Would you do well as a gift basket designer? Maybe so… if you’re super creative and have an eye for creating great-looking designs, moms, dads, sons, and daughters all over the world want you to consider designing gift baskets in your spare time.
Don’t you feel like the holiday gift baskets at your neighborhood supercenter leave a lot to be desired? When did they start skimping on the marshmallow Peeps and plastic dolls at Easter time?
- Gift Baskets are Popular Year-Round
- Gift Basket Customers Are a Diverse Bunch (hello, creative flow state)
- Tips for Becoming a Gift Basket Designer
Gift Baskets are Popular Year-Round
Gift Basket Designers have built-in busy seasons. Spring is busy because people want gift baskets for Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day. Then in the final three months of the year are the winter holidays when people are once again shopping for all kinds of gift boxes and gift baskets.
Add to that the fact that people buy gift baskets for other special occasions like baby showers, birthdays, and anniversaries, and companies are always looking for cool ways to stay top-of-mind with current and prospective clients, and one easy way to do that is with the occasional gift item.
So, I’m thinking that even during off-peak seasons, you can still get yourself plenty of one-off customers and grow your own client list through some savvy marketing tactics (which I’ve outlined below for ya).
Gift Basket Customers Are a Diverse Bunch (hello, creative flow state)
Gift basket designers have a lot of individual clients who will provide much-needed word-of-mouth promotion. But you’ll also have corporate clients who will keep you busy with company parties, staff gifts, and corporate marketing efforts.
I actually know two women who make gift baskets as one of their side hustles. Creatively and stylistically, these women are lightyears ahead of the cellophane-wrapped wicker baskets that line the store shelves during Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas. Her transition into basket design was a natural progression from other crafts in which she had taken an interest (she’s also a homeschooling mom, so…).
When you start a new business, the proverbial advice is not to depend on your family and friends to patronize it. This actually is the kind of business where your friends and family will be your first customers because they’re looking for a cool gift made by someone they trust that’s reasonably priced… and they’d rather give it to you than Walmart.
If you’re wondering what the charge for your product, I think the average gift basket made by an individual will sell for $50 to $75, depending on the size of the basket and what your customers want in the basket.
Tips for Becoming a Gift Basket Designer
Creativity, a bit of pizzazz and style, eye for symmetry
Basket design supplies (varies, depending on your design style AND your intended buyers)
You’ll spend less than $50 for supplies like baskets, cellophane, ribbons, especially if you can get them locally without having to pay to have them shipped to you. So, you can get into the business without much upfront cost beyond the cost of your supplies. And to be honest, when you’re first starting out, a lot of that stuff you can pick up at your local Dollar Tree or grab them on end-of-season clearance sales from stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby (aka Sorilbran’s Disney World).
Marketing Ideas for Your Gift Basket Business
Word of mouth marketing is always a good place to start. You can even blog on the topic. But this is a visual sale, so take pictures of each basket you create to build a portfolio of your handiwork.
Drumming up word-of-mouth buzz…
A gift basket designer can dream up a bunch of different ways to generate word-of-mouth buzz. You can donate your services to a handful of local community organizations when they hold special events. You can partner with realtors who leave gift baskets for the owners of new homes. You can create gift baskets for kids who have been adopted or provide them for teenage orphans. Or maybe just have a good, old-fashioned gift-basket giveaway on Instagram.
I don’t say this often, but this is also a good business for flyers that you can leave in the local mom & pop restaurant, or at beauty supply stores, or at church (if your church does that sort of thing). Distribute color flyers and business cards to anyone or any business that will take them.
Your own website…
You NEED a website a because a well-designed website will give you credibility that will allow you to woo customers outside of your family and your neighborhood.
Now, let’s talk about the visual element of your business and your ability to crank up the awe. Visual means it’s the perfect product for Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.
First of all, grow your audience by consistently posting really beautiful pictures of your finished baskets. If your customers agree, you can also post pics of your customers with their baskets, and video their first reactions to seeing their custom-ordered baskets.
I wouldn’t dive right into posting baskets with prices. You have to be more subtle and have more swagger than that. Take a few tips from Wilton Cakes on Instagram (@wiltoncakes) or Compartes Chocolates (on Instagram @Compartes) and create a feed that’s mesmerizing to look at.
Wilton Cakes does these really cool high-speed video tutorials on how they design their cakes. Even when there’s no holiday product they’re promoting, they’re always posting new pictures and videos that downright fascinate cake eaters, cake designers, and foodies.
I actually learned about Compartes Chocolatier when I was checking out Barbie’s lifestyle feed – yes, the Mattel doll. She was holding gourmet chocolate from the store, so I found Compartes on Instagram and immediately bounced to their website to see this amazing-looking chocolate.
Post eye catching pins that link to content on your site. What the heck do you talk about on your site? Well, I have a few ideas for you:
- New design elements you want to try
- New techniques you’re learning or show others how to do them
- Talk about the basics, like how to make a gift basket look balanced
- Or share 5 or 10 or 15 creative ideas for making the perfect Mother’s Day basket.
Give away my secrets??? Yeah… you sort of have to. It’s okay to be useful because not everyone will end up buying from you. But if you’re super useful to those who don’t they will always recommend you anyway.
If you’re accepting cake orders, you will definitely want to set up a Pinterest Business account so that you can list your business with Pinterest. Pinterest now shows users who are looking for certain products local merchants in their area from whom they can buy things.
Pinterest also has begun asking pinners if they are from an underrepresented group, which basically shakes out to anyone who’s systematically had their civil rights trampled on. The goal is to build diversity into the Pinterest algorithm so that minority creators, minority-owned businesses can be seen. #goodidea
So, definitely make some of your pins shoppable.
If you create blog posts on your blog, create video versions of the post that walk people through how to do certain things and post them to Facebook. Facebook is increasingly becoming a video platform. More people will see your Facebook video than will ever find a link to your blog that comes from Facebook.
Facebook is also the place you want to set up your Shop so that your customers can place orders. On the heels of COVID, older shoppers are way more comfortable buying online. Not only that, but older shoppers are more likely to see your content on Facebook AND SHARE THEM!!
If you’re a gift basket designer, your product is the face of your company. So, YouTube is a great place to humanize your business so people can put a name, face, and personality to the brand. If you have things that are uniquely you, like praying over every basket or doing your weekly shop in your favorite local shop (even if you hide the name of the business from your audience as a “trade secret”), YouTube is the place to take people behind the curtain of your amazing-looking YouTube feed.
Another really cool thing about YouTube is that you can draw your peers and sell to them through affiliate links by dropping links to the supplies you use in the description of your video, then you earn a commission for every item sold using your links.
So, YouTube allows you to sell your authority, build trust, boost brand awareness with your buyers, and make money from affiliate sells you get when other gift basket designers watch your videos for tips, tricks and ideas then buy the items you used in your video using your affiliate links.
Becoming a gift basket designer is one of those gifts I kinda wish I had the “eye” for… but sadly, I don’t. So, if this ends up being your jam, and you launch a gift basket business, please let me know.