Little Smoky Gift Co. is a gift shop that specializes in offering beautifully curated gift baskets along with other individual Canadian products. They have both an online shop and retail space in Valleyview, Alberta. Learn more about this Alberta business in our interview below.
Business Name: Little Smoky Gift Co.
Based In: Valleyview, Alberta
ALBERTA GIFT SHOP
How would you describe your business?
Little Smoky Gift Co. is a collection of products that I am drawn to and that I can’t wait to share with others! The gift sets are put together exactly how I would put them together if I were giving them to a loved one of my own.
Last Christmas, my sister-in-law joked with me, “How do you buy a present for the Gift-Store-Lady??” “Easy.” I say, “Just walk into my store and pick anything off the shelf. I love everything in there and have hand-picked it all.”
I really love finding unique items; the one of a kind things that not everyone has in their home. On the other hand, I also am drawn to items that are instant classics – the ones that people always come back for. I think that the store has a good mix of those things.
Quality over quantity is very important to me; I never want an item to leave the store and to then be discarded by the recipient. I really try to bring in products that are practical, beautiful and that meet high standards. (For example: bath/body products and candles that are natural and clean, food/drinks that are made with real ingredients and aren’t full of fillers, home décor & products that are well made and that will last a long time, etc.)
What inspired you to open your shop?
Two things that I have always loved are: creating things and browsing gift shops and boutiques. About a year after having my last baby, I began to think about doing something from home that would not only be a creative outlet, but also provide me with some income as well. I had seen a beautiful wooden gift box online (maybe on Pinterest, I can’t remember exactly) and fell in love with the modern take on “gift basket” giving. I instantly knew that it was something I could do. That was in July of 2019. By October that same year I launched my website. I remember being so particular about the first products that I purchased and put together in the boxes; I started with one box of cookies, a couple boxes of candles, some bath and body products and some tea. This was a real “from the ground up” kind of venture. I only purchased what I could afford and sold it all before re-ordering. And the rest, as they say, is history.
I did not have any past retail experience, I had never worked in a store at all before. Up to that point, I had jobs in offices – mostly in administrative roles. I did go to college after high school and graduated with a Fitness Leadership Diploma. (I actually thought that I would return to my previous job after having kids, which was a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, but once the gift business idea was in my head, I really wanted to give it a shot!) Turns out there isn’t a lot of carry-over from anatomy and physiology classes to an online retail business! However, I did take a business class which proved to be quite useful when setting up the company and applying for all the licenses, etc.
Valleyview Alberta Little Smoky Gift Co
What’s your best selling product and why do you think it’s so popular?
I don’t really have a best-selling gift set as they are constantly changing. I like to offer something different throughout the year – usually incorporating seasonal items. Christmas is obviously my busiest season and is the occasion that I do up the most boxes/baskets.
My best-selling individual product is Peace River Creamed Honey!
This product is made here in the Peace Country in northern AB and is honestly the best honey I have ever had. Peace River Honey is owned and run by the sweetest family (how can they not be? they sell honey!), and they are just a dream to work with. Although this product is widely available at other retail locations, I have lots of customers who come in specifically to buy it from me. I include this honey in SO many of my gift sets – it’s such a versatile gift; good for your brother or grandma, or for someone who might have allergies, or who doesn’t like chocolates or flowers….
I often recommend the product when someone is shopping for someone that they don’t know very well or for the person who ‘has everything’.
What’s your favourite product from your shop?
My favourite product in the store right now is the Mini Fire Bowl. It is such a charming item that instantly invites you to “cozy-up”. It’s a great gift for newlyweds, your parents (who seem to be impossible to buy for sometimes), or for yourself!
My favourite gift set right now is the Autumn Home gift set. It’s a very practical gift with items that the recipient will actually use. It can be given for any occasion, but I think it lends itself nicely to being the perfect “Fall Housewarming Gift.”
What’s your favourite local Alberta business?
It’s so hard to pick just one; there are so many great things about local businesses! However, if I had to pick just one it would be BeSpoke Beauty & Boutique here in Valleyview. It is my go-to for salon services and products and is the perfect place to get quality clothing and accessories!