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'Truly amazing' | Woman-owned gifting business thriving after uncertain pandemic launch

Box Babe Gift Co. is a personalized gifting service with curated boxes sourced from women-owned businesses.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A female-owned and operated Charlotte-area business that started the week North Carolina went into lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 is thriving 2 1/2 years later.

Box Babe Gift Co. is a personalized gifting service with curated boxes sourced from women-owned businesses.

Haley Sutton said she was set to launch Box Babe Gift Co. at a bridal expo in Charlotte when the world shut down for the pandemic.

"I thought it was going to be bridal gifting, but in March of 2020, all of the weddings, everything just kind of stopped,” Sutton said.

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She had $400 worth of inventory to fill bridal-themed boxes but quickly made the decision to pull a business plan pivot.

"A lot of people were asking me, 'Well, what do you have that I could send to my friend? She's in another state. I was supposed to go see her,’” Sutton said. “I was like, huh, I have the inventory for that. We just won't say, 'Will you be my bridesmaid?' We'll say, 'I miss you, friend.'"

As the orders started rolling in for boxes from people wanting to stay in touch with long-distance friends, Sutton had another tough choice to make. She had recently graduated college in 2019 and was putting her marketing background to use in a 9-to-5 job.

April 2020 ended up being in Box Babe Gift Co.’s top three months for sales with orders for almost 1,500 boxes. Sutton decided to take another leap of faith and quit her steady job to go all-in on what she called her "side hustle" at the time.

“That’s when I was like, if I’m going to take this full time, I have to give it everything I have,” Sutton said.

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Since 2020, the business has continued to grow. It moved to its third warehouse and allows people to create gift boxes for all different occasions.

Sutton said the products used to make up the boxes are all from women-owned businesses.

"So it was truly amazing," Sutton said. "During the pandemic, when they're not getting orders from their retail shops or they're not getting, you know, as many orders, we were having a lot of orders and able to kind of source all of our stuff through them and kind of keep them afloat."

Box Babe Gift Co. has even expanded into corporate gifting as people return to the office.

Sutton said she has learned a lot of lessons over the past two years trying to navigate owning and operating a business that started amid the pandemic, and it hasn’t always been easy.

However, she said she'd "100% do it all again." Her business is aiming to make people smile with each box that's pieced together. 

Contact Kendall Morris at kmorris2@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.

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