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Gift Baskets - US Vs UK

I have been studying gift basket designs over the past few months and wonder why there is such a difference in gift basket designs between the US and the UK. Let's break it down by how each of these countries designs their baskets.


In the US gift baskets are gorgeous with lots of embellishments and obviously a lot of thought goes into the design and layout of a gift basket. Gift basket designers in the US have a fantastic understanding of what will work in a basket and what won't. Many designers will design their baskets around themes and finish them off with wonderful embellishments and hand crafted bows. They also work with fantastic baskets and containers. US gift basket designers also put a lot of emphasis on the fan of the basket. Generally, they consider all aspects of the basket, from the container, the shred, the contents, embellishments, cellophane wrap, the bow and the fan. In short most American gift basket designers take great pride in the presentation of their baskets and it definitely shows.

In the UK there are many gift basket suppliers - I say suppliers rather than designers as unlike their American counterparts, most gift baskets on sale in the UK do not have the same quality or artistic flair as gift baskets designed by Americans. Many baskets are ill thought out where many suppliers add chocolates and fragrance items in the same basket without any thought to the fact that the fragrance can contaminate the chocolate. I don't know about you but I prefer my chocolates to taste like chocolate and not scented candle. There is also very little thought goes into the container or the bow for that matter.

So let’s break this up starting from the container right through to the fan (or bottom to top if you will)

Containers:

 

  • US - Fantastic containers in all different shapes, sizes and colors
  • UK - Wicker tray, bread baskets or handled baskets

US win this hands down. Having a fabulous container that can be used after the gift has been opened and the contents used means that you will be able to sell gift baskets over and over again to the same customer. After all who wants 10 bread baskets or handled baskets! But if you have a container that has other uses, then the basket or container becomes part of the gift as it should do.

Shred:
US - They are not afraid of using shred and tend to pile their baskets high with shred. This helps to stabilize your contents and also gives a fuller finish to the basket.

UK - Some UK suppliers will fill their baskets with shred, but there are so many that use shred sparingly, leaving the basket looking empty and makes one wonder how the contents are stabilized.

Contents:
US - Gift designers from the US are very good at not only choosing the contents of their baskets but are skilled at displaying them as well.

UK - Little thought goes into contents of a basket, with foodstuffs and bath products often being mixed. The Brits also have not mastered the skill of displaying their products in an appealing manner. Many tend to lay their items flat in a basket rather than build the basket up.

Embellishments:
US - Designers love to use embellishments in their baskets, these turn the gift basket from something rather average into something fabulous. Embellishments also help to fill gaps in baskets.
UK - Very few UK suppliers use embellishments in their baskets, many leave gaps in their baskets, leaving the basket looking empty.

Cellophane Wrap:

US - US designers tend to finish baskets using shrink wrap bags, clear and patterned cellophane and other sheer materials.

UK - Most UK suppliers use cellophane wrap as opposed to shrink wrap bags. Although mostly clear, sometimes patterned cellophane is used.

Bow:
US - US designers very often use hand-crafted bows. They do use pull bows from time to time, but most bows are hand tied and give the basket a fantastic finish.

UK - Most UK suppliers use pull bows and I have come across very few if any that create their own bows.

Fan:
US - Designers tend to fan out the top of the basket leaving the basket with a neat and fantastic looking finish.
UK - I am not even sure if UK suppliers know what the fan is, to be honest. I have seen so many baskets just tied off with a pull bow and mounds of cellophane just bunched at the top. Very little thought seems to go into the overall finish.


Few things to select a gift basket

The internet offers an incredible selection of Gift baskets in all sizes. There are baskets for every occasion and every situation and budget. So why are some so cheap and some gift baskets so expensive?

Choosing the right basket can be like finding a needle in a haystack. There are just so many out there and many different prices to go with them. Buying a gift basket is like buying a diamond. If the price is allotted lower on one site then something has to be different. Most of the time it is just one thing and that is the quality of the goods inside the basket. Many companies are using imported low-end products and this makes for a somewhat pretty basket on the outside but the items in it are often poor quality and ill-tasting.

Choose a high-quality basket and you and the recipient will be very happy. The finest chocolate, cheese, gourmet gift items, and teas should all be of the highest quality. The soap and bath salts in the spa basket should be of the finest quality as well and not just some dollar store factory soap. This is where the difference is, quality of products. If you go cheap then the gift basket will be just okay with your recipient, but on the other hand, if you spend a little more and it could be received with ooohs and ahhhs as a truly, sensational and memorable gift.

The best part of shopping online for your gift basket is you can do it from home or work and at any time of the day or night you like. A good gift site can supply you with all your gift needs and gift basket needs as well. It is important to note that you should be able to see each item listed in the basket so you can see the quality of the products you're getting. This will help you decide if it is worth the money they are asking for the basket.

Final thought

In conclusion, I believe from the above analysis that the Brits can learn a lot from our American counterparts. I wonder why it is that the Brits do not put more thought into their gift baskets. Is it lack of creativity, lack of knowledge or (dare I say it) laziness? Perhaps it is just the easy way out and in our ignorance, we do not realize that it really does not take long to design a great gift basket. I have practiced the American techniques and can now put a fabulous gift basket together in 10 minutes or less. Brits really need to take a page out of the book of our American counterparts and start producing gift baskets that will amaze our customers.