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Gift Basket FAQ

 

 

 

Table of Contents (Click on each question)

Visit to the FAQ Index page for a full list of all of the frequently-asked questions pages.

Also visit the Success Articles section.

Want to ask a specific question? Visit AskTheGiftBasketExpert.com.

  1. What does it take to be a gift basket professional?
     
  2. What are the most popular gift basket products?
     
  3. Where do I buy products if I'm just starting?
     
  4. Who buys gift baskets?
     
  5. How do I advertise without blowing my budget?
     
  6. What problems can I expect?
     
  7. I need statistics that show this is a good, profitable business.  Where are they?
     
  8. Are gift basket businesses selling lots of baskets on the Internet?

What does it take to be a gift basket professional?

Gift basket professionals score high marks in three areas - patience, research and determination.

Patience is key to develop your basket-making craft. Videos, conferences and adult school courses are three ways that teach you the building basics. Believe me, patience will pay off in the long run.

The library and the Internet are two common places to begin researching the industry. Library reference books will lead you to sources such as magazines, statistics and trade shows. Message boards and live chats are common available through the Internet and America Online.

A gift basket business has its share of ups and downs, and this is where your determination is crucial. When I started my business, there were no resources, print or video, but I was determined to succeed. If you can't get through the front door, come up the side. Did the prospect say, "no?" Keep going until another says "yes." I did, and it works.

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What are the most popular gift basket products?

Stick with prepackaged snack foods. Popcorn, pretzels, chips and dips such as salsa, nuts, dried fruit, flavored mini hot or cold drinks, cookies, fudge and too many other products to mention.

There are occasions where foods are not appropriate. For example, baby baskets include nail clippers, hangers, rattles and bibs. Get well baskets contain interlocking or word puzzles, books, games and an occasional request for fruit, which most professionals purchase from a local grocer.

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Where do I buy products if I'm just starting?

If you have applied for and received a business license from your state department of taxation or other agency, you are qualified to buy products from nationwide wholesalers.

 

Distributors, which are companies that sell a variety of products made by other manufacturers, make your first and subsequent buying plans manageable. They stock hundreds of items and let you buy an assortment of products, usually only one or two of each product.

Distributors and companies are listed in the Gift Basket Wholesale Supplies site.

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Who buys gift baskets?

There are five groups that buy gift baskets.

  • Individuals
  • Private practitioners (doctors, dentists, veterinarians, etc.)
  • Corporations
  • Institutions (hospitals, colleges)
  • Non-profit organizations (Boys' and Girls' clubs, United Way, etc.)

A word of caution - don't send your first mailing to every group listed above. Limit the mailing to two buying groups at most. Review the results and revise your literature if the response is low. When you're satisfied with the results or revision, send the next mailing to another group and repeat your review.

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How to I advertise without blowing my budget?

Newspapers and magazines do little to increase your revenue. Stick with direct mail pieces.

That includes postcards, newsletters and flyers sent directly (usually by mail) to clients and prospective buyers. Yellow page ads also get a "thumbs up" from gift basket professionals.

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What problems can I expect?

Switched deliveries, cancelled orders, delayed shipments and other pitfalls. Every industry has its share of problems, and gift baskets are no different. However, seasoned professionals agree wholeheartedly that the good outweighs the bad.

If you want to chart a course in a career rather than depend on a job, the gift basket business is an industry for you to consider entering.

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I need statistics that show this is a good, profitable business. Where are they?

 

Magazines such as Gifts & Decorative Accessories, Gourmet News and the NASFT's (National Association of Specialty Food Trade) Buyers' Survey have printed information on gift basket statistics.

These surveys, dating back to 1991, were sent to a range of between 100 to 10,000 individuals who own storefront gift and gourmet shops and home-based gift basket businesses.

Details in each survey include, but are not limited to:

  • Buyers' age,
  • Income,
  • Education,
  • Geographic location, and
  • Top-selling gift basket themes,
  • Best price points,
  • Most-effective marketing methods, and
  • Gift basket business income potential based on general and customized gift basket sales.

Check our gift basket statistics page for more details.

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Are gift basket businesses selling lots of baskets on the Internet?

To date, many gift basket businesses have not captured a great deal of business through an Internet presence. That doesn't mean that a site is a waste of time and money. To profit, you must do more to tell individuals that you have a Web site.

Selling gift baskets on the Internet includes making your presence known to local hotels, conference centers, organizations and other groups who may be interested in buying your state-made baskets for out-of-town visitors. Your site may also be visited by out-of-state destination management firms sending gift baskets to groups in your area that consider holding their conference in another state.

Example: The Statehouse Convention and Conference Center in Little Rock, Arkansas has spent $21 million to expand its facility, which was completed in May 1999. It contains 15 meeting rooms and 62,000 square feet of exhibit space. Gift basket businesses in and around Little Rock might consider contacting the conference center and the convention and visitors bureau for a list of groups who plan to meet at this facility. The center, bureau, visiting groups and others in the hospitality sector (such as seven area hotels with 220+ rooms) must receive a packet of information about your gift baskets for visitors along with an Internet address for further reference.

Selling on the Internet means being as creative in your marketing efforts as you are in styling your baskets. The more you market (link trading, board postings and other activities), the greater your chances for Internet profits.

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Visit to the FAQ Index page for a full list of all of the frequently-asked questions pages.

Some text is adapted from How to Start a Home-Based Gift Basket Business.
Copyright 1998, 2000, 2003 Shirley George Frazier. All rights reserved.

 


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