Seven years ago Megan Meyer and Katie Dickman developed a friendship through their teaching careers. Two years ago they decided to start a gift box company together. Two weeks ago The Giving Sprout was made into a reality.
“We just wanted to do something different,” said Meyer, “to make a difference in our lives.”
Dickman added it’s a way to help others give to each other and encourage the human instinct of giving.
The partners officially began working on the Giving Sprout in December.
As of Wednesday, they’ve sold a total of 15 boxes, some of which were delivered locally, while others went to Texas and Pennsylvania.
To get started, the duo sent a social media influencer a box. In turn, that person promoted the box by posting a video of opening the box and showing off its contents.
There are 10 different boxes serving five purposes: Mother’s Day, Happy Birthday, Thinking of You, Thank You and New Home.
The idea behind the New Home box is for real estate agents who like to leave the new homeowners with a small gift. Those boxes come with a hand towel, soap and a plant.
Since both were teachers once, the Thank You box was designed with Teacher Appreciation Day in mind.
“We’re hoping these will be the go-to for little gifts like that,” Meyer, who is still a teacher, said.
Each purpose has two gift box options. One comes with a succulent and the other comes with an air plant.
“Succulents are big in the plant world right now,” Meyer said. “It’s all the rage.”
The boxes are entirely natural and eco-friendly. Some come with a “garden in a bag,” which is quite literally a self-grow flower kit by Potting Shed Creations, Troy, Idaho.
Other boxes offer a jewelry piece. The New Home boxes have a hand towel in them. Some include a soy candle by Green Daffodil, a gift shop in Ferndale, Mich.
“(The boxes) are geared toward plant lovers and eco-friendly tree huggers,” Meyer said.
The owners would eventually like to offer more locally made products in their boxes, but for now a few gift boxes feature a soap or shea body cream made by Tracy Herron in Union.
Lastly, each gift box comes with a card that customers can customize online before placing their order.
“It’s neat to see what people are saying in the cards online,” noted Meyer, adding she wondered how “Aunt Becky” was doing.
The duo then takes the personalized message and handwrites each card.
Dickman said she loves the idea of shipping the boxes to people for special occasions. The idea feels nostalgic to her from when she was a child and it was her birthday.
“I had nine aunts and uncles,” she said. “I ran outside every five minutes to check the mailbox.”
Their goal is to offer an alternative to just sending a bouquet of flowers or stressing over what to get someone. They hope the gift boxes will take that stress away.
Giving Sprout ships across the United States, but also offer a drop-off option for Washington and Union.
“We wanted to help small local businesses,” Dickman said. All of the businesses they use for their boxes are small businesses.
The duo is currently working on a “Choose Your Own” option that would allow customers to mix and match items to create a personalized box.
Other ideas for future gift boxes include New Baby, Wedding, Seasonal and Christmas.
They’ve even started to incorporate baby and wedding shower favors into their line of work. They take a succulent and put it in a container of the customer’s choice with the words “Thank you” placed on the favor.
“We hope to expand on that,” Meyer said.
The Giving Sprout has two wedding showers coming up in May that the owners are preparing the favors for.
Meyer and Dickman would eventually like to offer a terrarium as a plant option. Delivering that box locally wouldn’t be so hard to offer, but shipping might be problematic.
The duo also has ideas of providing welcome boxes for destination weddings. Meyer herself had a destination wedding and before guests arrived she went to their rooms and left a box full of snacks, water bottles and information about the area.
The partners also expressed interest in possibly making a Missouri box or even a Washington box.
“If it succeeds we’ll be able to expand inventory,” Meyer said.
They’re currently trying to propagate their succulents so they can eventually grow their own.
While organic marketing has been a challenge for the owners, they both said they feel like they’re learning a lot.
“It’s keeping my wheels turning,” Dickman said. “I’m researching more to see what more we can do.”
“Word is getting out, it’s just slow,” Meyer added.
The price for each box varies between $25 and $55. The pricing along with pictures of everything included in each box can be found at www.thegivingsprout.com.
It takes about one to three shipping days for delivery of boxes outside of Union and Washington.
In each box, a business card is tucked away. On the reverse side, a 10 percent off code is printed so people will “spread the love and pay it forward.”
“We’re excited to sprout the gifts of love, thanks and joy to others,” Dickman said.