Customize Your Gifts This Season
Every year without fail, a couple I know gives all their friends a set of personalized notecards for Christmas – myself included. And each Christmas, no matter what else I may receive, I am truly grateful for those notecards because not only do they replace the cards I had been using all year round, but because I feel special receiving them. It’s not every day someone has taken the care to give me something with my name embossed on it.
Monograms – a sign of identity usually formed by the combined initials of a name—have been used as early as the Greek and Roman empires. Greek and Roman rulers used monograms as a royal seal, carved into coins to depict the ruler of the season and used as currency. In the Middle Ages, artists and artisans personalized their works of art with their initials and aristocrats used monograms to mark their personal property. Associated as a symbol of aristocracy, both upper class and lower class families took on the monogram for everything, from embroidery on linens to stamps.
Today, monogramming and personalization are used on pretty much anything that can be embroidered or embossed. Why do we love customized presents so much? Well, because absolutely everyone craves acknowledgement. In short: we like putting “brand” on our things because it gives us a sense of identity.
This holiday season show your loved ones your care and attention with customized gift items that are always well received. Make an ordinary bag or notepad extraordinary with a name or monogram. Why? Taking the time to give a monogrammed gift speaks volumes of not just the receiver but also the giver. It says, “I am thinking of you” in a special way.
Medium sized pouches perfect for traveling
It has been a pleasure to be both giver and receiver of personalized gifts. Last Christmas, I gave close friends and family personalized Assumption plaid pouches and pencil cases, one of our batch projects from AC High School class of 1992. Aside from being a nostalgic gift idea, part of the proceeds of this project will benefit the Assumption Mission Schools—giving everyone warm fuzzies all around. For my niece and sister’s birthdays, I gifted them personalized silver necklaces in Assumption script written by our former Assumption teacher Mrs. De Guzman, another one of our batch projects. To order these items and more, visit the AC92 Store on Facebook.
Plexiglass trays and boxes
Another reason why entrepreneurs have been making their own personalized items for sale is because they were looking for a particular item that simply could not be found elsewhere.
Yssa Vistan, of Customized Chic started a business of making personalized items in October 2014 with her very first product, a plexiglass tray. “I was looking for unique Christmas gifts and decided to try making some on my own. Thanks to very supportive friends, such as Margie Duavit who gave me my first bulk order, we now offer many other personalized items such as embroidered items stamps, paper inlaid items and now, even custom-made clothing,” she says.
Those who entertain at home will love receiving monogrammed glassware and her ice bucket. Her plexiglass products are not only beautiful but practical as they are easy to clean and are more lightweight and affordable than glass. I recently ordered a beautiful plexiglass box to fit both my 5ml and 15ml Young Living essential oils as well as showcase my pretty diffuser.
Yssa works with two part-time artists—one she met online years ago and now a good friend and the other, her cousin. “I’m lucky because they are both really gifted. I just communicate my ideas and they make them come to life,” she shares.
Self-inking name stamps
This passion project has led Yssa to meet so many people and forge many treasured friendships. Because of Yssa’s customers who patronize Customized Chic, her artisans are able to sustain their families, too. “I think these are the greatest consolation of all,” she says.
To order from Customized Chic, there is a six-week lead time on bespoke bags, all plexiglass items and two to three weeks for all other items including stamps, paper wrappers, and gift bags.
Envelopes, liners, notepads and correspondence cards
Stationery lover Vicky Tensuan was looking for a particular style of stationery but couldn’t find it so in 2013 she decided to make a line of her own. A doodler of plants and flowers, Whisk Designs started out with paper products such as correspondence cards, memo pads, and gift tags. From here, Vicky’s foliage and flora found its way onto cologne, valet trays, placemats and ceramics, moving Whisk Designs from a paper company to a lifestyle concept.
Personalized scented soy candles
Opening a business has taught Vicky to balance both the left and right sides of her brain. Two years ago, after drawing, painting and finalizing designs on Photoshop for three days straight with no sleep, Vicky woke up without any more design ideas. “I thought I could pick up where I left off. Wrong! My mind was completely blank, yet still restless. As it turned out, I had neglected the ‘admin’ side of my business: costing, haggling with retail partners, comparing and bidding out suppliers—everything that had to do with logic, math and linear thinking,” she says.
Plates by Whisk Designs
From working as an editor for publications to running her own business, Vicky found out that being an entrepreneur comes with its own set of challenges. She tries to keep her business hours from 9AM to 6PM, Mondays to Fridays. “I try to resist the urge of bringing my laptop out during the weekends, but if you need to meet a deadline, or have orders delivered, you do what you need to do,” she shares.
Though working from home and keeping an eye on her family and her plants is one of the biggest benefits of being an entrepreneur, being her own boss means Vicky has to be answerable to herself. “I work better and faster under pressure, but if a deadline is headed my way and I don’t feel like doing it, I don’t,” says Vicky. She has to deal with suppliers from both in and out of the metro—some who don’t deliver on time, but being able to do errands effortlessly on weekdays or not deal with traffic when she’s sick, makes it all worthwhile. “Of course, the joys of hearing new and returning clients so happy with their orders cannot be put into words!
Some popular designs for cups and saucers
Currently, in addition to orders from retail partners, Whisk Designs has been doing a lot of work for corporate clients such as company branding, website artwork, press gift ideas and a project Vicky is excited about: an upcoming book. “My light bulb has been on again for the past few days, which means I’m on to creating new products for Whisk!”
To order from Whisk Designs, expect a leadtime around 10 working days, but during peak season, give an allowance of three weeks maximum to ensure your gift orders come in on time.
Do your holiday shopping early, online and in bulk with customizable gift items such as these and you might just have a more enjoyable Christmas season ahead.