Q: I am trying to establish a gift basket business. I have some gift baskets at a local shop. Within the past three weeks, I haven’t been able to get a sale. I live in a very small town. I would like to know if you could help me find a mentor. Are there any local associations, conferences, or workshops I can attend?
–R. Griffin-Carter, Via the Internet
A: It sounds like you may want to branch out of your small town, but before you do, ask the customers what types of baskets interest them. It could be that your supply is not meeting a specific demand. You should also take advantage of Holiday JUBILEE! (www.giftbasketjubilee.com; 800-729-6338), an educational conference for makers of gift baskets complete with seminars, networking events, classes, and design competitions.
Festivities Publications Inc., the organization that runs the conference, also produces Gift Basket Review magazine for up-to-date news and information in the gifting industry. There, you’ll find access to gift basket retailers, manufacturers, and distributors. In addition, get advice from other owners about how they took their businesses to the next level. To get some pointers, read “How Networking Really Works” in the February 2005 issue of BLACK ENTERPRISE as well as Start Your Own Gift Basket Service by Entrepreneur Press (Entrepreneur Press; $14.95). Finally, log on to www.basketbizhelp.com for resources on starting a gift basket business.