Welcome to the second installment of our new mini-feature, in which our in-house Quarterly gifting experts share their own gifting sagas. Last week, we heard from Mark, who got his brother Florencio a great pair of boots (though he wished he could have sent him Poketo or Head Butler). Today we hear from Sarah P., our Lead Buyer (and a person who knows plenty about picking out great gifts).
Trying to convey love and affection through gift giving is often difficult, especially when the person your are gifting to has impeccable taste, a critical eye and is not necessarily the sentimental type. Joe, my boyfriend at the time, was one of those oh-so-hard people to shop for!
Location: New York, NY
Profession: Fashion executive
Occasion: Valentine’s Day 2002
Joe is a well manicured, sharply dressed man who wears smart glasses and a big smile. He has an amazing eye for design and is extremely well traveled. He shops in Milan and New York regularly for work and loves things of the highest quality, but only purchases sparingly.
What was a college student with a small income going to find for this man who had access to what seemed like everything luxurious in the world? I thought since he could buy anything fashion or furnishings related, and knew more about those genres than I did, I would stay away from the usual clothing, cologne and fancy pocket squares gift arena. Plus, those items were out of my budget.
I wanted to get him something personal, but also something he needed, something that looked cool and that he’d hopefully keep. I decided to make him a piece of art and frame it. It was personal, thoughtful and one of a kind. Best of all, he couldn’t purchase it at a department store!
I took inspiration from the large Joan Miro print hanging in his apartment. He had recently refurbished his place but had almost nothing on the walls except the print. I figured he needed the art. I went to the stationery store, chose some beautiful textured white paper as a background, and put together a collection of some personal trinkets, concert tickets, dinner receipts, pictures and quotes I had collaged and photocopied for the black and white aesthetic. I found a black glass floating frame and sandwiched the collage, with a personal note transcribed on the back (only he and I would know it was there once it was hung).
I wrapped the picture in old fashion magazines and some red ribbon I found in the apartment and made a Valentine for him. When Valentine’s Day came, we exchanged gifts at home. He LOVED it! He had never had anyone make him anything, and actually got a little teary eyed. He even claimed to be impressed. He hung it right up in the living room and often made mention of how much he enjoyed seeing in during daily life over the next few years. Success!! With attention to detail and personal interests, plus a little time, energy and sentiment, you can make even the most difficult of people happy with something simple.
Quarterly curator I would have used: Uprise Art & Style Girlfriend
If only I had Quarterly to choose a gift from in 2002—I would have been set! Tze Chun’s curation of up-and-coming artists for the Uprise Art box is both a great concept and masterfully executed. Over the year, the pieces chosen for the subscription add up to the beginnings of a real art collection (#UAQ03 is shown above). Style Girlfriend would be another winner, as Megan Collins includes quality style-centric items perfect for a cosmopolitan businessman.
Sarah is the Lead Buyer at Quarterly where she collaborates with her fellow CTM’s——as well as a variety of artists and entrepreneurs——to develop gifts that tell a story.