The FACC (French American Chamber of Commerce) recently interviewed our Co Founder Charlotte Torris. Read her interview about her background and starting PlumTree below.
"We are pleased to welcome Charlotte to the FACC network.
After 15 years in the corporate world as a CPG Brand Strategy and Product Development expert, Charlotte decided to jump into the world of entrepreneurship. She co-founded Noobie Box in 2016, a parent-to-be essential box; shipped 200K gift boxes across the US and built a community of 450K new parents. In 2021, Charlotte sold Noobie Box (today Hey Milestone) and focused her energy into building a new business: PlumTree.
PlumTree is a corporate gifting program designed to help companies engage with their employees and promote connectedness. Each gift box of the program is curated to communicate with employees, embrace their whole-selves and celebrate milestones in their personal and professional lives."
Hi Charlotte! Where are you from? How long have you been in the US?
I grew up near Lille in France and after graduating from Audencia (Nantes), I worked in Paris for 8 years before moving to NYC for Arc International, the company I was working for at the time. I had planned to stay in the US for 2 to 5 years but it has now been 17 years and I still like it very much!
You are the co-founder of PlumTree, could you tell us more about your activity? When have you founded PlumTree? What led you to launch PlumTree?
With our previous company, Noobie Box, we had started to develop gift boxes for companies wanting to show their support to their employees having babies. Becoming a parent is only one of multiple personal events that has a direct impact on people's professional life.
When we sold Noobie Box (now Hey Milestone) last Summer, we decided to develop a corporate gifting program that would help companies promote a tight-knit work environment acknowledging their employees’ professional and personal realities. We launched PlumTree in June of this year.
In your opinion, what has changed the relationship between employers and employees in recent years? How have these relationships changed?
Many companies understood a few years ago already that happy employees were more loyal and productive employees; some companies had started working on programs to ease their employees’ everyday life. In 2020, the Covid pandemic forced a remote/hybrid work model on both employers and employees, completely shaking up the traditional vision of work organization.
Employees are questioning their work life balance and revisiting their life priorities.
Companies are challenged to stay connected to their workforce, face an increasing number of resignations and struggle to retain their talents.
What are Employees new expectations in the workplace? How can employers adapt to these new expectations?
Today, employees are not exclusively expecting an attractive compensation package anymore. They are looking for companies promoting values they personally believe in; seeking for more flexibility in their work organization and being able to better manage their personal life along with their professional life.
In this new environment, employers need to find ways to communicate to their employees that they understand their new expectations and not only accept them but welcome them.
How do you help them with PlumTree?
With PlumTree, we offer companies a corporate gifting program to engage with their employees; communicate with them, nurture them, celebrate with them, inspire them.
Looking at companies values and their business priorities, we build with them an annual gifting program combining professional milestones (new hire, work anniversary), calendar events (corporate events, end of the year celebration) with more personal milestones (wedding, pregnancy).
Each gift box is curated and customized to convey the company’s brand identity, its core values and celebrate a specific milestone. More than just products, PlumTree gift boxes are the physical expression of the companies’ connection to their employees.
What are the main challenges you face with PlumTree? What are the next steps for PlumTree?
Corporate gifting can be very promotional and meaningless. Some companies choose to send gift-cards to make it easier.
With PlumTree we want to make corporate gifting thoughtful and impactful again. A carefully chosen gift, delivered at the right time and the right way is a physical evidence of care from the giver.
PlumTree can make a difference in companies’ employees engagement strategy: our challenge and goal for the next few months will be to show how different we are from all the corporate gifting companies that are out there.
PlumTree is the second company you launched, after Noobie Box. What do you like the most about the entrepreneurial journey?
Entrepreneurship is my way of taking a matter that is really important to me and deciding that I can make a difference. Both companies are obviously very related to my personal life. Having a first kid made me aware of how unprepared I was and how little support (personal and/or professional) some new parents were getting. Noobie Box was my way of building a community of individuals to support them and show them they were not alone.
PlumTree has the same purpose in the corporate world: promoting a tight-knit work environment so each employee can bring his/her whole self to work and give the best of his/her ability.
What are the key elements for success in entrepreneurship according to you?
A vision and true drive to make a difference. The ability to listen (to advice & feedback) and ask for help (network). Probably lots of courage and perseverance and…. a little bit of luck as well to meet the right people at the right time :-)
What led you to join the FACC-NY community?
I went to the FACC event called The New World of Work organized by the Human Resources and Women in Business committees back in June and was really impressed by the panel of speakers and the dynamism and open mindedness of the community. I decided to join right after :-)
Do you have anything else to share?
I am really looking forward to meeting and exchanging with all FACC members. The world of work is definitely changing, opening brand new opportunities in work organizations.
Thank you, Charlotte!