Davora on finding a niche

Sep 27, 2020 | Meet The Member

As part of our Meet The Member series, we asked Rajeev Arora of Davora Ltd to tell us a bit about his story.

What is the name of your company?

Davora Ltd. A common question we get asked is where the name comes from. When I first started the company it was with a friend called Gordon Davies. We amalgamated our surnames to come up with the name. The two options were Arora+Davies or Davies+Arora. The first option would have been Aries so we went with Davora.

When did you first start the company?

The idea came to us in around 2003, but it wasn’t until 2005 that we actually started the business. A year earlier we decided to test the market. We imported a few boxes of cards from India, hired a van, and rocked up at Autumn Fair on a last minute stand booking with all the stock. It wasn’t until we got to the show that we realised the show was display only and we weren’t actually going to be selling physical stock!

Where is your business based?

We’re based in Stockport, up in the North West. That makes us part of the Northern Powerhouse I guess!

Why did you decide to set up your company?

I saw a gap in the market when I was living & working in London. I went out to buy some Diwali cards to send out, but I struggled to find any. When I did eventually find a retailer who had some I had to ask for them and they were pulled out sheepishly from under the counter, like I some kind of narcotics. When I got home with my stash, I opened the pack and found that flimsy paper “cards”, cheap envelopes with no gum, and inside the message was printed in one of the hundreds of Indian dialects, but not one that I could recognise. Clearly there was a niche here that wasn’t being fulfilled in any meaningful way. That’s how the idea for a niche card publisher came to me.

What is the Unique Selling Point of your business? What makes your products particularly special?

Our USP is that we cater to niche, ethnic, multicultural occasions. Occasions that have demand, but can be hard to understand for the uninitiated. As well as publishing cards, we help retailers and buyers understand the market and the background to festivals like Eid, Diwali, Hanukkah, Chinese New Year etc.

What is your best selling Greeting Card?

Probably this Eid one. It’s one of the first ones we ever made, but it sold really well every year for over 10 years! many times we decided that it was an old design and we needed to replace it, but it just kept exceeding our expectations. We finally dropped it from the catalogue in 2016, but maybe it will come back some day.

How do you sell your products? (Online only, wholesale, via a physical shop etc)

We sell direct to retail and also through wholesale. We are a member of Cardgains too. We have an online trade only webshop at www.davora.cards and a retail (B2C) shop at www.davora.co.uk. The B2C site helps us to understand what consumers are looking for (which is not always the same as what buyers are looking for!).

What do you like most about the industry?

It’s really friendly! There are a lot of publishers in the market, and in any other industry such intense competition could be daunting. But in the Greeting Card industry I’ve found that, despite the competition, everyone is willing to support each other wherever they can.

What has been your most memorable time in the industry?

In 2015 we celebrated our 10th Anniversary by bringing some Punjabi drummers to PG Live in London. We paraded them around the venue, banging their drums – much to the amusement of all the visitors exhibitors and resident offices in the Business Design Centre!

Another highly memorable time was when we sponsored the Bollywood Theme at the Henries in 2016. Bringing a bit of India to the industry was an amazing experience!

How can people find you?

All our contact details are on the GCA Members Directory and we can also be contacted through www.davora.co.uk.

Hot Topic Additional Question: Diversity and Inclusion are key values to the GCA and we’d love to know more about what your company does to support Diversity and Inclusion.

Davora is built on a foundation of diversity – it’s the core of our business model! Our aim is to make cards for different cultural occasions available and accessible to all.

We encourage diversity by educating retailers and buyers, for example through our one-page Cheat Sheets, about the different customs and cultures we cater for. We’re also inherently inclusive in our team too. We’re only a small team, but over the years we’ve had team members from across the age, ethnicity and sexual orientation spectrum. If I’m honest, this has not been a conscious decision. I’ve always just recruited the best person for the role!

Are you a member of the GCA? Would you like to be featured in a Meet The Member article? If so, get in touch with the GCA.

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