Friday, February 29, 2008

9 Tips to Shop for People Who Have Everything:

We all have these darling people on our lists: important members of our lives that we dream to wow and stun with thoughtfulness and generosity.

Problem:

They have everything: the greatest collection of gadgets, bags, clothes, toys, bells and whistles. Most of all, they can afford anything they want. How do you get them something original and affordable?

Idea-Inside:

It is really hard to just browse in-store or online and find the products with the ingenious idea inside already. Here are some tips on coming up with original concepts. Once you have the seed of an idea, then you can go search for the goods that embrace it.

1) Observe what they buy for other people.

Everyone buys stuff that they secretly wish they would receive.

2) List their top 3 favorite television shows.

This will tell you what his or her style is. Is she pristine + perfect or bohemian chic? Is he down to earth + practical or metro-sexual + flashy? Once you narrow down their style, go to the brands that represent it. There you will have a much narrower pool of products to choose from. Who is his/her favorite character in the show? Maybe you can get something to emulate that character – a notebook, a pair of earrings or even simply the DVD set of the show.

3) List their top 3 favorite activities.

Few people actually notice what others do on their free time. If you pay attention, you will come up with ideas that are subtly soul-touching. Are they gym-aholics, bookworms or TV-junkies? Knowing what they do for fun, can help you come up with ideas for tools and kits that might make the activity more enjoyable. Consider getting a set of engraved bookmarks with a theme around their favorite topics, or a beach chair for outdoor reading pleasure, or even a brand new set of baking gadgets.

4) List their top 3 everyday chores.

Think about how to turbo charge their everyday chores. Whether it be sprucing up the everyday commute with a satellite radio or easing the cleaning efforts with a robotic vacuum, these ideas will get you brownie points everyday, for a long time.

5) List their top 3 favorite magazines.

Here's a fast one: browse through the latest issues for shopping ideas. Along the same lines as television shows and activities, magazines are a great resource for you to peek into their world of inspiration. Turn their dreams into a reality by getting them started on a new spa-membership or cooking class.

6) Budget on the Back-Burner.

Remember the dollar amount does not always bring in the wow-factor. So, come up with the idea first. What kind of problem do you want to solve? What kind of potential can you fill? Once you zero in on the idea, there are always the low, medium and high price options, easily available on the web. So don't let this constraint get in the way of coming up with a great gift idea.

7) Putting it together.

Sometimes, the perfect gift does not stand alone. Think outside the box and assemble the different parts of the idea. Maybe you need to go to the gardening store for the purple carrot seeds + the home store for the oversized terra-cotta pots + the museum for the avant-garde watering can to make the ultimate gardening kit.

8) Better Now than Later.

Late is not always better than never. Getting the perfect gift for those who have everything is really hard. Sometimes we can get so tired from the process that we procrastinate and decide to get the great gift later. But remember the exhilaration of a birthday, anniversary or promotion peaks on the day of. Perfect gifts that arrive late miss the wave of excitement. Even if it is your second best option, gifts that catch the wave, are much better than belated blessings. Plus, only you know, it is 2nd best.

9) Trust Your Gut.

Don't let the devil's advocate sway you from your inventive idea. It is easy to think, "Well, will she ever use it?" "Maybe he has that already" or "Maybe I need something with a big brand name…"

Some of the best gifts I have received, I never even thought I would need. But once they blended into my lifestyle, I cannot live without them. If it weren't for the thoughtful, observant people in my life, I would never have gotten them myself. So trust your gut. You know them, the darlings in our lives, who have everything, better than you know.

Get ideas now.

Shop for her, him, baby, foodie, gadgeteer, accessories-lover, stationery-collector.