Updated: Feb 17
Allison Craig builds strong community partnerships and shares local products with customers worldwide through San Antonio in a Box.
Despite all the changes happening around us, one of life's universal truths is the idea that home is where most of us want to be. As writer Ernest Hemingway said, "I regarded home as a place I left behind in order to come back to it afterward." In short, we reflect on 'home' with feelings of nostalgia, pride, and gratitude.
For small business owner Allison Craig, the idea to capture the spirit of her hometown of San Antonio came in the form of launching San Antonio in a Box. This locally-owned business sources its products from other small businesses in San Antonio and provides its customers with curated gift boxes of those products.
"The thought of San Antonio in a Box began in the fall of 2014 when we were pulling our wedding gift boxes together for our out-of-town guests," Craig said. "With patience and a lot of thought put into our business, we launched December 2019, excited to share San Antonio with the world."
Challenges Often Present Opportunities
Craig and her husband realized early on that they were on to something special when their first corporate order exceeded expectations. When the first wave of the pandemic hit, Visit San Antonio reached out to request the help of SA in a Box to connect with their partners across the US as the country headed toward lockdown.
"This was such a unique and incredible experience to be able to share our locally made products to help another company promote San Antonio to those from afar," Craig said. "From here, we saw orders pour into San Antonio businesses that we support and felt so much warmth in our hearts to see that our business plan was working."
But like any other business, Craig's pursuits didn't come without challenges. While the pandemic created setbacks for everyone, the opportunity to unite the community and connect local artisans with others across the world proved crucial. SA in a Box sources its products through referrals or those who apply to become a vendor, thus creating strong community partnerships. Through collaboration, the businesses create a unique ecosystem where small businesses can gain broader reach.
Community Is a Bridge to Success
Craig offers sage advice for any San Antonio entrepreneurs looking to launch their own great idea and innovation — look to your community for the resources to get your business off the ground.
"The 80/20 Foundation has been such an incredible resource to reach out to; they also provided us with a Summer Intern through Students + Startups," Craig said. "UTSA Small Business Office has been a huge relief of help. Notley Fellows has been a wonderful organization that really plugs you into your growth and also your community."
"Trust your gut. Talk to the UTSA Small Business office; they have the resources to make sure that your finances, business plan, and everything is in place." Craig said. "Most importantly, surround yourself around a solid support system and a mentor. These are the people that will help you keep going when it gets tough, and trust me, you'll need them."
For 2022, Craig is just as enthusiastic and laser-focused.
"We are excited for larger goals, a new space, new vendors, a new hire, and new partnerships across the City of San Antonio as we continue to grow. It truly brings us so much joy to know that as we grow, our partners are growing, too."
Looking for more information?
Check out sanantonioinabox.com or @sanantonioinabox on Instagram.