Shelley’s Gift Shop offers a curated and personal gift-giving experience, fully stocked with amazing products from over 40 small businesses.
Shelley and Ben met a bar (Three Monkeys Bar & Grill) in Richmond, VA in 2014. The two quickly hit it off and have been together ever since. Early on during their relationship, Shelley shared her dreams of owning her own business and wanting to pursue a career of entrepreneurship. Ben was supportive of her dreams and wanted to help however he could. The two married in 2016 and continued building their life together.
In 2018, Shelley suffered a traumatic brain injury that would leave her hospitalized for two weeks. During her stint at two different hospitals, Ben and Shelley both noticed the hospital gift shops were lacking product variety. As Shelley was released home for her recovery, friends and family sent gifts from big-box online retailers. The trend in lacking variety continued, as Shelley received three of the exact same greeting card, still in the packaging with no personalized message. It wasn’t the fault of the givers, as there were no options available to them on their site of purchase. As Shelley recovered, she started forming the idea of an online gift shop with customizable and personalization options.
Fast forward to 2020, where the COVID pandemic left people isolated and small businesses in need of support. Shelley’s revelation to stock the online store with products from small businesses was the catalyst the couple needed to start the business. SGS was opened in August 2020 with two metal shelving units of products in their dining room, stocked from about 12 vendors, and a website built with the help of old college friends.
The business continued to grow, thanks largely to Instagram engagement with the small business vendors, and the help of friends and family spreading the word of Shelley’s Gift Shop. Shelley left her Corporate job as an insurance underwriter in January 2021, working full-time on her own small business. The shop continued to grow to the point it was too big to operate out of their home, and the SGS brick-and-mortar location opened in November 2021. The brick-and-mortar location was closed a year later, but online shopping remains open for business!
Shelley Evans, President and CEO
Raised outside the state capital in nearby Goochland, VA, Shelley’s entrepreneur dreams started at a young age. She watched both sides of her family build their own successful small businesses. Her father started a home security firm, operating in the Goochland area and eventually sold for a profit. Her grandfather was a waterman on the Potomac river, selling crabs, oysters and fish on the Northern Neck peninsula. Her uncle and cousin continue to run a soy, wheat and cattle farm in Montross, VA to this day.
Shelley graduated from the University of Richmond in 2014 with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. Before starting SGS, she worked as an insurance underwriter in commercial lines for several different carriers, and earned her Associates in Underwriting.
Her primary responsibilities for SGS include marketing, inventory, and building and maintaining relationships with our vendors and customers. In her free time, Shelley enjoys meditating, practicing yoga, and spending time with her family (Ben, their dog Zelda, and three cats Eevee, Lillian, and Dora).
Ben Evans, COO and CFO
Ben grew up in Williamsburg, VA, with similar exposure to small businesses in his family. Ben’s father left his career at a major accounting firm in Washington D.C. to pursue his passion in building custom homes. His uncle and cousins continue to own and operate a funeral home in Middletown, DE that has been in business for 95 years, spanning four generations.
Ben graduated from the University of Virginia in 2011 with a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering, and Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015 with a Masters in Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering. He continues to enjoy his career in the nuclear power industry (with a brief stint in chemical manufacturing), with Operations experience that helps him keep things running smoothly at SGS.
His primary responsibilities include website maintenance, logistics, and managing the business finances. In his free time, Ben enjoys golfing, drumming, and spending time with his family.
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