Dmitriy Peregudov has a high-energy life, and a list of goals that won’t allow him to stop. With a background in engineering, Dmitriy co-founded several eCommerce startups prior to graduating from Babson College with an MBA in 2007. Shortly after, he launched GiftBasketsOverseas.com (GBO), an international gift delivery service.
Mr. Peregudov has been on the ground floor for all aspects of GBO, using his high energy and creative mind to find innovative solutions to running a global company. Managing a creative team of online marketers, SEO experts, and business developers, Dmitriy was able to grow his company rapidly, bringing the company to #1 in international gifting, which now includes 200+ countries and destinations worldwide. His success has continued, and the company has been on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies for the last six years. Dmitriy’s efforts for continuous growth have been recently recognized by the Massachusetts State Senate and House of Representatives.
GiftBasketsOverseas.com today is not just a gifting company, but also the service that helps people to build business and personal relationships, no matter how far they are.
Dmitriy has been able to infuse his growing team at GiftBasketsOverseas.com with passion for service innovation. Creating sister websites in various languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, German, and Chinese, and providing service localization which made the service easily accessible and allows gifts to be sent from anywhere to anywhere in just two days.
During his startup career, Dmitriy has co-founded several other companies, including RussianFlora.com, Onsite Videos, and ClickToHarvest.com.
How did the concept for GiftBasketsOverseas.com come about?
I was living in the U.S. for a few years and periodically sent gifts to my mother in Russia and also to my girlfriend at the time. I’ve quickly realized that the service there was far from perfect and I didn’t feel like paying a Russian-based company with my U.S.-issued credit card.
Later, I understood that a gift basket itself is a small part of the service experience. We were not just in the gifting business, but we are also serving a higher purpose: “Helping people to build and maintain relationships.” This applies to both business and personal gifting.
So we have developed many services around gifting such as:
1) Digital picture or video of the recipient (taken at the time of delivery) – optional service available in a few countries.
2) GiftyLink: this service allows you to send a gift notice immediately, as soon as one hour from now. That way, our gift senders are always on time!
How was the first year in business?
First year was challenging. We were still figuring out the list of countries we wanted to service. I was working several jobs: customer service, catalog, marketing/PR, finance, and HR, to name a few.
What was your marketing strategy?
We are 100% inbound with a core focus on SEO, SEM, retargeting, email marketing, etc. Still, the majority of our orders today are coming from repeat customers. Once they order from us, they rarely need to look elsewhere!
How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
Within the first five years, we got ourselves on the Inc. 5000 (#893). So, while the first couple of years were relatively slow, we have nearly doubled several times for the following three years.
How do you define success?
I believe that success is luck combined with hard work. For me, it’s easiest to see fragmented progresses every step of the way. So, I judge myself based on incremental, daily/weekly achievements that gets me closer to the bigger goal.
What is the key to success?
Not to ignore the luck that you get and work hard to preserve it. Then, wait for another lucky moment and repeat it.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Leverage your skills and education, but don’t let them dictate who you will be and what you will do.
What are some quotes that you live by?
Education will help those who can be fine without it.
Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
I’ve had many, but here are a few:
1) A supplier declined to deliver gift baskets for us in one of the most important delivery locations, demanding a higher commission.
2) Once, we had a web server crash right before Black Friday and had to get everything fixed quickly.
3) When I had to let go of one of the team members who helped me build the team she was no longer a fit for.
When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
I am very competitive, so adversity just fuels me more and I know that I can get out from the situation stronger and more ready.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
1) Less planning/talking/doubting and more trying.
2) Try things small scale and build on that; it worked for me every time.
3) It’s easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you are in the tunnel.
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This interview was conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.
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