Official Guide to Sending Corporate Holiday Gifts to Clients

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

You might wonder why I’m writing about holiday client gifts in June. Am I crazy?! Before you answer ‘yes’, not so fast! Holiday corporate gift boxes are a big investment, especially if you’ve been in business a while and have a large client list. It’s good to have several things decided upon before making a decision on what to buy and where to buy it so you’re not left scrambling come December. Believe it or not, it’s June and we are already discussing holiday gifts with our corporate clients and even getting started on custom gift design for them! With gifting, it’s always best to plan ahead.

Image: Elizabeth Fogarty Photography

Image: Elizabeth Fogarty Photography

Budget vs Recipient List

What comes first? The budget or the recipient list? It can be tempting to first create your recipient list. But first, before you do anything, establish your budget and then set that aside. You’ll come back to it later!

Once you have your budget, establish your client recipient list. Do you include ALL of your clients or just your top clients? This will usually depend on the budget you have set. But, it’s always good to have your budget established first so you can then work the recipient list from there. Once you have the list finalized, bump it up against the budget and see if the budget you set is realistic. If not, then expand the budget or begin cutting the list. If you must cut the list (sometimes a very tall task!!), try and cut it based on some sort of measurement. For example, it could be based on the amount of business you’ve done with this client over the last year. This might seem cold or not in the holiday spirit, but you must have some sort of concrete way to eliminate people from the list or you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to decide who stays and who goes. If you’re still unable to cut the list, which by the way happens to me every year when we do our own clients gifts, you can consider creating a lower-tier gift and a higher-tier gift to make sure everyone is covered and budget remains somewhat in tact.

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Timing

When advising our custom gift design clients, I recommend sending gifts as early in December as possible. Reason being…you want to make sure your client receives the gift. The earlier in December you send it, the higher the chances that they’ll actually receive it. Many people leave early in December for holiday vacation or they’re so flooded with gifts from others being sent to the office that you run of the risk of your gift being missed or not seeming as impactful. Or you think you can’t pull it together early, I also recommend bumping the gift send to early January and designing them as celebratory New Years gifts. Think about it this way…clients are rested from the holiday vacation and have returned fresh and ready to begin the new year. What a perfect time for them to receive a gift that will certainly stand out and get noticed!

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Client Demographics

Before deciding the gift contents, you’ll need to consider the gift recipients. Are they mostly male? Mostly female? Or a pretty even mix? Gear the gift contents around what most all of your clients will like and actually use. Gifts can definitely be unisex and still look festive and holiday chic! Or, if your client list is an even split and you’re feeling adventurous, you may consider coming up with a gift design for both male and female so that the gifts feel completely intentional and designed with the recipient in mind.

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Color Palette

At first it might seem impossible to send an on-brand gift for the holidays since not everyone’s branding colors are red and green. However, don’t panic! It’s very possible to create alternate color palettes that remain true to a brand while still having a holiday vibe. Think about wrapping paper, for example. There are countless non-traditional color combinations that still end up looking like the holidays. Blue and white. Aqua and red. (see below!) Pink and red. Green and gold. Red and grey. Black and white. Trust me, with a little creativity, any of these can work beautifully!

Image: Lissa Ryan Photo

Image: Lissa Ryan Photo

Vary the Contents

What’s the first thing you think of when you think of corporate holiday gifts? Probably a fruit basket or a basket containing tons of sweets, am I right? While food items are always appreciated, you should aim to vary the items so your gifts are as impactful as possible. For example, instead of just sending cookies and chocolates, you might also send some coffee to enjoy with the sweet treats. Or, if you’re sending a nice bottle of liquor, you might consider a set of cold drink stones. Not only are these items thoughtful and useful when put together,  they will serve as a reminder of your generosity throughout the new year and beyond. This also increases the likelihood that the gift recipient will be able to enjoy the gift. After all, not everyone likes sweets or they’re trying to avoid sweets, especially around the holidays when weight gain is a thing!

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Distribution

Make a decision on how the gifts will be distributed. Will they be created and shipped directly to you in bulk to personally gift to your clients? Or, do you purchase the gifts and drop ship directly to your recipients. It’s perhaps more personal to give the gifts in person. However, during the holidays, it’s unlikely that you’ll see everyone so better to get it off your list and make sure that everyone on your list receives one!

Image: Elizabeth Fogarty Photography

Image: Elizabeth Fogarty Photography

Theme

When I say “theme” I don’t mean it in a cheesy way. I more mean that every item in the gift should make sense in relation to the others. In other words, try to find items that seem to have a purpose when put together. For example, if you find a gorgeous tin of hot chocolate, the natural next step might be to include a mug to go along with the hot cocoa and make it that much more usable. Then maybe a snack that compliments these items such as gingersnap cookies, biscotti or shortbread.

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

 

The holidays can be stressful enough. There’s no need to wait until the last minute when you can begin making decisions on these points ahead of time. I promise you you’ll be happy you did!

For more information on our Custom Gift Design Service for holiday corporate and client gifting, please visit here. We’d love to help!

 

Gift Box Business Welcomes Summer Intern Sami Walker // Intern Intro

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

Around here, as a gifting service, summer time is the only time of year where might have any hope of getting a small break in the action. Well, not this summer! With a new brand and website in the works, along with a completely new online collection replacing our current collection, this year’s summer intern Sami Walker is in for a treat. She’s going to learn SO much about the inner-workings of a small business, particularly in the areas of marketing, operations, e-commerce strategy, branding, and the list goes on! We’re so excited to welcome Sami to our team and can’t wait for you to get to know her too!

Without further adieu, let’s hear from her in her own words…

Tell Us a Little About Yourself.

Hi! I’m Samantha Walker and I am going to be a senior at the University of Maryland in the fall.  I’m studying Communications and I work at the UMD’s Department of Sustainability.  I have a passion for fitness and overall mental wellness, so it’s not uncommon to find me practicing yoga in my apartment or teaching mindfulness to my friends.  I also love to travel and am currently planning a trip to Thailand!  Lastly, I’m a HUGE dog person (but cats are cute too).  I volunteer walking shelter dogs in DC on the weekends.

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What are you most excited about?

I’m most excited to experience and participate in the artisan gifting process from start to finish.  I love art and design and I can’t wait to see how the team curates personalized gifts for clients as well as the new e-commerce line.  Additionally, I love to write and hope to be involved in some of the blogging and social media efforts!

Where else have you been an intern?

I work at the University of Maryland’s Office of Sustainability as a Communications intern.  I highlight UMD’s efforts toward becoming more sustainable by researching, interviewing, and compiling this information into articles.  On the side, I waitress at Looney’s in College Park.

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What about M&G made you want to apply for the internship?

Marigold & Grey’s online and social media presence is absolutely stunning.  I love pretty things and the gifts M&G makes are so aesthetically pleasing.  Some people hate wrapping Christmas gifts but I love making them beautiful with neat wrapping paper and matching ribbon.  On another note, I really liked the idea of a lifestyle blog accompanying the retail side of the business!

What was the best gift you’ve ever given? And received?

One of the best gifts I’ve given was a graduation gift for my boyfriend.  It was a leather padfolio with his name imprinted on the front.  Of course, I included a picture of the two of us on the inside.  The best gift I’ve ever received was most definitely my DSLR camera!

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Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years I see myself doing communications work for either a fashion-goods or fitness/yoga company. I’d like to be living somewhere not far from a coast. And with a rescue puppy, of course!

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Please join us in giving Sami a warm welcome and stay tuned as I’m sure she’ll be making plenty of appearances on our vlog and youtube channel this summer. (You can subscribe here!) She may even be taking over our Instagram Stories here and there!

VLOG EPISODE 3 // GIFT BOX BUSINESS MARIGOLD & GREY STUDIO TOUR AND MAKEOVER

Posted by: Carla Stubbs | Studio Assistant & Videographer

During our holiday season last year, we pushed the spacial limits of Studio Marigold & Grey to the brink! We ended up moving most of our studio furniture into Jamie’s office to make room for pallets, boxes, basket fill and product for our custom and pre-designed projects. Once we got the studio back to normal in January, we realized that our current set-up just wasn’t working for our ever-growing business anymore. What worked when we moved in almost two years ago, wasn’t allowing for the larger projects, bigger team and operational efficiencies we now needed. We were ready for a studio makeover!

Our main goal was to create a direct line from the front door, all the way to the back of the studio where we build and package our custom gift projects. We also wanted to create an office area that was separate from the rest of the studio so we can keep better organized when large gift builds start to take over the whole studio. Lastly, we wanted to maintain a comfy couch and chair area, what we affectionately refer to as the “Living Room”, for our morning meetings and lunchtime (and let’s face it…an occasional post-work nap for Jamie haha).

Enjoy a peek into the studio makeover and a quick tour of our refreshed space!

Watch episode one and two here and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next upload! And of course, let us know what you think. We always love hearing your feedback!

How to Curate a Father’s Day Gift Box by Artisan Gifting Business Marigold & Grey

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

Finding amazing Father’s Day gift ideas is tough so when Megan of District Desserts reached out to see if we wanted to partner on a Father’s Day Gift-Away including National’s baseball tickets, we knew we were in! We designed a masculine gift box around the baseball tickets and are giving the gift away to one lucky Instagram follower! Around here, we do gift-aways, rather than giveaways, because we believe it’s always better to gift than receive. If you’re the winner, we’ll drop-ship the gift to your recipient of choice! To enter the gift-away, follow @marigoldgrey and @districtdesserts on Instagram, like the post and comment why you should be the winner! Tag others for additional entries! The Gift-Away ends at noon EST on Monday, June 11, 2018. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 12.

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Father’s Day is the perfect chance to celebrate the best guy in your life! Whether its a biological dad, adoptive dad, grandfather, father to your children, or any man who has stepped up in your life, finding the perfect gift for someone so special can be hard! To make it a little easier, we came up with a little formula to build the perfect Father’s Day gift box and are so excited to share it with you!

Tickets

First, we started with tickets to the Nationals vs Orioles baseball game. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be baseball tickets. We also love the idea of concert tickets, movie tickets, theater tickets or even museum tickets. Where ever you choose, the important thing is that you are spending time together! Gifting experiences are equally as special as gifts containing actual “things”.

Snacks 

In keeping with the baseball theme, we added a bag of local peanuts. As another quick snack, we choose an EPIC Protein bar. But you could really opt for any savory snack such as popcorn or even trail mix!

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Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

 

Treats

The real show-stopper in this masculine gift crate is a pair of District Dessert’s custom baseball cookies. But let’s not also forget the bottle of Knob Creek bourbon and two boxes of masculine Sugarfina candy.

Useful Items

Lastly, we added a bar of men’s artisan soap and a pair of navy and red socks. It’s no coincidence that these are Nationals colors but if the guy in your life isn’t a Nats fan, no problem! You can color coordinate with virtually any sports team as there are countless options for multicolor mens socks these days. Have fun with it!

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Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

 

Voila! You’re ready to share the love with the guys in your life!

To check out our full collection of ready-to-ship Pre-Designed Gift Boxes for all occasions, head on over to our online shop. Gifts in the shop have no order minimums and are offered with free shipping.

Vlog Episode 2 // Marigold & Grey Says Goodbye to Director of Operations

Posted by: Carla Stubbs | Studio Assistant & Videographer

A few weeks back we shared that our Director of Operations Kelly was leaving Marigold & Grey to welcome her first child, a baby girl! We were so sad to see Kelly go, but before she left, we knew we wanted to celebrate the huge impact she’s had on Marigold & Grey over the past two years!

Before we could surprise her, we had to finish up a batch of equestrian-inspired wedding welcome gifts for a Maryland farm wedding, photograph them, and deliver them. While Kelly was out making her final gift delivery, we snuck out to grab some cupcakes (and even found a gluten-free cupcake for Jamie!) While it felt silly to give Kelly a gift from our shop, in addition to a few other surprises, we couldn’t resist sending her off with a variation of our very own Mom-to-Be gift, the full Marigold & Grey treatment!

If you haven’t already, be sure to watch Episode 1 and subscribe to our YouTube channel for future episodes coming soon! We’d love to have you follow along! And by the way, if you’re wondering why we decided to start a vlog in the first place, we tell you all about it here.

Custom Client Gifts for Oahu, Hawaii-Based Wedding Photographer Lindsey Roman

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

Oh my goodness, I love these custom client gifts I’m about to share with you! Our wedding photographer client Lindsey of Lindsey Noel Photography (now since rebranded to Lindsey Roman) described her brand to us during the initial phase of our gift design process as “emotional, adventurous and authentic” and it’s no coincidence that the clients she books are much of the same. She describes them as laid back and adventurous. They love to travel and explore while at the same time enjoy coffee shops and snuggling at home with Netflix. So once I heard this and took note of her merlot, black and blush color palette, I immediately knew the direction we needed to go in for her custom client gifts boxes!

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

We selected sturdy kraft boxes for a slightly rugged and unisex feel. We included our signature Mr & Mrs mugs for a bridal-inspired touch while still remaining appropriate for both the bride and groom. We also included fresh coffee beans to accompany the coffee mug set (again, think Netflix and chill) and even used elements of Lindsey’s branding for the coffee packaging. For example, the phrase “for the wild and wonderful” is used throughout her website and so we wanted to carry this through to these curated gift boxes as well for cohesive messaging.

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

To continue the outdoorsy, adventurous feel we included artisan trail mix in matching kraft packaging. And now for my absolute favorite part of all…the custom tea towels! We included one of Lindsey’s favorite bible verses along with some patterns from branding on the towels, specifically “I have found the one whom my soul loves. Song of Solomon 3:4”  This sentiment is absolutely perfect for a couple about to embark upon marriage and not only that but the tea towel will serve as a sweet reminder of their engagement for years to come.

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Custom logo gift tags were created for the outside of the boxes (Just Write Studios) and affixed with gorgeous raw edge merlot ribbon. Last but not least, we included custom stationery inside each box. Each note began with “Hey loves” which definitely reflects Lindsey’s laid back and comfortable nature, one that I’m sure puts all of her clients at ease throughout the entire wedding planning process all of the way up to wedding day.

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Image: Lissa Ryan Photography

Lindsey’s hope was that the gifts would reaffirm in her clients’ minds that they had chosen the best, most thoughtful photographer for them. With the boxes matching her brand aesthetic and vibe, my hope is that we accomplished this for her all while taking the heavy lifting off gifting completely off of her shoulders. We drop-shop each box directly to her clients as soon as they book with her, making it easy for her to focus on what she does best…photography!

For more information on our Custom Gift Design Process for client gifts, please reach out here! We’d love to hear from you and help you express your brand in the form of a gift!