For Jason Wolfe, it’s all about gifting. He recalls a Christmas in 1977 when his family, on welfare and with no heat, heard a knock at the door and found a box of gifts left by strangers. Soon after, Wolfe starting attending the Milton Hershey School, founded in 1909 for orphaned boys. “As I’ve been given gifts, I want to gift back,” he says.
Today, as CEO and founder of Pittsburgh’s GiftCards.com,
Wolfe has sold 5.5 million gift cards. This is the busiest time of year, and Wolfe reckons GiftCards.com will finish 2013 with 1.5 million in sales; 2012 closed with one million cards sold.
Wolfe founded his company in 1999 and through a circuitous route, launched GiftCards.com in its present form in 2008. “An online rack for gift cards,” GiftCards.com offers Visa, MasterCard and Discover gift cards, national and local brands. Buyers can upload photos, add personalized messages and choose from thousands of designs to craft unique gift cards. The consumer pays $3.95 for the gift card and a greeting card; the merchants pay a back end percentage.
GiftCards.com does it own printing and manufacturing, operates offices and a fulfillment center and employs about 100 in Pittsburgh.
Looking to 2014, the company is in the final stages of an acquisition that will likely add up to 20 more employees, in Pittsburgh and out-of-state. (Earlier this year, GiftCards.com acquired San Francisco-based mobile gift app, Giftly.)
Through GiftYa, a spinoff company, Wolfe is developing a digital, mobile gift card app. And GiftCards.com is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University on fraud prevention and on developing online bidding auctions for unwanted gift cards.
But Wolfe’s primary New Year’s resolution is to continue to build gift card offerings. “We want to be to gift cards what hotels.com is to hotels or cars.com to cars,” he says. “We want [our customers] to find gift cards for any merchant, anywhere.”
Source: Jason Wolfe, GiftCards.com
Writer: Elise Vider