Kindergifts is a London based initiative founded and run by local mums who are on the mission to redefine birthday celebrations to make them less wasteful and more purposeful. It is an online party invitation platform that makes it easier for guests to pool funds for a dream gift as well as to donate some of the funds towards local charities.
We recently met with the founder of Kindergifts, Svetlana Nilsson, to understand more about Kindergifts and how it works.
- Tell us about you. What made you set up the business?
My background is in the Consumer and Retail industry, having previously worked at Diageo and Tesco.com. I never thought I’d become an entrepreneur although I’d often think about different business ideas. As a mother of two children, I always felt overwhelmed by the amount of birthday gifts we receive each time and equally buy for other children. Gifts, that don’t necessarily teach our children good values and end up being wasted, instead of helping people. So, I decided to do something about it and this is how Kindergifts was born.
- Tell us more about the business concept?
Kindergifts is an online invitation and party management platform which helps parents to club together for the purchase of a collective gift and a portion of the funds is donated to a good cause chosen by the child. So, everyone is a winner – the child gets a dream gift and learns to share; it’s much easier for the guests to chip in instead of buying individual presents; there is less clutter and waste at home. And it feels good to do good – over time, all these birthday party donations start to add up and make a difference.
You can have a look at our gift-charity birthday party invitation here.
- How does the group gifting work?
We already see a group gifting trend with school birthday parties. Class reps often organise a gift voucher collection for the birthday child instead of parents buying small presents. Our solution is even better because the gift collection is not locked with a particular retailer. Also, it’s much easier for the guests to chip in from their mobile (Apple Pay or a saved card) and child will have the money towards a dream gift or their choice.
- What are the charities you have worked with in the past?
Over the last couple of years, children have supported over 40 local charities through their Kindergifts birthday parties. We have a wide range of good causes that children can relate to such as reading charities, helping sick children in the hospital, food banks, sport charities, school bursaries, animal welfare and many more. You can have a look at the full list here, but if the host has a specific charity in mind then we are more than happy to onboard them on the platform. For example, we recently added All Dogs Matter to help a little girl support furry friends through her birthday party.
- What is the vision for your business?
At Kindergifts, we believe that no one is too small to make a difference. We want to create a new social trend that will inspire people to share their celebrations with good causes and do their bit to help the planet by adopting more sustainable behaviours in everyday life. Aesop’s wisdom still resonates nowadays: “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” That’s been the source of inspiration, values and mission behind Kindergifts.
- What are some projects you have recently done?
To celebrate the return of the birthday party and getting together with our friends, we launched a brand new invitation module with gorgeous new designs for children and adults. We want to make it absolutely irresistible for our users to celebrate the “kinder” way.
We also recently introduced a new feature called “Charity Fundraising”. This allows our charity partners, schools and PTAs to use Kindergifts as a free fundraising tool and collect cashless donations (with Gift Aid). It’s an easy way to raise funds for the school charity or bursary fund from typical activities such as quiz nights, coffee mornings, school challenges or “be yourself days”. We have created a range of themed invitations for charity fundraising and our dedicated team is always available to personalise the event with the school logo or any other requirements.
- What is the biggest challenge in running your own business?
Starting a business from scratch requires a lot of resourcefulness. Working in a large organisation, there is always someone to pick up the phone to and work through whatever the challenge might be. Running a small business, one has to be resourceful in asking for help and getting support. I’ve been very fortunate to have great friends and former colleagues who have been incredibly supportive. Also, there are a lot of resources, networks and business accelerators out there that are tailored to the needs of women in business. But there is nothing like finding a business partner and building a team that can take the idea and scale it up.
- How do you find balance between your work and home life?
Working for myself gives me a lot of independence and flexibility but on the other side, it’s hard to switch off or take a break. In fact, I had to cancel an exciting holiday with the children in order to launch Kindergifts and booked the first party. I think the only way to have a balanced life is to have a supportive family. I’ve been very fortunate that my husband and children have always been there for me.
Kindergifts has an exciting offer for Clapham Mums: use Kindergifts for the birthday invitations from now till end of September and get a £10 contribution towards birthday funds raised on the platform for the child and a charity the child has chosen to support. To claim the offer, email email@example.com with the code CM01.