Whitebeam Gifts

This is my story

With a background in product marketing, a passion to support British businesses and a keen eye for beautiful products, in mid 2016 I decided to set up a boutique gift box company.

Named after the whitebeam tree in my garden, I have spent many months carefully selecting beautifully fragranced, stunningly packaged, high quality natural bath and body products from boutique and artisan British companies. I had a cabin built in my garden, right next to my whitebeam tree, and after much product sampling, planning plus investment and support from my parents, set up Whitebeam Gifts Ltd which was incorporated in February 2017.

I have created gift boxes suitable for Valentine’s day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, thank you gifts, New Mum and Baby gift boxes, New Home gift boxes, Bridesmaid and Groomsmen thank you gift boxes and also boxes suitable for corporate gifting.

I am a qualified marketer and have spent 16 years managing style brands and more recently helping local Kent based artisan producers improve their brands.

I am a single mum with two children and live in the beautiful village of Bearsted in Kent.

In a nutshell

  • Name: Lisa Whalley-Smith
  • Company: Whitebeam Gifts Ltd
  • Established: 2017
  • Website: www.whitebeamgifts.co.uk
Lisa Whalley Smith

I want to offer my customers a hassle free gifting solution. If you are short of time, perhaps lacking inspiration and looking for something stylish and a bit different, Whitebeam will have a solution. A lovely gift says as much about the giver as the receiver.

What has the journey been like for you, of starting up your business?  What lessons have you learned along the way?

I think my number one lesson is not to rush things. I like to have thought everything through before making big decisions. I am a strategic thinker which means you need to think long term in order to plan effectively now. If you rush things, you only end up having to re-do them later down the line!

Another lesson is that the the time and cost of setting up a business (plus the energy and persistence that is required!) is far greater than you initially think! I think good planning yet remaining flexible and open to change is key.

Who helps and supports you with your businesses?  

I am the President of BNI Meridies (local networking and business referral group) so I have great support, positive feedback and encouragement from my group. They are like my sales team, always looking out for business opportunities for me and raising the awareness of Whitebeam amongst their business and personal connections.

I also have the unfailing support of my parents who have very kindly invested money into Whitebeam to help set up the business. Without them this business would not have been possible so I am eternally grateful for their help, their support of my passion plus their encouragement to keep going when times have been tough.

You are also a marketing professional.  How do you split your time between your marketing consultancy business and your gift box business?

I have worked as a product marketer for over 16 years and a self employed marketing consultant for seven of those years, helping local and artisan brands. This experience has given me the skills, confidence and contacts to set up, launch and market my gift business and the beautiful products from my suppliers. I have changed my focus towards my gift business now so I can give it my full attention. Where the focus goes, the energy flows!

Tell us about how you promote your products and where you sell them.

Whitebeam is ultimately an online business. Having completed the brand design, I am working with my web developer at the moment to get a super-slick and perfectly functioning website built. Thanks to my awesome designer, it will look beautiful too!

As a marketer, it is key to think about your business strategically so I already know what needs to be done over the next year.

As a social media trainer and manager, I know the platforms well so plan to use social media to direct my target market to my website. I will be needing the expertise of an SEO professional as being found via the key search engines is of vital importance. I will also need to be featured in Christmas gift guides so PR will be of high importance.

I will also continue to form business connections through my BNI group and as a networker, will be out and about meeting new people, being introduced and finding new opportunities as well as new potential suppliers.

What are your future plans for Whitebeam gifts?

Once I have established the core business of stylish gift boxes, I plan to build the Whitebeam brand so that it can support future gifting initiatives. Anything Whitebeam does will be high-end, simple and stylish and will always support British companies.