How do you find the perfect holiday gift for the person on your list who is absolutely impossible to shop for?
It’s an age-old question.
But new online businesses are emerging that make it even easier than ever. It’s called co-creation and it means being as much a part of the design process as the purchasing process. Companies like Nike and Starbucks have taken advantage of co-creation as a movement, letting their customers weigh in on what they should be selling or customize what they’re buying at the moment.
Sites like Wikipedia even fall under the definition of “co-creative,” because lots of people chip in on the final product that everyone can benefit from. But did you know there are a ton of new websites out there that let you in on the process of making the things you buy from them at the point of sale?
These sites are creating super customization processes that mean the gifts you buy will be tailored to the friend or family member you’re shopping for, in a wide range of prices. In some cases, you can even give a gift certificate for co-creation to that tough-to-shop-for recipient so they can co-create their own gift this holiday season.
Here’s a peek at a bunch of PerkStreet’s favorite co-creation sites you’ve probably never heard of just in time for the holidays:
CustomMade.com | Price Range: $$$$$
Remember that piece of furniture your grandma lost in the fire?
Have it re-created for a once-in-a-lifetime gift! CustomMade, based in Cambridge, Mass., offers a network of some of the highest quality craftspeople, all willing to make items to order.
“If the person you’re shopping for already has everything, then they might appreciate a gift that’s more conscientious,” notes CEO Michael Salguero. “What is better than spending on locally-made, handcrafted items?”
CustomMade has plans to start offering gift certificates soon, but meanwhile take comfort knowing whatever you contract to be built on CustomMade is going to be a one-of-a-kind piece constructed of glass, metal or wood by a professional artisan. If you need something right away and want to be sure it’s unique, be sure to check out their brand new ReadyMade marketplace, which offers custom goods that are ready to be shipped.
Fashion Playtes | Price Range: $$$
Who’s harder to shop for than little girls?
With Fashion Playtes, based in Boston, Mass., you can give the gift of custom clothing. Now your niece can design her own clothes and get all the bragging rights that come with the experience at school. Fashion Playtes has everything from dresses and skinny jeans to this year’s super-hot jeggings. Your recipient can even design gear for her dolls at Fashion Playtes. Be sure to go with a gift certificate for this purchase, so the girl you’re buying for can design the clothes she wants.
Blank Label | Price Range: $$$
Does your guy try to look good but always fail?
Hook him up with Blank Label. This online company, based in Waltham,Mass., will let you sit next to him and custom design a dress shirt that nobody else has. You can even customize the details of the shirt, like whether it has a pocket or not, what the collar looks like, and what the fabric on the inside of the cuffs looks like. The web-based interface for designing these shirts is super cool, and what guy doesn’t like playing with cool things on the web?
[Me]&Goji | Price Range: $$
Ever notice how some people are absolutely obsessed with breakfast cereal?
Now you can custom build one for them. [Me]&Goji, based in Barrington, N.H., lets you create your own cereal for your holiday gift recipient that has exactly the stuff you like. (We don’t think you can make it with only Count Chocula marshmallows, but maybe…) Combine all kinds of organic goodies to build something they’ll love to wake up to, and before you’re done, upload a picture of your recipient to put on their unique “cereal capsule.” You can also give [Me]&Goji gift certificates so they can design their own.
“The personalization and uniqueness of our cereal capsule makes for a great gift around all holidays,” said co-founder Alexander Renzi. “We actually just launched our Cereal of the Month club which makes for an excellent gift.”
Chocomize | Price Range: $
Know someone who loves bacon and chocolate?
Get them a bacon-filled chocolate bar from Chocomize. You can also put more traditional stuff in your mix, but why would you want to when hot Cayenne pepper, real gold flakes and beef jerky are on the potential ingredients list? This company, based in Cherry Hill, N.J., will even slap a big old “Merry Christmas” candy in the middle of your custom candy bar. They offer gift certificates, as well as a Chocolate of the Month club.
“I think co-creation is great for holiday gifts because it allows people to make ordinary products really unique,” said Fabian Kaempfer, a co-founder. “You can show someone that you thought about them while you created their gifts. Moreover, you can comfortably do your Christmas shopping from home and the price for your guaranteed one-of-a-kind gift is right.”