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Meet Deb Kelly of Del Mar Gifts

Today we’d like to introduce you to Deb Kelly.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In 2012, I started working for a local gift shop as a part-time clerk. I found that I derived immense enjoyment from helping customers find exactly the gift they were looking for. I made it my goal that I would someday have my own shop. In 2014 my goal became a reality. I was given the opportunity to purchase a gift shop in Del Mar Village. I was newly divorced and needed a full-time job so I bought it. I brought in new products, gave it a much needed overhaul and made it my own.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There have been many struggles during the three years I have owned Del Mar Gifts. Most of them dealt with my lack of business knowledge. Working for a gift shop and running a business are two different jobs. I didn’t let that stop me though. I bought books, talked to other gift shop owners and learned everything I could. The most important lesson I have learned is that there are no rules in the retail industry. No two days are the same.

Please tell us about Del Mar Gifts.
Del Mar Gifts is located in the heart of Del Mar Village. As the owner, I am passionate about shopping local, sustainability, and supporting small businesses.

We specialize in providing unique gifts as well as a wide assortment of specialized, hand-crafted merchandise from local San Diego-based artisans at very affordable prices.

You can find everything from Pelican teapots, motorcycle wine caddies, original paintings, books by local authors, to jewelry and funny magnets.

For my tourists, I carry souvenir items such as Del Mar T-shirts and hoodies to bamboo surfboard cutting boards, one of my most popular items, to Breeder’s Cup coffee cups and the always sought after Mermaids.

My customers come back year after year and they always say the same thing…. they love my store, how it looks, how it feels. It provides them with a few minutes of relaxation in their busy day.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have taken some business classes and educated myself before diving in. I think that would have made life a bit easier for me.

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