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Posted: December 12, 2013

State of the state: e-commerce

Gift-giving goes local and experiential

Gigi Sukin

‘Tis the season for gift giving. And with spirited “Go Local” campaigns abounding, more shoppers are growing more mindful about purchasing presents from their neighborhood ma and pa shops.

Boulder-based Wishlist LLC encourages locally minded buying with a slightly different approach, enabling purchasers to give the gift of Colorado experiences.

Enjoywishlist.com – launched in December 2012 by Wade Rosen – offers gift certificates for activities right in your own back yard. Categories include: Adventure, Charming Getaways, Relaxation, Fitness, Urban Living and Adrenaline, at prices ranging from $40 to $500.

“It turns out Coloradans are apt to go run a marathon and buy the Relaxation package to treat themselves to a day at the spa thereafter,” Rosen said.

Once gift certificates are picked and purchased, recipients receive emails directing them to the startup’s site to sift through various offerings in each category, from white water rafting trips to wine tastings and massage sessions.

Along with cataloging and curating vendors, such as Brooklyn Mining Co., Raft Masters and Moyer Total Wellness, Rosen – a University of Denver alum who dreamed up the business while studying abroad in Spain – works with businesses to reward their hardworking employees.

“When we started, a lot of consumers were eager to buy on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. But we realized companies started embracing the idea, too,” Rosen said, citing Applied Trust, a Boulder-based security, infrastructure and compliance services firm, as an example. “Rather than giving generic gifts, business owners can replace traditional gift cards, like Amazon, or encourage fitness with local, out-of-office experiences. I’d say that’s been our biggest success of the year.” Rosen says the split has “generally been 75 percent companies, 25 percent individuals; although around the holidays it will edge closer to 50/50.”

Wishlist’s revenue growth has been rapid in the last six months, trending 30 percent month-over-month leading into the Christmas season. However, Rosen does not expect sales to slow after the holidays.

Why kick off the intangible gift giving in Colorado?

“Basically the entire demographic we wanted was in one area,” Rosen said. “People are adventurous and active. Everyone says it, but the lifestyle is so phenomenal, you just can’t help but take advantage.”

Long-term, Rosen hopes to have Wishlists offered throughout the U.S. and national flagship lists.

New to Wishlist’s menu: Premier Getaways, along with a physical gift to present, rather than just the virtual product. According to Rosen, Premier selections will be the highest price point, with “amazing two-night stays at different iconic hotels throughout Colorado.”

Gigi Sukin is an Associate Editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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