New Ottawa company suggests you give the gift of an experience

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A new Ottawa company wants you to return the tie and give them a try this Father’s Day.

New website encourages gift-givers to buy experiences instead of more stuff.

by Tom Pechloff

Breakawayexperiences.com was launched at the beginning of May, giving gift-givers the opportunity to buy an experience instead of, as company president Dan Brennan calls it, “stuff.”

“What we do,” Mr. Brennan explains, “is we work with some really cool companies across Canada and across Ottawa and we sell experiences ranging from walking food tours to bungee jumping to spa packages to stunt car driving.”

Mr. Brennan, who previously worked as marketing director for Go Travel Direct, says the idea came to him at a bachelor party a few years ago. He mentioned to some of the partygoers his idea of buying a gift certificate for a holiday and within minutes he had $1,200 to go towards his friend’s honeymoon.

“Jump ahead a few years – I saw a company in Australia that was doing a very similar concept and I thought this is so perfect because people have houses full of stuff and I just knew that there’s an opportunity to introduce people to giving away really cool activities and experiences,” he says.

Still in its infancy, the company is small. It’s just Mr. Brennan and his business partner Michael Lifshitz, but they also have web, graphic design and public relations companies helping as they grow. Growth is something Mr. Brennan expects.

“At the moment we have some experiences in Quebec and Ontario, but very soon, as we grow, we’ll be national within a few months.”

The timing is right, too, Mr. Brennan says. There are a few companies offering similar services in Quebec, he says, but not many across Canada, and the ones that do exist do not have a large presence.

He says the business is walking before it runs, but is targeting the summer wedding season and also looking at exploring corporate gifting and team-building opportunities.

“We’re getting some people signing up for our registries,” he says. “We’ve started having sales coming in, but being new, it takes time to build your brand, but it’s been good so far.”

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada, Quebec Australia Ontario

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