Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Making Personalization... Personal

Getting Personal doesn’t have to be all “serious.” All of us have a friend or loved one that fits in one of these categories, and giving them a personal gift that relates to one of their personality traits is a great way to show how well you really do know them.

Person who burns water: Your single best friend is still single because she can’t cook – at all. She burns pop tarts, coffee and anything else that comes into contact with heat, and she probably knows more about how her microwave works than the manufacturer. Since you know that the smell of burnt food will scare away any potential romance, get her some of our Cucina Fragrant Kitchen Spray. She may scoff a little at first that you are making fun of her, but she’ll get over it.

Person with “stale” smelling house: If you have a friend or family member that is on the road a lot, then more than likely their house will get that stale smell that houses get when closed up on a regular basis. To battle the smell and make the traveler feel back at home in seconds flat, give them one of our Lollia Candles.

The metro girl: The best way to describe her is that she knows all the designers latest lines (and owns most of them), is always put together (even at 7 a.m.), has fun little get togethers with her girlfriends and always knows the best restaurants around. A monogrammed martini set would be the perfect gift for her.

The “craftonista” : She can make a handmade bow like Martha Stewart, can bedazzle anything set before her and can make a cute little notes with two pieces of duct tape and a magic marker (we know, don’t ask) one of our customized embossers is the weapon she needs to make her craft arsenal complete.

The bookworm: She can repeat the titles of all the Janet Evanovich novels in her sleep, can quote Shakespeare on a whim and can tell you at any given moment who is on the National Best Seller list (both fiction and non-fiction). A personalized tote will help her keep up with all of her library books and latest “must reads” so they’ll be on hand when she’s on the go.

Mr. Money Bags: So, the man (or men…) in your life seem to have a hard time holding on to their money. Every time they dig into the pocket to pull some out, you would think they were 10 years old with the amount of trash that is mixed in with the money. If you want to help him achieve a little more mature “look” get him one of our monogrammed money clips. When the money is all in one place, it will be easier for you to find.

Coffee talk: You may or may not remember the Saturday Night Live skits with the “Coffee Talk” (pronounced Cawfee Tawk). If you and your closest girlfriend like to chit-chat over a “cuppa” a one of our personalized travel mugs (for both of you!) is a great way to celebrate all the “cawfee tawks” of the past, present and future.

Water makes me melt!: This prim Dona can not stand to get wet in the rain. It would ruin her salon fresh highlights, put spots on her designer handbag and let’s not even discuss the Manolo’s she was crazy enough to wear on a rainy day in the first place. And though her outstanding fashion sense can be noted from miles away, nothing says “Water makes me melt” like on of our Personalized umbrella.

The Chef: The antithesis of “The Person Who Burns Water,” The Chef is literally “God’s Gift to the domestic Kitchen.” They know all the ingredient substitutions to get them through in a pinch and can literally throw a pinch of this and a tad of that together into a gourmet meal for 10 without breaking a sweat. One of our personalized cutting boards is a great way to let your culinary companion know how much you appreciate their continental cuisine!
1. Pay Cash: If you think that is old-fashioned, then you are sadly mistaken. Once you have made a budget for your gift giving, go to your bank and withdraw that amount in cash, in larger bills. Breaking a $100 bill instead of a $20 will probably make you think twice about the gift you are giving, and once you are out of money, you are done. If you plan on doing a lot of shopping online, try one of the prepaid debit cards that most banks offer and do the same.

2. Know your Interest Rates: If you know that you are going to have put Christmas purchases on your credit card, make sure you use the ones with the best terms and rates. If you can swing it, try to pay your balance in full each month to avoid service charges and accrued interest.

3. Keep it in Check: Make sure you keep a list of what you are spending. It is also important to break it down to what credit and debit cards you are putting the purchases on. This way when you start paying it off, you will know which cards have the highest rates and which ones you should start paying off first.

4. Have a Plan: Many people go way over budget when taking care of their holiday shopping. What’s worse is coming up with a target amount to spend, then going way past that. If you have a tendency to overspend, make a conscious effort to cut your spending by 20% and to pay off the majority of the balance by Valentine’s Day. By accomplishing this goal, you will feel better about yourself and will have an easier time cutting your budget by even more next year.

5. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Set aside money throughout the year for tipping – everything from the paperboy to the trash collectors and random nieces and nephews. By setting the money aside earlier in the year, these gift expenses won’t cut into your December gift-giving budget.

6. Focus: Make a list of the stores you are going to go to and the gifts you are going to buy. Take a moment to look for the gifts online before you make an excursion to the mall. You may find you get a better deal shopping online than in the store. Also, specialty shops like ours offer more unique and personal gifts.

7. Something for Everyone: Giving gifts to every niece, nephew, in-law, etc., can get really expensive, and it’s hard to find the right gift for each individual. This year, why not try getting the families together to draw names out of a hat and get one nice present for the person you pick.

8. Get Creative: You could spend a million dollars on a gift that will mean nothing if not given from the heart. Some of the best gifts are actually free and if there are younger people reading this, offer babysitting services for a member of your family, or give them something that is more personal like a monogrammed piece of jewelry.

9. Keep Next Year in Mind: That’s right. You may not have gotten half or your shopping done yet, but you should keep in mind that you are going to be going through this all over again next year. So, be on the lookout and start saving for the next holiday season or start looking right after the holidays are over for the timeless gifts that will inevitably go on sale which will never go out of style

10. Hold on to Your Pennies: It may sound strange, but get a large jar and start putting all of your spare change in it – call it the Holiday Fund – and don’t cash it in until it is time to start your holiday shopping for next year. If you are diligent, you may be able to save almost $1000 for next season’s gift giving.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Hostess With The "Mostess"

When invited to a dinner party or get together at a friend’s house, you generally know what to expect – good food, good wine and spirits, stimulating conversation and getting up to speed on the latest gossip. Though you can be counted on to always provide your end of the deal (i.e. your charming self), should you also provide a little gift to the hostess to thank her for her hospitality?
In a nutshell, YES! Your hostess (and host) have gone out of their way to provide a great night of entertainment for their guests and though it is not “required” that you bring (or send) a hostess gift, good taste and good manners dictate that you should.
Here’s what we suggest to bring for your favorite hostess at their next get together:

Candles: One of our personalized monogram candles is an excellent choice, just make sure you order it a few weeks in advance to insure it is delivered in time for the party. One of our Lollia candles would also make a great gift.

Soaps: Since there will be many guests traveling in and out of the hostesses bathroom why not giver her something that is both practical and adorable with one of our sets of monogrammed soaps. From White Flowers, to Citrus, to English Garden, there is something for even the most discriminating hostess.

Home Accessory: If you are pretty close with the hostess and want to spring for a really nice gift, try giving her one of our monogrammed martini sets or a set of personalized wine glasses. These will surely come in handy at her next little get together and your name will be at the top of her list of invitees.

Stationery: This is a great “catchall” hostess gift. Take it a step further and get her one of our stamps or embossers with her monogram so she can put her own personalized touch to it.

Other: Gift certificates to her favorite boutique, restaurant, or bookstore, some gourmet baked goodies; and a nice bottle of wine are all good options. Flowers are a little bit tricky – they can be cumbersome to the hostess to try to arrange them and meet guests at the same time, or they may clash with the party’s d├ęcor. If you feel you must send flowers, try to do so a day ahead (or early the day of) or better yet, drop off a gift certificate to the local flower shop a few days before hand with a quick note letting her know you are looking forward to the get together.

If you didn’t get the chance to get out and purchase a hostess gift before the party, never fear, it is perfectly acceptable to send a gift after the party. Also, it’s always nice to send the hostess a short thank you note letting her know how much you enjoyed the get together and appreciated the effort she put forth.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Personalization Do's and Don'ts in The Corporate World

Personalized gifts are very meaningful for both the gift giver and the recipient. However, there are some guidelines we suggest you follow to make sure you don’t get “too” personal – especially in a corporate setting. Check out our list of do’s and don’ts below for stress free gift giving regardless of the season.

Do thoroughly think through gifts for people of the opposite sex to make sure they are not misinterpreted as being in any way intimate.

Do make sure you check for mistakes (i.e. spelling of names) both when placing the order and when they arrive. Nothing says “I appreciate you” like a misspelled name, so make sure you get it right the first time.

Don’t feel obligated to reciprocate a gift. Make sure you acknowledge the gift and thank the giver for being so thoughtful.

Do make sure to pay attention to International etiquette. If your gift is being sent overseas, make sure you familiarize yourself with the recipient’s customs. You would be surprised at how easy it is to give a gift with the best of intentions that accidentally offends the recipient or gives the wrong message. Also, consider ordering their gift locally so the recipient won’t have to pay a tax or duty on the item sent.

Don’t send the same personalized gift. If you have a list of regular clients, try to send something different each year to keep it interesting. Also, don’t forget your client’s assistants!

Don’t forget dietary restrictions! If your gift is intended for a specific person, make sure to be aware of their religious, ethical and medical restrictions in their diets.

Do give equally. If you are giving to all of your employees, the value of their customized gifts should be within a few dollars of each other.

Don’t forget anyone. Make a list to be sure you’ve remembered everyone from the cleaning staff, regular contractors and part-timers.

Do be consistent. If you personalize a gift for one employee, you should do it for all of them.

Do use discretion, especially if you are not giving to everyone. To avoid awkward feelings by other employees, you may want to send the gift directly to the employees home.

Don’t be afraid to try something different for the holidays! If you are at a loss as to what to give your employees, and are tired of throwing the same boring party year after year, why not use the funds allocated to the party to give your employees some extra hours off? Or, you can give your employees the option of donating an afternoon to a good cause in place of a party. It’s a “pay it forward” approach that shows your employees your softer side and helps others in the process. Chance are, your employees would love having a little extra time to spend with their family or the ability to get a few last minute errands done.

The "Just Because" Gift

If you have a friend that is feeling down, or one of your family members didn’t get the big promotion they were hoping for, it’s always nice to try to help pick them up in whatever way you can. Some will go out for drinks, others a good gab on the phone. We suggest giving them a small “Just Because” gift.

Now “Just Because” doesn’t mean that the person in question has to be down, or sad, etc., it can encompass every aspect of a person. Listed below are some gift ideas we think would be great – why, you ask? The answer is simple, “just because” we said so!

Just Because You Make Me Laugh: Everyone has a friend that makes you laugh hysterically, even when the subject matter may be less than pleasant. If you are looking for a little something to let her know how much it means to have a little laughter in your life, get her some of the Lollia Inspire Bubble Bath and let her know that she inspires you to find the funny in life.

Just Because You Are a Great Friend: This great friend is always there to take a last minute phone call to let you complain about your husband, easily forgives you when you forget a play date, and lends you her favorite serving dish even though she knows you dropped yours on the floor. A set of our Personalized Glory Tulip Glasses are the perfect way to let her know that you value her friendship and trust in you to not drop her favorite serving dish as well.

Just Because You Were There In a Pinch: We all have those moments when the car breaks down, or you get stuck at the mechanic when you start to panic about getting to pick up the kids on time. The friend or neighbor that scoots on a moment’s notice to help you out in this bind deserves a little recognition from time to time. One of our Personalized Umbrellas lets them know you appreciate them helping out and would like to help them out in return by keeping them dry during rainy days.

Just Because You Could Use a Pick Me Up: We all get the blues from time to time, and it’s hard to see one of your good friends or family members feeling down. A great way to cheer them up – just because they look better with a smile on their face – is to give them a little pick me up. If the person in need of a little cheer likes to be in the kitchen, try getting them one of our Personalized Cutting Boards so they can chop away their blues on a head of lettuce – just forgo the onions cause we don’t want any tears!

Just Because You are My Husband/Wife: It is a given that you should do nice things for your spouse for no reason at all. Just because your husband leaves his socks on the floor, or can’t seem to find anything to eat in the well-stocked fridge, you’d miss those traits if they were not there anymore. Same goes for the wife that tells her husband she’s only going to spend $100 but ends up spending $200 because everything was on sale. A great little do-dad for your husband is our Personalized Pocket knife (just keep him away from your credit cards if you’re the big spender). For your wife, why not get her our Avacado Shell Necklace with a Monogrammed Pendant. These never go out of style and look great for both casual and dressy affairs.

Just Because I Wanted To: Whether you want to brighten their day, or say "I'm thinking of you," a "Just Because" gift is mainly given because you wanted to so something nice for someone that you care about. If you aren't sure what the person would like, one of our gift certificates will surely brighten their day.