It’s Simone LeBlanc’s job to give good gifts. At her boutique gifting studio in L.A., she crafts chic custom baskets, family heirloom cookbooks, and perfectly packaged gifts with an emphasis on thoughtful personalization. We asked her how to go from a run-of-the-mill gifter to someone who gives Santa a run for his money.
How do you give a thoughtful gift?
Keep an eye out for gifts for loved ones all year long. I often pick up pieces that feel just right for someone months away from their birthday or the holidays and store them in a special spot. This helps to avoid the stresses of the holiday crunch and also keeps your gifting process authentic. When you are excited about the gift and can’t wait to give it, that’s a good sign!
How do you find inspiration for the “theme” a gift box might take?
For me, the magic lies in pulling references from high and low, luxurious and DIY, in order to create something that feels cozy, considered, and thoughtful enough to resonate with a variety of people across the board in a fresh and clever way. I aim to build themes that surprise and entice, as well as make you feel comfy and cared for.
We love the family cookbook featured on your site. What’s the key to a successful heirloom gift?
Think about an heirloom gift as just that – a treasure that will be passed down for ages and is meant to tell a story to those who will be here when we are not. If you are making a homemade cookbook with Grandma’s recipes, for example, include stories and memories that you and others in your family would like to share. This offers a perspective that only you and your research can provide. Imagine another family member reliving the experience through your eyes – this is what creates a layered, meaningful gift.
What kinds of details do you think about when choosing gifts for someone?
I seek out the nuances of the recipient’s personality and hone in on the details that give me a greater understanding of their character. I search for that sweet spot where I feel I finally ‘get’ them.
- Where is their favorite place to travel? This will tell me if they take risks or lean towards simplicity and comfort.
- Is there something they have always wanted to do and have not yet done?
- Do they have a favorite novel? A sci-fi lover tends to have very different tastes than a lover of classics for example.
- Do they have a favorite artist or museum? Understanding their visual preferences helps tremendously to build ideas.
- For recipients I’ve never met, I always ask for a photograph. This helps me determine their personality, style, physicality in an instant and adds another layer of depth.
What can a gifter do through packaging to make a gift feel more special?
Most importantly, be thoughtful about the details and realize that your presentation is another moment for you to share your sentiments. Consider the packaging as an extension of the gift and remember it’s the personal thought that makes a gift sing; it’s not about perfection.
- Adding a living floral element is a simple way to add an extra touch. Gather leaves from your garden or even a sprig from your Christmas tree or holiday wreath.
- Add a detail that has special meaning to you. If you have a favorite place that you’ve traveled together, find a stamp or image from that location and adhere it to the gift. If time is on your side, eBay is great for this.
- Use a quirky old photograph as your gift tag. Vintage or childhood photographs add a whimsical touch and are sure to cause a laugh.