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That Personal Touch

Friday, September 04, 2015

With a little effort and a slightly more fluid budget, you can put together some of the best personalised gifts! If you think that means picking a readymade hamper or ordering an inscribed mug, you need to read this article to improve your gifting game, say Dev Goswami & Sara Shah

W  hat’s the first thing that comes to mind when you’re  
thinking about buying someone a present? If you’re  looking for something for a family member or a close friend, you’re probably wondering what it is that they need and want — and that’s the first step to putting a great personalised gift together. Most of us give up on the idea, settling for a simple store-bought item (usually gift wrapped at the store itself!) because of a lack of ideas, time or a low budget. But, not all personalised gifts need to cost a fortune, and you can put something together without racking your brain too much! We’re bringing you a simple guide to gifting with a personal touch — from great ideas and dos and don’ts, to gifts that you need to avoid, we’ve got you covered! We also spoke to Shibani Jain, founder & CEO of Baaya Design and Disha & Harsh Munshaw from Customizing Creativity, to bring you a few expert tips.

If you’ve always thought that personalisation begins and ends with custom cards or hampers, you need to read our section on clichéd gifts before you start to brainstorm! While they do make for good gifts, they’ve been done so often that there’s nothing exciting about them anymore. That is of course, unless you plan to fill a hamper with expensive watches, perfume and caviar! A personalised gift is about making the effort to understand someone. Here are a few ideas that will give you some inspiration.    

All about... you!
Most of us believe that personalised gifts are all about the person you’re giving the present to. But, that doesn’t always have to be the case. The point is to show them that you care enough to make something just for them. Think: a painting, a poem or even a creatively written, personal message. What would we do, you ask? Use the message-in-a-bottle trick! Write a heartfelt message on some pretty paper (with a great pen), place it in an empty wine bottle and cork it before presenting it to them. Of course, that’s because we like writing. But, if you think you can draw well, why not sketch something memorable that reminds them of you?  

Picture memories
Pictures are one of the most common personalised gifting ideas, but what Shibani suggests is a little offbeat and will ensure that your gift isn’t passé. She tells us, “Get a cultural painting made of their favourite landmark.” For example, she adds, if your friend likes the Gateway of India, look around for great artwork of the monument or find someone who can create one for you. It will be inexpensive and thoughtful.

Tag it
Sometimes, all it takes is a little effort on your part to make your gift thoughtful as well as personal. A simple rule you can follow is to choose items that you know your loved one will use. Then, all you need in order to give it a personal touch is to add an attractive tag or label that explains why this gift is the best match for them. Keep the notes short and anecdotal, if you can, and you can rest assured that your friend or family member will be all smiles while they’re opening their gift. Shibani also tells us, “It’s also a good idea to include a little information about how the gift was made or bought.”

Get planning
Gifts don’t always have to be materialistic. You can even turn the present into an experience that will be memorable, fun and deeply personal. For example, if you know that your friend loves watching films, you can pick up a few DVDs of their favourite films, along with a few packets of popcorn and gift them a movie marathon night with all the food, drink and invites taken care of by you. You can also plan a vacation! If it is for a partner, family or a best friend, plan a trip to their dream destination and gift them an itinerary of the proposed trip. Of course, this will require some serious work and a very close understanding of their schedule, but that’s what personalised gifting is all about!

The sky is the limit
We wouldn’t be kidding if we said that there are so many different and unique ways to personalise a gift, that one story isn’t enough to tell you everything you need to know. As Disha and Harsh Munshaw tell us, the perfect personalised gift is highly subjective. From something simple but subtle, like a scarf or stole in their favourite colours, to something extravagant such as doing up their room, a lot will depend on your budget and the extent to which you’re willing to get involved. Some other classic, but not clichéd, personalised gifts include jigsaw puzzles (of their favourite monument, car, or even an image of their home), board games (snakes and ladders or monopoly, with cute messages and tiny pictures strewn across the board) or a diary (with dates that are important or memorable for being marked out).

Gifting is supposed to be meaningful. And, while we’re sure that you have put a lot of thought into personalising a gift for your loved ones, there are a few gifting clichés that are best avoided.

Picture this
Remember when plastering your friend’s picture onto a mug or a t-shirt was a super cool idea? Well, it was a super cool idea but it isn’t really as cool for your friend to actually wear that t-shirt outside the confines of their home. Not to mention imagine how silly they would look, sipping coffee out of that mug with a picture of the two of you on it at work. So, let’s just forget about this idea for now, shall we?

Naming trinkets
If your loved ones wanted everyone to know their name, they’d plaster it across their forehead. But, they don’t really want that. This is why jewellery with their names inscribed on it is probably a bad idea. Besides, we’re quite sure that you friend already has a personalised trinket from the ’90s.

Musical no-nos
If you ever come across musical toys that say “I love you (insert name of loved one),” don’t buy them! Not only is this categorically cheesy, it also sends out a message that you were just too lazy to come up with an actual idea.

Picture Memories
Yes, you can make a large birthday card or a scrapbook with pictures of you and your loved one plastered all over it. And they will probably appreciate the thought behind it too. But, we can assure you that it’s going to be pushed away in the back of their cupboard once the occasion is over. Give them something that will remind them of you, not something that will lie forgotten until they decide to clean out their cupboards.

Personalisation is easy, right? Wrong. While it can be difficult to decide how to add a personal touch to your gift, you could also run the risk of being over-the-top or clichéd. So, here are some tips:

  • Do: Set a budget for your personalised gift. Don’t spend a lot of money on something that the receiver may not use very often. A diary with the receiver’s name inscribed at the back is a sophisticated, yet affordable option.
  • Don’t: Go over the top with personalisation. Shibani says, “Customised digital calendars with your name printed within the images are so passé and also a bit tacky now. So are custom printed mugs and personalised cakes.” She also suggests that gifting them a t-shirt with their face plastered on it is an absolute no-no and you may end up embarrassing them. Chances are that it is never going to be worn, except for when you’re around.
  • Do: Make the packaging special. The way your gift is packaged builds up the anticipation and excitement of unwrapping it, so make sure you put in some thought to it.
  • Don’t: Buy things that people can’t use and just have to keep in the house or office as a show piece. We believe in presenting people with things that add value, it could be something as simple as a notepad, but should be something they derive value of. You want the person to thank you for giving them that gift!

If you don’t have the time to step out and buy a personalised gift, we suggest a few websites that can make your work easier

As the name suggests, it’s all about printing! You can select from their gifting options, which are also further sub-divided as per the occasion and you can print whatever you want on them. We can also assure you that they do not have any clichéd, been-there-done-that designs and their personalisation is also quite subtle (that is if you want it to be subtle).

Jewellery can be personalised without having to inscribe your loved one’s name on it. Pipabella offers customised jewellery services, which allow you to either pick from their designs or customise it your way.

Believe it or not, but they have an extremely large variety of things to customise! From watches, t-shirts, jewellery and bags to scarves and furniture — there’s nothing these guys can’t customise.

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