Gift giving can be such a fun and rewarding process. However, at times finding that perfect present is overwhelming at best. In these stressful situations, it’s good to know we can turn to the professionals! We sat down with Jessica Greenslade, Head of Sourcing at Quintessentially Gifts to learn what it’s like to be a gifting expert!
At Quintessentially, you specialise in finding hard-to-find items. What are some of the most unusual requests you’ve had?
We receive interesting and unusual requests every day. A few of my favourites have included an authentic Medieval Suit of Armour – an interesting take on the 11th wedding anniversary gift which is “steel” – a Savannah Cat, as well as a book signed by Admiral Lord Nelson.
What was the hardest gift you have been asked to source?
We recently had 24 hours to source an exceptionally rare and limited edition Patek Philippe watch. Our team spent the day sourcing the item, and once secured, it had to be hand-collected and own to the client within a few hours.
Visit Patek Philippe’s museum in Switzerland!
Have you ever had to just admit defeat?
Very, very rarely – sometimes certain products just take time to track down. Although we can usually hunt products down in a few hours, we received a request recently for a one-of-a-kind vintage Hermès Birkin bag, which we managed to find in immaculate condition a few months after the original request came in. The client was thrilled that we had not given up and once the bag was secured, we managed to get it to her within 24 hours. We always keep requests open in the hope of being able to find the item – otherwise we can always come up with some fantastic alternatives.
What kind of research do you do to find the perfect gifts?
We try to keep up to date with trending products and work closely with a huge number of designers and artists to see what they are working on. Instagram is the perfect platform to find inspiration and to keep up with special projects, sought-after collaborations and limited edition pieces.
In your experience, is it men or women who are the worst culprits for leaving gifts until the last minute?
Absolutely men – but we often find that a tight deadline makes sure you are able to make a quick decision on instinct, which often makes for the best present!
Do you have a favourite story from your time as a gift sourcer?
One of our clients recently went on holiday and lost a particularly sentimental, vintage ring. Her husband contacted us wanting help in recreating the piece as a surprise gift. We worked from a few photographs of the item and sought the help of a jeweller here in London to not only create a one-of-a- kind incarnation of the ring, but also a matching pair of earrings.
Another of my personal favourites was a client who had recently been named a godparent to her best friend’s baby. As a Christening gift we put together a list of her favourite children’s books and sourced beautiful first editions for each. We also had a custom, personalised wooden chest created to present and store them in.
What’s the best advice you can give to someone for choosing a gift?
We try and learn as much about the recipient as possible so that our suggestions are relevant and personal. Don’t stray too much from their style/what they like, but never go for the failsafe option either, be a little inventive! Gifts with personal significance tend to be the most successful – we spend a great deal of time working with some of our designers on creating gifts where every detail is produced in close conversation with the client, creating a truly original way to honour shared memories or celebrate important life achievements.
What was the best gift you personally have ever received?
I was taken to an immersive theatre experience, it was hands-down the most incredible thing I’ve done and best gift I have ever received!
Need extra help finding the perfect gift? Contact our Gift Finder Service.