Looking ahead brings continued time working from home, socializing from home, and well, pretty much doing everything within the same four walls that keep us separated from friends, co-workers and loved ones. Thank goodness for the vaccine!
Seattle-based Tokki offers an opportunity to “show up” from afar with patented video technology for custom messages that accompany hand-poured candles and curated gifts – most from BIPOC and female-owned businesses. Products can arrive in Tokki’s signature, eco-friendly and reusable gift wrap for a personal, and sustainable way to create much needed connection while we’re physically apart.
This year, Tokki rolled out new partnerships and products that support BIPOC, female owned businesses and give back to organizations that empower and support women. Each candle or gift set can come wrapped in reusable gift bags made from recycled water bottles, to share just the right message.
Upcoming Gift Ideas
- With Earth Day on April 22, it’s time to focus on sustainability and raise awareness for the importance of gifting green and supporting eco-friendly businesses. Each year Americans alone use 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper. Half of this is not recyclable which means approximately 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper ends up in a landfill.
- To commemorate Mother’s Day on May 9, Tokki will launch a curated collection of gifts sets that support Christy Turlington’s Every Mother Counts and its mission to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere. All featured gift sets will support the mission with a ten percent donation on purchases made between April 10 through May 10.
I had the chance to interview Tokki CEO, Jane Park!
You have been one of the biggest female innovators in the industry! Walk me through concept to creation for your business and product models.
The idea for Tokki is routed in my love of gifting – gifting is my love language! But a few Christmases ago (before the pandemic, so when we could all gather!) I was cleaning up and taking out so much garbage to the curb. I looked up whether we could recycle our gift wrap, and it turned out that most of it wasn’t recyclable because it was too thin, or color saturated, or coated. Then I remembered that my Korean grandmother used to wrap our special gifts in colorful squares of silk cloth. That’s when I decided to launch Tokki – to create a more sustainable way to gift. Our reusable gift wrap comes with a QR card that is endlessly reusable. I wanted to find a way to make reuse even MORE fun – not just the right thing to do.
Who are some of the business owners that you work with to curate the products for Tokki?
I love partnering with local women owned businesses to offer unique and meaningful gift sets. I select each partner myself, and have usually gifted everyone in my life to rave reviews before I offer a gift through Tokki. Some of my favorite gifts made by local, women-run companies are Boma Jewelry, Bewilderness Puzzles, and Fran’s Chocolates.
What has that been like seeking them out and working with them to get their beautiful products in the hands of consumers?
Truly, partnering with local companies I admire has been one of the biggest joys of starting Tokki. Even though we are still small, I love using our leverage whenever possible to make a difference. Whether you are a small business like us, or a consumer, or in charge of purchasing for a much larger company, I always encourage people to ask an allyship question whenever they are spending dollars. Hiring a lawyer? Ask the firm what percentage of their partners are women. Buying a car? Ask for a woman sales rep (heads up – this will make the dealership squirm because there are very few!). To level the playing field, we all need to take concrete action to vote with our dollars, not just during elections.
What advice would you give to young female entrepreneurs who are just starting out, especially now with what you have experienced in a post-COVID world?
In the past year of the pandemic, we have all learned an incredible lesson in entrepreneurship, which is how to continue to grow and build in the face of radical uncertainty. What I want to tell young women entrepreneurs is this: use everything you learned from navigating the shifting ground of a COVID world to make it through the uncertainty of building your own company. Now you have a huge notch under your belt before you even get started. You’ve figured out something about how to move through the quicksand of the unknowable. What worked for you? What didn’t? Don’t make this year a “lost year” – use the lessons you figured out about yourself. Now you have a track record of making it through a crazy situation. Come back to that with confidence. What creative thing did you do to survive? My sister walked her kids to school – and then back home again before each school day of online learning to get some fresh air and exercise and to maintain a connection to their pre-pandemic lives. Now, when she’s dealing with a hard thing, I hope she’ll see what a badass she is at problem solving. Women tend to lose confidence starting at age ten – so I am always looking for ways that we can help each other refuel our confidence tanks.