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Best friends Rose Gallo and Marcia Cipri launched The Gift Concierge Co. to take the stress out of gift giving. The pair are putting joy and thoughtfulness back into the process by doing the hard work for you. They provide a service for “those with good taste, little time and people to please”.
Together they share how they transformed their passion into a successful startup:
#1. It’s about a solid foundation and strong friendship…
Rose: Marcia and I have known each other our whole lives – our dads are cousins.
During our twenties, we lived together, partied together, travelled together and double dated…a lot.
In 2006, when I met my now husband, I was not convinced he was my type… but he had this great brother and I knew just the perfect girl for him, Marcia! They were married one year later and now have 2 gorgeous sons. I was right about her but wrong about me…apparently Joe was my type and we were married a few years later. And so Marcia and I became sister-in-laws too.
#2. It’s about finding your passion…
It was a passion we both shared that since childhood – growing up in big families that loved to celebrate birthdays, Christmas and any occasion – didn’t matter how elaborate the gift – as long as it made the recipient happy. And having big families – meant lots of gifts.
In our careers, we have both been responsible for organising staff and client gifts. Always receiving praise and feedback that people genuinely loved our gifts.
We have always put a huge amount of effort into making gifts special.
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.
We conducted some focus groups and looked at the statistics on gift buying and the conclusive evidence was that most people found it an extremely stressful experience to buy gifts. We realised we were solving a big problem for people.
We wrote the original business plan in December 2013 but didn’t get serious about it until 2 years later – when again at Christmas time, we found ourselves super busy shopping for every one else’s list!
#3. It’s about the meaning behind what’s given and received…
What did they give?
Rose – a family member abroad recently lost her father whom she was very close to – she kept having vivid dreams that he was a butterfly. When she fell pregnant soon after with her first child, she kept seeing beautiful butterflies. When her daughter was born, I found a Italian children’s brand – LAURA BIAGIOTTI DOLLS – that loved featuring butterflies in their designer kids clothes. I bought a gorgeous dress that has become a favourite and sentimental keepsake.
Marcia – A dear friend who is an avid gardener had a favourite orchid that could only be found in Singapore. Her pilot husband used to often bring one back from his travels for her. When they divorced, I worked with my flower contacts to source the actual plant for her to grow in her garden.
What did they receive?
Rose – when I was in hospital for a week long treatment, my husband bought me a pink OPI nail polish – the part I loved the best was that it was called ‘PINKING OF YOU’. Every time I looked down at my hands during that week, I smiled.
Marcia – for 39th birthday, my 3.5 year old son bought me a barbie doll… because I was a girl and he was sad for me because I didn’t have any dolls to play with.
#4. It’s about supporting each other…
We are so close and we know how the other one works. We work to our strengths and keep looking at the big picture – WE GET TO SHOP FOR A LIVING. We constantly remind each other that we were lucky enough to choose to do this! We encourage each other to walk and do pilates – for sanity and health.
#5. It’s about balance…
Marcia: Rose is a meticulous perfectionist and puts 200% into every one and everything. She has huge expectations and never takes no for an answer. She will always go the extra mile to ensure it is the absolute best.
Rose: Marcia is an extraordinary doer…because of her PA background, she is super organised and brilliant at getting stuff done! She is calm, cool and collected.
We are the perfect team as we balance each other out.
#6. It’s about love…
We love the fact that we get out of bed everyday to ‘bring a little thoughtfulness back’ into the world. We love that what we do makes people happy and strengthens human bonds and relationships. We love working together. We love having the flexibility or working when it suits us without pressure or guilt. We love empowering other small and passionate business owners that we are able to support by on-selling their products. We love earning a living doing something so fun and rewarding.