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14 Giftware Review May/June 2014 *


The greetings card industry has long produced cards for specific members of the family, friends, or other acquaintances – Happy Birthday to my Husband, for example, or Merry Christmas to a Wonderful Grandma. Frankly, I have never understood some of them – To my Wife on Valentine’s Day is especially puzzling, since valentines are supposed to be anonymous, and don’t even get me started on Special Wishes to a Special Friend. But it is not our place to make

judgments on other people’s romantic entanglements and the human race can get by without my opinions however insightful and helpful they may be. The Giftware Industry has, in it’s own

Are most ‘gifts’ bought as presents for someone else? Or are they impulse buys for the purchaser? David Metcalfe ponders the matter and asks whether pets really appreciate luxury giftware.

way, also produced product aimed at different parts of the population. There is an excellent shop in Devon which specialises in gifts for gentlemen which always seems to be busy, and there is a direct mail catalogue which turns up alongside one of the publications to which I subscribe which features presents for men and presents for women, so this is a well established channel of gift marketing. Indeed, as a lifelong champion of our industry, I welcome any initiative that enables us to shift more products, but there must be limits. Gifts for pets. For me, this is a market

extension too far. We don’t have any pets ourselves (plenty of pet hates, but that is a subject for another column) but in the

...we get more pleasure from

giving somebody

a present then we do from receiving one...

interests of research I browsed in our local pet shop. It was a numbing experience which confirmed my view. Think about it for a moment. If you give your pooch a diamond encrusted collar, is it going to thank you for it? No. A special wallet in which it can carry it’s smart phone would not, I confidently predict, elicit even a flicker of gratitude, not even if it is embellished with a cartoon depicting a dog in full conversational flow on the device. Dog baskets, collars and leads are not luxuries in any case, they are essentials of everyday canine life. This may come as a shock to some, but pets do not have the same cognitive recognition of anniversaries as we humans do. In fact I am reliably informed that, in the wild, the vast majority of animals do not even celebrate birthdays, so logic dictates that they are probably not bothered about them in captivity either, so don’t waste your money.

Industry Insight Except that, of course, we give gifts

because we want to give them. This is the psychology which underpins the whole raison d’etre of all our activities. We get more pleasure from giving somebody a present then we do from receiving one. Rover may look teary eyed with speechless gratitude when you present him with his hand-crafted porcelain dinner bowl, but he is much more interested in what is in it for him. Trust me on this.

As with the ‘gifts for gentlemen’ shop, it

makes more sense to go for market segments by type of retailer. Indeed, our own sister publication, Gifts for Garden Centres - soon to become Garden Centre Buyer - enjoys a wide and loyal readership among this specialist outlet. I have argued before in this column that the very terms ‘gift’ or ‘giftware’ are both anachronistic and misleading since they imply that the article in question is being bought in a shop solely to be given to a third party. I am prepared to bet that about two-thirds of all the products ordered by retailers at the Spring Fair are going to end up as self-purchases, but of course it can justifiably be counter-argued that these are therefore a gift to oneself. Who can say, but it is an interesting philosophical debating point, although I doubt that any self-purchasers will be of the canine persuasion.

David Metcalfe


A mixture of native wildflower seeds, compost, clay and chilli, Project Maya SEEDBALL offers a new twist on an ancient technique to give your customers’ gardens a biodiversity boost. This effective and hassle-free route to a mini meadow appeals to gardeners, wildlife enthusiasts and people looking to add some colour in their lives. Incredibly simple to use – scatter on a bare patch of soil and the balls provide all the care and attention a seed needs. Visit: e:

Maps made fun

Maps International has created a range of fun maps perfect for gifting to children. The range includes its bestselling Doodle World Map alongside new creations such as the company’s Glow in the Dark Maps and Illustrated Maps. These are perfect gifts for the Christmas season. The company sells to volume buyers or to smaller independents and has low minimum order requirements. Maps International offers an increased discount on your first order. Visit: t: 01993 880 939

Pretty and personal

The Personalised Memento Company is best known for its beautiful personalised gifts, manufactured and despatched from the company’s premises in Stoke on Trent. PMC supplies a huge range of gifts including greetings cards, party invites and wedding invites. One of the company’s most popular lines is the Licensed ‘Bang on the Door’ wedding invites and place cards. These sweet designs are a pretty way to celebrate the big day, including the Bride and Groom’s name and the wedding date. Visit: e:

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