Sending Love: BoxFox Founder Gives Tips to Women Entrepreneurs
“Why hasn’t anyone made this easier?”That was the question Jenni Olivero and her two co-founders, Chelsea Moore and Sabena Suri, of BoxFox asked each other in 2013. They had all recently graduated from colleges in California and were now spread across the country.One friend had been hospitalized and they wanted to send a special care package. Another friend became engaged, and another was having a baby. They wanted to send special gifts to each friend, but it was time- consuming and complicated.“All of a sudden all our friends were all over the country, so we needed to put energy and effort into our relationships and friendships,” says Olivero, 26, who worked at a sports marketing company as her first job after graduating from UCLA.[bctt tweet=“Jenni Olivero is co-founder of BoxFox, a $2.2 million gifting company she began to create at 22. #womenentrepreneurs “ username=“takeleadwomen”]They decided they wanted to start a company that made gifting simpler, smarter and sassier. In December 2013, the three friends began meeting on Monday nights, after working their full time jobs, to map out their business plan.“We were working on our website, then decided we needed more than one night a week,” Olivero says.They then met on Mondays and Wednesdays, then on Thursdays every week. They launched the company in November 2014.“We pooled our funds and put some money together and were going right into the holiday season,” she says.With their blush-colored boxes for their packages manufactured in China, Olivero says they had conversations with the manufacturer in China on Skype, helped by Google Translate. Sales in 2017 were $2.2 million for BoxFox. Customers build their own gift boxes from $30 up to $500. The average price is $75 and they have sold 45,000 boxes sent to 20 countries.“As of 2017, the gifting market is approximately $131.3 billion annually, with $22 billion attributed to corporate gifting. Additionally, $1 out of every $10 consumers spend goes to gifts,” according to Forbes.Forbes also reported that BoxFox “recuperated its $5K start-up budget in just five weeks. The company has increased sales 186 percent in 2017 year-over-year and tripled revenue each year for the three years in business.”“We want to be more than a gifting company,” says Olivero, with sights set on expanding into gifting for men. “We want to grow corporate gifting with corporate clients with branded customization.“ She adds, “The days of corporate swag are over, but they do want some corporate branding.” The secret, Olivero says, is, “We want to be sure this box is from one person to another person.”Most of the business is women to women gifting for birthdays, Mother’s Day, holidays, bridal showers, weddings and more.“One in four people who use BOXFOX are repeat customers, and it has corporate accounts with big name brands including Airbnb, Drybar, Fandango and Southwest Airlines. Its team has grown to 12, with five more new hires joining in the coming months.” according to Entrepreneur, that states the company is “on track to hit $6.6 million in revenue by the end of 2018.”With new initiatives for men, an upcoming registry program and a push for corporate gifting, BoxFox is expanding beyond what the three co-founder pictured one night a week in the early days.“We are so many steps away from our original business plan,” Olivero says.One step is their own branded corporate gifts. “We are starting smaller with our own nude-tipped matches and our own gold corkscrews,” Olivero says.[bctt tweet=“BoxFox CMO Jenni Olivero says you can hit the ground in a full sprint or you can go slower. #womenCEOs” username=“takeleadwomen”]While she is still in her mid-20s and has had great success on her first start up, Olivero offers these tips for anyone with an entrepreneurial bent:
“Have flexibility and open-mindedness on how you react to problems, that lets you grow.”
“If you have an idea that sticks and you can’t get it out of your head, you have to start somewhere. Set your own starting line.”
“You can hit the ground in a full sprint or you can go slower.”
“Go from being someone with an idea to being someone with a business plan.”
And yes, Olivero loves to give – as well as receive BoxFox.“When I turned 25, my little brother coordinated with the other co-founders and built a BoxFox for me. It was my first one. “She loved it.