Buying and receiving presents as a kid always seemed so easy – not only because it was usually your parents shelling out the cash. It wasn’t hard to decide what you wanted or guess what would work well for a friend’s birthday; after all, it was usually a toy or CD from a band you were so into at the time.
But whether it’s Christmas or birthdays or the odd gift in between, buying presents for friends, family, and colleagues alike as an adult can be difficult. To help simplify the process again is Sydney startup The Gift Concierge Co, launched by Rose Gallo and Marcia Cipri just in time for the Christmas season.
The pair, childhood friends, have created a personalised service for those that lack the time or inspiration when it comes to buying gifts. They want to “bring some thoughtfulness back when it comes to gift giving and also allowing people to enjoy the gift of giving without the stress”.
The idea came from a lifetime buying gifts; both grew up in big families that loved to celebrate any occasion, while they were both responsible for organising staff and client gifts in various jobs.
“We were always receiving praise and feedback that people genuinely loved our gifts. We have always put a huge amount of effort into making gifts special,” Gallo said.
“In the past few years, we starting receiving lots of requests from family, friends, clients & colleagues for us to shop on their behalf. Each occasion, our lists were getting longer. As we both searched for the next ‘big thing’ in our lives, we realised we were already doing it.”
Gallo and Cipri conducted some focus groups and began writing a business plan in December 2013, however it wasn’t until last year that they began to get serious about it after finding themselves once again helping friends and family shop for presents.
They spent some time finding the best ecommerce platform to use, eventually deciding on Shopify, before looking into finding an agency to actually build the site within their budget. However, this proved difficult, and Cipri and Gallo decided to make a bigger financial investment into the business.
There are two offerings available through the platform, for consumers and for the corporate buyer. A consumer can simply pick a package to buy, from the ‘Doghouse’ package for someone who may be in a spot of trouble to a ‘Partner Pack’, covering gifts for five occasions for a partner. Also offered is the ability to have The Gift Concierge Co ‘shop your entire Christmas list’.
The user will then fill in a short questionnaire or schedule a quick phone chat to help The Gift Concierge learn more about the recipient, after which they are sent three tailored gift ideas.
The consumer then chooses the option they like best and buys, with the gift wrapped and delivered on the nominated date.
For corporates, a buyer can use a basic online contact form to begin the process; Gallo and Cipri explained they prefer to meet corporate clients face to face to properly understand the gifting occasion, recipients, and budget allocated, but can take a brief over the phone or via email.
Gift ideas are then sent back to the client, with the same buy, wrap, and deliver process then taking place.
When it comes to the consumer market, the startup will look to target those who like the luxury and convenience of personalised services; professionals and executives, in a relationship, though not necessarily married.
Services fees vary, with the startup charging $49 plus the cost of the gift and delivery for a one off gift, or $199 plus the cost of gift and delivery for a five occasion subscription.
There is no shortage of personal shopping services and platforms aiming to help people buy the right gift in the market; fellow Australian startup Koobee, for example, helps users put together wishlists that friends and family can then buy from. However Gallo and Cipri believe there is no direct competitor in the space, with The Gift Concierge Co offering a truly tailored service rather than simply having someone buy items off a list.
Following their launch last month, the cofounders are gearing up for a busy Christmas season. Over the next few months they will look to boost their partner and supplier network both locally and internationally to provide better services for customers. They will also look to secure funding to help expand their marketing efforts beyond Sydney.
Image: Rosa Gallo and Marcia Cipri. Source: Supplied.