FACE TO FACE: Long-time friends bring ‘wow-factor’ to business

The Gift Box is all about reintroducing ‘the art of gifting’

Sophia Hall and Keisha Bastian.

Sophia Hall and Keisha Bastian.




Shelves at The Gift Box are lined with unique items for Valentine’s Day.


THERE are some friendships that last long beyond school days - they last a lifetime. Relationships built on common values, shared goals and mutual respect can flourish. In the case of Sophia Hall and Keisha Bastian, great camaraderie established during high school days at St. Augustine’s College has blossomed into a brand new business venture.

Their paths crossed many years after graduation because they were both fulfilling their passions in a similar field - creating personalized items for special events. Sophia is the founder of Slaé (Simply Live and Enjoy), while Keisha was finding her special niche through her company, Designs by Prestige. The ladies found themselves calling on one another frequently as they fulfilled orders for special events.

Eventually, Sophia and Keisha were utilising one another’s skills so often, that they decided to collaborate. One thing they had in common was making people smile. Every time they fulfilled a client’s request for items such as personalized cake toppers, party favours for birthdays, or floral arrangements, they were being met with raving reviews.

They found the “wow” factor, and they wanted to keep giving it to everyone who entrusted their special occasions and important moments in life to them.

“We get the wow factor all the time,” said Keisha.

“People don’t expect it anymore... but a lot of people want it! Just to get that wow factor and say hey, someone really thought of me, not just on a birthday or special holiday, but just because. We specialise in giving gifts that are out of the ordinary!”

Keisha mainly did stationary, including wedding invitations and signage for special events. She expanded her skills into branding, marketing and graphic design. Sophia was busy creating special arrangements. She enjoyed personalizing them, and found that Keisha’s stationary helped to put an even more personal touch on her client’s gifts.

In February 2023, the pair were talking about life in a banter that was full of laughter. They were looking back on a journey that began with their personal companies and was naturally evolving into a joint venture. Before the pandemic, they began to collaborate. During special occasions, they were in the front room of Keisha’s parents, taking over the house with flowers, ribbons and other trinkets as they prepared their special orders. But on that day a year ago, their laughter turned to a serious conversation - one that would shape their future success. They decided to form a joint company.

This February, 2024, Sophia and Keisha are proud to publicly announce the opening of their company - The Gift Box.

“The Gift Box is all about reintroducing the art of gifting,” Sophia told me.


Keisha Bastian prepares a floral arrangement at the brand new store, The Gift Box.

“Gifting is truly an art. When you give someone a gift that is specifically for them - with their favourite colours and the things they really love, they know how much thought and effort you put into it, and it makes it so much more special than just purchasing something out of the store. It literally takes their breath away.”

Sophia says the joy is also for the gifter: “It makes you feel good when you make others happy.”

Gifts are not only for special occasions, the ladies say. A gift to a spouse or a child for achieving something, or just to see how much they are loved,is life changing, she says. Expect The Gift Box to actually come out of the box with special promotions for times like Siblings Day, Friendship Day, birth presents to give your mom on your own birthday, and other new, memorable occasions to take note of.

As two entrepreneurs, having an actual building for the first time is a true leap of faith. They are combining their exquisite design skills and business acumen to create a space where visitors can have unforgettable experiences.

For them, it’s more than the art of gift-giving. They say that through this art, anyone can put a smile on someone’s face, change someone’s outlook on life, or simply motivate them to be their best. In this way, gift-giving is important to good mental health and well-being.

The Gift Box recently opened its doors at #6 Dunmore Lane off East Bay Street, just in time for one of the biggest occasions for their company - Valentine’s. Walk in the doors of The Gift Box and find beautiful items ready for purchase, add a personal element to it so it’s exactly what your Valentine would want, or start an entire gift from scratch. Lovely fragrances of wood and flowers mix to make a visitor feel like they actually stepped into a gift box themselves.

The shelving and other decor items, as well as the specialized gift boxes customers receive are made by a master carpenter, whose business is also resident at the Dunmore Lane property. Ken Gibson, owner of Top Tier Installers, is now expanding his business from flooring, furniture and finish carpentry into gift boxes - something he may have never seen on the horizon.

But with two bubbly ladies pushing him along, he is now enjoying being a part of the gift-giving experience. These three entrepreneurs are proving the value of collaboration and commitment. The one thing all three business owners have in common: “making dreams become reality”.

With that, they are not only making others’ dreams come true, but their own.

“We went from my mother’s couch to her front porch once we got a table,” Keisha, whose mother is a florist, reminisces.

“From there we got our car - a Toyota Passo, and that became the office!”

Sophia added: “Kendrick bought me a bag from Haus of Assembly because he loved the design and wanted to support a local Bahamian business - and that was our travelling office! Every pen, paper clip, ribbon, glue sticks - everything was in that bag!”


Sophia Hall prepares a freshly cut box that will house a one-of-a-kind item from The Gift Box.

The ladies loved their new branding designed by Keisha, and they got their shirts to create their uniform. They now open their doors with high hopes that the love they have inside could be adequately expressed in every aspect of their new business.

“I want The Gift Box to be a ministry,” Sophia said.

“I want to fix some marriages! I want to make friendships stronger. I want to encourage children. It’s the changing of lives for me. It’s the smallest things. We are turning gifts into something that can be memorialised. We are thinking out of the box and making it personal for everyone - and no two gifts of ours are the same!”

“The reason why we have been blessed is because nothing we do is cookie cutter,” Keisha said. “Everything we do is especially for the person who received it.”

Find The Gift Box on your favourite social media page: Instagram @thegiftbox_242 or Facebook - The Gift Box or call 676-3322 or Whatsapp 824-8080. Sophia and Keisha can also be reached by email at thegiftbox.bs@gmail.com or their website: www.thegiftbox242.company.site.


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