Updated: 4/12/23

Ready to mix your creative talents with a money-making endeavor? Great news! Here’s the definitive guide on how to start a gift basket business.

Combining business with creativity

Congratulations on your decision to start a gift basket business! This is an exciting time in your life with many possibilities for success in your future.

Right now all types of thoughts, ideas, and questions are swirling in your mind. It’s tough to figure out what to do first. Like a puzzle, there are lots of pieces to put together to make this a great business, something you’re proud to say you own and share the news with family and friends. Let’s start at the beginning to make sure you start right.

Why gift baskets?

There are many reasons to make and sell gift baskets. What’s yours? Here’s where you have to be very open and clear with yourself as to why you want to start a business.

  • The job you have isn’t rewarding or satisfying
  • Someone you know has a business and you want one, too
  • Your college courses are convincing you to pursue entrepreneurship
  • Something on television gave you the idea
  • You read or saw information online that got your attention

It’s important to identify the reason why gift baskets are your choice because that reason is your foundation. You must write down whatever inspires you to make this decision. Those who don’t document the reason often lose their way, forgetting the inspiration and failing to move forward. That’s a shame. You don’t want that to happen, so write down your reason for starting.

I knew that working for someone else would never pay off in satisfaction or money. In 12 years I had 12 jobs doing the same secretarial duties for different people. I was so good at what I did that no boss wanted me to leave their side, which meant I’d never be promoted to a management position. I had to promote myself, so I decided to start my own business.

My light bulb moment

Gift baskets were my choice after my husband gave me a gift basket made by his co-worker. She made gifts as a side business. It was a spa basket filled with soaps, candles, and a bath pillow. At the time I was planning to open an intimate apparel store. When I received the gift basket, I stopped planning and transferred my research and skills to learn everything about gift baskets.

That’s how I entered this creative business and how I ultimately wrote the book, How to Start a Home-Based Gift Basket Business, the book tens of thousands of designers call “the industry bible.” Your reason for entering this business won’t be the same as mine, but what I share reveals how I came to my own decision. Write down your reason, and let it act as fuel for your future success.

You need creativity

If you’ve ever painted, sewn clothing, made crafts, or performed knitting or crocheting, gift baskets are for you. I’ve omitted other types of handwork endeavors in this description, but you get what I mean. The love of making things with your hands will keep you happily making gift baskets.

Holding an empty basket or any type of interesting container (box, wagon, etc.) in your hands and placing it on a table, adding paper and shred to the inner cavity, placing foods and gifts inside the basket, then wrapping it in cellophane and topping it with a bow to create a unique masterpiece is gratifying each time it’s completed. The satisfaction overwhelms you.

Even if you’ve never participated in craft making, you can learn the art of gift basket creation. Today, you’ll find lots of design help no matter where you live.

Help is readily available in many forms to start and elevate your creativity.

You need space

Gift baskets require a location to stock the items that create each gift. When gift baskets are a hobby, no space is needed because a person who makes one at a time uses any table in their home. However, when gift baskets are a business, a dedicated space is necessary so the items are not scattered throughout the home.

Even if you live alone, you will appreciate not having gift baskets surround you in your general living quarters. Having gift basket items on the kitchen table, in the bathroom tub, and on the bedroom dresser will cramp your lifestyle. You want a healthy living environment separating your gift basket business from home life. Both can exist in the same location but not in the way of each other.

Places where gift baskets are often made at home are in the:

  • Attic
  • Basement
  • Garage
  • Spare room
  • Any partition-separated room

You can also start your gift basket business in a commercial space or brick-and-mortar retail store, a topic for another article.

You’ll need space to arrange all of the items needed to make, store, and ship gift baskets. Information about the things you might consider buying is available in the article, Gift Basket Products, So Easy to Find. My advice is to not be overwhelmed by all the possibilities. You can start buying on a small scale until you know exactly what customers will request. When you know that, you can then buy in larger quantities.

One space idea

My business began in a spare room within my home. The ironing board was my first design table until my sister found a table online available free of charge. My gift baskets stayed in that room aside from bringing them downstairs and out of the home for transport to its destination. Gift basket products and the place where I designed each gift never migrated into the family space. My family was supportive, and I honored that support by keeping the design area separate from the home space.

Start looking around your home to determine where to set up your gift basket design studio. The first thing you may think, whether in a private home or apartment, is that you have nowhere to set up. However, upon second look, space miraculously appears. This happens because your entrepreneurial mind starts working in your favor, helping you to see what was not visible the first time. Don’t fret if space doesn’t seem available. If you truly want to start a gift basket business, space will appear.

You need money

A gift basket is a product made from many components. You need:

  • Supplies
  • Equipment
  • Storage
  • Technology
  • Transportation

All of this requires funds to buy everything to create a successful business. The amount of money you need depends on many factors outlined in Money to Start a Gift Basket Business.

Some of the above-mentioned components will already be available to you. For example, you may have a computer or laptop and printer. Internet access might be accessible, too. That takes care of a few needs, but there’s much more to get your business going.

Watch your costs

Everything that goes into a gift basket is on your buying list. You might have baskets and a few things stored to test your design skills, but that’s not enough. There’s also storage equipment needed to organize goods and shipping boxes on your list to transport completed gift baskets from your design space to the customer or gift receiver.

My business was funded through an insurance policy I no longer needed. In addition, my traditional employment provided a salary, allowing me to put some of the money into my start-a-business account.

Review your savings and other places where you make or have money (employment, investments, etc.), and decide how much you have to begin this profitable venture. Be very careful about how you spend and what you buy. Money can become lean at any point in this business. You don’t want to look back and regret buying decisions.

You need determination

The thought of operating your own gift basket business puts a wide smile on your face. It did for me, too. However, there are pitfalls you don’t see when you’re outside of the profession, pitfalls that turn your smile into temporary dismay. Dilemmas include:

  • Can’t find the right products
  • Bugs and insects eating foods
  • Natural disasters (fire, flood)
  • Disappointed customers
  • Family upset with your decision
  • Friends wanting freebies
  • Eating your own snack inventory
  • Pricing your gift baskets too low
  • Products that melt due to warm temperatures
  • Suspicious boss and co-workers who know you’re starting a business

More problems can and will occur depending on the situation. It can be daunting, and if you don’t have someone to speak with about the challenges (as well as the success), you might take the wrong action or think you made the wrong decision to make and sell gift baskets.

There is a solution

The bottom line is that you’re not alone with those thoughts. Every entrepreneur, whether a gift basket designer or a person in a different profession, goes through this turmoil. So did I.

How to Start a Home-Based Gift Basket Business, by Shirley George Frazier. All rights reserved.

What do you do when this happens? In most cases, it’s simple. You back away. Shut the design space door, leave the area, and do something else for at least one hour. Take a walk, make hot tea, put your feet up, meditate, or perform another process that’s calming. You don’t want to compound the situation by making a hasty decision.

I find that when I walk away and try to not think about the dilemma, the right answer arrives. At this point I’m calm and can process the remedy. There’s never been a time when pausing and thinking did not deliver a resolution. My money is on this technique to work for you, too.

Be strong in the tough times. It will make you a smart, successful, and profitable gift basket designer.

Ready to start?

Now that you know how to start a gift basket business, it’s time to begin making a plan before you design your first gift basket. That plan begins with the Start Your Own Gift Basket Business course. This six-week, 12-lesson online course reveals everything you want to know about starting right, plus you have my undivided attention and lots of answers from me in the discussion area.

What’s your first step? Whatever you choose, you will find that joining this industry as a gift basket designer will be rewarding and profitable. Here’s wishing you baskets of success!