Gift Basket Articles

Buying and Storing Products

By Shirley George Frazier

Lots of money. That’s what I spent on products when I starting making gift baskets.

Ten years ago there were no business models to duplicate or buying charts to master, so I learned by trial and error, lots of error.

The bright side is that you will learn from my early experience and become more successful at buying and storing products.

Product Selection
The world is your oyster when it comes to choosing products for your gift baskets. These products become your “inventory,” the goods you select to create a gift.

Baskets aren’t the only container on the market. Consider using anything with an open center such as flower pots, watering cans, tea cups and saucers, baby bathtubs, waste paper cans, vases, silver-plated trays and backpacks.

Popular foods include pretzels, dried fruit, cookies, hard candy, popcorn, nuts, crackers, chocolates and cheeses that need no refrigeration. Looking for gifts? Use stationery, writing instruments, kitchen accessories, baby products, games, puzzle books and other items that match the theme.

Other product ideas are found in gift and gourmet catalogs that arrive in your mailbox, local card and gift shops, gourmet stores and at office suppliers such as Office Max and Staples (they sell gift baskets, too, especially around the holidays). There are other products in each group to consider, but this selection gives you a good foundation on options for making your baskets.

Places to Buy
Are you making gift baskets for fun or profit? Fun means it’s 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 supermarkets, dollar stores and warehouse outlets. Don't overlook the possibilities. My daughter brought home discounted vinegars, mustards and soups purchased at a well-known linen store.

Gift basket makers who run a business occasionally browse in the same venues, but many more use manufacturers and distributors as their product mainstay. Distributors are companies that resell products that were obtained from a variety of manufacturers. They usually set low or no buying minimums. 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 a gift basket maker to stretch their dollars.

The other major buying method is shopping at trade shows held at locations nationwide. 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. Isn’t it wonderful to have such varied choices whether you are making gift baskets for fun or profit?

Storage Options
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 or garage for the newfound inventory? Whether you’ve purchased six individual items or six boxes of products, they must be stored. Choose a moisture-free area such as a pantry shelf or food storage cabinet.

No space? No problem. Use one of the many storage containers sold at most discount department stores. They come in many sizes, colors and shapes and have lids with locking mechanisms for an airtight close. Storage containers stack atop each other and fit into corners away from household foot traffic.

Start slow, research the market for the types of products that are best for your 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, I can share what I’ve learned with you.

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About the Author:
Shirley George Frazier is known worldwide as "the gift basket expert." Her guidance helps thousands of individuals create the lifestyle of their dreams with gift baskets. Shirley conducts classes, speaks at conferences, and is author of How to Start a Home-Based Gift Basket Business and The Gift Basket Design Book, the industry's best-selling books. Sign up for Shirley's free weekly newsletter at http://www.giftbasketbusiness.com.
 

©2007-2010 Shirley George Frazier
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