Stuck for what to give someone for Christmas? Charlotte Pearson finds a company who can help.
Anyone that has put together a hamper for a loved one will know it always works best when it comes from the heart.
This is something that Hannah Greenlees, director of Blue Star Hamper Company, also believes in.
“We have put a lot of thought into all our hampers,” she reveals.
“It is very personal putting it together. Everything we include is either something we would want to give to someone or something we would love to receive as a gift.
“It all comes from the heart and a very personal place.”
And choosing what to put in the hampers is not an easy task.
“It took a while,” smiles Hannah. “As you put items next to one another and sometimes it just doesn’t quite go.
“It took a lot longer to put the hampers together than we were expecting.”
At the moment there are about 50 hampers to choose from with large and small options.
The plan is to add more and Hannah thinks by the end of the year there will be 100 options on the site.
“Our aim eventually is to have it so that people can create their own from a list of all the things we stock,” says Hannah.
Perfect for anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, as a thank you, a new baby gift and Christmas there are so many options to choose from.
There is the beer blowout with a selection of ales and snacks; the baby blue throw, mug and bear; and the Chilgrove gin hamper.
“We try to have as many local items as we can so we have Montezuma chocolate, Tinwood Estate wine and Tides coffee based in Birdham,” explains Hannah who lives in Chichester, “but we want to offer something a bit different – we like artisan makers and go with what tastes good, so our liquorice is from Denmark.”
“We make sure we taste everything it’s a hard job but we have to make sure it ticks all the boxes,” she smiles.
The business launched in July, 2016, but was something Hannah had been thinking about for a while before research started in December, 2015. “It is something my family and I have spent a lot of time working on to make sure we got it right,” she says.
The business is very much a family one with Hannah’s husband Alex, children Lottie and Ollie, and family pet cocker spaniel Woody, being involved, as she adds with a smile ‘everyone has an opinion’.
Hannah’s career started as a chef and then moved into retail.
The initial plan was to open a shop in Chichester but the family decided to first establish the hamper business.
“I have always loved packaging and putting things together and I love finding all these different people to work with,” she explains.
“I have so many ideas of things we could do in the future but at the moment it is very much about perfecting what we already do.”
Presented in crates emblazoned with the Blue Star Hamper Company logo, each one has a lid which means it can be kept, but Hannah adds that they can also provide wicker baskets if people prefer.
Offering next-day delivery the hampers are sent out Monday to Thursday.
“We don’t send out deliveries on Fridays as we don’t want the hampers sitting in a warehouse over the weekend,” explains Hannah.
“We have also recently launched the fruit hampers which may take a little longer to be delivered as we have to ensure the fruit is fresh, in season and good quality.
“Everything we do is about quality.”
Another key area for the business relates to corporate events.
“We can put a company’s branding on the boxes or use the company colours, we can also include whatever they want in there from our selection,” Hannah says.
With so many ideas for the future, it certainly is an interesting time for the business.
“It has evolved really naturally since we started,” smiles Hannah. “I am excited to see where it goes next.”
To view the hampers and to find out more about Blue Star Hamper Company, visit www.bluestarhampercompany.com
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