all that women want
Gift Basket Business the "Punkin" Way!
No doubt about it! There is a dramatic increase in home-based businesses over the last decade! Why? Self-Independence? High cost of daycare? Or, maybe we just want to truly be in charge of the direction of our lives.
Many people are trading in their corporate hats and venturing into the small home based business world. http://www.sbtrends2000.com reports "...currently about 50% of the 10 million (primarily) self-employed are home-based; thus, there are already about 5 million home based businesses...Home-based businesses will continue to increase...Much of the increase, however, may be "secondary self-employment businesses rather than home-based businesses relied upon for primary income..."
Jennifer Powell, owner of Punkin's Gift Baskets and Boxes, is no stranger to working at home. She telecommuted for a NJ company as a government mortgage processor. How did she end up starting her present business?
When interest rates were on the rise in mid-99 I was laid off, within two months of moving. My income was immediately reduced by two-thirds. Mortgage processors in my area make only 25 to 35% of what I earned. So I decided to take my chances & threw myself into the gift business full-time. The name of the business is Punkin's Gift Baskets & Boxes. (Punkin is my nickname.)"
"I have always liked coming up with "the right gift". Christmas is my favorite time of year & I'm the one, of 4 sisters, who can really wrap a gift. I like the creativity of it, combining ribbon & paper; patterns & color. I offered free gift-wrapping in the gift shop, year-round just because I like to wrap gifts. The gift baskets kind of grew out of that. For example: you have a friend who likes teddy bears. So you look for a teddy bear address book & maybe a pen. I just took that a step further & combined an address book, blank journal, pen note cards & coordinating envelopes and a porcelain hinged box all in a teddy bear motif & pre-wrapped it. I thought, "Hey, this is fun! I'll be up & going in no time."
"It was a "learn as you go" situation. I didn't have the time to do proper research on the demographics of the area or the industry in general (mistake #2).
I no longer had the income to fund this adventure so each mistake, they are unavoidable, was costly. I didn't know how to price a basket, didn't know what made them stay together, how to shrink wrap, etc."
Researching a small business idea is essential!
most important thing anyone who wants to start a gift basket business
can do is RESEARCH! Learn everything you can (while you still have
another job). Go into stores & look at their gift baskets not
only the price & products but also the mechanics of it. Use the
web to see what's out there. Learn to make a hand-tied bow. Go to
the Library & check out books or industry periodicals.
"The idea for the "house" boxes for Realtors came from a real estate industry magazine article that mentioned "closing gifts." My mother has been in real estate all my life & I asked her about it & she said that it was a fairly new practice. I made up a few different designs & printed a brochure that I left in her office. I received a few orders & some feedback on the designs, made some changes & now I have a few boxes on display in her office and a link on her website."
"I don't think so. With a well thought out plan you could probably start out for under $250. A quality heat gun, roll of shrink wrap, 2 rolls of wired ribbon, heavy duty tape & a turntable are going to use up your first $100."
"There are different methods of pricing. Some use a mark-up percentage of the combined cost of the basket, products & filler. Others add a flat fee for the labor to construct the basket. I use a hybrid system depending on the client & the gift."
What's the future look like for Punkin's Gift Baskets and Boxes?
2) Don't be shy (I am, very) Tell everyone who will listen to you about your new venture. Don't bore them to tears with the details; keep it short & to the point. Your answer to "Hi, how are you?" is not "Fine, how are you?" it's "I started my own gift basket business, here's my card. If you need anything, call me!" If they want to know more they'll ask.
3) Think of the gifts in terms of what you would like to receive. What would you rather have a large extravagant basket with only a few products in it or an inexpensive basket overflowing with beautiful products?
Where to start:
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