The Art of Making Gifts Personal
HOW TO PERSONALIZE A GIFT
Successful gifts are special gifts. Personalizing gifts entails asking the right questions and seeking out "the special" that will create emotional gifting memories which last long after the gift has been given. There are several ways to "find the special" and it doesn't take as much effort as one might think, but it makes all of the difference in the world to the person receiving it.
Communication is key!
Asking the right questions is crucial to streamlining a custom gift process. Information is key to "dialing in" a special gift, however there are many clues we can gain, even if the person giving doesn't know the person receiving that well.
When designing a custom gift, first develop a list of questions that you will ask the person ordering the gift. The questions should be answered about the person they are ordering it FOR, not about themselves. It is very common to have to "re-direct" those ordering for someone else, as they often veer off into the land of "well, I like...." If they start saying what they like personally, rather than what the person they are buying the gift for likes, try to gently ask, "Do you think Bob might like that, too?"
Develop Your List of Questions
1. QUESTIONS TO DETERMINE THE LOOK AND STYLE OF THE GIFT
What's their favorite color?
What's their style? CLUE: What color of clothes do they wear generally?
What is their identified gender? Use this to steer the design in a male, female or neutral direction, if not known.
Married? If it's for a heterosexual couple, designing towards the wife's preferences is the best bet, otherwise if unsure, go with a gender neutral look to be safe.
What is their age? A Millennial can have very different tastes than a Baby Boomer. Be sure to get an idea of the generation of the recipient as it applies also to how you will determine a theme and contents of the gift in the next sections.
2. QUESTIONS TO DETERMINE THE THEME OF THE GIFT
What is the occasion for giving the gift? This is the easiest route to design around. ie) New Home, Birthday? Include a picture of their new home...or their old one! Birthday? Include an unexpected, funny photo of them as a child.
What are their hobbies? ie) photography? biking? camping? crafting? cooking? Even if the theme can't be represented easily in the theme, you can always include a single item that represents that hobby such as attaching a camera charm to something for those into photography
Do they have a favorite sports team or are they into a certain sport?
Where are they from? ie) explore city, state or region theme possibilities
Is there something they are passionate about? ie) earth warrior? Use earth friendlier packaging for the gift with reusable, recyclable or compostable items. Include foods made by companies using sustainable practices that are non-GMO.
Do they have pets? ie) Can you incorporate a dog or cat theme?
How did you meet them? Is there a city, place or experience it could be designed around that represents that?
Do they associate with a certain religion? This is important around holidays. ie) Are they Jewish? A Christmas themed gift would obviously not be an option, but a Hanukkah theme would be great!
3. QUESTIONS TO DETERMINE THE CONTENTS OF THE GIFT
Single, Married with or without kids?
Single? Easy. It's all about that person and what they like
Married? A little more tricky. Refer back to #1. If in doubt, the wife wins out!
Kids? If the kids are happy, so are the parents. Always include something special for the kids. Treats or toys with tags with their names on them is always a winner for all involved and shows you took special care to know what their kids might like and have them included in the gift.
No Kids? Is their pet their "fur baby"? Would they like it if you included a treat or toy? (answer is almost always "yes"!)
Is there something that if added, would remind them of someone or something special? ie) picture of Multnomah Falls where he proposed
What's their favorite food? ie) Pizza theme cooking gift? Wine and Cheese Tasting Experience?
Are there any foods you know of that they don't like?
Do they have food allergies or special diets?
Health conscious? Vegan? Vegetarian? Sweet tooth? Junk food junkie? Foodie?
Do they drink alcohol? Last thing you would want to do is unknowingly give a gift of alcohol to someone in recovery. If in doubt, leave it out
Time frame? Will the gift be given immediately or at a later date? Important to determine if you can put in time sensitive foods such as cheese.
What is their race or national origin? This can provide clues that lead towards the perfect gift, but also steers you away from inadvertently putting in something that could be misinterpreted due to cultural and racial differences
There are probably many more that could be asked, but this is a good start! You will probably never ask all of these questions on every order. Most times, you will only have to ask a few before you have a good feel for the direction you need to go in. You want to make it obvious to the recipient that the gift was designed with them in mind with the goal of making them feel special. As stated before, it doesn't take a lot to make someone feel special. Often times, it's just one thoughtful item or theme that creates happy tears. If you get those--you know you've nailed it!