Creative Business: Selling Experience Gifts


The trade in gift-experiences is a line of business that is far from suitable for everyone, when organizing such a business, you need to have creative talent, be able to negotiate with many people, always be aware of what the market offers, what interesting services are presented on it, you need to understand what people are interested in and what they are willing to pay for, it is necessary, if not to have a marketing education, then to have an understanding of advertising, because the promotion of such a product is a very complex process. Few are engaged in such a business, but there were a lot of those who tried to embark on this path, and many firms closed in the very first months of operation. 

At first glance, it seems that this type of entrepreneurship is very easy, while not costly, does not require large investments, but in fact everything is much more complicated. It will be possible to sell impression gifts only if there was experience or at least theoretical knowledge about the activities of an advertising or event agency, and preferably about both directions. Doing such a business alone is also very difficult, you need a team of creative and extraordinary people and, of course, it will be possible to work only in big cities; there will not be enough people in the province even to cover their own expenses. And if all these difficulties do not frighten the entrepreneur, and he understands that he has all the necessary qualities, he should still think about whether it is worth getting involved in this particular activity, because there are other ways to earn money.

However, there are many examples that such entrepreneurship turned out to be a source of good profit for its founders, but the matter must be approached with caution. To begin with, it is worth assessing the level of competition in your region, while direct competitors will be offices that also offer the purchase of gift-experiences, and indirect competitors will be event agencies, because they offer their customers essentially the same product, in any case they can provide assistance in organizing some non-standard event. It’s just that the services of an event agency involve working with a client-oriented approach, to satisfy his needs, and an office that sells gift-experiences sells a ready-made product, offering its customers to choose from a list of available offers. Of course, a gift-experience firm should listen to the wishes of customers, but still, the format of its work involves the formation of a product in advance, and not its creation for a client. At the same time, serious competitors will be those companies that either have significant means and capabilities in order to offer a wide range of very diverse offers, or work in the same area, that is, offer gifts in the same direction as their company. For example, deciding to open an office that sells gifts related to air sports, you need to determine whether there is exactly the same in the region. However, at present, most often firms offer events of all possible directions and topics, which in most cases allows you to receive not only income, but also profit. In a word,

To start working, you need to register as a business entity, you can also register as an individual entrepreneur, fortunately, there will not be too large amounts on the balance sheet. If there is a need to register a legal entity, then it is better to choose the form of a limited liability company, because in this case, as in the case of individual entrepreneurship, a simplified taxation system will be available, which involves transferring no more than 6% of income to the state or 15% of operating income as taxes. The size of the state duty in the worst case will be 4 thousand rubles – this is how much it costs to register a limited liability company. As you can understand, no special permits are required to open such an enterprise, even if it will offer its customers extreme and potentially dangerous types of leisure – for all these permits and licenses will be required to have the firm that performs the order. An office that sells impression gifts acts exclusively as an intermediary, very rarely as a performer and only on the organizational side, therefore, there are no requirements and conditions for work. The registration process is unlikely to be long, the entrepreneur himself can easily cope with this, having an amount within 20 thousand rubles, it will be possible to register even an LLC, solve all bureaucratic issues and contribute the authorized capital, the minimum amount of which is set equal to 10 thousand rubles. engaged in the sale of gift-experiences, acts exclusively as an intermediary, very rarely as a performer and only from the organizational side, therefore, there are no requirements and conditions for work. The registration process is unlikely to be long, the entrepreneur himself can easily cope with this, having an amount within 20 thousand rubles, it will be possible to register even an LLC, solve all bureaucratic issues and contribute the authorized capital, the minimum amount of which is set equal to 10 thousand rubles. engaged in the sale of gift-experiences, acts exclusively as an intermediary, very rarely as a performer and only from the organizational side, therefore, there are no requirements and conditions for work. The registration process is unlikely to be long, the entrepreneur himself can easily cope with this, having an amount within 20 thousand rubles, it will be possible to register even an LLC, solve all bureaucratic issues and contribute the authorized capital, the minimum amount of which is set equal to 10 thousand rubles.

When the registration issue is resolved, you can start looking for office space for your work. In general, it is not necessary to rent an office for yourself, you can work from home, and all meetings are held on neutral territory, but it is still very, very desirable to have your own representation, because this way you can earn respect and trust from consumers. Of course, savings when organizing an exclusively online store are significant, and from a practical point of view, opening an office is most often not necessary, but an entrepreneur still needs to think about what is preferable for him. If you rent an office, then you need to look for a room that is not too big, it will just be a place to receive clients, but more important is where exactly the office will be located. It is best, of course, to find a room in the city center, but it will also cost much more. Office area of ​​30 m2 can be rented for an average of 20 thousand rubles, but this is a very average figure, because in small cities rent can be even cheaper, but in megacities, especially in busy neighborhoods, where there is always a lot of traffic, it can be much more expensive. Indoors, you may have to make repairs (at least cosmetic), as well as buy simple furniture and office equipment, but in any case, this is unlikely to require more than 100 thousand rubles.

For work, it will not be necessary to attract a large staff of employees, the entrepreneur himself, if he has like-minded people, can cope with all the main tasks, only at later stages, he may attract people to promote his product, as well as to solve simple organizational issues – negotiating, answering phone calls and other similar duties. In general, if necessary, you can hire 2-3 assistants, but as the company develops, it will be very good to form a team of marketers who will deal with advertising and keep in touch with potential and past customers. Working with consumers is very important here, you need to initially show a person not only the advantages of your company compared to other players in the market, but also generally convince a potential buyer that that the product is good and should be considered as a gift to a dear person. Sometimes they buy impression gifts for themselves or for their company, in connection with which it is necessary to take into account the requests of the buyer directly and be able to advise him, give him advice. A person who decides to make such a gift does not always know exactly what he needs and what the recipient of the gift may like. And if an employee of the company can solve this sometimes difficult issue for him, then this adds trust to customers and improves the reputation of the office. It follows that the entrepreneur himself must take part in the sales process on his own, and even engage in active work in all areas, and if for a start he hired three assistants, then their salary will be approximately 20 thousand rubles per person per month. Marketers, of course, get much more and professionals who have experience in a related (or even similar) field are highly valued. At the same time, all business processes that do not affect the organization’s profit in any way can be outsourced, the simplest example here is bookkeeping, for an amount within 5 thousand rubles, the outsourcer will compile all the necessary reporting for a small company. Make it right.

But one of the most difficult stages is the formation of a portfolio of your proposals. Again, we return to market research – during the analysis, the needs of the audience should be determined as accurately as possible, the proposals of the performing companies should be identified, and the capabilities of the intermediary firm itself should be determined. After all, in essence, the customer may not contact the office that offers a gift-impression, he can place an order in the contractor’s company, and there are several factors due to which the appearance of an intermediary is justified. Firstly, you need to find a performer at all, and for some types of gifts this is relatively simple (for example, zorbing), for others it is quite difficult (flying in a small plane with a pilot can be included here). Secondly, the company finds the best performer of all, and there is a lot of work to be done, perhaps you will even have to test all the offers yourself (and this is a very considerable amount of money). If you have money, this is a good way out of the situation (although we must not forget that the level of service may change). Thirdly, the intermediary must agree in some cases with the performer on joint work, because some experiences are practically not offered to a wide range of people, and the performer wants to work in a new direction only if he receives a sufficient number of orders or an agreement is reached on other conditions. Fourthly, the intermediary ideally can agree on a discount for the provision of services, which means that the client does not overpay much compared to if he applied himself. And fifthly, the mediator takes care of all the organizational work, he helps to obtain certificates and permits (for example, obtaining a medical certificate is mandatory in some types of air sports), he arranges the arrival of the client at the place, he can provide additional services if the relevant services have been ordered (decoration of premises, flower delivery, catering, etc.) cetera). That is, it has a huge number of responsibilities that event agencies usually deal with (which is why this article constantly compares these two lines of business). In addition, you need to find all possible ways to spend your leisure time, from which you can make a ready-made gift. Moreover, in some cases it will be enough to establish cooperation with the direct contractor, while in others you will have to look for a lot of additional companies,

The value of the mark-up for the service provided can be very different, but usually still not too high, because the vast majority of gift-experiences are expensive pleasures. On the other hand, if a unique service is offered that is not available in other ways, then the markup can be considerable. As a result, you need to very accurately determine the needs of customers, find out what they are willing to pay for. Also, one should not forget that the company offers a gift-pleasure, often a set of services, and the consumer pays for each of them, and a mark-up is set for each of them. If a package of offers is formed (that is, several gifts at once in one offer or just a certificate for providing one gift-impressions to choose from), then the services included in the services are selected in such a way that at cost (and therefore and in terms of the final cost for the consumer) they were at least approximately equal. As a result, the average margin is 10-20%, but these are very average calculations, because if a gift involves contacting several companies, as well as high-quality service, then the amount of revenue can be up to 50% of the cost. But this is more the exception than the rule. To make it convenient for the client to choose a gift, they are usually sorted by subject, a separate direction is a package of offers for groups of people, that is, designed for a large number of people. There are companies that offer special gifts for businessmen. Gifts sorted by theme are often packaged naturally, that is, the client buys a real gift (which includes just a brochure indicating the possible choice) and then either chooses from the list himself, or gives a beautifully designed box to the addressee. By the way, you need to pay attention to buyers who are interested in the package offer that only one service is offered to choose from, otherwise claims cannot be avoided, there will always be those who think that you can get several trips for 5 thousand rubles. 

It is rather difficult to name the average price of gifts, it can change very, very much, in the assortment of many companies you can find gifts for 1.5 thousand rubles and for 100 thousand, but it is still better to focus on approximately one price category. Thus, assuming that 100 gifts were sold per month with an average price of 5 thousand, then with a markup of 20%, you can count on revenue of 100 thousand. In fact, these are not very good indicators, and 100 gifts will definitely not be sold in the first months (and sometimes not even in the first year), which is why this business is considered quite complicated and, perhaps, focused on the long term. This implies the conclusion that it can be considered as the development of an existing company that is engaged in some related field of activity. On the other hand,

But still, an important advantage of this business is that you can spend quite a bit of money on opening one point, and the site will become the main showcase of your store. You can create and promote it in one region for 100 thousand rubles, while working throughout Russia – even more, but the site allows you to reach a very large number of customers. Many impression gifts can be sold at least throughout the country – that’s why it is an unusual gift, an impression gift, and therefore often the customer (or rather, the recipient of the gift) visits other regions of the country, and sometimes travels beyond its borders. But there are also gifts that are sold with the expectation of those who do not have the opportunity to leave the city even for the weekend. In general, we will not give a list of possible gift-impressions here – options can be easily found on the Internet, and a person with imagination will come up with 10-20 pieces right off the bat. Let’s put it simply – there are a lot of them. Ranging from the simple type of limousine ride (or horseback riding) to some kind of boat cruise on a crocodile-infested river. By the way, if the customer concludes a contract for the provision of services with an intermediary, then it makes sense to establish cooperation with insurance companies in order to insure their customers – this applies to extreme offers. In general, each option may have its own legal difficulties, and if the team does not have a lawyer, then it makes sense to find one, but contact him only if necessary. Summing up, we can say that the amount of monthly expenses starts at about 10 thousand rubles: this is without office rent, provided that only the entrepreneur / founders work, payment is made only for the operation of the site (several thousand rubles a year) and outsourcing. But maybe about 100 thousand: everything is the same plus office rent and wages. If you conduct a large-scale marketing campaign, then up to plus infinity. The amount of initial investment starts from about 150-200 thousand rubles – the main part will go to the creation and promotion of the site, additional funds will be required to visit the performing companies, as well as many other organizational issues that allow you to form your assortment. In general, the business plan of such an office can be very different, depending on the format in which the enterprise will work. What is attractive in this business is that the opening of additional points of sale does not differ in a large amount of investment (up to 100 thousand), in general, an additional service office may be located in some center in a small area and serviced by one person, but if the enterprise has a good reputation, then one such point can bring a lot of profit. But still, this business, we repeat, is very complex, and few will be able to work in this direction.


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