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27


AND CORRECT PRESENT


Mina Holland on present-buying for the man who has everything. Except the ability to make a decision.


Speaking ahead of International Women’s Day this year, Cherie Blair lamented the selfishness of male spending habits, declaring, ‘I am not happy about a world where it is taken for granted that if you give a woman a dollar, 90 per cent of it will go on her family, her business, anything but herself, while the figure for men is 30 or 40 per cent.’


That men are more selfish than women is a tricky thing to measure, though the facts certainly speak for themselves in the arena of online shopping. Men actually spend more than women, but when it comes to the online gift buying market, men make up a puny 25%. Cherie was not wrong: blokes like spending on themselves, ladies spend theirs on others.


But what if this deficit in present buying were less an indication of male selfishness and more a sign of, well, inability? That’s what Rachael Ogilvie Robertson would argue, who this summer launches


ManBuysPresent.com with her partner, Kate Rider. Robertson and Rider believe


that men lack the apparatus to pick presents wisely for their partners, because they are powerless both to understand and to choose what they might want. The USP of


ManBuysPresent.com is that 75% of men need help when it comes to buying gifts for women, so it makes the job simple by choosing the present for them.


All the man has to do is answer five snappy questions, ranging from a little


jewellery, deerskin bags and hampers. Generic enough to be a safe bet, then, but all with individual character and supplied by zeitgeisty emerging brands. ‘The idea is for men to get brownie points for being slightly unusual, regardless of what they spend,’ comments Kate. This is reflected in the breadth of products available on


information about the recipient (very simply: who she is, her age, the occasion) to more practical matters like budget and deadline. He is then presented with three options tailored to his criteria, and if none fit the bill, he can refresh until the right one pops up. Crucially, most of the brainwork has been done already. The present subsequently turns up on his lady’s doorstep, on time, gift- wrapped and with not a trace of the ManBuysPresent.com logo. ‘Nothing comes with our branding on it, so there’s no disappointment at the back end,’ says Rachael.


Robertson and Rider have built up a portfolio of a hundred or so boutique suppliers ranging from handmade soaps, elaborate cupcakes and chocolates to


THEIR IDEA OF THOUGHTFUL IS OUR IDEA OF UNROMANTIC


ManBuysPresent.com, from big budget/special occasion presents (costing up to £3,500) down to ‘sorry’ gifts and little surprises. The addition of a ‘Get Out Of Jail’ icon is a clever one. In Kate’s words, ‘It escorts guys who need to apologise for something – coming in pissed, being hungover, whatever – to a selection of presents that cost under £50.’


The target consumer is even wider than the product range – it is, literally, all


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