August 26, 2015

Mompreneurship, Part 5: Client Gifting

FILED IN: Business

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Previously on mompreneurship:

I love to give gifts to my clients. I love to surprise them with gifts. (So if you’re a bride of mine, stop reading this right now.) 🙂

I’ll go through when I gift and what I gift below, but let me preface it all by saying, you do not have to give gifts to your clients. You don’t. I do because I love to and I want my brides to feel extra special when they get something fun in the mail that is unexpected (and not a bill or junk mail).

If you choose to gift your clients, remember, you can spend any amount of money on gifts that you want. I heard once that if you want to give your clients, a good percentage to figure is 3-5% of their cost. So if a client pays $4,000 for their photos, that would mean $120-$200 in total gifts. You are running a business so you must be smart about your profit/loss and expenses. I wouldn’t advise that you go out willy-nilly and buy a bunch of gifts without first figuring out how much you can afford to spend based on your net sales.

Here are some tips to saving money on gifts:

  • Buy in bulk. For the lotions from Bath & Body Works or Burt’s Bees, I wait for a sale or a coupon (buy 2, get 1 free) and then stock up. In the spring, I know how many brides I’ll have for the year so it’s a great time to buy everything I need. This also saves extra shopping trips.
  • Ask for a discount. I work with a private vendor for the hand-stamped necklaces that I used this year and I asked if he’d be willing to give me a discount since I would be purchasing a large amount. He ended up giving me a slight discount and free shipping.
  • Shop during the discount seasons. For example, I love gifting throw blankets, but they’re expensive. In the spring, West Elm typically throws a big sale to get rid of their winter stock (which includes those cozy blankets, which ironically I will be gifting in the winter anyway). I have room to store them until Christmas so I order early. This also saves stress at the end of the year trying to find everything I want for the gift boxes.

Here are a few times I send out gifts:

  • Right after a couple books me for their wedding
  • Two months before the wedding
  • The first Christmas following their wedding

I’ve varied the gifts over the years, but here’s some ideas of what to include:

Welcome gift after booking: I have a custom bridal magazine I created for my brides called “The Bride’s Guide”. It’s over 80 pages with tons of my photos, lots of tips, good-to-know articles, what to wear for your engagement session, and examples of wedding day timelines. I update it every winter so that I’m mailing out the most up-to-date information. Included with the magazine is a gift card to Starbucks for them to enjoy a little drink date together.

The pre-wedding gift is specifically for the bride. It includes a card with final tips for the wedding day (things like remembering to bring the paper suite and a pretty hanger for the wedding gown to be photographed on). I also include some fun items like lotion and lip gloss or foot cream and nail polish. And lastly, I have a custom necklace made for each bride. I include anything in this package that I feel will make the bride forget her last-minute stress as the wedding comes closer and closer. I want her to take a minute to relax and enjoy and it’s my hope that this package will help that happen.

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I’ve varied the Christmas gifts over the years, but here are some ideas: fresh sugar cookies in the shapes of wedding gowns, suits, cameras, and a ring (delicious & adorable, but fragile in the mail), sweet breads (so delicious, but heavy; ship flat rate on these), throw blankets (my favorite because I love throw blankets!), monogrammed mugs with hot chocolate packets, and a custom tree ornament. (With these gifts that are larger, make sure to figure your cost of shipping as well since you’ll most likely have to ship flat rate due to weight and will end up paying around $15/package just in shipping.)

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Whether or not you choose to love on your clients with gifts, I do believe that you should love on your clients with your quick response time, clear communication, and genuine excitement for their marriage. Those are free to you, but invaluable to clients planning their wedding days. A little love goes a long way in making someone feel special…and that doesn’t have to include any physical gift.

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  1. Mompreneurship, Part 7: Wedding Timeline Management

    October 7th, 2015 at 4:06 PM

    […] PART 5: CLIENT GIFTS […]

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