Career Day at Lakewood Elementary

Today I got to spend some time at our local elementary school, and I must say going back to Lakewood Elementary meant a lot to me since that’s where I went to school.  My goal was to share small business with the kids and make sure they understood the value to what they were learning and how to apply it in their own jobs one day.  At first I was a bit nervous, but after the first few minutes I felt excited to share The Basketry, and my story, with them.  Maybe I was just a bit nervous to show these very old photos of me. 🙂

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In 1995, I was finishing my final semester at UNO with a degree in Marketing and knew that I wanted to open a gift basket company upon graduation.  I told the kids how important a degree was to earn and that if I ever failed I knew my degree would open doors for the future.  When you love something as much as I did, you find a way to turn it into a business as long as there is a need in the community.  One student asked, “Why baskets?”  I answered, “Why not? There were only florists in town and no options for gifts to be delivered.”

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I explained to the kids how important marketing is in any business, and even today I attend trade shows and meet potential customers.  That’s how I started and that’s how I will continue to grow.  Since The Basketry delivers, I explained to the students that if I ever wanted to expand into another area I could attend a trade show in that area and make a decision to start driving there.  It’s more affordable than opening another location.

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After working inside of my father’s apartment kitchen for a year, it was time to move the mess to a retail store.  AND A MESS IT WAS!  There was not a spot on the floor that didn’t have shred or ribbon.  The first location was very temporary and a means of spreading my wings so to speak.  It gave me a feel for what customers were looking for and enabled me to grow.  After two years at the location on River Road in Luling, an opportunity came for me to be on the main highway.  I explained to the kids that location was one of the most important things about a retail store.  Find a need and fill it, and find a location to sell it!

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During the 16 years at the Wade Street/Highway 90 location, The Basketry grew by leaps and bounds.  From one employee to several and from our first delivery van (seen above) to several vehicles, we delivered baskets like crazy.  During this time the internet and website, along with New Orleans hotels and corporations, became a major factor in our growth.

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I also shared with the students the many jobs that make up The Basketry.  From shipping and receiving, marketing & advertising, delivery & outside sales, production of baskets to taking orders, the work never stops.  Every team member is expected to communicate and work as a team.  Our goal should always be to make the customer happy!  Here are a few pictures of our Creative Team.  There are more awesome ladies and gentlemen who work at the shop, but these were just a few I showed the kids.

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After 16 years of working in our precious store on Wade Street, it was time to build our own location on Highway 90.  It was a very exciting time for us and gave us a chance to expand once again.  Our customers were thrilled to see new product lines and three years later our growth is continuing.

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From Pandora Jewelry, Waxing Poetic, Vera Bradley to Mud Pie, Two’s Company and tons of incredible gift lines that follow the up-to-date trends in women’s fashion and accessories, we are finding unique ways to fulfill every need on your gift list.

I explained to the students the importance of going to market to find the next big thing like Webkinz, Rainbow Loom and Bottle Cap Necklaces.  They asked if I get to decide what goes into the store and my answer wasn’t what they expected.  I said, “Actually the customers decide.  If they want it we carry it and if they don’t we won’t.”

After almost 20 years of owning my own business I got to share with them my dream and it was very special for me since most of them didn’t know The Basketry when it first started.  These fifth graders have been coming in since they were little babies and now they have buying power.  Here are a few shots of our current store and marketing material I got to share with them.

Thank you for following our blog and shopping with us for 20 great years!

Kristi Brocato

Owner

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