Mail order shopping these days is a completely new story. A few decades back, before Google and Amazon, Facebook and Instagram, there was the Avon catalogue and Lucky Book Club. As a child I would read through every page circling all the things I wanted, desperate to fill the form out and complete all the payment details (I only did that once, and dear God, she was so mad at me!).
Somehow it seemed like the things in the catalogues came from a magical place where only the most special things existed. I loved it when Mum's Avon order turned up - the lady would drop them off and they would chat so excitedly - it was as if these little boxes of powders and potions were going to make every worry in the world go away. When the books arrived at school, it was also super exciting. We had to wait all day knowing they were there and the smell of new books was intoxicating in their masse. It felt like the teacher was handing out presents - even though they'd been paid for. I guess it's that anticipation thing...there's something to be said for not having instant gratification.
Nowadays, it's the norm for shopping to arrive at your door. Convenience is key in a time-poor society and the access to choice is a big factor too. But a lot us are seeking a buzz when we go shopping - unless it's for petrol or school uniforms. With so much choice, it's as much about the find as well as the feel good factor. It's in the outcome from the decision to hand over your money and whether that results in something satisfying, or not. From having a great customer service experience to the approving glances you get as you swing a smartly branded carry bag down the street. Self-service and paying for plastic bags at K-mart is not nearly so rewarding. But that's what you expect with a cheap fix, and there's a place for that too.
When it comes to gifts, it's not about how much you spend. I cringed when I saw the Real Housewives of Auckland spending thousands on a gift for someone they'd known for virtually five minutes (and probably didn't like). They wanted to impress her, but they could have done that with something much less.
This week I celebrated another birthday and even though my days are filled with gifts and gorgeous products, my loved ones managed to spoil me in the most touching ways. A homemade cake arrived at breakfast time, complete with the friend who baked it and some cups she found in Wellington. A necklace, again made by a friend, in the image of my much loved Scotty dog. A book with some great business advice from my husband (the accountant in him never fails to make itself present). These sentimental aspects are subliminally incorporated when we put our gift boxes together. I thought this as I watched the orders go out this week with deep conviction.
At Gift Saint we intend that our gifts provide a profound buzz, for the sender as much as the receiver. We want the excited anticipation of choosing something that fulfils the brief, the arrival on the doorstep and the gleeful experience of opening a box and lifting the tissue to discover something special and thoughtfully considered. Yes you could give a bottle of wine that you got on special, but would it feel as good?
Tess & Alex