Are you ready to mix your creative talents with a money-making endeavor? If so, here’s the definitive guide on how to start a gift basket business.
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 with family. 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 be an entrepreneur
- Something on television gave you the idea
- You read or saw something 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 it 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 to start.
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 her 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. 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 got into this creative business and how I ultimately wrote the book, How to Start a Home-Based Gift Basket Business, the book designers call “the industry bible.” Your reason for entering this business won’t be the same as mine, but what I share lets you see 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 a basket in your hand 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.
- The Gift Basket Design Book include text instructions and color photographs
- Gift Basket Business YouTube channel features video help and ideas
- Start Your Own Gift Basket Business online course includes a one-hour, how-to video
- Adult school courses on gift basket making, flower arranging, and bowmaking
Help is readily available in many formats to elevate your creativity.
You need space
Gift baskets require a location to stock the items that make up the gift. When gift baskets are a hobby, no space is needed because a person who makes one uses any table in their home. However, when gift baskets are a business, a dedicated space is necessary so the items are not in designated family areas.
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:
- 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. A look at 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 purchase. When you know that, you can then buy in bigger quantities.
One space idea
My business began in a spare room within my home. The ironing board was my first design table until I found a table free of charge listed on an online discussion board. My gift baskets stayed in that room aside from bringing them downstairs and out of the home for transport to its destination. It never migrating into the family space. My family was very supportive, and I honored that support by keeping my design space away from the home space.
Start looking around your home to determine where to set up your gift basket design space. The first thing you may think, whether in a private home or apartment, is that you have nowhere to set up. However, upon a 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:
All of this requires funds to buy everything required to create a successful business. The amount of money you need depends on many factors which are outlined in Money to Start a Gift Basket Business.
Some of the above will already be available. 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 studio to its final destination.
My business was funded through an insurance policy I no longer needed. In addition, the job I had 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 creative 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
- Melting products due to warm temperature
- 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 down times, 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.
What do you do when this happens? In most cases, it’s simple. You back away. Shut the 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 make your first gift basket. What’s your first step? What part of this process is still unclear?