Women Who Achieve: Cindy Canning
GiftMaker Systems LLC
Our banking team has talked with us at great length about how to make the most of our money. They keep us up to date on products that can help us, too — Direct Deposit, for example, which has been a great benefit for our employees.
Wrapped Up in Success
Cindy Canning gets nostalgic when she thinks back to her first job. At only 15 years old, she was hired as a gift-wrapper for a women’s specialty store in Greenville, N.C. “Gift-wrapping was free with any purchase back then so I was always very busy and always connecting with customers,” says Cindy. “Learning how to build positive relationships so early in life helped prepare me to run my own business.”
Today, Cindy’s business, GiftMaker Systems LLC, manufactures pre-wrapped gift box kits that include the ribbon, bow and tissue in addition to the box. The company supplies national clothing chains, and wine and specialty stores. “Gift wrap is a $10 billion market, so even taking just a tiny bite of that market enables us to sustain a successful business,” she says.
The “we” Cindy references includes employees — GiftMaker employs as many as 25 during the heavy holiday season — and her husband, Tim Canning, whose entrepreneurial drive inspired Cindy to start the business in the mid-’90s. Now leading new-product and business development, Tim gave the business an early push by overseeing the design of the proprietary equipment and processes that yield GiftMaker’s unique, biodegradable, rigid gift boxes.
“Our pre-wrapped gift kits look like they have been professionally hand-wrapped, even though they have been produced using automated box forming and wrapping machines on the production line,” says Cindy. “Retailers benefit in three ways: The kits raise their brand profile, strengthen their relationships with customers, and are a great additional source of revenue.”
Helping Customers Tap into Revenue Potential
Cindy takes a consultative approach with her customers, using her expertise to help them convert gift-wrapping services, formerly an expense item, into a new profit center for their business. “Retailers can sell our pre-wrapped kits for about $3 — less than the cost of a typical greeting card, yet the customer’s perception of value is high,” she shares.
Focused on expanding her company’s sales in the department and specialty store markets, Cindy looks to PNC for financial products and insights to help fuel GiftMaker’s momentum. “Our banking team has talked with us at great length about how to make the most of our money. They keep us up to date on products that can help us, too — Direct Deposit, for example, which has been a great benefit for our employees,” she says.
Cindy Canning, Owner
Company: GiftMaker Systems LLC
Location: Raleigh, NC
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