Some people have a genius for gift giving. I do not. It’s not that I don’t want to give great gifts, I do. It’s just that by the time I remember it’s my sister’s birthday, it’s two days away and we live across the country from each other so I just email her an Amazon gift certificate and feel guilty.
And for some people, that’s fine. No shame here. But if you, like me, would like to step up your gift giving game as well as wean yourself off the guilty convenience of Amazon, have I got a genius little app for you.
Gleam is a free app that reminds you of gift giving events 20 days before the event. Twenty days! Because the app is unbelievably clever and well thought out, it has an array of gift options you can buy from all manner of small businesses. And because the app reminded you 20 days before the event, there’s plenty of time for the merchant to ship the gift to New Hampshire so your poor sister doesn’t get yet another Amazon gift certificate in her email the day before her birthday.
And who do we have to thank for this genius little life saver?
Sadie Higgins was happily running her mobile brow shaping business when the pandemic swallowed our shared lives. No one was getting their brows shaped and, despite the advice of well meaning family members, Sadie wanted to continue owning and running her own business.
But then the pandemic began impacting Sadie’s life in more ways.
“I was starting to miss birthdays and I wasn’t alone,” Sadie told me as we talked a few weeks ago. “And I started to wonder, why am I so busy when the world has stopped?”
The confluence of these two things led Sadie to begin thinking about the mental load of gift giving. Gift giving falls mainly to women and when women partner up with men, the number of people to buy for can increase exponentially.
A task that brings joy can still be stressful and difficult. For Sadie and many of the women she knew, especially women with large families, gift giving fell squarely into this miasma of wanting the gift to be special because they love the person receiving it but also stressful because gift giving is an ongoing, cyclical task.
And the pandemic made all of it that much harder.
“Because I was not able to physically give someone I loved a gift, there were a lot of last minute Amazon gifts that didn’t feel special,” Sadie said. “And so I really started Gleam for myself!”
Sadie laughs at this but the fact is when someone invents a product to fill a personal need, often there are thousands of people struggling with the same problem.
With all the available ecommerce, not just Amazon but literally thousands of businesses waiting online to mail any imaginable thing anywhere in the world, what problem does Gleam solve?
“Gleam is gift giving without stressing, especially for people with large families,” Sadie explains. “And because we partner with small businesses that are as green and ethically sourced as possible, users can feel better about what they’re giving.”
With the increasing concerns about what Amazon is sending out, it’s helpful when someone else researches the quality of what we’re buying. Add to that the increasing interest in supporting small businesses and Gleam helps address a lot of the underlying stress people feel when buying anything, not just gifts. And the fact is, there are a lot of people who want a gift giving experience that feels authentic not only to them but also to the person they’re giving something to.
Knowing that a gift came from a small business that truly cares about the environment or human rights tells the receiver that the giver thought not only about what they want but what matters to them in a larger sense.
Let’s talk a little about the gift itself.
I mean, if your cousin has a garage decked out to look like the batcave then by all means, be a jerk and get them a Superman cookie jar (that might be based on a true story).
But there are some names on my Christmas list that make me break out into a cold sweat.
Gleam has a solution! Instead of a specific wishlist, which for certain people is perfect and use it or else, Gleam allows users to send a simple two question query to the giftee. It also has an option for the giftee to say what they don’t want. You could buy me candles every holiday for the rest of my life and I would be happy. If you buy my aunt a candle, she will hand it back to you and tell you to get out of her house.
Sometimes it matters more what not to get someone.
As I write this, spring is meandering into summer and summer can be crunch time when it comes to gift giving.
“For me, every month has between three to six events to buy for,” Sadie said. “But then there’s graduations and Father’s Day and then wedding season.”
I made a little exploding sound and she agreed. If you are even slightly interested in how this all works, now is the time to get started.
Take a minute and check your calendar for the next four months. That’s June to September. Then we’re into October which is Halloween, then November and Thanksgiving and then all the winter holidays and then it’s January.
Now, go download Gleam (available on android and apple, thank you for that Sadie!) and begin inviting people straight from your contacts list. They click on the link you sent them and answer a few questions regarding the important dates in their lives as well as what they do and don’t prefer.
Birthdays, anniversaries, important dates of all kinds are stored in the app and then 20 days before the event, the app sends you a text with gift suggestions specifically for that person or people (anniversary gifts can be so hard to get right). And, if you didn’t get around to getting a gift at the 20 day reminder, another reminder is sent at ten days and then, if you just couldn’t manage it then, a reminder is sent day of so you can send a text or, you know, email a gift certificate from one of the great small businesses you found through Gleam!