In this week’s interview, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Monica Gounaropoulos, Founder of The Masked Gifter.

Monica has been in Healthcare PR for 15+ years, and after her second child, she started to re-evaluate the path she wanted to take moving forwards. She really wanted to give her own business a go, it’s been a secret passion of Monica for quite some time to start something up on her own! So she combined this vision with what she love to do – gifting – and came up with The Masked Gifter!

Connect with Monica
Let’s start with the timeless 60 seconds ‘elevator pitch’, what’s yours?

In a gifting dilemma? If you find yourself short on time, ideas, or simply hate shopping (?!) The Masked Gifter is YOUR personal shopper… for gifts! We’ll uniquely curate, source, wrap and deliver the perfect gift for your recipient, every time. Plus if you want it to look like you did it all (but better!) choose our discrete unbranded service 😉

At one point or another, it is inevitable that challenges will pop up in business. What’s your approach to overcoming challenges?

It’s a continuous learning curve setting up and running your own business… you’re constantly up against challenges you hadn’t anticipated or dealt with before. But that’s part of the interest, it really pushes you out of your comfort zone! I try to go with the flow as best as I can, tackle each challenge and move onto the next. Just do your best, speak to people who support you and can help share the mental load if not the physical, and it’ll work out.

Sales and marketing are two very important, but different, functions within a business. What is your number one sales tip?

With something as personal as gifting, I truly believe in the power of word of mouth, customer reviews and first-hand recommendations to growing sales. Whilst ‘organically’ growing sales in this way does take longer, I think there’ll be longevity by really engaging with the right customers who believe in your offering. So I try to focus on organic sales, with strong reviews and recommendations to help entice others to give it a go!

Monica Gounaropoulos, Founder, The Masked Gifter,
Monica Gounaropoulos, The Masked Gifter, Hong Kong
What is your favourite business tool or system?

Funnily enough WhatsApp! Ok so not a business tool per se but here so many businesses use WhatsApp for quick interactions with customers that it’s actually pretty novel to me coming from the UK, I didn’t see this happening there much at all! And I find it SO convenient to liaise with my customers and suppliers via WhatsApp, especially in Hong Kong where there may be some verbal language barriers.

It is important to celebrate your achievements, particularly during the difficult times. How do you celebrate your achievements?

I’m not the best at celebrating my achievements, to be honest! Usually, a quick ‘virtual’ pat on the back and then move on with the rest of my to-do list! 😉 Not the best approach I must say, we should all enjoy the small wins as much as the big ones to keep motivated and on track!

Being in business is like an education in itself, what are the three most important lessons you’ve learned in your business?

Lesson 1: Ask for advice! It doesn’t seem weak or makes you look unprofessional, so accept guidance, advice or help if it’s offered – remember everyone had to start from somewhere!​​

Lesson 2: It’s ok to keep evolving. What you thought looked great at the start, may not look so cool now… it’s fine to keep changing your business persona, look and feel, even refine your offering/service model if it needs to as you learn more about your environment and customers. Being fluid keeps you moving forwards.

Lesson 3: Just have fun with it! No matter how big or small your business currently is, enjoy the process and what you’re achieving. Have fun and it’ll be visible to your customers, suppliers and the community more broadly.

What business-related book or podcast has inspired you the most?

“Confident and Assertive Skills for Women” by Angelina Williams. Many women experience ‘imposter syndrome’ during their careers, and I’ve certainly experienced a lot of this (!) but more so since setting up my own business. But we shouldn’t be looking for external validation on our skills or our value – if people like what we’re offering, fantastic! If it’s not for them, that’s fine too… you can’t reach everyone but that’s no reflection on you.

The purpose of such an interview is to promote your business. Please tell us, who is your dream client?

My dream client is someone who really values the process of gifting themselves – but just doesn’t have the time or ideas to give it their all. I put A LOT of time and effort into each of my gifting briefs so I love to see my customers thrilled with their gift recipients’ reactions, as they themselves truly value the impact and importance a perfect gift can make to a relationship!

If you are Monica’s dream client, please contact her through her website, www.themaskedgifter.com.

Thank you for taking the time to connect with us Monica. We are delighted to showcase you on our site.

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Women Business Owners Asia is a passion project to showcase the women, living in Asia, who have taken the plunge and started their own business.

“There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.” – Unknown

If you’d like to see a Women Entrepreneur profiled, please ask her to fill out our interview form.