What inspired you to start your company?
While on maternity leave with my first child I heard the phrase “buy the change you want to see in the world” and it really resonated with me. I thought about the organic movement and how as consumers we really can make positive contributions through our purchases and make a difference in the world. We are always going to buy new things, but we can put some thought into what we choose to buy and how our purchases impact the environment and influence others in the world. I thought a lot about the concept and decided to name my store Giving Gifts while on my first maternity leave, but life with a new baby took over and it took until my third maternity leave (in three years) to finally open Giving Gifts officially.
What is your company all about?
Eco friendly, fair trade, fun and modern items all from companies really making a difference in our world. There are so many great companies out there – companies that are focused on environmental sustainability and waste reduction; companies that care about their workers and pay them fairly; and best of all, they are making really great products. I’ve put a lot of time into finding all these great products and have brought them together at Giving Gifts.
Most of the companies I buy from donate a portion of their profits to charity and Giving Gifts donates as well. Giving Gifts donates to Carli’s Kids to help build a village for street kids in Uganda. Every purchase really does a lot of good. Each product from Giving Gifts comes with a card explaining all the ways it gives.
What’s your vision for your company?
Giving Gifts is going to grow with more great products and reach out to more people so that everyone can give and receive gifts that give!
I’d also love to see a Giving Gifts physical retail location in the next couple of years. Currently, people in Vancouver can see a nice selection of the products at The Giftshop at Temple Sholom (7190 Oak St.) and everyone can shop online, but I really like meeting my customers, helping them find the perfect gift and telling them what’s great about the item they chose, so it would be great to have a storefront. In the meantime, I’d love to see Giving Gifts grow with new products and more customers.
What excites you about what you’re doing?
I love what I am doing! I have met so many great people and been introduced to so many amazing companies. It has given me so much hope that there are better products out there and that as consumers we can make a difference with our purchases. Starting up Giving Gifts has been such an inspiring experience and I am so excited every time someone new discovers it and I get to share my excitement with them.
What are some early examples of success?
Giving Gifts just started in the spring so everything so far has been early success! My first few sales to people I do not know were very exciting. My friends are so great and they supported me right away, but when new people discover my website, I am thrilled. It is nice to know that people care about what they are buying. The feedback I have received is amazing and everyone adores Giving Gifts and its philosophy.
What about challenges?
I am very new to this and it is a lot to learn very quickly so that has been a huge challenge. I had a Facebook account for years, but didn’t know anything about blogs or twitter or email campaigns before I opened Giving Gifts. I am learning quickly and that has been fun but definitely challenging, especially with three very young kids. My only time to work is a couple of hours during afternoon naps (if all goes well) and lots of late nights on the computer. I am always multitasking and never doing as much as I should, but that is the life of every mom entrepreneur, right?
Telling people about Giving Gifts has also been a challenge. Every time someone new discovers it, they love it, but reaching people to let them know about it has been hard. Giving Gifts is a great company selling really great products so word of mouth will travel fast I hope.
What’s next for you?
I am going to continue searching for and getting in more really fun and unique, eco friendly and fair trade products so there are even more great items to choose from. I am going to be doing some great giveaways on blogs so I can reach new people and let them know about Giving Gifts and I am giving away a really cute Blabla doll in a draw, all you need to do is sign-up for the Giving Gifts email list. I am very excited for back-to-school as I sell Yubo lunchboxes which are new to Canada and by far the greatest lunchbox ever.
Lisa Pozin of Giving Gifts
Diane Wild is a writer, editor and web communications consultant, working in the solar, health care, and arts industries. She also runs the website TV, eh? about Canadian television.