What It's About
Two friends team up to make presents more presentable.
Words of Wisdom
For other side hustlers, Gabi and Catherine highly recommend developing a network of people around them who know the answers to things they don't. Whether that's founders who are 1-2 years ahead of you and have lived through some lessons, founders who are 10 years in and household names, or their “BFF Google”, the answer to everything is out there, and you will save money, time, blood, sweat and tears if you ask first.
Gifts and presents are used interchangeably but do you know, they are not exactly the same? According to Dictionary.com, if you give something to the recipient at a ceremony, it is a present. Otherwise it’s a gift.
Notes from Chris
Episode 1073Gabi Koshgarian and Catherine Wang have been best friends since their senior year of college. After graduating, they found themselves living just four blocks from each other in New York City as both embarked on careers in finance. As their personal and professional lives grew, they each attended more and more events, which means they needed gifts. Both Gabi and Catherine absolutely love gifting, and always put effort into making their gifts thoughtful. Unfortunately, they found their customized approach made gifting somewhat of a hassle. After finding the “perfect gift”, they were left with toddler-style wrap jobs, “Oh no! We forgot the card!" last-minute sprints, and uninspiring department store gift bags when they were particularly desperate. Of course, there was one other option—the pre-curated gift box. But even when the boxes were chic and beautifully presented, the tradeoff was often generic, impersonal gifts their recipient didn’t want or need. That didn’t work for Gabi and Catherine. So, they searched for more solutions to their gifting problems. One would think it would have been an easy search- after all, unique packaging for gifts is certainly nothing new. Fun fact: the first documented use of wrapping paper goes all the way back to Ancient China circa 2nd century BC. But Gabi and Catherine found nothing that met their needs … and the options they did discover left them underwhelmed—they could either have beautiful presentation or the personal touch they were looking for, but not both. So, naturally, they decided they would create a ‘ready to gift’ gift packaging that they called BlankBox. It’s just as it sounds: a set of gift boxes featuring chic designs, no visible branding, a fold-over magnetic closure, and a built-in satin ribbon for that effortless first impression. Plus, each BlankBox—in three simple steps—becomes a custom gift box with a personalized gift tag, featuring handwritten calligraphy text or a printed corporate logo. And, of course, they are convenient. BlankBox arrives right to your door and ready to roll… just add your gift and go. Gabi and Catherine believed in their new idea for a chic, turnkey packaging solution, and so did many of the people they market-tested, which encouraged them to move forward. They immediately began sourcing the product, which—of course—required money. These startup costs weren’t cheap. All in, they spent approximately $30,000, more than $24,000 of which went to their first packaging order. They opted for a large first order to keep their profit margin high and sourced their materials from a Chinese vendor after a process of trial and error to find the perfect options. Their investment proved fruitful, and in the first year, BlankBox earned back $30,000, allowing them to repay themselves. They not only broke even but also had product left over for their second year. Entering year two and poised for higher profits, the BlankBox hustle is all wrapped up in a nice satin ribbon.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- BlankBox: Get your own BlankBox and start gifting today at Gabi and Catherine's website.
- Curated Gift Boxes for Breakups and Baby Bumps: A breakup brings two sisters together to create one happy side hustle.
- Spousal Birthday Gift Becomes $40,000 Card Game: It starts as a creative gift for his wife, but this tabletop game ends up making a lot of other people happy.
- A Packed Closet Leads to Secondhand Subscription Boxes: A professional organizer finds a way to stitch her passion for thrift shopping into profits.
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