Time for A Gift Wrap Makeover
I love a beautifully wrapped gift as much as the next—maybe more.
Growing up my mom was a total ace in decking out our presents with the coolest wrapping paper and the most bodacious bows you ever saw. And I spent the better part of my college years earning spending money wrapping gifts with fine paper at the local gift store. So, when my Nuno partner, Ann, proposed fabric gift wrap as our next venture together, I’ll admit I wasn’t totally on board at first. Our conversation went a little something like this:
Ann: Hey Cassandra! You want to be partners in a new business idea I have?
Me: Totally. I don’t even care what we’re making. If it's with you, I know it’s gonna be great.
Ann: Great, I want to make a fabric alternative to gift wrap.
Me [silently]: WHUUUUUUUT? You mean you want me to reconsider something I hold near and dear? You want me, and all the rest of the world, to reconsider how we go about showing our undying devotion to our loved ones through a carefully wrapped gift???
Me [outloud]: Ummmmm, OK. Tell me more a little bit more. I’m not sure that will be an easy sell.
Ann: OK, so my dad used to bring home all these gifts from Japan when we were growing up as kids. And he would wrap them in fabric gift wraps called furoshiki. Furoshiki is the Japanese art of wrapping gifts with cloth, often in silk, that can be used again and again. It’s like a gift with your gift. But I want to design it for an American aesthetic. And besides the novelty of it all , there really isn't a sustainable alternative to gift paper right now. Even if you buy recycled paper, it still ends up getting thrown away at the end of the party.
Me: Oh wow! I can totally relate. Too many times after a holiday, I have glanced over at an overflowing trash bag full of wrapping paper with complete shame. Such a waste!
Ann: I know, right?! So we will be helping people wrap presents more thoughtfully without losing an ounce of style. Plus, we’re designers. We can make them as fun as we want to!
Me: Ok, I’m in!
SO WHEN DID GIFT WRAPPING PAPER BECOME A THING?
America started wrapping gifts with decorative paper in the early 1900s during the holidays when boutiques were searching for unique ways to get a leg up on the competition. They lured customers with a service to wrap their merchandise in plain white, kraft, or holly patterned paper. Soon many shops followed suit, and holly patterned paper became a standard around the holidays. However things changed dramatically, when a mom-n-pop card shop ran out of their traditional holly paper. Instead, they started offering their gifts wrapped in the only thing they had on hand—metallic foil purple paper from France that was originally intended for lining envelopes. It was crazy expensive paper, but patrons could not get enough of it. And modern gift paper as we know it was born. By the way, that small family business would later grow into what we now know as Hallmark. Hello! [Source, The Atlantic]
THE SAD FACTS ABOUT HOLIDAY WASTE
The US creates over 4 million pounds of wrapping paper every holiday that heads straight for landfills. Yep, 4 big ones. And with the average adult wrapping 15 gifts each season, you can imagine what a difference even replacing one or two gifts with something reusable could make. Let’s give Mother Nature a break, eh?
CARING ON A WHOLE NEW LEVEL
In the last decade or so I have become increasingly aware of the need to re-evaluate many of my habits in order to ensure I am not harming the planet out of willful ignorance. And I have to admit, giving up wrapping paper was one habit that oddly challenged me—simply because of years of warm, fuzzy moments either wrapping or tearing up wrapping paper. But once I opened myself up to the possibility of wrapping my love in a new and unique way — not just for friends and loved ones, but also for my planet— and without sacrificing an ounce of gift-giving style, that’s when I started to believe in Nuno and the impact it wil make.