Suffice to say, had I known who was on the other side of the door, I would have done my best to spiff up a bit. A handsome young man stood on my front stoop with a beautifully wrapped box.
“This is from Mefran,” he said as he handed me a box of homemade cookies from my adorable next door neighbor.
Caldwell Zimmerman is not the official delivery person for his wife’s business, Heyou Gifts. But he couldn’t resist Mefran’s charm when she said the cookies needed to be delivered as soon as possible, something I really appreciated as I nibbled the best chocolate chip cookie ever.
Ashley Zimmerman is a Texas native who now lives in Chattanooga with her husband, Caldwell, and their two children. With her hometown a far piece away, Ashley keeps in touch with friends and family with gift giving, and it’s very important to her that the gifts be thoughtfully curated. Choosing the perfect way to show her love used to be something she had time to do, but after two children, Leo, 1, and Charlotte, 3, it became a bit harder.
“Since kids came into the equation, thoughtful gifting has gotten much harder, and last minute gifting has been more of the norm. I couldn’t stand my last-minute gifting options, which consisted of 1-800-flowers or an overplayed cookie delivery company in Texas,” she explained.
She knew she wasn’t alone in this dilemma. “Any person … who has been in a situation where they need to send a gift to someone afar on a last minute basis, has felt the pain of the lack of options and authenticity that goes along with that process,” Ashley said.
As gift giving is Ashley’s love language, clearly generic gifts simply would not do. She began calling local boutiques within a couple miles of whoever she was sending a gift to and giving the storeowners a budget. She explained the certain vibe she was looking for, and trusted the shop to select the perfect gift for her and deliver it for an extra fee. “They were always happy to do this, Ashley said.
“I developed this secret sauce to gift giving and I never thought to do anything with it until a friend reached out asking for last minute gifting advice, and I shared my secret sauce with her,” Ashley said.
The friend was stunned by this ingenious method of sending the perfect gift to loved ones, no matter where they were. And her enthusiasm prompted Ashley to consider turning it into a business. Caldwell was on board, and after coming up with a business plan and doing strategic market research, the couple created Heyou Gifts.
Obviously, they had me at hello, especially spoken by a handsome young man with cookies. But there are many options for gifts, including Plum Nelly, The Chattanooga Cookie, Jonesy Wood, Danshire Market, Fox and Fern Florals, Center MedSpa, BlowUp Balloons, A Child’s Garden and The Secret Garden. And, Heyou is just getting started. “The idea for Heyou Gifts is built on the foundation that this is a platform for people gifting afar. Therefore, we see this as a highly scalable business. We will be starting a funding round soon and are looking at you, Nashville and Atlanta!” Ashley said, adding that she is trying to find her groove with a booming business and small children. She spends every afternoon with her children and makes up for that time at night after they go to bed. No doubt those afternoons are special for all.
About the name of the business, Ashley thought long and hard about how to summarize her business in a couple of words.
“When someone says ‘Hey you’ to me, it makes me feel seen and special. Sending a gift to someone says the same thing: I see you and you are special to me,” she explains.
I’m not sure how many languages Ashley can speak, but I know she speaks her love language fluently.
by Ferris Robinson