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Perfect Presents

Wrap up profits with a gift basket business.

Christmas, Mother's Day, birthdays--at one time or another, everyone needs to buy gifts. When consumers can't find the perfect present, who comes to the rescue? Gift-basket entrepreneurs, of course.

"A great thing about running a gift-basket business is that you're always in the position to create just the right gift for every shopper--one that matches the specific tastes of the person who will receive it," says Sally Nichols, co-owner with son, Grant; daughter, Sarah; and son-in-law, Vince, of The Gift Horse, a gift-basket service in Beaumont, Texas. Nichols' customers can choose from standard baskets, which range from birthday and graduation gifts to specialized creations for golfers and teachers. Others prefer to build baskets from scratch, providing lists of the contents they want.

Nichols is among the many creative entrepreneurs nationwide who enjoy satisfying work--and impressive profits--by preparing attractive gift baskets for clients. Gift-basket entrepreneurs buy gift items and baskets, use an artistic flair to package them attractively, then find creative ways to market their eye-catching creations to others.

The gift-basket industry has been going strong for nearly 15 years, and the outlook continues to be bright. "Annual sales for gift baskets totaled about $800 million in 1996, up from $700 million in 1992. It's certainly a growing industry," says Kathy Horak, editor of Gift Basket Review. A recent survey by the magazine reveals the majority of American gift-basket designers in business at least one year boast annual sales of $50,000 or more; approximately 30 percent enjoy sales of at least $100,000 annually.

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This article was originally published in the April 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Perfect Presents.

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