Rex London celebrates turning 40 years old this month

Published on: 4th August 2021

CEO Neil Biggs reflects on how the company and retail landscape have changed over the last few decades in a snippet from a Q&A session.

August 2021 sees Rex London celebrate its 40th anniversary. From its humble beginnings on a market stall in Portobello Road in 1981, the giftware company has since gone on to become a successful international online retailer and wholesaler, creating what it fondly refers to as ‘Gifts of Random Kindness’ at affordable prices.

The company started out with items the team had simply stumbled upon on its travels around the world, and before long these products could be seen on the shelves of high street retailers including Habitat and The Body Shop. For the next two decades, Rex London continued to discover and deliver its Gifts of Random Kindness, until it decided it was time not only to choose products they liked, but also to design them. Ever since, the team has loved creating colourful and playful prints that stand out and bring joy, from floral patterns to adorable animals.

Nigel Biggs (second from right) in 1989. Also pictured is John Gurney (far right) and Phil Baran (second from left) who are both still with the company today.

Below, Rex London CEO Nigel Biggs reflects on how the company and retail landscape have changed over the last few decades.

If you could bring back any product from the archives, what would it be?

Inflatables! When we originally sold them in the 1980s they were such a fabulous, fun product and sold very well too! Bananas at football grounds became a massive thing and were all supplied by us. So good were sales, in fact, that it meant we were able to move out of our underground carpark to proper warehouse facilities.

How has Rex London changed over the past 40 years?

We are now completely customer-focused in what we buy, with everything conceived, designed and sourced from our London headquarters.

What challenges has the company faced?

There is absolutely no doubt that both Brexit and Covid are the two greatest challenges we have ever faced. Fortunately, we are starting to come through the other side and there is light at the end of the(channel) tunnel.

Read the full interview with Nigel here.

Rex London has also taken the opportunity to highlight the pride it takes in its long-serving team, particularly some of the key people that have been with the company since the early days. General manager John Gurney has been with Rex London for 39 of its 40 years, and says: “I joined Rex London straight of school, never expecting to stay long. 39 years later I’m still here, and that’s largely down to the fantastic people who work here.”

Account manager Cheryl Sutherland, who has been at Rex for 23 years, says that as a mother of a special needs person, she loves the flexibility that the company offers her. She adds: “I enjoy helping others – problems may be similar but each of our customers sees things differently and working with them is unique.”

More meet the team profiles can be found across Rex London’s social media channels.


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