Flying in a helicopter over the Romanian seaside, or in a hot air balloon, test a race car or scuba dive, go on an 8-day yachting trip, have dinner with or even play against professional tennis player Victor Hanescu, create your own perfume or learn how to be a barista for a day at a Café in Bucharest… these are just a few of the dozens of creative, original, extraordinary experiences you can gift people in your life through experiementeaza.ro 

The online platform, created by entrepreneur Florin Genet, offers many gifts/experiences which fall under these categories: adrenaline, sports & hobby, personal development, food & drink, travel, romance, relaxation. Both the people who purchase these experiences for their partner or friends, and the receivers, are not your average shopping mall gift-giver. They want to live original experiences, bring variety in their life, escape daily routine. Most of the people who receive the gift of an experience end up using it. Less than 5% of the receivers have ever asked to exchange their gift for something else that the platform offers. 

Florin Genet, the founder of Experimenteaza.ro, talked to OZB about shaping the market of experiential gifts in Romania. 

How did you come up with the idea for Experimenteaza.ro? What was the mission you took on?

The idea of gifting your family and friends experiences, rather than things or cash, came to me a while ago, when my work colleagues gifted me an envelope with cash as a birthday gift. I thought it was an uninspired gift and felt, in a way, offended. I thought about the gesture from the perspective of a team’s or community’s cohesiveness. In the corporate environment I was working in, as is the situation in many companies, people change jobs pretty often. Strong bonds don’t have the time and context to form, people don’t get to know each other, so they don’t even try to find out more about what is important to each of them. For a colleague’s birthday, the easiest “way out” is a store gift card, or just cash, which basically clears the giver of a bigger effort. 

Florin Genet, Founder of Experimenteaza.ro

In Romania, as opposed to the UK or the US, the experience-gifting market is just emerging. In the UK, this market was estimated at over 8 billion pounds in 2015. France, Germany, Italy have pretty big markets too. 

The mission we took on was to educate the market and the Romanian consumer, and show them why choosing experience-gifts is much better, show the bigger impact on the receiver’s life, creating a long-term memory and producing more satisfaction on both sides. 

I flew a plane about 10 years ago and I remember the sensations I had in pretty much detail, even today. But if you ask me what things my friends and family gifted me last year, I have to try hard to remember. 

What was your experience before starting this project? What is your background? How does your past skills and expertise tie into what you do now?

My work experience began in 2002, with various jobs I had before actually discovering my vocation. This vocation became clear in 2009, when I worked for Procter & Gamble. My career as a supply chain/logistics/planning professional started there. I’ve always been a very organized person and I realized that working in supply chain fit me like a glove. I ended up holding positions on the boards of the companies I worked for as Supply Chain Director. 

Aside from these skills, I also experienced working in sales and learned how to manage client relationships. 

Who shops on Experimenteaza.ro and how is your clients’ mindset about giving gifts different than others’?

Most of our clients are women, about 65%, 25-44 year old. They work in companies and buy experiences for their spouses, friends and colleagues. We have an advisory role for our clients, too. Some of them see the experiences we offer on the website and choose what they think will fit the receiver, but we have clients who call us and ask our advice as to what type of gift would fit a certain type of person.  We come up with different proposals, within the client’s budget. 

How do you want to continue growing the platform?

Our development strategy includes events creation and management for companies. We started to have our own events themes, like a Party by the Pool, for example. The next step will be to organize large themed parties for the general public, who would register online. This Christmas we are launching a gift basket line, where our gift baskets will help promote local business, and include experiences.  We have clients who ask us for concierge services, such as planning a trip to a certain location where they want to have a certain type of experience. Even if we don’t have established partnerships in that location, we make sure they get the experience they want.

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