Even people who don’t normally choose to buy organic, local, or sustainable products for themselves may still opt for buying a gift basket full of these types of goodies for baby showers, wedding presents, birthdays, holidays, and more, so starting a gift basket service that caters to the green consumer can be a great green business idea. If you like sourcing sustainable products, working with local producers, and being artistic in wrapping and displaying these types of gifts, you may find that you have the knack to run a successful gift basket service, which can please the recipients while supporting other green entrepreneurs. 1. What is a sustainable gift basket service? As a gift basket service provider, your job is to create charming, innovative, and creative gifts that use healthy products supplied from sustainable sources. You can craft artistic products that differentiate themselves from ‘run of the mill’ gift baskets and use local goods. Combining your passion for food with artisan skills can make for highly customized gift baskets with a terrific local ‘flavor’. There are a wide variety of options for distribution channels and assuring stable sales of your gift baskets. However, this business is likely to be as much supply chain management as it is product creation. Some retail outlets will be much more likely to carry your goods than others. Traditionally, larger chain outlets have often excluded locally made goods so that they could standardize their offerings across geographic areas and through centralized distribution warehouses (it was argued that this improved efficiency in supply chain management). Recent trends, however, bode well for this and other businesses that create local goods to be sold through retail outlets. Growing interest in local goods by consumers has caused many retail outlets to change their policies to favor locally produced goods. In addition, growing interest in buying local means many customers are not only shopping at locally owned stores, but looking for locally made products. You can also market your gift baskets more directly, through farmer’s markets and other outlets where you are in direct contact with your customers. 2. What knowledge or skills are necessary? Starting a gift basket business does not require many formal skills. However, you must be artistic and have a passion for crafting exciting products that your customers will appreciate. You must also know how to estimate your inventory accurately if you are using fresh produce in your gift baskets, and of course, to manage perishables if the gift baskets do not sell quickly. 3. How much money is required to start? $ (on a scale of $ to $$$$$) 4. What is the income potential? $$ (on a scale of $ to $$$$$) 5. What is the best location for a gift basket service? You do not need storefront or office space to start a gift basket service. However, you should ensure that you are close enough to a city or residential space to make pick-up or delivery accessible/affordable. Shipping gift baskets is also an option, but may be less sustainable than other options. 6. Best questions to ask yourself to find out if this business is right for you (if you can answer yes to all three, this business might be for you):
- Are you artistic and enjoy making creative products?
- Do you have ideas about locally crafted, sustainable goods that would make good gift items coupled with each other?
- Are you comfortable working during holiday seasons (e.g., Christmas)?