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We start planning our client Christmas gift at least four months before the silly season begins, ensuring we maximise the conceptual process and allow for sufficient development, as it’s a great opportunity to show off our creativity when we are bound by nothing more than budget.

2017’s gift began over a cup of tea as we put our heads together and dreamt up some ideas that would delight our clients, and something we’d be stoked to receive ourselves. Not surprisingly we decided on a giant custom block of chocolate in the shape of our logo (think Spruik meets Willy Wonka)!

We were pumped to get underway and after deciding on the overall height and size, we were required to wait for 4 weeks while our logo was hand-sculpted from clay and then cast into a silicon mold.

Mold


The first, second, third, fourth and fifth attempts (you get the picture) weren’t overly successful. The chocolate cracked when we pushed it out of the mold and no matter how attentive we were, or how many various melt and set temperatures we trialed, the unruly dot of the ‘i’ always broke off, even when the other letters remained perfectly in place. It was a frustrating exercise to say the least.

Chocolate


With a bit of disappointment, we finally admitted defeat. It just wasn’t reproducible on a scale any larger than a one-off and we only had a few weeks left to get all our gifts made.

Turning to Plan B, we thought a selection of honeys would make a great gift as they’re something that can easily be shared and enjoyed by the whole family at Christmas, but aren’t perishable or notoriously hard to package and ship like cold meats or cheeses. New Zealander’s are also renowned for making a great range of experimental honeys, some in very exotic flavours, and so with a love for local products, we chose to gift J.Friend’s honeys along with a dipper from Milly’s Kitchenware.

Taking inspiration from boutique chocolate boxes, we decided some uniquely designed cardboard packaging would house the honey quite nicely and also wow our clients when gifted. We made mini mock ups of shapes and sizes, painstakingly ensuring both honeys and dipper fit perfectly (it was very mathematical), but unfortunately we once again encountered the problem of not being able to properly reproduce our concept, this time due to our one restriction of budget.

Dieline


After further deliberation we decided our packaging structure was sound, but we needed to re-evaluate the materials we used to create it. So instead of an intricate cardboard base we got in touch with a local supplier who works with timber and asked him to create some recycled timber serving boards, with routered circles to accommodate the honeys. The timber was pulled from a classroom at Sellwyn College, which was a really cool story, and we had our logo engraved on side of the board for long-standing brand impact.

Honeys


Designing the additional packaging including a sleeve that held all the items together and a small brochure that explained the various honeys, their flavour profiles and recommended pairings was a great opportunity to show off our design flair and further personalise the gift for each client. We were really pleased with the final products and our clients were both inquisitive and impressed when they received their Christmas ‘thank you.’

Packaging


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Click here to read 10 tips for effective corporate gift giving.

– Simone Cashmore