Feb 27, 2018 | Best Of | Lisa Consani
Corporate Gift Giving: Gratitude and Appreciation from a Gift Basket
Lisa Consani, Founder and CEO of California Delicious
Business gifting is a time-honored tradition that can be one of the most valuable interactions you have all year with a client, employee, or superior. Unfortunately the space is often misunderstood or underutilized, and as a result ends up full of gimmicky widgets or boring items that sit on a shelf for a year before ending up in the trash. You can do better than this.
My story about business giving started in my 23rd year. I was just made head buyer at a major department store and my millions of dollars' worth of buying power would insure that I was going to get a few "thank you" for my business gifts.
Most of the gifts were very uncreative and pretty boring for a 23 year old- a Crystal vase here, a leather note pad with my name on it there... Still, I started to think about how getting the gift made me feel. It cemented a relationship with my vendor and it added value the business relationship, but more importantly, it acknowledged my status. I remember one vendor went to the effort to make a personalized ceramic envelope holder with my name, title, company and address. I put it on my desk proudly and proceeded to fill it with paper clips, pens and random business cards. That was me Sportswear Buyer, May Company, Los Angeles, California.
Corporate Gift Giving came up again later in the year when my bosses boss had a company Christmas party later in the year. She gave each of the buyers' individual gifts to appreciate our hard work during the course of the year. I was young and ambitious and I wanted to impress my boss so every morning I got up really early to make sure I was in my office before anyone. I knew that each person would have to pass my office and see I was the first one in already preparing for the day. My Divisional manager never acknowledged those early mornings, she would always walk by as she got in at 6:30am (2 hours before the rest of the staff) and not even make a comment but on that Saturday lunch before the holidays when I opened my gift I got a beautiful coffee mug with a pained bird with a worm in its mouth. Wow, it hit me hard. This woman did notice, and she appreciate the effort, and she found the exact perfect gift to give me. "The early bird gets the worm." That is when I knew I wanted to start my own gift business.
That feeling of appreciation was something I wanted to give to as many people as I could. The recognition, appreciation and gratitude was like a drug and as corny as it sounds I knew it was my destiny to spread that feeling. It took about 4 years for me to write a business plan and find the right financial partner, but in 1987 the doors opened to my our first gift shop in San Francisco. We sold flowers, gifts, cards and personalized business gifts. Every day I would get on the phone and called up the companies around us in the Financial District and started to educate them on why they too should appreciate their coworkers, and business partners.
The reasons for giving are practically endless- Staff Appreciation Day, showing sympathy to employees or congratulating them on a new baby, saying Happy Holidays and Thank You- the list goes on and on. It was my job to enlighten the business world as to why gift giving was so important. 30 years and two successful businesses later, I am still happily devoting my life to the mission of Gratitude and Gift Giving.
My current venture, California Delicious, focuses on Gift Basket, Boxes, Crates and packages that can be sent to people to share and appreciate the great tastes that California has to offer. My team and I travel the state to find the best food, wine, and beer from around the Golden State, which is put into a hand-crafted gourmet gift that can be sent anywhere in the country. Every time I take a trip it becomes a buying trip for a new product. Just recently we visited several of the great craft breweries in San Diego and fell in love with Ale Smith. We now have an Ale smith gift basket. From trying California cheeses at the Cowgirl creamery in Point Reyes to Jelly bellies at the jelly belly factory tour to riding bikes through the vineyards of Napa Valley, to experiencing Silver Oak, Stags Leap, and Mumm sparkling wines, we continue to try and find the best products for the best gift baskets so my customers can experience California the way I do and giving joy and recognition the way I do.
Corporate and holiday gift giving have not changed too much in the past 30 years- thanking the people who help you in your business is as crucial as ever. But with heavy competition in all industries, it is imperative that you are able to trust a company to take care of your company's gifting programs. That means having someone who you can pick up the phone and call who can offer personalization and customization to fit your needs. It means presenting a special message, including marketing materials or customer products, adding a company logo or imprinted ribbon to ensure your gifts make a lasting impression. It means knowing that when you place your order, it will be correct, on time, and exactly what you had in mind.
Here at California Delicious that is what we do. We are dedicated to Corporate and Business gift giving because we believe in its power to recognize and show gratitude. I hate to say the word passion because I feel like that is so over used but in this case it fits. I appreciate my friends and family and vendors and customers and I make it a point to tell them that every day. My passion is California and my passion is California Delicious and now that all three of my kids are grown they all share in that passion as well.
If you have never sent a gift basket to anyone for any occasion, try it. It feels good for you and for the person you sent it to.