5 romantic Notonthehighstreet gifts by independent creative couples
Surprise someone special with a unique, personalised gift by these designer duos this Valentine’s Day
Still searching for the perfect Valentine’s Day present? Don’t worry, there’s no need to panic-buy chocolates in damaged boxes and left-over roses, because there’s still time to get beautifully crafted romantic gifts for your loved one.
We asked the experts behind ‘the home of thoughtful gifts’, Not on the High Street, to round up the most unique and inspiring Valentine’s Day gifts from their top 5 creative business partners. Founded on their love for crafts and each other, these businesses have been set up by creative couples with a vision to bring handmade, thoughtful gifts to life – because no one wants a last-minute gift.
It all began on a kitchen table 11 years ago, when Wendy and Bob started their business once they had fulfilled their dream of living by the beach. Having both worked in design consultancies in London, the two of them first met in a design meeting – over a spilt cup of tea! When they moved to Devon some years later, they started Letterfest to create beautiful items that can be uniquely personalised and treasured for years to come.
Wendy and Bob say that the best part of working together is sharing both the good and bad parts of every journey, and being able to take control of all stages of product development. The biscuit breaks are also a huge plus, says Wendy!
They love to read their customers’ unique experiences and stories that form the inspiration for each unique product, and think that their Personalised Typographic Story of Us Print is the perfect gift for any loved one this Valentine’s Day as a way to commemorate those special memories you have shared together. Sometimes funny, sometimes a little sad – this creative couple think one of the best parts of their job is being able to help someone tell their own story in the form of a unique, bespoke artwork that can be treasured.
Image: Merci Maman
Beatrice and Arnaud are the couple behind Merci Maman – the home of timeless jewellery, hand-engraved to make each piece unique. Beatrice first came up with the idea for the business after having her second child. She says “lots of my friends were having children at the same time and it was really tricky to find unique and stylish gifts for new mums. I wanted to celebrate the momentous occasion of becoming a mummy and this is how Merci Maman was born”.
With the business in full swing, Beatrice’s husband Arnaud left his job in the city to join her venture and help expand the business – growing from strength to strength, with even Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge choosing one of their necklaces to wear the day after Prince George’s christening. “The aptly named Duchess Necklace has been one of our bestsellers ever since!” says Beatrice.
Image: Merci Maman
With very different characters, this power couple find that working together suits their varying skill sets allowing them to take charge of different areas of the business. But they both agree that the best part of working together is making time to always be around for their children and special events, ensuring their work / family balance is the number one priority.
As for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, their Personalised Flat Bangle can be engraved with any message – from a quote to a special date and comes in three metal finishes, making it a truly unique gift for a loved on
Image: Becky Broome
Childhood sweethearts Becky and Kristian are the brains behind lifestyle brand Becky Broome. Originally started by Becky when she graduated from university, the business went from strength to strength and before long Kristian was helping her out with all parts of the business – eventually joining forces officially in 2011.
Designing everything from personalised glassware to reusable water bottles, Becky and Kristian agree that many of their products are cheeky and witty, reflecting the fun-loving nature of them and their brand.
They both say that the best part of working together is being able to manage their time around their young daughter whilst having fun working alongside your best friend.
Image: Becky Broome
“Our Personalised Couples Decanter And Glass Set is a great example of what we as a brand are trying to promote. In this time-poor generation we want to encourage customers to take time to enjoy the little things in life with the ones they love – like savouring your favourite liqueur from a beautiful, personalised set of glassware” says Becky, “the perfect accompaniment to a romantic Valentine’s night in.”
Image: Vida Vida
Having met on a beautiful beach in Fiji, Matt and Andreya travelled the world for two years before realising their dream was to own a business together. Having met some incredible people on their journey who hand-made, beautifully unique products, they started Vida Vida driven by a love for quality, hand-crafted goods and the ambition to partner British design with global workmanship.
The couple say “we love working together and are lucky enough that now, after 14 years of being in business, we have achieved a great work/life balance that also allows us to be around for school drop offs and pick ups.” They find the best part of working together is being able to bounce ideas off each other at any time – with some of their best creativity surfacing when out and about together, or on a drive.
Image: Vida Vida
This Personalised Leather Wash Bag with Metal Photo is a great Valentine’s Day gift, and can be personalised with both a photo and special message, whilst also doing some good. Part of Vida Vida’s Bag For A Bag programme, it sends a school bag to a child in Cambodia, Nepal and Myanmar for every purchase of a product over £25. So far over 25,000 bags have been given to children as part of this programme.
The Forest & Co
Image: The Forest & Co
Elaine and Rog run The Forest & Co from idyllic Devon, specialising in beautiful products which are handmade locally or sourced from individual, fair-trade suppliers. Originally founded by Elaine, and supported every evening by Rog when he came home from work helping her pack boxes, the pair decided to eventually take the leap and run the business together.
From handmade homewares that have both a vintage feel and contemporary edge, to embroidered scarves and accessories, the company has a hugely diverse range of gifts, including this Personalised Stem Vase Holder which is a gorgeous gift for Valentine’s day for a loved one or a friend!
For these two, they agree that “the best part of working together is the continuity of time it gives you – rather than having clearly defined time between work and home. It means you spend a lot of time together but you automatically find the perfect balance between personal chores and work because you both understand what is needed and love what you do.”
For Elaine, her favourite part of working with someone who knows her so well is coming up with a vague new idea, which Rog claims to not understand and yet goes away and inevitably produces exactly what she was imagining in the first place – now that’s connectivity at its best.
Do you have more ideas for a thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift? Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page.