When it comes to gift giving, thoughtful and unique usually doesn’t mean easy. While huge e-commerce sites like Amazon provide all the means for quick holiday shopping from the confines of your office, you’re likely not going to win any awards buying stock, run-of-the-mill gifts.
Fear not though. If you know where to look, you can still find unique and thoughtful gifts that, quite frankly, don’t require all that much thought. Planning on spending the next month strapped firmly behind your desk working on an M&A deal? Check out these sites when you have a free minute. You’ll likely find something for yourself as well.
One of my personal favorites. Sidetour is an online marketplace that sells curated local experiences – tours, activities and one-of-a-kind dining events – hosted by experts who live the experience on a daily basis. You can explore New York’s Millionaire’s Mile with an architectural history buff, take a private tour around the Statue of Liberty from a professional sailing instructor or learn how to judge wine from a sommelier. They range from active experiences – hitting the links with the editor of Golf World – to sitting back and enjoying a five-course meal from a renowned chef.
You can reserve seats at publicly-available events or, better yet, book a private experience where you set the day and time. There are a wide variety of experiences to choose from, so the chances are good you’ll be able to scroll through and find something that is uniquely tailored to your wife, husband or even your kids. Type in your credit card information, press print and you’re all set. Unfortunately, they only operate in the U.S. in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.
Fancy.com is a different breed of e-commerce. In essence, it’s a social networking site that acts as an intermediary between consumers and retailers. The entire catalog of items is curated by users.
Upon joining the site, you’ll be asked to enter categories of products you may be interested in buying – gadgets, cars, media etc. – and then you’ll have the option of following members of your contact list. Then you can scroll through photos of “fancy” items that fit your profile.
The site describes itself as “part store, magazine and wishlist.” Except the difference is there are no generic items. It’s all cutting-edge, hip products from upcoming designers.
If you are interested in getting as well as giving, you can sign up for the “fancy box” – a monthly subscription gift box that feautres all the hottest new products that people have “fancied” in recent weeks.
Likely more well-known than the previous two sites, One Kings Lane focuses on one thing only: the home. While it features daily sales of new items from top designers, the real draw for the site is its vintage and one-of-a-kind items. One Kings Lane partners with antique dealers and designers from across the U.S. to showcase their items on the site – usually at massively discounted prices. You can buy art, antique furniture, even a chandelier.
The website also hosts “tastemaker tag sales,” day-long online sales that following a particular theme, like “feeling nostalgic,” a portfolio of retro products such as ‘70s speakers and rotary phones. One Kings Lane partners with antique dealers and industry insiders rather than simply acting as an intermediary, so all the products for sale are verified.
Uncrate is a men’s digital magazine that acts as an e-commerce site. Each day, the editors post and describe five high-end products that fit the stereotypical male archetype: scotch, cars, suits, headphones, sunglasses, climbing gear and anything else you can think of. You can scroll through and check out the hottest niche items on the market and buy, share or save the products with just one click. You can purchase anything from a $20 six-pack of the hot new IPA or to a $1.1 million vintage sports car.