Ready to start your own business? How exciting! But before you jump in, ask and answer these 8 questions.
1. ARE YOU CREATIVE?
Are your friends always commenting on your flair in decorating, making crafts or planning a party? Creativity is crucial to the wholesale gift basket business, and not just in designing baskets. You must get creative in stretching a dollar, finding new customers, keeping up with gift basket trends and managing all of the demands on your time and energy.
2. ARE YOU ORGANIZED?
If you have run an office, a classroom, a household or a meeting, chances are you have developed some serious organizational skills. A wholesale gift basket business will require every one you have and more. You will have to track such things as basket orders, marketing efforts, supply inventory, etc. You will have to obtain business licensing (check local requirements). If you want to include food in your baskets, some areas require special licensing. Developing systems and taking care of official business will be a big part of getting your business started, and your organizational skills will definitely get a good work out.
3. DO YOU HAVE A FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE?
The reality of this business is that orders often come in waves, focused around certain events: Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, etc. If your schedule is not flexible, you may not be able to meet the fluctuating demands of a gift basket business.
4. DO YOU HAVE GOOD PEOPLE SKILLS?
Successful gift basket businesses are run by people who know how to provide good customer service, because that is at the heart of creating repeat business. They know how to anticipate needs and deal with problems in a professional, put-the-customer-first manner. If you have handled complaints, whether from a customer, a co-worker or a cranky teenager, you have developed skills that will help you in this business.
5. ARE YOU CONNECTED?
If you, your family and your friends have diverse interests, you can work with that to develop new products and reach new clients. Is your brother a big fan of craft beers? Use his hard-found (?!) knowledge to put together a customized basket for craft beer aficionados. Is your mom tight with the golf-playing crowd? Have her help you design a Hole-In-One Basket that she can show off to her friends. Any connection can provide inspiration for new gift baskets and new markets, so start brainstorming with your peeps!
6. DO YOU KNOW YOUR COMMUNITY WELL?
If you do, the opportunities for collaboration are endless. Do what Anne Pazier, of Santa Barbara Gift Baskets, did and team up with another local business. Anne worked with Pacific Pickle Works to create the Santa Barbara Pickle Pack—a trio of pickle products tucked inside a small basket. She markets the basket to “… the adventurous Foodie in your life, or perhaps as a thank you gift for someone who recently helped you ‘out of a pickle.’” How fun is that? You could hook up with the company down the street that specializes in beef jerky and co-design a Beef-Lovers Basket. If you know realtors, you could turn that connection into gold by customizing Welcome Home Baskets for them. The better you know your community, the quicker the basket orders will come rolling in.
7. HOW ARE YOU WITH FINANCES?
You could be creative, connected, with great people skills and still not succeed in this business. Unless you can handle (or get help with) the financial side of the business, you will struggle. Fortunately there are many resources available (check out this article in Entrepreneur.com) to help you learn the ropes, and remember to take it one challenge at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
8. CAN YOU MARKET YOUR COMPANY AND PRODUCTS?
The orders won’t come if you don’t advertise your products and services. Fortunately, the internet has broadened the reach of small businesses everywhere. You’ll need to develop a marketing plan that may include any or all of the following:
- Printed materials like business cards and brochures;
- Website and blog;
- Trade show attendance;
- Visiting businesses to show off your baskets;
- Giving away baskets for nonprofit fundraisers in order to get your company name out there;
- And much more!
So, that’s the list. It wasn’t so bad, was it? If you identified gaps in your skill set, now is the time to start filling them in. But we’re pretty sure that you also discovered you have a lot of what it takes to start and run your own wholesale gift basket business. Congratulations! Almac Imports is delighted that you are considering this creative and lucrative business venture and would love to supply you with the things you need to make best-selling gift baskets.
Contact us for more information or visit our website. We are always on top of the trends in the wholesale gift basket industry. No order is too large or too small and we are delighted to work with you in growing your business!