National Committee

Gert Schyberg, Managing Director, Sebnini

Gert Schyberg is the founder and MD of Sebnini Ltd, a supplier and manufacturer of luxury candles to the gift market, as well as volume private label productions to larger retailers. After finishing his business studies, Gert moved to the UK from his native country Denmark in 1982. He has been working in the Giftware Industry since 1987 and enjoys the many aspects of his job, where he has a special passion for design and developing new products. Gert has extensive experience in the sourcing of products and has gained invaluable knowledge from his many travels throughout Europe and the Far East. Outside of work, Gert has a wife and 2 children; for 10 years he has been Deputy Chairman for the Parents Association at his children's school, where he has also chaired many sub- committees, raising thousands of pounds for the students at the school and for local charities. Serving on the National Committee is an honour and privilege, and where he hopes to be able to make good use of his many years of experience in the industry.

Jeremy Corner, Managing Director, Blue Eyed Sun

Jeremy is the current Deputy-Chairman of the Giftware Association. He is the co-owner of greeting card and eco-giftware specialists, Blue Eyed Sun, and exclusive UK and Ireland distributor of BambooCup and Bioloco products. He is also the founder of online eco-retailer Previously Chairman, Jeremy has been a GA member since 2003 and has contributed to the GA National Committee since 2011. A regular speaker on sustainability, digital marketing, export and personal development, Jeremy also writes a monthly column for Progressive Greetings magazine and is regularly quoted in the media as an industry thought leader. A Henries Award and Gift of the Year winner, Blue Eyed Sun has previously won a Queen’s Award for International Trade.

Alex Ryan, Owner, Marketing 101 

Alex Ryan, Owner Marketing 101  Alex Ryan is a marketer, podcaster and entrepreneur with a wealth of experience in the gift industry. Following his 6-year-role as Head of Marketing at Paladone Alex launched his own marketing agency that would specialise in delivering the fundamentals of marketing strategy and support. He also provides strategy, business development and marketing consultancy and can be heard hosting the Marketing 101 podcast which can be found here.  If you would like to engage Alex as a consultant, please visit For Marketing support or access to the Marketing 101 podcast and blog, visit Marketing

Therese Oertenblad, Owner, Small Business Collaborative

Therese Oertenblad has a background in sales and has worked in the home and gift industry for over 12 years selling to both independent retailers and nationals on the high street as an introvert. Therese helps product-based business owners to grow their sales, increase their profit and develop a strategy for growing their businesses with confidence. She does this through business mentoring and courses. Therese has a real passion for the industry and encouraging small business owners to dare to think bigger to build the businesses they want. She is also the host of a small business podcast called Let’s Talk Shop

Clive Briscoe, Chairman, Apples to Pears

Clive is Chairman and co-owner of Apples to Pears who he joined in 2016 after seeing the fabulous range of award winning gift ideas at the Spring Fair that year. Since then he has been proud to be associated with a long line of successes in the Gift of the Year competition, with brands including ‘Gift in a Tin’, Gifts for Grown-ups and Heritage Gifts for Gardeners. Clive brings a wealth of experience from corporate and private equity backed businesses including Great Universal, Argos, Homebase, Carlsberg Tetley and Ideal World TV. In addition to Apples to Pears and his work with the Giftware Association National Committee, he is the CEO of leading mobility provider Platinum Stairlifts. He is passionate about developing brands and products which are both innovative and inspirational. Being associated with companies embedded in the Cotswolds and on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, Clive has first-hand experience of the complexities of sourcing and manufacturing, and understands the challenges that many gift companies are now experiencing as the UK establishes new trading relationships internationally. The importance of effective communication and inspiring teams to work collaboratively is another passion of Clive’s, and he is a strong advocate of leadership programmes such as the Living Leader which have been used to great effect to develop people in companies that Clive has led.

Henri Davis, Independent Retail Advisor

I have worked in the retail industry for 35 years with retailers which include Habitat, Next, WH Smith and the National Trust specifically in new product development and buying roles. For the last 14 years I have worked as an Independent Retail Advisor in the cards, gifts, stationery and heritage industries, working with many small and medium-sized businesses, including multi-site retailers, national and international manufacturers and suppliers. I am also Chairman of the Giftware Association .For more information, visit

Louise Welsby, Creative Director, Buy From

I am a creative, commercial marketer with a passion for communication and collaboration. I run Buy-From®, a creative agency with a difference based in the beautiful county of Shropshire. 20 years of communication have resulted in my leadership of a dynamic team with an unparalleled passion for business communication and growth.

As well as representing national and international organisations, Buy-From® have a passion for supporting independent businesses from kitchen table start-ups through to businesses exporting products and services internationally.

Buy-From® also creates retail opportunities and reinvents the way spaces are used to ensure the amazing independent businesses throughout the UK not just survive, but thrive. Buy-From® serves, above all else, to champion Independents and support their growth. We are passionate about High Streets, communities and shopping centres - we understand that retail is changing and we believe we have the vision to support communities and stakeholders and find a path into the future that keeps our towns and cities as destinations communities are proud of and tourists want to visit. In this way, the independent businesses invested in those spaces will thrive and our local economy will grow.

Julie Driscoll, Regional Director, Hyve

Julie was appointed as UK Regional Director in March 2019. Julie brings with her 15 years of experience leading businesses predominantly within the Retail space at Ascential and Emap where she delivered significant UK and international growth across various media including digital, sponsorship, awards, conferences, summits, publishing and large scale exhibitions. Most recently Julie lead the transformation of Pure London whilst completing an MBA from Imperial College Business School after being awarded the prestigious scholarship for ‘most inspiring business leader’.

Julie is passionate about UK retail and sits on various industry boards and advisory committees such as the AEO, the NEC, the Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry, the Giftware Association and is a judge for the prestigious UK Drapers awards.

Julie is passionate about creating products which truly cater to our customer’s current and future needs. Communicating clear strategic goals for the UK, which all within Hyve’s matrix are aligned and committed to, is how she plans to drive the UK Region forwards

Gary Schaffer, Managing Director, United Oddsocks

Gary graduated as a Landscape Architect but soon realised that the business world would offer more challenges, and soon developed a passion for customer service. After roles with American Express Platinum Card, Nortel Networks and management roles with other telecoms companies, Gary became an Executive Consultant for KPMG focussing on private and public sector customer management improvement programmes. Following this he became Head of Customer Service for easyJet PLC and then Vice President of Customer Service for DHL Express. Whilst at DHL, he started United Oddsocks with his partner and now runs that business full time as MD. Gary is passionate about customer service, leadership and developing others.