Genevieve Irving, owner of Made For You, founded the company to solve a problem many women face: finding a balance between family and work.
The stay-at-home parent of two toddlers dreamed of starting her own business - a unique little boutique, for example. However, the startup costs of a brick and mortar store deterred her.
She turned her thoughts to what she liked to do and was good at. “I like to shop. And I like to buy gifts for people,” she says simply. She decided to turn it into a business.
Irving started Made For You out of her home in December 2020, setting up social media accounts to advertise her services. “I thought, ‘I’d be happy if I made five gift baskets a week,’” she recalls.
Each gift basket is tailored to the occasion and customer’s preferences and budget. “I try to make everything meaningful,” she says, explaining that she always imagines what the recipient might need or appreciate. “The baskets are all different,” she adds, “nothing’s stocked - I personally go out and buy everything.”
At a friend’s suggestion, Irving started doing charcuterie boxes as well. “My husband’s Italian; we always eat mini charcuteries. I’d make lots of those, because we used to entertain a lot,” she adds.
Made For You also does candy boxes, fruit bouquets, COVID care packages, and gift baskets for birthdays, retirements, bereavements and welcoming a new baby. She has also catered funerals and weddings.
One item popular for birthdays and anniversaries is a custom-made box shaped like a number, letter or symbol. A basic order of two numbers for a birthday, for example, can be filled with charcuterie that feeds at least eight people, she says, and costs $80. “They’re super popular. What’s nice is, I make them all by hand, so I can make them as big as you want,” she says. “It’s time consuming!”
Customers find her on social media, and Irving says she has also noticed that many gift recipients come to her when it’s their turn to buy a gift. Over Christmas, she picked up a very large order of 80 gift baskets from Tom Jones Corporation.
Over the summer, she sold some pre-made charcuterie boxes at Dawson General Store and Crystal Beach Variety, which was a hit with people heading to camp. Currently, she takes orders through messages on Facebook or Instagram, and over the phone. Customers can pick up on Onion Lake Road, or have their order delivered for a fee.
Irving has gone way beyond her original goal of making “just five gift baskets a week.”
“I ended up with two employees, a liquor license, a food license, and my house garage has been converted into the "little boutique store” that I always wanted. I have a kitchen in there, staff that come there to work,” she says. “In June I did 522 orders. Even last year, for Valentine’s, I did 148 orders.”
“I honestly am so humbled by the support that I have gotten. I’ve built so many good relationships,” she says. She is happy to have found the life work balance she never had in her previous career working at a bank. “It’s nice to be able to step back for a weekend and go to camp,” she says.