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Entrepreneur has it all wrapped up with subscription box gift service

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Danee Swan of Expressly Yours GIfts, with some of the items in her subscription gift bags (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Items from Expressly Yours Gifts March subscription box (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Danee Swan of Expressly Yours GIfts, with some of the items in her subscription gift bags (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Items in Expressly Yours GIfts, latest subscription gift bags (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

A year ago, Danee Swan had a great idea for a business. She wanted to capitalise on her passion for giving unique gifts, by starting a gift box subscription company.

She even had a name Expressly Yours Gifts. But when it came to writing a business plan, she struggled.

“I kept failing,” Ms Swan said. “I was not following through on that business plan. I thought oh, they want too much information. I kept getting stuck.”

Then someone else launched a business that was similar to hers. The time for procrastination was over.

“God was telling me, if I did not act on my idea then he would give the idea to someone else to act on it,” Ms Swan said.

Looking deeper at her own hesitancy she realised that she loved the creative side of things, but needed help with the processing and implementing of the business.

She hired Kennette Burgess of Focus Marketing & Development Solutions to help her.

“She put together a marketing plan,” Ms Swan said. “She helped me put things together.”

At Christmas, Ms Swan released two Christmas gift boxes.

“They did really well,” she said. “One box was more for a cozy night. It had some nice fuzzy socks and some body butter from a local business called Dove & Butterfly. It also had a wine glass, some little masks and there was a coco shaker and stirrer set. The other bag was geared towards a party night and it had a gold fanny pack, the body butter again, and other items.”

The response to the gift box was so positive, she officially launched Expressly Yours Gifts in March. She started out with ten customers and has been slowly building from there.

The Christmas items came in a box, but she has been using “brag bags” since then.

“I wanted to have everything be useable,” she said. Customers can sign up to receive a gift bag once, quarterly or annually.

“They are themed,” she said. “This month’s theme is a beach one. Our March theme was gratitude. I made up a special gratitude T-shirt for that order.”

So far, most of her customers order the subscription bags for themselves, but a few have also bought them as gifts for other people.

One of her biggest challenges has been sourcing the items to go into the bags.

“Bringing stuff into Bermuda is quite expensive,” she said. “I am still in the process of looking for different vendors.

“I found this beautiful site and thought I could use it, but they don’t ship to Bermuda, even though I have a freight forward address,” Ms Swan said. “That always tends to be a stumbling block.”

She tries to find things that can not be easily bought on websites like Amazon. And each month’s bag contains at least one item made by a Bermuda businesswoman.

“I wanted to source items from women who own businesses who share the same mind set of fair trade, and sustainability,” she said.

Her March gift bag included a stainless steel water bottle. Part of the proceeds from the bottle go towards a project to build wells in Uganda. Proceeds from a gratitude journal in one of the bags goes to support mental health and green charities.

Another challenge for Ms Swan has been marketing. “I have been trying to step that up,” she said.

She works full time at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

“I am very visual and I love seeing how everything looks when it comes together,” Ms Swan said. “The most satisfying part is when persons receive the item and I hear back,” she said. “I just like seeing people smile.”

A one time gift from Expressly Yours Gifts is $70. A quarterly subscription is $66 and an annual subscription is $232.

For more information see www.expresslyyoursgifts.com, e-mail expresslyyoursgifts@gmail.com, see Facebook @expresslyyoursgifts, or Instagram @expresslyyours

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Published June 11, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated June 12, 2021 at 8:07 am)

Entrepreneur has it all wrapped up with subscription box gift service

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