It’s always nice to hear from our former Little Buddies about how life has turned out for them.
We recently spoke with Alex Howard who jointly founded Chuffed Gifts two years ago after being made redundant during Covid. He kindly helped us out with prizes for our first Big Buddy Online Quiz hosted by new ambassadors Roman Travers and Jason Gunn. Alex talks about his business and what being a Little Buddy has meant to him.
1. Can you tell me a little about your business?
We started working on Chuffed Gifts post-covid in May 2020, when myself and two other tourism workers found ourselves scratching our heads having been made redundant due to the closure of our international borders for the foreseeable future. The main idea behind Chuffed is to get people gifting more experiences & less ‘ stuff’, in turn supporting the struggling tourism industry, opening Kiwi eyes to the world-class tourism experiences on their doorstep, and reducing the amount of waste associated with gifting ‘stuff’. Rather than selling a voucher for an individual experience, we came up with a unique concept that allows the buyer to choose the package & price, and the recipient to then have their choice from hundreds of amazing experiences across NZ.
2. How did you get into it?
With almost ten years of experience in tourism, I was well connected with the operators of many tourism businesses around NZ, so when we were developing Chuffed Gifts, I jumped in a campervan and drove the North Island meeting with those businesses & convincing them to come on board as a partner. We started with around 30 North Island partner businesses when we launched our first website in 2020 and are now at nearly 200 partner businesses all over the country!
3. What memories do you have of being a Little Buddy and how did it benefit you?
I remember being very sceptical at first, being 13 & stubborn, I didn’t really understand why I needed a Big Buddy. Over the following years, my Big Buddy John & I played countless games of tennis & rounds of golf and would regularly go to sports matches together. The impact of having a positive role model through those teenage years is hard to quantify, but in hindsight, I struggle to picture myself being the man I am today without that influence. Over the years the tennis stopped (when I started winning I think), but we continued to catch up for coffee & rounds of golf regularly (they’ll stop soon when I start winning), and even now at 28, John & I are great mates & catch up regularly. Having someone to offer that advice through personal life, business/career decisions, buying a home etc. Again, this is something you don’t really consider the benefit of until you reflect & realise just how important it has been!
4. Would you recommend others to become Big Buddies if they were keen?
Absolutely, being a big buddy is an opportunity to change someone’s life, and I fully intend to become a big buddy once I am in a position to do so!
To check out the incredible experiences available from Chuffed Gifts click here.