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Start a Gift Basket Business on Less than $1000.00

Updated on August 3, 2014

Gift baskets make wonderful gifts

A gift basket ready to be wrapped.
A gift basket ready to be wrapped.

Gift Baskets: Start your Own Business

You can start your own gift basket business for less than $1000. Home based businesses are great for many reasons. You don't have to pay rent and you may not have to get a babysitter as you are working from home. You can work at odd hours to catch up on paper work or other details wearing your bathrobe and slippers.

I moved my gift basket business to four different cities. I started in Phoenix, Arizona, San Diego, California, Houston, Texas and back to Prescott, Arizona. .The wave has crested on the gift basket business but it enjoyed great popularity in the 1990s and early 2000, People still enjoy giving and receiving gift baskets for all types of occasions and situations. I wrote the first book on the gift basket business, "The How To's of Gift Baskets". It was tremendously successful and appeared in bookstores for several years. It is currently out of print.

Many people think the gift basket business is simple and fun.. However it is a real business with many facets of other type of businesses. Here are a few things to think about:

  • Start up funds to purchase product
  • A place to construct the baskets and store inventory
  • Buy inventory
  • Get orders for the baskets
  • Make the baskets
  • Deliver the baskets
  • Get paid for the baskets
  • Make a profit from the baskets

Don't forget the bookwork, taxes, insurance and licensing.

Most business have many different issues to face. .Before starting any business you need to pay attention to all details. It took me a few years before I figured out the formula for making a profit in the gift basket business which included careful planning and productive marketing. As an individual running the business, along with my husband's help I had to budget my time wisely and think up ever changing creative marketing plans. We supported ourselves for ten years with this gift basket business.

After I wrote my book on this business. I got many calls to run workshops or seminars for the new people in the business. Many hopeful entrepenuers came to the seminars and were proud to tell me how creative they were, and couldn't wait to start making the baskets. I found these people who claimed to be creative had the most difficulty in grasping the marketing concepts and all the hard work that the business required. I told them the most important thing was to get the word out about their product and service. If people didn't know about the service, where would the business come from? The people tended to be most concerned about making the baskets and buying products. During my three day seminar that part took abou six total hours.

The Beginning

You will need to obtain a business license and tax ID number to start with, so you can legally run a business and purchase items wholesale. Find out if you can run a business in your home where you live. If you don't have customers coming and going, most cities will allow you to run a business in your home.

Set up a room in your house that you can work. You will need space for baskets, wrappings, ribbons and items to go into the baskets. You will need to have a small table or desk that is comfortable for you to make sales calls and take care of paper work. Make the room cheerful so you enjoy spending many hours there--which you will be doing. Keep your products organized all the time, which requires constant care. Organize your time to allow marketing and networking with other business people. When you work out of your home, you have to go to many meetings and lunches to interact with potential clients.

Now you know how you can start your own gift basket business.

Basic Marketing Materials

You will need:

Business cards

A full-color brochure

Postcards for mailing

A website

A blog

Thank you notes

Some Gift Basket Ideas

Try different baskets
Try different baskets
Get creative with bows
Get creative with bows
Use different color tissue paper
Use different color tissue paper

Beginning Supplies

What You Will Need To Start:

  • An assortment of baskets in several different sizes. Purchase inexpensive baskets that you can easily get more of. You want your baskets to be consistent and you want to make a profit.
  • Tissue paper in different colors
  • Ribbons in basic colors- that you can use for several different types of baskets.
  • Plain paper for filler in the basket (newspaper will do in the beginning)
  • Plain office tape
  • Shreds of paper in different colors and metallic colors
  • Clear cellophane in rolls-30 inches wide and 36-inches wide
  • Delivery tags and business stickers to go on the baskets

Types of Baskets

Here are some of the baskets you can feature. Try to keep your inventory simple and versatile in the beginning:

  • Corporate gift baskets
  • Birthday baskets (with variations can be used for-thank you baskets, romantic baskets etc.
  • Baby baskets
  • Holiday baskets (in the beginning don't focus on one-day holidays. The exception is Christmas Baskets.

*A hint: Make up decorative labels with different greetings to stick to the products as an inexpensive way of featuring an occasion or holiday.

Your Best Customers

The most important factor in making money in this business is to seek out other businesses that use gifts of any kind -on a regular basis for specific occasions.

Some of these businesses are:

  • Property managers for new tenants
  • Builders: for home buyers
  • Realtors: for home buyers
  • Car Dealers
  • Medical specialists who send to primary care doctors and dentists
  • All businesses that send gifts during the Christmas season
  • Funeral homes: Comfort baskets
  • Hotels: Guests and VIPs

The advantage to having corporate accounts is that you may often make the same basket and can control your inventory.

Basic Marketing

Here are some simple and inexpensive marketing ideas:

  • Get out and network-join a breakfast club and a chamber of commerce
  • Pass your cards out to everyone
  • Do mailings with your postcards to businesses (regularly)
  • Drop off small baskets or mugs with one-pot coffee packets, a small package of cookies. Everyone likes to eat and will appreciate the thought.
  • Occasionally donate a basket to a large fund-raiser.
  • Very occasionally barter with a radio or tv station. This can get expensive.
  • Make sales calls to builders, real estate offices and bring a basket. Many of them will allow you at a meeting to talk about your business.

Keep the baskets simple

Keep your baskets simple and concentrate on what is inside and the presentation.
Keep your baskets simple and concentrate on what is inside and the presentation.

Buying Your Products

You will want to pay wholesale for your products. Today with so many online advertisers you will find companies that sell gourmet foods and items that fit in your choice of gift baskets. There are soures for baskets, filler, food products, ribbons and enhancements can be found. Many cities have floral product wholesale stores where you can purchase everything except food products. There are companies that do free imprinting with your business name, You could special imprinted items to your customer as an addition to baskets they want to send to clients.

A major part of success in this business is to price the products in relation to what you will be charging the customer. Don't get too enthralled with products that are pricey. Also you want products of an adequate size to fill your basket without spending too much money. This is just what I found worked: A $50 basket should cost you about $20 total cost.

There is a lot of paper work with any business.

Do your paperwork
Do your paperwork

Summing Up

This is a fun business, but no business is fun if you are not making some money. One of the biggest disadvantages of the gift basket business is that it is labor and inventory intense. I got some huge gift basket orders where I had to rent a truck for delivery, and sometimes after everything was delivered the profits were disappointing. If you want to use your creativity and make a few extra dollars this is a great business. Remember to include every item you use to determine your actual profit.

Gift Basket Business Name Ideas

There are many different gift basket business name ideas. However, before naming your business check online to make sure that no other gift basket businesses use that particular name.

  1. Here are a few suggestions:
  • The Basket Case
  • Executive Baskets
  • Gift Baskets To Go
  • Gift Baskets and More
  • Gifts to Go
  • Sweet Baskets


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I read that I could start a successful gift basket business for $300 how can I get started with a budget like that?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the great advice....

    • carol7777 profile imageAUTHOR

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you jacobmis I appreciate your compliments.

    • profile image

      Arcana Gift Baskets 

      6 years ago

      A great full or part time business.

    • carol7777 profile imageAUTHOR

      carol stanley 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Well Dragonfly..we know what a crazy world we live in. So we have to work at staying sane. ..which is sometimes a gret challenge.

    • dragonflyfla profile image

      Joy Campbell 

      8 years ago from South Florida

      What a different world it is. I admire that you wrote a book on this art!

    • carol7777 profile imageAUTHOR

      carol stanley 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      When I started my business there was NO ebay, no internet selling, or at least very little. So I had to hoof it to get business. Come up with some easy and clever gift baskets and you can go for it. I am always amazed at how much I learn on this wonderful writing site.

    • dragonflyfla profile image

      Joy Campbell 

      8 years ago from South Florida

      This sounds like such a fun part time business. You could sell on ebay or esty :-)

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      8 years ago

      carol7777. What a very good idea for a home business for those people who are a little artistic and can make the basket look beautiful. Up, interesting and useful.

    • carol7777 profile imageAUTHOR

      carol stanley 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Any type of basket could cost $50. I used to ask my customers what they wanted to spend and then design the basket accordingly. The more expensive the basket the more stuff....and sometimes extra goodies. Products come in all price ranges. They baskets all looked the same in that I spent time on designing and using beautiful bows...It was a fun time, but also serious if you want to make some money. Thanks for stopping by.

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 

      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      This is a great business idea for someone who wants to put some work in. Very informative hub. I wonder what would go in that $50 basket. Can you add an example of what a $50 basket contained?


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