How to wrap a gift

It’s high time I did a simple tutorial on how to wrap a gift.  Never waste another inch of gift wrap, and never again cry out “Why God, WHY?!” when all your efforts still end up looking like you pulled an old lunch bag out of a garbage can and wrote your best friend’s name on it.

So here goes.

How to wrap a gift: A photo tutorial

How to wrap a gift

Ingredients:

  • wrapping paper
  • ribbon
  • scissors
  • tape (or glue if you want to look extra fancy)

Wrapping a gift : A dummy's guide

Step 1: Measure your gift wrap

This is actually pretty simple once you get it, but bear with me through the explanation.  If my explanation doesn’t float your boat, you can try another version here (but there are fewer pictures).

Take your gift box or gift item, and put it in one corner of your wrapping paper.

Wrapping a gift : A simple guide

Roll it along the bottom edge of the gift wrap, until you’ve rolled every side (e.g. if it’s a box, roll all four sides along.)  Add about a centimeter, and draw a line—this is where your first cut will be.

Wrapping a gift : A simple guide

Wrapping a gift : A simple guide

Pick up the box and put it face-up where you stopped, so the edge is at the line you drew. Roll it ONCE up the other direction of the paper.  So only two of the sides have been rolled (or if it’s not a box, HALF of the gift).Add about a centimeter, draw a line—and this is your second cut.

How to wrap a gift tutorial

How to wrap a gift tutorial

That’s it.  Cut the paper along the lines.  It should be perfect.

How to wrap a gift tutorial

Step 2: Fold & tape

Put your gift upside-down in the center of your paper.

How to gift wrap : A step by step guide

Take the longest sides and bring them together, so one overlaps the other. Make sure they meet in the middle of one of the sides.  Tape here.  If you’re fancy, dab a bit of glue under the top piece and hold it to the bottom piece until it dries.   This way you’ll have no ugly tape.

How to gift wrap : A step by step guide

Now we do the sides—the trickiest part of wrapping a gift.  With the pieces that stick out over the end of your gift, you want to fold in the sides.  IMPORTANT:  Make sure you don’t push the box down through the paper—you need the same amount of space on the other side.

How to gift wrap : A step by step guide

You should start with the side that has the overlapping pieces.  Fold it flush onto the box.

How to gift wrap : A step by step guide

The best way to make them stay put is to crease up the edges of the adjacent sides once you have folded the first one down.  Next, fold down the two adjacent sides, and the final side down on top.

How to wrap a Christmas gift

Tape or glue it down, and do the same on the opposite side.  I did one side tape and one with glue so you can see how it can make a difference to the look.

Gift wrapping tutorial How to wrap a Christmas gift

Congrats—the hard part of wrapping a gift is done!

 

Step 3: Ribbon

To cut the ribbon to the right length—it should be the circumference of the box one way + the circumference the other way, plus 4-6 inches for the bow part (bigger if your box is quite big).  So if you put your box at the end of the ribbon, and roll it along it until all four sides have touched—then turn the box the other way and roll it the other way, then add 4-6 inches.  OR you can always just cut it super long and then trim at the end.

Find the middle of your ribbon.  Put the box onto your ribbon in the center, with the overlap-side (the bottom) facing up.

How to measure gift wrap

Pull the ribbon up the sides of the box (doesn’t matter which sides), until they meet at the top.

How to measure gift wrap

Twist them around each other.

How to measure gift wrap

Flip the box over.  Pull the ribbon up the other two sides until they meet at the top of your box.

Wrapping a present tutorial

Tie a bow—like you’d tie your shoelaces.

Wrapping a present tutorial

Step 4 (Optional): Embellish!

I like to add a little twig, or leaf, or something to make it a little extra fancy.  I got these berries from outside—they are plentiful in winter, which sorta makes this also a tutorial for how to wrap a christmas gift.

How to wrap a gift (and specifically, how to wrap a christmas gift!)

Check out some of my other posts on embellishments:  Recycled Gift Wrap DIY and Natural Gift Wrapping DIY .

 

…and that’s it!  I hope this helped with your christmas gift wrapping, or gift wrapping for any occasion!

Custom typography design, cute greeting cards

I’m a sucker for cute greeting cards.  Combine that with my love of custom typography design, and you’ve got me.

That being said, one of my favorite graphic designers at the moment is Angel from Design & Happiness (who also happens to be a buddy of mine from school).

Custom typography design, cute greeting cards

Angel puts her awesome graphic design skills to work with not only fantastic custom typography design, but really cute sayings and drawings to boot!

Custom typography design, cute greeting cards

Her cards vary from sweet and romantic, to silly and fun.  The next one resonates really well with me—I’m a total jerk when I’m hungry.  I usually call it the Hunger Grumps, but now that I think about it, Hangry expresses the grinch-tornado even more accurately:

Custom typography design, cute greeting cards

Another super fun one:

Custom typography design, cute greeting cards

And at the moment her shop is all filled with cute greeting cards that are winter-themed, such as the one below:

custom typography design, cute winter greeting card

Want to see more?  Head on over to Angel’s Etsy shop, or check out her website here for more info about working with her.  She can do custom cards, website, wedding invites/photography, and more!

What to Name Your Company (Small Business Tips)

I’m in the process of putting together a full series of how to start up a small business online—so bear with me as it may take awhile to get all of them out.  But here’s the first of my 6-step series!

 

What to Name Your Company

It’s a pretty important question—the answer to which will (hopefully) last many years into the future. It can make or break your brand, so it’s a task not to be taken lightly.

Following are my tips for choosing a business name.

What to Name Your Company


What to name your company – Approach 1: Nondescript Name

The first way is to choose a nondescript name/word that you like.  Something that maybe vaguely sounds relevant to what you’re doing, but doesn’t shout out your product or idea in explicit details.

The main PRO of this type of business name is: if for any reason your business plan or products change, you can keep your business name and all the hard work you’ve put into it doesn’t have to be scrapped.  This was the case with Fair Ivy — the business concept has changed quite significantly since inception, but the name has been able to stay the same, due to it not particularly meaning anything at all. It can become whatever I want it to become!

Another potential PRO to this approach is that your business name can come to MEAN something completely new to your customers….like creating an entirely new word for a dictionary. Good examples are the companies Xerox and Kleenex.  Prior to these companies, the products for them were called copies and tissues—but now we can substitute the business name for the item itself, which means no-effort marketing.  Obviously these are extreme large-scale examples, but in your specific niche your customers can also come to adopt your name.

How do I choose this name?  

Well, you can always just brainstorm with friends and family members, or you could use a business name creator website such as Panabee.com which generates creative business names based on words you like, which should help you figure out what to name your company.

But before you settle on one, make sure the domain name is available for purchase—you can check domain availability on GoDaddy.com, which is where I register all my domain names. (Side note: GoDaddy also makes for a great hosting company—they are inexpensive and offer great phone customer service.  I’ll go into more detail about setting up your website later).

30% of GTLDs at GoDaddy!


 

 .

What to name your company – Approach 2: Descriptive Name

In this scenario you choose a business name that pretty much tells your audience what you’re selling, right in the name of your product.  So for Fair Ivy, had I gone this route we might have been called something like “Box a Month Subscription”.

The main PRO of this type of business is for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes.  Which means that if someone were to type a search into google, and your company name was the search phrase (e.g. “Custom Screen Printed Shirts”), you’d have a lot easier of a time getting to the top of the returned results.

A second potential PRO to this approach is that if someday you decide to discontinue operating the business, the domain name and all it’s associated SEO strength might be able to be sold to someone new.

How do I choose this name?

If you really want to take advantage of the SEO potential, make sure you choose a name that isn’t already saturated or TOO desirable.

The best way I’ve found to do this is to sign up for a Google AdWords account.  It’s a bit of a pain to do at first, but worth it for a multitude of reasons, some of which I’ll discuss in later posts.  You don’t actually need to spend any money on Google Adwords if you don’t want to (I don’t, anymore).  What you’re looking for at the moment is use of Google’s Keyword Planner.

On the landing page of the Keyword Planner, you can type in a phrase you think might be a good start for your business name.  Enter any criterion you want (e.g. customer location, etc), and hit submit.

What you get is a page like this (click for a larger version):

What to Name Your Company: Tips for choosing a business name

 

You can mess around with some of the filters on the left, but the most important thing you’re looking for is something that has a decent number of monthly searches, but with a low competition rating.

For most of my blog posts, if I want them to show up in SEO without too much hassle on my end, I usually choose keywords that return 10-30 monthly searches, with low competition. Once I’ve made sure the post is SEO friendly, I just have to sit back and wait a few months for Google to do its page-crawling, and bam—I start getting visitors on my site who searched for the exact terms I planned them to.  10-30 monthly searches might be too low for you (it works for me because 10 visits a month x 10 or 100 blog posts starts adding up).  But if it’s your company name you can probably aim for slightly bigger fish, like over 500 a month.

I understand that this step might be tricky, so if you need any help at all feel free to drop me a line (lucyf@fairivy.com) and I can get you sorted out. 


That’s all I’ve got for you today folks!

I hope the above tips have been helpful in answering the big question of what to name your company.  Whether the name was created via a random business name generator or via carefully analyzed SEO research—take your time to discuss your final company name with friends and relatives, to review any potential problems or drawbacks.

Until next time—when I discuss starting to get your business online via domain registration and hosting plan setup.

What to name your company

Natural Gift Wrapping DIY – Autumn Gift Wrap Ideas

I think Autumn is a lovely time of year—things are cooling down and the leaves are starting to fall from the trees.

….and because of all this, it’s also a great time for me to post a natural gift wrapping DIY!

Natural Gift Wrapping DIY

Step 1: Go for a walk

Take a stroll in the Autumn air.  On your journey, gather up some twigs, dead leaves, and perhaps some lovely dried berries.  If you don’t have any gardening twine, grab some from a garden store (the dollar store usually has it too!).

Natural Gift Wrapping DIY

Step 2: Wrap your box in kraft paper

This is the base layer of how I wrap the majority of my presents. It looks fancier and classier than other types of gift wrap, in my opinion—and is what helps give the boxes their natural gift wrapping feel.  If you don’t have any of it lying around, use an inside-out brown grocery bag or a brown lunch bag.  If those are also not available, a piece of newspaper (text mostly) can be an ok substitute.

Natural Gift Wrapping DIY

Step 3: Twine it up

The brown twine is also important for the natural gift wrapping feel.  Tie it either centered or off-centered.  Off-centered can give an even fancier vibe.

Natural twine gift wrapping DIY

Final Step: Try out different combinations

Go nuts with the collection of leaves and stuff you’ve collected.  Usually one or two different items is sufficient—like some twigs and berries, or a dead leaf and an acorn, etc.

Natural Gift Wrapping DIY

 

And you’re done!

I have another post with some more intricate natural gift wrap DIY ideas, so if you like this style go ahead and check it out!

Want to check out some other posts on natural gift wrapping DIY?  Check out some of my favorite blog posts on the subject!

DIY Halloween Candy Bags and Halloween Gift Wrap

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

I love that it can be just as fun for kids as for adults, and it’s a perfect opportunity to exercise a ton of creativity, both in choosing AND creating your halloween costume (here’s my zombie costume from last year and here’s one of Chris‘, a mad scientist).

I also love handing out candy (and scaring the older kids)—but it wasn’t until this year that it occurred to me that I could combine my love of cute gift wrapping with my love of Halloween.  I am working on some new styles, but for now, here are some of my favorite…..

DIY Halloween Candy Bags

….plus other Halloween-themed gift wrapping!

 These super simple and fun googly-eyed paper ghost candy bags by Craft-o-Maniac:

DIY Halloween Candy Bags

These cute little owl candy bags you can make with a free printable from Paper Crave:

DIY Halloween Candy Bags

 

This fantastic witches broom candy bag free printable from LollyJane:

DIY Halloween Candy Bags

 

Lastly, here are a few Halloween Gift Wrap ideas—they take a bit more time so might not be as good for handing out as DIY Halloween candy bags, but if you have only a few kids you’re giving a special gift to for Halloween, they’d be just the ticket!

This adorable “What’s in there” box from Growing Spaces:

DIY Halloween Gift Wrap

 

This gothic Black & White Gift Wrap style from Nordic Bliss appears to be made for Christmas, but I think with very few tweaks (say a spider on the white ones, a little pumpkin or dead leaf on the black ones) they could make great Halloween gift boxes!

Black White Gift Wrap

I’ll be working on some of my own styles this weekend that are a bit more generally Autumn-themed, so stay tuned…

Popular Subscription Service : A Wait List Solution

Edit: We have found a way to open up our subscription list for the time being, so the wait list is temporarily on hiatus!

We get a lot of questions from fans about our subscription wait list, so I thought I could go ahead and answer a bunch of them here.

The scenario:

We are overbooked.  We started out as a small subscription service 5 years ago, but now find ourselves amongst some of the most popular subscription service out there in terms of customer demand vs. our ability to supply everyone with subscriptions!

We want to be able to bring everyone on board, but it’s tough.  We only work with a single individual artist each month, which means there is a limit to the number of items they can produce without losing any of the care and quality they put into each one.

Popular Subscription Service : Fair Ivy's solution

Popular Subscription Service : Our solution

A wait list has been implemented, but it’s quite lengthy!  Whenever a current customer’s subscription ends, we offer that spot to the first person on our wait list.  In the past we have had no more than 5-6 spots open each month.

But there is hope—even if you are far down the wait list!  Sometimes people on our wait list hope to get invited in time for an important occasion, such as a girlfriend’s birthday.  If the timing isn’t right when their invite does arrive, they may sometimes pass on the invite.

Secondly—we DO hope to someday soon open up a second subscription, sending very similar items each month but with different artists.  That way we can offer twice as many subscriptions per month and let more people in on the surprise fun.  If that happens your spot on the wait list could jump you right on board!

Thirdly, we plan to start doing a blog post each month on a popular subscription service that we personally love (but send different types of things than Fair Ivy, such as Panty by Post), so you can check those out while you wait for your subscription to Fair Ivy to begin.

Want to sign up for our wait list?

With a Fair Ivy subscription, a new artist delivers a high-quality handmade (& hand wrapped) gift to your mailbox every single month—for just $30/month.

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