Every gift has a story for Jade Anderson

The CEO of Bumble Bee Baskets talks about the joy of giving and receiving, and of running a business that makes it all happen

Jade Anderson is CEO of Bumble Bee Baskets Inc.

Jade Anderson

What is Bumble Bee Baskets and what do you do?

Anderson: Bumble Bee Baskets is Calgary’s unique gift-giving experience. We offer a wide selection of gifts and gift baskets that accommodate to corporate, personal, and promotional gift giving. We are all about the experience, providing convenience, personal services, while using quality items. We ship across Canada and provide a same day delivery service within Calgary and surrounding areas. Bumble Bee Baskets allows individuals to select or create that perfect gift for a memorable experience. We thrive on people feeling gratitude, excitement, showing compassion for each other. Every gift has a story based around people doing something good for someone else.

People feel good sending a gift to someone, from sending a thank you gift for a referral, or to the new home gift that has a bit of customization with puppy treats for the new family’s fur babies. People want to be heard, they want to know they are not just a transaction in business, and they want to feel appreciated from friends, family, and work. So, when it comes to a special occasion or milestone like a birthday or a new baby, and they receive a gift that has something specific to what they love, or an extra item for the older sibling, they spread that gratitude around. As cheesy as that sounds, the world could use more acts of gratitude in giving and receiving and that is exactly what Bumble Bee Baskets is helping individuals with.   

Bumble Bee Baskets provides a different approach to take the gifting experience to a new level. We make it simple for customers to have limitless possibilities. They can add flowers, wine, chocolate, gift cards, and so on. Customers can upgrade to larger versions, custom to dietary restrictions like gluten free, keto, and age appropriate gifts. Our website provides so many options to let our customers be in control of what they are sending including our build a basket feature that is still new. This feature allows customers to hand pick, or click, every item that goes into creating the perfect gift for whomever is receiving it.

We also put many details into the experience including handmade bows. We don’t cheap out on the finishing touches. Presentation is a must! We custom our wrapping to the gift, personal or corporate. Nothing is pre-made to grab off the shelf. We build to order and each beautiful bow and wrap is crisp and new with vibrate or corporate colours. The experience is to wow, and that’s exactly what we do.

How and why did you start this company?

Anderson: Well it’s kind of a funny story. I had a dream that I bought a gift basket company and thought ‘no way, I don’t even like gift baskets, they are filled with items of no use, filler, and food products with no ingredients or expiration dates.’ I had called my step mom and told her about the dream and she informed me her good friend was selling her gift basket business. I reached out, and, ta da! I was quickly the owner of a gift basket company.

I really like giving. It’s the best way to spend every day. We get to brighten people’s days, every day. After tweaking several items and building techniques, I was able to really start creating gifts that support local businesses and products people can actually enjoy. We even spent a couple of years setting up in Crossroads Market to really get in there with some family businesses and products. I met a lot of people and was able to talk to customers face to face about what they wanted and needed from a gift company. You can’t get that kind of feedback online. To this day we encourage our customers to call us so we can really communicate what they are looking for. We love talking to our customers.

What is your vision for the company for the future?

Anderson: Our vision is and has been to provide an experience for our customers as well as the recipients of the gifts sent. By experience we don’t mean, ‘it’s the thought that counts.’ We mean the meaningful items, the hand delivery of a surprise gift, the ‘wow this is so nice I don’t want to open it,’ the gratitude people feel when they send and receive a gift both personally and in business.

Our vision is to extend our reach in the market by creating seamless ordering processes that leave the customers in full control of exactly what they want to send. We provide a lot of custom services and there are many more in the making. We offer a wide range of products and we are looking to source locally more and more every day. To us locally doesn’t just mean ‘made in Calgary,’ it means a family or small business that is producing or selling products here. Every local business does a happy dance when they receive orders and the goal is to source 80 per cent locally by 2020. That’s a lot of happy dances in the city.

We also have expansion in the process which means more jobs that we will be able to offer. We are like a family here and we are looking to extend. This will help us with extending our same day delivery if we are in more places as well.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in starting the company?

Anderson: I would say the biggest challenge was thinking ‘outside the basket’. It took me a couple years of going through the motions of a typical gift basket business to realize I would never give these gifts to my family and friends. It was kind of a rude awakening to allow myself to just be creative. To not use wicker and think outside of the normal and typical baskets other businesses had us expected to use. We actually created our first real ‘outside the basket’ gift with a tire, an actual tire. The gift was going to a couple who was now retired but had previously owned an auto wreckers business. We created this massive basket that was filled with delicious items and wines to enjoy by the pool and was then used as a planter. They loved it. They said it was the most unique gift they had ever received. From there the challenge was accepted. We would strive to create unique gifts that would impact the experiences of giving like none other.

And yes, we have created more tire baskets since.

Why did you want to be an entrepreneur? What is the attraction?

Anderson: Well for me the attraction is the challenge. I personally follow a saying ‘challenge accepted’. I am driven by things that seem so out of reach. Bumble Bee Baskets was named from Bumble Bee’s. They are not supposed to be able to fly physically because of the size of their bodies, but they do anyways. No one told them they can’t, so they fly. Most people say ‘why don’t you just slow down?’ but I actually can’t. I have one speed and it’s fast. It’s crazy. I love Monday’s. It’s a new canvas to what I can create to make a better experience for our customers so they can provide a better experience for their people.

My vision is for people to all around be nicer to each other, help each other and give. Show gratitude. That’s why I drive Bumble Bee Baskets. Entrepreneur’s don’t just want to be their own boss, it’s not a dream job in that sense. Being your own boss is being everything. Every success is 500 per cent more exciting, and every failure is 10x harder to get back up from.

But it’s that challenge, the one you feel like just about giving in, and then you push a bit harder, work a bit later, see the smiles on peoples faces and close that big contract and look back thinking, that was hard, but so worth getting that phone call of the happy client.

I tease that I drive a big truck because it represents how I run my life and my business, in four-by-four. I have personally been told on many different occasions that I wouldn’t make it, but it just pushed me harder to get up and create something even better than what I was walking away from. It’s a survival game, and when you get over the mountain you want to go to the next. I am constantly envisioning and creating the next step. I love every part of what I do from the extra hours, to the phone conversations.

Our customers are not transactions, we build trust and relationships with them. I am an entrepreneur for the experience, the love of the game, and people.

– Mario Toneguzzi for Calgary’s Business


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