There are many things that I aspire to be, but gracious and generous are always near the top of my personal list. I want to be the friend that always has the perfect card or gift, or who calls at just the right time, but more often than not, I have the right intentions but the WORST execution. My home is littered with cards and bits of gifts I purchased with the best of intentions, but then never got around to assembling or sending to a friend. And while it is true that it is the thought that counts, you can’t exactly tell a friend, “let me tell you about what I was planning to give you but never actually got together!” (I unfortunately have done that before, but it just makes me an explainer vs. the thoughtful friend I want to be.)
Enter Simone LeBlanc. Gracious and generous are two traits that I would absolutely ascribe to Simone, right up there with effective, practical, and thoughtful. After working as a stylist for many years, Simone started a gifting studio where she focused on high end gifting. This year, Simone has added themed gift boxes to her shop, making gift giving easier for all of us. She puts together GORGEOUS boxes filled with thoughtful details and well-crafted products that allow you to gift a true end-to-end experience. These aren’t exactly things anyone needs, but the things that make everyone happy. Which is what a gift should do. And all the better if you can give a gift that makes someone else happy without stressing yourself out.
Read on for more from Simone and then be sure to check out the shop – the cacao sipping box and the herbal rejuvenation box are pictured here, and I also love the homestead box, the staycation box, and the noble tastes box!
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? WHAT LED YOU TO START THE GIFTING STUDIO?
I started my gifting studio three years ago. I had been working as a personal life-stylist where the
projects focused on client’s personal tastes and preferences. I loved connecting with people in this
way – finding an object for their home or a gift that was ‘just the right thing.’ It opened up a world for
me and I realized that there really was an opportunity in the marketplace for my perspective on gifting.
I really pride myself on our approach – personalized, high end gifting with a knowledge of
craftsmanship + fabrication from a maker’s perspective.
YOU RECENTLY ADDED A SHOP TO YOUR BESPOKE GIFTING SERVICES – HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHAT TO INCLUDE IN THE SHOP?
My online shop of gift boxes, which we launched this year, is a natural extension of the custom gifts
and offers themed gift boxes for quick and chic gifting. Each box in the shop is handmade, handpacked
and designed around an experience and mood – a blissful breakfast in bed one weekend
morning, the nostalgia of the great outdoors, a relaxing afternoon of down-time. They are designed to
be very versatile while still being extremely thoughtful and detail-conscious. From the handpicked
assortment of products from some of our favorite creators, to the hand-packed and finished boxes
themselves, these gifts bare all of the signposts of the love and care we put into them.
IF YOU KNEW THEN WHAT YOU KNOW NOW, WOULD YOU STILL DO IT?
Absolutely. I’m always learning and always growing, which makes me more look forward even more to
evolving the shop. Part of the excitement is that there are so many possibilities, and I love stretching
my creativity to explore these.
YOUR HOME AND WORK IS MADE UP OF EXQUISITE, SPECIAL PIECES – WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR WHILE TRAVELING OR SHOPPING? HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU AND WHAT IS RIGHT TO GIVE AS A GIFT?
Thank you! I’m a keen editor and I know how to ask the right questions, find the item from the hidden
back room or uncover the semi-off-center piece that others overlooked. I hunt and dig. It’s really about
finding that item that is just a bit better than the other version of it – a bit finer, a bit more true. I talk
with people about their methods, the fabrication, the purpose, the origin. I love finding that one
amazing object – the diamond in the rough.
There is an idea of longevity, too – I’m not attracted to something simply because it’s the newest,
coolest thing. For me, it’s more about that object and its philosophy of quality and longevity, whether
from how it was made or the story it tells.When it comes to differentiating between what’s right for me versus for my clients and customers, I have to say it’s easy because I’m always thinking about them. There’s a natural switch that happens
when I’m sourcing or shopping, where I’m so tuned into them that I don’t even think about myself. That
is a huge part of what the job is and what makes me good at what I do.
WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A GREAT GIFT?
The perfect gift is something unexpected, but at the same time very on point and touching. It’s
meaningful and nuanced, and resonates clearly and directly with them. It’s an experience and a means
for authentic connection.
YOU WORK WITH THOUGHTFUL AND RESPONSIBLE BRANDS – MANY OF WHICH ARE MADE IN AMERICA! WHY DO YOU SUPPORT MADE IN AMERICA?
Yes! Frankly, why wouldn’t I support them?! There are so many talented craftspeople here, reinventing
old world techniques and creating timeless new ones. I’m all about using quality of craft and
techniques that may have been forgotten. From day one I’ve always worked with artisans that
exemplified this – they are the people that help set my work apart.
On a broader scope, it’s quite profound to see the changing and evolving opportunities and
possibilities for entrepreneurs that have become a reality through this movement. I’ve always known I
am an entrepreneur, and being a part of it all feels really exciting.
YOU ALSO WORK DIRECTLY WITH SOME MAKERS – SUCH AS THE GORGEOUS LEATHER GIFT TAGS YOU USE – DO YOU SEE THIS EXPANDING? (I’D LOVE TO SEE A SIMONE LeBLANC COLLECTION!)
Absolutely. This is something we definitely have in the works and an area that is close to our hearts.
HOW DO YOUR BESPOKE CLIENTS FEEL ABOUT WORKING WIHT MORE UNCONVENTIONAL PRODUCTS RATHER THAN BIGGER NAME BRANDS? HOW DO YOU CONVEY THE STORY AND MEANING WITHIN A GIFT? (IT CAN BE AWKWARD WHEN I FIND SOMETHING THAT I THINK IS AWESOME, BUT THAN HAVE TO TELL THE PERSON I BOUGHT IT FOR WHY THAT IS…)
My bespoke clients really appreciate that we offer them a level of luxury in the form of something
different from the traditional luxury brand. They appreciate our offering them an alternative to
something they can buy over the counter. And even when we work with luxury brands, which we do
from time to time, it’s more about creating something new and meaningful for our clients, rather than
purchasing a single item as is.
To convey the story and meaning of a gift – this really goes back to my approaching gifts as an inclusive
experience. Think a note or custom menu, small tag or accompanying book, or even a balanced set of
products that were made to be paired together – these all aid in telling the story.
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE ESSENTIALS? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE AMERICAN MADE BRANDS AND ITEMS?
I try to keep it simple. With a new baby and business that takes a lot of my focus I tend to lean on a few
key pieces that make me feel current and put together. My essentials are a great button down, the
watch that my husband gave me for our wedding, a great pair of oxfords, bold lipstick and the perfect
There are so many American made brands that I love, and many of which are designed by talents in my
immediate circle of peers. My personal favorites include Clare Vivier, Black Crane, Jesse Kamm,
Heather Taylor Home and Grace Lee Designs.
WHAT’S NEXT? WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
We’re expanding the offerings in the shop, and beyond the essential gifts we’re also moving towards
adding everything you need to present your gifts with an SL touch in the new year. Very exciting!
Photos c/o Simone LeBlanc