1994: ‘Things can only get better’ by D:Ream was Number 1 in the charts, and John Major was in Number 10 Downing Street. Also the year that Douglas Grays set up Dukes of London!
Douglas’ background was in the financial markets, and many of our clients in this field find that we’re good at advising on which branded products suit their colleagues and customers. Our first HQ was on Queen Victoria Street in the City of London, right next to the building which is now HSBC, and we love being in the thick of things; we moved to Brick Lane before our current home in Shoreditch.
The promotional merchandise market has evolved hugely since the Nineties, but some things are comfortingly the same: yes, we still sell a good pen if you want one. Dozens of varieties indeed. Mugs too – well, a cuppa at your desk remains universal. Umbrellas and golf balls still fly off the shelves at Dukes of London, indeed we wait to see if any 2017 orders will surpass a legendary order from a bank for 100,000 of our umbrellas!
Turnaround times are now really speedy from Dukes of London – our ‘express gifts’ range including drinkware and writing instruments come with a 5-7 day lead time.
We’re early adopters of technology: webstores of branded merchandise didn’t exist in 1994, and this is now one of our key services. High-tech branded gadgets such as chargers, activity trackers, cameras and speakers are hugely popular purchases from Dukes of London in 2017.
Looking forward to the next 23 years…