These Entrepreneurs Are Bringing Santa to Children (Virtually)
The co-owners of PackageFromSanta.com share how they became "elfpreneurs" and what it takes to run a successful online business.
If you're wondering how you're going to keep the Christmas spirit alive this season, or you're an entrepreneur trying to figure out how you can boost your bottom line by the end of the year, Carey and Dale Gruber are experts in both of these areas. The co-owners of PackageFromSanta.com spoke with Jessica Abo about how they safely bring the magic of Santa to children year after year and shared their secrets to success.
Jessica Abo: Can you tell us a little bit about your company and why you started Package From Santa?
Carey Gruber: In 2005 our son, Chase, received his first Santa letter from an online service at the time. When it arrived in the mail, the letter had the wrong name on it. Chase was devastated, and we were heartbroken, and we had to think fast. Dale and I had to come up with an apology letter from Santa while making sure we included details that only Santa would know. And it worked. We restored our son's belief in the magic of Santa.
Dale Gruber: That was the inspiration for Carey and I to take our creativity, our passion for Christmas, and develop our own online personalized Santa letter service. We just knew families needed to experience this joy as well, and we were right. We became "elfpreneurs."
I'm so glad you were able to turn around that experience for your son. How does Package From Santa work?
Carey Gruber: The way Package From Santa works is users go to PackageFromSanta.com to personalize an entire Santa experience for a loved one, completely online.
Dale Gruber: We've created a simple process that allows for the personalization of every aspect of the experience, and it all starts with our Santa letter creator, allowing users to start from one of our pre-made Santa letter templates as a starting point or completely write their own letter. Us elves at the workshop take care of the rest, adding the special details like the gold foil seal, Santa's signature and the entire Santa letter package ships directly to the child from the North Pole. Kids these days are smart. It's our job to stay one step ahead with unique, authentic Santa experiences that quickly dispel any disbelief.
You've been running a successful online business for more than 14 years. What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Dale Gruber: When you're a business owner, it's imperative that you surround yourself with star players. You don't want to be the smartest elf in the room, so set your pride and your ego aside and learn from others around you. Create an environment of open-mindedness and positivity that allows others to excel and propel your business.
Carey Gruber: Sometimes your own customers are your star players. They often have a wealth of input, feedback and ideas that can take your business to the next level. Do you want your customers to love you? Well, allow them to have a voice. Here's an example. In your business, be sure you're collecting their email addresses and occasionally send them a simple survey. Just make it easy for them to provide their valuable feedback and ideas. And if they comment on your social channels, be sure to take the time out to respond back. They will appreciate being heard and come back year after year.
Dale Gruber: Purposely seek out team members that have similar interests and passion for success in what they do in life. You'll find it will be a turning point in your business when you find people that have kindred souls and have the same desire for the business to succeed. It's hugely important. Us elves take our mission very seriously. The Christmas season can be very intense, so we rely on many other elves to help us see it through each season.
Sometimes you have to pull back a bit. Not every single thing is urgent, we've made that mistake in our business and in our lives before, believing that everything is a four-alarm fire and everything must be done instantly. That's just not the way it works. There's a great quote by Michael E. Porter, "The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do." Stay focused on tasks that make the biggest impact. This will allow you to simplify and keep you from getting overwhelmed, something that unfortunately many entrepreneurs are quite familiar with.
Carey Gruber: It also opens pockets of free time, so you can take time to focus on your family, your friends, and your personal growth. After all those are the most important aspects of all of our lives.
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