© Diane M. Aull
Is the gift basket business right for you?
Are you artistic and imaginative? Do you love to shop? Do you have a knack for finding interesting and unusual small-gift items? Can you work well under deadlines? Can you tolerate being very, very busy around various holidays (perhaps to the point of having to take your own holidays at other times)?
You may find the gift-basket business to your liking!
Can you handle the competition?
One thing to be aware of before you jump in with both feet: the retail gift basket industry is very competitive. Just look around you and see how many coffee shops, department stores, florists, gift shops, and even warehouse clubs in your local area offer gift baskets around various holidays. All of these are potential competitors.
It’s going to be tough to compete on price with big discount retailers and warehouse clubs, so your best bet may be to try to find some niche or specialty. For instance, you could put together "housewarming" baskets with an assortment of tools (hammer, screwdriver, wrench, pliers, etc.), supplies (WD-40, duct tape, etc.) and a how-to book about do-it-yourself home repair. Or a "first apartment" basket with kitchen utensils (spatula, whisk, tongs, etc.), herbs and spices, and a book of quick and easy recipes.
Be creative! You need to come up with something that will differentiate you from the mass-merchandise retailers and the established specialty shops out there.
The competition is especially fierce among online retailers. Good search-engine placement is crucial to getting the traffic you need to make a living with a gift basket business, and the people who are already successful with it know pretty much every trick in the book for getting those good rankings.
Frankly, if you don’t have the competitive instincts of Ghengis Khan, you may find it difficult to get your foot in the door with an online-only business. If you do plan to pursue this strategy, be sure to learn everything you can about pay-per-click (PPC) and set aside a sufficient budget for advertising.
A good idea may be to concentrate on your local market first. You might consider partnering with a local brick-and-mortar business, such as a coffee shop or gift boutique: they supply at least part of the basket contents and the retail outlet for the finished product, while you supply the basket supplies and labor to assemble them, and the two of you split the profits.
What is involved in starting a gift basket business?
Okay, so you think you might like assembling gift baskets, and you’ve got a realistic idea of your competition. What next?
- First, you’ll have to decide what kinds of gift baskets you’re going to assemble. Are you going to offer only pre-made baskets, or will you allow people to request custom assortments?
- Second, you’ll need to establish your business. And remember, this is a business. Register your business name. Get a business checking account. Write a business plan.
- Make sure you’ve got all the necessary insurance. This is especially important if you’re going to offer foodstuffs or personal care items in your baskets; all it takes is one person to get sick or have an allergic reaction and you could find your business has gone out of business, if you don’t have adequate insurance in place!
- Make sure you’re aware of all logistical, health, environmental, and agricultural restrictions that might apply. For example, if your baskets contain wine or raw fruits, you may not be allowed to ship them to some areas. Shipping chocolates and easily perishable foodstuffs during the hot summer months may require special packaging or overnight delivery. Set up your product availability, delivery policies and shipping charges accordingly.
- Determine where you will assemble the baskets and where you’ll store your supplies.
- Locate vendors. You’ll need to find people or companies who can supply sufficient quantities of the items you’ve decided to include in your baskets at wholesale prices (or at least a significant discount). Frankly, you cannot make a profit assembling gift baskets from items you purchase at retail. You simply can’t mark them up enough to make it worth your time!
Yeah, there is a lot to think about. But once you get started, you may just find that assembling and selling gift baskets is a lot of fun, and rewarding as well!
Start Your Own Gift Basket Business
An affordable report written by a veteran of the gift basket business. Loads of useful information to help you get started quickly, build repeat business and run circles around your competition. Sign up for the free mini course.
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Offers Start Your Gift Basket Business, a step-by-step guide to establishing and growing a home-based gift basket business. Includes a wholesale directory with over 700 listings for gift basket industry suppliers.