Supporting Veteran Owned Businesses in the Postal Marketplace

November 1, 2022
Karlie Briggs
Senior Customer Marketing Manager

Torrance Hart is the founder of Teak & Twine, a Postal Preferred vendor and woman-veteran owned business.

Teak & Twine curates gift boxes for corporate clients, typically working with marketing, sales, and HR teams to create amazing client onboarding experiences, employee gifts, and thank you gifts. They also work with some of the most amazing small businesses and makers from all over the country and put their beautiful products into curated gift boxes. They then brand the packaging and send these gifts all over the world for clients.

However, the story of how Torrance and Teak & Twine arrived where they are today started long ago before corporate gifts were in the picture.

Torrance’s entrepreneurial endeavors started at a young age; she was the kid in the lemonade stand, going neighbor to neighbor starting different businesses. Teak & Twine was one of the many business ideas Torrance had and successfully took off after her eight years of service in the Air Force.

Early days at Teak & Twine

In the early days of Teak & Twine, Torrance curated welcome gifts for weddings. She worked with brides to create beautiful wedding gifts for out of town guests. Only three months after launching, she had gotten some great traction in this industry. Torrance had done some bridesmaid gifts for a woman named Jennifer, who called her back two months later thanking her and asking if she could complete 300 employee gifts for colleagues at Microsoft to help them celebrate Christmas.

Not only was this Torrance's largest order to date, but the project turned out to be an incredibly fun, creative experience that opened her eyes to corporate gifting. Since then, they’ve pivoted entirely to focus on corporate gifting, working with large scale fulfillment projects on client, and employee gifts.

However, before launching a gifting company, Torrance served eight years in the Air Force: four years in finance and four as an intelligence officer, which actually worked in her favor if you reverse engineer the timeline. Looking back on her time in the Air Force, she said:

I'm an entrepreneur now which is kind of the perfect mix of a little bit of my finance background and then a lot of logistics and planning and researching. I met the most amazing people and it really did set me up for being ready to launch my own business.

She also mentioned learning the importance of resilience in the Air Force, as well as grit—two incredibly useful skills that have successfully fueled her journey as an entrepreneur. Teak & Twine made the Inc 5,000 list earlier this year.

How to honor Veterans on Veterans Day

Torrance believes the most important focus is to give a veteran something thoughtful they may like and shows you're thinking about that person. She recommends including a handwritten note telling the veteran you're thinking about them even if their service was a long time ago and that you still appreciate what they did.

Becoming a multi-million dollar corporate gifting business

Teak & Twine has grown tremendously in the last 8 years. Beginning as a small business run in the guest bedroom of Torrance’s home, to now being a multi-million dollar business in the gifting industry, she has learned a lot and has a lot to be proud of.

One of the biggest things she has learned since starting, especially expanding into the B2B market, is how creative and fun corporate gifting is. At first she remembers thinking to herself, “ I don't want to do corporate gifting because it's not as creative and fun,” but that could not have been further from the truth. She’s found the most creative and interesting vendors from all over the country to work with and the fun of corporate gifting really took her by surprise. B2B corporate gifting and company swag has grown so far beyond branded pens, and Torrance is excited to see where the field is headed in the future.

All-time favorite creative corporate gifts

One of Torrance’s favorite gift boxes she created was for a company celebrating it’s 25 year anniversary. The idea was to send out a set full of items that are going to be around forever, just like us. It was a celebration of longevity, and it’s important to note the client had a great sense of humor. The gift ended up including a Twinkie, a can of spam, some beef jerky, and several other products that “last forever.”

Another favorite gift set she made was a juggling themed gift for an online learning company. She included juggling balls, juggling scarves, and then a video where you could learn how to juggle from the CEO. The video then led the recipients of the gift to the company's website where they could learn more about the company and its capabilities. 

It was such a clever and interesting way of experiencing something, giving something super memorable and unexpected, and then, of course, getting the chance to learn more about what the company did.

The holidays are Torrance's favorite—it’s a popular time for gifting and every year Teak & Twine discovers countless new themes and corporate holiday gift ideas that clients request or talk about.

This year, there are three themes standing out for corporate gifts. The first is wellness and self-care, and that took her by surprise as she believed 2020 was the year of wellness and self-care. She is hearing words like wellness, mindfulness, thoughtfulness, wanting to take a pause, take a breath, anything to encourage clients and employees to just take some time for themselves, which she absolutely loves.

The second theme that stood out to her is celebration, such as champagne gifts, confetti gifts, and even color has been huge around the theme of celebration. Companies are getting to celebrate their milestones and get creative about the milestones they are coming up with. Whether it's a longevity milestone, product launch, unicorn status, a series of fundraising, or an IPO there are countless fun events that are bottle-pop-worthy.

The third theme is food. This one didn’t come as too much of a surprise, because it never goes out of style. Getting something delicious in the mail is always going to be popular and fun. Something new this year is interactive food—gifts like cooking, cookie making, baking, or even pasta making kits. The interactive experience perfectly ties in how food encourages people to take some time for themselves all at once.

Shop items from Teak & Twine on Postal’s Gifting Marketplace

Items from Teak & Twine have been some of the all-time best sellers on the Postal Marketplace. The two gifts that have the all-time highest volume are The Cheers and The Toast gift sets. Torrance expressed how happy this makes her because it shows that companies have so much to celebrate and they're taking some time to show their appreciation towards clients and teammates.

Every time those gifts go out, it just makes me happy for whoever is sending them out that they're celebrating something. And then we get to work with the amazing postal team and send something out for those clients. Postal is so fun and easy to work with. It's just such an incredible, seamless partnership.

Learn more about the Teak & Twine offerings on the Postal Marketplace and get started with Postal to shop gifts from Teak & Twine while supporting the businesses that make up their curated gift boxes.

Karlie Briggs

Karlie Briggs is a Senior Customer Marketing Manager at Postal who is passionate about customer experience and building relationships. She builds community by creating opportunities for customers to learn from each other and celebrates customers' success through storytelling. Currently into road trips, teaching yoga, live music, handwritten notes, bike rides, and enjoying delicious food & wine.