Here’s the interview from our recent catch up with Assuntina Fogarty. The original pos can be found on her blog.
Your brand is amazing and is packed of great goodies. How did you come up with the concept? Thank you so much! Ribbon and Bow was born out of the concept of beautiful and accessible gifting. With a growing family, I had a lot less time to do things like scouting shops to source unique thoughtful gifts for life’s favourite moments. I found there was more need to find a way to connect with my loved ones, especially on special occasions. The idea behind Ribbon and Bow is to create stronger relationships through personal and unique easy gifting.
How many different boxes are there? And can people make up their own? We have 15 pre-designed gift sets spanning across our different collections, (which includes our Wedding collection and Mum & Baby collection). Customers can also use a feature called ‘Build Your Own Box’ – It gives people more control to mix and match items and create beautiful meaningful gifts for their loved ones. This is very popular amongst our customers, it makes it a more customizable and unique experience.
How did the brand start out? Ribbon and Bow started in 2017 after having my second child. With two little ones, working and having a social life, I found I that I had less time to visit my favourite stores and source unique gifts for loved ones. I created Ribbon and Bow for women like me who love to send thoughtful gifts even when time or work may not permit face to face interaction.
How do you manage your workload with having your own family? The gift industry is very fast paced so I’ve had to manage my time wisely – something I have picked up along the way. It is important that I spend a lot of time with my family, so I have learnt to create a healthy work-home balance. Keeping a diary and prioritising tasks helps to make sure I have some free time. I am very grateful for the extra help I get from my significant other, family members and friends. Everyone has been so understanding and supportive they can see the passion and drive I have for the business.
You must come from a very creative background? I’ve always had a creative flare and love designing but my background has been quite the opposite. I actually studied Law at university. I also went to Law school in Nigeria while most of my family were in the UK. It was there, in Nigeria that I discovered my love for unique designs and appreciating the intricate craftsmanship. I would often gift unique pieces to family and friends when I returned back to the UK on my visits.
Where do you source all the goodies from? I am very fortunate to work alongside talented makers and designers. Some of the beautiful items in my boxes are made by independent brands such as Celtic Herbal and Raw Halo. It is important that the brands I collaborate with share the same ethos and our businesses complement each other. Some of the goodies such as our candles are designed and manufactured in house. It is great to be involved in the creating process as well as the curating process.
Do you ever have business block? Yes, I do. I guess it’s the same with anything creative. When I do get business block I just take a minute and try to relax. Spending time with my family and socialising helps, as it reminds me of what it is all about, love and real human relationships. It is at these times when you get the most inspiration.
What makes you different from other Gift Box companies? Ribbon and Bow is about being able to ‘be there’ for someone even if you are not physically there. We are unique because we focus heavily on being a tangible service that makes life easier for everyone. We put ourselves in the position of the customer and recipient and think of ways everyone can benefit from the gifting experience. By focusing on simple user experiences, we have come up with innovative features like, ‘Build Your Own Box’, accessing great quality items at the touch of a button and maintaining the personal experiences with hand written notes. As well as curating great products from some amazing brands I also design and produce my own items adding to the authenticity of Ribbon and Bow.
Which is your favourite box? Each box is unique and comes with the opportunity to be such an integral part of someone’s biggest moments. Each box is special to the relationship it represents so there is something different about each one. I am a bit partial to the Bridesmaid Proposal Box. Creating this box was so much fun! It is the first collaboration with my best friend (founder of Roxsy’s Delights), who is an amazing baker. It not only features the lovely cookie set, but also candles designed and hand poured by myself. I am fond of this box as it represents our combined ideas and the nature of it signifies the trust and love between friends.
What is your 5 year plan? I would love for Ribbon and Bow to be the go-to gifting place for all occasions. It’s so easy to dream big and I aim to do big things. At the same time, I want to be sure that with enough research and experimenting, I can provide customers with an even better user experience. I would like there to be more exciting lines that celebrate any and all occasions. I would also like to have collaborated with more people around the world to make a difference in people’s lives.
If you could collaborate with anyone – designer, brand, celebrity – who would it be and why? I’d love to collaborate with more creatives and up and coming brands. I am a big supporter of start-up businesses. I guess it is because I have experienced the struggles first hand of starting a business and becoming and entrepreneur. The passion and talent out there is very inspirational. I feel encouraged when I learn about people taking the leap and following their dreams, it’s just amazing to be able to work with others on their path to success, in whatever way possible. I believe that everyone has a special gift, which they have been given to bless the world with.
We loved taking part in this Q&A with Assuntina, make sure you check out her blog for all things home, lifestyle and gifting.