Present Perfect

The Gift House which handled the gifting at the Ambani pre-wedding celebrations specialises in curating personalised gifts, hampers and party favours, while offering a wide range of options for every occasion

Looking for the perfect gift to give a friend, spouse or your family? Look no further than The Gift House, a brainchild of Vanessa Almeida. Vanessa started on a venture, Silver Stitches with two other partners with their main focus on embroidered towels and baby items. As they grew, the team realised that people associated them with tailoring services more than personalised gifts. A few years later, as she took over the business entirely and with the support of her partners who turned vendors, and a branding consultancy, she rebranded the business to something easier to identify with, and thus The Gift House was born. The Gift House specialises in a variety of party favours and takeaways for special occasions. “Currently we are busy with orders coming in for unique and creative party favours and takeaways for special occasions as well as in-room hampers and gifts for destination weddings. We try to focus on items that are utilitarian more than just being showpieces that gather dust on shelves. However, we specialise in customised and curated hampers with touches of personalisation on certain gifts. We believe that gifts symbolise so much more than we realise and making our loved ones feel special on days we want to celebrate them is a beautiful thing,” adds Vanessa. The Gift House handled the gifting for guests at the Ambani pre-wedding celebrations held in Jamnagar recently. Vanessa elaborates on the experience saying, “We took a 66 member team to Jamnagar in February to pack and deliver over 8000 gifts to the guests and VIPs of the Ambani family for the pre-wedding celebrations. It was exciting and hectic and managing something on this scale was definitely a memorable experience. We got to see so many people in person that we usually only see on our TV sets and phone screens and to be able to hear the ‘oohs and aahs’ as we placed their gifts in their rooms made us so much more grateful to be doing the work that we do.” The Gift House’s expertise extends to the festive season as well, especially during Diwali and Christmas, the preparations for which begin in the months of June and goes up to August. “We start advertising our specials from September. For Christmas, we make a lot of handmade and personalised Advent calendars, Christmas wreaths, tree ornaments, personalised stockings and ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ onesies (our bestsellers).

The baby onesies are always a big hit along with other personalised Christmas décor.” Given the endless packaging and wrapping that goes into gifting, a lot of people are looking for sustainable options. “Our take on sustainability is the fact that we don’t have mass produced items on our shelves. Since everything is made- to-order, there is barely any waste and we have only what is needed. For hampers, we use and promote baskets, trays and bags that are made of wood, cane, straw, jute, canvas and other natural and degradable materials instead of plastic bags and trays,” explains Vanessa. Vanessa absolutely loves what she does and watching people’s faces light up with joy on receiving a gift from The Gift House is something she enjoys. “Other than watching people’s faces light up with joy there are so many times where we have made mementos for peoples’ loved ones who have passed away. The tender emotions that reach us are something that we can’t really put into words. But it makes us ever so grateful for being able to evoke cherished memories from the smallest little things.” Creativity is another aspect of her job that Vanessa revels in. “There’s a whole bunch of creative people out there and I work with so many of them. It’s inspiring to say the least.”

Being an entrepreneur and a mother is no mean feat but Vanessa has been able to stand strong through various challenges. “I started off knowing nothing about running a business at the age of 24 while being a young mum. I didn’t have a mentor and so the learning curve in business and balancing both work and life was pretty steep. I don’t shy away from saying I had a failed business prior to Silver Stitches because that’s the business that taught me the most. It’s one thing to make and sell things and a whole different thing to turn it into a fully functional business that allows you stand on your own feet and live a good life. Since I work from home – my biggest challenge is to stop working and to take a break. Sometimes you just tend to reach a point of exhaustion without realising it because you enjoyed the process so much. Social media and WhatsApp make it so difficult since customers tend to message their requirements when they are done with their work day and I feel the need to respond to queries immediately. So I had to learn to put my work down and stick to certain timings at least.” Vanessa plans to focus on being as creative as possible and growing The Gift House while spreading love and joy with her creations.

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