Last year we celebrated 35 years trading in the print and gifts industry and this year we clock up 100 years of combined personal experience.

Directors Ann and Steve have now been trading 36 years, Nicola has been with us for 18 years and Ben is now entering his 10th year.

Managing Director – Steve Ward

Steve grew up in Aughton, near Ormskirk in Lancashire and was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby. His first job was in Insurance in Liverpool, before moving into advertising with firstly local newspapers and then the Yellow Pages. He and wife Ann started Ad-Options in 1985 to sell both advertising in BT payphone kiosks and promotional gifts. The company started trading on the 1st June 1985 and their first son Adrian was born 2 days later! Steve enjoys networking on the golf course if anyone facies a game?

Director – Ann Ward

Ann was born in Slough, and moved to Liverpool aged 6. She met Steve at her first full time job at the Royal Insurance Company in 1976. She also moved on to the advertising industry, working for the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo. She and Steve gave up well paid jobs to start their own business in 1985. Ann worked part time while children Adrian and Ben were growing up and has been a Director of the business since 1999.

Sales Manager – Nicola Derbyshire

Nicola is in her 19th year with the company. She started as a part-time sales assistant gaining experience all types of promotional products and print. From around 2009 she became the expert in key rings sales, particularly the popular Ad Loop keyrings. She quickly became known as the Loop Queen and has helped to train and mentor several new staff and apprentices over the years. Nicola has excellent rapport with many regular clients. She has two children and lives locally with partner Mark, cats Betsy and Fern and a rescue dog Jim.

General manager – Ben Ward

Ben is Ann and Steve’s younger son and started working in the business by assembling key rings, for pocket money, as a schoolboy. This later developed into holiday jobs and gap year employment before leaving home to study Business at Liverpool University. After successful graduation Ben did 4 years, and gained 3 promotions, with the Halifax Bank before returning to the family firm. He lives with wife Faye and new baby Harriet and is now taking more responsibility for the day to day running of the company as his parents approach retirement. are accredited members of the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA). The company keenly adhere to the professional standards of that organisation. All members of the team have attended numerous industry training courses, seminars and trade shows. They often pool their knowledge to come with promotional ideas for their clients.
Make sure you are getting some of the most knowledgeable advice in the industry. Get in touch with the experienced promotional gifts team.
They also know most of the best value prices too!

Author: Stephen Ward, Managing Director of Ad-Options Ltd and is past Chairman of the Central Lancashire Business Club
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