5 Steps to Start a Gift Basket Business
by Jennifer James
The holiday season is an ideal time to start a gift basket business. You’ve seen them in department stores, boutiques and gift shops, or possibly sent and received them yourself. They are beautiful and brimming with unique gifts and tasty treats. They are a more personalized gift than balloons, and more practical than sending flowers.
Of course we’re talking about gift baskets, a hot trend in gift-giving these days. And behind the scenes, another major trend is emerging—people who choose to start a gift basket business are launching one of the fastest-growing types of businesses today. Although Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day are very popular times for the gift basket business, people give gift baskets for all sorts of reasons, and not just at holidays, but all year long.
Why Start a Gift Basket Business?
Gift basket businesses are starting up all over the country, and with good reason. Not only is the work fun and creative, but you can also start a gift basket business easily from home, by setting up a small space where you design and build your gift baskets.
You also have unlimited potential to grow when you start a gift basket business. “I launched my [gift basket] business selling $20,000 in baskets that first holiday season. The business doubled year after year, and has continued to grow substantially,” says gift basket business owner Cherie Reagor, twice named Designer of the Year by the gift basket industry.
The process for starting a gift basket business is not complicated, but you do have some important steps to follow. Here’s some advice from the FabJob Guide to Become a Gift Basket Business Owner, the textbook for IAP Career College’s Gift Basket Business Owner Certificate Course, to help take your idea to start a gift basket business from concept to reality.
1. Plan and Prepare
To start a gift basket business, you first need to learn about the gift basket industry. Study other gift basket businesses, and see what they have to offer. How many types of gift baskets do they have for sale? What items are included in them? When you know what other gift basket businesses are offering, then you can plan how your business will be similar, and what you will do differently to be unique.
To build your gift basket making skills, you can take some classes at a local craft store, buy some good how-to books, and practice making as many baskets as you can for friends and family.
2. Buy Supplies and Equipment
You don’t need a large amount of supplies and equipment to start a gift basket business, but you will need some basics. A few pairs of sharp scissors will be essential, and you may also need a glue gun and wire cutters. You’ll also need to purchase some cello or shrink wrap, baskets or other containers, ribbon, bows, and some decorative shred, and you’ll be ready to start filling your gift baskets with goodies. Don’t forget to buy shipping supplies (i.e. boxes and tape) if you will be sending your gift baskets by courier.
3. Set up Your Work Space
Decide where you will create your gift baskets, and ensure that you have adequate lighting, as well as storage for the supplies and inventory required to start a gift basket business. You’ll also want to invest in a workbench or table when you can spread out supplies and make gift baskets at a comfortable height.
If you will include food items in your gift baskets, they should be stored in airtight containers with the expiration dates marked. Depending on where you live, local laws may also regulate how food items for your gift baskets must be handled and stored.
4. Buy Gift Basket Items
You’ll want to purchase a nice variety of gift items to start a gift basket business. Keep your purchases versatile if you can, meaning that they can be used in more than one style of gift basket. Here’s an insider tip: Most gift baskets can contain similar items with small decorative accents or unique containers making them more personal or specific to the occasion.
When you first start a gift basket business, stay away from buying too many gift items that won’t sell after a certain season (e.g., candy Santas), or whose shelf life may expire before you can use them up. You can order wholesale gift items at a deep discount. According to a survey by Gift Basket Review, the dominant trend in the market is increasing personalization of the contents of the basket, and even the basket and ribbon.
Gift basket business insiders know that there are reputable businesses that will make and ship gift baskets on your behalf. All you have to do is land the orders! If your time or start-up money is limited, this can help you start a gift basket business easily and economically.
5. Market Your Gift Basket Business
When you are ready to start selling gift baskets, you’ll want to let the public know. You can advertise your gift basket business, although ads may be too expensive when you first start a gift basket business. Instead, consider press releases and other low-cost marketing strategies such as referrals. Online directories and a website for your gift basket business will also help generate and increase sales. In fact, many gift basket businesses allow their clients to browse and buy gift baskets directly online.
Selling gift baskets to corporate clients has become big business for gift basket business owners who report that over half of their overall business comes from commercial customers. Corporate clients also tend to place large ($1,000 or more) orders, make repeat orders, and help keep business flowing at non-holiday times of the year.
To learn how you can get started in a dream career as a gift basket business owner, check out the Gift Basket Business Owner Certificate Course offered by the International Association of Professions Career College (IAP Career College). For more information, visit https://www.iapcollege.com/program/gift-basket-business-course.