Relocation helps Black-owned corporate gifting startup win Fortune 500 customers

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  • Published on March 31, 2023
  • Last Updated May 15, 2023
  • In People

Black-owned employee gifting concept has won startup funding and big corporate customers by relocating their company from North Carolina to St. Louis.

Uprooting is never easy. Weigh the pros and cons. That’s Doug Spencer’s advice to other startup founders who may be considering the biggest of business travel opportunities: relocating your startup company to another city.

Co-founding Bold Xchange with his now fiancée, Danielle Deavens, the couple uprooted from their respective homes in Washington D.C. and Charlotte, North Carolina and moved their corporate gifting startup to St. Louis after being awarded an Arch Grant in 2020. (If you’re a founder considering a similar move to grow your business, the2023 competition is open now and the deadline was extended until April 2nd, so there’s still time to apply.)

“As a founder, you already have a bigger appetite for risk than most,” says Doug, CEO of Bold Xchange. “I’d advise other founders considering relocating cities to evaluate the opportunity with a truly open mind.” That calculated risk paid off literally, to the tune of $50K in equity-free grant funding.

Relocating their company to St. Louis has helped the startup founders overcome challenges in accessing resources to scale their business. Naturally, as this employee gifting startup has shipped thousands of gift boxes since relocating, a sense of belonging and place plays an important role in their business. The couple agrees that St. Louis was the right place to get started.

“When we weren’t much more than an idea, Arch Grants believed in us enough to help us relocate and execute on our vision,” says Danielle, COO of Bold Xchange. “We’ve shipped to 49 states and several international locations right from St. Louis. Being centrally located in the Midwest is a major logistics advantage for us.”

Travel has also taken these two young Black entrepreneurs across the United States. To the west coast to meet with customers and sources of venture capital funding in San Francisco, and also to the south, to meet major suppliers in Atlanta and Savannah.

“Travel is important,” says Doug, “because as much as business can be conducted online, there’s really no substitute for meeting someone in-person, where they are.”

Working with several top 100 national law firms and counting ten Fortune 500 companies as customers, Bold Xchange is a corporate gifting marketplace that’s making it easy for busy leaders to send more thoughtful gifts to their colleagues.

“Nobody really wants another company-branded mug or t-shirt, so we’re helping leaders be a little bit more creative,” explains Doug. “There are many simple yet thoughtful ways to acknowledge your teammates—both in-person and remotely—so, why not introduce your team to a great new coffee or cookie brand instead?”

In curating their best gifts on behalf of big name customers like CarMax or Capital One, Bold Xchange has fulfilled its own social entrepreneurship mission too. All of the products they source on behalf of their corporate customers come from Black-owned brands.

“Through our gift boxes, we’re introducing these Black-owned products to a much wider audience,” says Danielle. “And with each gift box, we’re having a real economic impact on the livelihood of these brands and their teams.”