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Meet Katelyn Stalowy of Manofatto Giftboxes & Blooms

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katelyn Stalowy.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Manofatto is slang for handmade in Italian. My great Aunt Antonietta, who lived to be 100 years of age from Puglia, Italy, taught it to me. She said it to me constantly as she swatted me around the kitchen, and explained all of the glorious things she produced “manofatto.”

Manofatto has dug its roots into my life. I frequently say it and try, just like Antonietta, to produce, bake, cook, and create as much as I can by hand. The idea of our gift boxes came to me in late 2014. Gifting had lost its heart and personalization. I set out to create gift assortments filled with small batch handmade products, both beautiful and functional, in a more modern style. Within the first year, I also realized that the products being local and American made was an important standard by which I would carefully choose the brands we carry.

Enter my husband, Craig. He happens to know his way around a woodshop and builds each of our baltic birch giftboxes by hand. I also teamed up with my sister, Gabby, who does the gorgeous hand-calligraphy on custom card requests. I’ve been on sports teams my entire life and seem destined to continue down that path with Team Manofatto. It’s all about family. Antonietta would love it.

Welcome to my shop. We look forward to making something special for you and your loved ones.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Every year, every week, everyday, we learn more and more! We have an extremely laborious product (the baltic birch boxes themselves) and it took years for us to find new ways to be able to make them more efficiently.

As a small business, there are plenty of things you can do to make life easier, but very often it requires money. I’m a very cautious spender, so there are always challenges surrounding making something easier, but also being fiscally responsible.

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned in four years is to believe in our worth and not be afraid of saying no to something that does not make sense for us. The honest truth is that everyone is looking for a deal and a discount, and it can be very hard to turn something down with an exciting business or customer. There’s the belief that opportunity begets opportunity, and while it’s true in some cases, I believe in our product and if we take a deal to break even, or donate to everyone who wants a freebie, we wouldn’t be in business at all.

Please tell us about Manofatto Giftboxes & Blooms.
Manofatto is a gift box and floral business. We create custom or pre-curated giftbox arrangements for our customers and clients, and I’d say we specialize in a more modern, handcrafted take on a gift basket. Our baltic birch wood boxes take the place of the old fashioned wicker basket, and you will find no cellophane in sight! We hand deliver our boxes to Denver and its surrounding suburbs and ship nationwide.

Our best sellers include housewarming giftboxes (we work with realtors weekly), client gifts (year round, but Christmas is our busiest time of year), birthday gifts, wedding and engagement gifts, baby gifts, and thinking of you/sympathy gifts.

I’m very proud that we source our products exclusively from American brands, and strive for those products to be small batch and handcrafted. Giftboxes are a fast-growing category in shopping, but we are one of the only brands in the US that make their boxes in-house. Our gifts feel personal and personally curated.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Hire holiday help from year one! The help provided by part-timers at the holidays is a lifesaver.

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