Founder Stories: Dmitriy Peregudov On Building Giftsenda
In today’s Founder Story we feature Dmitriy Peregudov founder of Giftsenda.
Read on for lessons he’s learned from launching and marketing a corporate gifting platform.
1) Please introduce your business and share your role.
Our business Giftsenda – is an International corporate gifting platform.
We are in the business of connecting people worldwide through gifts.
We provide a pretty cool toolset to make gift sending both convenient and quick in 200+ countries worldwide.
Our target audience are Marketing & Sales professionals looking to engage with leads, accelerate their sales pipeline and connect with their intended audience. We also service HR departments by innovating business gifting solutions for their global or remote workforce.
Giftsenda’s gift-first approach sends a powerful message to the intended recipient, coupled with Human to Human (H2H) personalization options for all recipients on the list, whether you send a single gift or thousands.
2) What’s your backstory, what kind of challenges did you face, and how did you come up with your business idea?
Giftsenda is a spin-off of a well-established international gift delivery company GiftBasketsOverseas.com (founded in 2002). Over the last few years and especially during the global pandemic our international gift delivery service became very popular: people were more limited in connecting with their customers, business partners, or co-workers.
With this, we were able to come up with some quick, but effective solutions for the corporate senders to ensure their gifts can be delivered even when they don’t know the recipients’ addresses. Since many people worked remotely during the pandemic, our “Address Request Feature” addressing that issue gained popularity.
Since our worldwide team has perfected the logistical model around international gift delivery, we were well equipped to take this to a next level and develop the suite of tools that make the complex process of arranging bulk-gifting around the world easy.
On top of that we’ve realized that beyond “thank-you” corporate gift baskets, there are many other gifts our business customers were requesting. This extended the Giftsenda gifting marketplace beyond gift baskets into gift cards, lifestyle gifts, SWAG, and more.
3) How did you prepare for, and go about your launch?
The first thing we were working on was the core team. Getting the right people on the bus is super important at the early stages.
We started from the product development team – Product Owner/Project Manager (Ivan) and our Lead Developer. Our PM was an excellent resource to build up our Development team and lead the product strategy.
We also needed to develop a great product catalog and our Gift Catalog Manager Tanya and her team made sure we curate every partner we work with and pick the best corporate gifts to offer to our customers. Our goal is always to ensure our gifts are guaranteed to impress – so the GIftsenda Gift Catalog is the key to that.
Marketing was the next very important role – we’ve taken our time to find just the right person for the job. We needed someone who isn’t focused on just one core skill, but a well-rounded person willing to experiment and build our own marketing mix, just as unique and niche as our product itself. At last, such a person (Marianne) was found and she doesn’t disappoint: a natural go-getter she is willing to try, learn and adjust quickly.
Most importantly she is open and receptive to the team’s feedback and is willing to adjust quickly when needed.
Our initial market entry was through various PPC programs: both general like AdWords, and also industry-specific ones. We later worked on developing a solid content strategy that’s currently being executed by our growing Marketing team.
We are now building up our Sales team to handle the leads our Marketing drives on a daily basis.
4) Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?
Google ads have been a great source of MQLs once we defined a set of keywords that were targeted and broad enough to catch users at different stages of the sales funnel. Designs with real-life representations of things seem to perform much better than illustrations in our experience.
5) What have been the most influential brands for your business? Whose branding and marketing do you aspire to and why?
We try to get inspiration from leading SaaS and tech companies, as well as some of our competitors. It is always good to see what other people are doing, especially when it comes to catching on to marketing trends when the time is right. But, the main focus is on creating our own branding and specially formulated marketing approach, we want to stand in the gifting platform space on our own feet, not as a copy of what already exists.
6) What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?
We use these:
- Giftsenda (Surprise! yes, we use GS for our own sales and marketing)
- Google Ads
and many others
7) Who or what inspires and motivates you?
I am very motivated by vocal customers. Whenever I hear customers expressing their needs in services or products I start my internal brainstorming session and later bring it to the team.
I am also very motivated by the great team we have: there’s certainly something magical in working together on a big idea. The positive energy is contagious and there’s plenty of it in Giftsenda to go around.
8) What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with entrepreneurs hoping to launch or who have just launched?
- Not being afraid to risk early on and then debate/critique it every step of the way.
- “Make what you can sell”, do not try to “Sell what you can make”. It’s a trap we often fall into, energized by our internal knowledge or skills.
- Find the most narrow niche possible, and focus on it solely for some time. For an early-stage company with limited resources – this is a must-have. The only way to challenge established players is to be better than them in one thing, from the start.
9) What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? And what makes a team successful?
I believe entrepreneurs differ greatly and execute very differently. Perhaps my top ones would be:
- Flexibility: being able (and ready) to pivot any moment.
- Agility and readiness to work hard (for a while): this seems obvious, but not to everyone.
- Trustability (ability to trust and be trusted): very important in the early stages to communicate your vision to the team and trust that they will run with it.
The team’s success depends on having hand-picked team members who are “right people on the bus”: individuals who enjoy each others’ company and work for a common goal. We used to hire purely based on a skill set. During the last couple of years, we stopped doing it and now hire based on the fit. This is much harder and the intuition of the founder and the management team plays a huge role.