Baby registries have been around for decades, moving from physical stores to online platforms. However, the focus has mostly stayed on physical items. like bibs and strollers. Now, the needs of today’s parents are different, with the opportunity to offer support beyond just baby gear.
Channeling her passion for helping families and her background in finance, founder and CEO Scarlett Li-Goshawk is on a mission to bring convenience for Canadian parents through Giftstart, the country’s most comprehensive platform for baby registries.
We sat down with Scarlett to learn more about the platform and how it’s addressing a significant, but often overlooked, gap for Canadian parents.
Can you give a brief overview of what Giftstart offers?
SL: Giftstart is a pioneering baby registry platform reshaping the registry landscape in Canada. Unlike traditional registries, Our focus extends beyond tangible baby gear to encompass essential services, subscriptions, and cash funds. This allows for a unique and flexible registry experience that aligns with the growing needs of modern families.
There are many gift registry options out there, what makes Giftstart different from the rest?
SL: Although baby registries have been around for decades––from its brick and mortar days to an online version––the landscape has not changed much, solely focusing on physical goods. Meanwhile, the needs of today’s parents have changed significantly.
With rising costs of child expenses and both parents often working, Giftstart recognizes the importance of support for today’s parents beyond baby gear. While Giftstart offers traditional baby products, we emphasize services, subscriptions, and cash funds to offer more flexibility for Canadian parents.
Our goal is to provide a unique, flexible registry experience that grows with the family, where innovation meets the evolving needs of modern parenting.
How is Giftstart built specifically for Canadian parents?
SL: The whole idea of Giftstart is based on the lack of baby registry platforms that are available to Canadians parents. Though there are many baby registries available, the industry is fragmented, and not all of them allow shipment to Canada. This is where Giftstart steps in to fill that gap.
Giftstart is proud to be headquartered in Canada and partner with many Canadian-owned companies or other businesses operating in the country. Our goal is to create a comprehensive network of Canadian companies that offer baby products and services to better support Canadian parents across the country, not just in major regions.
Giftstart has also recently launched its cash fund feature, allowing users to request for financial support through a secure channel. Although there are cash funds integrated with gift registries that are available for Canadian customers, almost all of them are affiliated with US-based companies. Consequently, their transaction fees are in USD, potentially increasing costs for Canadian users. Giftstart’s cash fund feature is tailored for CAD transactions, offering a more economical and convenient option.
How did the idea for Giftstart come about, and what inspired you to build a comprehensive baby registry platform for Canadians?
SL: The concept of creating a comprehensive baby registry came out of my own personal experience with motherhood.
When I went through the baby registry process for my own pregnancy, I was surprised at how fragmented the industry was. There wasn’t a centralized platform in the Canadian market that catered to all my prenatal, postpartum, and baby needs. Like many first time parents out there, I ended up having to create multiple registries: one for large baby gear, one for smaller essential items, and another platform to consolidate all of these registries.
When I realized this gap, I was inspired to build a centralized space and community built specifically for underserved Canadian users – this was how Giftstart was born.
Given the evolving landscape of e-commerce and digital platforms, how do you see Giftstart adapting and staying relevant in the coming years?
SL: Giftstart’s adaptability to the ever-changing e-commerce landscape is facilitated by its headless platform. This versatile solution, featuring enhanced customization and accelerated speed through front-end and back-end separation, ensures seamless scalability and effortless integration with diverse channels.
The platform’s adaptability also extends to the changing dynamics of the ecommerce industry and the digital world. With its versatile interface, Giftstart collaborates with vendors offering trending services and employs API pulls to extend its offerings, effectively responding to the evolving needs of both the industry and customers.
With your background in finance, how do you approach financial management and strategy for Giftstart, especially in the context of sustainable growth and scalability?
SL: By maintaining a keen focus on financial efficiency and sustainability, our goal is not only to navigate present challenges but also to position Giftstart for scalable growth.
Leveraging my deep understanding of finance, I maintain a focus on detailed budgeting and forecasting, including sensitivity analysis, to anticipate various situations and prepare us for future expansion. Our focus is on raising our bottom line through strategies that support current operations while laying the foundation for long-term success.
This involves meticulous financial planning, monitoring key performance indicators, and adapting our strategy to align with Giftstart’s evolving needs. This approach ensures that our financial management contributes significantly to the overall success and endurance of Giftstart in the dynamic landscape of the baby registry market.
Noticed you’re an alumna of the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. How has your time in B.C. influenced your entrepreneurial journey?
SL: As one of the best business schools in Canada and the world, Sauder helped me establish a solid foundation for my entrepreneur journey.
I learned a great deal during my time at UBC–from its rigorous programs, competitive courses, and excellent teaching facilities. The school’s wealth of knowledgeable and experienced professors, coupled with a network of like-minded peers, became integral to my entrepreneurial growth.
Can you share any specific milestones or achievements that Giftstart has reached since its inception that you are particularly proud of?
SL: From concept to platform launch, Giftstart has successfully bootstrapped and secured over 35 partnerships. We also recently rolled out our Canadian cash fund to address parent’s financial needs, offering a functional, scalable, and secure channel for transactions.
We have exciting features in the roadmap as Giftstart remains steadfast in its commitment to continuous innovation and improvement for its users.