When I started this business, my goal was to source products directly from small producers. I didn’t want to buy through a wholesaler or distributor because the products typically sold through these channels are mass produced. Most of the money spent in manufacturing these products is in packaging design: they are for the most part aesthetically pleasing to the eye because they have to deliver a “wow” effect in a gift basket or gift box. But open that product up and taste it or use it, and, well… the result is usually disappointing or – at best – “meh”.
Small producers don’t have the leverage and scale to deal with large distributors. It was important to me to give small makers a vehicle to showcase their products but, more importantly, to tell their stories.
I really am a believer in supporting competitors. There are so many curated gift box businesses in the market, and I am happy about that (of course, I thought I was the only one who came up with this amazing idea when I started!). The more businesses there are, the more awareness there is about the concept of curated gift boxes, and that can only help me. But it means all of us have to work harder at differentiating ourselves from one another, because you might be thinking “They’re all the same!”.
I am proud to say that Hidden Gem Gift Box Co. is different and unique. Our gift boxes are about the people who make the products, as much as it is about the products themselves. I can tell you the story of the maker behind every product I sell. Because their stories are important; their stories are about their love for their craft and the integrity of their process, and it’s so clear when you taste or use their products that this is a difference-maker. You can taste/feel the passion that went into making these goods, and I want others to experience that! I say it often: it’s so rewarding to receive goods from the hands that made them.
There’s no doubt about it: my gift box competitors have some incredibly beautiful products! However, as in life, looks aren’t everything. Beautiful packaging can’t make up for what’s missing on the inside. Knowing the story behind the makers of a product gives you a greater appreciation for the hard work and costs that go into making it, and it can also can give you confidence in what you’re paying for. I continue to work hard to find small producers across Ontario who have compelling stories and outstanding products!