Mark began Apples to Pears back in 2002, originally forming the business with co-directors and garden expert and presenter Alan Titchmarsh, and at the time, focusing solely on garden gifts. Mark is the creative genius behind our brand, having driven the innovation around all our award-winning gifts from the start.
Mark came from a background of gardening having spent many years running larger garden centres, and, through his own South African plant nursery, competing for medals at all the key horticultural shows. With Mark jointly at the helm, the company has evolved significantly since its gardening roots, expanding into a range of different gift ideas including the award-winning ‘Gift in a Tin’ which aims to encourage children to engage with playing and creating in a way that many of us remember fondly from our own childhoods.
Mark lives in Cornwall and spends most of his free time in his garden. As well as tending to his own patch, he advises a number of local gardens and enjoys visiting these throughout the year. When not gardening, Mark enjoys walking – anywhere, from the beautiful Tamar Valley and the Cornish Coastal path, to Bodmin Moor and across Dartmoor. He also loves nature photography, butterflies, astronomy and winding-down in the local pub!
Mark's favourite Apples to Pears gift:
“It’s so hard to choose my favourite product so I’ve allowed myself two! From our Heritage gardening range I’d choose our Folding Pocket Secateurs, these are just wonderful and I never go anywhere without them. I use them in the garden, whilst walking and have even fashioned a walking stick using the various blades whilst out on the coast path.
My favourite Gift in a Tin is the Butterflies and Bees Suncatcher Kit – I’ve watched the joy and interest in children assembling these life-size British wooden butterflies and bees and I’m really looking forward to creating them with my own grandson when he is old enough.”
Alongside Mark, Sally set up Apples to Pears with Alan Titchmarsh twenty years ago, launching in the Cotswolds and remaining here, in beautiful surroundings, ever since. She remembers the excitement of having start-up meetings in Alan’s kitchen and even getting a lift to a trade show in his soft-top sports car… not great for her hair though, think Bridget Jones!
Sally is very proud of what they have achieved since then, topped off by the brilliant awards and the loyal bank of customers we are so lucky to work with. Sally is our numbers machine and manages many integral divisions, such as accounts, logistics, finance, technology, HR, the list goes on.
In her spare time, Sally loves gardening but feels she is still learning! She enjoys reading and heading out for a meal with her loved ones. Spending time in the garden with her family is her relaxing place, and a trip to Cornwall often beckons for a well-deserved break and a change of scenery.
Sally’s favourite Apples to Pears gift:
“It is very difficult to choose my favourite product, but if pushed I think I would go for our lovely Travel Dog in a Tin. Sadly my 16-year-old dog died recently but while he was still with us, there were countless times that I was thankful for having this tin in the car. I was able to give him a drink whenever he needed it and tap into the emergency poop bag supply!”
Clive joined Apples to Pears in 2016 after spotting our wonderful range of award-winning gifts at the Spring Fair.
Now Chairman and co-owner of Apples to Pears Ltd, he brings a stack 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 Chief Executive Officer of leading mobility provider Platinum Stairlifts.
In his spare time, Clive loves being active. Running in the Yorkshire Dales, competing in marathons and triathlons, surfing in Cornwall and watching his beloved rugby union side Sales Sharks keeps him busy and fit!
Clive’s favourite Apples to Pears gift:
“My favourite product of ours has to be the Campervan construction kit or Eiffel Tower in a Tin - both brilliantly designed Gifts in a Tin, which build amazing models that are fun, rewarding and educational. And once you’ve spent time building these lovely pieces, you can barely believe that either ever fitted in the tin!”
Sarah joined Apples to Pears in 2018 and as our super sales director, she loves managing our accounts, getting to know customers and making sure that everyone knows all about our lovely products.
Sarah has spent about 40 years in sales roles - she was extremely young when her parents sent her out to work! She has sold a huge range of products and services throughout her career including advertising space, cars, aluminium, professional training courses, videos, interior design services, handbags – and now gifts! We love her passion for our products and her drive to help as many people enjoy them as possible.
In her (very little) spare time, she has developed a very close relationship with Joe Wicks (not that he knows about it) since the start of lockdown in 2020. And now that her two children are grown-up and living away from home, Sarah loves nothing more than being in the sunshine, sea and travelling.
Sarah’s favourite Apples to Pears gift:
“My favourite Apples to Pears product is Magical Fairy Fun or Pirate Ship - both from the Gift in a Tin range. Magical Fairy Fun was a revelation when it was launched and instead of saying it, I would sing the words Magical Fairy Fun (every time) much to the annoyance of my colleagues. It’s got a musical ring to it – so should be sung! Pirate Ship is a hugely underrated Gift in a Tin – there is so much going on inside that little tin – I would have loved it as a child!”
Ashley joined Apples to Pears in September 2019 - she arrived as a temp and we wouldn’t let her go! Ashley has a very useful skill (especially during lockdown…) in hairdressing. She began her career as a hairdresser but decided a re-think was in order after starting her own family. With school-runs and weekend adventures now on the cards, Ashley found a more flexible role with us.
As our Sales Executive, Ashley’s bubbly and focused personality provides a great welcome for clients getting in touch. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys spending time with her family, getting outdoors and finding new places to visit, but she will also never turn down an opportunity to mooch around the shops!
Ashley’s favourite Apples to Pears gift:
“My favourite product is Ocean Adventures! I love the imaginative play that can be had, the design of each animal as well as the educational value behind the product. My son loves to create scenes and make stories with all of the creatures and as a parent, it’s so lovely to see his imagination have no boundaries”.
Debbie has been working at Apples to Pears for almost 14 years. Prior to Apples to Pears, Debbie gained an eclectic mix of experience, from being a nursery assistant to managing a local timber company! She is our super-organised operations manager and keeps all our orders, accounts and important operational tasks ticking along.
Debbie has three grandchildren and spends a lot of time with them. She also loves walking with friends (especially when they end up at the pub…) and catching up on her favourite soap - Corrie. Swimming and Pilates fill up the rest of her free time.
Debbie’s favourite Apples to Pears gift:
“My favourite Apples to Pears product just has to be the Folding Pocket Secateurs. I’m not a keen gardener but they are brilliant for cutting back the plants I do have in my garden.”
Becca is the newest team member, joining Apples to Pears in May 2021. Hitting the ground running, Becca’s new favourite hobby is gardening (which is lucky) and she is very happy to be working with a group of very lovely people who are passionate about creativity and gifting.
With a marketing career that stretches back to when Cadbury was British-owned (still a sore subject), Becca has worked with some lovely brands (including our favourite homegrown chocolatiers), such as Disney, The Jockey Club, Welsh Rugby Union, England Rugby, The British & Irish Lions, Team GB and the National Trust.
She is really excited to be working with Apples to Pears, helping to raise the profile of our awesome products, brand and mission.
Becca’s favourite Apples to Pears gift:
“My 3-year-old son and 4-year-old nephew spent ages picking apart the Dinosaur Excavation Set. It kept them enthralled for almost an hour – which ticked off plenty of learning and engagement whilst keeping them away from digital screens. It is such a fab product.”
Sasha, our wonderful accounts executive, joined Apples to Pears way back in 2003 - in the very early days when we were still Alan Titchmarsh Products. In 2014, after a few business changes and plenty of projects under her belt, Sasha took a break to spend more time with her family.
Fast forward to 2020, Sasha re-joined Apples to Pears and we are so thrilled to have her back as our accounts executive.
In her spare time (what little there is of it!) she loves nothing more than being out in the countryside, walking her dog and spending time in the garden.
Sasha’s favourite Apples to Pears gift:
“The Folding Pocket Secateurs are just fab! I use them all the time. I’m a keen gardener but I don’t really know what I’m doing all that much! These secateurs are so useful to pop in my pocket as I mooch around the garden, always at hand if I need to prune, take a cutting or dead-head flowers.”
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