Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Do you give good gift? I know I myself feel that my gifts always seem a little lame and limp when settled next to a nice big pile of well-wrapped gifts at a birthday party, anniversary celebration, or baby shower. I'm just not that good at picking, wrapping, or ribboning gifts for others. It is something I am working on - check out the little gift I brought my friend in Mexico hand-wrapped by ME! In the meantime I think some things are better left to the pros...

Jenny Heffer creates great gifts. She is incredibly thoughtful and has really good taste - a winning combination. Jenny and I were new friends when I had Sophie almost three years ago. The week she was born Jenny gifted me with a basket filled with special items from a local farmer's market. The basket itself was beautiful and now holds toys in our TV room - but the goodies inside were the best part. There was fresh baked bread, homemade pesto sauce, pasta, whipped chive butter, fresh mozzarella, lemon curd, cookies, and a precious little box of hand-picked berries. They were all the ingredients to make a special meal. Not just one meal actually - but many! It was divine.

Now that I have you salivating... Read on for more information about the gifts that Jenny can create. Keep in mind that Mother's Day (spoil us husbands!), Father's Day, and Graduations are just around the corner. I know where I will be shopping for teacher gifts this year!

Q&A with Jenny Heffer, The Jonas Collection

What is the Jonas Collection?

I have always loved giving gifts and selecting the perfect present has always given me great pleasure. I think we all want to give meaningful presents, but too often our intent gets lost in our busy lives. I create custom gifts for all occasions and for any need. I have some already-assembled seasonal gifts and I also create custom gifts to suite your individual wishes and price point. 

How do you come up with ideas for your gift sets/baskets?
My gift ideas come from my customers' individual needs or I draw inspiration from vintage items. One particular need that has come up repeatedly is a hostess gift. This is the perfect opportunity to bring something a little different and special. I have a collection of many beautiful dishes that can be paired with jams, honeys, nuts, olives, soaps or creams -- the selection is endless. One customer wanted a small gift to let a friend know she was thinking of her. I choose three different sweets and displayed them on a vintage blush colored dish. What I love about both of these presents is that long after the perishable part of the gift is enjoyed there is still a component that lasts. Each time it is used the recipient will think about the person who gifted it to them.

Who is the ideal buyer?
My ideal customer is anyone who wants to give thoughtful gifts but who may not have the time to seek out vintage items or to put together a custom gift. My customers and I work together, they have as much input as they would like. This can range from as little as telling me about the person and occasion to having significantly more input. It is a very personalized service that's intended to provide each customer with exactly what he or she needs.

What makes a customized gift so special? 
It shows people that you are thinking about them. It also makes them feel special to have someone really think about what they would enjoy. Giving a gift does not have to be an item checked off of your to do list. It should be an opportunity to celebrate someone in your life. I also think that many gifts, especially childrens', have become somewhat disposable. One of the first gifts I made contains everything a family needs to celebrate the Night Before Christmas year after year. I love the idea of promoting family traditions and allowing objects to develop their own history and stories.

What is the process for getting an "a la carte" gift basket made?
I speak with my customers in person, by phone or via e-mail. All I need to know is who you need a gift for and when you need it. We can speak about what I currently have available or create something entirely new.

Who generates basket gift/ideas- you or the customer?
Both. I have a collection of many vintage items and endless ideas of how to put them together. These range from hostess gifts to larger specialized items. Customers can come to me when they need one particular gift or we can sit down and discuss all of their needs for the upcoming months. Sometimes my customers have very specific ideas of what they want, but often they need guidance. Together we come up with a gift that will be meaningful to the recipient.

I have a friend who LOVES reading. What would be the perfect "gift basket for her?
When I think of reading a book I think of it being such a luxury. I would put together a gift based on creating the perfect reading setting. A beautiful blanket, a collection of your favorite books, your favorite magazines and a gift certificate to a local book store. I could make the gift even more elaborate by including a vintage tea pot, mug, hand cream, and slippers. Lots of different items to make sure your friend is completely pampered before she sits down to start her story. So much better than just a plain old gift certificate to Barnes & Noble! I think this is a wonderful gift for children as well. 

Any holidays coming up that people should be shopping for?
Yes!! Now that Spring is here there are many opportunities to celebrate some very important people including Mothers, Fathers and Teachers. These, in addition to Birthdays and Anniversaries, are wonderful opportunities to give custom gifts to the important people in your life. I have a selection of seasonal gifts available for purchase as well as a gallery of custom gifts that I have created in the past. They are all available to view on my web site. Any item can be re-created or re-invented to suite your particular needs. It may be slightly different from a previous one but that is the beauty of a custom gift, it is truly one of a kind!

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