We are thrilled to interview the founder of one of our stockists, Don't Buy Her Flowers Ltd, Here we chat with founder, Steph Douglas, about building the gifting brand, what 'thoughtful gifting' means to her, and why we should be broadening gifting far beyond flowers!
Tell us about Don't Buy Her Flowers - what made you start the brand?
After the birth of my first child I was gifted 8 bunches of flowers. I knew everyone meant well but at the same time, it felt like a totally bonkers gift to buy a new mum who was doing more caring than she’d ever done in her life. The flowers were just one more thing to take care of!
Because I felt this way, when friends were having their babies, I started to send them little care packages - nothing fancy, but something that was just for them. And this is where the idea for Don’t Buy Her Flowers came from.
We launched in 2014 with gifts for new mums but very quickly our customers started sending our gift boxes for lots of other reasons. There are so many times in life when people can benefit from receiving something lovely in the post that is just for them, that shows them they are not alone. People now send our gift boxes for celebrations and birthdays, as well as when people are going through a tough time, or could just do with a little pick-me-up.
What does thoughtful gifting mean to you?
Thoughtfulness is a core value for us so it has to run through everything we do in the business.
The gifts that land on recipients’ doorsteps are beautifully wrapped and accompanied by a hand-written personal message tag but for us, it goes even deeper than that. From the suppliers we work with, to the products we stock, to the tone of all our marketing activity, to the way we work with our team - we do our best to keep it all coming back to thoughtfulness.
What are 3 things to think about when giving gifts to show you care and make your gifts unique?
Being the founder of a gifting company means I get asked this ALOT. It definitely piles on the pressure when I’m giving gifts and I can’t get away with anything rubbish! I have a few thoughts…
Firstly, being a good gift-giver is not about spending lots of money. It’s far nicer to receive a simple gift that reflects what I’m actually interested in, rather than something that is really expensive but might sit in a cupboard unused.
I also think gifts should never come with a task. It’s why at DBHF we don’t think flowers make a good gift in lots of situations - because after you’ve received them you have to look after them! In a similar vein, ANYTHING that has a household chore attached to it is not a gift. If you give them a new vacuum cleaner, frying pan or lawn mower, you’re giving them a task, not a gift (unless they’ve specifically asked for it).
Another one of my golden rules of gifting is ‘trade-up’! It’s a good way to make sure the person you’re giving the gift to will like it. Basically, you look at what they already have and use, and you gift them a more luxurious version of it. You can be confident it won’t be a waste, and they are treated to something special.
April is Stress Awareness Month - what are your top tips for reducing and/or dealing with stress?
Anyone who follows me on Instagram, or knows me in real life, will tell you I definitely experience stress and overwhelm at times. It’s a vicious cycle of taking more and more on until the wheels start to come off, and then I realise I’ve taken on too much so I start to take things out again. Then I feel better, so guess what I do? I start to add all the things back in again…It’s a never ending battle but there’s a reason why people call this stage of life ‘The Rush Hour’. Sometimes I think we just have to accept things are going to be a bit messy at times and not beat ourselves up about it.
A couple of things that definitely help me are to make sure I regularly take time out for myself to spend time with friends, or I play netball - not because I’m good at it, but because I really enjoy it. It’s important to try and keep something for yourself so you don’t feel like you’re disappearing under the weight of all the stuff. It’s not easy to do, but it always makes me feel better.
I also nap. Whenever and wherever I can, mostly on the weekend when Doug, my husband, can supervise the kids and I can switch off from work for a little while. When I say naps save lives, I’m not messing around.
If you were making a self-care gift box for a loved one who was dealing with a stressful time, what would you put in it?
Dream question because it means I get to rave about the gorgeous products - most of them from other small businesses - that we stock.
Someone who is going through a difficult time will appreciate feeling like someone has thought of, and cared for, them. Our original Care Package is a gift box people often send to someone going through a stressful time and includes a choice of magazines, delicious Traybakes bars, Montezuma’s chocolates, teas, and a reusable cup to drink it from. If I thought they’d benefit from a break from cooking, I’d also include a Cook voucher so they could stock the freezer with some delicious frozen meals.
If they were someone who’d really enjoy some time to pamper themselves I would probably use our Create a Gift Box option. This is a build-your-own gift box where you can choose from over 250 products to put together a bespoke gift box. I’d definitely include some EthicaCBD Oil, some cosy cashmere socks for a touch of lux, This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, and (of course) a Silk Collection Eye Mask to help with a good night’s sleep, or maybe even a nap.