Vendor Spotlight: Noelle Parent with Gifted
Meet Noelle Parent, the Owner and Lead Curator for Gifted. Noelle’s one-of-a-kind service is perfect for any gift you will ever need and the best part about it, it’s also SO Richmond!
Tell us a little about your company
Gifted is a curated gift box company that specializes in local products for all occasions. The majority of our products are made right here in Richmond, with some products made in other areas of Virginia. We love our community and the wonderful products that are made here.
How did you get started in this business?
I spent 13 years in the hospitality industry as a sales manager. I contracted and coordinated room blocks and social events. My clients were always asking me to assist them with welcome bags for their room blocks or gift baskets for their clients that would be staying in the hotel. People were looking for something different than your typical cellophane wrapped gift basket, they wanted something with more of a wow factor so I would often end up creating something for them on my own.
The last hotel I worked for was the fabulous Quirk Hotel. As part of the opening team at Quirk, we wanted to make sure that we supported our local community. My adventures in creating gifts for guests and clients continued through my role as sales manager and finally, I decided that this was a service that many people need! This was really when the idea came together. I wanted to continue supporting our local community and I wanted to provide people with an easy way to provide their clients and/or loved ones with truly meaningful gifts. With the help of a program called CoStarters, gifted was born!
What’s your favorite wedding story?
We aren’t usually as involved in the wedding itself, but we do get to help plan some of the most meaningful moments for the wedding weekend. Whether it is a gift to thank your parents or welcome gifts for your guests coming in from out of town, giving gifts to those that have supported your relationship are some of the most cherished moments on your wedding day.
In December 2017 I helped a lovely couple create custom welcome gifts for their guests. We worked together to create gifts that were unique to them and included an itinerary for their wedding weekend as well as the colors of their wedding. One of my favorite items in the gift was the individually boxed donuts from Sugar Shack! That same weekend, I was participating in a local market and I started up a conversation with someone at my booth. During the conversation, the lady started describing the awesome gift that they had received from the bride and groom when they checked into the hotel. As she described the gift I realized that it was one of the gifts that I had created! We both laughed at the coincidence and she said she couldn’t wait for her own daughter to get married so that she could get creative with their own wedding gifts.
We so rarely get to see the reaction from the people who receive our gifts so it was very special to see how much this recipient had enjoyed it.
Why do you like working with weddings?
Weddings are where we really get to be creative. We have a line of pre-designed gifts that can be purchased for next day delivery. These gifts are most often used by corporate clients and last minute gift givers. Weddings give us an opportunity to do some customization and create something that is unique to the couple and really reflects their relationship.
What is the most difficult situation you have faced with a couple and how did you resolve it?
We have been very fortunate with our clients so far. I would say that the most challenging situation has been when we had a large order that came in just two weeks before the event. We were able to fulfill the order but we had to make some adjustments when one of the suppliers was not able to provide their product on such short notice. We were able to find a reasonable alternative that was still within the couple’s price range and the couple was very understanding, as they were aware that we were working on a shorter timeline than usual.
From a vendor’s perspective, what is the one best piece of advice you can offer to engaged couples?
Get things checked off of your list early! We have a lot of couples who come to us just weeks before their wedding. There will be lots of details that need to be finalized in the month before your wedding. The earlier you book your vendors, the more time you will have to customize and simplify your wedding day. When decisions have to be made at the last minute, you may have to make sacrifices for the sake of time.
How far in advance should couples book your services?
Ideally, couples should reach out to us a minimum of 3 – 4 weeks before their event. Since many of our products are handmade, they take time to make. Once a client has reached out to us, we will start the process of customizing a gift idea for them. Once the order is finalized, it typically takes two weeks for the order to be processed.
However, we do have several pre-designed gift options that are available for next day delivery Tuesday through Saturday.
What inspires you the most / where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from the makers themselves. I love going to local markets and getting ideas for new gift boxes. Sometimes, if I love a product enough, I’ll design an entire gift box around it. When people make things by hand, they have so much passion for their product. You find out such unique stories about where the product came from and the hands that made it.
What do you like to do when you are away from work?
When I’m not working, I’m usually spending time with my family and working on self-care. As entrepreneurs, we tend to throw ourselves into our business and we forget to take days off! I love yoga and reading for relaxation and whenever I can, I like to try new restaurants in Richmond. I’m not a big fan of winter, so I’m a homebody in the colder months, but as soon as it gets warm, I’ll be outside as much as possible.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
When I first started working in hospitality, I had planned on being a Pastry Chef. I worked my way up to Assistant Pastry Chef before I realized that I enjoyed eating food more than I enjoyed making it. Over the years, I’ve put on my chef hat and made a few wedding and birthday cakes for friends and family.
You can learn more about Noelle and the rest of his team at Gifted on their website.
Photo Credits: Sarah and Dave Photography