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There's another board I stop by once in a while (although I'm not as crazy about it as here ) Anyway, one of the women there was talking about starting her own buisness, making gift baskets. She asked for advice, and, being the shy retiring person I am (Not to mention completely ignorant in the field), I gave her what I thought was excellent advice about marketing it: (It will all require some startup money, but I think that's pretty much par for the course, right?)
1) Get some letterhead, business cards and advertising magnets. Looking professional is key! Have someone proofread everything you send out; proofreading your own work is hard, because you know what you expect to see.
Be sure that everything you send out has either a card or magnet attached.
2) Post flyers in the supermarkets, laundrymats... Some diners have places where you can put business cards.
3) Decide on some focus areas.
a) For baby baskets, hit the baby industry. Try diaper services, baby furniture stores, baby clothing stores, etc. Ask if they'll let you keep some business cards on the counter. Most hospitals send new moms home with a ton of freebies. Consider having a monthly or seasonal raffle for a new mom's basket. Have them distribute flyers to the new moms. When mom gets home, she can register for the raffle by e-mail. Send all who apply a letter of congratualtions, and a magnet. e-mail them periodically with news of your specials and the occasional sale.
B) For bridal baskets, hit the bridal shops, again, ask if they'll put your flyers into the bags. You could do the same with the raffle. It will get you the e-mail addresses of people who might be interested in what you do.
c) Try card shops. People who buy cards normally buy gifts to go along with them.
4. Talk to realtors. Run the same sort of thing with a "Welcome wagon" type of raffle. It makes your area seem more homey and welcoming, so I would imagine they would love it.
5. Camp is in full swing (at least here) try a back to school raffle.
6. Hit the colleges. See if you can post flyers when parents come for orientation, with your offerings of "tastes like home" baskets.
7. Think about donating a basket to the local PTA(s). They're always looking for raffle items. And your name will be in the hands of people who come into contact with LOTS Of other people!!!
I had fun thinking about this last night, although it's no good at all to me. But maybe it will get someone else thinking.
OK, I can't lose the smiley before the Bridal basket part. I have no idea why!!
WIFE TO PETER
MOM TO BRIAN (6-18-98)