Want to know more about starting and succeeding with a gift basket business? Start with these frequently-asked questions.
You’ve asked us many questions about making and selling gift baskets, or perhaps you’re just getting started.
I’m Shirley George Frazier, your mentor and author of the best-selling books on gift baskets. Here are answers to your most-popular questions about this creative industry.
How do I become a gift basket designer?
Gift basket designers are skilled in three areas before they enter this industry. They have creativity, patience, and determination.
If you’re creative in sewing, scrapbooking, or other crafty endeavors, count that as your foundation for gift basket designing. It’ll help you smile as you make designs from the bottom to the bow.
Patience is key to develop your basket-making craft. Videos, conferences and adult school courses are three ways that teach you the building basics. Believe me, patience will pay off in the long run.
The library and the internet are two common places to begin researching the industry. Library reference books will lead you to sources such as magazines, statistics and trade shows. Discussion boards and teleseminars are also available through websites and social media.
Your gift basket business will have its share of ups and downs, and this is where determination is crucial. When I started my business, there were no resources, print or video, but I was determined to succeed. If you can’t get through the front door to make a sale, come in through the side door. Did the prospect say “no” to your offer? Keep going until another person says “yes.” That’s what I did, and in time, the same determination will help you reach your goals.
What are the most popular gift basket products?
The products to look for first are prepackaged foods (items already packaged by manufacturers), and that includes:
- Dried fruit
There are occasions where foods are not appropriate. For example, baby baskets include nail clippers, hangers, rattles, and bibs. Get well baskets contain interlocking or word puzzles, books, games, and an occasional request for fruit, which you can purchase at a local food market.
Where do I buy products if I’m just starting?
This answer depends on whether you have a business license or if you plan to buy from retailers or discounters because you aren’t yet registered as a business through your local town clerk or whichever department in your town issues business licenses.
This process is explained in the Start a Gift Basket Business class I teach online, and you have total access to me in the class to ask specific questions not addressed here about gift baskets. Other online classes are available as well that give you full access to me through discussion boards.
If you don’t have a business license, you’ll find lots of foods and gift items at retail stores that you visit as a consumer. Keep in mind that buying from retailers will decrease your profits because when you buy from retailers, you are purchasing products that have been marked up in price.
If you have applied for and received a business license from your town, that license qualifies you to buy products from wholesalers and distributors. Those are companies that sell items to business owners.
When you buy from wholesalers and distributors, you buy products at very-low prices so you can make money with each gift basket sale. Buying from wholesalers is your goal.
Your favorite search engine will help you find wholesalers in your area. As an example, if you live in Dayton, Ohio, type “dayton ohio wholesale suppliers” into the search engine to uncover sources. Be sure to place quotes around the search term as shown above.
Who buys gift baskets?
Lots of individual people and corporate executives buy gift baskets. Here are some ideas on who else buys.
- People with private practices (doctors, dentists, veterinarians, etc.)
- Executives working at large and small firms
- Institutions (hospitals, colleges)
- Non-profit organizations (Boys’ and Girls’ clubs, United Way, etc.)
A word of caution – don’t go after all four buyers at one time. Test one or two of these buying types before trying others.
A good way to start is by selling to individuals and to private practitioners, especially the ones who already know you because you buy their services (your dentist and doctor, for example). They are familiar with who you are, and familiarity will help you sell quicker than if you approach an office where no one knows you.
How do I advertise if I have a small budget?
Word-of-mouth advertising will be helpful as one of the first ways to get the word out. If your children attend elementary or high school, let teachers know about your gift baskets when you talk to them about your child (mention gift baskets when your main conversation ends). Do you attend a house of worship? Some of the congregation may be very interested in buying from you.
You can also set up pages on social media to market your gift baskets since it will cost you time rather than money. Create accounts on Facebook and Twitter in your business name, or choose another social program such as Instagram, and begin sharing information about your gift baskets through those accounts.
These are all terrific ways to start advertising, and many more options are explained fully in the Start a Gift Basket Business class. A good thing about the class is that you can take the first lesson free of charge. Then, if the class seems beneficial, you can stay enrolled for the entire course.
What problems can I expect?
Every industry has its share of problems, and gift baskets are no different. Common problems include gift baskets delivered to incorrect addresses, customers who cancel orders, and deliveries not arriving on time.
I must admit that some problems make you laugh and others make you shout, “I can’t believe that happened!” However, if you ask designers who have been in this industry for a long time, you’ll learn that the good definitely outweighs the challenges.
Are gift basket businesses selling lots of gifts on the internet?
Yes; however, this answer depends on how much you make yourself known online.
Some designers do lots of marketing on social media and through their websites using newsletters and other marketing products. These designers also send information to customers by regular postal mail, and they also attend meetings and presentations in the corporate world. All of this helps to bring customers to their sites where orders are placed every day.
Customers won’t buy from you because you make gift baskets. You must reach potential customers where they live, work, and shop to get their attention. That’s how you become a successful gift basket designer.
Want answers to more questions about gift baskets?
You’ll find lots of help and support through all of the online gift basket classes available on the classes page. Each class includes a variety of:
- Bonus material
- 24/7 access to me
Want support that is specific to your start-up concerns? Schedule an appointment to speak with Shirley.
Here’s wishing you baskets of success!