Revolutionizing Gift Giving through GiftStarter

This post was originally posted in InvestorIdeas.com.  We liked it so much, we’re sharing it again here!

Point Roberts, WA & Delta, BC – September 22, 2015 (Investorideas.com newswire) Investorideas.com, a global news source covering leading sectors including tech issues an exclusive Q&A interview with the founders of local Seattle tech startup GiftStarter; Arry Yu and Christie Gettler. Staff writer Reena Paul gives insight into these inspiring women entrepreneurs.  This story is about Revolutionizing Gift Giving through GiftStarter.

Investorideas.com Newswire

GiftStarter knows all too well the importance of gifting when it comes to momentous occasions, through their innovative platform of enabling technology they are revolutionizing the conventional way of gifting and are building upon the collaborative contribution efforts of friends and family, so that budgets are greater allowing loved ones to receive better gifts!

“We are on a mission to bring the humanity, personality and joy of real life interactions back to gift giving…” it’s with this intent, expressed by Arry Yu, CEO and Co-Founder from which GiftStarter has built a quick, easy-to-use campaign launch and payment parsing process, allowing users to select gifts from over 4 million reputable sourced brands, invite friends and family as contributors, regardless of their location and be left assured that GiftStarter’s coordination expertise and commitment to service will take care of the money collection, gift ordering, shipping and participant group card creation – resulting in a gifting experience that is seamless from start to finish!

Investorideas.com Q&A with; co-founding mom entrepreneurs; Arry Yu and Christie Gettler:

1. What was that defining moment, when you realized that there was a market for GiftStarter and that your service was something that needed to be brought to the masses?

The defining moment was after our 1st place Startup Weekend win in Seattle, WA back in March 2014, we were thinking about whether we wanted to go all in (leave our current endeavors) to pursue GiftStarter. While we were thinking about it, we had several people from that Startup Weekend hackathon event that kept reaching out (via Twitter, email, even hunting us down in the city) asking if we were going to do it. One particular customer, and she’s one of our super Gift Champions, came by our work stations weekly asking when it was going to be ready. We just knew we had to give the gift-pportunity of GiftStarter’s service to the masses.

2. What kind of research did you do to ensure your idea was unique, had validity and could withstand the competitiveness of other startups?

We’re lucky in that GiftStarter is the result of our obsession spanning over the past 10 years that involved hunting down former businesses in this space that closed their business doors to ask them “what happened” and to learn what they learned through their experience. This obsession entailed chasing down well known businesses in the wedding and baby industry, calling networks to get introductions to brands and retailers to understand their perspectives, mostly our obsession included a significant amount of customer validation, hosting weekly pizza parties to talk about gifting in general from random people off the street.

3. Sometimes the best gift is not to receive but to give, have you considered partnering or including charities as a part of your gifting selections? Further to this, as an organization what is your current position on corporate responsibility and making a difference globally?

As individuals and as a company, we are obsessed with the gift economy, giving, and what we call gift-pportunities. Our platform has already been leveraged to enable funds for various charities and nonprofits, including the Union Gospel Mission’s homeless Search & Rescue mission , Dress for Success, among others. We’re always looking for ways our platform can be of service to giving experiences.

We are also part of the 1+1 Initiative where 1% of their earnings will go to support a northwest educational fund that provides college scholarships to underprivileged kids and the other 1% of their earnings will go back into investments into the local Pacific Northwest startup community. On our roadmap are plans to take the spirit of giving further and have an additional percentage of our profits go to helping organizations/people in need, both nationally and globally.

4. Creating business relations is imperative in achieving success, your company site states that “brands love GiftStarter,”why should businesses partner with you…what’s in it for them?

There are several reasons that brands would want to partner with us – some for one of the reasons, some for all of the reasons:

  • GiftStarter is a social commerce platform helping consumers afford better gifts. It’s a great alternative method that their own consumers can use off their online store to acquire a great product from the brand, using the power of their social networks. 1) Brands win because GiftStarter’s platform experience helps the brand’s consumer act as an advocate for the brand, endorsing product to their family and friends for a gift. 2) Brands win because they have a path for their consumers to afford bigger ticket items – our average gift size (steadily rising) is $397/gift. 3) Brands also win because when the consumer’s family and friends engage in the gifting experience using the GiftStarter platform, they engage with more than just a “Like”. The family and friends actually pitch in to the gift, whether it be with $10 or $40, to enable gift giving joy for the recipient.
  • GiftStarter works with partners by featuring the brand products on our website on our giftstarter.com/giftideas page where we curate great gift ideas.
  • GiftStarter features great gift ideas to our growing community of users via our weekly newsletter and social media channels.

Ultimately, GiftStarter helps consumers with the entire end to end gift process, from finding the amazing gift, funding the gift, to ensuring the gift is delivered to the recipient with a personal handmade card. On top of it, the thank you from the recipient to everyone is also baked into the gifting process. For businesses that do not have a gifting experience, GiftStarter is a great partner.

5. What would you say to skeptics who are hesitant to use GiftStarter and worry that their contribution amount may be less than others and is visible to the online community?

We’ve had thousands of users of GiftStarter to date that have used our platform to give an amazing gift. Based on user data and feedback is that at the end of the day, GiftStarter enables a communal gift experience where its more about participating at a level you can afford, whether it is one piece or 5 pieces. Since every participant in the gift gets to include a personal photo and a personal message with their contribution, everyone gets equal credit when it comes to giving the gift with meaning – and that gift community (knowing more than one person got together to give together is powerful) is what the recipient always remembers. GiftStarter is all about encouraging and enabling people to give what they can.

We also know that in old school group gifting situations, sometimes splitting a $200 gift 10 days, means everyone has to pitch in that $20, equally. The problem with that is that our personal disposable budgets and personal relationships and just plain old timing differ person to person, week to week. For one person on a given day, $20 may be quite a lot, but they still want to participate in the gift. For another person on a gift day, $20 may be just a little and they may want to give more because they are able to. GiftStarter helps those who want to participate, participate in a way that is appropriate for their personal situation. At the end of the day, it’s about the community coming together, to give an amazing gift.

Thank you for your responses!

It’s evident that the two women at the helm of this movement, are driven by their passion to cultivate change, generated through the joyous unity of communal participation and having already cemented themselves as gifting ambassadors on the web, we are excited to note, that by having technology as their vehicle, soon “new features and products..” are to come made easily accessible via mobile apps. In knowing that “positive disruptions” are on the horizon, investorideas.com was fortunate to leverage upon the experience gained by Arry and Christine and advise that any young entrepreneurs success requires the following key ingredients; customer validation, a team that is complimentary to each other’s skills and capabilities and foremost; community. Having been empowered through their own support channels, GiftStarter has since propelled into the premier service of empowering “…users to give the gifts you want!”