Training and regulations
Although you don't need any qualifications to start a gift shop, many people who come to it from a non-business background find it useful to complete some basic commercial training.
Donnelly, for example, completed a law degree and also studied entrepreneurship. "These compensated for my lack of business experience and got me into a business way of thinking. When running a business, you have to do a lot of different tasks and make quick decisions. You also need to have a knowledge base in things like accountancy or marketing, for example, with which to make those decisions."
Since you will be buying stock from different sources quality control is important, especially in key areas.
"Owners need to be aware of product safety, particularly when selling candles and things with batteries," says Martinson of the GA. "Also, food imitation regulations are becoming more important these days. For example, candles or fridge magnets which are made to look like food. We keep a close relationship with the trading standards body to help retailers keep abreast of the legislation."
If you decide that adding a coffee shop is a good idea, you will need to get clued up on food hygiene regulations and be prepared for frequent visits from the local environmental health department.