We talked to Linsay Moran of Unwrapit about the gifting platform that helps companies and event organizers create extraordinary gift experiences without wasting resources on ineffective swag or other promotional goods, and this is what she had to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Linsay Moran: We are doing well, all things considered; thank you for asking! We feel fortunate to have our health and all the things we need. We are looking forward to a gradual return to ‘normal’ for sure!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Unwrapit.
Linsay Moran: I’ve had an interesting career so far, but the common thread has been a focus on social impact, in varying ways. I started my career in events management and transitioned that into the charitable sector. I had the privilege of working with some of Canada’s top women leaders throughout my time at the Women’s Executive Network in an Events & Operations role. I managed a 1200+ person gala and over 75 other events annually. Before co-founding Unwrapit, I had the opportunity to work for a scaling engineering company that manufactured products out of recycled car tires. I learned so much and worked with an amazing team in an entrepreneurial culture. I met one of my fellow co-founders (Peter Deitz) through a social impact network in Canada, and he met our third co-founder (Taylan Pince) in a similar way. The timing was right for all of us, and here we are! I feel that all of my varied past experiences created a strong foundation for me that I am grateful for.
How does Unwrapit innovate?
Linsay Moran: We believe that virtual gifting doesn’t have to be boring and impersonal. It can be fun and engaging and create a ‘surprise and delight’ experience that is difficult to do digitally. We also believe that gifting doesn’t have to create waste. Event organizers, HR managers, and sales directors can offer gifts to attendees, employees, or clients respectively that are experiential, digital, or charitable and therefore don’t have a negative impact on our environment. No one needs another plastic water bottle or logoed squeezy ball taking up room in their junk drawer at home. We are solving for that.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Linsay Moran: Starting a company in the middle of a global pandemic has been interesting! The biggest challenge has probably been a lack of access to each other. We’ve prioritized standing time together on Zoom and, when possible, safe, socially distanced meetings outside. It’s getting cold in Toronto, so that’s on hold until the spring!
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Linsay Moran: Our difficult choices have centered around the product offering and what the MVP will look like. We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to the concept and the platform. So much so that we’ve had to be really deliberate in our approach and how we’re building this solution and ensuring we don’t fall into the ‘trying to be all things to all people’ trap that so many start-ups end up in.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and your company in the future?
Linsay Moran: I try to live by the mantra of ‘this too shall pass’; it always does, and that mentality is grounding. 90% of the time, my stress is related to a feeling of lack of information/control, and it’s most beneficial for me in those moments to sit down and work through the things that are causing the stress. That generally includes mapping things out and thinking through the next steps in a logical way. It seems like simple advice, but I often have to remind myself to enact it in those moments.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Linsay Moran: We offer an easy to use, logistics light experience that supports a number of different use cases. As things begin to return ‘to normal,’ we know that Unwrapit will remain relevant. People are generally more aware of environmental issues, and companies and event organizers are becoming more mindful of shifting consumer preferences around unwanted ‘stuff.’
Your final thoughts?
Linsay Moran: We are optimistic about the future and believe that Unwrapit can help many people who are responsible for gifting in a variety of sectors, an alternative that is sustainable. COVID-19 may have dominated the headlines this year, but we can’t forget the climate change awakening that many in the world had in 2019. Due to the pandemic, many things have changed permanently. And in some cases, for the better. We know that Unwrapit can be part of that forward movement.