October 15, 2019
Anda Blandu - You Don't Have To Be a Fighter

Anda Blandu is the owner of I Love the Presents, an online, story-based gift-giving service that creates memories and connections for people who care about quality, experience and helping others be seen. Anda created her busi...


Anda Blandu is the owner of I Love the Presents, an online, story-based gift-giving service that creates memories and connections for people who care about quality, experience and helping others be seen. 

Anda created her business over two years ago, and we talk in this episode about her journey from working for a luxury brand, to finally creating her own brand, which marries a luxury experience with an accessible product, and helps create opportunities for artists and makers that have stories themselves.

She talks about the importance of community and a support network in launching and growing her business, and how she stays true to who she is, finding the right clients for her, and building at a pace that feels right. 

Find Anda at www.lovethepresents.com

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Transcript
Speaker 1:

Welcome to the real people, real business show where we are talking with business owners who are in the trenches everyday, people who are working hard and have relevant and inspiring stories that you can relate to. Everyone we speak to is actively building and growing their business and is here to share their experiences, lessons, wisdom and guidance so you can be inspired to take action towards your own goals. Our guest today, she has been in the trenches and she has worked super hard on her journey and she has some awesome stories to share and I love this lady. So without further ado, I am so excited to welcome and uh , and that is um, she has , uh , a gifting business , um, and she works with, with both corporate clients as well as retail clients in building gifts that are founded , founded on stories. And I'm gonna let her talk to you a little bit more about that, but she launched this business last year and she is currently growing both sides of the business and has some awesome, awesome insight to share with us. So welcome to the show, Andy, and do welcome to the show. And , uh , and thanks so much for taking the time to share your story. And his last name is blond dude . And so I've , I , I, I just can't say the two without screwing them up. So, and , uh , hi .

Speaker 2:

Hi.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for that one. The point introduction. So welcome. So I want to know , um, why don't we start from the beginning. Tell me how you got started. Like what was the trigger for you to start this business?

Speaker 2:

Okay. Um, so for your audience real quick , um, forget the rambling. I'm a better story writer than a storyteller, so I'm a little bit out of my element here, but let's see how this goes. I'm happy to be here and hope to be of help. Um , although he hasn't been that long, it's been a huge journey for me. Um, I started with also with a little bit of a background. Um, my most recent , um, office job was [inaudible] Oh , with a staffing agency where I was managing to be busy offices wanting Palm beach and one in Miami , um, beautiful places. And I'm blessed. Um, and before that [inaudible] um , I was working in the hospitality industry, so altogether a dozen years in the corporate world and it was becoming hard and I was burned out and , um , there was a lot of good and bad , um , you know, working with the Ritz Carlton and getting that training was life changing and I'm waiting for the staffing agency. Everything I did was impacting real lives. So it was wonderful, but it was mostly stressful and um , fast based and high pressure and I want you to move away from it and do something different. And I ended up that experience into a career of my own where I um, put up a website, wrote a blog and wrote a book and I started coaching people on how to get hire to an agency and it just felt like a natural progression of my career, like a natural step. And I was doing what I did best at the time. Um , and it was all great until it wasn't anymore. I , because it was still linked to the world that I was trying to move away from. And so it was time to reevaluate everything again and change gears. And um , it was [inaudible] it all happened around the time I moved and I call that my left downtown for out of town phase. Um, it was when my world's changed. Um, I went from a life downtown and um, wearing a suit to work and high heels and blow drying my hair too, a home far out of town and I'm cooking my meals and reading food labels and pouring my candles and choosing healthy, organic and clean everything. And it was a huge shift for me and I found time to rest and regain my head space and see what really mattered. And I started paying attention to what people said they wanted and needed. And I thought about, well, how do you give some someone something they want and need? And of course the first thing that came to mind were gifts. And I went online looking for the best gift ever and I wanted to hear from real people. And I was actually looking into discussion forums where people were talking about the best gifts they ever received and they were quite insightful. And the one thing that they had in common was that people were rarely talking about things. And most stories were about feelings and more specifically about the memory of how they felt in the moment of receiving a gift. And you know, there's this quote that says, people won't remember what you said and what you did, but they'll remember how you made them feel. And that's exactly what I found in those stories. And so it made me think about how if those were truly the most important things we remember, maybe we should give based on gifts and because of how we feel. And I was like, okay , great gifts except for we all know that gift-giving , it's such a crowded market. And this past holiday season alone, Americans spent $720 billion on gifts. So it's a huge market and everybody wants a piece of it. And I knew that it would take a Ninja , um, to figure out what needs are still not being met there. And so obviously I started asking around should I do this? I mean I had no retail background experience. Um, and I didn't know if I should start a gift giving company, but I got a resounding yes, you know, in spite of my doubts and someone's opinion who I value greatly said give given is crowded, but give, giving the way I was envisioning it, it was not, and I grounded the whole thing into the idea that you give because of who you are. And I don't mean rich and famous, but because it honors who you are deep, deep down and how you feel. And so I started writing and creating a website and became part of a network of business owners. Um, I found a lot of support there in guidance and that's where I found you and you helped me launch and here I am.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And you had a really interesting launch, right? Right. You came to me at in July and you said, okay, I've been kind of circling the wagons on this for a little while. [inaudible] but I w I really want to launch this company. I said, okay, we can do that. When do you want to launch ? And she says, well, September. And I thought, Oh, and she did it. You did it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah . Well by the time I came to you was, I was two years in it and I knew I had to do something about it. Man , I just needed help doing it.

Speaker 1:

What do you think was, was keeping you sort of stuck? Cause I think that you're not alone in that experience and I think there are a lot of people who kind of get, get stalled in some place before they are launched. So what, what do you think that [inaudible]

Speaker 2:

you know, launching this business? I really wanted it to be successful and becoming successful. I think it's more than just the strength of my idea of being a success. And I think it truly takes a village and I will be nowhere without the networking connections that I've made. And you know, it truly is encouraging to be part of a group of successful business women. Um , I look up to all of them and I learned something new every day. And, you know, I was so lucky to connect with you and my writing coaches and fine , infinite support. And I think that that's what make me launch and grow.

Speaker 1:

Right. And so the support and the, the encouragement is, it is a huge thing, but I think also, you know, you were kind of stuck because there was this overwhelm of like, there's so many things I need to do. Right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. I had this, all these ideas , um , floating around and I just needed somebody to like put it down on paper and say, okay, for this to happen, you need to do this, this, this, and this. So sort of like a plan that I never , you know, had except for, you know, I'm , I'm a creative and my ideas, I just like out there. Um , I mean, I know how to put them on paper and I know how to make things happen, Ben. But I needed somebody from the outside to actually look in and say, Hey, this is what he needs you need to do. And , um ,

Speaker 1:

it could work. And when I can tell you is that you're also an executer. As soon as you had that plan, man, I have never seen anybody work so fast, but , and so what's driving you like what [inaudible] to do that you have to be pretty driven towards this vision. Right? And what is it, where's that coming from for you? Like what is it that's driving you towards putting that, that much time and effort into getting this thing up and running?

Speaker 2:

Um , no , I'm not really sure about the drive as I am that of what I want to make and how I want to help. Um, so that's probably an overlap there, but when I started this company, I want you to create something that's [inaudible] elegant and sophisticated and , um , I'm obsessed with design, anything from floral, interior design, graphic design. And so I wanted them to be impeccable. Um, and I also wanted them to be handmade and humble and really shed a light on autism. Oh , work and bipartisan or I don't mean overpriced or pretentious, but truly unique and skillful. And would that I w I knew that I needed to be thoughtful about our purchasing power and supporting businesses and mostly artisans whose values align with mine. So I think that that's my drive. Um, but I , I think it stems from there.

Speaker 1:

So tell me a little bit about how you work with your clients. So you have these kind of two sides of your business, right? You've got this, the retail side, which is, you know , really attracting kind of consumers and then you have launched a corporate giving side as well. So tell me a little bit about how those two work.

Speaker 2:

Yes. So I have curated gifts who are in my gift shop and I also launched a creative gift design service where I work with clients on designing gifts. Um , and I really had to work around different types of settings and think really hard about the people that will like my gifts. And I'm focusing on successful business owners, mostly creatives with too much on their plate. And even in this business setting, I want to stay true to finding connections and the fact that we all still want to give a gift because we feel something for someone. Um , so I'm not a , no , I'm not about to walk into big rooms and make things happen there because if I were, I wouldn't find real. I mean, I don't think that that's where barriers and facemasks come off. Um , I want to walk into, Oh, I'm offices where successful business owners change lives. And I want to say, let me take this off your plate. I'll take care of the gifts. [inaudible] I want to make their experience of working with me. I call it the gifting experience. Um , every bit as extraordinary and unique as they are. Um , and you know, I put , I put together these questions , um , that I thought really hard about because I wanted to think about your brand and what you stand for. Um , you know, the great colors and branding and the beautiful images that people have on the website. I want to add a well executed give box where you know, that visual identity , um , that we'll build, we'll support the promise that her brand makes. Um , and , um, do you want me to go over this stuff and talk about what

Speaker 1:

I mean like out talk, talk a little bit about what the X , I think your process is quite unique and I think that that's, that's very different. Um, I know having used your service, I know that it's , it's probably the most stress-free but, but there's this other element of, of this beautiful visual you bring in to , you know, I'm not just just ordering some premade basket from you. Talk about the experience of the corporate giving or the , the, the customized giving service because it's very unique.

Speaker 2:

Right? Um, so I spent a long time designing every step and every interaction I want my clients to have with me because I want it to be a five star experience all around. And it's what I would expect, like my gift giving experience to be like if I were the one giving the gifts. But , um, so when you, they reach out with an inquiry , um, I usually follow up with a call or an email and we'll discuss their needs and we'll go over lengthy questionnaire and I'll design a proposal much like a designer would. And , um , I'll give you two gift options and once we decide on the one you love, well I'll get to work and I'll engrave your logo or your name or your message on a gift box and I'll even send you a video of the engraving process. And then I'll order the items and when I receive everything, I'll send you another video of how I place everything in the box, right? The card tied a bow and you know, wrap everything ready to send. And none of this is extraordinary. Um, you know, none of it is mind bending, it's quite simple, but I find it to be very important. And the gifting experience that my clients have with me is literally everything I, I work for. It's all I think about.

Speaker 1:

And, you know , comparing, compare that to the experience I might get from some, you know, much bigger kind of well established con competitor. What, what's gonna feel different for me,

Speaker 2:

I think if the person that interaction in the, the , the fact that I take the time to record a video and I quite enjoy that. I quite enjoy, you know, creating a connection with my clients and I spend a lot of time upfront with them figuring out what it is that they want and what kind of theme and how did they want this gift to feel , feel like. Um, that's basically what I ground everything into.

Speaker 1:

And, and you're not working, I mean, you have a very specific idea of who you want to work with and you, you know, you alluded to it earlier that this is not the big corporation that you're going to. This is the, the, the, the, the type of business owner who's very attached to their clients, who has , uh , you know, a strong personal relationship with their clients. Obviously not in an inappropriate way . But , um, the, the, the meaning behind the gift is really important. And like I use you to , I use Anna to create gifts for my clients because it's so important to me that they are different, that they are different, that they're unique, that they, they communicate to my clients that I, I thank you. I appreciate you. I am grateful. And these are like thoughtful, thoughtful, personally selected gifts. So if you were to be approached by a big organization, do you think you could provide the same service?

Speaker 2:

It depends on who I'm working with and how close and involved they are in the company. For example, a founder or business owner would be more involved in their company and how we'd want, how they want their company to be seen. So if I would work with the business owner, I would probably be different than working with an executive assistant, was just doing a job for him. But , um, the fact that I source my products from artisans , um, means that it usually takes a long time to have them done. And the turnaround time right now for the, for my creative Gib design is four weeks. But it's all, it all depends on the artisans that work with. Um , so I'm not really sure if I will be the best choice for a big corporation just because of that. Right. And I worked really hard on defining my target audience and I think that that was one of my , uh , pivotal moments. Um, my products are artisanal quality gifts. That's what we came with. We came, you know , what we came up with and um , uh, one of my , uh, products is a Kashmir is called [inaudible] . I have learned in Nepal by blind weavers. Um, and the company that's sourcing them is um , partnering with a nonprofit organization who provides these tools and training and support , um, for their artisans to become independent, true weaving. So that's a great story, right? So beautiful handmade artisanal products. And I initially be find my target audience as design oriented people who value uniqueness and quality and all of the communication on the website was focused on locally sourced products and the quality of them and how they're made, which is important. But after thinking about it, I think this is all just background information and it's something that my ideal client takes for granted rather than the reason for buying these clients that buy these gifts. Like who would pay a premium price for beautiful scarf handled in Nepal and why do my clients value quality and

Speaker 1:

Hmm .

Speaker 2:

And I identify one of my , um , one of my , um , ideal clients as the successful business owners and probably parents who want the very best weather. It's for their family and friends because they feel guilty about the lack of time they felt they spent with um , their friends or their loved ones and they wanted their gifts too really count. And , um , those beautiful scarves , you know, they will be something that they would treasure and cherish forever. And so quality matters. But if it's not, it's not something that's , um, that's driving them to buy. And I want to sell gifts that people will later tell stories about.

Speaker 1:

I want to gloss over that because that's, it's like absolutely pivotal to your brand that there is so much story involved in your, the gifts that you curate for people, not just the stories behind the pro . I mean, sure, it's great. It's really cool to receive, you know, a pashmina that has been, that has the story behind it . It for the, you know, when it's supporting, but also how does it relate to me as the gift giver? How does this communicate something that's really important to me and how can it, how can it resonate with the people who are receiving it? And you know, we, we, my little gift boxes that I send to my clients are very intentional. Right? They ha it's not , you didn't just go choose a bunch of stuff off the, off the shelf. You did this because each of them tells a story about my relationship to my clients, right?

Speaker 2:

Yes. Each gift is scented on a , um, on a feeling. And , um , what's different about these is that I give the gift of story and is not a ma as much about sounding the gifts as it is about creating connections. And I finding that common ground and sharing experiences that will later shape our stories and [inaudible] my product descriptions are stories. And I chose the items that go in my gift boxes because they have a story. And so for my product descriptions , um, I want to say, Hey, buy this gift because she's going through a hard time. Instead I would say, well, you should buy this gift because you know, she's afraid of waking up and going to sleep with tears, soaking the only pillows resting on the headboard. So that creates an instant connection. And when I'm trying to do is create this scenarios that people can picture themselves in and I think they're more relatable.

Speaker 1:

So what's your big hope for your clients?

Speaker 2:

Um , um Hmm . I want them to feel seen and when they send a gift , um, I want their clients to feel seen. So I'm sort of like , uh , an ongoing theme, but I want them to know that. I see them and I know exactly what it is that they're trying to say. And the gift was say more than they did. And , um, I just hope that their clients will show the same.

Speaker 1:

Now, you didn't start out , um, you didn't launch with the corporate or the custom gift-giving service. You launched with some sort of preconfigured gifts and quite quickly you moved to , um, you moved to the, the custom gift giving service. So tell me a little bit about that pivot.

Speaker 2:

So it all happened because , um, I had a business plan because of you. So that was great. And uh, checking things off and working off list and also another aha moment that kind of helped me. Yeah . You know, moving and , um, create this gift design service was working with writing coaches. I thought that there will be enough to just write a blog post and hit publish, but we're working with

Speaker 1:

somebody that can actually clarify my message

Speaker 2:

and my offerings. Whereas , um , you know, I, I, I think what changed my direction because once I did that , um, I got calls and people inquiring about custom gifts and can you do this for a client? And I think that that's what changed everything.

Speaker 1:

So when with your custom gift giving clients , um, I know I was blown away by the proposal you created and how well thought out it had banned and what's the feedback that you get from them? I mean, I'm curious about this industry because the industry is quite saturated and I'm curious about you finding your space in that industry and what you can double down on to really strengthen that brand.

Speaker 2:

Um , I spent a lot of time designing the proposal and I really give it a lot of thought. Um, and um, I really love graphic design and I think that the proposal shows it and [inaudible] I'm not sure. I'm , I'm sure the other businesses do that, but , um, I'm not sure to what extent and I , I actually never got a quote from another cup company, like from a competitor, which probably I should, but , um, I never did that. So I don't really know exactly what they did. I just did what I felt , uh , was best. And obviously from my experience working from, for the Ritz Carlton , um, in the guest services department , um, you know, we, we were trying to , um, she would just blow people away with attention and care and , um, we really put thought into everything we did. And [inaudible] one of the examples is , um, we had a , um, a newlywed cup , a newlywed couple , uh, with , uh , who left their baby at home for em , you know, we can get away and they were very uneasy about it. And the travel agent called and said, you know, I'm not really sure how they're gonna if they're gonna stay for the whole time, cause they just left their baby at home and they may not stay for the whole , um , trip. But , um, she was inquiring about the cancellation policy and everything. So I said, well, why don't you send you a picture of their baby? And so what we did is we created this whole , Hey, welcome, your baby's fine. And we did a little video from the, from the nanny talking about how the baby's doing great. And she's happy and we framed this little picture of the baby and we'll put it on the nightstand. And so they loved it. And it was just so easy, like anyone could do it, but nobody would, you know, go above and beyond and do something like that. And I think it really mattered.

Speaker 1:

So you're bringing, that's where I learned to take that experience in with a luxury brand and mu and replicating that with the business that you've created. And so do you, do you consider yourself a luxury brand?

Speaker 2:

No.

Speaker 1:

No.

Speaker 2:

No, because , um , you know , that would mean that I would associate artists and our products with something that I really don't want to, they're not mass produced and the , they're truly remarkable, unique, their own. And , um, I mean, they are luxury, some of them, but I, I would be weary of labeling them that because it would mean they're like pretentious and they're not.

Speaker 1:

That's, and that's a really cool place to be with, with your brand, is that you have the luxury experience, right, in terms of personalization and , and how you're making people feel when they're buying from you. [inaudible] but with this still with, I would say your products are still very accessible right there . They're not overpriced. Um, I can buy something at a, at a pretty pretty good rate, right? Yes. And you know, is that true? Is that true of your brand that you have this kind of hybrid?

Speaker 2:

I hope so. I think that that sounds like a great label.

Speaker 1:

So tell me a little bit more about about growth. Because growth is, is an interesting concept when you have this very artisinal kind of business, right? You're not growing based on volume and mass production and that sort of thing. So what does growth mean to you? Like what are the constraints that you're kind of growing around

Speaker 2:

most ? Um , I don't think I'll be anywhere without a network that , um, I've been part of and the connections that I've made. And , um , I think that's what helped me grow and seeing , um , are the gift box companies and , um, how they're killing it on social. And another one partnering with Nordstrom. There's, there's so much growth that's possible. And even though the comparison game is strong , um, what I instantly forget is that , um, they probably have a team of 12 people working behind the scenes and making things happen and crazy budgets and maybe they work their ass off to get to where they are now. Um, it's , it's also inspiring and I think that's what's pushing me to grow. I'm seeing what's possible and, and learning and watching, watching other people's do it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I mean that , that's a, that's a great perspective because it's easy to look at other people doing things and say, Oh my gosh, I should just give up. I can't do this. Someone else has the market. So how are you kind of, how are you kind of combating that? Because it sounds to me like you're looking at that as actually inspiration, which is really healthy.

Speaker 2:

Yes. Just just paying attention and you know, becoming parts of , um, part of , um , other groups and buying courses and, you know, investing in bettering myself and working other people and professionals who know better than me and who can show me the ropes and take it step by step. And I think that it's important with growth. It's important to kind of budget for that , um, budget for , um, bettering yourself and praying, investing in yourself and um, it's got , it's going to happen. It's inevitable.

Speaker 1:

And that's a really mature exp approach because I think a lot of people just get stuck in this like heads down muscle through, try and just like bootstrap all of this and when they could be making progress a whole lot faster if they were to invest in the support, whatever that might be for them, right? And recognize that they're this kind of, you know, that's PC piece of clay, right? That is always, we always are in the process of changing and molding and morphing and all of that. So if you can embrace that and say, okay, this is where I'm at, I want to go faster. So I'm going to get the support, I'm going to get somebody to, you know, help me with whatever skill set I need to, I need to improve in order to get there faster.

Speaker 2:

Right, right. You have to invest. Yes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . Okay. So investment has , has worked with you in terms of growth. What else has worked?

Speaker 2:

Um , stop being afraid of dreaming big and kind of tell my story. Um , you know, I never thought that people would care about seeing my face online or, you know, talk about myself, which tell my story. And , um, it has really then , um, um , insightful to see that people actually care and comments on that. Um, you know, I wasn't expecting that. I , I always thought that people are into, you know, how is this going to work for me? How is this going to help me? How is this going to better me and make me look good? And I was focusing on that and I still am. Um, but there's this thing where people kind of want to know who's behind it and how they do it and why they do it. And so when I started talking about that , um, I'm still growing. You know, my, my audience is not that big. I'm still growing, but I saw a big , um, a big difference when I started doing that.

Speaker 1:

Doesn't surprise me at all. This has become so prevalent in a lot of these businesses like you and I run is the person that's behind it and the relationship I have with them and the, the, the trust that I have in them. You know, Kendrick Shope says all things being equal, friends buy from friends, right? So if and , and that's a , it's a bit of a , a generalization, but what it means is that if I feel I know you, if I have some relationship to you or if you're, you're constantly in my sphere, this is why that relentless visibility is so important. I'm gonna , I'm going to be more inclined to buy something from you because I know your story. I know who you are. I'm not going to go to, you know, 1-800-BUY-SOME flowers.com and order flowers if I've got the option of supporting another small business, but also supporting somebody that feels close to me. So when I see , when we talk about marketing being a person and a human being is so incredibly important. And I, you know, give lens if you talked to or have you listened to my interview with Lindsey a couple of episodes ago, she said the same thing. It's the personalization, it's the relationships. It's being known as a human being and somebody who does something of impact in the world. That is the best marketing that you can, you can have, right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. What it is. I didn't think, I think I didn't think it would, but he really is.

Speaker 1:

So what's your plan in terms of , um, kind of responding to that new piece of information?

Speaker 2:

Okay . Well, I recently invested in a branding photo shoot. So good . So, you know, I'm ready to put , uh, put my face out there and I'm [inaudible] .

Speaker 1:

I know that it will drive deeper connections.

Speaker 2:

And so I want to build on that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, and the photos you've got are so incredible. Thank you. And it's the first time I've seen, you know, it's funny, I was looking for photos to use for, you know, this episode and there was nothing I couldn't find and it may, it occurred to me, I'm like Anna , and it needs to be her business. So I'm glad to hear that that's, that's where you're moving with us because you have such a, just the sunshiny personality and you're so lovely to work with and that piece of that brand, you just can't deny how impactful that is and how important it is for people to engage with you and to feel like they, and I , this is not just for your type of business, this is the case for everybody. Everyone. Because you know, whatever it takes to be human, whatever it takes to be the voice of your brand, even larger organizations can benefit from this.

Speaker 2:

Oh, absolutely. Yes. Yeah. The personal interaction. And then I preach it all the time. I personalized my client's gifts and then , um , I don't personalize my business, so I should better take my advice.

Speaker 1:

Yes. And , and we grow all the time. So what I think is you've done really well is, is noticing, right? Being able to pick those things up when they occur and realize how that needs to be implemented in your own business. So we've talked about what works you in terms of growth. What has not worked for you. What are some of the things that just just did not land?

Speaker 2:

Hmm . I mean, I'm pretty new and every , I look at everything I do as a test and if it doesn't work, then I'll just adjust and rewrite. But , um, like I said, working with writing coaches I think really helped in perfecting my message and , um , really clarify my offerings or what it is that I do and talk about it because I wasn't talking about it enough. And I think that , um, that was one of the tests. Um , when I first put up a page , it was, I don't think I had an about me page. And , um , okay . So I really , um , [inaudible] John Dutton writing about me and all right . You know, people seem to be reading that page for some reason.

Speaker 1:

Well , not surprising at all, right? They want to know who's behind it. Otherwise you become this sort of nameless, faceless, you know, place I can go to just order basket, but what's going to compel me to do that? [inaudible]

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Speaker 1:

okay. So tell me about what's, if you had to think about kind of the most pivotal moment that you've had in your business, what was that? What has that been? Tell me a story about where you kind of made a really big leap.

Speaker 2:

You know , I honestly thought that was the, the target audience thing. Um , so I changed the, you know, the type of, the type of communication that I had on my website. It was really focused on the artisans and it still is. But what I did is I changed the verbiage from , um, just regular product descriptions to stories. And I'm really just aiming at creating scenarios that people can , um, find themselves in and finding reasons to give , um, besides holidays and birthdays and anniversaries. Um , there's nothing wrong with giving , um, a gift for a milestone, but , um, there's so many other reasons to give a gift and acknowledge someone's hard work or , um, acknowledged someone going through a hard time. And , um, I think that that was my , uh, my pivotal moment. That was when I actually just narrowed down my target audience. And it really , I'm really targeting people that appreciate a story and I'm a real life scenario.

Speaker 1:

I think it , I think it was getting really specific, not about the demographics, but the psychographics of those people, right? Like, what is their journey? What are they, you know, I , I always loved that you recognize that there were lots of reasons to give gifts beyond the fact that, you know, it's a birthday or something like that. And , and you, when we first talked about your target audiences, there were like, [inaudible] these people who just had no idea how to give gifts or how to, you know, the, the, who didn't have a lot of time, but I don't really think that that's, you know, that rang true for you, right? [inaudible] it was a much more emotional appeal.

Speaker 2:

Right? I think so. And you know, writing the writing the story I think made them more relatable and um, people were like, well, yeah, I totally know someone who's going through that or you know, I totally know someone who could use a gift because of that.

Speaker 1:

Cause he , we often don't know what to do for people when we know that they're going through something. Right. And if we can,

Speaker 2:

I don't know what to say exactly.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And so

Speaker 2:

the biggest hurdle, that's the biggest thing that people have a hard time with not knowing what to say and then they don't say anything where they don't do anything at all and they just pretend that they didn't hear it. And I think that that's just the wrong approach. And acknowledging would just deepen their connection and um , you know, share an experience together that they'll remember forever.

Speaker 1:

And that's such an important, it's an important lesson in any business, but it's a really cool part of what you've managed to do is really thinking through like, what's real for these people. You're not just scratching the surface. And saying, Oh, there's a birthday, here's some options for a birthday. You're giving them kind of a prepackage look. You may not know what to say right now, but here's what I would recommend you do with somebody who's going through a difficult time or even a divorce or like, cause you're , you have that woven into your stories, which is super interesting. You're not focusing just on the, the celebratory, but you know, someone can come to your website and see that story and say, that's exactly where what I'm dealing with right now. This would be a really good idea. [inaudible] I think that that's smart.

Speaker 2:

It's a , it's also narrowing, you know, my target audience, but it's, I think that's for the best. Um, um, I'm , I'm just not the same, the same business that , um , one 800 gift flowers is. And you know, I'm not for everyone and that's okay. It works for the right audience. Um, and you know, I don't mind the not being huge.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And that's, you just got to be really clear on what kind of business you're building. Right. [inaudible] okay. I've got a question that I ask everybody cause it's something I feel very strongly about. What do you think the biggest, I mean you've been in the online business world for a little while now. What do you think the biggest gap is between what's real? Like what happens in reality versus what we hear out there are the beliefs we have from that are generated in the online business world. Wow .

Speaker 2:

What ? Um , I see something all the time and there's this thing that we're being told , um, that business owners have to be gladiators study. You have to be out in the arena fighting. And um , you know , I'm proof that I'm not, I'm soft and gentle in kinds and soft spoken and you know, nervous sometimes and, but what I think that, you know, you can call your own shots and not have to fight and define who you want to work with and radio all in terms of service and how you want to handle your business and it will work for the right audience. I think it's, it's just going to be fine to be who you are. You don't have to be a afraid .

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I know you and I have had this conversations about the, the words that we hear out there around hustle and fight, and it's all very aggressive, but most of the business owners I know are kind of like, yeah, can we just not, right? I want to , I want to build a business, but I want to do it in a way that doesn't feel so, you know, so full of conflict and, and competition and all of this stuff. Right? [inaudible] I think you're , you're a great example of somebody who is just said, you know what? This is who I am and this is what I want them . This is what I wanna build and how I want to build it. And I, you know, I , I really respect that about you and your business. All right . What do you wish you knew before you got started? What would you love everybody listening to know that would kind of help them on their way?

Speaker 2:

Hmm . Talking about starting , um, I took two years to finally launch my website. Um, I just wanted everything to be perfect. And now that I think about it, I wish that I launched sooner and asked for feedback and perfect based on that. And I think that that would have been a much better approach.

Speaker 1:

Okay . What did you learn? But when , when you finally got everything out there that, you know, would have been really helpful earlier on

Speaker 2:

that um, you know, not , we're not launching too , you know, unless you have this like huge launch to like a million people, you don't really launch to like the biggest audience ever and you probably launched like family friends and you ask for feedback and you go on some networking groups and then you ask for feedback and um, that's who you launched to. You know, unless you have like a big budget and lunch with a bunch of ads and a two a big audience, it's , it's not going to be , um, as important to have it perfect as it would be to like perfect along the way. Yep .

Speaker 1:

I talk a lot about making the necessary mess . [inaudible] yeah . And I just, I like, I used to be a perfectionist. I used to want everything perfect before I put it out there. And now I'm like, okay, how quickly can I get this out? Because the , as soon as I, as soon as I have it out there, I can start getting feedback and I be , can be closer to a better state. Right. And, and also we're never there. Right. There is never like an end state with this stuff.

Speaker 2:

Yeah . Yeah. A year in I , uh, um, decided to change my website and change everything. So I changed it either way.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . And what , what happened? Nothing. No , there were no big implications. Nobody, it's funny, like when people talk about raising their prices too , they think, Oh my gosh, there has to be a big process. I have to tell everybody. No , you don't just read your raise races and I saw that today. Yes, you can. Okay . And what's next for you?

Speaker 2:

Uh , well, the holidays are coming up, so I'm coming up with a , um, holiday gift collection. Um, I hope to be launching it by November 1st and um , yeah, that's what's next. That's what I'm working on.

Speaker 1:

What can we hope to see in the holiday gift collection? Can you give us any, I mean, if you're watching the video of this interview, it's worth, it's worth noting that all of Anna packs , everything in this , these beautiful wooden circular wooden gift boxes and it's kind of her signature. And yes, she burns your logo with her own little logo burning machine. I don't have the words for it, but it looks absolutely beautiful. And so can we get a sneak peek of what's going to be in your holiday collection?

Speaker 2:

Well, I'm adding more color. Um, the gift box will stay the same. Uh , I'm changing the ribbon and uh, handwritten notes and um , adding beautiful swing tags and , um, there's going to be more color. I think that that's what's more different than the gifts that I have. Are PRI now.

Speaker 1:

Ooh , I can't wait to see them. So knowing, knowing kind of where you're headed, what kind of support would you like from this community in order to kind of get you there more quickly?

Speaker 2:

Um , I'm always looking for inspiration and um , stories is what inspire me. Um, so if anyone has a gifting story to share , um, I'm still collecting stories. Um, you can go on my website and um, click on the , get in touch on the bottom of the page and share yours. Um, I would love to hear it. And I'm also looking for artisans to feature in my gift boxes. I take a long time curating gifts , um , and I usually look at three or four items before I choose one. And so , um, if you know of a , a business or an artisan , um, that makes handcrafted unique items with a story, I would love to see it and hear about it and um , [inaudible] um, yeah, that's what I'm looking for.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. Okay. Well thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. Can you, can you tell the listeners how they can find you?

Speaker 2:

Um, yes, I love the presence is the name of the website I'm on Instagram and Pinterest at. I love the presence and um , you can find my email on it too.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. And you have a contact form on your website. Um, and you mentioned that you had a free offer to share with the listeners. So can you tell me a little bit more about that and we'll also post it in the show notes?

Speaker 2:

Sure. Um, for the QA, did gifts in the gift shop? Um , I'm offering free shipping for your nest , um, through the month of October. If they look a use the code steps list at checkout, you could get that.

Speaker 1:

Yay. Awesome. Well we'll put that in the show notes so you can find it there and uh , go check out this custom gift giving service. It has, it's amazing. Just amazing and so, so different from any experience I've had before. And the, the gifts that and defines or just, Oh, they're stunning. Just stunning. Yeah . Okay. Amazing. And a thank you for this. It's an awesome gift for our listeners and uh , and I can't wait to see what you do for the holiday collection. I know I will be in there checking it out and um, hopefully the rest of our listeners do as well. And that's a wrap for this episode. Such an amazing conversation. So make sure you go and check out and uh , and her incredible offer. And thank you for tuning in today to hear and a story, the episodes that you're listening to, you are all featuring members of my free private Facebook group called the real deal business coaching group where we have daily prompts to keep you focused on building your business and sharing your everyday challenges by weekly virtual coffee chats, open coaching and members support from this incredible communities . So many awesome, awesome business owners in there. If you'd like to join our community or if you want to be featured on this show, I'd love for you to come hang out with us in the group, blinks in the show notes or search up the real deal business coaching group in Facebook to find us. And finally I would love for you to join us for our next episode where we're going to be speaking to Bakkedahl Rempel who is a fitness trainer that works with women over 40 who are, you know, trying to get their fitness either back or in, into line with what their life is like right now. And you know all the things that they're dealing with. She's sharing her story and it is a good one. I have been very close to her on her story and she has made incredible progress this year, but I'll let her share that with you on our next episode. So thanks again for being here, and if you've enjoyed today's content, I would love for you to give us a review on whatever platform you're listening to us on. And this helps us share these stories with an even bigger audience. So until next time I am cheering you on over here.