You can spend a lot of money buying the wrong things when you decide to make gift baskets, or you can make wise decisions after learning how the pros spend their cash.
The year was 1990 when I decided to start a gift basket business. I bought many items that my customers wanted, but I could have done better.
Back then there was no help to find out how or where to buy. Other gift basket owners weren’t sharing their secrets. Why would they? Competitors didn’t tell me then, and they definitely won’t tell you now. That means there will be a fair amount of trial and error as you make decisions. If you’re searching for information on what works, this guide will help you. Let’s begin.
The first step taken in deciding what types of gift basket-making products to buy is writing down all of the items you believe people will want in their gift baskets.
You may not want to take time to write a list, but just think: you write lists before going to the supermarket, when running several errands, and when packing for vacation. Instead of writing down the details, you may have an app on your smartphone that takes care of list building. That’s fine. The main mission here is to know what you’ll buy once you start searching. Your list will include:
- Food items
- Gift items
- Embellishments (flowers, greenery, etc.)
- Cellophane or shrink wrap
- Ribbon for bowmaking
These items create basic gift basket designs.
You may also consider buying containers in addition to buying baskets. Containers provide a unique styling for gift baskets. Example include:
- Flower pots
- Watering cans
- Tea cups and saucers
- Baby bathtubs
- Waste paper cans
- Silver-plated trays
You’re probably wondering what types of food and gift items are appropriate for gift basket making. What you choose depends on each person’s preferences. However, you can start buying basic items that most people enjoy receiving and, in time, buy items you know will be best sellers according to what customers share with you.
Popular foods include:
- Beef sausage
- Organic goodies
What about gifts, the items that are keepsake and memorable for the occasion the gift basket was made? Consider:
- Kitchen accessories
- Games and puzzles
- Writing instruments
- Spa products
- Baby accessories
You’ll find more gift and food ideas online, in catalogs, in general stores and gift shops, gourmet stores and at office suppliers such as Staples and Office Depot. Office stores sell gift baskets during the holidays and may be, or may not be your competition. The article, Who is Your Gift Basket Competition?, helps you determine if they are or are not.
There’s much more to consider when selecting what to buy. However, this introduction is a great foundation to begin the selection.
Places to Buy
Are you making gift baskets for fun or profit? Fun means gift baskets are a hobby, a craft you enjoy because making baskets is a creative activity. Profit means that you intend to make money by selling your creations.
If gift baskets are your hobby, an endless supply of products can be found locally at:
- Dollar stores
- Flea markets
- Craft events
- Home Goods
- Trader Joe’s
- Tuesday Morning
- Specialty stores
- Christmas Tree Shops
- Suppliers of all types
- Warehouse clubs (Costco, etc.)
Don’t overlook the possibilities. My daughter has found discounted vinegars, mustards, and soups for me at a well-known linen store.
If you own a gift basket business, you’ll find yourself browsing, and sometimes buying, in these venues, but manufacturers and distributors that make and/or sell products specifically for resale (no taxes, either) are the go-to place to get merchandise.
Distributors are companies that resell products that were obtained from a variety of manufacturers. They usually sell items without minimum buying restrictions. That means a person who makes gift baskets for profit can purchase one or two products at a time from distributors rather than buy a case of one type of product from a manufacturer. This low-cost option allows gift basket makers to stretch their dollars.
The other major buying method for business owners is shopping at trade shows held at locations worldwide. Trade shows are open to businesses, not the public. This is where gift manufacturers from around the world introduce new products and trends to retailers who buy to resell all of it to their customers for a profit.
Isn’t it wonderful to have such varied choices whether you are making gift baskets for fun or profit?
Having a hobby or business is similar to having a baby. Before bringing the new addition home, a room or portion of a room is prepared for its rest and nurturing.
Do you have space in your home, apartment, attic, or garage to properly store gift basket equipment and supplies? Whether you purchase six items or six cases of products, it must be put away properly in an area where no tampering can occur, no bugs can eat it before customers receive it, and no moisture or mildew can settle on it.
Storage containers sold at most discount stores (Walmart, Target, etc.) are helpful whether your workspace is in a small or large room. Containers are available in many sizes, colors, and shapes and have locking lids for an airtight close. Storage containers stack atop each other and fit into corners away from household foot traffic and personal belongings.
Start slow, do your research to find items that people want in their gift baskets, and decide on the right buying and storage options for your hobby or business.
Now you’re armed with lots of knowledge. That’s what I lacked when I started making gift baskets, but best of all, you’re now equipped with information that brings you one step closer to success.