This morning’s Globe and Mail contained a supplement from a gift basket company appropriately called “Baskits”. Reading through the brochure took me back about 25 years when I was Corporate Marketing Manager for EllisDon Corporation and we were one of their first customers. Ann Kerrigan came into our office promoting her fledgling business at a time when we were looking to give our corporate clients a unique seasonal gift other than liquor or wine. At the time, gift baskets were a relatively new concept. Ann customized a folk-art wooden Canada Goose stuffed with various nibblies and seasonal treats that totally wow’d us with its originality. The next year, she sourced wooden toolboxes for us that included an assortment of small chocolate tools. How appropriate for a construction company.
Over the years we used Baskits for various corporate gift-giving requirements. Inevitably the competition grew and finding novel gifts became more challenging. But Ann and her partner Carla at Baskits held their own in a difficult market. And now they’ve been in business for more than 25 years. They’re obviously doing something right – in fact a lot of things right. From a small cottage industry that began in Ann’s apartment to a major business, Baskits has succeeded where so many others have not.
Creating gift baskets looks so easy. How complicated can it be to stash some yummies into a bed of shred? Wrap it in cello with a nice bow and you’re all set. I once spent a day in Ann and Carla’s warehouse just before Christmas when things are particularly hairy. Thought I’d help out but instead I was more of a liability. I burned holes in the shrink-wrap with the hair-dryer thingie, dropped a small bottle of sticky maple syrup on floor and broke it, struggled with the arrangements – and, you name it, I screwed it up. Understandably over time I would have improved and perhaps could even have become as skilled as Maria from El Salvador who worked there full-time. And the physical demands of being on your feet all day in front of huge tables, collecting goodies from warehouse shelves is no easy feat. And that’s just the “creative” side” which Ann manages so artfully. Carla handles the complex business side of the operation.
Tipping my hat to Baskits. Well done, Ann and Carla.