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Dreamy London – gift shop

Dreamy London - gift shop

Founder’s story

My name is Julia and I founded my gift shop “Dreamy London” in 2016. Originally from Hong Kong, I came to London to study design. After graduating from Arts University Bournemouth, I struggled to find a well-paid job in my field and decided to venture into the retail business with my boyfriend by setting up a stall in outdoor markets. 

It was during this time that I realised there was a significant need for unique and thoughtful gifting options. I found that the high street stores offered limited choices, and contemporary designs for greeting cards were often overpriced and difficult to come by. This experience inspired me to create Dreamy London, where we offer high-quality, visually attractive cards and gifts. We aim to create a British definition of a “hygge” style store that is both cosy and easy, yet cartoony and dreamy, bubbly and irresistible.

Check out Dreamy London at

Where the journey begins

Hence, DreamyLondon’s journey began in 2016 to support local artisans and promote British heritage to the rest of the world. Starting with just a gazebo at Kingston Market, we braved the cold and harsh weather to showcase our locally designed laser-cut cards and collected British antiques. As we continued to expand, we participated in numerous markets and shows such as Old Spitalfields Market, London Bridge Christmas Market, Malvern Spring festival in RHS shows, and Ideal Home Show at Olympia London.

Our concept and goals have always centred around celebrating quintessential British and locally handcrafted gifts. We have been selling different kinds of products, from crafted antique perfume bottles to vintage style maps, from London-themed stationery to Christmas pop & slots. Our all-time favourite among our customers has always been our range of laser-cut greeting cards, they are 2D-design with intricate laser-cut details, a bit different to the typical pop-up cards.

Our ups and downs

Gone through the pandemic

Yet, It could be quite challenging to sell greeting cards that were produced in the U.K. The cost is higher compared to the Asian-made pop-up cards, which are at fractions of the cost. And then there was the pandemic. It was when I’ve decided to move the entire POS to online. During the pandemic, I was proud to have achieved another milestone by launching a standalone online shop. Through this platform, we aim further to highlight the “Made in the U.K.” label. 

Discover more made-in U.K. at

Successful moments

Dreamy London, a small business that started with a simple idea, has grown to offer a range of products made from pure wool, including scarves, hats, and blankets. The all-time popular Scottish tartan products were woven in a woollen mill in Wales, along with contemporary designs such as fishbone throws and herringbone picnic blankets.

As the business continued to grow, we noticed that winter was the peak season, and I wanted to offer something special for the holiday season. This led to the creation of our one-of-a-kind Christmas advent pop & slots, which quickly became a favourite among parents and grandparents. The high demand for these products during the Christmas months made them a must-buy for many.

Challenges and opportunities

However, running a small business comes with its challenges. We employ few people and sometimes outsource work abroad to help with costs. The current UK economy is getting tougher, with consumers’ spending power decreasing due to the surge of inflation. The UK postage and the politics of Brexit are also obstacles to expanding to other parts of the world. Challenges exist in every aspect of the business, but the biggest hurdle is making the website profitable. Gaming up ads and/or SEO is a different game, and the learning curve is steep.

Despite the limited knowledge and experience in online marketing, there is still so much potential for Dreamy London. In 2023, we plan to focus on digital products and print-on-demand gifting with our in-house designers. This is the moment we should focus more on our own illustrator team and create more custom-made products.

Dreamy London’s success is built on its foundation, and the team is determined to keep building on it. We will continue to overcome the challenges by learning and adapting. I hope you’ll be as excited as us to see the growth of our made-in-UK gifting range. 

View our collection of laser-cut cards at

Advice to others

Know your market & competitors

Before starting a business, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of its purpose and the gap it is filling in the market. Conducting in-depth market research, whether through primary research or online search, is highly recommended. The more you understand your competitors and their customers, the more clarity you will have in developing your next steps.

The information from the market research can be particularly helpful when you encounter obstacles or feel unsure of your direction. Instead of wasting time feeling helpless, you can use the insights gained from your research to create a better strategy and overcome challenges with confidence. It is essential to remember that the business landscape is constantly evolving, so ongoing market research and adaptation are necessary to stay ahead of the competition.

Additionally, it’s important to note that market research shouldn’t just be a one-time task. It should be an ongoing effort to stay up-to-date with the industry and trends. Whether you decide to hire a specialist or conduct research yourself through the tutorials from blogs or Youtube, don’t underestimate the value of this work.

Regularly performing market research will not only help you gain more clarity on your business’s position in the market but also keep you informed about changes in the overall market direction and emerging trends. This knowledge can be critical to making informed business decisions and staying ahead of the competition.

Include marketing expenses as your initial budget

In the business world, there are countless ideas, and many people likely share similar ideas to yours. Therefore, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of marketing and how to promote your business effectively. Creating awareness for your business is an ongoing process that requires a budget. It is advisable to set aside a dedicated marketing budget to cover expenses related to learning, testing, and ongoing promotion.

While marketing can be an expensive undertaking, it is vital to differentiate your business from competitors and make your brand known. There are many ways to do marketing: you can create a buzz around your business by investing in various marketing strategies such as Facebook or Google ads, outsourcing outreach to specialists, paying for SEO agency services, or buying magazine ad space.

 There are multiple ways to spend your marketing budget, and it is essential to spend wisely to test what works for your business. Additionally, it is crucial to take the time to learn about marketing trends and keep up with the ever-changing algorithms of social media marketing. Even if you hire a marketing agency to promote your business, you should continue learning and building a better strategy to adapt to the fast-paced marketing world. 

Identify the limitation of your location

As mentioned previously, Brexit and high postage costs make the U.K. less competitive for international business. For those starting an e-commerce business, it’s worth considering whether the U.K. is the best location to start from. Another European country might offer lower costs for raw materials and labour, resulting in a more competitive price point for your products. However, if your target customers are based in the U.K., it’s important to understand the limitations of your location within the country.

 For example, if your business is located in a rural area with limited transportation access, it could affect your ability to receive supplies or deliver products efficiently. Conversely, in a densely populated city, you may face higher rental costs and steeper competition from other businesses. By identifying the limitations and opportunities presented by your location, you can make informed decisions about your business strategy and avoid potential pitfalls.

Furthermore, understanding your location’s demographic and economic trends can help you tailor your products and marketing efforts to the local market. Identifying the limitations and opportunities presented by your location is crucial for the success of your business. By taking into account factors such as transportation access and logistics, you can identify the hidden cost and make better decisions about your business strategy and increase your chances of success.

 For business enquiry, please contact [email protected]

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