During Valentine’s season, we see people giving and receiving gifts everywhere. After all, it’s one of the popular Five Love Languages. Featured in a book of the same title by Gary Chapman, the Five Love Languages outlines five ways people express and experience love: quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, and of course, receiving gifts.
If you’re the type to receive (and give) gifts as a sign of love, you may be interested in personalised gift boxes.
This is what Little Luxe is known for. A small business based in Perth, Australia, Little Luxe allows people to create their own gift boxes by choosing from various items featured in the Little Luxe website. Customers can even buy pre-made gift boxes curated by Little Luxe themselves.
To wrap that all up (pun intended), Little Luxe offers delivery of the gift boxes to their beloved recipients all across Australia. Overall, this aims to create a personal and swoon-worthy experience for both recipient and sender.
Little Luxe owner Rebecca Smith encompasses the essence of her business into one hashtag: #luxeTLC — her business name combined with Tender Loving Care.
“Everyone has their own little luxury. There’s some who want to go out for the evening on a date night. For others, it might be staying home with their little pamper session. It might be having morning coffee with their kids for a few minutes. Everyone has their own #luxeTLC, and we believe in allowing them the opportunity to experience them,” she shares.
We talk with Smith about the beginnings and inner workings of her business, the hustle of turning her love for gift-giving into a business venture, and her thoughts about running a small business in general.
On starting Little Luxe
The #luxeTLC standard boxes, part of the Curated By Us collection which is made by Little Luxe themselves
I was trying to find a special and personalised gift for my best friend that I could have delivered as she lived interstate. However, I didn’t want to spend lots of money, and I also didn’t want to send a standard gift box that I couldn’t personalise. Then and there was the a-ha moment that inspired me. With my love of gifting mixed with the need to fix this problem, Little Luxe was born.
I originally came up with the idea in April 2017, but it took me approximately a year to plan, build, and execute my ideas before my website went live in May 2018.
How did your love for gift-giving come to be?
My love for gift-giving has been a lifelong passion. It’s something that I got from my mum. From a young age, we’ve always taken pride in how we give gifts to our family and friends and how it makes them feel. So naturally, I spend so much time organizing gifts for my friends. I give every gift some careful thought, down to the small detail of the presentation — the ribbon, the wrapping, the card, etc. And now, I portray that into my own business.
How has Little Luxe grown from the start to the present?
By no means it is a big business now — it’s still quite small. I guess it’s because I work on it alongside my full-time job. My mum helps with the business back in Perth, yet she also works full-time.
We haven’t really focused too much on growing it to be a massive business because, at the moment, neither of us have the full capacity to just spend time on it. But it’s grown from being a little local Perth business to having customers across Australia. Occasionally we get website visits from overseas, even though we can’t ship there yet. But that’s hopefully a goal for the future.
My social media has also grown, with my rates, engagement and impressions being the best they have ever been currently. I love interacting with all various people, from visitors, customers, to other businesses.
What was your experience with your first customer like?
My first customers were actually my family and friends, so it was more special for me in a way. I wanted to do a soft launch to actually test the website before going live, just to make sure all the processes are going to work the way I wanted them to.
Even still to this day, having my family and friends support my little business means the world to me. I’m actually glad they are the first ones that were able to give their gift boxes, that I curated, to their loved ones as well.
How did it go from there, from giving gifts to your family and friends to catering to other customers?
Word of mouth has been a strong thing for me. I guess that’s how I’ve grown my business organically, which I believe is kind of more special because everyone then knows the backstory of how it began. One friend talks to another and that other friend talks to another, and suddenly you have orders coming through.
On running Little Luxe
What do customers love about Little Luxe?
Customers love being able to curate their own gift box, and not just have something ready-to-buy or pre-made. Of course, we also offer pre-made options as well because these days, a lot of people are time-poor. In general, people love being able to put their own items in, to choose down from the flavour of the chocolate to the smell of the body lotion or the candle. So in the end, the persons they are buying gifts for actually really like what they receive in the box.
We also personalise each box for the recipients. The customer can also even add their own personalised touches, like photos, gift badges, and other items. It really shows that they put some thought into their gifts.
“It all comes down to having choices for everyone. I don’t want to be one of those companies that excludes certain people — I want everyone to be able to enjoy it.”
The #luxeTLC mini bundles, a budget-friendly version of the Curated By Us collection
I guess it came down to a few factors. For one, I spoke with a few customers through Instagram. I did some kind of a survey to see what price range they were hoping for. This is why each collection has a mini box version — I offer two price ranges for people who don’t want to spend too much and for those who want to spend a little bit more. This way, I can help both audiences.
Also, I make sure that there’s something to feel, to taste, and to smell in every gift box. We ensure that we get all the senses and all the tingles going from each collection.
Finally, I look at my audience through my website, Instagram, and other tracking websites. I see how old they are, if they’re male or female, and all those types of things. The most popular ones in my audience are female — with girlfriends giving each other gifts, or guys buying for the ladies — so most of my boxes are targeted for them. The rest then are targeted to the males.
It all comes down to having choices for everyone. I don’t want to be one of those companies that excludes certain people — I want everyone to be able to enjoy it.
The Curated By You collection, featuring items that customers can add to their own customised gift boxes
I partner with other businesses to supply my stock for me. This allows me to have a diverse range of products. As the business gets bigger I will be supplying more stock and, hopefully, be able to provide more opportunities for customers to put different items in their gift box.
When I look for stock, I choose items based on what the product is, how it looks like, and if it’s on trend. Most importantly, I try to support other Australian small businesses. It’s very important for me to give back to those other businesses that I know are also working hard to achieve their goals.
On running a small business
The homepage of the Little Luxe website
My proudest achievement was the time the website went live. There’s a lot of things I sacrificed during the first year. Because I also work full-time, I had to spend evenings and weekends building my website, looking for stock suppliers, contacting other businesses, setting up all of that. I only had to go out with friends and family occasionally because I knew I had a target and a deadline that I wanted to achieve.
But even though I say that’s my proudest achievement, I still consider every change I make or every sale I earn for my business as a milestone. That might not be the case for a big business, but as a small business owner, the little wins can give you the biggest moments of joy. I saw the other day on Instagram — every time you buy from a small business, there’s another person sitting behind a computer or a phone screen doing a little happy dance because they’ve made a sale. And it’s very true! It feels like a reward to me — that every gift sold, brought by all my hard work, has made someone else happy.
“[…] As a small business owner, the little wins can give you the biggest moments of joy.”
You mentioned that you have Little Luxe as your side hustle aside from your full-time job. How do you manage to balance those two?
My side hustle is my passion, I guess. When you have a passion, you want to work on it every spare waking hour that you have. I spend a lot of my free time working on the business — throw a lot of business ideas with my mum and friends when we go out to dinner and all that.
It’s also really great having their support in helping build the ideas for the business, as well. It’s definitely not just me — I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my partner: my family.
Has the small business community also helped you in growing your own?
The small business community has been instrumental in my business. When I first started Little Luxe, I thought, “Oh, I’m gonna have to learn so much by myself.” But as you start connecting with other people on Instagram or Facebook, or even in networking events, you soon realize that you’re definitely not alone.
“[…] When you connect with other small business women, they understand and empathize with you. They’re there for the ups and the downs, the wins and the times of trial.”
We’re quite close-knit here in Perth, particularly amongst women small business owners. You really become friends — you know that whatever you’re going through, they’re going through too. You don’t always want to talk about business with your friends, but then when you connect with other small business women, they understand and empathize with you. They’re there for the ups and the downs, the wins and the times of trial. There are no judgments — there’s just support.
Why is it important for small business owners to come together as one community?
We don’t have the power like the big retail chains do. With retail chains, you give them some money, they make more profit, and profit goes to their shareholders. But in the small business community, the ones behind the scenes are individual families. There are these mom-and-dad businesses that have a family to support, feed, and look after.
If one small business supports another small business, and another one supports another, we can grow and take on companies that make all the money at the moment. So it’s not only a nice feeling when you make a living — it’s also nice when you help and empower other people.
What can you advise to aspiring business owners?
First, timing is never going to be perfect. I’ve had to undergo a lot of challenges in the span of the past year, and it’s taken its toll on me. But if I didn’t do it last year, I wouldn’t know if I would do it next year or if I have put it off again. You need to shoot for the stars and jump into it when the fire is in your belly to make magic happen.
Next, don’t give up! So many times I have wondered why I put all the added pressure on myself of starting a small business whilst working full-time. But at the end of the day, if you love what you are creating you find that last drop of energy in you to keep going.
Lastly, you are not in this alone. There are so many wonderful outlets for support out there to help you get off the ground. Don’t be shy — we all started somewhere! The small business community is amazing. So many other small business owners are there to help, guide you and share their wins and what they wish they had done better with you. Community over competition any day!