Homegrown Business: Scarlett Li-Goshawk of Giftstart

In a fragmented landscape of limited options, Giftstart is revolutionizing the baby registry industry in Canada. With a focus on meeting the evolving needs of today’s parents, Giftstart’s CEO and founder, Scarlett Li-Goshawk, aims to provide a comprehensive and personalized platform that goes beyond the traditional registry experience.


What is your business called and what does it do?

Unlike traditional registries, Giftstart’s combined baby registry and marketplace platform adapts to the evolving needs of today’s parents. Our focus goes beyond physical products, encompassing support services, subscriptions, and cash funds. This flexibility and customization enable the platform to provide an experience that grows with the family beyond just the prenatal and childbirth stages.

What made you want to do this work?

The inspiration behind GiftStart originates from my own frustrating experience with the baby registry industry in Canada.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I couldn’t find a single registry platform that satisfied all my needs. Consequently, I had to create multiple registries – one for large baby gear, another for smaller personal items, and yet another for subscriptions. Additionally, not all registries deliver to Canada. Upon my daughter’s arrival, I realized that what I needed most was comprehensive support, rather than just additional swaddle blankets, onesies, or other baby items.

As a working mother, I continue to require support from babysitters, night nannies, pelvic floor assistance, as well as various postpartum support services for my recovery and to be the best version of myself. This realization led me to understand the significance of creating a platform that addresses the evolving needs of today’s parents.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

Stepping into parenthood can be an overwhelming journey in today's fragmented landscape, further complicated by the limited options available to Canadian families. The key pain points are:

1. Limited availability of baby registries in Canada

2. Fragmentation within the industry

3. Limited offerings focused solely on products

4. Lack of support services for parents and newborns

5. Restricted accessibility

6. Challenges in coordinating with friends and family

Today’s parents continue to face the impacts of inflation and the constant rise in child-rearing expenses.

This is why GiftStart was intentionally designed to go beyond tangible goods and include essential support services, along with a cash fund option, to help alleviate the financial stress for today’s parents and provide comprehensive support.

We aim to increase accessibility for support services that contribute to stress alleviation during postpartum recovery and beyond. This includes services such as night nanny support, lactation consultation, sleep training specialists, meal delivery, and household cleaning, recognizing the integral connection between mental and physical health recovery.

By introducing these support services and incorporating a cash fund option, we strive to provide holistic assistance that not only eases the rising costs of child-rearing but also fosters a supportive environment for families throughout their parenthood journey.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

While expecting parents is our main target, GiftStart’s highly customizable and personalized platform is designed to support Canadian families across all stages.

Whether you’re:

● a first-time parent in need of baby gear, support services, and savings for a nursery

● expanding your family and require financial assistance, night nannies, babysitters, and monetary support for activities like hockey lessons, dance classes,

● parents with existing children who need an extra set of helping hands for a few hours, whether it’s meal delivery, clean laundry, or saving for future college expenses,

Giftstart is here to support you.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

We take a commission for all goods and services sold through our platform.

Where in the city can we find your profession?

Giftstart’s online platform can be accessed and used by Canadian parents all throughout the country.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

Why choose Giftstart over other baby registries? The answer lies in our commitment to offering more than just a registry platform. GiftStart goes beyond tangible items, providing comprehensive support services as well as a cash fund option to assist parents with their individual family needs.

Our highly customizable and personalized platform is designed to meet the evolving needs of Canadian families at every stage, ensuring a holistic and tailored experience that sets us apart from traditional baby registries.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

The most rewarding aspect of my role at Giftstart is the profound sense of contribution and positive impact on expecting parents, children, and families. Witnessing the support and assistance we provide during such a pivotal and intimate phase is genuinely fulfilling.

Conversely, the most challenging part comes in the form of fundraising for a startup. It involves navigating the complexities of securing funding in a competitive landscape, especially as a female founder in the tech space.

However, overcoming these challenges is a vital part of our commitment to delivering valuable services to the expecting parents and families we serve.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

What’s the secret to the Giftstart female founder’s success? Like parenthood, she understands that in the world of startups, a dash of humour and a sprinkle of creativity go a long way!

Where can we follow you?

Website | LinkedIn | Instagram

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

I hold HiveSitters—a company excelling in providing childcare services– in such high regard. In my opinion, nothing is more important than health and safety when it comes to childcare, and I’m in awe of HiveSitters’ high standards.

They offer a professional and reliable childcare solution that surpasses the traditional kid-next-door option, thanks to their thorough screening, certification, and experienced sitters. Their dedication to certification is evident, as their sitters must maintain an up-to-date CPR certificate and renew their training regularly, showcasing a commitment to safety and ongoing education in childcare.


About Joel Levy 2602 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography