Home Gift Basket Business Thrives – Our Communities

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This article was published 25/11/2014 (2809 days ago), the information it contains may therefore no longer be up to date.

Local business Just Gift Baskets creates gift baskets for all occasions.

Owner and operator Laurel Wiebe has been making baskets since 1998. Wiebe trained and worked as a nurse, but when she went on maternity leave with her second child, she began to think of ideas that would be more compatible with the schedule of a growing family.

When her stepfather told her about a gift basket he had seen delivered to the hospital that she could probably make, she thought she probably could. She went to a trade show in Edmonton in the fall of 1998 and “placed orders for all kinds of things.”

Helen Lepp Friesen – Laurel Wiebe’s business, Just Gift Baskets, will sell up to 1,000 gift baskets this Christmas season.

“I had never built a gift basket before,” says Wiebe.

With her order for supplies, she prepared her first set of baskets in her basement and sold them during the Christmas season. And that was the start of a profitable business that has grown steadily over the years.

Looking back, Wiebe says, “I love it. I have no regrets.”

At first, Wiebe sold his wares through Yellow Pages ads and word of mouth. She worked mostly in the evening, when her children were in bed. Her husband, Ken, created a website for her (www.justgiftbaskets.mb.ca) and her marketing changed.

Now Wiebe has one permanent part-time employee, but during the Christmas season she hires four full-time employees. About 50% of her business comes at Christmas, when she sells up to 1,000 baskets.

Its best-selling basket is the Gourmet Delight, which contains crackers, cheese, antipasti, Lindt chocolates, cookies, nuts and candies.

“Chocolate is a big part of what we do,” says Wiebe.

“Everyone who receives them loves them,” says customer Andrea Mensforth. “They’re beautiful. They’re put together so well.

These days, all of Wiebe’s marketing is done online and a courier delivers the baskets.

“I’m local but I’m online. I have loyal customers all over the world.

Her international customers enjoy sending local gifts to Winnipeggers. Wiebe also has many reliable local customers, including several regular corporate customers.

On the day of my visit, she prepared a basket which included top quality chocolate, phenomenal confectionery, green iced tea candies and delicate asiago cheese straws, as well as smoked salmon from a family owned fishery in British Columbia.

“What sets us apart from other companies is quality,” she explains. “What I would put in the basket, I would feed my family.”

Helen Lepp Friesen is Community Correspondent for Fort Garry. You can contact her at [email protected]

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