At this time of year with spouses, children, and other family demanding your time and attention, it’s making it harder and harder to check holiday shopping off of your list. Occasion Station is here to be your extra pair of hands.
Black Enterprise caught up with the founder of Occasion Station, Felix Odigie, to discuss how the concept came about, what customers are thinking, and how you can gain access to this time-saving platform.
Tell me about your background.
I immigrated to the United States over 20 years ago to avail myself of a great education; fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed. Now, a naturalized citizen, husband, and father, I look upon life as a challenging journey filled with ample opportunities to build character.
Following my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northeastern University, I attended The Wharton School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to earn an MBA. From there, I dove headfirst into investment banking but soon discovered that my true passion came as a growth-focused entrepreneur—the rest is history.
What specific incident inspired you to create Occasion Station?
Back in 2014, I was busy managing an acquisition I’d made when I realized how little time I had for leisure or my family. In fact, the issue had become so severe that I regularly failed to keep track of important events in the lives of family members and close friends.
As if remembering these kinds of happenings wasn’t difficult enough, being thoughtful with the kinds of gifts I’d deliver on them proved troublesome, as well. Yes, I felt fulfilled in the workplace, but my lack of gift-giving ability left me feeling like I could do better—a gift card here and there simply wasn’t going to cut it.
My wife, a full-time neurologist, shared my dilemma, so we got to brainstorming. After discussing the matter, we agreed that we’d be willing to pay for a service that not only helped us remember important occasions but went as far as thoughtfully procuring a gift for them, as well.
Needless to say, Occasion Station was born.
What types of gifts and services are on the platform?
Occasion Station’s core service offering is threefold:
1) We serve both individual and corporate gifting requests for all types of businesses. Whether an individual or small business, when you join our platform, you are assigned a personal shopper to assist you with all your gifting needs—as many times as you would like. And, because we’re brand-agnostic in our approach, we’re not limited to where we can go to find the perfect gift—from Amazon to Neiman Marcus, our personal gift-shoppers will pinpoint, purchase, and package the perfect gift so you don’t have to stress about it.
2) We offer a wish-list registry where users can pre-select gift preferences for any occasion and send them to friends, family members, or even party attendees. From there, personal shoppers procure and deliver the gift. The only thing left to do? Show up to the party (or event), knowing that the gift-giving (and delivery) side of things has already been taken care of.
3) Lastly, we also have a social-impact offering for our premium members. This special offer allows them to gift directly to the less fortunate, should they choose to. Currently, we’re working on partnerships with a number of local orphanages and charities, in addition to the working relationship we’ve already established with The Miracle Foundation.
What makes this service unique?
Given that we’re all busy, gifting has slowly lost its meaning. In the past, it always served as a way to build relationships or strengthen engagements. Nowadays, however? More than anything, it often feels like an assignment or burden, resulting in little more than gift-card exchanges—we’re set on fixing this all-too-apparent problem.
Our personal shoppers work hard to learn about gift recipients, even when you don’t know much yourself. Furthermore, to help out, handwritten cards are sent on your behalf to the recipient. Taking things to another level, recipients—upon opening your gift—will also find a pre-addressed “Thank You” card so that they can quickly (and conveniently) express a few heartfelt words of gratitude.
Simply put, we’re making “gift-giving” thoughtful, emotionally charged and convenient.
What’s the best story you’ve heard from a current customer?
Our customers are constantly sharing words of encouragement with us.
These are two of our favorites:
“I would have never come up with something so thoughtful and creative—thank you! You make this process so convenient, and I greatly appreciate it!”
“With so little time, I’m terrible at gift-giving. I’m so glad I stumbled onto your service. Just this morning, in fact, I received a handwritten “Thank You” card from my sister—wow!”
If someone wanted to use Occasion Station, what would they do?
This is one of our busiest times of the year, understandably.
For our customers, getting involved is a simple, three-step process:
1) Visit us online: https://www.occasionstation.com/sign-up-options/
2) Create a “Station” for those to whom you’d like to send gifts—this takes two minutes.
3) Set your budget and activate a personal shopper.