Business Irish

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Dragons' deal for Irish-based gift company Smartbox


Smartbox chief executive John Perkins is overseeing a digital overhaul at the company.
Smartbox chief executive John Perkins is overseeing a digital overhaul at the company.
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Dublin-based gift company Smartbox has bought the rights to a rival brand, Red Letter Days, from Dragons' Den stars Theo Paphitis and Peter Jones.

Smartbox provides so-called 'experience gifts' like overnight stays or adventures. It employs 600 people in its Dublin headquarters on Talbot St, having taken on an extra 100 staff in the last eight months.

The company sold seven million experience gifts worth €480m in Europe over the past year.

It has also acquired similar businesses in Portugal and Denmark in recent times and is active in 10 countries across Europe.

Red Letter Days was set up by Paphitis and Jones' one-time colleague on Dragons' Den, Rachel Elnaugh. Jones and Paphitis bought the business out of administration. Paphitis is no longer a dragon on the hit BBC programme, but Jones remains one of the show's stars.

Smartbox is currently in the midst of a digital overhaul.

"To deliver the best experience possible to its clients, the group is driving a large-scale digital transformation, investing €20m per year in technology. The experience gift category is less than 1pc of an overall European gifting market of €150bn. Smartbox Group has the ambition of doubling or tripling its overall share on this massive gift market," the company said.

Speaking when the company announced plans to add the extra 100 staff, Smartbox chief executive John Perkins said the company was "delighted with the quality talent which we can access here in Ireland, along with leveraging the support of the wider R&D ecosystem."

"These will be key enablers to help Smartbox deliver an exceptional customer experience to ensure the future successful development of Smartbox Group".

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