Welcome to Black Tie Baskets & Balloons - I'm so glad you are here!
It's hard for me to believe that over 30 years ago I began making gift baskets from my kitchen table. As far back as I can recall, I have always been creative so it was only natural that each time there was a birthday, anniversary, baby shower or other special events in the lives of those around me, I would make a gift basket to reflect how deeply I cared for my friends, co-workers and loved ones. Each gift was unique both to the event and the person receiving it.
As word spread around my office about the gifts I made, I began to be contacted regularly by sales reps, mortgage brokers, and realtors. Not long after did I realize that my hobby was quickly turning into a side business I could no longer treat as a part-time venture.
Over the years I have been blessed to grow and expand - so much so that I finally realized my version of the American Dream....I opened my own store. It was an amazing experience. Highly visible, my modest little store was in the heart of a quaint downtown area and had two very large plate glass windows which I used to artfully design a monthly display of seasonal gift basket designs and balloon sculptures. I seemed to be constantly busy. Sounds great, right? Heck yeah it was!! But, it also had two notable downsides.....
For starters, that little store left me little time to physically visit my customers the way in which I was accustomed. When I was a home-based operation, my usual routine was to spend a few hours in the morning fulfilling orders, then I'd close up shop and spend the rest of my day visiting clients to discuss their gifting needs. The extra costs associated with the upkeep of a retail location also meant I had to pass those operating costs onto my customers on some level. It took me a year to realize that even though I was prospering, I didn't much like being chained to a store and I certainly didn't like raising my prices to factor in all the additional operating costs. Nope, not one little bit! That's when I decided that the best thing I could do for my customers and my own sanity was to scale back my workshop to something more industrial. So, while I may no longer have a brick and mortar business where I can showcase my designs, I am also no longer based out of my house.
A couple of important lessons were learned from those early days. I learned that I valued the freedom of one-on-one interaction with my customers far more than having a store someone could walk around in. Furthermore, having time to interact one-on-one with my customers was vital to my success and helped me to build rapport and trust. For me, my business is about developing long-term friendships.
Again, I'm so glad you're here! I'm excited to get to know you and I would love to become your go-to gift basket and balloon friend.
"Having time to interact one-on-one with my customers was vital to my success and helped me to build rapport and trust. For me, my business is about developing long-term friendships."