1) How long have AG Products been members of the Chamber?
AG Products have been proud members of the Banbury & District Chamber of Commerce for 18 years.
2) What are the major benefits for your company being members of the Chamber?
Being able to meet decision makers from businesses, both large and small is a great benefit of membership for us. The networking events are particularly useful, as are the regular tutorials that have been offered in recent times. It is of real value to receive this input in small groups, especially ones based on selling, web site development, and social media.
Visits to the factories and establishments of fellow (or potential) Chamber members is also something I have enjoyed, and would like to see more of.
3) Brief background of the company
My dad, Alfred Gold, formerly of WH Brady, and latterly Banbury Nameplates, founded AG Products in 1981, in a time when promotional products were not as widespread as they are today. My brother Chris joined the firm the following year, and it is now our 33rd year of trading. Promotional products and business gifts were available in only a limited range in those days and the variety and sophistication is much greater now. I joined the firm in 1991, and it has been interesting to see not only how our business has changed, but our industry in general. Alfred passed on in 2005, leaving Chris and myself as joint partners, and having survived several recessions over these three decades, we look forward to the future with optimism. We are based in the heart of Banbury, opposite St Mary’s church, and above Bellini’s Restaurant, in North Bar.
4) Within the company what is your role?
(dealt with in point 3, I believe)
5) What are the main things going on in your company at the moment?
We continue to supply from the vast range of promotional products that’s offered, and new ideas, concepts and variations of old ideas seem to come across my desk and computer screen on a daily basis. It is a challenge keeping up with new developments, especially in this electronic age, but we regularly attend trade shows, meet with sales reps, and see the products for themselves, enabling us to keep abreast with what’s new.
We are developing our social media marketing through Facebook and Twitter, and I am also steadily increasing the profile of AG Products through LinkedIn. We are aiming to approach both regular and potential clients with regular email campaigns, which have started to bear fruit already. I am also networking a lot more than I used to, and although it is something I haven’t always been drawn to, I am getting more into it, and appreciating the breakfasts! It certainly is an area that we now want to develop: we have long-standing clients around Oxfordshire and beyond, but have perhaps not developed business here, on our own doorstep, as much as we should have.
We specialise in the area of promotional and educational items to support Road Safety campaigns and have many councils across the UK as clients. We offer colourful and interesting products, including the very popular Word Game Fridge Magnet, and an attractive and well-priced Pen Set. We have samples to show of these products (among many others), and perhaps I should make clear that they can be used to take any print or design, not just Road Safety based. Let me know if they might be of interest to you.
Other products we are becoming very well-known for, are Wire Blazer Badges. This is an area that Chris looks after, and we have customers locally, nationally and Worldwide.
Where we score is being able to produce just one-off of a design, without high costs or even set-up charges. Whether the potential client is the secretary of a golf, football or rugby club (etc), whether they have military or civic connections, or whether they are simply an individual who has an old regiment or sports badge that is a bit tatty and faded, or damaged, we can be of service.
Our badges are beautifully handmade, often to one-off designs, by very talented crafts people, yet our charges, even for just one badge is exceptionally reasonable. For £20 plus postage and VAT, we can produce an amazing badge at approximately 4” by 4”. Often orders are for 10, 20, 50 or more badges, and we can then offer even better prices for quantity.
6) Do you think the business environment in Banbury is thriving?
I believe the business environment really is getting better in Banbury. We have some very talented and forward thinking business people in our town, and I am confident that as the economy improves we will see business thriving. While I don’t know a lot about retail issues, I fully support the campaign for free parking charges, which I think will be one of the ways to stimulate that aspect of the town’s commerce.
I wear another hat – I am involved in the world of art as a photographer – and I would really love to see the area of Parson’s Street as well as Church Lane, Church Walk and White Lion Walk developed as a destination in itself, with cafes, galleries and specialist shops, with evening opening. Well, I can dream!