Personalised gifts have seen a growth in popularity over the last decade and show little sign of slowing down anytime soon. Personalisation was once the domain of the corporate gift market, allowing companies to highlight their services with affordable mass produced giveaway gifts, which would serve two key purposes.
Firstly they give the recipient the ‘feel good factor’ of receiving a free gift because let’s be honest everybody likes a freebie and secondly, cementing a corporate identity and customer reminder through visual and useful items that would be used on a daily basis. The branded drinks coaster, mug or pen have become, for better or worse, the backbone of the personalised corporate giveaway gift market.
Personalisation however can be and has become so much more, both in the corporate and personal gift market. Jewellery has seen a steady rise in bespoke personalisation, mainly brought on by some well known, high growth high-street jewellers. These companies would allow customer interaction with the final design of their chosen bracelet or necklace thus creating the impression of a unique purchase.
Everyday jewellery is a very personal commodity, yet still led by on-trend fashion, lifestyle and affordability. It is clear that the high-street now offers many bespoke items of jewellery, mass produced and affordable which only a decade ago would have been out of reach to the average consumer.
But is this true personalisation ? Not that many years ago a silver bead bracelet, hand selected by the customer would have been a stand out piece of affordable and well made jewellery. A few years on it has become the staple of the female wrist, unique only in the quantity of beads available, rather than having intrinsic meaning to the purchaser or final recipient.
What is evident is that mass production and competition has led to the personalised market becoming inundated with almost identical pieces of jewellery, sold through branding technique rather than any commitment to creating true meaning through customisation . The products are still well made for the cost, but the ideology of the products has been lost somewhere in domestic and global expansion. In the modern jewellery market the largest marketed brands strive to offer personal items, which is somewhat ironic.
This thinking can also be applied to the corporate gift market. A coaster, mug or fridge magnet can now be purchased from virtually any print house. Once a niche market place, the advent of user friendly and more affordable print techniques have opened up the market to all website companies, print houses and sign makers. This is not a bad thing to those wanting ‘standard fair’ items as costs have plummeted, but the wow factor has also. Too often we have received a corporate gift where the print is misaligned, missing or incorrect. This is clearly personalisation taken too far, creating the exact opposite user experience and corporate image to the one probably intended and paid for by the customer.
At Aspreys & Clarke, we strive to create good quality and unique items that suit the corporate gift market. Every item is still engraved rather than out-sourced printed and the customers needs and requests are always considered to be paramount.
True personalisation in the opinion of Aspreys & Clarke, is led by the customer. Customisation is endless and requires the input of both parties, we can make and supply the piece, but only the customer can supply the meaning and sentiment behind it. This is true, both for individuals and companies, albeit the message being conveyed probably very different. A one size fits all, bead, bracelet or necklace, yes makes a lovely gift, but by adding words, a handprint or maybe a child’s drawing creates a unique item with true meaning, only fully understood by the person it was created for.