which went to a private buyer in London.

“Cellos seem to be popular at the moment,” Jane said. “They are large and obviously very delicate so difficult to pack for dispatch. We had one recently which was safely delivered to Germany all in one piece.”

Jane wants to continue to grow her successful and profitable business and to start planning for retirement so she can realise her ambition to live in the French Alps. “It would be wonderful to have unlimited access to the slopes in the season,” she said. “In the meantime, I am enjoying all the variety of my business and the people I meet every day.”

Daniel Scott

Daniel Scott is Mail Boxes Etc. joint Franchisee of the Year 2013. His route to franchising was unusual: he came across Mail Boxes Etc. without knowing anything about franchising. He instantly recognised a ready-made opportunity to achieve his ambition to have his own business – but many years earlier than he had thought possible.

He was only 27 when he opened his first store in Watford. After studying music at the University of Liverpool, Daniel had considered the many options open to him. Although he was an accomplished pianist, he decided against the concert circuit and had no inclination to become a teacher. While he was trying to decide what to do, he worked in a kibbutz for five months and then took sales jobs on his return to the UK.

Today, he has a second store, in Milton Keynes, and is Mail Boxes Etc.’s joint Franchisee of the Year, chosen from over 135 stores across the UK and Ireland; an accolade that came totally unexpectedly. “I was really surprised,” he said modestly. “I was also extremely pleased, because part of the award was made on the basis of other franchisees’ recognition of those who had contributed significantly to the network and helped others on a regular basis.”

Daniel continues: “Opening a second store was always in the plan. As business at the first store prospered and grew I turned my attention to opening another in Watford. Unable to find suitable premises, I began to look elsewhere before finally deciding to take a store in Milton Keynes, which opened this spring. My business ambition had been inspired by my grandfather who was still running his own business well into his 80s.

“When I found Mail Boxes Etc. I was very impressed by all the advantages and benefits of being a franchisee. It’s very important to choose the right one and also to understand how local demographics can affect performance in different locations.

“Outside London and the big conurbations, there are fewer potential customers in large groups, for example, students and tourists. So, being in the provinces, it’s important to network within your local community and build up the business that way.

“Fortunately, I chose a good franchise and I have had first class training, guidance and support. I thoroughly enjoy being a franchisee and being my own boss, because it brings a sense of achievement.

“It’s important to choose a strong and well-established franchise, one you believe in and can feel confident about selling its services. I always knew I wanted to control my own destiny and so I was delighted when I discovered that I was not too young to become a franchisee, even though I was still in my 20s.

“Franchising is a great way of being in business for yourself – but without being on your own. I have had fantastic training and support and it’s reassuring to know that there is always someone who can help which is especially important in the early days.”Daniel advises prospective franchisees to ensure they have the support of their spouse and family, saying that he “could never have done it without support from my wife”.

Contact with other franchisees in the network is also very valuable. “Sharing best practice helps me a lot and I have learned a great deal,” he comments. “I would never want to go back to being an employee!”

In 2003 Daniel received a bravery award from the Royal Humane Society in recognition of his successful attempt to rescue a woman who was drowning.

Bridget Maendl and Sehrinaz Celebioglu

Bridget Maendl and Sehrinaz (Naz) Celebioglu, are the first exclusively female partnership in Mail Boxes Etc.’s fast-growing and increasingly diverse national network of over 125 franchised stores across the UK and Ireland. They opened their store in Waterloo, London, in June 2011.

Neither of these two enterprising ladies was looking for a franchise to buy when they first discovered Mail Boxes Etc.. Bridget was working for an estate agency franchise when her husband became interested in Mail Boxes Etc. and asked her to look at it for him. She was very impressed but wanted another opinion so she asked her friend Naz, who has an MA in international business and management, to cast her professional eye over it. Independently of each other, the two decided that Mail Boxes Etc. offered a very exciting opportunity and was just the sort of business they would both like to become part of themselves. Meanwhile, Bridget’s husband decided to stay working in his existing business.

Whilst Naz and Bridget recognised immediately the potential for the franchise, they were cautious about making the next move and took a full year to consider the proposition very thoroughly. They researched franchising, looked in depth at other franchise systems and talked extensively to franchisees in various parts of London.

At the time, Bridget and Naz knew each other quite well but were not particularly close friends. They were confident that they could work together very well and, objectively, they decided to combine their different – yet complementary – skills and talents into a strong working partnership. Bridget would draw on her vast sales and marketing experience and assume responsibility for this area, while Naz would use her financial and administrative expertise to grow and manage the business.

Both had some experience of their own business: Bridget as a partner in an electrical company with her husband and Naz as a finance administrator. Naz saw having a franchise as a way of being able to set up an independent business, while Bridget wanted to be her own boss. She commented: "I always work hard so I thought it would be good to get the reward myself.”

After agreeing each other’s areas of responsibility, they started the franchise in new premises and worked hard to get the business off the ground. Their efforts were rewarded with an excellent start – “much better than expected,” says Bridget – and they received glowing testimonials from their growing and loyal customer base.

They both liked the fact that there are several distinct areas of the business, with the flexibility to push those services which might be slowing up while enjoying boom sales on others. Currently, shipping is accounting for almost 75% of the business – and growing. They agree that getting the franchise off the ground, just like any new business, required plenty of effort to create brand awareness and that giving some extra service, for example collecting parcels from time-poor customers without charging for the collection, created much goodwill.

Having made an excellent start, Naz and Bridget are not letting up. “We had to create awareness so people would understand what we do, but we can’t be complacent now. We must continue to work just as hard to maintain our presence,” they said. “There are limitless opportunities for us to grow as so many new businesses are springing up in this area now, mainly creative ones such as film companies and art galleries.”

Naz is from a family of entrepreneurs: she is the youngest of seven siblings and they all have their own businesses. She came from Turkey to study at Westminster University and after graduation liked the UK so much she decided to stay. Bridget, originally from the West Country, was a specialist in residential property and lives in North London, not far from Naz.

Abbas Saremi

Abbas Saremi became the owner of his Mail Boxes Etc. store in April 2015 after the previous owners looked to retire. With a varied background in retail, sales marketing and banking, Abbas knew that he had a broad enough range of skills to take on the challenge, along with his business partner.

He said: “I’ve worked in customer services and retail before. I’ve also done lots of sales and marketing in the past which helped me to recognise the weaker points in the business and increase the footfall and volume of the business using a range of different methods.

“We chose Mail Boxes Etc. because we wanted a proven business model and we already had an idea of what Mail Boxes Etc. did. We researched them further to find out more about the people behind the business and spoke to existing franchisees. It just ticked all the right boxes for us.”

Like many others in the network, For Abbas, Mail Boxes Etc. is a very long-term investment. It’s common for Mail Boxes Etc. franchisees to remain in the business for a long period of time due to its diversity and the way it can be adapted and developed to suit the local market.

He explains: “Mail Boxes Etc. just fitted with what we wanted and it’s a successful business model. For us, it’s a permanent career move so I think I’ll be with Mail Boxes Etc. for the rest of my career now. Having looked at the other store owners in the network, many of them have been in the business for a long time and remain until retirement age.

“I enjoy working in the business enough to stay for a long time. It is your own business but you’ve got people in the backgrounds that are there to support you. Mail Boxes Etc. have tried and tested methods so you know that whatever they recommend has been fully tested and will work. You can also have some expectation of what the results will be when you invest into a certain area of the business; there’s a minimum benchmark for your investment.”

Abbas is particularly enjoying the flexibility and ability to reap the rewards of his own hard work.

“There’s a huge difference between employment and self-employment. You know that if you put in a huge amount of effort, at the end of the day, it’s your own business so you benefit from it. I like the feeling of being in charge and making decisions for the business. Owning a business hasn’t affected my personal life at all.”

Regarding his training, he adds: “There were three phases to my training: a full week at a training centre in London, three days at head office and two days in a different store to get a flavour of how the business runs on a daily basis. After that, we’re allocated network support executives who come to the store on a regular basis to make sure everything’s up and running properly and there’s always someone on the other end of the phone if you need them.

“Mail Boxes Etc. is a unique market to enter. There are multiple revenue streams to generate business from and I like that you can offer tailored services to customers which puts you ahead of the competition. It allows you to build a good reputation and gain repeat business.”

Abbas enjoys the variety of the services and customer base at Mail Boxes Etc. Serving individuals to businesses and developing range of skills from customer services to working with auction houses and shipping both fragile and unusual antiques. No two days are the same in a Mail Boxes Etc. store!

“We recently packed and shipped a pair of wooden doors from China that were made around 300 years ago. They were extremely old and fragile so they have to be packed very carefully. Some items can be scary to touch in case it goes wrong! We also shipped a painting that was worth £25,000 and was being shipped to Russia. Not many companies are willing to touch such an expensive item but we have the right expertise to do it. As a network, we take pride in being able to handle fragile and unique antiques.

“When we first started, there was a lot to learn but we had support from head office every step of the way. With support from them and other stores, I didn’t feel like I’d been left alone at all. I felt very excited and was passionate about entering a market I didn’t really have any experience in except for the sales and marketing side of things.”

When thinking about his business, Abbas knows that he made the right choice to suit his experience and skills. So, with a whole career ahead of him, what does he plan to do?

“For the future, I want to broaden the services I currently offer in my store and increase sales. There is also the potential to open further stores.”

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