The story of Sue – a busy lady who discovered the joy (and relief) of sending a great gift.
The accidental gift giver
Sue and I met in the fall of 2012. I hired her firm to take on development of NeverMissGift, a site that finds and delivers gifts for kids on their birthdays and holidays. She was the Product Manager assigned to work with me. Sue was a gift-giving skeptic. She told me she liked the concept of my site for others but didn’t see a using it, despite her gift giving challenges.
What challenges you ask? Sue described herself as “that family member who makes all the kids roll their eyes during the gift exchange at Christmas.” She would always show up with gifts that missed the mark (see the part about the eye rolls) but she figured, oh well; kids are just hard to shop for.
If I had to offer a diagnosis, I’d say it was a classic case of “swankyurbanitis”. I’ve seen it before; it hits busy professionals in fabulous cities with too many distractions. How can one possibly put in the time to buy gifts when there is a French cooking class or Singaporean / Latin American taco stand to hit or that funky Swedish / Korean neighborhood that has that awesome bar (yes these are real places)? Never mind the wrapping and delivery of the gifts.
But seriously, the focus was making sure she understood the site not resolving Sue’s gift giving woes so like any good PM, she decided to see how it worked first hand.
She clicked through the site, registered her niece, set up a birthday gift event with an elaborate gift message and went about her merry way getting the “iteration” launched. After work slowed down for a period with NMG, she was pulled onto another project.
And that’s when March hit and her niece’s birthday rolled around.
Three weeks before the date, Sue received the standard notification email from NeverMissGift that arrives a few weeks before a holiday or birthday. In this case the email (1) reminded her about the birthday and (2) offered three custom-selected gifts based on her niece’s age, personality profile and Sue’s desired price range. The email also chose a“top pick”, which would ship unless Sue selected an alternate gift or cancelled by a certain date.
Sue saw the email and made a note to clear out her credit card information. But like so many to-dos in life, this one got away from her.
Uh oh, what happened next?
Fast forward a few weeks and I receive an email from Sue that her cc bill was charged by NeverMissGift. She was kind enough to acknowledge that she registered her niece’s birthday (with a thoughtful gift message!), had seen the gift notification email and knew how long she had to take action. The issue was that she had fudged her niece’s age (she put 10) and she was worried that it wouldn’t be appropriate for an 11 year old.
She was obviously annoyed she failed to stop the transaction and signed off saying she hoped it would be “well received”.
But I knew something Sue didn’t: that gift would be more than just “well received.”
Why? Because finding the perfect gift is not generally easy for those that dwell in swanky urban areas. It takes perseverance (ask me how many toy fairs I’ve been to), knowing what toys are good for certain personalities, and experience to know that the toy will be enjoyed for YEARS. I knew the gift for Sue’s niece was a winner. I found it at NY Toy Fair, at the time I cross checked the quality with specialty toy store owners, and spent hours playing with it (I also watched kids play with it too). Even though Sue’s niece was turning 10, the gift was targeted for girls from 8-14.
But judge for yourself: this is the gift I selected for an 11 year old “Action Junkie”. Mind you, it can be used indoors or out. Even if the girl hasn’t expressed a desire for a cross bow, it will also make an awesome Halloween accessory for anyone who is into The Hunger Games – i.e. virtually the entire US population under 16. And bonus - Catching Fire comes out in November.
If nothing else, it can be used to keep pesky brothers at bay.
The icing on the cake was the impact of sending a beautifully wrapped gift to a tween girl in time for her birthday with a thoughtful gift message. Talk about elevating Sue’s status.
A few weeks later this is what I found in my email in-box:
Subject: I AM THE BEST AUNT EVER
Date: March 25, 2013 6:03:36 PM CDT
To: Cristina Sierra <email@example.com>
Just got an email from my niece. Thank you Cristina! Can’t wait to get the other 3 kids into the system.
I will say the subject line alone made my day. Sue’s niece was happy which is GREAT. But even better, Sue looked good and got to experience the satisfaction of sending a great gift.
And I gained something too: in Sue’s words: a “loyal fan” – yay!!
Have you recently had an unexpected moment of joy either directly or through your customers? If so – kudos!