Like lots of moms, Anji Cozart was torn between the need to contribute to the household income and the desire to stay home to care for her young children. Family always came first for Anji, so in 2000, while Anjis husband Bill worked full-time, she started a small, modest family business that she could run from home. Her vision for the business was simple offer beautiful, high-quality gifts at an affordable price. She called the business Art of Appreciation and built it from scratch, putting each basket together herself and selling them at a few local shops in Seattle. For the first several years the baskets sold slowly and steadily, but she didnt know how to get Moms little business to really take off.
Finally, in late 2004, Anji had her first breakthrough. A representative from Amazon noticed Anjis unique and gorgeous gift-baskets and asked if shed like to try selling them online through another local retailer: Amazon.com. She began offering her gift baskets on the site, and by the end of 2005 her sales had doubled. Anji even had to hire four staff to keep up with orders. In 2006 sales doubled again, and by 2007 Art of Appreciation was so successful that Anjis husband decided to quit his job to help her out full-time. In 2009, with nine employees, the company finally moved out of the house and into its own warehouse.
For Anji, the best part of her success has been the ability to live according to her family first philosophy. Not only did I have the opportunity to spend those precious years with my children when they were young, but now that our business has grown, we make sure to provide a family first work place and offer flexible schedules for our crew. In todays world, its increasingly difficult to find a job, any job, for a lot of people. We can provide an ideal solution for many Moms, so they can be home when their children come home from school. We also work around college students schedules, so they continue to strive towards their educational and future goals.
Today, our gift basket company employs 40 to 60 full and part-time employees, depending on the gift giving season, says Anji. Weve grown from a small loft to 40,000 square feet of warehouse space, with a steady sales growth that significantly increases each year. Not only has Anjis own family reaped the financial benefits of her little business, but Art of Appreciation has also helped the local economy. Job creation in the community is something we are VERY proud about, especially in the down economy!
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