Honest Ecommerce

215 | The Importance of Human Connection | with Alvania Lopez

Episode Summary

On this podcast, we talk about the scale and complexities of corporate gifting, fine tuning your target audience, how Peachbox Co proved that resources are not a barrier to success, and so much more!

Episode Notes

Alvania A. Lopez, Founder / CEO Alvania always had a love (and talent) for arts and crafts, creating greeting cards and candy jewelry, through childhood. 

She delighted in the joys of gift-giving, and still does! Celebrating diversity and building strong relationships is her personal mantra. 

Alvania’s mission is to make the art of gifting, convenient, exclusive, and almost effortless.

In This Conversation We Discuss: 


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Episode Transcription

Alvania Lopez  

I always recommend [this]: Start small, start with your idea. Get it off the ground and things will eventually fall into place.

Chase Clymer  

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, a podcast dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners. I'm your host, Chase Clymer. And I believe running a direct-to-consumer brand does not have to be complicated or a guessing game. 

On this podcast, we interview founders and experts who are putting in the work and creating  real results. 

I also share my own insights from running our top Shopify consultancy, Electric Eye. We cut the fluff in favor of facts to help you grow your Ecommerce business.

Let's get on with the show.

Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Honest Ecommerce. I'm your host, Chase Clymer, dressed like a Celtics fan because I'm welcoming a Boston native Latina founder Alvania Lopez from Peachbox Co

Welcome to the show. How are you doing?

Alvania Lopez  

Hi, I'm great Chase. Thank you. How are you?

Chase Clymer  

I am green and jolly. So let's get into it. For the people that don't know, can you just give a quick background about  the products that you bring into the market over there?

Alvania Lopez  

Sure. So Peachbox Co is a gifting company.

We allow busy individuals and companies to send beautiful and thoughtful gifts in just a few clicks. We cater to all different sizes of companies. 

On our website, you can find gifts for anyone from your best friend to your co-workers, mother-in-law, you name it. 

We have options for everyone on your list and just about any type of occasion.

Chase Clymer  

Oh, that's fantastic. So take me back in time. 

Where did this idea come from? What was going on?

Alvania Lopez  

Yeah, so I worked in corporate for many years and I had a hard time finding my place there. I didn't feel like the places where I worked resonated with my personal values. 

And at the same time, my partner, who was in the real estate space, struggled to find meaningful gifts for his clients for his closings. 

So I took this on as my pastime just to help bear my 9 to 5. And that's really where the idea came from. 

I created these gifts for him, his clients love them, he kept getting repeated business after it, and it all came from there. 

And that's how Peachbox first started.

Chase Clymer  

That's fantastic. So can we talk a little bit about finding that proof of concept or just testing it and seeing if it was a worthwhile activity to really invest more and more of your time? 

And I feel like a lot of our listeners, they've got ideas bouncing around in their head a lot. 

So what did you do at the beginning to try to validate what was this concept a bit more?

Alvania Lopez  

Sure. So I kept my corporate job for a good amount of time. 

And to your point, during that phase, just to make sure that this was something obviously that was worthwhile and worth the investment and the time. 

We were lucky to start the company during the time of COVID. I think it was... 

We started before COVID but it definitely grew within the COVID period. I think it was the perfect product for the time. 

People couldn't be together, companies couldn't have events --in- person events-- families weren't together, brands weren't together, and this allowed people a way to stay connected in a time where that was impossible. 

So we realized during COVID just how important the human connection aspect was. We emphasize on that and that's really what I believe helped the company grow so rapidly. 

And I ended up quitting my job right in the middle of COVID. Right at the beginning, actually, in the summer of 2020 and went full time.

Chase Clymer  

That's fantastic. 

So when you realize that you guys were onto something here and the human connection element was really helpful in your marketing and sales efforts, what were the tactics that you were using at the beginning to start to get those first customers that weren't really the friends and family referrals?

Alvania Lopez  

Social media marketing was really where we were most involved. That's really... 

That's where we started our presence connecting on social media and really listening to what people were looking for at that time. 

We took that COVID time as a learning period for us to really understand what is important to the consumer, how we can make this product something that is meaningful, and help you feel close in a time where truly, we couldn't be there. 

So more than anything, I think listening to our customers was really what we hone in the most.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely, yeah. That's... I hear that all the time on this podcast from every founder basically. It's like "The only reason we grew is because our customers told us what to do." 

Alvania Lopez  

Yeah, exactly. 

Chase Clymer  

So when you were getting this going, where did this idea of corporate gifting as a really strong avenue for growth come from? 

I'm assuming your customers were bringing it to your attention. But how did you guys build that out?

Alvania Lopez  

Yeah. So it really started with the idea of corporate gifting. 

And then while we were in the brainstorming phase, we thought "Why not open it everyone? Why not open it to friends and family, and birthdays, and graduations? Why not just do it all?" 

The corporate was always the main idea, but it can relate to everything else. We didn't really... 

At the time, we felt there's no reason to just focus on one when we can open it up to everyone. 

But at this time, we see that corporate really is the area where we want to continue to focus on the most, just because... 

As you know, for you to go to a store and pick up a gift for your mom, let's say, it's a lot easier than picking up a gift for 300 of your employees. The logistics, the planning... 

We really want to be a resource to our corporate clients and take care of every single detail for them, and make being present and being connected with their employees something that is easy and accessible at your fingertips. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, if you could explain a little bit more about some of the challenges of doing that corporate gifting, doing this large gifting, especially trying to do it online so people can really understand the problem that you guys are solving.

Alvania Lopez  

Sure. So picture yourself with 1000 employees that you need to give for the holiday season or for a summer event, or a big initiative. 

These items need to be sourced, the packages need to be put together, it has to be shipped, you have to make sure that every single individual receives the gift.

And you also have to make sure that every single individual is receiving a gift that is meaningful to them and that encompasses where you want to embrace as a company that you are, that you're not leaving anyone out, and that it's inclusive of everyone. 

That is what we do, we make sure that our gifts are inclusive of every individual, regardless of their background, regardless of their sex, orientation, etc. 

And we take care of all of the logistics for these companies so that in a matter of weeks, we're able to ship these out for them, and their employees are delighted with this gift they're receiving.

Absolutely. So how's the process? By building this business online, how are you using technology to make this process easier for your customers?

Technology is a part of everything that we do. Our website is super customizable. You can hop on the website and curate a gift from start to finish: Choosing the items, the color of the box, the greeting card, and the message. 

You can ship to hundreds of locations in one transaction. But we don't... 

We use technology, of course, to our advantage, but at the same time, we don't lose touch of the human connection. We still love that one to one interaction. 

I personally meet with every single corporate client, find exactly what they're looking for, and tackle their project in a one-to-one approach. 

We don't want a one-size-fits-all. I don't believe that all gifts fit all. And we really take the time to make it personal and make it unique for them.

Chase Clymer  

Now I know that you guys are on Shopify, and some of these powerful customizations that you are utilizing to make these fulfillments for your customers do not exist out of the box.

Alvania Lopez  


Chase Clymer  

Were these things that you guys had to make investments in or are using any apps that you would recommend or not recommend? 

Alvania Lopez  

Yeah, so we use a ton of apps. But we definitely work with developers as well and customize to our needs. 

To your point, especially the building, the personalization aspects, it was very difficult to find exactly what we needed from an app. So we did have to build that piece of our website. 

Apps that I love? Let's see... 

GemPages is one that we use very often. 

Other ones... 

Oh my goodness, we have so many I can't think of another one right now. I wish I... 

Chase Clymer  

How are you guys solving for the multi-ship?

Alvania Lopez  

Yes. So that is called Multiship. That's the number of that app. That's one that it's phenomenal. We've been using it since day one. And just makes this process so easy for the customer.

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Chase Clymer  

Now, obviously, the ideal customer here is the corporate customer. And if we could take a step back, it's because it's a higher AOV right there. They're purchasing a bit more. 

How are you specifically reaching out and trying to target that corporate customer? What's the strategy there?

Alvania Lopez  

I like to believe or we feel that our corporate clients at the end of the day are our main consumer in every aspect. 

The people that are coming on to the B2B side are the same people that are shopping on the B2C side. 

They receive a gift or they come across our page on social media or wherever it is, and it appeals to them as well on that side. So it kind of... 

The marketing that we do reaches out to both B2C and B2B. I think the level of aesthetics on our website and just the way overall that our gifts are prepared appeals to the corporate audience. 

But that doesn't mean that our marketing is specifically for the corporate audience, I think.

You can be a 34 year old that loves gifting or can appreciate the aesthetics but you happen to work at a company where you're the head of marketing or you're the head of HR. 

So I don't think that the marketing necessarily needs to be different from one to the other.

Chase Clymer  

No, that makes complete sense. Awesome. Well, is there anything that I didn't ask you about today that you think would resonate with our audience? 

Alvania Lopez  

Yes. So we actually started our business from my shed at home. And we worked out of my shed for about 2 years.

Even having a team, it was 6 of us working out of my little tiny shed. And the reason I always like to share that is because sometimes I find that you may have an idea, you may want to start a business. 

But you feel that until you have all of the means to go big or make it right from the beginning, you don't really take that step. 

And I always recommend [this]: start small, start with your idea, get it off the ground and things will eventually fall into place. 

So don't take the lack of resources as an impediment for going after your dreams.

Chase Clymer  

Now, was this the shed in Boston? 

Alvania Lopez  


Chase Clymer  

Year round?

Alvania Lopez  

Yes. Cold shed in the winter, hot in the summers. Yes.

Chase Clymer  

Oh my gosh. See that's that's some tenacity there to get the job done. Awesome. Well, if people are listening to this... 

I know we have people listening to this that work at cool businesses that might actually need some gifting ideas. Where should they go? What should they do?

Alvania Lopez  

Yes, absolutely. So, peachboxco.com is our website. That's where you can find all... [It's] the easiest way to find us. Or on social media @peachboxco.

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on today.

Alvania Lopez  

Thank you, Chase. Have a good one.

Chase Clymer  

We can't thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their knowledge and journey with us. We've got a lot to think about and potentially add into our own business. You can find all the links in the show notes. 

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