https://garrottdesigns.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/DSC04248-450x600-1.jpg 600 450 Garette https://garrottdesigns.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/GarrottDesigns-Space.png Garette2014-11-20 14:45:412017-02-07 20:05:48Gift Giving Like a Designer
Nothing erks me more than having to give a gift card! “Stick to the registry” everyone says. Gift giving like a designer means adding luxury, creativity and personal touches. It’s my business to find something original they never knew they wanted. To find that personal to you and the recipient, something, and wrap it up with a quirky touch! I’ll share with you my favorite places to find original oddities, some apps to keep your lists, and some wrapping ideas that are quirky, beautiful, or just plain hilarious.
I know right? Just in time for the holidays!
Be prepared and save your research! While you’re surfing the internet, out in stores or flipping through magazines, it’s a perfect time to “log” the things you find for later. I use Pinterest to save things I’d like to get and give. I save online boutiques in a “Shopping” favorites folder on my browser. When I’m in stores, I take a picture of the item and save it to my “Evernote” app on my phone. For magazine swipes I have a visual filing system (courtesy of “GTD“) with a folder for “Gift Ideas” filed under “G”. Yep, designers don’t fool around.
So where do you find the best online boutiques you ask? Well sure, Amazon does have everything, but they don’t have that one of a kind, brilliantly curated boutique. Since it’s my job to comb blogs and read magazines, I’ve built a library of addresses. Some of my favorites are listed at the end of this post. You can get a fine start just by going to Lucky Magazine’s website and going to their “Sites We Love” index. They also have “Shopping Guides” by city if you’ve got a brick and mortar itch for local retail.
Now that you know where to find some of the best places around, how do you know what to look for?! As I mentioned above, I like to find the quirky things in life. Something that reflects my relationship with the recipient. Generally, that means something with an arty twist. My catchall for items like that are on my “Ironic and Arty Home Goods” Pinterest board.
Pantone anything is always a winner. They even have Pantone socks.
My graphic designer friends got a set of tattoo desert plates and mugs for their wedding.
I’ve shipped multiple sets of these all over the country to friends and I own a set for myself. I love these Swivel Cognac glasses from YLiving, be sure to order the larger ones.
Insects make a beautiful embellishment to a home or office. I often give butterflies to friends as house warming gifts. This is the newest member to my wall of natural history from Wings of the Rain Forest.
Jewelry is very personal but when you get it right, you get it SO right. I love Uno De 50. Out of Spain, their most recent tribal inspired collection just rocks my world. Not just me though, it seems to be a uniform for the designers and creative directors in my life. They were recently picked up by Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdale’s but you can check them out here.
Speaking of personal, why not personalize? When my sister got engaged, I wanted to do something very special. We had both been through hard times and together, we have always gotten through it. I wanted to give her something special to honer her wedding and our sisterhood. So I had her pick out a bracelet from Things Remembered. I picked one out too. On the face of both bracelets I engraved the word “WAIT”. It was to remind both of us to love our loves and work with patience and understanding. She wore hers on her wedding day and I wore mine. I put mine on whenever I am anxious about my future and need to remember to “WAIT” for the answers.
Always in a mood for dark humor, I found this little gem of a jewelry line called “Cast of Vices“. An anti-depressant charm bracelet or necklace is sure to please a good friend for which you’ve shared more that a few occasions of tea and sympathy.
Speaking of old friends and tea… I often give the gift of tea to my good friend Slash! Ok, I wish. But yes, even Oprah loves tea, and Teavana is all good and stuff, but I prefer to order from a few very special places on this planet.
… The Savannah Tea Room, where, as an art student, I served tea to Peter O’toole and Sandra Bullok. The ladies who owned the place and Chef Andre, meant so much to me in those years, they even helped me get to New York for my first designer job with Kay Unger. Dragon Pearl Jasmin was, and is my favorite tea. I give it to those who require inspiration.
Madame butterfly is also quite wonderful.
Upton Tea Imports is also a go-to for all things teaish. They often include personalized packaging, a newsletter and a free sample with your order.
Gift giving for children can be difficult too. Yeah, you could ask the parents for clothing sizes but if you remember being a kid, did you want clothing?! No. I try to find fun things that will spark the imagination, even from infancy. Just about every new born in my life has these “Spoka” rechargeable night lights from IKEA . My niece, years later still loves hers, she calls it “Ghostie”. I call mine the “Squishy Brothers”.
For older children I like to share the things that made my childhood full of day dreams and adventures. A collection of your favorite children’s books is a great idea. Some of my favorites are “Ramona Quimby” and “Mouse on a Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary.
For my teenaged nieces, how can I resist? They love Monster High so I get them Monster High Fashion Plates. Even my nephew insists on sharing with them.
Wrapping it up is as important as the gift, in my opinion. In cases like baby showers and bridal parities I like to wrap the item in fabric appropriate to the occasion. The idea is that this fabric can be used in a baby blanket or a keep sake to commemorate the occasion later on.
New York City Subway Maps are free and big enough to wrap just about anything. They are especially novel to a recipient who has never been to NYC.
When I travel I like to keep several maps of the places I’ve been and use them as wrapping paper for souvenirs or when the recipient and I share a love of the location.
Planned Parenthood pamphlets are also free and make a hilarious touch to a bachelor or bachelorette gift.
When I send surprises to friends and family, I like to include personalized doodles. Sometimes I even doodle right on the package. You can design your own wrapping paper at spoonflower.com or you can customize with photos at zazzle.com.
Now that you’re thinking more creatively about the gifts you give and the way you give them, here is a list of some of my favorite places to shop.
UncommonGoods cool stuff
A+R more cool stuff
Incredible Things random stuff, some of it’s cool
Twig Terrariums really great plant gifts
W Hotel Store chic home goods
Fat Brain Toys educational toys for kids
Laurence King Publishers Beautiful art books
Y Living Modern home goods
Ideel Flash sales on designer clothing and home goods
Shop Bazaar If you’ve seen it in the magazine, you can buy it here
There are also plenty of great gift giving lists at dodoburd.com.
The best part of gift giving is sharing! Comment below with some of your favorite e-tailers, and gift giving ideas. Tell your story if you’ve tried one of these ideas or have a great one of your own. I’d love to hear from you!