BasketWorks Celebrating Ten Year Anniversary

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BasketWorks, an award winning distributor of customized gift baskets, is kicking off a yearlong celebration of its 10th year in business in March.

What makes Lise and BasketWorks so unique is that rare combination of creativity and commitment to customer service

BasketWorks, an award winning distributor of customized gift baskets, is kicking off a yearlong celebration of its 10th year in business in March.

"While my family is my proudest accomplishment, I am certainly very proud of this milestone," said Lise Schleicher, founder and owner. "Not very many small businesses make it ten years."

BasketWorks will celebrate its tenth anniversary by offering special discounts every month through February 2008.

Schleicher estimates that she prepares more than 2,500 baskets a year for her clients, who range from major corporations that send hundreds of baskets to individuals sending one basket for a special event. "And every basket is custom built," Schleicher noted. "So everybody gets something specifically designed for them."

Another source of pride for Schleicher is the tremendous amount of repeat business BasketWorks receives. Repeat business is not surprising, according to one of her customers.

"What makes Lise and BasketWorks so unique is that rare combination of creativity and commitment to customer service," said, Eileen LaCario, Vice President of Broadway In Chicago. "I'm always impressed with her responsiveness, and the people I send the baskets to frequently comment on the uniqueness."

Another important component of the business, according to Schleicher, is the idea of "giving back to the universe." To that end, BasketWorks has designed baskets promoting cancer and diabetes research. A percentage of the proceeds from the cancer research baskets goes to City of Hope for cancer research. A percentage of the proceeds from the diabetes research baskets goes to the Whittier Institute for diabetes research. Other "cause" baskets are also being planned, according to Schleicher.

Schleicher said she started BasektWorks because she believed that gift baskets would be an up and coming industry. "What also appealed to me is that it would allow me to take advantage of my creative side in design and inventory selection, and my business side in running the business."

To keep up to date, BasketWorks staff attends at least five different gift and gourmet food shows a year to search out new products and identify trends.    

Over the years, BasketWorks has won several national industry awards, including first place for Executive Basket Design by the annual Gift Basket Connection Convention. BasketWorks was also named to Gift Basket Review's Top 50 Gift Basket Companies in 2005.

According to Schleicher, BasketWorks faced the typical challenges of a new company its first few years. "And the business climate after September 11 was a huge challenge."

Schleicher said much of her success is due to the support - emotional and tangible - she has received from her family. She also credits success to her "basket babes" - a group of women across the country in the gift basket industry who share information, friendship, leads, etc.

Schleicher's advice to anybody starting a small business is "plan, plan, plan. I researched the gift basket industry for more than a year before opening BasketWorks."

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