Gift giving is a tedious job. It gets to be especially tricky if you’re going for the surprise factor.
Some people love the challenge of putting together a present that will be cherished and remembered forever. Lansing resident Sharl Rugg, founder of A Basketful by Sharl, is one of those women.
“It really releases my creativity,” said Rugg.
Rugg has been creating gift baskets for years for friends and family. It took her husband, Rick, betting her that she wouldn’t ever take the initiative to start the business for her to realize the opportunity at hand. Soon after, Rugg started to build A Basketful in 1997.
“I decided I wanted to bring something different, an innovative twist on the typical gift giving industry,” Rugg said.
Rugg has succeeded by supplying unique ideas to create gift baskets, floral bouquets and, as she calls them, “stand alones.” Stand alones are nut tins, boxes of chocolates, or other loose ends from her gift baskets that she sells separately. The majority are Michigan-made products.
“It has truly been a great endeavor,” said Rugg.
She started her business small, working out of her home and advertising by word of mouth. Rugg anticipated selling one basket at a time to individuals looking for a nice gift basket for their relatives or family friends. She didn’t expect her gift baskets to be a corporate success, too.
Currently, the base of her business is supported by corporations purchasing mass quantities of baskets for their clients, which Rugg said has won over even more clients for her just from the deliveries.
“We get noticed because the baskets are intricately designed inside and out,” Rugg said.
She explained that the process of developing the initial idea for the basket is extremely important. Sometimes people will give their ideas on what the recipient will like, and companies bring promotional items to be put in the baskets, but Rugg gives her input.
“After they get to know me, they trust me,” said Rugg.
An idea for one basket can take hours. Rugg is a recycler, and borrows from basket themes that have been a hit in the past. Many of her popular themes are visible on her Web site, including tailgate baskets, baby themes, pampering items and more.
Rugg started her business out of her house. Although she still devotes her basement to arranging baskets, she has occupied a spot within the Lansing City Market for the past year and a half as well. She has been very satisfied with her boutique’s residency, and is thankful the Market will be relocating to the new building soon.
There are many things Rugg would like to incorporate into her business after the move takes place. She will be happy to have more display room, for one, and she also hopes to offer “create your own basket” classes and more.
“We could use the extra space,” said Rugg. “We’ve done like 2,500 baskets at one time, in which case we will rent extra space.”
Currently, Rugg’s step daughter, Brittany Rugg, creates a wide arrangement of floral displays at her location, along with baskets and stand alones.
The average price for a basket ranges between $50 and $100, but it is all dependent on the size.
“Pretty much anything anybody wants, Sharl can make it,” Brittany said.
A Basketful by Sharl
333 N. Cedar St., Lansing