The Birth of a Perfect Gift Basket

Looking for a great hostess or holiday gift? How about a gift basket…the sort filled with gourmet goodies you’ve no doubt seen in big box stores like Target and Costco. But wait, you don’t have to run out to the store to buy one of these bounteous baskets. Design Pac in west suburban Melrose Park has been creating baskets for the wholesale market for over 20 years and was recent acquired by That means in addition to buying a Design Pac basket through one of their wholesale customers, YOU can now order directly through!

So, what goes into creating these gorgeous gifts? As a group of bloggers learned during a behind-the-scenes facility tour, it’s much more than gathering raw materials from manufacturers and topping it with a bow.


1-800-BASKETS’ products are visually driven, so it’s fitting that the process starts in their vast design center.


On the perimeter of the tables are inspiration boards. Their graphic designers base these on trend research and use art to make a merchandise statement. Different customers want different looks, so they create a wide range of styles.


With a wide variety of materials on hand, inspiration is just a shelf away. This is only part of their ribbon collection….

just one aisle of product boxes (all of which are designed in-house to be the ideal fit for the final basket)…

…all of which are carefully organized.

Let’s talk about the products. The staff – including CEO Jeffrey Burkard – are very picky taste testers, so you won’t encounter any waxy chocolate coins or plastic cheese.  1-800-BASKETS chooses brands with a strong customer following (Starbucks, Martha Stewart, Godiva) and with the exception of the offerings included in the French and Italian baskets, all food products are made in the USA.

Speaking of cheese, this cheese snob was thrilled to see they carry selections from one of my favorite dairies, Cypress Grove, along with selections from several other small, family-owned dairies.


Although most of their sales come during Christmas, 1-800-BASKETS does brisk business year-round.  Take a look at their beautiful Valentine’s Day baskets:


Want a 1-800-BASKETS gift for your sweetheart (or yourself)?  Chicagonista readers can take advantage of $10 off any order of $50 or more with the code CHICAGONISTA10.  Follow 1-800-BASKETS on Facebook for even more deals!

Jennifer Dunham Luby

Jennifer Dunham Luby is a Chicago area native and hostess extraordinaire. When she's not out exploring the social scene, Jen and her husband love to entertain in their Wicker Park home. She writes, a blog featuring advice, ideas, and inspiration for home entertaining. Follow her on Twitter @SecndCitySoiree

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