Whether it's a birthday, holiday or other special occasion, there are many times throughout the year that people need to purchase gifts. But finding the perfect one isn't always easy, and sometimes, you just don't want to give the same old predictable present.
Fortunately for gift givers, plenty of startups offer unique and exciting ways to show someone you care. From mobile gift cards to video gift messages, these 10 businesses are putting a new spin on the art of gift giving.
If you're mailing a gift to someone far away, you might wish you could be there in person to give your recipient a thoughtful, face-to-face greeting along with his or her present. Vift, a video messaging service, allows you to record or upload a video for your recipient that arrives digitally the moment that the physical package arrives. All you need is the person's contact information (email or mobile phone number) and the package tracking information, and your Vift message will arrive within 60 seconds of the carrier's delivery confirmation notice. Alternatively, you can schedule your message for a specific date and time. Giving your recipient the ability to hear and see you right when he or she receives the package you sent adds an extra-thoughtful touch to your gift.
With Sugarwish, you can send anyone a personalized assortment of candies without even asking them about their favorites. All you have to do is select a size — 4, 8 or 16.25-pound (0.11 kilograms) bags of candy — personalize an e-card and send the gift to your recipient. Your recipient will receive an email with your e-card and a coded link to the Sugarwish website, where he or she can select candies for the box. Once your recipient has submitted those choices, Sugarwish packages up the gift and sends it out. If you're sending this sweet-tooth-approved gift to friends, family, employees, clients or even your boss, Sugarwish makes it easy for you to send a thoughtful gift by giving someone exactly what he or she wants.
Giftsnideas is an international gift-sending website that allows customers to send special gifts to more than 180 countries. The staff hand-picks a wide variety of gifts from around the world, and customers are able to browse the wide array of products. You can find the perfect gift for every occasion, knowing it can be sent to your loved ones, no matter how far away they live.
Gift baskets are a fun and exciting way to give a variety of items that your recipient can use. However, compiling and packaging a basket on your own can be time-consuming and expensive. GiftTree creates beautiful themed gift baskets, all hand-assembled, that are designed to have an impact on the people who receive it. You can search baskets by price, occasion and gift type. In addition to its keepsake baskets, GiftTree also offers an extensive collection of personalized and engraved gifts for all occasions.
This company allows you to design and send a custom bottle of wine to anyone you wish. Personal Wine offers red, white and sparkling varieties in standard and mini bottles, and all options are sommelier-tasted and approved. Once you've selected the wine you want to give, you can design a custom label, complete with personalized text and photos. Custom labels come free with your wine purchase, but you can also engrave a bottle for an additional fee.
Personal Creations offers a personalized gift-sending experience, selling a wide range of thoughtful and fun gifts. All products offered are available to etch, monogram or embroider with names, initials or a personalized message. Personal Creations focuses on major holidays, and releases limited-time items for each occasion.
Collecting cash from a group to buy a gift for your boss, friend or a loved one can get complicated. The next time you plan to collaborate on a group gift, make it easier with GiftStarter. This business combines crowdfunding and gift giving to help you give personalized, meaningful gifts without the hassle of keeping track of who owes how much. You can search GiftStarter's website to find a gift (there are currently more than 4 million products to choose from) or work with a concierge to create a custom gift. From there, you can split the cost evenly into "pieces" that can be adjusted, depending on the number of people contributing. Once you've chosen your gift and you have split it up, you can invite the rest of the gift-giving group to contribute online. GiftStarter will then deliver the gift with a card featuring the contributors' personal messages.
Nowadays, everything is going mobile — including gift giving. With Gyft, you can give and manage gift cards from your mobile device, so you never have to carry around pesky plastic cards (or worry about losing them) every time you want to spend your gift money. Users can purchase and send gift cards that can be used at more than 200 retailers, from department stores to restaurants and everything in between. Recipients can manage and redeem their gift cards from the app on their iOS or Android devices.
Giftagram's sole purpose is to make gift giving an easier process. It is a free, easy-to-navigate app that offers users instant access to a marketplace of hand-picked, curated products. Giftagram uses propriety technology to send items that are chosen with a smartphone or tablet in just three clicks. First, choose your gift from a selection of high-quality products from local and international retailers. Next, enter your recipient's information so Giftagram can contact the person via text or email about your gift. Once the recipient enters his or her address, the company will ship the gift.
Handwrytten allows you to send real cards and notes, with a message that's handwritten in ink. Simply pick out a card and type your message, and the website's robotic handwriting machines will "wryte" messages in a variety of different handwriting styles, from casual to fancy. The card is then sealed in an envelope, addressed, stamped and sent out for delivery. The starting price is $3 per card — which can be cheaper than cards in stores — making Handwrytten an extremely economical way to send meaningful notes.
Additional reporting by Brittney Helmrich and Nicole Taylor.