needi is the world’s most feel-good marketplace, positively impacting people and the planet founded by myself, Louise Doyle and my Co-Founder, Steph Scholes. We wanted to create an environment where people felt inspired, like they were getting a huge warm hug and that they knew they were getting something really special, from someone who has created that gift with a real passion for what they do.
We’re lucky enough to be able to couple this passion with psychology-inspired technology which expertly matches ingeniously thoughtful gifts, with the perfect reciprocate. needi works with a growing community of more than 400 inspiring independent UK businesses to offer a variety of unique and wonderful ideas.
All our needi gifts range from £9 to £900+ and are tailored to the person receiving the gift, from pampering handcrafted bath sets through to amazing experience days like being James Bond for the day.
We only partner with local independents which means we can support small businesses across the country and only have one amazing retailer in each section meaning they truly are the crème de la crème of that experience or item.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
When we found out that 1 in 5 gifts go straight to landfill and 80% of people find gift shopping stressful, that was really when we had that lightbulb moment. How can a gift end up in a landfill? It just defeats the entire point of gifting and it’s seriously damaging our planet. That, coupled with that huge amount of stress just called out to us. We needed to change the way people shopped for gifts.
Our gift-giving experience was similar to many others, we both used Amazon because it’s quick and easy, but then instantly felt bad about it as we saw these massive boxes coming through the post from this huge corporation. We want people to be able to find independent brands as easy as scrolling on Amazon and understand that shopping with needi actually looks after the environment, and makes you and the person receiving the gift feel good.
Small businesses can’t compete with the likes of massive brands and their marketing teams. That is where needi really comes to fruition, it supports local businesses, it isn’t time-consuming and the gift-giving options are inspired, loving and thoughtful – which really enhances a relationship and takes away the stress of finding a thoughtful gift.
Plus, we’ll do the hard work for you. Answer a few questions and we’ll show you a selection of gifts that are just perfect.
More from Interviews
- Unveiling Upscale: The Newest Brand In The Adaptavist Group!
- Meet Nigel Lombard, CEO And Founder Of Insuretech Platform: PeppercornAI
- Investor Insights: Everything You Need To Know About Forward Partners
- Meet Jamie Kyte, Founder at Kyte Financial Planning & The Retirement Guy
- Startup Profile: myPlane
- Meet Erik Wikander, CEO and Co-Founder At Content Marketing Platform: Zupyak
- Monica Eaton, Founder and CEO of Chargebacks911 and Women In Tech Judge, Explains What She’s Looking for From Entrants
- Meet Owen Thompson, CEO of Cambridge Future Tech
How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
We came up with the idea of needi.co.uk in August 2020, we quit our jobs in April 2021, and we launched the website in June 2021.
Back in the summer, the team were manually gift matching on a Square Space website. Now, we’re at Phase 1 of the website, which officially launched on shopify in November 2021 and we have psychology-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) questions in place to aid with finding the perfect gift every time.
If anything, the pandemic gave us the push we needed to get out there and get it done.
What can we hope to see from needi in the future?
In the short term, we want to see our gift matching technology to be as accurate as possible. We’ll be working with top data scientists and tech teams to create a 100% accurate gift recommendation. The AI used will mean it will offer a level of accuracy unseen, and that is exciting!
In the next five years, we would hope that needi is the first choice and most successful profitable gifting website. When someone thinks gifts – they will think needi.co.uk.
We would also want to offer people the opportunity to donate gifts straight to a charity and make people who need it most, smile. We would love to work with homeless charities such as Dress for Success, Wood Street Mission and FareShare.
We’re also delighted to be working with Make A Wish which has been on our mission board since the idea even popped into our heads. We’re going to be donating £1 for each sale of selected items on the needi site and are hoping to also set up a gift at checkout initiative which means hundreds of children will continue to benefit from the amazing work they do.