Believing that giving gifts and making a positive impact can be one and the same, that reaching out, saying thank you and providing an experience of a lifetime can be seamless, and that receiving corporate gifts doesn’t have to feel corporate at all, the team at Unwrapit, including Linsay Moran, has reinvented the way we gift to others, with experiential, sustainable and responsible gift giving top of mind. We chatted with Linsay to find out more! —Vita Daily
Hi Linsay! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
Hi, I’m Linsay, one of the co-founders of Unwrapit. Before joining forces with Peter Deitz and Taylan Pince, I spent the majority of my career focusing on social impact businesses. I started my career in events and gradually took on more operational roles. I’ve had the opportunity to work with several amazing entrepreneurs and I’m thrilled to be applying all that I’ve learned to Unwrapit.
What is Unwrapit, and when and why was it launched? What problem were you aiming to solve/niche were you looking to fill?
Unwrapit is a social purpose business for forward-thinking people to give personalized and sustainably minded gift experiences through a fun, easy-to-use relationship-building platform. We launched the business last year as the popularity and need for virtual experiences increased for B2B organizations. We take the waste out of corporate and event gifting by offering primarily digital, experiential and social impact gifts through Unwrapit. That might be to their event attendees, their clients or their employees! We wanted to offer an alternative to the nearly $250B spent on corporate gifting each year, the majority of which ends up in landfill. We believe that corporate gifting doesn’t have to feel corporate, nor does it have to be wasteful. And it can be done in a fun way that’s digital, and therefore, lighter on logistics.
What types of gifts do you currently offer via Unwrapit? What’s the difference between Gifts to Pay Forward, Gifts to Experience, Gifts to Keep You Going, Gifts to Keep You Dreaming, etc?
We offer gifts that are low/no waste through the platform. Since we launched, we’ve consistently been told that our (growing!) gift catalog is what sets us apart. My co-founder, Peter, is our “gift guru” and he has worked to curate an interesting cross-section of options. A lot of the gift suppliers that we collaborate with are interesting people doing amazing things. We offer everything from a “keep you going” option such as mindfulness coaching from wellness coach Lee Papa, to online learning through platforms like GoSkills or ArtistWorks. We’re excited to have a new company on board called Artifact that will create a professionally produced audio time capsule of a personal event or story in a podcast format. Delicious Experiences feature amazing culinary options taught live by world-renowned chefs. We’ve found that travel options like Airbnb fall under the “keep you dreaming category”. We’re also proud to offer social impact options that can be presented as “pay it forward” through our charitable partners in the US (Charity on Top) and Canada (CanadaHelps).
Why are experiences superior to physical gifts?
There is a lot of consistent research concluding that “experiences bring people more happiness than possessions.” This was published in a 2014 Atlantic article but still holds true today. We think the pandemic has certainly brought that to light as well! By creating such a strong, positive feeling, the gift giver can secure a strong brand connection. An individual will remember the brand that sent them a creative gift experience, delivered through Unwrapit. The brand is further cemented when that individual participates in their experience and is reminded of how it was gifted to them. Not all of our gifts are experiential, but we’ve certainly leaned on that type. We’re big on relationship building because we believe that a gift someone will actually use—whether mindfulness or an experience – stands out more than a mug!
Tell us about the personalization aspect: how does Unwrapit make each and every gift recipient feel special?
The platform is fully customizable. Taylan, my other co-founder and CTO has done a phenomenal job in thinking through the user experience. Everything from branding to content to ensuring that the individual receiving the gift gets a personalized experience. It’s all there. The recipient is invited into the platform to ‘unwrap’ their gift through a fun, digital reveal. All of the messaging within the unwrapping experience can be customized. When they reach the gift selection page, they’re presented with a choice of gift options and we feel that’s key. Traditionally, corporate gift gifting is very one-sided. The company giving the gift decides on a generic option for all recipients, and off they go. Instead of sending clients a box of sugar-packed chocolates or a bouquet of artificially brightly hued flowers, Unwrapit takes it to the next level, offering a gifting experience that shows your company has gone out of its way to give meaningfully.
What if we have no clue what gift or gifts to give? How can Unwrapit help?
We help our customers curate a shortlist of interesting options. We offer choices which are an important part of gift-giving. It makes it difficult to go wrong when the recipient has the opportunity to choose the gift that resonates with them most!
In what ways is the future of corporate, and all, gift-giving sustainable (and different from what it looked like in the past)?
Corporate gifting is on the rise. The corporate gift-giving market has experienced significant growth and is projected to experience a $64 billion increase during the next three years to reach $306 billion by 2024. Employers have significantly increased their gifting frequency throughout the pandemic. The corporate gifting market has typically been viewed as an industry with only a limited amount of corporate swag to gift—think things like branded totes, notepads pens, and gift cards. But now, companies are seeing value in partnering with retailers and merchants that are valued and are actually enjoyed and used by their customers or employees. In our case, items that will be used like an Uber gift card, meditation classes, or subscriptions you might not otherwise get for yourself. People are becoming more aware of their eco-footprint. Both personally, and professionally. Fortunately many people that we speak with are coming to us because they realize that the gifts they’ve offered in the past aren’t sustainable and they’re embracing the need to do better. Across Europe, many event venues are now single-use plastic free and have aggressive targets to be carbon neutral. That negates the ability to give out a lot of the “SWAG” we’ve traditionally seen. Most companies have strong ESG policies in place which is heartening to see. We can help organizations insert themselves into the circular economy through their business decision to work with us. And that’s without the need for them to make major modifications to their operations and/or supply chain.
Final, personal question: what would be your dream gift to give and/or receive?
I always appreciate when a company takes money that would otherwise be funneled into a “thing” and donates it to charity in my name. Traditionally, so much of what has been given through corporate gifting, I didn’t need or want. It’s often wasteful and not necessary. Impact gifts always feel more meaningful. Even better if I’m able to choose the charity myself!