Starting a gift basket business is a great business venture for teens who want to make some money working from home.
The first step in starting your own business is to contact your local business tax office for information on licensing and permits you may need before you begin. you’ll also need to come up with a name for your business. Think of something catchy that people will remember when they’re looking for a company to fulfill their needs.
Next, broaden your knowledge of the gift basket world by reading books that take you through the process of starting and growing your business. Amazon.com has many books on the subject, including “Start Your Own Gift Basket Business” by Cheryl Kimball and “The Gift Basket Design Book” by Shirley George Baker. Or check your local library for options.
You might also want to take classes on making gift baskets, or attend a business seminar or product demonstration. You’ll want to create attractive designs that look expensive without it costing you too much money.
Decide if you want to focus on specific occasions or holidays, or if you plan to make baskets for any occasion a customer needs, such as birthdays, graduations, births or get well.
When it comes to purchasing supplies for your baskets, a good place to start are discount stores like Dollar Tree, Family Dollar or Big Lots. All of these stores have great items for a fraction of the price you’d pay elsewhere–which means a larger profit for you!
Some items you may want to have on hand are colored ribbons, cellophane, baskets or decorative boxes, stuffed animals, small toys, baby supplies, books, candles and bath and body products. If you plan on including food items, prepackaged snack foods like popcorn, pretzels, chips, fudge, trail mix, jerky, cookies and candy are good choices.
Once your business picks up, you may want to consider ordering from wholesale dealers. However, it’s important to remember that there are potential problems that may occur with wholesalers, like switched delivery dates and delayed shipments, so be prepared and try to have some of your most popular items in stock so you aren’t left scrambling to fill a basket order if any problems arise.
When it comes to marketing your business, you can post information on networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. You can also make business cards to hand out to friends and family, and create flyers that can be posted on bulletin boards in schools, libraries, grocery stores, nursing homes, gyms and hospitals.
In addition, you could start your own website and send out monthly email newsletters and even offer discounts or two-for-one specials. If you start a website, post pictures of some of the baskets you’ve made, so potential customers can see the quality and content of your products. Your site should also include a welcome page, an order form, information about your business, contact info, etc.
Another great way to market yourself is through the school system in your area. Many local PTAs and PTOs hold fundraisers throughout the school year or have prize drawings at school-sponsored events. If you donate a basket or two, you can include your contact info so people can contact you if they’d like you to put something together for them.
When you receive a new order, take time to talk to the customer to find out who the basket is going to, what the recipient’s likes and dislikes are and if that person has any allergies so you know what things to avoid.
You should also provide your potential customers with a checklist of items you can include in their baskets, including separate checklists for various holidays and occasions. These checklists will allow your customers to select items that they think would be a great addition to the baskets they order.
A gift basket business does involve some work, but it can be very rewarding and profitable with time and attention. And it can give you an outlet for your creativity by allowing you to design attractive gifts that people are sure to talk about and enjoy!