'Tis the season to give, give, give. We went straight to the source to ask some gift giving expert advice: Knack, founded by Laura Jennings (above). Without further ado, we'll let her explain why they are super special, and how you can get in on it this holiday shopping season.
How did Knack get started?
While living in Barcelona, I was inspired by a candy shop that offered a variety of fun labels on its jars, such as “Bad Hair Day” and “For Sundays Without Football.” At the same time, I saw a missed opportunity to go the extra mile by involving the customer in the personalization process and the idea of building an ecommerce business around the "customer as the creative force" came to me.
Knack is a gift-giving solution for the modern person who feels it’s important to give thoughtful gifts, but doesn’t always have time to seek out those unique products themselves. We carefully curate artisan products that tell a story, then allow customers to combine these items together in a way that is meaningful to them. We package each gift set (or “knack”) with great care and include a custom-printed Knackbook, detailing the backstory of each product and the merchants who created them.
Our goal is to help our customers become gift-giving heroes and to inspire the joy and satisfaction one feels when one has given the perfect gift.
How do you pick different brands - are you looking for specific qualities like artisanal, unique, local only, etc.?
We look for exceptional products from merchants with interesting stories and all of our items are quality products that we’d like to own ourselves. Sixty percent of our goods are from right here in the Pacific Northwest.
Customers and gift recipients have the opportunity to discover what makes each artisan so special via our Merchants pages and we recently added our Shop by Value functionality, so they can
easily find merchants that support their personal values, such as Made in the USA, Sustainable, or Women-Owned business. We know each of our merchants personally, because buying from nice people is important to us!
What's your ideal gift?
To me, it’s truly still the thought that counts. An ideal gift is one that makes both the recipient and the giver feel great. If you think about the best gift you’ve ever given, or the most memorable gift you’ve ever received...it’s always the story behind the gift that made it special, not what it cost. The best gift I ever received was a simple baseball from my husband, but the “because” made it a gift I’ll never forget.
This year, I’m giving the Metaporphic Gear Marble Boat Tote to my best friend with a note that says, “This all-upcycled bag will be perfect for your farmer’s market trips, and it’s washable! Made here in Seattle by a truly nice guy.” To my friends Bob and Bonne, I’m giving a Fiveply Design birdhouse with a note that explains that now even the birds on their property will be able to live in a mid-century modern home. My sister loves the color purple, so I’m giving her a purple-themed gift set.
Gift-giving should be an inherently joyous experience, not a chore. And that’s the difference between simply finding something to get it crossed off your list vs. creating something truly unique at Knack. Not only does it take less time, but the custom book included with each gift provides the “because” that turns each gift into a lasting memory.
What's the most popular gift at Knack this season?
Local food gifts are incredibly popular this year. Our corporate customers are going wild for the Seattle gourmet food gift sets Sunday Morning Pancakes and Cherry On Top. Both offer plenty of room for customization. On the consumer front, Hello Robin cookies are flying off the shelf and being sent to out-of-town friends and relatives in gift sets. Knack is currently the only way to enjoy and share these legendary treats without paying a personal visit to the Capitol Hill mecca.
On the higher end, people love the hand-blown whiskey decanter from Seattle’s own Greg Clark of DECICIO Artisan Glass in Ballard. For women, we have a scarf and candle duo called Simple Shimmer that customers are loving, because each gift set benefits girls’ education in India.
Any holiday shopping tips & tricks? Perhaps a little bit of advice for different receivers - the girl who has everything, the techie, the wine connoisseur?
We’ve created our very own Knack 2016 Holiday Gift Guide with our recommendations of top gift picks based on a variety of recipients as a resource. [Some highlights] in addition to local food, we’ve added a selection of great Washington wines and wine accessories to our offerings. We’d highly recommend the Signature Bordeaux & Truffles gift set to anyone who’d like to impress a wine connoisseur, as it features the 2013 Clos de Betz Red Blend. This gift set is the only way to get your hands on a bottle of this particular Betz Family Winery selection without being a wine club member (and that wait list is currently 90+ deep). Our First Class gift set is a great group gift for any jet-setting boss and includes a Carry On Cocktail Kit, leather-bound notebook and wooden earbuds. For the last-minute, indecision-makers out there, Outside the Lines is a gift you can give to anyone for any reason at any time.
On Knack, you can preschedule the delivery of your gifts–so, [if you] shop now, [you can] schedule it for delivery right before the holidays. If you’re in downtown Seattle, we can deliver your gift via Postmates within an hour (great for any last-minute holiday party hostess gifts or office gift exchanges). Or, if you’re in a bind, you can always drop by our Capitol Hill showroom and we’ll have your gift waiting for you.