Kirsten Fox, headmistress of the Fox School of Wine and CEO of the Culinary Wine Institute, has come up with a solution for people who have a hard time expressing their condolences to friends in the throws of life’s biggest challenges.
Her new endeavor, Uplift Gift, sells boxes containing items of comfort similar to what her friends brought to her while she was dealing with the trauma of being diagnosed with stage-two breast cancer in 2014.
“Before I got sick, I had always struggled with what to say to people who were going through bad times, but when I was diagnosed, my friends circled around me,” Fox said during an interview with The Park Record. “They prepared food, sent cards and came over and just sat with me.”
The experience opened her eyes.
“That’s when I realized the error of my thinking,” Fox said. “It wasn’t that my friends were trying to make my pain go away. They didn’t try to tell me it was going to be OK, because we didn’t know it was. They were just showing their love and friendship.”
After Fox emerged from the her experience as a breast cancer survivor, people started to asking her for guidance about what to do for their friends.
“They didn’t want to offend them or cause more pain,” she said. “So, I thought I could create a company to help people find things to uplift their friends and show them love and support.”
Fox then created what she calls a Signature Gift Box.
“These are items that my friends brought to me when I was dealing with the trauma of being diagnosed with cancer,” she said.
Every box comes with the following:
- One ivory-colored pashmina that your friend can wrap around herself
- Handcrafted chocolates from Park City’s Tandem Chocolates, owned by Phyllis Robinson
- Gourmet teas designed to uplift the spirit from Tea Forte’s Lotus Collection, which is designed to uplift the spirit
- Millcreek Cacao Rosters’ brand new organic sipping cocoa
- A sampler kit of DoTerra Aroma Essential Oils
- A handcrafted card from Amy Chin’s Sassypants Design with content written by Stacy DymalskiSome of the boxes will feature wine from Old Town Cellars.“If it is legal to ship wine to the state your friend lives in, you can add a bottle of white or red wine,” Fox said.There are six states where it is illegal to ship wine direct to the consumer. Utah is one of those states.
“If locals have a friend that needs comfort in Utah, they can pick up gift boxes with wine at Old Town Cellars,” Fox said. “All other boxes are shipped directly to your friends from the Uplift Gift headquarters here in Park City.
“Right now, these boxes are more designed for women, because that’s what I know,” Fox said. “We will design boxes for men later.”
Fox’s plan is to eventually offer custom-made gift boxes and to create boxes for men.
The cost for a box is $167.99 plus wine and sales tax.
Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Uplift Gift will donate 5 percent of the earnings to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer. It is the highest rated breast cancer organization in the U.S. with an A-plus rating from Charity Watch. It also was ranked four out of four stars from Charity Navigator.
“This organization provides critical funding for cancer research worldwide to fuel advances in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis and survivorship,” Fox said.
The Uplift Gift boxes also can be sent for people who are experiencing tribulations other than cancer.
“The world’s challenges can be anything — someone diagnosed with cancer, someone dying, a pet dying, a divorce,” Fox said. “These are the big things that we all struggle with and that can rock our world. So, to show your friend that you are thinking about them gives them energy to carry on in one way or another.”
Fox said everyone knows what to do when someone gets married or when a baby is born or when someone graduates.
“It’s when we know people going through challenges, the unknown, worry and insecurity is where we have troubles knowing what to do,” she said. “The root of all of this is that it doesn’t matter if you buy a gift from Uplift Gift. It only matters that you let your friends who are going through life’s big challenges that you are thinking about them.”
By Scott Iwasaki