So what type of person is a gift shop owner? "It's a very broad range of people who come into the sector. Basically, people from all backgrounds and any career. But there is also quite a high turnover gift shop owners, since many people start but then realise it is not for them," says Isabel Martinson, chief executive of the GA.
Your basic role as a gift shop owner will be that of a shopkeeper. Running the shop you will be responsible for sourcing and negotiating the buying of stock from suppliers, displaying and promoting the stock in your shop and selling it to customers.
This sounds simple enough, but how well you manage the varying areas of your shop will be the difference between success and failure.
Firstly, you will be responsible for stocking your shop. You will be sourcing products from a range of different suppliers and even different countries, but you will need to make sure that everything you buy is in keeping with the scheme of the shop.
Customers will expect to find certain types of gifts depending on your shop's image - whether it is high quality accessories or tacky toys and joke items. This requires a keen eye for detail and being very disciplined about the items you buy in.
"The good design-led gift stores are run by people who are thoroughly interested in the product - how it works, what it does, what it looks like and how it fits into the shop as a whole," explains Guy Thompson, managing director of Obsessions, an independent chain of three gift shops in London.
He adds that it takes are degree of self-assuredness to maintain the character of your shop, "You have to be very strong, because lots of agents will come to sell their products to you. You often have to say, "Thanks, it's a nice product but it's not what I'm looking for." Too often people make a £300 order just to get rid of the agent."
Like all retail outlets, you will have to display items in an attractive way that compliments the style of the shop with an appealing atmosphere that encourages shoppers to browse.
Anybody working in retail should be sociable and enjoy meeting members of the public. Running a gift shop may involve more interaction than other businesses, however, since customers browsing for gifts often need ideas or encouragement about what to buy.
Neil Anderton converted a redundant barn into a gift shop on his farm in Scorton near Preston. He believes that a warm atmosphere is key. "The ladies who work here are very good at welcoming people as they come in, chatting to them and asking them where they come from. This is very important. People come back every week because we make them feel welcome."
Finally you will have to learn the commercial skills that are essential when running any business. A basic understanding of marketing, accounting and management for example, will be crucial.