GUIDE TO SANE GIFT SHOPPING & GIVING
Experts, and business owners, recognize gift giving as a great tool in the marketing kit. A tool that reminds clients of your business’ delivery of customer service and your attention to relationship building.
Whether small business or large corporation, building relationships and customer service are crucial.
The 7 Essentials of Corporate Gift Buying is an excellent article on the intricacies of gifting in the corporate arena. Great tips. Do you know your client’s corporate policies? Are there cultural differences to consider? Business Gift Giving Mistakes provides good information on actions to avoid.
Clearly, it’s important to show a client how much you value their business. Gifting is an easy route. And it’s not too early to plan your holiday gift giving strategy. You can also get a handle on other or 2013 occasions.
Client gifts aren’t just for holidays. Opportunities abound when yours won’t be among a sea of gifts from other businesses. Is a client a cancer
survivor? If so, a gift of one the special pink products during October might be fitting. The client gets a gift that pays it forward. You get remembered for such a thoughtful gesture. See other suggestions at end of article for gift giving opportunities.
However you plan it, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be Frugalista gift giving. The Frugalista gift ideas below are appropriate for most occasions. Since some company policies cap gifts at $25, I’ve included gifts at that price also.
These selections are great for purchasing one, or several of the same for a client’s office, or mixing and matching from the various retailers.
Dean & Deluca sells gift baskets with exquisite, carefully selected products. Gift sets come in several price points. In addition to the selections below, the NY retailer has higher end baskets, as well as “ultimate” selections.
The Savory Cracker and Chip Collection for those who crave salty, savory and crispy. They’ll enjoy DEAN & DELUCA Sea Salt Potato Chips, Sweet Potato Chips, Onion Mini Flatbread, Olive Oil Grissini Sticks, and Black Truffle Sea Salt Pretzels.
The Morning Break kit provides a different take. What office worker doesn’t need a pick-me-up in the morning? Tea and coffee drinkers are covered here—Dean & Deluca’s own fantastic blends. Also includes thins and shortbread cookies.
Want to give them a spread for a snack or lite lunch? Delight their palates with The Flavors of Spain. Two delectable meats: Lomo Iberico (loin) and Jamon (ham). A friend tells me that Jamon ham’s flavor/texture is not your mother’s ham. Sweet, delicate figs, Piquillo peppers and Torta de Aceite crisp bread complement the meats.
Give clients a healthful pick-up in the afternoon with Harvest Nut Tray. Includes pistachios and cranberry-nut mix in a bamboo tray.
Do also check out the Limited-Edition Pantry FEED 15 Bag. For $120, you give the client five pantry staples. Extraordinary staples since these are from Dean and Deluca. More important, you fight world hunger in the client’s name. Every time they use the ingredients or reuse the bag, they’ll remember that their gift provided 15 meals to hungry school children. And the client will remember you made that possible. See details here.
Chocolate is often a good bet as a gift for many offices. You can’t go wrong with Godiva. The Biscuit Gift Box includes 36 crisp, buttery biscuits rich with that special Godiva magic. A varied enough assortment for most palates.
$25.00 godiva.com (a 40-piece Box also available for $40)
The way to your recipients’ hearts may be through their stomachs, especially if you’re providing them with gourmet edibles. Extra Aged Asiago or Caviar anyone? The International Gourmet Assortment — complete with an assortment of gourmet cheeses, spiced almonds, crackers,dessert and a cutting board — gives companies the option of fire branding the board with a company logo. Board available in walnut and maple wood, or Bamboo.
$91 each staplespromotionalproducts.com (minimum order of 4; price decreases with higher order number)
The same platter available at Holiday Gifts and Baskets $99 (also minimum purchase of 4)
Purely Good’s SMALL BITES WITH PAN FORTE CROSTINI includes artisan made parmesan cheese crackers. tapenade, organic chocolate-covered pears, and organic nutty and crisp pan forte crostini. The team will feel the appreciation.
Too often not enough thought is given to holiday or appreciation gifts presented to clients. The top corporate gifts are the “usual”, “tried and true according to American Express OPEN in the first article above. Items such as gift certificates, products with company logos, wine, food, etc.
You know, boring. (Another run of the mill pen, anyone?) All with a great chance of never being used by the recipient. (How’s that tote bag working for them?) Perhaps not even much appreciated by the client. The one being appreciated. (That confused look when they open it, isn’t a good sign.)
Experts suggest individualizing gifts to clients where possible.
Frugalista Guide’s thought exactly. Everyone appreciates personalized gifts.
Often the corporate gift retailers use personalization to mean inscribing the company logo on a product. Here, we mean personalizing the gift to the recipient’s personality, enjoyment and/or interests. You probably don’t want to send everyone the same gift. Especially to your more important clients. That might work with a less influential client group—say the admin pool. Besides, if you need a high number of gifts, you can still negotiate a good bottom line price even if they’re all different, You know how to do it.
In order to make your gift most meaningful, it’s important to take a moment to think about what you know about the client. You don’t want to send them a coffee basket if they love tea, do you? Or golf balls if they don’t play golf. (If they do, the Ultimate Straight XS golf balls ($35) promise a reduction in hooks and slices by 75%. If it’s true, they’ll remember you!)
Does the client travel often? (Check out 9 Frugalista Gifts for the Traveling (Wo)man)
Love to read business/spiritual/self-help, etc. books? (Consider The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work)
Is your client the type to build things or is building his business? Consider the Saw Blade Workshop Clock. As stated in their ad: Tools for telling time show hard work ultimately yields power and success.
Client a bicyclist or walker? A tight work schedule might make either an activity in the dark. The Bookman Light set has two in each set and comes in six colors. Clients can flash fast or slow; or keep it steady.
Perhaps you have a client who’s always on the phone and never met a bottle of hand sanitizer they didn’t like. Or, perhaps they’re simply health conscious. Even if not, the client’s likely on the phone a lot. And likely has a Smartphone. Any one of these types can appreciate bacteria-destroying UV light of the Smartphone Sanitizer. Works on iPods, MP3 players, headsets and earbuds, too.
If James Bond had a pair of these USB Flash Drive Combination Cufflinks, explosives would factor in. Plus, he’d be able to communicate with M from the cufflinks. The techie gadget loving client will also love these polished silver beauties. 2GB’s accessible with an aura of spy; and includes WiFi hotspot. Engravable.
$250 cufflinks.com (includes free ground shipping)
They don’t need the hotspot? Give 4GB Hammered Gold USB Cufflinks.
$200 $140.99 (special price) cufflinks.com
Other USB pairs available from $100 on this site
A client who loves to travel might enjoy 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by veteran travel writer Patricia Schultz. 600 spectacular photographs accompany the who, what, where, when and how of fantastic destinations.
Remind your client of the course with every cup of coffee or tea with the Eighteen Hole Golf Mug and Putter Pen. A pen that you might combo with the Leather Bound Golf Log below. Or, they can use it with a log of their own.
Client a chocolate lover? Sur la table’s Chocolate 101 will satisfy. The class educates them on using the different chocolates effectively. Bonus: the client will prepare a menu of decadent treats to take home.
$69 (most cities) surlatable.com
Perhaps the client, who cooks, told you about the delicious food on a memorable vacation. Like to Tuscany. Sur la table (and similar) offer cooking classes such as the Tuscan Harvest where they’ll learn to create delicious, authentic dishes in the rustic style the region is famous for. Sur la table offers similar classes for other regions (Moroccan anyone?), as well as many food and prep classifications (i.e. Elegant Vegetarian, cutlery).
Williams Sonoma, stores like Whole foods and Central market, and local cooking schools also have a great variety of one day classes.
Cloud9 lists 1,800 memorable experiences nationwide. Experiences and prices vary per city; but many cities have some of the same experiences with similar pricing.
Let recipient choose by giving a gift certificate (these start at $50).They can apply a certificate towards any experience. Or, you pick an experience to present to the client, like:
Excitations.com also have gift certificates starting at $50, have many exciting experiences in various U.S. cities. They create experiences, like:
Is your client handy, crafty? Loves tools/gadgets? Or always needs a tool, but doesn’t have one? The Card Sharp 2 might make them feel like a spy. Clients will love a credit card that transforms into a super sharp, pocket utility knife. It’s better than a ninja star! A useful tool that’s always with them : in their wallet or gym bag.
(International item: Note that Sinclair estimates 28 day delivery time.
£15 GBP ($25 USD) www.iainsinclair.com/
Food and drink still work as reliable gift selections. That is, if you still personalize the gift. Hard to believe but there are some people who don’t like chocolate. You also have to consider food allergies; as well as religious/philosophical beliefs. So, it’s important to know that the client can actually enjoy the gift without a trip to the emergency or bathroom; or taking offense.
Is your client super positive (or needs to be!)? Give them sweet positivity with the Caramel Gift Basket from Good Karmal. 30, 60, 90 or 120 creamy pieces in a hand-woven keepsake basket. It’s eco-friendly, too. A positive quotation wraps each caramel.
$45 and up goodkarmal.com
A tea loving or health conscious client might have warm thoughts of you as they sip Mango Ambrosia or Tranquilitea. Not only are teas good for their health, tea can help energize or stress-bust their working day. Tealish offers enough tea varieties for most tea lovers—seasonal ($6.50), wellness ($7-$20), specialty ($10-$15), dessert 9$5.75-$6.50), samplers ($20), iced, flowering ($3.75).
Know a foodie client or one who likes to cook/entertain? The Fustini Gift Pairing would be appreciated. A flavored extra virgin olive oil, paired with complementary aged balsamic vinegar, comes in gift packaging. Beautiful packaging ready-made to present to the client. Artisan pairings like Persian Lime Olive Oil & Ginger and Honey Balsamic add fantastic flavor to dishes or salads. Four additional pairings to choose from—including one for dessert lovers. Choose to include one of the Fustini cookbooks or not. If not, deduct $17.
$49 per pairing fustini.com
Give them something to cheer about. A Taste of Adventure…Chardonnay 6 features six 50 mil (1.7 oz) bottles of California Chardonnay.
From six different regions/wineries. The Tasting Room has many varieties and samplers to choose from.
Black truffles infuse this Truffle Honey. Great on fresh cheese, meats and fruit. Or use it like regular honey for an added kick to favorites. 90 grams (3.1 ounces)
$25 (inc tax) urbanitrufflesonline.com/
Know a client that knows what to do with vermouth? It’s been said that Antica Carpano is not your everyday vermouth. Devotees appreciate its beautiful, ‘antiquey’ packaging and the hand blown glass of the 1-litre bottle. However, its rich, complex and layered flavor compels them to snap it up. They enjoy sipping this red vermouth alone rather than mixing it.
For your clients who always choose Italian for lunch or speak of it often or rhapsodize about trips to Italy, the sensational Antipasto Gift Basket would be perfect. As long as they cook or knows someone who will. Or, for a client who recently moved into a new home. The basket includes all the necessary starters for appetizers or dinner. Bruschetta spread, roasted garlic spread and Italian Dipping Oil, all to enhance delicious rosemary quick bread. Their mouth will be watering and dinner plans dancing in their head before they leave the office. (Also check out the Corporate Gifts available through Stonewall kitchen, individual gifts and baskets, ranging in price for $9 to $175.)
Engraved Desktop Kaleidoscope – a playful gift that inspires. Crystal gems provide ever-changing, richly colorful designs inside this maple-wood desk accessory. Complete with display stand. Engrave (free) with a personalized appreciation message to your client.
An architectural buff could appreciate this LEGO Architecture series. The Kid-at-Heart Modernist sets replicates architectural wonders like the Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure in the world. Or, the client might love a reminder of one of their favorite buildings, like the Willis Tower, Brandenburg Gate, Seattle Space Needle, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center. Or, even the Sydney Opera House for the traveler.This might also fit the bill for puzzle lovers/model builders, too.
Artistic types will relate to these foldable Chopstick Bowls. Aesthetic and eye-catching, but functional. Fruit, bread, etc. look amazing in these bowls. A perfect centerpiece for the client’s table—dining or boardroom.
You could satisfy a chocoholic and a creative with the Chocolate iPhone Case. Composed of silicone, it protects their priceless Seri from bumps and bruises. They shouldn’t keep it visible, though, during a chocolate craving.
$25 mxyplyzyk.com (similar patters available for iPads, netbooks and laptops.
A creative might get a kick out of this guy guarding their wine. The pewter, hand-painted Napoleon Bottle Stopper will be a conversation piece at
the very least.
If they’re a creative, eye strain is a likely malady. This client might be grateful for either of these magnifying desk accessories.
The Reading Magnifier w/Clamp might more precisely fit the bill.
The Professional Jeweler’s Lighted Magnifier Visor might make them feel really creative. Your client can keep a really close eye on their work
without having to adjust the magnifying glass. Comes with 5 interchangeable lenses.
Keep something else in mind as you consider your client gift options. Experts suggest foregoing logos, or any type of branding, on appreciation gifts. Nothing wrong with branding, but sometimes you gain more without it. At least in gifting situations. People often associate logos with giveaways. Minus the logo, the client receives the gift as appreciation only. The gesture is more about building a relationship. You can still get impact without the logo or corporate name. It’s all about public relations. And the thoughtfulness.
If your client grills, cooks, hunts or entertains, a personalized cutting board might be a memorable gift. They’ll certainly appreciate the craftsmanship, as well as the moat around this handmade, solid maple board. No more mess on the counter. Choose from four custom designs laser printed into center of the board. You add additional message, their initials and the year.
It’s a good bet that some of your clients are golfers. The Leather Bound Golf Log lets them keep their scores in style. No more fooling with loose golf score cards. Fits into golf bag, yet has large writing area for scores. Engrave with their monogram, name or a message for free.
Is your client a stickler for time? Or, need to be? Either way, the Ebony Wooden Desk Clock looks good on any desk. And, it’s engravable.
$26 $15 greatgiftsformen.com
You might decide including a logo will work best. In addition to some of the retailers above who personalize, try the following companies that specialize in branding. If the ideas already suggested don’t fit or spark other ideas, check out their unique gifts. You can always forego the branding if you find the perfect gift at the following retailers to fit your clients’ personality or interests.
Pineapple Gifts – Their gift selections are varied. Like occupation specific wine caddies (i.e. doctor, female and male; CPA, lawyer) $79, made from recycled steel and copper. They will also customize gifts to your clients. Personalize or not.
Giftree.com– also sells an array of potential client gifts, personalized and otherwise, across the price spectrum. Gift selections from foods and wines
to baskets/bouquets to leather journals to crystal decanters.
Corporatesnobs.com – 22,000 unique products in a broad price range. Multiple unit purchases required.
e-corporategifts.com – gifts started under $10; discounted multiple purchases available, but single purchase also allowed.
Myron.com– featuring gifts from chocolates to cuff link holders to travel clocks to
collector items by designer Jonathan Adler.
There are dozens of corporate promotional retailers. The trick is to find ones that offer more the usual suspects: calendars, pens, key rings, flash drives, tote bags and the like.
Whether you include a logo or not, do include a card with your gift. Do still personalize the card to the client. Handwritten, if possible!
As mentioned at the beginning, consider giving gifts outside the usual holiday time. The presentation becomes even more memorable. You can stand
out in those gaps. Nothing wrong with wishing them a joyful (productive) (prosperous) new year. Or, that they be blessed with the luck of the Irish. Choose holidays like Valentine’s Day or Labor Day. Everyone doesn’t feel the love on V-Day. Labor Day gifting could recognize their effort in rebuilding the economy.
Know your client’s birthday (or other memorable occasion)? Does your client deserve congratulations for an accomplishment, award, etc.? Or, you could simply send a gift expressing gratitude for their business on the anniversary of your association. You get the idea.
Then, your presentation isn’t lost in a sea of giving.
The retailers’ web addresses under each gift idea take you to their home pages. Do look around the listed retailers sites to get some other great ideas for your clients. For more ideas on personalizing client gifts, see articles on Frugalista Gifts, such as:
(and 2 similar articles that preceded)
Do you plan to give client gifts this holiday season, or during some other time of the year?
Has the economy adversely affected what and how you’ll show your appreciation? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Until next time: Happy Frugalista Shopping!
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