Every year I think, shall I get my clients some gifts, and then spend months trying to think of something unique.
One year I sent them a message in a bottle, quirky and fun I thought and then another year I bought a load of bamboo phone holders from Ikea and had my logo put on them. I’ve not been able to top this so, last year, they all got nothing!
This year, again I find myself thinking what can I get? So, I asked in a busy Facebook group full of independent business owners if anyone made anything that would fit the criteria ‘freelancer gift ideas’. I was hoping to get ten unique products, but they just kept coming. I chose those that I would personally invest in and which I thought would be great as client gifts, or even for family members who don’t know what to buy that person in your life who works from home doing whatever it is they do – watching telly isn’t it?
Some of the business owners generously gifted me a sample or a complete item so I have been able to provide a personal review on some.
Hot Elephant Teasmiths
A collection of delicious Luxury Chai, Infused and Classic Tea
The product details:
A collection of delicious Luxury Chai, Infused and Classic Tea, using the highest quality ethically sourced tea leaves, for a cup that is almost as individual as you! It is hand crafted in sustainable packaging. We also have tea accessories and biodegradable, compostable tea filters making it very easy to enjoy loose leaf tea anywhere, at any time.
Ranges between £3.50 to £11.00 for the tea depending on type and amount (50g, 75g or 100g pouches).
The gift boxes are £12.50 for small and £22.50 for large and they can be personalised for free and we also offer free gift wrapping.
And we have Tea Mixologist, where you can blend your own tea (unique to us I believe).
Link to buy: www.hot-ele.com
Year business established:
Paragraph from the boss: It’s no secret that I love tea, especially a spiced up cup and it is from this that Hot Elephant Teasmiths was born.
For me, the answer to “shall I put the kettle on?” is always a yes! Growing up, I remember the kitchen filling up with the aroma of wonderfully fragrant spices as they were carefully ground and lovingly blended with tea to create the perfect hot drink.
I am now delighted to have Hot Elephant Teasmiths and share our secret chai recipe as well as a collection of specially selected teas, which are ethically sourced and in sustainable packaging. There is something for everyone whether it be our Amazing Assam, Delicious Darjeeling, Docile Dragon Well Green Tea, Exceptional Earl Grey and many more.
Mums Bakes Cakes
Cakes, cupcakes, tasty treats, gingerbread men etc…
Cost: Varies depending on location and product
Link to buy: https://www.mumsbakecakes.co.uk/
1) Put in the postcode of your friend you are wanting the gift to go to
2) You will see a whole selection of tasty treats that have been created by the bakers in your friends area.
3) Choose what you would like them to receive- adapt the cake/cupcakes to your friends favourite flavour, colours,
4) Complete the online booking, explaining what you would like on the card that accompanies the gift, which also has the ingredients listed on it.
The baker you chose will see all your comments about the order and will bake specifically for you and will deliver by hand on the date you have specified.
All bakers are fully registered and can be checked out on the Food Standards website, having been inspected by the environmental health teams across the UK.
Year business established: Dec 2015
Paragraph from the boss: Having set up the company to satisfy my personal need of getting a gift to my niece in a different part of the UK, it became apparent that supporting professional bakers, encouraging people to support local is definitely the ethos of the business.
Across the UK we are now working with many International businesses who have also made the decision to support local economies, such as ‘TooFaced’ here from the USA, newly arrived in BOOTS Plc are supporting our local bakers by having tasty treats crated locally and delivered locally. ( Attached are some mini cupcakes recently delivered), currently delivering 1000’s of gingerbread men! This is business our bakers wouldn’t have been able to attract without the support of our network. International companies can now access these local markets with one email, and many ideas from a vast knowledge and database of professional bakers. Removing the need for couriers, our bakers deliver by hand and often meet recipients who are utterly surprised by the gift!- both bespoke, thoughtful and tasty which can be shared with family, friends and colleagues!
100% organic, cruelty-free kopi luwak (“cat poop coffee!”)
The product details: Pure is a 100% organic, cruelty-free kopi luwak (“cat poop coffee!”) harvested on a tiny, locally-owned farm high in the mountains of Java, Indonesia.
Cost: $140 USD per 100 grams
Year business established: 2018
Paragraph from the boss: I started Pure last year after seeing how much craftsmanship and care the local coffee farmers put into every harvest. Today, our goal is to educate coffee drinkers about the health benefits of kopi luwak (zero caffeine crash, defends against osteoporosis and PCOS, increased neurotransmitter activity in the brain, and more) while lifting the local farmers out of the cycle of poverty.
The Weekly Shop
Stasher Silicone Sandwich Bags
Product Details: Stasher Silicone Sandwich Bags are made from premium platinum silicone, so you can bake, microwave, sous vide, boil and freeze food in them. The bag’s airtight seal locks in nutrients, flavours, and juices so your food always tastes fresh and delicious. Once your contents are in the bag, burp your bag to remove air and fold over and use pinch-lock seal to make airtight closure. The sandwich bag holds one healthy-sized sandwich, about 10 energy bars, or your toiletries when flying.
Link to buy: https://weeklyshop.co.uk/collections/stasher
Year Business Established: 2018
Paragraph from the boss: The Weekly Shop is a plastic free online shop based in the UK, offering a beautiful curation of zero waste alternatives for the kitchen, bathroom and on the go. The shop sells tried and tested products from mostly British suppliers, many of whom offer vegan, artisan and all natural products.
The Homeworker: The Complete Guide
The Homeworker magazine
Product: The Homeworker magazine is a printed roundup of the best of The Homeworker magazine throughout the year.
Taking a holistic view of working from home, the guide features expert tips and strategies for your productivity, your mindset, wellbeing and home workspace. It includes information on things such as ergonomics, to-do list organisation, accounting, coping with isolation and mindful eating. There are also plenty of inspirational interviews and profiles of business owners and homeworkers with their real stories and lessons learned along the way.
Cover price: £12.99 (plus p&p)
Link to buy: https://www.thehomeworker.com/the-homeworker-guide/
Year Business Established: January 2019
Paragraph from the boss: The Homeworker began after I became aware of how many small home-based businesses there are and seeing this growing shift to people leaving the mainstream workplace to set up on their own or work more flexibly. Having worked from home and been self-employed for a number of years as a journalist, I thought I could provide a resource for this growing and isolated group of the working population. I wanted to provide inspiration and motivation, reassurance and support because I know how hard it can sometimes be when you work alone with no team or coworkers around for advice or perspective. I am fortunate to have interviewed some truly inspirational and fascinating people who share their knowledge, experience and wisdom, which I hope serves to encourage and inspire other people who are self-employed or work from home.
We welcome contributors to the blog and the magazine. The Homeworker readers are primarily small business owners and those who are self-employed or work remotely. We are always looking for interesting stories of homeworking, different perspectives on the experience plus tips for freelancers and small business owners. Topics such as productivity, organisation, mental health and wellbeing and useful systems and hacks that would be relevant to our readers are always of interest.
The product details: Belgrove Hazelnut Rum
Cost: £37.99 for 700ml with free delivery
Year business established: 2018
Paragraph from the boss: Belgrove Rum was born in the foodie capital of the Lake District, Cartmel, and nestles between the famous Cartmel sticky toffee pudding, and two Michelin starred L’Enclume. Belgrove is a single-origin, pure Demerara rum made from sugar cane grown on the mineral-rich banks of the Demerara River in Guyana. The rum is infused with notes of toasted hazelnut, a touch of Madagascan vanilla, and undertones of chocolate. It’s perfect in a salted caramel Espresso Martini, an Old Fashioned, or with ginger beer.
Mini Easel Desk Calendar
The product: This Mini Easel Desk Calendar 2020 is the perfect addition to your desk! You receive 1 mini easel stand with 12 calendar cards.
Cost: £9.50 each.
Paragraph from the boss: Hello, I am Chelsey and am 19 and own Project Plan. I recently launched this years Christmas range which features a variety of desk calendars. Available in lots of different designs they are the perfect addition to your office and also make a wonderful gift!’
The Floral Tea Co.
Red Moon loose leaf tea
Product details: Inspired by memories of red Hibiscus flowers blooming in tropical gardens, Red Moon is a crimson blend of sweet, tart Hibiscus petals, Lime leaves and Peony White Tea.
This tea combines floral notes and citrus with tender white tea leaves dried amongst peony flowers. Like a cocktail in a teacup!
Ingredients: Hibiscus petals, Lime leaves, Peony White tea, Citrus peel
Cost: £10 plus postage & packaging
Link to buy: www.thefloralteaco.com
Year business established: 2019
Paragraph from the boss: At The Floral Tea Co. our artisans create bold, beautiful, botanical loose leaf teas from flowers and fruits that are good for you. Our teas are bright, beautiful and bursting with flavour and we wouldn’t have them any other way! All our teas are made with natural ingredients and our packaging is eco-friendly and recyclable. Perfect for that guilt-free cup of tea!
What I thought: I went for the Red Moon which is a red loose leaf blend of hibiscus petals, lime leaf and peony white tea.
It came in a box wrapped in simple black paper which I absolutely love, because it gives that added element of surprise and intrigue as to what’s inside, not like when you’re gifted Quality Street or Roses at Christmas in those un-hideable (new word) shaped boxes. The actual tea leaves are contained in a black cylinder tube with a lid that won’t easily come loose during transport, and it feels really good quality. Despite my excitement to get the lid off I’m glad I was careful as there’s a generous quantity in there. Ooooh, and it smells absolutely divine; ingredients listed on the back also include orange peel.
I did as I was told; one teaspoon of tea at 80 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes until red. I used our trusty tea infuser, Fred, and allowed him to sit in my 80 degrees heated water for 4 minutes. Watching and waiting those 4 minutes for your tea to evolve is a great way to unwind, and then you’re presented with a nice flavoursome cup of tea.
What I really like is there is no overpowering scent, there are so many fragrant teas out there where the smell is the only ‘flavour’ and the drink could be anything, I’m sure many of you will agree?
I know instantly this isn’t going to be one of those that line our supermarket aisles.
First sip… Oh my goodness, it’s lovely. I went straight in for another gulp without putting the cup down. No bitter after taste at all. It’s like a spa day in a cup. I find white tea very soothing so I wonder if it’s this ingredient giving it the lightness?
I think this might just be my new craze.
At My Best®
Good Question Cards
The product details: 48 great questions, to help you appreciate and build on what’s good.
This beautifully designed set of 48 questions can be used in a multitude of ways including personal reflection, one-to-one discussion and group work. They’re an ideal resource if you want to help people appreciate and build on the good things in their lives – their strengths, their successes and the positive people and circumstances around them.
In the box:
- 48 question cards, arranged into 6 question families
- 3 blank cards, for you to add your own questions
- Instruction cards, including 4 suggested activities (additional exercise ideas are also be available online)
£20 + VAT (with discounts for bulk purchases)
Link to buy: https://shop.atmybest.com/products/question-cards
Year business established: Work Positive, the business psychology consultancy that created At My Best, was established in 2006.
Paragraph from the boss: The questions we ask, of ourselves and others, are hugely powerful in shaping thoughts, feelings and actions. The Good Question Cards are a great gift because they can actually make a difference to someone’s wellbeing and effectiveness. What’s more, they’ll get used time and time again, so will regularly remind the recipient of you! What could be better than a gift that helps people to be at their best?
What I thought:
The cards come in a handy box, so they stay safe and can travel with you anywhere.
I had a quick flick through the cards initially and by just reading two they evoke emotion immediately. One read, ‘what last made you laugh?’, which immediately made me photograph it and share it with my business bestie, Jo, because we had just had an hilarious exchange on Facebook Messenger.
The second card I picked out, read; ‘have you achieved something you didn’t think was possible?’. Hell yeah, I built a business that enables me to work from home full time! Oh, and wait, I wrote a book, oh and…
In just two cards I’d shared them, I laughed, and I felt proud of myself – I love them!
These cards are designed to help promote positive emotions, but without any element of woo woo or ‘poor you all negative, let’s get you out of that slump’
For some, it can be quite lonely being a freelancer and sometimes we have challenging clients, these cards are our personal coach, mentor and a good bit of fun.
These were very generously gifted to me, and I hope he doesn’t want them back because I’m keeping them close by!
These fall into the category of ‘for everyone’, and I know as freelancers we’re not supposed to serve ‘everyone’, we need a niche, but I think every freelancer / small business owner needs these on their desk. They’ll not only get huge benefit from them, but their clients might too. I’m definitely going to be using them with the VAs I help to start, build and grow their own Virtual Assistant business.
This is silk
Silk Cleansing Cloths
Product details: These three 100% Silk Face Cloths are the texture of the muslin cloths we all know and love, but with all the added benefits of Silk amino acids.
The unique weave of the Silk gently exfoliates, conditions and smoothes skin, leaving it radiant.
Cost: is £24.99
Year business established: 2017
Paragraph from the boss: Silk is widely known for its beauty but the incredible benefits of Silk for skincare are less well-known. The profile of Silk is uniquely close to our skin, and its amino acids positively benefit it. Silk has been proven to help with the condition of skin, as well as anti-ageing.
The Silk Cleansing Cloths are the most effective cleansing cloths you can buy. They are gently exfoliating and will remove all debris and product from your skin, leaving it soft and radiant.
What I thought: I’m a lover of exfoliation so, have to admit, I was a bit worried the silk cleansing cloth may not give me the scrub I’m used to.
I was wrong!
I applied some Elemis cleansing balm to my face and neck, as per the instructions, damping the silk cloth and rested on my face. I decided to use the occasion to lay down and do nothing. And it was lovely. Only led for about five minutes, and then wiped off the balm rinsed in warm water and gave my face and neck, a further massage.
It was only about three weeks ago that one of my clients sent me a care package that included a silk pillowcase. I’d have overlooked silk anything in the shops, thinking that it was just an extravagance. But, oh, it does make a difference. And these luxurious cleansing cloths, make a difference too. A wonderful unique gift for those work from home freelancers, especially those who need motivation to look after themselves as well as their clients.
Anthony Cullen Photography
Gift Voucher for a digital photography course
The product: A gift voucher for a digital photography course set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty based from a photographic studio on the banks of the River Orwell. Your tutor will be Anthony Cullen, the Observer award winning photographer with over 25 years experience in all aspects of photography.
Cost: £110 buys you a group day voucher (small group of up to 6 people) with a two course lunch at the famous Butt and Oyster pub free of charge (next door to the studio)
From £200 buys you a 1-2-1 with various lengths of days also including a delicious lunch at The Butt and Oyster – with the Full Day 121 there is also an opportunity to shoot in any location in the UK if you prefer, or use the studio for portrait/figure tuition with a model included for free.
Link to buy: www.photographicday.com
Paragraph from the boss: I’ve been running these courses for 13 years and have been a working photographer for over 25 years. I can pass on the experience and tips I’ve accumulated over that time and give you a truly enjoyable experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re an absolute beginner or more experienced I gauge your level and teach you the skills that you need to enjoy your photography as a hobby or for your work. The studio is only an hour on the train from London or 15 mins off the A12/A14 on the Suffolk, Essex border and is nestled in a beautiful natural bay on the banks of the River Orwell.
What I think: I wanted to include Anthony’s digital photography course because it fulfils a few things freelancers would enjoy. A day out of the office, paid for by someone else – us freelancers / self employed find it very hard to put the laptop away so if we have a reason, paid for by someone else, it might make it easier. Secondly, we all know great imagery gets attention, so being able to take our own photos is a fantastic skill to have.
Durrant & Dove
Viciously defaced porcelain
Product details: Imagine their horror as they sip from this beautiful cup only to discover their fate…
A beautiful Limoges porcelain vintage cup and saucer, decorated with pretty sprays of flowers and gold edges.
Cup dimensions – 5cm height, 10cm diameter. saucer 14cm
Cost: £25 plus p&p
Link to buy: www.durrantanddove.com
Paragraph from Lady Durrant & Duchess Dove: We are an artisanal business based in rural France. Durrant & Dove scour the French countryside for beautiful unloved vintage porcelain and viciously deface it, breathing new life into it. Totally unique, sustainable and ethical gifts….. insult your loved ones in the most beautiful way. All our porcelain is genuine vintage and sometimes antique and very rare …All our pieces are one of a kind and really rather special.
What I think: As soon as I saw the picture of the defaced cup, above, it tickled my sense of humour. I also like their ‘cyanide’ jug. Brilliant! I haven’t bought or been gifted an item, so can’t comment further other than my thoughts. Very funny and unique – love it!
Ridiculously Rich ring binder
Product details: Ridiculously Rich ring binder – perfect size for standard A4 paper with 2 hole punched paper. *Matching refill pad also available
Paragraph from the boss: The perfect aspirational gift for you or anyone you know who isn’t simply waiting for their lettering numbers to come up (although it wouldn’t hurt). Regardless of the plan, you’ll need somewhere to put the notes. Big goals need big plans.
What I thought: This fulfils a couple of life’s needs. Nostalgia and stationery.
I’m a fan of writing things on paper, hell I wrote my bestseller long hand! I’m also a fan of setting goals. But I also appear to be a fan of writing them everywhere; in endless notebooks on whiteboards, and in the notes section of my phone. So, this handy, well made, robust folder is where my 2020 goals will be and where I will mark off every one I achieve.
You can obviously use the folder for anything, it’s a great gift idea for that stationery loving freelancer with a home office to fill. And, just think how great it’ll look in the background on conference calls.
MIKAN Energising Natural Sustainable Candle
The product details: A rich citrusy, sweet & spiced blend to infuse a feeling of comfort, warmth and energy into any space.
Made with rapeseed wax which is locally sourced and the most sustainable wax available on the market. No toxins, just pure, strong scented lush and safe aroma-therapeutic goodness.
20h candle £16
40h candle £26
Link to buy: https://mythyn.com/mikan
Year business established: 2016
Paragraph from the boss: MYTHYN offers 100% natural plant-based bath, skincare and scented home experiences, created in small batches in my Bedfordshire atelier, using the highest quality ingredients to feed the skin and mind.
What I thought: The candle arrived in a box and I could smell it as soon as I broke the tiniest bit of seal. The candle is hidden in shredded black paper which gives you that unwrapping element and, oh my goodness, the tin with the candle in is absolutely beautiful – it’s a rose gold and I’ve been gifted Mikan, the ‘rich citrusy and sweet natural candle’.
Before I’ve even opened the tin lid I can smell it even more, but it’s not one of those overpowering ‘oh my god get it away from my nose’ smells; it’s got a soft warm welcoming smell that I want to fill my room.
Let’s have a look inside…
The candle is to the top of the tin, so you’re not given half measures, it’s generous. That beautiful smell just gets even better I can pick out the citrus. I really really like this.
I just want to add that it’s vegan, it’s non-toxic, it’s a rapeseed wax with essential oils and it’s hand made – clearly with love, in Bedfordshire UK
It’s 85g, and you know what I’m going to go and weigh it* and it’s got 20 hours of burn time. This is a great addition to any work from home’s desk, especially as the nights draw in and we’re reluctant to put lights on too early, because everything’s an expense!
Once the candle is burnt the little tin would be lovely to use nik naks, paper clips (remember those?), hair bobbles, etc.
*And while searching for the scales I found a hidden box of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. Btw, the whole thing with lid is 135g.
Ethically produced cotton t-shirts
The product details: Buttery-soft, ethically produced cotton t-shirts, with peach screen printed font.
Cost: £21 with free postage
Link to buy: https://www.theenthusiast.co/shop/enthusiasm-tshirt-white
Paragraph from the boss: Instead of wearing your heart on your sleeve, wear it unapologetically on your chest. I want to encourage people to rebel against this obnoxious outdated notion that caring is tragic, and instead to revel in the fact that something somewhere makes their heart sing and makes them wanna get up in a morning. I want us to reclaim our enthusiasm, and be unabashedly proud of loving something with all of our heart or all of our head – or both!
Starling personalised leather keyring
Product: The starling personalised leather keyring.
Cost: £18 plus postage and packaging
Konoc launched: 2016
Link to buy: https://konoc.com/collections/personalised-leather-keyrings/products/copy-of-starling-personalised-leather-keyrings
Paragraph from the boss: Having your name/ nick name/ special date or empowering word embossed on a personalised leather keyring makes a great, stylish and unique addition to any set of keys, which is why KONOC’s keyrings have become so popular. There is now 19 to choose from in the Starling style so there really is a colour for everyone. Each item comes individually gift wrapped in branded tissue paper so makes for the perfect gift for someone special at Christmas, parents, grandparents, secret Santa gifts, friends, family and those ones who are really tricky to buy for!!
What I think: I bought one of these for my daughter for Christmas and I love it! There’s a superb choice of colours and you can even choose the colour of the ring. You could have some made in your company colours, or near as damn it, and put your company name on – or perhaps the client’s company name! It’s great quality and good value.
It comes packaged really well and arrived very quickly. Sometimes you can order from small creative businesses and the delivery time is epic as they are juggling other jobs too, so I was super impressed with the speed of this delivery. The wording I requested on the item wasn’t bog standard either, so I wasn’t sent one from stock – it was made especially for me.
Young In Spirit drinks
Collagin – Gin with added collagen
The product details: Deliciously smooth and impeccably fragrant, the world’s first gin with added collagen, aptly named Collagin. Collagin mixes the world of beauty and booze together to create a truly unique, stunning gin that could sit on a bar but also a beauty counter.
Cost £5.95 for one or £15 for three
Link to buy:
x3 for £15 – https://collagin.co.uk/3-collagin-miniatures/
x1 for £5.95 – https://www.31dover.com/spirits/collagin-miniature-5cl.html
Year business established: 2016
Paragraph from the boss: The mini bottles of Collagin are perfect for gifting! Whether it’s a secret Santa gift, a stocking filler or a little treat for yourself, she’s the perfect surprise for the beauty loving gin fans out there.
What Charlotte thought: Charlotte, Founder of Lightbulb, the Entrepreneur and Journalist hangout Facebook group, was gifted two bottles of these gins. If they look familiar, it’s because you may have seen them successfully promoted by the founders on Dragon’s Den!
Here’s what Charlotte thought about the Rose flavour.
‘The square bottle looks like a perfume bottle, so I’ve kept them and definitely not throwing away, as it’s a gorgeous cube of glass that’s crying out to be refilled!
Delicate rosy gorgeousness that didn’t even need any tonic water just poured it over a heap of ice and drank it on the rocks. Rose on the rocks!’
These make a lovely unique gift I think, and like Charlotte, I love the bottles.
My top three:
Good Question Cards
Konoc personalised leather keyring
What are your favourites?
PS: Double check with your accountant, but you might be able to put through client gifts as a promotion / marketing expense.
All images subject to copyright.
No review does not mean I don’t like the product, it just means I haven’t reviewed it!
Price and links accurate as at 19 November 2019