Linas Čeikus, CEO at Tinggly tells us about a gift platform whose goal is to change the gift-giving culture from gifting material stuff to gifting experiences.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Linas Čeikus: Physically and emotionally, we’re doing great. The first lockdown in spring allowed us to bond even closer as a family of four. We were fortunate enough to be able to enjoy the natural world around where we live, and the quality of the family time that we spent together only increased. Anticipating further lockdowns in autumn, we moved to the Canary Islands for the winter season. Again we were extremely lucky to be able to enjoy the great outdoors as well as integrate ourselves with the local community here in Tenerife.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Tinggly
Linas Čeikus: Tinggly.com started as a European experience gift company in 2006. Since then, it’s grown into a global experience gift company – the first of its kind – with more than two million worldwide sales.
I am a serial entrepreneur, father of two kids, husband, adventurist, and traveler. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Tinggly.com. ‘Give stories, not stuff’ is our motto, and we’re on a mission to change the gift-giving culture from gifting material stuff to gifting experiences.
How does Tinggly innovate?
Linas Čeikus: More or less, we’re doing the impossible (laughs). After achieving local success in regional markets, the obvious next step was to become a global gift experience provider. Our aim is to be free from limitations, to work without borders, and to provide pure fun, enjoyment, and inspiration for gift-givers across the world. I think we achieved that, and I honestly don’t see us slowing down or stopping anytime soon. We’re so stoked and proud to have satisfied more than two million customers in more than 140 countries. How cool is that? Our next step is to expand our hotel getaway gift collections – watch this space!
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?
Linas Čeikus: Thankfully, our customers understood the value of gifting a travel experience that can be used once the pandemic is over. It’s the hope for a brighter future that keeps people positive in dark times. Tinggly gift cards have no expiration dates. This makes them the perfect gift to look forward to once travel restrictions are lifted.
Our business is back on track, and we are seeing growth again. The lockdowns allowed us all to rethink our lives and really learn what is important to us. I believe that more and more people realize that the important things in life aren’t about the accumulation of stuff; shared emotional experiences with people we love and care about are far more important. The pandemic has only accelerated this understanding and, ironically, had a somewhat positive impact on the planet and people’s happiness.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Linas Čeikus: When the world literally stopped, our sales plummeted. The unknown was frightening, and we had to make several hard decisions. One or two projects were frozen, and we had to lay off a couple of team members. The rest of the team had to work remotely on a four-day week. Our biggest lesson, however, was overwhelmingly positive. We became united as a group, and the support felt by the whole team was really promising and motivating. I believe that a business is only as strong as its people. I am proud of our team, and I trust that together we will reach our ambitious plans.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Linas Čeikus: Ironically, for the business, it’s our competitors that are helping us to achieve our top-level goal, which is to reduce material stuff and encourage people to gift experiences and emotions to each other. However, there is still a lot to be done. In some countries, such as France, the UK, and Lithuania, gifting experiences is already a well-known concept, but in the US, it is still a fairly alien idea. There is a ton of work and support from different stakeholders needed to reshape this ideology.
Your final thoughts?
Linas Čeikus: By nature, I’m an optimist. I believe that collectively we can reduce our negative impact on the health of the planet, and I see that businesses can play a very important role in that. Individually, we ‘vote’ with our cash each time we choose how and where we spend it. Our decisions influence what will be produced, which companies will succeed, and which will fail. Yes, we at Tinggly lead by example, we are a fully sustainable business, company, and product, but we are just one small drop in the ocean. My hope is for other businesses to adapt and follow our positive examples. I want everybody to make a conscious decision to save the planet when they buy something, even in their small everyday choices. I believe this starts with giving stories, not stuff.
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