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BlondieBaskets – Creating Beautiful Things for Beautiful People
Nancy Hoeght, a mother and businesswoman is the creator of BlondieBaskets, a Canadian owned & run custom gift basket company. Nancy, a health care worker for over 15 years has given us at Lowen’s the chance to ask her a few questions to see what the behind the scenes looks like for her, and shares with us why she’s so passionate about what she does.
When did you create BlondieBaskets?
BlondieBaskets was created in 2017. I wanted to create a business that leveraged off my love of giving, connecting, and shopping. So this seemed like the perfect fit.
What’s the story behind the name BlondieBaskets? Are you blonde?
I am blonde! There’s nothing complicated about it, I think it’s cute, I like the alliteration, there’s no secret or mystery, I have blonde hair, and it sounded like a cute name, as well as it matches my logo & aesthetic, everything is very pink and girly, I like to think of it as an extension of my personality, I think it makes it more personal, authentic & genuine.
In your eyes, what sets BlondieBaskets apart from other gift basket companies?
The fact that I do consultations with every single client that messages me. The more I can connect with people and hear the story about the person, the more special the baskets become. It’s all about storytelling and creating a connection with someone and their event or what’s special about this person. I like the relationship-building at that end of it all. It’s also different at the receiving end, people love knowing that you know something special about them. For example, I made a gift basket for a lady who loves Dachshunds, so I had my glass designer design a glass with a Dachshund on it. It’s cute, quirky things like that which help make my clients feel special. As well, some gift basket makers don’t use local products. They’ll look for the cheapest products, the cheapest crackers or chocolate for example. For me, I buy Canadian-made products because not only is it better tasting but it’s better quality, and it also supports locally too.
What inspired you to start designing & curating custom gift baskets
Initially, I began making possession day baskets for a realtor friend of mine. I had asked her out of instinct to tell me about the family. Who they were, what they enjoyed, what they loved about their house… From there I created a customized basket containing elements that would be special to each of the family members. The feedback was amazing and the family was so impressed that their realtor knew so much about them. It occurred to me at that time that there was something really special about the way that I was curatin
g these baskets and that the element of the relationship & personal connection was what was going to set me apart from other gift basket companies.
How do you decide what goes into each basket?
Each basket begins with a consultation with the client. I determine their theme or event, timelines, budget, etc. I love the consultation process. Listening to the client’s story around why this person or this event is important to them. Anyone can throw a bunch of meaningless products into a gift basket but our business model is focused around the client and my relationship with my vendors and business partners. I typically try to use locally and/ or Canadian made products in support of the local economy. I’ve developed a number of great working relationships with small business owners in Calgary. My friends call me the connector. I literally have someone or something for anything a person could want, or I know someone that does. We do a lot of business cross-promotions and I try to contribute to the larger community of Calgary, with local fundraising events in the neighborhood of Auburn Bay as often as I can.
Tell me a little bit about what first interested you in Lowen’s at first?
The owner of Lowen’s, Chad, is such a cool guy, he’s a great networker, business owner, and such a nice person. There were so many things about it. I love the story about Lowen’s and how the company was named, Chad and I were very similar where we’re like “how can we connect? How can we support each other?” He’s this amazing business owner, he’s kind, he’s willing to collaborate, he’s open to supporting one another from a local perspective, and all the other things like it’s organic, it’s local, at BlondieBaskets we’re looking at using compostables & green products for our packaging, I think that’s what really drew me to the company initially, I really like his business style and it’s very complimentary to mine, it makes for a great fit.
What are people most surprised by when you tell them about your company?
The fact that I actually have a company, those close to me know how busy I am in my day to day work life. The thing is that I’m always working. I have such an entrepreneurial brain. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night because I’m dreaming of ideas. I have to write things down because I’m dreaming about ideas constantly, my son has a similar mindset – we’re like idea generators, but my friends are like “how do you have time to run a business? When you’re a parent. you spend 18 years raising your child. As well as running to work, volunteering, not to stereotype it. My son will be going to be going to university, have a life, and I don’t want to be sitting on the couch crying when he leaves. That was also a part of the motivation for me to start the business.
What would you say your greatest challenge is?
My greatest challenge is my own head. I wish I could take the confidence I have in my business and spread it over to other areas in my life. As a business owner you sometimes feel like you get into your head, with anxious thoughts like “Should I be doing this, will I be successful?” It’s like self-doubt. Honestly I feel like when that happens the universe gives me a sign where I get a call, or a message or something positive related to my business. This reaffirms that I’m moving in the right direction. I feel as though that fate has helped me be where I’m at today. I believe that there is going to be something greater that comes out of this. BlondieBaskets also allows me to support local fundraisers and help my community, it provides me the opportunity to give back, which is very important to me.
How has the recent COVID-19 pandemic affected you?
I work for Alberta Health Services full-time, and with BlondieBaskets business part-time, It’s been a mix of relaxation and work, I’ve been involved in some front line pandemic work with AHS, working among the public after taking a 4-6 week break was a bit stressful from a healthcare perspective. With the COVID I had to shut my business down, I was supporting my staff. I was experiencing highs and lows and uncertainties, definitely a mixed bag! A month after my business closed I started thinking a little bit about my job, local partnerships & relationships and how I could leverage those and continue to run a successful business during this uncertainty. With that I started reconnecting with my local business partners, Lowen’s included, doing front door delivery with local business partners. This helped make my first month after the pandemic successful.
To learn more about our good friend Nancy and Blondie Baskets: