Belfast Telegraph

Present Tree serves up a winner at Wimbledon

By Clare Weir

A Co Antrim gardening entrepreneur is hoping for a huge advantage after her products were selected by a banking giant as corporate gifts for the world famous Wimbledon tennis tournament.

HSBC is the official banking partner of Wimbledon and the company has selected The Present Tree to provide hundreds of specially-packaged strawberry plants for guests of their corporate box overlooking Centre Court – where reigning champ Andy Murray played his first match of the event yesterday.

The first shipment has already flown out for the first days of play and others will make their way to London over the next 10 days.

Catherine Cunningham, who runs the The Present Tree, lives on a farm near Ballymena from where she grows and sells plants and trees which are individually packaged as a gift.

Companies like Maxol and Legal Island have already used the company to provide corporate gifts.

Ms Cunningham said that the deal is worth thousands of pounds.

"HSBC contacted me after finding us online, which is a testament to how good our website is," she said.

"Packaging and presentation is very important to us – I imagine that any of our trees or plants could be opened by Richard Branson or Barack Obama – and we worked very closely with HSBC to design the packaging.

"I look to companies like Jo Malone or Apple – opening their products is all part of the experience and we want to replicate that. We want our customers to have the 'wow' factor.

"Strawberries have a short season and all they need is water and light, so I have timed it so that over the few days the fruits will be ripe and ready to eat."

She added that she hopes to catch a glimpse of her plants on screen.

"I would love to see them on screen and I hope this deal means further orders down the pipeline," she said.

"I have a wonderful team around me, from the designers of the packaging to the guys who built our website.

"We pride ourselves on excellent customer service and of course the quality of our products and I am delighted to have been selected by such a large global company."

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