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Memphis Voyager Article

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa West.

Hi Vanessa, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?

During the pandemic, many people were forced to pivot from their regular schedules or took that time to change direction but I was simply looking for something to pass the time by. Social events were closed and I was living in a new city without the ability to meet new people. December of 2020 rolled around and with no family gatherings happening, I started pulling out my over abundance of gift wrapping supplies wondering what to do with it all. I have a natural inclination for gift giving and with that comes always having supplies for special occasions but that year I didn’t have many gifts to wrap. As a way to spend my time and use my supplies, I decided to offer $2 gift wrapping services to my neighbors as a way to give me something to do and that’s how it all began.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?

The road to Avenue Wrapping wasn’t planned, it began as a neighborly gesture over the holidays and grew quickly as people began to call me after the holidays to wrap more gifts. With each new proverbial door, I opened it and moved on to the next one. In a way, that piece was easy because it felt as if it built itself out of a snowball of actions that I just had to follow but in some ways that made it more difficult because I had to learn each thing as I went (and I’m still learning). The struggle in the beginning was learning what was required for a business, researching my market, and other tasks such as how to build a visually appealing website so people would trust me with dressing their packages as well as figuring out how to schedule working from our guest room while managing a household and my toddler, etc. Today, I’ve been in a brick and mortar for 1.5 years, expanding from a professional gift wrap service to also having a specialty gift boutique. I’m a micro business (just me with seasonal part-time help) and the new struggles are continual marketing and how to prioritize tasks given that I do so much of the work myself.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Avenue Wrapping?

Avenue Wrapping is a bespoke gift wrapping service and independent boutique with gifting goods for the modern family. What started out as a way to get to know the neighbors, grew into a small business with a brick and mortar retail. Our gift shop focuses on other small businesses with contemporary handmade goods. We stock items you won’t find at your local big box store or on Amazon. Our gift wrapping service is one-of-a-kind. We pride ourselves on our crisp creases and seamless edges as well as our ability to bring a cohesive look together. Our customers can bring in anything for us to wrap and get a bespoke wrapping service. We tailor the wrapping to the individual so it’s common to hear us asking about the recipients personality, favorite colors, etc. We are one of the few professional gift wrapping services in our city and the only one offering the service the way we do. We wrap bulk orders for non-profits, client appreciation gifts, wedding welcome bags, and more. A lot of shops in our area wrap gifts if it was purchased at their location and for those shops we offer help creating custom branded wrapping so their complementary gift wrapping continues their brand story.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?

My favorite projects are collaborations with other creatives and small businesses because they’re fun and often times unique. Some have come from artists cold calling or reaching out via dm on social media. One such project that started that way was me now stocking a vintage sticker machine I acquired with exclusive artist designed stickers. I try to make myself easily accessible via traditional ways such as phone and email but also on social media as well. I think cross promotion is important so when people share Avenue Wrapping with their friends and via social media I feel grateful when they support me in that way.

Link to article here


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