Shirley George Frazier is the queen of gift basket design and even refers to herself as a “basketologist”. She’s the author of the best-selling books How to Start a Home-Based Gift Basket Business and The Gift Basket Design Book.
Shirley came from a long line of entrepreneurs, so the drive to start a business in 1990 and launch GiftBasketBusiness.com in 1997 was natural fit for her. Gift baskets got her attention when her husband made a thoughtful gift for a friend. She decided that creating gift baskets that stirred up joyful and comforting emotions in her customers would be her profession.
Originally, Shirley’s most popular gift basket designs were baby and wedding baskets. Now, her gift baskets are in the luxury category, created for longtime clients who request her designs for charities, black tie auctions, Hollywood-type celebrations, and pets owned by celebrities.
Get instructions on how to make Shirley’s unique raffia and organza ribbon bow at the end of this post. Click the photo at the left to enlarge it so you can see this cute bow.
Gift Basket Trends
She says new gift basket trends are often determined by popular entertainers and geographic locations. For example, with the pending births of babies of well-known stars, designers who promote their baby baskets filled with out-of-the-ordinary gifts such as alpaca booties and blankets cannot keep these items in stock once they mention the entertainment connection to customers. As for location, new home/condo baskets are back on track through real estate sellers who prefer them to include items representing their region.
All of Shirley’s gift baskets currently prepared for delivery include something from Nashville Wraps. That’s been true since she first learned about us back in the mid-1990s. Our tote bags lined with coordinating tissue paper are a staple for gifts to individuals or for insurance agents who might order 200 or more for clients. Clear and printed and cellophane or shrink wrap are always added around gift baskets. Our paw-printed cello bags are a favorite biscuit holder for four-legged friends. Our shred is plentiful and easy to store, and combining two ribbons to make a bow is a customer favorite unless the pull bows (especially the red and gold colors) are preferred.
“There aren’t many places today where one-stop shopping is available, so I’m glad to find this wide assortment and more through one convenient source,” says Shirley about Nashville Wraps.
Shirley’s Gift Basket Tips
- If you’re new to gift baskets, create all-occasion themes that let customers see what you offer online and in person if you own a store. This will encourage clients to ask for and order custom designs.
- Add your own signature style to the gift baskets you make. This includes designing in a unique container or crafting an unusual, yet stylish bow. This will differentiate you from other designers.
- Understand your customers’ preferences before you order baskets, shred, foods, gifts, and other supplies so you buy more things they like and enjoy. I didn’t do this at the beginning which resulted in lots of waste.
Join Shirley’s Gift Basket Business Facebook Group here: https://www.facebook.com/GiftBasketBusiness
We appreciate all that Shirley has done to advance the gift basket industry. When asked how she defines success, she replied, “Success occurs when instead of life being just about what you can get, you realize and act on how one small action generates big outcomes for others.”
Raffia Bow (Pictured Above) How To:
1. Cut a 9-inch piece of raffia and place it on the table (you’ll need it later).
2. Unwind and cut 6 feet of raffia from the roll (less is fine; 6 feet is shown in the bow).
3. Bring the two ends together. Now the raffia is half as long.
4. Fold the raffia in half again and hold/grab the strands in the center (similar to a large bow tie).
5. Continue folding the raffia in half (hold it in the center) until there is just 9 inches remaining from end to end.
6. Cinch the middle of the raffia by tying it tightly and knotting it with the 9-inch piece on the table.
7. Place the raffia atop the larger bow. Thread the 9-inch raffia strands behind the larger bow by easing the strands behind the large loops and towards the back. Tie it in place with a knot.
8. Use scissors to cut the raffia loops in half. The loops will fall naturally atop the larger bow. Arrange as needed.