By Debra Wallace
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 2/28/2022 — When premier gift basket maker Elaine Langsam crafts one of her memorable baskets for a birthday, anniversary, corporate gift, or another special occasion, she puts her heart and soul into each and every aspect of her creation.
A lifelong gift maker, who also loved to make scrapbooks for gifts, her sister asked her one day if she ever considered turning her art and passion into a business. The answer was a resounding yes. That is when Basket-mania.com was born. The name of the company was recently changed to The New York Gifting Company.
Elaine started taking business courses and joined a Gifting Association; she also attends conferences while she continues her education.
“I truly believe that you cannot put people into neat little boxes. Neither can gift baskets be thought of in that way,” Elaine explains. “Each event or occasion is so different and personal that it has to be specially made to fit the recipient of the gift basket as well as to the occasion or event.”
Often by looking at visuals a client sees exactly what they want or need and it strikes a chord. “There are those times where somebody has a vision or part of an idea,” she says, “and it is my job to be a magician and make this amazing, eye-catching creation.”
Having vision and creativity makes Langsam perfect for her business. “I believe that gifts, favors, and centerpieces are an art form and that you have to be an artist to transform an empty container into something amazing and unique.”
Read on to see what Elaine Langsam and Basket-Mania.com has to offer:
Elaine, why did you start your company — Basket-mania.com? What makes your company special and unique?
I started my company because I love to be creative and be a part of people’s special occasions. I get such a rush when I hear that I made an individual or company’s day after they receive the gift I created.
What is the key to success in your business?
First off, you have to love what you do and I can truly say that I do. I get such a “high” each time I finish a project and can honestly say this is the way it was meant to look! I am a perfectionist and would not send out anything that did not have my stamp of approval.
We want each customer no matter how small or big the order is to be perfectly happy so we will be their go-to company in the future. Every customer gets personal attention from the beginning to the end. We stand by our word. When we say an order will be delivered by a certain date, it is there.
What sets your company apart from others in the same space?
Uniqueness is very important in a business such as mine. I always keep my eye out for unusual and eye-catching containers to use to make gift baskets. I recently found the need to use a great big martini glass for a project.
For example, a high heel shoe was also recently made for a Sex and the City basket. You have to stay current. I also keep my eye out for new and interesting products that I can add to my repertoire. The day the creative juices stop flowing is the day to say, “I am finished creating.” I don’t see this happening any time soon because I get more energized and excited as time goes by with the possibilities!!!
Who/what inspires you — both personally and business-wise? What do you love about your company?
Inspiration can really come from anywhere for me. I can be walking down the street and see something that catches my eye and that can translate into part of a gift. I get ideas and trends from magazines, fashions, plus tv shows and movies.
I love that we are always evolving according to the trends and what people like most. We are also trying to stay up with the times and are working on rebranding in the near future.
We are all looking forward to Mother’s Day in May and graduations. How do you approach them in the gift business?
For both of those events, I like to optimally make a gift to go along with the client’s vision. Every person is unique. If they order online there will be gifts up for Mom that have to do with Mom relaxing and rejuvenating. Currently, there are spa choices up. There will be spa products to help Mom feel pampered. There will also be gifts that deal with the decadent treats such as chocolates and other snacks that Moms love!
For graduation online there will be gifts that showcase the graduate entering the workforce and having such items as pens and ledgers. Again, for the graduate, there will be snacks that will appeal to a graduate plus the graduate can now drink legally. Online there will be and are now alcoholic choices.
What else comes into play with special occasion gifts?
I enjoy creating gifts that appeal to both men and women. My ideal gift is when I do custom gifts that are personalized to the recipient’s tastes. I enjoy creating gifts that appeal to both a tighter budget as well as an upscale budget. There are gifts that include alcohol as well as a non-alcohol beverage. I have tried to mix the savory as well as the sweet.
What are the other holidays coming up that we should be mindful of?
I am always excited about spring gifting. It is my favorite season since everything starts to renew again. There is also Easter, Passover and we cannot forget Father’s Day in June.
What is the best advice you ever received and from whom?
The best advice I ever got was from my mom. She told me that you should look forward to your work each day and it should be fun and energizing. The day you stop enjoying it is the day you should do something else!
What are a few of your favorite gifts – both holiday-oriented and corporate? Talk about DIY Pizza and Artesian gift baskets.
My favorite gifts seem to change all the time. I believe that is true because sometimes I do a custom gift and I put a new twist on something I have done before and suddenly it is my new favorite.
DIY Pizza is a fun gift because the recipient can take the items enclosed and add other items and have a special pizza experience.
The Perfect Artisan Collection is aimed at the recipient having an upscale charcuterie experience.
I recently did a custom charcuterie gift where I personalized the items according to the birthday girl’s preferences. I included the cutting board and a spreading knife. All she needed was her special circle of friends and family to make the experience complete. Right now, I am loving all of my holiday gifts. There is something for everyone. When I create I always come from my heart.
What is it like to hear from a very satisfied customer that the gift they sent was highly appreciated by the recipient?
It makes me feel that the time and effort I put into a gift was worth the work that was put into the gift. If I am having a bad day, it puts a smile on my face. I feel like I can continue creating because it has all been worthwhile.
What business advice do you have for new entrepreneurs?
The best advice I can give to a new entrepreneur is to make yourself known! Marketing is everything. Become a presence on social media. Join a networking group. Have a website that stands out and is current. All of these are key!
What is your definition of success?
My definition of success is partly when you are happy with what you are doing and people are responding positively to what you are creating. The other part is when you are doing well enough that you can relax a little and not worry constantly about the financial part of your business.
If I gave you a free day or two, where would you go and with whom?
I would go with my boyfriend to anywhere with a beach and just relax and reenergize. The beach always makes me feel rejuvenated. If you have the right company with you, that makes for a great time!!!!
What are your current guilty pleasures?
My guilty pleasures of mine keep changing. Right now, my sister got me hooked on Sweet Magnolias on Netflix. I can’t wait for the next episode. I know I shouldn’t enjoy these but I can’t help myself. I watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and The Real Housewives of New York. A couple of years ago I found HGTV and love all of the real estate programs. I also love cookie and cake decorating shows. Lastly, the romantic part of me loves the show, Say Yes to the Dress.
How did your business evolve and change during COVID-19 restrictions?
During the height of the pandemic, we had boxes on our website that people could buy and we sent them to health care workers. We created gifts for virtual meetings and boxes for people working from home. These are still being bought. When children were being taught at home, we created gifts to make the “learn at home” school experience” more enjoyable for the student.
What do you love about creating new and unique baskets?
I get bored easily and I am excited when I have a new idea that translates well into a gift. We are designers, which I am not sure everyone realizes. I am the kind of person that doesn’t want to have what everyone else has. If everyone is wearing a certain jacket, I don’t want it. It is the same way with a gift. A new container or box can change the whole look of an existing gift.
What is the future look like for your company? How do you want it to expand?
At the moment it is to rebrand to stay up with the times. Gifting is not only baskets any longer. It is many types of containers and boxes. I want it to expand by getting into different markets in the corporate world. At the moment, I am working on breweries and in the real estate world. I love working with individuals as well as the corporate world.
Why should my readers check out your website and social media?
I stay up with the times and offer something for everyone. I try to make it easy for people. They can order right online. If they want to order something custom or have questions, they can fill out the contact form or call.
Please share your website and social media links to find out more.