Chat GPT Wrote This Blog – What the Heck is THAT?

If you’ve been paying attention at all in the news or world lately, you’ve been hearing about ChatGPT and Open AI platforms. Essentially ChatGPT is a chatbot that generates humanlike conversation and writing. Its use in education is being widely researched and debated.

I wondered about it, too, and thought, “Let’s have this crazy new thing write January’s blog.” So I did. I asked, “Why should you use a professional gift giver?” Here is what it wrote. (I created the headings. It isn’t THAT smart…yet.)

Professional Gift-Giving Services

Professional gift-giver services are becoming popular as a way to take the stress out of gift-giving. These services work by providing a personal concierge who helps you select the perfect gift for any occasion, whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, holiday, or client or employee thank you.

Advantages to Hiring a Professional Gift-Giver

One of the biggest advantages of using a professional gift-giver service is the convenience factor. Instead of spending hours scouring the internet or driving around to different stores looking for the perfect gift, you can simply tell your concierge what you’re looking for and they’ll take care of the rest. They’ll even handle the gift wrapping and shipping, so you don’t have to worry about anything other than the conversation in the initial consultation.

Another advantage of using a professional gift-giver service is the expertise that they bring to the table. These concierges are experts in gift giving and know what gifts are suitable for different occasions and recipients. They can also help you choose gifts that fit within your budget and are appropriate for the relationship you have with the recipient.

Additionally, professional gift-giver services also offer a level of personalization that can’t be found in traditional gift-giving. They take the time to get to know you and the recipient, so they can create a gift that is truly tailored to their interests and preferences. Whether it’s a customized piece of jewelry or a special experience, a professional gift-giver service can help you create a truly meaningful and memorable gift.

Another benefit of using professional gift-giver services is the ability to support small businesses and local artisans. Many of these services have a network of small businesses and local artisans that they work with to provide unique and high-quality gifts. By supporting these small businesses, you can help to promote local communities and the economy.

In synopsis

Overall, professional gift-giver services are a great option for anyone who wants to take the stress out of gift-giving and create truly memorable and personalized gifts. With their convenience, expertise, and ability to support small businesses, these services can help you make gift-giving a more enjoyable and rewarding experience.

So what do you think? Is ChatGPT a decent writer? Or should I go on writing my own blogs? 😉

Until Next Time,

SH Signature

One of a Kind Show – Chicago

As you all know, I LOVE the One of a Kind Show – Chicago. I’ve posted, talked, and gushed about it for years…so much so that a group of us head there together each December. I find the best, most unique gifts. And since the holidays don’t automatically end on December 25, I thought I’d give you a few gift ideas from the vendors I love at the show.

Gift Ideas

Have a sweet teen in your life? Try whimsyjewelry.com. When I was at her booth, she told me she was inspired to create her active girls necklaces after watching Zendaya in The Greatest Showman! I not only bought a gift for my niece but a super cute girl jump-roper necklace for ME!

For little people, it can be hard to find the right thing that is also ok for the parent. Enter Ames-based The Bubble Haus. They have the cutest soap paints you’ve ever seen. Your little creative can make art AND get clean using them.

What about that hard-to-buy-for sister/aunt/mom/girlfriend? I can tell you sapahn has JUST the right thing for her. They have all the options you’d ever want for her…or that really stylish him!

Hey guys, trust me she called and she REALLY wants one-of-a-kind jewelry. No matter her style, one of these makers has just the right thing for you. Check out:
lockedandlayered.com
my-prysm.com
allisonmooneydesign.com
crosslyne.com
facebook.com/vintageliz
shoprachb.com

How about that foodie person? If you follow Favorable on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, which you should, you’ll know this next one. Simply Stoneware has GORGEOUS graters that are unlike anything you’ve seen. They’d be GRATE (pun intended) paired with ginger, garlic, or a chunk of parmesan.

Have that guy who has everything? Well, he doesn’t have a Mistura watch, I promise you that. These incredibly unique watches are even more beautiful in person than you’ll see on the website!

I really could go on and on about all the great makers at this show. Remember, even if you can’t get something for the holidays, you can shop these great small business owners for birthdays, anniversaries, bar/bat mitzvahs, and any other occasion…or you can just call me and I’ll have just the right gift ideas for you.

Until we chat again, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from Favorable.

SH Signature

Previously…

Much like A Christmas Story, there I was.  7 years old.  On the big guy’s lap, providing detailed evidence as to all my nice deeds for the year and clarifying a few naughty moments. My Christmas list was simple and pretty on target for my age group.  I was just about to pounce off when I decided to toss one more wish Kris Kringle’s way. Because, I thought, “It never hurts to ask.”

“And, Santa, I’d really love an 8-track player for Christmas.” I wanted it so badly because listening to my favorite tunes over and over and over and over again would be so GREAT!

He winked, smiled, and moved on to the next kid while I received my complimentary candy cane and Polaroid snapshot. (Photo used for this blog is of me on my Grampa’s lap, but you get the point.)

I’m sure you know what comes next. Just a few weeks from that simple, innocent ask was the Christmas surprise of a lifetime.  An awesome 8-track player under the tree.  That made my whole year and all because I asked.

Now…

What a great reminder as your year and my year come to an end.  Are there any questions you can ask yourself to close out 2022 or prepare for 2023?  Check-in on a key team member and ask how you can help them succeed in 2023?  Reach out to one more client or a prospect and get a coffee on the books for January?

And, as I take my own advice, since it doesn’t hurt to ask, how can I help you this holiday season? If you need help with shopping for your family or friends, or if your company needs an end-of-year recognition and celebration idea, I can make that happen. Just use the Contact Us page and we can make the magic happen for your friends, family, employees, or teammates!

Until we chat again, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from Favorable.

SH Signature

Time. Treasure. Talent.

These are the three “Ts” of philanthropy, commonly given by you or me to a deserving cause or organization.

Growing up in a small town, with a family very active in our church, school, and community, I learned at a young age that giving back was beneficial not only to the recipient but also to the giver. This was reinforced as I worked professionally in the nonprofit world. For more than twenty years, I experienced firsthand the well-being bestowed upon my organizations,  our patrons, as well as the well-being received by the giver.

Well-Being

That feeling of “well” (the goodness and compassion), along with the feeling of “being” (contributing to a part of something bigger) is programmed into my DNA. It continues to guide my time, treasure, and talent decisions not only personally but also at Favorable.

It was no surprise that, after opening a gifting business, people soon started asking for charitable gifts. Honestly, to date, the requests have been nominal and manageable. As I consider what the next few years look like, certain parameters will need to be set in place for donations from Favorable. For now, though, I consider requests individually as they come in and evaluate their impact on the giver, their chosen recipient, and the amount of benefit to the community.

But What?

For example, I have a connection to heart disease. Eric’s family has a history of it so it is important to me to do what I can to help. So, when my friend asked me to do a purse for the Go Red for Women luncheon, I went all out. I found a gorgeous, woven Italian leather, tote purse at TJ Maxx. Being who I am, I could leave it at that. I filled the tote with Italian pasta, Italian crystal wine glasses, marinara sauce, and a gift card to a local wine store. It was an Italian getaway in a bag!

Another fun ask was when a friend raised money through her family and friends for a school auction. She said she wasn’t “good at this stuff” so asked me if I’d help find themed items within her budget. She gave me a few ideas and I ran with them. One of those ideas included a one-week stay in a condo on a Florida beach. So OF COURSE I did a beach-themed bag filled with all kinds of beachy items.

Now You

Think about what you care about and give! Whether it’s time, talent, or treasure, do it. It is one of the most fulfilling things I do and could be for you, too.

“So, what is it that you do?” “What is your business?” These are the questions I get all the time. Because who starts a luxury business in Iowa related to gift-giving!?

What does she even do?

My business is two-fold.

  1. I find gifts for special occasions.
  2. I help companies come up with ideas for their client, customer, and/or employee recognition. I then bring the ideas into fruition by buying, packaging, and delivering them to the company.

I am an expert gift finder for special occasion gift giving.

  • I learn about the person/people who will be receiving the gift.
  • I do research and look online for ideas.
  • I give 2-3 options to my client from which they pick their favorite.
  • I buy it and then package the gift if the client wants me to do so.

For companies, I am a gift concierge.

  • I listen to what their goals, budget, and ideas are for their project.
  • I gather data either from surveys or from staff knowledge.
  • I create a plan for what I believe to be the best path to building relationships through recognition programs.
  • And finally, I put the plan into practice.

But what is that?

So, what is being a gifting expert like? What even is a gift concierge? It’s simple. I wanted to extend my love of building relationships to my clients. I mean who doesn’t need help alleviating the stress that comes with finding ‘just the right thing’ to show gratitude to clients and staff? I love curating just the right thing for the person receiving the gift. That’s where the concierge piece comes into play.

My secret: thoughtful, memorable gifts come from paying attention to the little things. Since I was a child shopping with my mom, I knew that shopping was my zen moment, my happy place and that it provided me minutes of calm in the middle of almost any storm. My passion for creating connections between people started in Kindergarten when I introduced my friend Michael to another friend because they both loved to race Matchbox cars.

Now, when the moment comes and you need some help finding just the right thing, I’m right here to help save you time and headspace. Because shopping is my superpower.

I worked at TrueNorth Companies in Cedar Rapids many moons ago. For large projects I lead, I was given directions and autonomy. My boss knew where my strengths were and let me live in those and worked with me on growing and evolving in our weekly meetings. But most importantly, this company knew how to thank and recognize employees in ways that were unique and meaningful to THE EMPLOYEE.

The following factors can affect an employer’s ability to retain employees according to Apollo Technical:

  1. Lack of training and development opportunities for new hires
  2. Poor communication between management and staff members
  3. Unclear job descriptions that do not clearly define responsibilities
  4. Inadequate staffing levels to cover the workload.
  5. lack of recognition by managers when their work is done well
  6. An inability to provide feedback on performance issues
  7. The need for more flexible working hours
  8. High turnover costs associated with hiring and firing workers

I think that recognition is higher than #5 on this list. Because in my world, I’ve seen recognition as the MAIN reason MANY people stay on the job. For real, employee retention is important!

Did you know that effective employee retention can save an organization from productivity losses? High-retention workplaces tend to employ more engaged workers who, in turn, get more done according to NetSuite’s Employee Retention article. Think about it. I’ve always heard employees leave people, not companies. So, making them feel valued, heard, and keeping them engaged helps you keep a stable team environment. Giftology author John Ruhlin talks about how important is to know what your customer REALLY WANTS not just how much it costs. I think this applies to employees, too. When I hired a new team member, I gave them a very short EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION SURVEY on things they loved. I then took a picture of it and kept it in my phone for when one of them (or all) needed to be recognized for something spectacular.

And remember, when an employee leaves a company, it takes a considerable chunk of time to deal with their departure. In fact, entry-level employees typically cost 50% of their salary to replace. That’s a high number. So, thanking and recognizing employees is an easy way to save some $$.

Until we chat again,

SH Signature

You know when you take ALLLLL the personality tests to find out who. you. are. Well, I am pretty sure I’ve taken them all. Myers-Briggs, DiSC, Kolbe, Caliper, StrengthsFinder, True Colors, even the Four Animals Assessment! Every one of these says the same thing: I am equally right- and left-brained, creative and process-driven. I LOVE some organized chaos!

I’ve always been good at “creative.” Ever since I can remember I’ve loved craft projects and playing clarinet/piano/music and museums and ideation. I easily come up with ideas for activities and events when asked for them. The right-brained part of me is ON POINT.

But what I believe makes me a bit of a unicorn is, my left brain is equally engaged! I blame my dad. He hasn’t met an organization system he doesn’t want to try. I love to figure out processes, efficiencies, best practices, and overall organization of all the things. If there’s mess and disorganization, I can muck through it, put a process or plan in place to make it work better, and work with others to iterate it to perfection for that group fo people.

And my favorite plans are those that help retain and thank members, clients, customers, donors, and employees. I love figuring out the best ways to build the most easy-to-implement and sincerely thoughtful stewardship plans for the non-profits I’ve worked for over the years.

For example, I worked at the YMCA for many years as a Membership and Marketing Director. In Year 1, it quickly became apparent we needed to make a plan to retain members, specifically Family memberships. They were our most profitable money source and our biggest area for improvement. So, I created a Membership Retention and Marketing plan that after only 2 years, retained almost 65% of our Family memberships! That was HUGE. Before, we’d only retained year-over-year, at best, 40%.

What was the secret!

  • Paying attention to what the members said they wanted…and then doing the best we could to implement that.
  • Thanking them and incentivizing them to come into the building more frequently.
  • And finally, keeping them in-the-loop through consistent communications.

I would love to help you and your small business do this as well. Go to the Contact Us page and fill out the very short form. We can then get started on increasing your retention rates, too.

Until next time,

SH Signature

What’s one of your favorite things? Gifts from family, friends, or a significant other? Maybe something entirely bought by you, for you?

My favorite thing is small. It’s barely a thing. It was something my husband gave me in April for our 25th wedding anniversary, just as I decided to start my business. We joked for months about what he had in mind, knowing his parents celebrated their 25th anniversary behind the wheel of a brand-new convertible. I kept teasing him about the color of my “anniversary car.”

But do you know what he did? Something much less flashy and expensive, but so much more thoughtful and loving. It wasn’t tangible. It wasn’t showy. It was beyond meaningful. Do you know why?

He gave me the keys to my brand and endorsed my passion.

In starting this business, I wasn’t always 100% sure how comfortable he was with me taking this giant leap. I was ALWAYS the one with a full-time job with salary and benefits…minus a few months when I was finishing my business degree, I’d always been working a 40+ hour a week job. So, after 25 years of marriage, and a few more years before that, this was uncharted territory for both of us.

His gift embraced my dream. It was a simple note confirming an appointment with an incredible graphic designer and brand builder. (You simply MUST meet my friend Bill Basler.) Not only was it an amazing gift, but it also confirmed support and understanding. He bought me something that meant so much more than an anniversary car. He helped me unwrap my passion that day.

 

[Free Stock photo by Vecteezy. Thanks, Vecteezy!]

When I Was a Kid

When you were a kid, did you just LOVE your birthday or Christmas, or any other gift-receiving event? Most kids do. Did you get what you asked for? Did you get something that you didn’t even know you wanted? That high you got from the anticipation and surprise still is like nothing you feel later in life. (Well, maybe when your child is born. I wouldn’t know. My children are 4-legged and VERY furry.)

I definitely was one of these. I loved that feeling when you started to unwrap and see what amazing gift your mom, dad, aunt, gramma, stepparent, friend, etc. thought of for you.

When I Got Older

As I got older, I realized that I got that same high when I bought presents for people. I loved the thrill of finding JUST the right thing. And if it was super novel and nobody had seen it before, even better! Did it make your friend cry or did your dad want to put his together right away?! AWESOME! And then the question came regularly, “Hey, where did you get [Insert awesome gift here.] I want to get one for [Insert friend, family member, dog, here.]” So, I’d help friends find just the right thing!

But this doesn’t just apply to individuals. In past jobs, I’ve been lucky to work with people who were committed to thanking clients/customers/employees in unusual ways. Brainstorming and ideating on this was so energizing! How can we best thank YOU for trusting us?! I used my sleuthing skills and everyday knowledge to find the gifts that would be most appreciated and valued by the individuals we were thanking.

Transition Time

So, when I was ready for a transition from 25+ years in non- and for-profit marketing, I thought of what I LOVE to do and what I’m most passionate about.

What came to mind first? Buying gifts for people!

What came to mind second? Building plans that thank people.

Favorable Relationships

And that is how Favorable came to be. It combines my three loves: Strategy, Creativity, and Shopping! Now I’m ready to help you save time and mind-space and impress friends by taking away the pressure that can come from the nerve-wracking stress of finding the right gift or building the right customized retention strategy just right for you.

Until Next Time,