A cracker is for life, not just for Christmas. Ella Dove speaks to Sue Fisher and Sally Vergette from online cracker business, Go Crackers.
How did you first become involved in the cracker industry?
Well, really we did it by accident. We used to do a lot of fundraising work for the NSPCC, and they needed crockery and cutlery, so we bought some and hired it out to them. We were then asked for napkins to accompany the crockery. The company we bought them from suggested that we also sell crackers, and it all started off from there!
How long have you been selling crackers?
We’ve been involved in the industry for about 12 years now.
Has there been much development in the cracker industry over the years?
Things have changed quite a lot, yes. 20 years ago, the majority of crackers were made in England, and now they’re made in China. When people used to buy crackers, there was never a picture of the contents on the back, so it was even more pot luck than nowadays. The choice is a lot bigger now too – people want crackers at all times of the year.
Are crackers as popular as they always were?
Oh, definitely. We often have people contacting us from abroad who are desperately trying to find crackers because they feel that Christmas isn’t Christmas without them. It’s a particularly English tradition that Brits from all over the world want to uphold.
‘It’s a particularly English tradition that Brits from all over the world want to uphold’
Tell us a bit about your day-to-day working life.
The two of us do everything. Sue sticks the papers together, glues in the snaps, makes all the ribbons and amalgamates the crackers according to people’s individual needs. I (Sally) sort out the orders, pack them and send them. I also manage the website. We do custom orders – so for example, if granny wants a certain item inside her cracker but dad wants something different, we can cater for the whole family.
What makes a good cracker?
A good cracker is a combination of the anticipation when it’s on the table, a satisfying bang and a smile when you open it and the gift comes out.
Who designs the packaging and which colour schemes are the most popular?
We choose the paper and design all the packaging ourselves. The one which we think will be really popular this year is called the Gold and Red Sparkle Cracker with Green Bows and Holly Bands. It’s very pretty and festive.
How do you choose what goes inside the crackers?
It really depends on the customer. As well as Christmas, we do Murder Mystery ones where clues and party recipe suggestions go inside the cracker, hen parties, weddings and children’s crackers. Every cracker comes with a bang, a hat and a joke, and we often put in things like chocolate truffles and games such as egg and spoon race and charades. We also do ‘fill your own’ crackers which are available to order as flat packs or ready done.
What is the most bizarre thing that someone has wanted to put inside their cracker?
We’ve heard of marriage proposals being put inside before. Fingers crossed that it worked out for them!
What are the most unusual crackers you produce?
People have been asking us for a long time to put indoor fireworks inside our crackers, which we now provide with the ‘fill your own’ option. We have crackers with magic tricks and musical ones that we buy in. There are ‘Food Lovers’ crackers with cooking utensils such as measuring spoons or a little nutmeg grater inside them, and we also sell giant party crackers up to one metre tall which contain things like origami, paper chains or dressing up items such as masks, wigs and funny teeth.
What are your most popular designs and styles?
Definitely the traditional Christmas options, but our chocolate truffle, Baileys and luxury crackers are also very popular, as well as the fill your own ones.
Is there much variation in size?
We sell everything from the little six inch mini crackers which hang on a Christmas tree, right up to 15/16 inch ones and of course the giant ones too.
Who writes the jokes inside the crackers?
We have a group of little elves who write our jokes for us. They’re quite good at it, and we’re very pleased with them.
What would you put inside a Woman’s Weekly themed cracker?
Probably chocolate, because you can never go wrong with that. It’s good because you can either eat it at the time, or take it away – it’s not a gift that will be put in a drawer and left.
For more information on Go Crackers and getting your own tailor-made crackers visit their website gocrackers.co.uk