Go Big: Lisa Marie and Cathleen Bring the Diversity of the World Into a Gift Box
The truth is, trivago couldn’t help everyone go someplace new in 2020. So instead, we’re celebrating the people that turned challenge into opportunity by starting new businesses, pursuits, and passions. When they couldn’t go far, they chose to go big.
“I always wanted to create something bigger than myself.” When her successful entertainment career stalled during the pandemic, Lisa Marie Posso teamed up with Cathleen Cher and pivoted into a whole new realm: curated gift boxes. Together they co-founded GYFTING, a gift giving company that highlights minority-owned brands.
By June of 2020, Lisa Marie was working 18 hours a day, seven days a week, researching brands, packaging and ideas. The pandemic had put a halt to her events business, and for a while she was feeling depressed. Then:
“The universe handed me an idea on a golden platter and said ‘take it or leave it’ — I took it. I worked on the idea day and night because I was excited to feel passionate about something again,” she says. “It was, how do I make this happen? How do I get out of this position I’m in? I was hurting financially because I hadn’t received any PPP or SBA loans. I thought I could wait it out but events weren’t happening for the foreseeable feature. I had to push forward.”
Both had careers steeped in music, production, and entrepreneurship. Lisa Marie has been a club and festival promoter, the tour manager for Skrillex, and owned a global events agency. But she always had the sense she wanted to do something that would make a difference. For the past few years, Cathleen had been running her own creative agency and production company, working with the likes of Megan Thee Stallion and FKA Twigs. Then, “Like so many of us, with COVID-19, I had to pivot,” she says.
Cathleen also recommends teaming up with a business partner, if you happen to be lucky enough to find one that’s a good fit. “Running your own company is really hard,” she says. “There are so many ups and downs when it comes to starting a business, and in the days that you’re feeling completely overwhelmed or unmotivated, it’s nice to have someone who supports you and understands what you’re going through.” Still, “while you want someone who has the same goals as you do, look for a partner who compliments you with experiences and skills you don’t have that will help the business,” she suggests.
But, Lisa Marie chimes in:
“Don’t wait too long to start your business, because otherwise you will talk yourself out of it. Just jump in there!”
A Business Blooms
While the two have only recently launched their website and company, they have already found an eager audience. “There’s a need not just from consumers, but from large corporate companies as well, looking for ways to connect with their clients or employees,” explains Cathleen. “It can be difficult to curate products the way we do. The brands that fit our mission are often small businesses, run by individuals much like ourselves. Supply chain and pricing can sometimes become an issue, especially if we’re working with a tight budget and we need a large quantity on a quick turnaround. But, the good thing is, a lot of people are taking notice of what we’re doing and want to support our mission as well.”
“We are heading in a great direction,” says Lisa Marie, gazing around her apartment, piled high with boxes. “I feel good about the future. In fact—I’m thrilled about the future.”
Inspired by Lisa Marie and Cathleen’s story? Keep an eye on our channels for other interviews in our Go Big series!