After graduating from college, Half Moon Bay native Jenni Olivero found herself socially adrift. Like many recent graduates, with friends scattered across the country, Olivero struggled to maintain relationships that had once seemed effortless.
“It was such a strange time to not be around all your people every day and bump into them,” she said. “You really have to put more energy into your friendships as an adult. I was just dealing with that transition.”
When a friend was struck with pneumonia, Olivero fought to find time to visit her during work hours. But when that proved fruitless, Olivero — alongside close friends and future company co-founders Chelsea Moore and Sabena Suri — decided to send her friend a care package bursting with her favorite items.
“Just like my mom had done for us,” she said. “Not just a gesture, but things that you would really, really want.”
That seed of an idea blossomed into the trio’s Los Angeles-based company, BoxFox, which crafts and delivers personalized gift boxes. Since launching in 2014, the startup has shipped over 75,000 boxes. Last year alone, said Olivero, they generated $2.2 million in sales.
And just last week, the founders garnered some additional recognition — BoxFox was named to Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30,” an annual list of trailblazing entrepreneurs across 20 industries.
“That validation felt really good, because now we will be surrounded by these people who understand how hard we’ve worked,” said Olivero. “And, also, to combat the idea that this is (just) our little gift box company.
“We have big plans for the future of BoxFox,” she added.
BoxFox didn’t earn that recognition overnight. Back in the company’s early days, Olivero and her co-founders would meet weekly around the kitchen table. Their apartments became makeshift warehouses.
“We really had no idea what it was going to turn into, at this point,” she added. “We were all just really, really motivated because we believed in it so much.”
Today, BoxFox has grown to match its founders’ ambitions. The team of three has expanded to include 25 employees. The company’s impressive list of corporate clients includes heavy-hitters like Southwest Airlines, Airbnb, Visa, Nike and more.
And for Olivero, her upbringing on the Coastside helped mold many of the values and priorities that have fueled her startup success.
“I have a lot of compassion for other people, which I got from everyone around town,” said Olivero. “That family-style atmosphere has made me into the small-town girl that I am. It’s really translated (well) into wanting to be there for other people and foster those relationships.”
“Because of growing up in Half Moon Bay, by the ocean, I try to be very environmentally friendly,” she added. “I’m on a crusade around our warehouse to educate everyone about recycling.”