Box of Care Ships Tastes of New Orleans Around the Country While Promoting Local Businesses

Box of Care
Photo: facebook.com/boxofcare

 

“One of the staples of my business is to provide a platform, to find new businesses who need just a little bit of an opportunity to showcase what they do,” stated Jonathan Floyd, founder and CEO of Box of Care Gift Company. “How can I help them while helping myself?”

Floyd’s showcase is New Orleans-themed gift boxes, featuring a broad spectrum of products that exemplify regional culture and tastes. From corporate clients to individual consumers, Box of Care is putting the best of New Orleans into the hands of thousands of people across the country.

Floyd actually borrowed and modified the concept from a company in Chicago, his wife’s hometown. As a born-and-raised New Orleanian, he saw a great opportunity to promote local companies – and the region in general – and  to start his own business.

Though working full-time for Amazon, Floyd launched in promptly. He went to places like Rouse’s and the French Market to observe local wares, both food and non-food.

“Five years ago it was just me, identifying the companies that people know from New Orleans,” he recalled. “Now that has changed to where people reach out to me to have their products included. The challenge now is how do I give everyone a chance to be part of it?

“It’s a good problem to have!” he said.

Floyd quickly homed in on those places and events where visitors typically receive packets of New Orleans products, becoming a member of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (now New Orleans & Company).

“They have been an integral part of my growth,” he said. “They provide that connection to companies and events coming in, and I can market to the people on their lists.”

Box of Care also has a retail component, selling and shipping individual gift boxes through the company’s website. Purchasers may be locals wanting to send a taste of their home town to friends around the country; visitors who remember the scents and tastes of their visit; or ex-pats longing for that connection back home.

While Box of Care has several standard offerings, the website also provides an entry point for business customers who want to customize their client gifts. Floyd also offers promotional items to be included in the gift boxes, like travel mugs and pens, as a way to enhance the branding value that the boxes provide for the corporate purchasers.

By the start of the pandemic, Floyd had invested three years in his endeavor, and was not particularly feeling like he was getting a good return on his efforts, especially in the context of having a full-time job.

“I had reached the point where I didn’t know if I wanted to do this anymore,” he remembered. “Then things picked up during the pandemic.”

One factor was that a number of cancelled conferences ordered the gift boxes anyway, as a way to maintain contact with their members. The big break came at the end of 2020, when Box of Care provided gift packages for the Sugar Bowl.

What had started as a kitchen-table enterprise soon overtook his entire garage, and by this year, Floyd had reached a major decision point.

“It was difficult to leave Amazon financially,” he said, “but the potential of doing something on my own was too good to resist. People just become furniture after they’ve been at their job for years and years.”

As local business has grown substantially, Floyd has visions of replicating the concept in other cities.

“Our culture is kind of a stand-alone, but a lot of other places do have a culture, things that are unique to them,” he pointed out. “My plan is to follow the same model, identify the local companies, put together boxes for them.”

Not that Floyd doesn’t see more opportunity here at home. “Another unique selling point is featuring New Orleans design and look on the boxes to go along with the flavors inside,” he said. “I hope to feature new designs by New Orleans artists on the boxes soon.”

Having left the security of corporate America far behind, Floyd is all-in on his business and his beloved home town.

“Time will tell, but I think there’s a lot of opportunity with this,” he stated. “What I really want to do is help the city get back to being the best possible version of New Orleans.”

 

Categories: Neighborhood Biz