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The Gift Professional's Guide to Building Long-Lasting Business

the report

july/august 2011 $12.00

In this issue:

Savoir Faire

Gift Basket Company

Special trade show section inside!

Table of Contents

JulyAugust 3


Marketing Feature


Tough Call


Business Resources


SEO in the First Place


Cover Story


Sales Feature


Smart Business Favorites


In the mix of things


In search of


Table of Contents




Socially speaking


Business Systems


Marketing class 101


Vendor Spotlight


Pearls of wisdom


Conventions and Trade shows


Gift basket industry trade show special report


Balancing Act


Notable Notes


Editor’s Note

the report

DIRECTORY Editor-In-Chief & Publisher Kimberly Cole Chief Financial Officer Jerry Cole Contributing Editors Carmelita Collier Shirley Tolbert Anissa White Art Director Paolo Dela Rosa Advertising Team Paulette Vildberg Account Executive Staff Writers Jim Aldrich Lynn Keeler Rodolfo N. Lentejas, Jr. Rikki MacCuish SL Ruffdan

Most likely by now you have become used to hearing about the new surprises we have waiting for you in each edition of The BasketWhiz Report, and we are happy to say you are in for no disappointments this issue either. Summer so far is treating us to some great weather, and on those hot steamy days it’s the perfect opportunity for you to start planning ahead. You may not want to be thinking about the cooler weather that we are certainly not able to avoid, but you can add some more sunshine to your day by planning for some great ventures for your gift basket business. A smart business person always plans ahead. Our plans here at The BasketWhiz Report have started to focus on the 2012 season, and we are super excited about what we have in store for you. Just to give you a taste of things to come, we have a new section called “In Search Of”, by Michelle Peruski. You are not going to want to miss this, nor are you going to want to miss the Annual Print edition of The BasketWhiz Report which will be on sale in mid August with our Easy Way to Pay Program™. In the meantime, you will be able to enjoy your time with this latest edition. Finally, as we plan for our 2012 season drop us a line about what you would like to see in the upcoming issues and let us know if you would like to be a cover or vendor feature—this year showed us that these spots book fast so email me at today. Expect the Great! Kimberly Cole, MBA Editor in Chief/Publisher The Basket Whiz Report

Gift Professional Contributor Michelle Peruski Executive Assistants

The Basket Whiz Report, a Division of The Confetti Group, LLC 2214 Main Street, Porterdale, GA 30014 is published 8 times a year (6 regular issues and 2 bonus issues). One year subscriptions are free to companies in the industry and $39.95 to non industry subscribers. The Basket Whiz Report is a digital publication that is delivered by email on the 15th of the issue month. COPYRIGHT © 2011 BY THE CONFETTI GROUP, LLC. All rights reserved. Material in this publication may not be stored or reproduced without permission from the publisher. Requests for permission should be directed to The Confetti Group at: or call: 1-866-635-9990.

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The Gift Industry is growing. Are your sales growing with it? Hundreds of gift professionals have subscribed! What do they know that you don’t? The Basket Whiz Report was created specifically for gift professionals. The Goal: Provide gift professionals with knowledge on how to successfully run a business and to gain insight to help establish, build and maintain your customer base, stay abreast of the industry’s hot topics, to learn from our peers and to see what new products are available for the industry. NO Expense to Subscribe: The Basket Whiz Report is a FREE subscription to those in the gift industry (gift basket companies, vendors to the gift industry, event planners, florists, anyone in the industry) Competitive Edge: over 90% of our readers say that being a subscriber of The Basket Whiz Report has been refreshing, informative and glad to see the magazine being published. Being in the know about the industry will give you an advantage over your competitors.

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Words to Motivate and Inspire

Being creative is like walking by SL Ruffdan

An idea gets it started. Then, a moving mind churning one thought after the next. A fresh perspective and a little creativity could greatly enliven your mission and your business. Whether it’s a new way of doing, a new way of seeing, or a new way of thinking about what you can do to be more for your customers, it can only happen if you take that first step. You are the only one that can hold back your creativity. So, let it go, and enjoy the exhilarating results of that burst‌a marathon of success!

Ad Space for Sale Readership: Gift Basket Companies Florists Event Planners Wedding Planners Gift Shops Balloon Designers Gourmet Food Shops 2

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Marketing Feature

Adopting a


Frame Of

Mind by Lynn Keeler

As the saying goes, "you should never put your eggs all in one basket", the same can be said for your business. You may have a store location for your gift basket business as well as an online store. In either case you need to promote your business both on land and online. If you are operating online only always make sure you have a good amount of business cards with you at all times. You never know when the opportunity will arise when you can hand a few of these out. Make it a point if you are giving your cards to a person to give them a few and ask them to pass them along to their friends. Remind yourself to make the opportunity to market your business when you can as well. For example if you are chatting with someone in the doctor’s office bring the conversation around to gift baskets one way or another. You can lead in about having the advantage of how working at home allows you to be flexible in booking your doctor’s appointments, for example. Or if you have an on land (brick and mortar) store you can mention how difficult it is to find time for yourself. Constantly think

of how you can get the word out. Keep some promotional flyers in the car with you. If you hear of a friend having a yard sale ask her to put some of your flyers on her table. If you are primarily operating your business from an on land store, you still need to have a presence online. At the very least get your listing in the Google directory of businesses for your area. Start a blog, or even set up a professional page on Facebook. You don’t have to be a computer whiz to do this, and you will be pleasantly surprised at how much business it will bring you. Add some of your marketing materials to your emails. Once you turn your mind into a marketing mind, it will come naturally to you to market your business. Many new business owners are hesitant to market their business away from their store or their website. They feel like they are being a pushy salesperson. You always have to remember that your product is always one that is needed, and you are doing people a service by letting them know you can help with their gift giving needs.

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Tough Call

Expanding Your Business When Funds are Low by Lynn Keeler

When business is slow it’s difficult to even think about expansion or whether you even should. A business must continue to grow, if it is to succeed. If you are going to stay competitive, you have to remain on the same level as your competitors with the goal in mind to supersede them. The big problem is, how do you take your gift basket business past the hobby stage to a viable business when you don’t have the money to invest. This situation leaves you with two basic choices. Which one makes more sense?


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Tough Call

Choice #1

Choice #2

You can advertise yourself as a business to your friends and hope that they will pass the word along, and you can slowly build your business over time. This is a starter but it is not likely going to bring in the revenue that you need to push your business to the next level, where it goes beyond generating enough money to barely cover the cost of materials.

You can use your social skills at a business level. You can begin by putting a marketing plan together and utilizing this in the social media settings such as Facebook and Twitter. This means building a professional page to promote your products. By building your fans and followers at this level then the word begins to spread at a professional level. You are now viewed as someone in business, rather than a friend who makes gift baskets. Your cash flow should increase much faster, which means that you then take what extra money is left over after expenses and put this back into your business such as building your website, and building a marketing and advertising portfolio. Once you get the cash flow rolling you then have the task of keeping it at a steady growth rate. Once your business is established then you can start to enjoy the benefits of all your work.

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Business Resources Video Marketing:

The New Powerhouse to Driving Customers to Your Business by Lynn Keeler

Always make sure that you stay on the hunt for free business resources that can be used to enhance your business. This could be anything from preparing a free give away report on gift giving ideas, or making use of free software that is going to allow you to promote your business. Many times you will come across simple to use software that is given away to you in the hopes that the supplier will be able to up sell you to a more advanced level. There are no obligations to do so, and you can end up with some great resources that will help your business to grow. Something that not enough business owners make use of is video marketing. Now you may be thinking that this is way out of your price range, but it really is affordable. In fact if you have a fairly up to date computer you can learn how to use power point which is often a free program that comes with many computers. The later versions will allow you to turn your presentation into a simple video. You can also check your computer to see if you have windows video maker which is another easy to use program that you already own. Once you learn the basics of doing this which is not hard at all, you will have tons of enjoyment in producing videos for your business which you can do during your slow times. You will also discover that there are many ways to make these videos compatible with YouTube. In addition toYouTube, there are some great sites that will allow you to download your videos for free. Naturally there will be a large amount of other videos there as well, but hey, you never know whose going to be interested in what you have to offer and every little marketing opportunity helps. You can also place some simple how to videos on your website which are a great drawing feature to get traffic to your site just as the YouTube videos are. If you feel that even a simplified version of making videos is too technical for you then check out your local high school and colleges to see if they run computer courses. If so, there may be students there that would love the opportunity to make your video for you in exchange for a credit to them posted on your site. is one example of free software for editing videos.


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Did You Know? »» From January 2010 to January 2011, viewing time of video grew 44.5%. »» Video will be 90% of all internet traffic by 2013. »» Retail site visitors, who view video stay two minutes longer on average and 64% more likely to purchase. »» 33% of online retailers plan to add video to their sites, making it a higher priority than any other advanced feature. »» Video in email marketing has been shown to increase click through rates by over 96% »» With proper optimization, video increases the chance to a front page Google result by 53x

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SEO in the First Place

Making the Best First Impression Online Rodolfo N. Lentejas, Jr.


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Cliché as it may sound, first impressions do count in the online world. Since Internet users are usually of the impatient kind, they will choose to remain on a website based on its accessibility, efficiency, and reliability. If your target audience or prospective client can’t find what he/she is looking for in your site within eight seconds, chances are he/she will leave and check out your competitors. You wouldn’t want this to happen, would you? Websites that fail to attract and retain users will definitely have the least chances of obtaining a high page rank or converting visits into sales in the case of a business. With this in mind, it is crucial to know how to create a striking and enduring first impression online. Read on to find out some effective ways to accomplish this. Make your website as accessible and functional as you can A great website should contain all the necessary elements to make accessing it easy and hassle-free. Examples of these elements are a search bar and a navigation menu. If you want to make a good impression to your visitors, then you should make sure that all of your web pages contain those standard elements. In addition, they should also be visible and should be situated in the right places. When building a website, many individuals think that they should reinvent their site’s layout and structure to help them stand out from competition. However, accessibility and functionality are two things that you should never sacrifice for aesthetics. Design with the target users in mind Instead of making a generic website that isn’t specifically directed at any market segment, build one that would attract a certain group of users that will most likely to keep on visiting your website and buying your products. You can do this by designing your website in a way that will elicit the right reaction from your target market segment. Profitable clientbusiness relationships are established when you engage clients on a personal level. Be conversational and informational. By doing this, you’ll be able to give them exactly what they need and at the same make them feel connected to your business. Connect with users through images and videos Users will get more attracted to a website with visual graphics rather than one filled with plain text. As such, it would be wise to use high-quality images and videos that would complement the content that you have on your pages. You must face the fact that not everyone

is fond of reading through the long written portion of web pages. By including eye-catching multimedia, you can provide alternative content that may convert “lazy” readers into actual clients. While doing this, bear in mind that you have to ensure precision in design and in information. A site with poor graphics and layout will make you seem amateurish resulting in a loss of credibility. In addition, if the pictures are too edited and do not give a close semblance to your actual products, then be ready for customer complaints. Provide valuable and relevant content Indicating in your home page that you’re number one in the country and boasting about your company’s achievements will do nothing to retain your visitors. Internet users generally won’t care about you especially when it’s their first time on your website. What they would want to see posted on your homepage is good content – an eye-catching video, an appealing photo, or simply a well-written slogan. It doesn’t matter which of these you use as long as your target audience will deem them useful. Once you’ve captured the user’s interest, you can be sure that he/she will explore further. Hence you should make sure that your other pages have relevant content as well. Imagine if you were trying to look for laptop sleeves and you ended up on a website that kept talking about the latest notebooks instead. Surely you will leave immediately. You wouldn’t want your visitors to feel frustrated so you make sure that they will find just what they’re looking for. Make your website interactive There’s nothing more that scares online shoppers than the thought that there would be no one accountable should something go wrong with their purchase. It is comforting to know that there’s actually someone behind the website. You can make your customers feel more confident about their purchase by placing comment boxes and, of course, regularly responding to the users’ posts and inquiries. You may also ask a few customers to write a feedback so that others would have an idea of what it’s like to transact with you. As the World Wide Web continuously grows, those venturing in Internet marketing strategies find themselves faced with enormous competition. A user who searches for an online clothing store is provided with links to millions of websites. The challenge is thus to generate high traffic for your site and sustain the interest of the visitors. In order to do this, remember to make the best first impression.

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Cover Story

Personable Customer Service Will Trump Online Sales Any Day, Just ask Jackie

by Rikki MacCuish

In a day and age where a five minute phone call turns into a 17 minute wait on hold preceded by an automated robot-voice message system, it's nice to hear a human voice pick up after the first few rings. While it doesn't make financial sense for big businesses, customer service over the phone can be one of the most important sales and marketing techniques a small business owner


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can have. Personalized service goes a long way and many people are beginning to really appreciate the sound of the human voice.

sentimental or personal to a friend, family member or co-worker. This is where we as an industry step in. We care and we want to help customers who spend their money supporting our businesses give the best basket they can in the theme or style they envisioned when the thought first popped into their heads.

In the world of gift basket design and business possessing strong and genuine customer service skills is very important. A big box store cannot offer a custom gift basket to suit the needs of individuals Jackie Flamminio, owner of Savoir wanting to give something Faire Gift Basket Company, truly

understands what it means to offer exceptional service in return for good business. While being a nice person isn't always the easiest thing, especially if you've just had to redo a basket after realizing you added the wrong thing or had a particularly difficult customer on the phone, it is important. It will set you apart from your competition and most importantly it will display that you are human.

Cover Story

This may sound crazy, but think about the last time you had to phone your telephone, internet or credit card company. You had a simple question about a statement that probably could have been answered by an understanding professional but first you had to listen carefully and press the right numbers on your touch-dial phone before you were placed on hold for the next available representative. Once that representative answered the phone you were probably already feeling fed up with the process only to be placed on hold again while that person transfers you to the right department.

“I wasn't a creative child as much as Because Lindsay is a town on the I was an imaginative child,” she says. smaller size Jackie has to order a lot products in, though she notes that Jackie left a career in law in Toronto she can get homemade chocolate to live in Lindsay permanently. She truffles and fresh bread locally to says the commute to the big city add to her baskets. With this kind every day was draining and she of “remoteness” from a larger client needed a change. The epiphany base one has to be creative in finding Flamminio has been in the gift that tipped her towards gift basket business. This is where her upbeat basket industry for 10 years design came about one year when attitude and natural personability following a career in law (talk about she was packaging Christmas gifts. come into play. a turn of the tables. In speaking with her one really comes to understand “My mom was a caterer by trade, we “I think what happens is that a that while she may be savvy used to do a lot of stuff together,” lot of people forget how to put with technology and marketing she begins. “One year I couldn't themselves in other people's shoes,” techniques, underneath it all is figure out what to give my inlaws she says. “I keep that all the time someone who truly loves what she for Christmas. I made up a basked of in my head when I'm dealing with does and transfers this enthusiasm truffles, cookies and cakes and that's people; everyone's getting so tired of to her customer service. where I got started.” press-one-press-two automated this, automated that. They can call me Savoir Faire is located in Lindsay, Now Savoir Faire is run of out anytime.” Ontario (Canada). While the town Flamminio's home, which she says has a population of only about makes definite financial sense. Her It's one thing to say it, but quite 19,000 people she's managed to husband and two children help her another to practice your preach. retain business from Canada and out with the work at times and her Jackie is full of inspiring stories the United States. To do this she has husband does the majority of the where she went that extra mile to become friends with technology and deliveries. Apparently he also makes make someone's day. really tapped into her creative side. fantastic triple and double bows, though hopefully none of his male “I had one customer from Las Vegas, As a child, she would have never friends will find out. her uncle was very ill and in the have thought she would end up in a “The best thing about working from hospital,” she begins. “She wanted me creative business, nor in law. She had home for me is that I get to keep my to send her a basket and I delivered had dreams of skating with The Ice costs down—the rent is absolutely it right to the hospital. I sat with him Capades. crazy here,” Jackie says. and held his hand for a while, talked

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Cover Story to him and sent a picture back to the customer.” If that doesn't deserve awards, then what does? Jackie continues mentioning that the niece, her customer in Las Vegas, now consults Jackie frequently. That moment of caring created a return client who knows that the person she is forwarding her hard earned dollars to is actually taking the time of day to put effort into her work. “When I went to the hospital the first time I asked the receptionist where to deliver the basket to and the receptionist say 'when the florists come they just drop deliveries here',” says Flamminio, who couldn't believe that they wouldn't take the extra time to deliver the flowers in person. The familiar saying that time is money applies interestingly both ways here. Of course more deliveries means more money but adding personalized service also means more repeat customers which accounts for more money in the long run if you can keep good to your word. Liken it to the contrast between fast food and slow food. Why lower your standards and order a Big Mac when you can sit down and enjoy a beautiful meal and a glass of wine at a restaurant. You can always make time. There are many ups and downs to running a gift basket business and while Jackie cannot stand the “gift basket” phrase, noting big box stores have really hurt the gift basket's reputation for quality, she absolutely loves the creativity and good feelings she gets from her daily work. “I think I love being creative, designing everything,” says this noncreative, but imaginative woman. “The other thing I love, I think it


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Cover Story would probably be the look on people's faces when they receive a basket.” Flamminio says when she can she tries to do her own deliveries to come back to her purpose in making people's days better. “The school called up and asked, 'can you do up a basket for someone who is sick?' and I decided to take it myself,” she explains. “When I brought it in the woman broke down and bawled, that someone would be so kind and so thoughtful and that is the best part of it, making someone's day like that.”

It's how you use it that becomes important. Jackie herself, besides running Savoir Faire, also designs websites and does social media marketing for other clients.

“Because I have a crazy creative streak I love doing crafts,” she says. “This customer wanted a special message, she chose the words, and I created a plaque, frame and the whole nine yards to go with it for her uncle.” Another impressive creation was a five-foot, four-tiered shelving unit that Jackie setup, placing goodies on each of the shelves, and wrapped. It was definitely the biggest project she's ever worked on. Technology has been brought up a few times in this article in a somewhat negative light. This isn't to say that technology is all bad.

And lastly, “Know where the money's coming from,” she concludes. “You have to know how you are financially in this business because you'll want so many things but can't afford them—reuse and make do with what you have.”

“I find it depends on how you use it,” Flamminio agrees. “I have phone, email and two videos that I've put up on my website and I love being able to send a picture of a basket to lady in California . . . but there is too Like most people in the gift basket much use of it [technology]--people industry Jackie seems to have a hectic work schedule. Balancing work and life is another important thing to remember in order to retain your sanity.

It's not that she's tooting her own horn. Few people in this technologically advanced, businessby-email modern day take the time to reflect on why they're doing what they're doing. As Jackie says, if you don't truly love the gift basket industry you might as well do yourself a favor and get out now. Sometimes being honest with yourself will point you in the direction of either a new career path or improving your current one. So what's the most interesting piece Jackie's ever worked on? It seems there are a few but a couple stood out in particular.

you have to be excited and thrilled and proud of what you've done.”

“They [your family] will let you know, they will be looking for dinner, hugs and kisses,” she says of the occasional reminder needed to get back to a balanced lifestyle. “My family always comes first.” And if she weren't busy building websites, marketing and designing beautiful gift baskets? “I'd be driving a 1950 pickup truck across the country,” she says when asked what would she be doing in another life. “That's the dream.” Tips of the Trade: want to talk to humans.”

Take a hint from Jackie Flamminio and get a grip on reality and what Whether you're just starting out or really matters: have been in gift baskets for a while [[ Take time to spend with but feel out of sorts Jackie has a few family. helpful tips: [[ Understand your financial situation, what you can and “Have a support system, family cannot afford. support is mandatory,” she says, [[ Place an emphasis on explaining that she can count on customer service and be her family to help her during crunch genuine in personality when time or that her mother will pick up dealing with people in order supplies for her from another city to to retain return customers bring during the next family visit. and good feelings. [[ Love your industry, or start “Next, you have got to love it, it's up looking at other ones. there with you husband and your [[ Learn to love technology, kids,” she says. “If you don't love it it but use it wisely. shows in your work and it shows in the way you treat your customers—

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Sales Feature

The Type of Sale You Don’t Want To Make by Lynn Keeler


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Sales Feature The main thing that you do not want to do is make that one bad sale that is going to end up costing you several good sales. It may seem a little confusing to think that any sale could be bad, but it can happen. Let's say you have a gift basket that has been lingering around for a long time, and many of the products have reached their expiration date. Being as it is a gift basket and most likely wrapped, your customer trusts you to provide quality products in the basket she is purchasing. It can turn out that the customer gives this out of date gift to the recipient and the recipient mentions the poor state that the products are in. So yes, you have sold that lingering gift basket but you have ruined your chances for repeat business with the buyer, and possibly a new customer in respect to the recipient. You can probably add a few more lost sales here as well, as they are certain to spread the word concerning the poor quality of the gift basket. You can avoid this type of unfortunate mishap by making sure that you meet the trust that your customer is putting in you. Even if you were upfront with the client and told her that the products were nearing expiration date, and offered her a discount this will still result in a poor sale. What can happen is that the gift buyer is not going to disclose the deal she got on the basket, the recipient is going to notice the poor quality and will not think highly of your product. Rather than risk losing future business because of having to get rid of a redundant basket, you would be further ahead to dismantle the basket and use it as a write off or as a presentation basket. Your image is stake.

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Smart Business Favorites GBA Talk It is most important that you take advantage of every opportunity you can to gather information that pertains to the gift industry. This means keeping up with the news, fashion and trends, and the industries related to the products that you put in your gift baskets. In addition to this, listening and sharing your insights about the gift basket business is important. This is easy to do if you become a member of GBA Talk. This is an exciting forum where those with the common interests of gift basket sales and marketing can come together. It is hosted by the Gift Basket Association. It’s true they are your competitors but they are also your business associates, and you all have the same common goal, which is to make the gift basket business an exciting and lucrative one.

Nashville Wraps

Christmas designs are in! christmas-wrapping-paper/mc-047.html Nashville wraps has unleashed their Christmas 2011 line. Here are three Collections your customers are sure to be pleased with in your Holiday line. The contemporary Christmas Ornaments Collection features a beautiful teal blue background with metallic silver accents. These paper shopping bags are made 100% recycled white kraft paper,


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along with 90% recycled gift wrap and 100% recycled tissue paper. Made in the USA . This collection also includes coordinating plastic shopping bags and basket boxes. The contemporary Christmas Ornaments Collection features a beautiful teal blue background with metallic silver accents. These paper shopping bags are made 100% recycled white kraft paper, along with 90% recycled gift wrap and 100% recycled tissue paper. Made in the USA . This collection also includes coordinating plastic shopping bags and basket boxes. Designing a gift basket for the nature lover is sure to be a winner. This is especially true if you add some of the wonderful bird care items available through GreenBirdHouse. Your baskets are sure to be an even bigger hit when you let your customer know that these items are all made from recycled materials. This is a real boost to your marketing promotional material when you can advertise this feature. You will find a good selection of items, and you will want to keep plenty on hand as your baskets made from these items are sure to be hot sellers.

Nashville Wraps new Santa Peppermint & Holiday Twist Collections are simply light hearted fun with peppermints and polka dots. These paper shopping bags are made 50% recycled white kraft paper, along with 90% recycled gift wrap and 100% recycled tissue paper. Made in the USA. This collection also includes coordinating gift and gourmet boxes, basket boxes, and jewelry boxes. Already popular at the gift shows, the Woodland Plaid Collection is perfect for a country or outdoor look with its bold pine needles and plaid berry ornaments. These 100% recycled fusion paper shopping bags have coordinating 90% recycled gift wrap and 100% recycled tissue paper. Made in the USA . This collection also includes coordinating plastic shopping bags, paper merchandise bags, nested boxes, basket boxes, reusable canvas containers and bags.


Smart Business Favorites Everybody loves quality soaps, and when you are offering a pampering gift basket this is one item you don't want to exclude. It is actually expected, but what won't be expected is the delightful selection of soaps you can add to these baskets from SoapyLove. These are not only high quality soaps comprised of the best ingredients that are wonderful for the skin, but they come in some wonderful shapes and sizes. You can choose from soapy pops or cupcake fizzies just to give you an example. Your pampering gift baskets will never be boring when you add these items to it. Special Note from SoapLove: Soapylove is home of the Soapy Pop! These adorable and unique handmade glycerin soaps are the same size as a real ice pop and come in dozens of wonderful scents and styles. Kids will run to the sink to use one! Their real wooden sticks make perfect handles for slippery hands. Soapy Pops look good enough to eat, but they are completely non-toxic if someone takes a lick. Great for bath lovers 3 and up.

Ribbon Print USA

All Wrapped Up Gifts It is important to plan ahead for your seasons so that you can be sure to have all the appropriate packaging material that you will need for your basket selections. A visit to now is going to ensure you that your packaging needs will be attended to before the change in seasons rush begins. By shopping for your packaging needs early it means no disappointments for you or your customers. Also you can then focus on your specific themes using your packaging as the starting points to lead you to developing some very unique and special baskets.

When you can offer something a little bit extra to your customers, it can bring them back time and time again. You can achieve this by offering them customized ribbons to go with their gift basket. You are allowing them to put their personal touch to their gift, and it may be the very feature that closes the sale for you. It is a simple process that you can put in place by utilizing the personalized ribbon print machine from This is a valuable item that no gift basket business should be without.

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In the Mix of Things

Getting Your Product to Market:



by Jim Aldrich

Our hand’s-on tour of the 4P Marketing Plan has been full of information. Information designed to assist your gift basket business in accomplishing something you have invested blood, sweat, tears, and money into: success. Success involves several things, a bit of luck, the right timing, a winning product, your commitment, and…planning. That’s right your business success requires planning. Over the past issues of The Business Whiz Report we have dissected the planning process for things like product and pricing. Our goal was to not only give you tips on planning but to point out why planning is important. Think about this question: what do each of the following have in common? 99 99 99

An athletic event A sit down dinner for eight A trip to grandma’s

99 99 99

A game of golf A wedding Getting a new outfit

Each one requires planning. In fact, there is very little we undertake that doesn’t take planning of some sort. It is not only the planning that is important, but the quality of the planning is equally important. This is why we selected one of the most used and reputable planning models available, the 4P’s Marketing Mix. The 4P approach is a process as illustrated below:

Getting Up To Speed Thus far we have our imaginary company name, You1st. At You1st our primary product is a unique gift basket designed to acknowledge the work of various staff positions. There’s our Administrative Assistant’s Day basket, shipping staff baskets, executive baskets, and so on. Each basket is designed with the tasks each position performs. In a basket will be an assortment of inexpensive but useful tools along with a couple of more humorous items related to the work of each position. The gift baskets will also be personalized and include edible goodies. The next step in the You1st team planning process is to look at distribution decisions. Place: The Third step Distribution or place refers to how your business gets its product from your hands to the customer’s hand. For some of the very large gift basket businesses with a global customer base, a variety of sales points and a large wholesale and retail demand the more traditional distribution methods still work. Ours is a world that is far different than even just a few years ago. In the past when a business spoke of distributing its product, there were few options. In most instances the process went something like this:


Wholesale Warehouse


Distribution Warehouse


It is a far different distribution process today. While the above model remains for some, others have been added. The two largest changes are the advent of warehouse sales centers like Sam’s Club and Cosco and the biggest shift in marketing your product, the internet. An even larger change and one that affects most businesses in the gift basket industry is the elimination of the wholesale and distribution warehouses used


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in a different era. There are many businesses in the gift basket industry that do an amazing amount of business while flying just under the radar. A look at several successful online firms will show annual sales well in excess of one million dollars. In spite of multimillion dollar businesses, using today’s model has all but eliminated the need for warehousing. Today’s model for Place looks far different:

considered as a part of your larger long-term business plan. Specific channel members: Does your product match well with the image of certain specialty stores? It is often an advantage to be able to include in your advertising “Our product is available exclusively at…” CAUTION, make sure you have the most advantageous contract you can negotiate.

Another critical consideration is what is called inventory management and warehousing. As explained earlier for a majority of gift basket businesses, this term, “warehousing” has a “big business” connotation to it. For example, smaller gift basket businesses don’t have need for a warehouse. But they do have need for Product Storage, Transportation Customer Sales, storage of finished product or inventory waiting to be Distribution sold or delivered. Too much on hand costs you, too little It should be noted that the elimination of warehousing means lost sales. Though seldom possible, ideally your has not reduced the amount of wholesaling or the need inventory management strategy should include as high for storage space of some kind. What it does mean is a shelf life in the warehouse as possible. reinterpretation of the term warehousing. For most successful small businesses using the internet or a Not to be overlooked in distribution is order more direct person-to-person sales model they have processing. Again, it is going to depend a lot on who turned to using a large space where they produce your end customer is. For example, one of the most their product, store it, sell it, and deliver it. This is why popular methods of retailing today is through a there is now added importance in making decisions website on the internet. For the most part these sales on planning your distribution (Place) for selling your are to individuals. This removes many of the more product. traditional distribution logistics while adding a whole new one. How do you get your product delivered to There is one additional caveat to consider. While we at individuals on time? Let’s look to a similar online my imaginary business You1st are fortunate to have the business to see if there is an answer. Software is a big resources to use a team approach in making decisions internet seller. Most of the sales are to individuals. regarding our plan, not every start-up business is so Most of these companies do all their business from lucky. If yours is a small family business or the effort of one location; doing sales, customer service, assembly of a lone entrepreneur you must still plan; you may need product, packaging, and delivery all in one place. This to use additional outside resources, These can include usually involves a sophisticated computer system and making it a class project in the business department the services of a delivery service like UPS. of a local college, your Chamber of Commerce, other fraternal business association, your local library, and The final important piece is transportation. If you any other resources you can call upon. plan on large orders and the use of distribution points this is where some sharp wheeling and dealing must Getting Your Product to Market. occur. Transportation costs are rocketing skyward. Why is this important? If you don’t successfully get Your challenge is to contain these costs the best you your product to market you won’t be selling much can. Among your options is to lease or buy your own product. Here are some of the areas you need to equipment, contract with a large provider, check out address when planning distribution. local independent transporters. Distribution channels: Online, wholesale, retail are only some of the possible distribution channels to consider. Remember, you don’t have to hold to just one channel. In fact, many businesses use several different channels to maximize exposure and sales. Market coverage: Will your product be offered for sale using an inclusive, selective, or exclusive model? These areas are dependent on how you brand your product, market it, and to a lesser degree, how you price it, Each has advantages and disadvantages, these need to be

The point is that your decisions about place or distribution points are a critical part of your planning. Make the time to do it right.

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In Search Of... One of the most important parts of my job is providing my customers with the best quality products. The only way to do this is by tastetesting these gourmet products. This way I can ensure that I am providing my customers with the absolute best. I am willing to take on this burdensome task, particularly when it comes to finding the best chocolate chip cookie available on the market today.

by Michelle Peruski



My first step on my journey to find the best chocolate chip cookie brings me to Too Good Gourmet’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. The size on this sample was 2 oz package. The first thing I noticed about this product is the packaging. It is nicely packaged for gift baskets with a green and red motif. It would fit well with nearly any style gift. The cookies are bite-sized with a simple, yet buttery taste. The chocolate is not the most distinct, however it has great texture, with a good mix of crunchy with just the right amount of chew. Overall, this is a nice cookie and one that would make most happy. However, the journey continues‌.

Let us help you increase your market share Lead Generation? Business Development? Recruitement? Event Planning?

Acquire the right person. Acquire the right results.

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Socially Speaking

To Twitter or Not to Twitter


That is our question for today. Just in case you have been creating and manufacturing your gift basket product from a cave deep in the jungles of the Amazon and relying on traders to get it to market; to Twitter is to engage in a very brief form of social networking relying on brief text messaging as your form of communications. Twitter is just a name, all-be-it a pretty big one. There are several


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social marketing mediums out here that follow a similar format. There’s Facebook which we discussed in our last article, Linkedin, for the professional community, YouTube, a video form of communications, and so on. Why Text Messaging? Again, if you’ve been away for any length of time you have missed out on one of the biggest phenomena of the digital age – the growth of

By Jim Aldrich

interpersonal communications and the use of texting. It’s immediate, can be private, and allows for a person to person touch. Can Twittering Help My Business? The reason for this series of articles is to provide you, a business person in the gift basket industry, with information and resources to improve your business. Among the ways to gain a larger market share and to promote your business

Socially Speaking

Getting Started with Twitter Your business can set up a Twitter ac count, its simple and easy; here’s how: 1. Sign-up for a Twitter account a. Begin by going to www.twitter,com b. Click on the “G et Started Now” button c. Fill in using yo ur company nam e d. Complete the rest of the inform 2. Find people to ation follow a. Select compa nies that are rele vant to your company b. Find other co mpanies on Twitt er c. Follow them 3. Edit your infor mation about yo ur company 4. Post your first message Generating a Fo llowing 1. Begin by twee ting (posting a m essage) and following pe ople. 2. Add to your list people you and your staff know, who use Tw itter. 3. To avoid a ba d reputation keep the ratio of followers to follo wing reasonable. 4. Search your cu stomer data base for those with twitter acco unts. 5. Add the Twitt er logo to your w eb site. 6. Be patient an d diligent. Your followers are money in the bank .

Tips On What To Do And Not To Do Begin by learning what you can about how other businesses utilize Twitter. Check out resources on the internet, your library, and the bookstore. Several hundred company’s successfully use Twitter. Stay on top of your commitment to using Twitter. This may mean assigning someone from your staff or even a family member to be your Twitterer. Make your messages relevant and useful. Look for samples of messages from other businesses. Remember to personalize your messages Do not oversell

is through the use of social networking. While many still believe that social networking is for personal use its role in marketing is unparalleled. Twitter has become a forerunner in this area. Let’s look at just one example of the power of Twitter. The 2008 Presidential campaign became the most social network conscious of all time. Many claim

that it was Obama’s use of social networking and especially Twitter that made the difference for him. His campaign had over 6,000 followers, each receiving the 140 character maximum message on a regular basis. Multiply that number several times over as friends Tweeted friends and Obama did quite well. In addition, a part of his Twitter messaging was to raise campaign funds. And we know who won the election.

Do not be negative Do not use traditional marketing language Following the steps outlined in this article will have you up and running as a member of the social networking community. Once you get hooked you will find yourself looking for additional opportunities. •

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Pr w o it m h o P ti r o o n d Sy uc st t em s




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Business Systems

Business Systems This is your product promotion. You need to design an excellent presentation to get the details of this message out. The next thing you have to keep in mind is to flaunt your product. If you are going to promote a specific product then it needs to be visible. You can have the greatest marketing material put together. For example, you may have a great product promotion easily seen on your home page. Great! Its grabs the interest of the visitor, but there is no page or section for them to go to in order to find out all the small details they may be interested in. Or another example is, you have This allows you so many opportunities to say the placed some great product marketing promotion same thing in many different ways. The message in your store window. It brings the visitor into is you have a great product and your customer your store, but they can’t clearly see the product needs it. This is something that applies to every you have promoted. type of gift basket you have. The key to product promotion is to put a plan So when you are promoting your business you of action together to promote your product are promoting All the wonderful gift baskets you which starts with you knowing why your offer. When you are promoting a product you customer needs that product, then getting your are promoting ONE specific gift basket. So your point across and following through with the business promotion is the message, and your promotion to the sale. product promotion is the details of the message. In past issues we have talked about business promotion and now we need to focus on narrowing this down to product promotion, which means you now have to become specific. In the gift basket business you have many products that are grouped together to make one major product which is the finished gift basket in a variety of categories.

Now here is where you really get to zero in on what you believe in, which is your product. Start by choosing a particular gift basket that is most likely to sell at the right time of year. For example, you are in the heart of the summer months. You may possibly have a summer gift basket. These would possess all the items that one would appreciate at this time. You need to get the following message out‌.

[[ The basket is applicable to the here and now, it is something that the recipient can put to good use [[ If it is gender specific you need to get that known [[ What specifics does the basket contain and why are they such good individual products [[ The affordability [[ The uniqueness

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Marketing Class 101

part 4

Repeating History as a Marketing Tactic by: Lynn Keeler


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Marketing Class 101 If you want to be a step ahead of the competition in your industry then you also need to be a step ahead of them in the marketing arena as well. You will learn quickly that as soon as a new marketing tactic surfaces everyone jumps on it and it soon loses its impact as the consumer becomes bored with it. This means that you must be innovative. It doesn’t matter where you operate your business from such as the internet, on land or both, you must be creative. If you are really at a loss for ideas then remember that history repeats itself. Go back a few years and see what marketing campaign was successful back then and resurrect it for your business. If you can find way of modifying it, that’s all the better. Here is an example: A few years ago home parties was all the rage. It got so almost every industry was using this mode of selling and working it as a great marketing tool. You can learn from this and have an in store gift basket party. Use the old form as a basis for planning your only unique party. For example, at these home parties the hostess always received a discount or a gift. In your case you could offer the same incentive to the individual who brings the most guests. This is just an idea to get your creative juices flowing. Now you need to take a look back in time and see what transpired. Remember that many of the marketing tactics that are used are usually planned by the big manufacturers in industries. By studying what they do you can actually make them pay for your marketing ideas. They spend big dollars on hiring marketing firms to do this work for them. Try and find ways that you can mix some of the various campaigns to work to your advantage. A favorite is offering some type of contest. There is much you can do in this area as well. Don’t be afraid to try what the big companies do, but only on your level in respect to cost. Most times you will find that you can run an amazing marketing campaign that has cost you nothing but your time to plan and implement it.

You could even run a contest for marketing ideas. That way if you just don’t possess any creative marketing talents at all you can capitalize on someone else’s. You can make your prize an appropriate gift basket.

your assignment:

Exercise #1: Start with thinking back a few years about some products that really stood out in your min d. If you can still remember them then you can classify them as highly successful even if you didn ’t buy the product at the time. Now make a list of these and start researching them. Jot down wha t you can remember about them. Was it a catchy phr ase that they used? Was it the number of times you saw it? Once you complete this analysis then you have a starting point. Exercise #2: Start a survey to see how much interest you could attract by holding a gift basket party. Just draw up a sheet outlining that you are going to be having a party and what would interest a guest mos t. For example, would they like you to focu s on gift baskets for seniors or babies? Offer a small mystery gift to your customers for filling out the survey. Perhaps have some pens made up with your business name on them. These are often inexpensive and there are tons of inexpen sive giveaways to choose from. Just be sure they can hold your business name on them. You don ’t want to pass up another marketing opportunity !

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Vendor Spotlight a famous L.A. Chinese restaurant. Well, instead of a birthday cake Daria received a giant fortune cookie dipped in chocolate and complete with a message she was impressed and thought what a great idea to give to her clients. That is, until she found out that they would cost $50 each. Daria then searched for the just right fortune cookie recipe. Following her instincts she did a variety of designs, coatings, and sayings that she presented to clients and prospect As interest and demand for her fortune cookies grew, so did the demands on her time. To complicate things even more not only did she have a growing fortune cookie business, a PR firm, and a fiancée, but plans for a dream wedding. As time went by, the demand for her time increased to the point that her fiancée and she faced a major dilemma. Daria could not do both; continue to grow the business and have her dream wedding.

A Fortune in Cookies by Jim Aldrich

With this issue of the Basket Whiz Report we shine our spotlight on Canoga Park, one of many satellite communities that make up the San Fernando area of greater Los Angeles. It is here that you will Daria Artem, her husband, the official cookie taster for Lady Fortunes, and at last report, her three babies a 2 ½ year old son, a 4 month old daughter, and the oldest, Lady Fortunes. An internet based business offering both retail and wholesale products you are invited to visit them at A


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This was seven years ago. The dilemma resolved itself by Daria and her husband agreeing to invest the wedding money into Lady Fortune.

I spoke with Daria from her office. She is full of energy, a positive thinker with strong values and a complete web site there are many drive for success. My first question areas to explore. was who Daria had as a role model? Daria’s story is one that when heard, Daria: Growing up it has always been Martha Stewart. She has people say “that’s what makes always been a role model for me. America great.” You see, Daria In my opinion she is one of the is an entrepreneur to the bone. greatest entrepreneurs. Beginning at the age of seven she started her first venture. Once the bug had bitten her she knew exactly BWR: What were those early days what she wanted to do with her life. like for you? Daria: We took our wedding money and found a small 1200 square foot After several ventures and college she and a group of friends started a building to start in. I was the first computer person, web designer, public relations firm. It was during this time that her friends surprised shipping person, packer, the first everything person. It was during her with a birthday dinner out at

Vendor Spotlight that time that I found out that every order I sent out had broken cookies in the package. BWR: That must have been discouraging? Daria: Well it was, there was a time I felt like giving up. I had my name on the line, I felt like maybe I had made a big mistake giving up my dream wedding for this. I was fortunate, my husband stood by me and we decided that we had to take it day by day. We did a lot of breakage tests. In fact we would try different packaging methods and then literally kick the boxes around the office playing soccer with them. It took us years but now we have breakage under control. BWR: Obviously your perseverance paid off, what was your first big break? Daria: I had the opportunity to do the food show in New York. Well, I did the show and landed a couple of huge clients, Sam’s Club and Cosco. Don’t ask me how, but they were our very first big clients for the upcoming Christmas season. With that opportunity I was able to add some staff, mainly family, and started getting calls from all over with potential clients asking why they had never heard of us. Long story short we began to grow because Sam’s Club and Cosco gave us our first break on their dot-coms. BWR: Now, seven years later, how large has Lady Fortunes become? Daria: We have two selling seasons, peak and off peak During our off peak time we will have 13 to 15 full-time employees.. As a matter of fact to keep people employed we just added a product line offering candy sugar decorations. During the holidays we grow all the way up to 30 – 40 employees BWR: What advice do you have for others just starting out? Daria: Opening up your own business is the most exciting thing

you can do. But you must also recognize that this is your baby. Lady Fortunes was my first baby, it requires your attention, you must nurture and care for it. It isn’t a job, I’ve never had a boss like I do now. I’m responsible for a lot. I can’t be out having fun or playing golf when I need to tend to business.

BWR How do you select a new product? Daria: It usually come in the form of a request from our customers. They know we specialize in the unusual cookie so they may ask for something a little unusual or extra. It is from these inquiries that we develop additions to our line.

BWR: One of the things that strikes me is that you seem to be strongly value driven. Daria: Values are important. We have team meeting about this all the time. Our strongest is family values. I’ve brought my sister in to the business, even my father pitches in, I know every employee by name and their family as well. I strive for happy people. Also important is hard work, a strong work ethic. We are a team and need everyone to pull their own weight. We care about each other.

BWR: In reviewing your web site I noticed a strong commitment to charities. Tell me more? Daria: I’m one of those people who believes in helping at home. We do a lot of local charitable work plus special funds across the nation. Coming in October we will do a special fund raiser for breast cancer. For me I feel that charity is internal as well as external. We give our own employees a very special benefits package. I have very strong commitment to advocacy for small businesses. I hope someday to be heard in Washington D.C. to let them know just how difficult they make it on the small business.

BWR: Looking at your accomplishments what do you consider your biggest business mistake? Daria: One of my biggest mistakes is also my greatest strengths. I’m very open and trusting. I have had a few employees leave, taking with them what was priority information they shared with our competitors. But, I also believe in Karma. Three of our largest competitors have gone out of business because of their ethics. I started out letting employees take home damaged product to their family. Over time I found my inventory suffered so I had to put in place controls to avoid problems. BWR: What is your best selling product? Daria: It has to be our giant gourmet cookie with its own personalized messages. We keep adding new variations to our lineup to meet new demands. We keep expanding our product line. In fact we are now expanding into a kosher line,

BWR: The last thing I would like to hear about is your VERY impressive collection of quotations you have. Daria: This is my own personal quotation collection. I’ve been collecting them for years and continue to do so. BWR: One final question Daria, where do you see yourself in five years? Daria: Lady Fortunes is my first business, it’s my baby. I’ve been extremely blessed. I feel that I’m doing something. While I ‘m not saving the world, I am sweetening it. BWR: If I were to read between the lines I hear you saying that we have not heard the last from Daria Artem? Daria: You could say that. BWR: thanks for your time.

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Pearls of Wisdom “A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.”

Ralph Lauren


a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation

“When you expect things to happen - strangely enough - they do happen."

John P. Morgan

“I was able to see what I wanted to do, I could see the opportunity, even when others could not, and I stay committed to doing it and doing it well, no matter what.”

Magic Johnson

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

Jack Welch

Conventions And Trade Shows

Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market Atlanta, GA July 13-20 California Gift Show Los Angeles, CA Jul 19-25 LA Mart Gift Show Los Angeles, CA Jul 19-25 Orlando Gift Show Orlando, FL Jul 23-26 Philadelphia Gift Show King of Prussia, PA Jul 24-27 Oasis Gift Show Glendale, AZ Jul 28-30 San Francisco International Gift Fair San Francisco, CA Jul 30- Aug 2 Pittsburgh Gift Show Monroeville, PA

Jul 30- Aug 1 Las Vegas Gift Show Las Vegas, NV July 31- Aug 3 2011 National Gift Basket Professional Convention Columbus, OH Aug 4-6

Seattle Gift Show Seattle, WA Aug 13-16 Dallas Total Home & Gift Market Dallas, TX Sep 10-12

Salt Lake City Gift Show Salt Lake, UT Aug 4-6

Atlanta Fall Gift and Home Furnishings Market Atlanta, GA Sep 10-12

Celebrate Convention and Trade Show

Las Vegas Gift & Resort Merchandise Show Las Vegas, NV Sept 20-23

Ontario, Calif. Aug. 4-7 Minneapolis Gift Show Minnetonka, MN Augt 5-9 Western New York Gift Show Henrietta, NY Aug 7-9

Next Issue: Find out how to set your business up virtually. 30

Know of more industry trade shows? Would like to advertise your trade show? Email: The Basket Whiz Report

The Convention & Tradeshow that will change the Gift Industry…

The first Tradeshow serving the Gift Basket, Floral, Balloon & Party Planning Industry! So Save The Date To CELEBRATE! August 4th -7th, 2011 Join us in Sunny Southern California Experience Four days filled with: ★More than 34 Educational Seminars ★2 days of Trade Show Shopping and Fun ★Design Competitions ★Vendor Meet and Greet Cocktail Hour ★Luncheon with Keynote Speaker ★Unlimited Networking Opportunities… ★Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony and so much more…

Attendees & Vendors don’t miss this opportunity to take your business to a new level. To register or learn more go to For Information call us at


! g n i m o C s

' It

An Important Announcement in the next issue of The Basket Whiz Report! Stay Tuned...You do not want to miss this.

The Basket Whiz Report… A Magazine to Build Your Business! Advertise in our Inaugural Issue… for Targeted Marketing that Pays! This is no time to cut back on advertising. Create a buzz about your business with the Basket Whiz Report, a magazine designed to market your business and generate more revenue… with many tools and resources GALORE! With pertinent trade industry information and highlighted vendors; educational and promotional ideas, and more… gift companies are searching for your products to offer their customers! Gift Professionals Want to Find Unique Products. This is the time to showcase yours! Ad space is very limited. We’ll feature a vendor of the month in each regular issue. You may be given a FREE SPOTLIGHT in conjunction with The Basket Whiz Report online! Some of the upcoming features include: Marketing and Marketing Mix Articles; How to write a marketing plan; Business Resources and useful websites; Hot industry products/services; Applying Social Media; Balancing Business & Family; Finance & Accounting; Business Systems Articles; SEO/Website Articles; Solutions; Wisdom; Gift Basket Ideas… PLUS 2 BONUS ISSUES ON Generating Revenue During Slow Months and Holiday Frenzy!

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Advertise Today! Only a few spots left, including full page ads for preferred business owners. Visit Or call 866-635-9990. Subscribers are searching for you, so make your biz known!

t e k s a B t Gif Trade y r t s u Ind Special w o Sh ort p e R 34

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Industry Hint

by Jim Aldrich

It’s that time again; gift basket trade shows and conventions are on everybody’s to-do list. This year there are two destinations that should be a must for your calendar. Our itinerary offers a choice of conventions to attend. One is located in Ohio and the other in California. If you haven‘t made plans to attend one of these events, read this article and make those plans right away.

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Industry Hint Columbus, Ohio First on the list is being held in Columbus, Ohio. This one is the National Gift Basket Convention. Scheduled for August 4th through the 6th at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center. The theme for this year’s convention is “Fearless” with an emphasis on assisting members of the gift basket industry to conduct business in a fearless manner leading to success. Participants will come away with new ideas, approaches, and enthusiasm.

Ontario, California Another convention with an equally impressive schedule takes place in Ontario, California located just north of Los Angeles on the Pacific coastline. This will be the home of the Celebrate Convention and Trade Show takes place at the Doubletree Hotel, August 4th through the 7th. It is here that members of the gift basket, floral, balloon and event planning industries who attend this year’s convention will find four days filled with opportunities to learn and prosper with time set aside for enjoying Southern California. The importance of attending can be found in the mission and goal of the people from Celebrate.

The convention is hosted by Gift Basket Professional, also known as “GBP”. This national organization is a leader in hosting affordable conventions and learning opportunities by The mission of Celebrate Convention and Trade Show highly experienced leaders of the gift basket industry! is simple, it is “our goal is to provide quality educational programs, while creating an atmosphere where the gift, GBP was organized by Pamela and Tom Newell (owners floral and balloon industries come together to learn, grow of Gift Basket School, Inc.) who, along with others wanted and promote their businesses creatively and at an affordable to share their experience and help other gift basket price.” professionals and new entrepreneurs start or grow their businesses and hobbies with success, trendy new styles, For this year’s convention comes this motto “Bringing the networking opportunities, continuing education and Gift Basket, Floral, Balloon and Event Planning Industries business improvement ideas. together to help grow, unite and promote the gifting world to a higher level” exemplifies the commitment of the people The convention is designed to offer an array of opportunities at the Celebrate Convention and Trade Show. Learn more by for three distinct groups of people. Those already established visiting their web site at http://www.celebrateconvention. in the gift basket industry, business and design students net/ interested in this area, and the curious. In fact, the gift basket Putting their mission into practice with the motto for this industry is a leader in providing income for home based year’s convention ads up to an event filled with useful business ideas. information and ideas. They promise a convention designed The Newell’s have made every effort to ensure that this to take businesses in the gift basket industry to the next third annual convention offers useful seminars, speakers, level. Not only do they have a new location, but new vendors, and displays. The convention’s schedule is designed for the and products as well. This year’s convention emphasizes how newcomer to the gift basket industry, those curious about a you can build your business. To this end they will offer four career in the field, as well as those already well-established in days filled with: »» More than 34 Educational Seminars the industry. »» 2 days of Trade Show Shopping and Fun »» Design Competitions Among the scheduled events are: »» Twelve speakers »» Vendor Meet and Greet Cocktail Hour »» Presentations by expert Instructors from all over the USA »» Luncheon with Keynote Speaker »» Vender displays »» Unlimited Networking Opportunities »» Design classes for floral and gifts »» Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony and so much more… »» Marketing seminars The convention will include information aimed at helping »» How to do demo's attendees to work efficiently and creatively. In these sessions »» Product information will be ways and tools to help boost profits to a business. »» Selling techniques »» 13 hours of Seminars Among the most important benefits »» 8 hours of Trade show of attending are the opportunities to »» Unlimited Networking opportunities visit old friends, make new friends, and go home filled with creative ideas. Added this year are workshops and topics like Mark August 4th through the 7th event planning, web Marketing, and more. For on the calendar; stick a pin on your more information you can visit their web site at map for Ontario, California, and plan to visit the Celebrate Convention and html Trade Show With more classes than ever before plus the unique vendor spot light demo class, a VIP reception, and discussion group, you should consider planning attending the National Gift Basket Convention, August fourth through the sixth in Columbus, Ohio. If you would like to know more visit the web site shown James Hartier compiled the list of above, or call (330) 478-0555.



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Alternate Container Ideas in the May / June 2011 issue. Our apologies Jame s!

Industry Hint

If You Go What value is there for attendees one of these conventions? There’s a story floating around about one person’s experience. We can’t vouch for the veracity of the story, but it is an example of what could happen. The story begins with the experience of one fellow in the industry who was being left behind. He was an old timer in the gift basket industry who had spent years going it alone. Sam, that’s his name, thought he had all the answers. Old Sam had built his gifting business from the ground up. And successful he was, that is until new ways of doing things, new ideas, products, and free thinking people came along. All of a sudden Old Sam found his business losing money and he wondered why.

products, new ways of marketing, a lot of different and exciting ways of doing business.” Old Sam listened intently to the son. Maybe he was right, but what to do was the question? Later, back at his desk, Old Sam remembered a flyer he had received in the mail. He pulled it out and there, right in front of his eyes, was the answer he had been looking for: “Hmmm,” Old Sam thought, “this sounds interesting. Heck, I could learn a lot of new things, meet some people, and reconnect with the industry I’ve worked so hard in.”

Sam went, learned, and came back full of fresh ideas and approaches. He applied many of these to his own business and it wasn’t long before things turned around. He started making money again. His business grew. And best of all, Old Sam didn’t feel so old One day over lunch with one of his sons, Old Sam asked anymore. the boy what he thought was wrong? Will attending a gift basket industry convention “Well pops there’s a whole new world out there. You change business success? If you don’t attend one you’ll never know. need to get in touch with the times. There’s new

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SPACE for sale

Trade Show Tips for Retailers


To Make This Your Best Trade Show Ever by Bob and Susan Negen Trade shows….Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they should be an important event in your life as a store owner or manager. You get to see new products, renew old friendships, learn about industry trends, and develop a network of professional colleagues. However, trade shows are a lot like love, life, and the stock market: how much you get out of them depends on how much you put into them. Here are a few lessons (learned the hard way) about how to get the absolute most from your trade show. Trade Show Tip #1 Get Prepared Go with a plan. Smart retailers go to shows organized, focused, and ready to work the show like a pro! [[ Review last year’s sales statistics. Information from the past gives you the ability to make smart, wellinformed decisions for the future. [[ Analyze what worked last year, what didn’t, and why. Decide which categories are opportunities for next year, where you are missing key items, and where you need to try something completely new. [[ Talk to your retail staff and your best customers about what kinds of new merchandise they'd like you to look for. Trade Show Tip #2 Know Where to Go Get a map of the show floor plan and find all the vendors you want to spend extra time with. Plan your route. Decide how much of the show you need to see each day and work accordingly – don’t get stuck having to see half the show in the last three hours!

Bob and Susan Negen 233 Washington Ave. #213 Grand Haven, MI 49417 Phone: 616-842-4237 Fax: 616-842-2977 E-mail: Bob@

Trade Show Tip #3 Appointments Save Time Make appointments ahead of time with your top vendors so you won't have to wait around until they are free. Plan (write it down!) what you want to discuss with each vendor – improved terms, customer service problems from last year, items you would like to see them add/change for the future, packaging concerns, etc. Read eight more Trade Show Tips in this free article on our website... Want more retail tips? Get FREE business building ideas delivered to your “inbox” every week. Sign up for your “WhizBang! Tip of the Week”.

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Balancing Act Get In The Know:

Trade Secrets For Successfully Navigating Industry Trade Shows by SL Ruffdan

It can be both exciting and exhausting at the same time. From the moment that you enter, you may feel consumed by the sights and sounds. For some, it has a magical effect on them. They become completely mesmerized, and, much to their dismay, totally confused and paralyzed just being there. This is just a small peak into what it’s like to attend a gift basket industry trade show. It’s a dichotomous experience that will have most straddling between experiencing and researching versus simply having a ball. But alas, there is a happy medium that will allow gift basket beginners and professionals to get the most out a trade show and still enjoy all that it has to offer…


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Set goals for the time that you will spend attending trade shows. Your goals should be relevant, realistic, and re-invigorating. In essence, the goals are what will be the driving factors behind your attendance. Example goals could include finding new product offerings that will enhance your business, finding inspiration for your own creativity, finding new venues for marketing your products, or even something as simple as giving out a certain number of business cards before the end of the event. Whenever you set goals, you should be able to realize a reward for its completion, such as, “Finding a new specific product offering that will serve to broaden the company’s reach and will increase sales”.

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Create your own “map” for your visit. Get the trade show exhibition map ahead of time. Use that map to locate vendors and attractions that will help you to determine your own path for achieving your trade show goals. Make your experience even more interactive by seeking out feedback from other attendees regarding the products and services that are being marketed. Ask lots of questions when you have the opportunity and be prepared to share your experience with others as well. Growing your business is always a goal, but learning from others successes and negative experiences could help you to be wiser, more resourceful, and even more focused

Balancing Act

To Try 1. Set goals for your trade show attendance that are relevant, realistic, and re-invigorating for your business or your own creativity. 2. Map it out by creating a travel path that includes vendors and attractions that are aligned with your goals. 3. Make it interactive by exchanging information and experiences with other trade show participants which will allow you to further develop your network. 4. Be a willing learning and active participant by volunteering for product demonstrations so that you can get a first-hand feel for the product offerings. 5. Budget your time by making a schedule for your booth visits and stay mindful of your financial budget, but be sure not to leave off the FUN of the trade show experience!

in the process. Trade shows always present phenomenal networking opportunities. The more people that you meet, the more people will know about you and your business, the more your business could grow. So, plan to talk, to listen, and to establish an even broader network for yourself and your business.


Don’t be afraid to participate as a volunteer in demonstrations or to get your “hands dirty” during the trade show. Your impression of a product should go beyond just profitability. It’s good to really get a feel for a product before you commit to ordering it. Really consider your own first impression and it could help you to determine if a product will be a winner with your target audience. Have pre-planned questions for

each vendor and do your best to get answers while you’re there.


Budget, budget, budget! It’s easy to become enamored of a lot of cool gadgets and goodies. But, remember that you need to evaluate what will work for your business without blowing your budget! But, not only do you want to budget the funds that you allocate for trade shows, but you want to budget your time also. Be sure to set times for your visit to ensure that you hit every spot that you desire. Try to stick to schedule as best you can so that you are able to make the most of the time there. Allow for some flexibility and, of course, a little fun along the way!

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Notable Notes

Our goal is for you to take what you have read in the pages of The Basket Whiz Report and implement many of the business tips presented in your own business. Here is a list of notes (or To Do list) to take away from this issue. Feel free to add to this list! Tell us what you plan to do on our facebook page! oo Remember to sieze all opportunities to market my business. (Marketing Feature) oo Develop a way to expand my business durning slow times and when funds are low. (Tough Call) oo Decide how videos can help market my business. (Business Resources) oo Evaluate my website and make sure it is making the right first impression. (SEO in the First Place) oo Learn from Jackie Flamminio about how offering over and beyond customer service can quickly set my business apart from others. (Cover Story) oo Be sure to protect my image by implementing a good inventory management system. (Sales Feature) oo Look at how I can outsource some administrative tasks with services from Acquire. (New Sponsor) oo Get my creative juices flowing and develop a plan to have the right marketing mix in selecting my distribution channels. (In the Mix of Things) oo See what Michelle Peruski found in her search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie (New! In Search Of...) oo Think of how I can engage my customers and prospects via Twitter. (Socially Speaking) oo Put my products in the best "light" by creating a business system on promoting my products. (Business Systems) oo Review previous ads and see what worked and revitalize or invent a new and fresh marketing campaigns. (Marketing Class 101) oo Get inspired by Daria Artem continues to perservere to make her business a success. (Vendor Spotlight) oo Write out my plan for makeing the most of the trade shows this year. (Trade Show Special) oo Visit the Celebrate Convention and Trade Show at (New Sponsor) oo SHOW US YOUR CREATIVITY!!! Submit Holiday design ideas for up coming issues.


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Notable Notes!

Have you been thinking of becoming a gift professional? Or are you already in the business and want to ramp up your sales? We have all of the tools to help you start and grow your business. Whether you need turnkey marketing solutions or are looking for extra special gift items to include in your product line--we have the perfect selection for you with BasketWhiz and Confetti Confections. 866.635.9600

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The Basket Whiz Report July/August 2011  

The Basket Whiz Report July/August 2011