It’s Cyber Monday, but I won’t be ordering much – that’s for more focused shoppers. I still need to do some browsing to get good gift ideas. The other other named holiday shopping day, Black Friday, doesn’t do it for me either – being trampled wasn’t in the plans for us. However, there’s one relatively new holiday shopping day that I was definitely digging this weekend – Small Business Saturday. SBS was spearheaded by American Express last year as a way to spur business for its merchant partners, but to Amex’s credit, it’s really become a movement beyond just the card company with White House backing and millions of supporters, Amex Card carriers or not. [Full disclosure: Amex is a client of my employer, Ogilvy & Mather]
My mom and I were all about SBS and headed to the cute Syracuse downtown area called Armory Square to support our favorite local small business – Eureka Crafts (I also hit up independent local coffeehouse Freedom of Espresso earlier in the day). Small shops are some of the best places for gift ideas off the beaten path, so we ended up getting hand-cast Christmas candles and artisan-made cheese boards for family overseas. It’s the ideal place to show hometown economic support. In 2012, I’m going to carve out even more time on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for more Christmas shopping with a purpose! Let’s hope 2012 has more seasonal weather though… Christmas shopping without a coat was kind of odd.
Did anyone else do any SBS holiday shopping this past weekend? We’d love to hear what your hometown go-to shops and boutiques are!
Since I have morphed into a crowd-averse shopper – definitely bi-product of living in New York – I avoid clusterfuck sample sales (except for DVF) and Soho during the weekend. What a nightmare that neighborhood is on a Saturday at 3 p.m. Crowded sidewalks, trash all over the street, tourists unaware of personal space boundaries, stores with stuff tossed everywhere – it’s just a mess and I can’t deal.
But on a gorgeous fall day, I couldn’t say no to a stroll down there (avoiding Broadway religiously and only taking side streets) to see the new C.Wonder store that is being aggressively advertised in NYC cabs. Founded by Chris Burch, Tory’s VC ex-hubster, the store is Stage 2 Tory … it’s an explosion of gold (+1, my favorite metal), lacquer finish furniture, Chinoiserie, J.Crew jewel-tone prep, Tory’s over-logo-ing with a shot of Anthropologie’s funky housewares and Lily Pulizter’s Palm Beach each thrown in. It’s a lot. And while I wanted to hate on it for being over the top, I kind of liked it. I wouldn’t buy 3/4 of the stuff in there, but it was fun to look around. Plus we saw Kelly Ripa… man, she is tiny.
I was utterly ambivalent about the clothes because they’re overbranded with branding that has no equity yet (I guess they have to start somewhere), but the housewares and accessories were really fun with great wallets (got a black leather zipper wallet), crazy ikat-patterned nesting bowls and cozy, monogram-able throws that are easy and reasonably priced gifts. The check-out was fun too because there are no registers, it’s all done on iPhones. Kind of awesome. So as you get in your holiday shopping frenzy in the coming weeks, this is a great place to start finding some hostess-y kind of gifts. And for those non-NYC readers, C.Wonder’s e-shopping experience is coming soon, but for now you just have to content yourself perusing their Facebook page.
We’re at that age where people start getting settled. All this settling requires gifts. Gifts for homes, babies, weddings… the list goes on. When the gifts are for those whom we are close to then both the choosing and giving is fun and rewarding. However, life provides us with plenty of moments when we are left totally stumped as to what the appropriate gift should be, if they will like it, if it’s too expensive, or even worse, if it’s not expensive enough. I have found the answer to be whatever the gift is, it HAS to be in good taste… regardless of what the recipient’s taste may be…*insert a judgmental eyebrow*…
I found a shop, familiar to many, in New Canaan, Connecticut called Comina. It has wide selection of various charming items ranging from glassware, tableware, servingware to even furniture along with everything in between for decorating. There is a little something for everyone whether you prefer something very simple to something more elaborate. It’s provided me with several successful wedding gifts thus far including an inlaid serving tray from Peru to nautically themed dessert plates. What becomes a slight issue is that it’s hard to leave without something for myself.
Vacation destinations in New England – my personal experience being in Portland & Camden, ME, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard – are some of the best places to get gifts and mine ideas for later on. The shops are niche, fun, well-curated and catering to people with good taste who want to burn some cash. Recipe for good stuff.
This year on vacation in Cape Cod, I stopped by Chadington’s on Commercial St (Provincetown’s main drag) and saw these funny bottle corks made out of old-school, reclaimed porcelain hot and cold faucets. Cute and fun, perfect for a gift.
Now you may ask yourself as we have many times, does someone really need this adorable, kitschy but unnecessary item? Probably not, BUT some of the best gifts are frivolous ones. Do you really want your friends to think of you only in terms of practical gifts? I think that means you might need to loosen up. Or you talk about lack of money too much. Oops!
So there’s our green light on fun, random gifting.
Hot & Cold Wine Corks from Chadington’s on Commercial St. in Provincetown, MA.