Gift Wrapping it Up!
Britain’s Jane Means has taken the creative art of gift wrapping to a high level over the years. She is well known in the UK and has been the gift wrapper of choice for royalty and celebrities. Her thriving business has provided couture and custom services for Selfridges, The Queen Elizabeth Foundation, Marks & Spencer and Claridges just to name a few. In addition, she consults and runs Gift Wrapping Workshops in the UK.
Jane graciously gave us an interview and has offered her top tips for you, too, to create beautifully wrapped gifts for under your tree this season! She also has a shop and mail order service that carry her unique and fabulous wrappings!
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The Daily Basics: You have taken the art of gift wrapping to a whole new level. How did you become interested in it and was there an event or a point you can recall that guided you into the professional arena?
Jane Means: I have always loved beautiful presentation, whether it be a dinner table, shop window or wrapped gift. I did a lot of traveling and realized as a nation that we were very poor at presentation. I was a florist and had the ideas and after gaining my teaching certificate, I wrote a gift wrapping course 13 years ago
The Daily Basics: You consult and conduct workshops in gift wrapping. What elements do you teach and what can your students do after completion of the workshop?
JM: Our gift wrapping masterclasses cater to all levels. It’s a hands-on workshop and we start with the basics, progressing through the various awkward shapes, ribbon and bow techniques with a high emphasis on how to make a gift look fantastic on a tight budget. Gift wrapping is very seasonal, but many students have gone on to wrap for Department stores at Christmas or have started their own gift wrapping services.
The Daily Basics: What do you think is the most important element in wrapping a gift?
JM: Attention to detail is very important, and I try and personalize the wrapping (you could for instance wrap a gift in an Italian map for a Tuscany lover). Small touches including tying in fresh foliage, decorations and sticks are always gratefully received
The Daily Basics: Your new shop. The Haberdashery Closet sounds fantastic. Will you be carrying all of your products on your online shop as well?
JM: We have thousands of one off ribbons and decided to open our haberdashery shop to the public. If we have suitable stock of a ribbon design we will list it online . We also bring in accessories and unusual decorations and tend to have a quick turnaround to keep the ideas fresh and interesting. The Haberdashery Closet is a very small shop. Although we won’t be running classes there, we hope to have open evenings and charity events.
The Daily Basics: Do you have any favorite tips for holiday wrapping that you would like to share?
- When wrapping a box with paper use double sided tape for a professional finish. If you use sticky tape use small amounts and try and cover these with ribbon.
- For awkward shapes use flexible wrapping such as tissue cellophane or fabric
- Extra large items can be tricky to wrap so use an inexpensive paper tablecloth available from supermarkets
- Choose a non-Christmas paper so if you have any leftovers it can be used throughout the year and not thrown away
- Tie in fragrant foliage such as Bay and Rosemary with cinnamon sticks. Your gifts will look and smell good.
- Recycle old Christmas decorations by tying in baubles. They will add a festive feature to your present.
- When giving a gift voucher don’t write on the envelope. Add a band of pretty wrapping paper around it and tie a bow on the top. This will transform it into a gift.
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