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Our benefits provider Black Bow Gift Co.

Entrepreneur Amanda Cluett (MA’06) is an alumni-owned business partner of the Dal Alumni Benefits Program. Learn about her Black Bow Gift Co. in our Q&A.

Posted: January 4, 2024

With her father's entrepreneurial spirit and her mother's innate creativity, Amanda Cluett (MA’06) believes the luxury gifting company she created, Black Bow Gift Co., is the embodiment of their combined influences. 

Its genesis is shaped by Cluett’s dreams, a pivotal moment of realization, and her courage to take a step into the unknown. Supported by a dedicated team with a steadily increasing corporate client base, Black Bow Gift Co. is renovating a new office and larger warehouse to accommodate its expanding success.

Where did the idea for Black Bow Gift Co. come from?

I saw a vision in offering curated gift boxes containing items made by companies passionate about their products. Gifts that were made with care and attention. I then instantly had the thought that I could fill this gap in the Canadian market

How did Dal prepare you for becoming a business owner?

I majored in economics for my master's because I wanted to understand how markets and businesses function and how they react and change depending on market conditions and other internal and external factors. I wanted to understand the broader and more micro-level cause and effect, to help guide my decisions and next steps.

My master's program greatly prepared me to think analytically and taught me how to predict and forecast my specific business needs depending on what is happening both inside and outside of my business. I use the analytical thinking and knowledge learned in this degree daily to help guide and make critical business decisions.

What is your favorite part of owning/operating Black Bow Gift Co.?

The thought that anything can happen on any given day. You don’t know what new and big client is around the corner or what opportunities might present themselves. Having spent nearly my entire previous career in government where there was so much structure and red tape, it just feels really empowering that I get to decide where our focus is on any given day.

Where does the inspiration for your themed boxes come from?

What is a typical day at work like?

Long hours studying with my peers in the program. It was an intense program and required a lot of work and effort, we were really all there for each other to learn and help one another. Those moments taught me so much about hard work and learning how to push through the unknown and challenging times.

The standard I maintain and expect in my business and with my team is also exceptionally high and similar to the economics program at Dalhousie. We can’t expect great things to be produced if we don’t set and maintain high standards.

What advice would you give to recent grads embarking on their career journey?

  • Learn to be your biggest cheerleader in life and do not wait for validation from others.
  • Follow your passion and don’t be scared to step into the unknown. When something is uncomfortable, it is the best opportunity for growth and learning.
  • Greatness can only come with hard work, and you must be ready and prepared to work hard.
  • Actively work on eliminating the things that cause you stress, and take accountability for all that is in your control.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?

I love spending time with my kids, going to their sporting events, DIY home projects and doing things like building my own furniture. I also enjoy catching up with friends and family.

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