Our People Make The Difference - Unique Magazines

Issue 66

Unique Magazines is a North East success story. To simply say that they supply a range of magazines is the understatement of the 21st Century.

Here are some stunning figures…

-Their range of magazines extends to beyond 3,000, including a broad mix from weeklies to specialist titles that you might not always find on the high street.

-Last year (2020) they delivered 265,000 magazines around the world

-They deliver to 100+ different countries.

-They have a dedicated customer support centre open 9.30am – 4:30pm weekdays.

Their aim is to provide people, all over the world, with easy access to a vast range of magazines, whilst amazing their customers with truly outstanding service.

We thought we’d pop in and meet the team behind Unique Magazines and find out more about this unique NE based business…socially distanced of course.

When we visited, John Porrett, Managing Director, showed us a customer email which sums up the level of service the business continuously provide.

“I live in Australia and couldn’t source my favourite hobby magazine. I discovered that Unique Magazines could find it for me so I ordered a copy. Four days later it was delivered through my letterbox here in Melbourne. I took out a subscription and, for the last three years, the magazine has arrived like clockwork, on time, every time, every month.”

Now that’s what you call amazing service.

John Porrett, Managing Director. “My main goal is to make magazines available to as many people as possible and to amaze people with our customer service. We are a trusted company. We have trust at home and abroad. We do what we say…and a bit more. My roles includes company strategy, business growth, looking for new markets, and mentoring. I have trust in my team and like to step back a bit…see the big picture. In the early days it was all about growth and increasing sales. Now the most important thing is finding the best people and developing their career within the business. We want our team to develop as individuals and help the company grow.

I am proud of our record of appointing apprentices who have gone on to have excellent careers. We currently employ 11 people, however this will shortly grow to 13 with two apprentice appointments in our distribution and customer service teams. My vision is that the business reaches a critical mass whereby we have a reputation for sourcing and distributing magazines, and always exceeding customer expectations.

Sarah Johnson, Operations Director. “My role within Unique Magazines is to ensure we amaze our customers and suppliers everyday, going above and beyond and ensuring we are customer centric. I act as the company’s main advisor on all issues relating to operational functions and keep abreast of latest developments to ensure that the company maintains its competitive position. Working closely with our business partners, part of my role to create and maintain new systems to improve inhouse efficiencies and constantly improve our customer experiences.

With the support of our Customer Service and Distribution teams, I continue to make sure we provide brilliant customer service, excellent speed of delivery and fantastic product availability. It is so important that customers receive their magazines on time. We can’t let them down. I know a lot of our customers appreciate the measures we’ve taken.

As our team are so important to us, I also assist John and the senior team with staff mentoring. We want everyone to enjoy working here because, as in the end, it means our customer service will always exceed the customers’ expectations”.

Andy Cant, Distribution Manager. “When I came for an interview, I was struck by the family atmosphere. At busy times everyone helps one another. My role is running the warehouse which means ensuring magazines are ordered on time, sorted when they arrive and crucially make sure they go out on time. Customers want magazines to arrive in pristine condition so the correct packaging is vital. If someone in the USA asks us to find and deliver a specialist magazine, I want them to be amazed when we do exactly what we’ve promised…and a bit more.”

Angela Walker, Management Accountant. “I’ve worked for Unique Magazines for three years. The business is an incredible operation for a small family business and it’s great to see business increasing during the pandemic, providing customers with the best range of magazines delivered direct to their doors. The desire to amaze customers is a top priority. My role is to keep John fully informed about the accounts so that he can make financial decisions. We have several big accounts with money coming in from all over the world, which can sometimes be a challenge. It’s hugely rewarding when the finances run smoothly.”

Laura Hewitt, Digital Marketing Manager. “I oversee the online and offline marketing strategy for the business which includes SEO, email marketing and social media. SEO plays a huge part of the strategy with us providing such a broad customer base and magazine range. Customer service and availability of product is key and what sets us aside. When a customer receives a magazine that they’ve struggled to find and it arrives on time, carefully packaged, I like to think they’ll be amazed.

We’re also in the process of developing new areas within the business including The Comic Club and Magazines for Schools…which are both monthly subscription services for children”

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