Wondering what the top trends in dog gifts are this year?
This episode of The Dog Show features Chloe Gardiner. Chloe is the Marketing Executive at Prezzybox, a UK-based gift retailer that sells the kind of presents that trigger that moment of excitement and elation when you find them.
In the interview, we discuss how Prezzybox selects unique gifts for dog lovers, what makes dog-themed gifts special, and the top trends in dog gifts for 2020.
Find out more about Prezzybox here:
Will: This episode of “The Dog Show” features Chloe Gardiner. Chloe is the marketing executive at Prezzybox, a U.K.-based gift retailer that sells the kind of presents that trigger that moment of excitement and elation when you find them. In the interview, we discuss how Prezzybox selects unique gifts for dog lovers, what makes dog-themed gifts special, and the top trends in dog gifts for 2020. Chloe, welcome to “The Dog Show” today. Thanks so much for coming on.
Chloe: It’s okay. Thanks so much for having me. I’m very excited.
Will: Yeah, it’s great to have you on. I’m interested to talk about everything you’re doing. It’s a bit different than what I usually have on the show, actually I’m usually having behavior experts, or trainers, or vets, people that are working specifically in the dog space. But Prezzybox is more generalized than that. But I thought it was a great opportunity to chat about dog gifts because everyone out there that listens to the show is looking for gifts for themselves or maybe they’re looking for other friends which have dogs, or maybe for the dogs themselves as well. So there’s always kind of an opportunity to chat about gifts, and I love talking about gifts anyway, so.
Will: But let’s start with you. So tell me a bit more about your dog. I believe you’ve got your own dog?
Chloe: Yes. So I’ve got a malinois. She’s called Maple. She’s 3 years old. She was actually rescued from Cyprus. She was in a sanctuary was over there and was flown over and now she lives with us and hope she has a very lovely, happy life. But yeah, that’s my lovely Mapes.
Will: That’s nice. How old was she when you rescued her?
Chloe: So we got her not March just gone, but March last year, so 2019. So she was about 1-and-a-half and sort of scared of everything, not been inside a house before. Scared of curtains, scared of the television. So it’s just sort of the last year has her been kind of getting used to things and getting used to normal things that we don’t think about that kind of spook her. But she’s such a lovely dog and the fact that she didn’t have so much of a great life before just makes us really kind of appreciate her and want to [inaudible 00:02:43] more.
Will: Yeah, I’m always intrigued to hear about, you know, like, people that have got dogs from recuses compared to breeders. And that’s kind of always a question I like to ask because, you know, what are the differences, right? But with her, do you know much about her background or was it you starting kind of in the dark, or what did that look like?
Chloe: Well yeah, the only thing we know about Maple is that when she was in Cyprus, she was found wandering around a field by herself and then she was, kind of, picked up by their, sort of, pound system. And that’s all we really know about her. And that’s the thing when you adopt dog, you sort of learn…you don’t know exactly what they’ve been through, but certain things might trigger things for them that you don’t think about. Because I remember when we had her home, I started to brush her with like a brush on a handle and as soon as I did it she didn’t like that. So we kinda think, okay, maybe she was kind of mistreated with that sort of thing. So it’s just, sort of, having to, kind of, take each day as it comes and just, sort of, figure things out and not push them too much and put them in situations where they might react. But it’s just learning, I think. It’s good in a way because you have such a special bond and you learn their behavior so well. And yeah, I’ve had…because my family dog, we had him as a puppy and so obviously I’ve had both experiences of adopting [inaudible 00:04:07] and having a puppy and bringing it up and it is a lot different.
Will: Yeah, exactly. It’s a very different experience. And I guess you gotta be ready for different types of things, right? Have you noticed, has she been good with other dogs and, kind of, socializing and things like that?
Chloe: Yeah, when we first had her, she was slightly more reluctant with the other dogs and we kind of thought, well maybe when she was in Cyprus living on the street, she might have had to, sort of, like, fight for her food or…You kind of try to think about why she is the way she is. But now she’s loads better with dogs and she’s such a softie. And to start she didn’t really like men. Like my [inaudible 00:04:49] he’d come back in the house and he’d be wearing, like, black clothes, like dark, went out in the evening and she wouldn’t like that. And when she realized it was him, she was fine. Like, she wasn’t too keen on men when we first had her, so I don’t know if something happened with a man to her. But she sort of…like, kind of looking back even like four months ago how she was, she’s improved so much. So it’s just one of those things where she keeps improving and getting used to things and not being afraid of things.
Will: I think that’s one of the biggest things I’m taking away from the story is just that you can kind of bridge that gap to even if a dog maybe comes from a checkered past, you can kind of work with them and get them used to new things and actually give them a fantastic life by just giving them care and love, right?
Chloe: Yeah, definitely.
Will: It’s funny when you said the dog breed’s name. I never actually knew how to pronounce it. Malinois, how do I say it?
Chloe: I say malinois, but I don’t know if I’m saying it right [inaudible 00:05:47] that’s what it is. It’s a type of…like a Belgian shepherd. So she’s kind of the dogs…we did a bit research on her breed and she’s the kind of dogs that they used to, like, Americans jump out of planes with and like [inaudible 00:06:00] proper army, like, full-on dogs. And she’s just the biggest softie, she’s so sweet. But we think that she is, kind of, a half breed because she’s not…if you look at pictures of malinois, her color isn’t the same. But we’ve been told that that’s what her breed is, and then we [inaudible 00:06:20] to trainers and they’ve said that’s what they think she is as well.
Will: Is there anything unique about her that might be different to any other dog breeds that you’ve been experienced with?
Chloe: Yes. So one thing we always joke about is so she does this thing when she’s really excited, but she doesn’t snap and she doesn’t bite, she just sort of like bites her mouth down. And apparently that breed, it’s a thing, and their nickname is “maligators” because they do that kind of [inaudible 00:06:49]. But it’s not, like, aggressive, she won’t bite down on you, just when she’s excited, she’ll come up to you and she’ll, like, get your ankles and do it and if you’re getting a lead out to go for a walk, she does it as well. So that’s one thing that we always joke about.
Will: Interesting. Maligators, I haven’t heard that one before but now I’ll remember that for sure. Okay, so shifting gears a little bit, how did you get into the gift industry and start working for Prezzybox? Like, how did that journey happen?
Chloe: So it’s a bit of a weird one. So my family friend, Zak Edwards, who unfortunately passed away this year, when I was 15, I did work experience at Prezzybox and absolutely loved it. I started off just, sort of, helping out with some photography and graphic design stuff and then I, kind of, did my A-levels, went to uni, came back and just was drawn straight back going to Prezzybox and just, sort of, found myself in this role and worked my way through it and just I really love it and I can’t see myself going anywhere else at the moment. Like, it’s just such a lovely place to work. And like I say, with all the all the animals around because I am, like, an animal lover. I love animals. So the fact that I get to go to work…well, I used to get to go to work every day and see goats and everyone would bring their animals in, like, bring their dogs in, like puppies running around, and I would do a bit of work as well.
Will: Yeah, that’s right. Before we started recording you were mentioning that you worked in like a farmhouse, like a reconstructed kind of farmhouse thing and there was animals around and people are bringing their dogs in. So you take Maple into work, do you?
Chloe: She’s been in quite a few times. She loves it. All the dogs there are lovely and so sociable. So that’s good for her as well to, kind of, feel safe. And the fist couple of times we went in she was a bit protective of me. She’d kind of sit by my desk and if the dogs came up she wouldn’t like it too much. But then as we went in and I kind of [inaudible 00:08:43] the dogs and she saw that everyone was okay and no one was gonna hurt her that she loved it. She used to love coming in. We used to drive down the road that would go into the Prezzybox building and she’d just start crying in the car, go mad, running around like just going crazy, couldn’t wait to get [inaudible 00:09:00].
Will: That’s cool. I guess it’s great. I mean, as much as it’s nice to have that environment for us working with our dogs around, like it’s great for the dogs as well, rather than them being home by themselves or whatever.
Chloe: [inaudible 00:09:11] themselves. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Will: So it sounds like Prezzybox has come on like really quite a long journey for an online business. It’s not like it’s come up overnight. It was like originated way back in, like, the dot-com boom and all that kind of stuff from what I was reading. So you’ve got a huge array of different gifts and things like that on the website, but I wanna talk more specifically about gifts for dog lovers because that’s what people are listening for. How do you go about choosing the gifts that you list or distribute on Prezzybox that are related to dogs?
Chloe: So we kind of choose gifts that we think obviously not only dogs would love and would enjoy playing with, also kind of owners would love to, like, give to their dogs. Because it is exciting. Loads of people, rightly so, see dogs as like children and family members. So it’s normal now to most people to buy them presents. So we think about that. And then also we do quite a bit of, like, product testing in the office. So we’ll have some samples come in and see what the dogs think of them and how they respond to them. And just fun gifts, really. Gifts that look fun, that like I say the dogs would enjoy playing with. And also, we quite like products that we think will do well on social so that people will want to…people have this really quirky gift and think, “I kinda want people to see how cool this is,” and then they’ll share it and other people will, like, wanna get involved and buy it for their dog. So it’s just a combination of things, really.
Will: That was something I did notice about all of the gifts on your website though, there is…they’re quite unique. Like, it’s not like your run of your mills kind of gifts, it’s like really stuff as you said, like would pop out on social media and people would go, “Oh, that’s really cool. I need to get that.” I guess as well, like, so you mentioned the gifts for the dogs but then you’ve also got a bunch of gifts which are also for the dog owner, right? Like, maybe it’s dog-themed gifts, I guess. So do you take the same approach with that, just kind of looking for those unique style gifts?
Chloe: And as well I think it helps in the office we’ve got so many dog owners and dog parents that we can kind of see what would appeal to us and what we would buy for our dogs. Sorry, there’s a bit of a glare coming in. We can kind of see what would appeal to us as dog owners. So that’s another way of kind of bringing it in, seeing, “Oh, this is really cool. This is really exciting. I think this will do well.”
Will: It must be really hard to buy gifts for people at your office because you’re exposed to so many different gifts, right? Like, how would you find something unique?
Chloe: Exactly. And, like, Secret Santa’s, like, just impossible.
Will: That’s what I was thinking of. I was imagining Secret Santa at your office going, this is going to be impossible. How would you…It’s not even worth doing unless you give gifts from Prezzybox. Okay, so why do you think people buy dog-themed gifts? You’ve been exposed to so many different styles of dog-themed gifts whether it’s for themselves or for their dogs as well. What are the drivers behind that?
Chloe: I think, kind of, the main thing is that people just really love their dogs and really love their pets and they want to, like, bond with them and treat them. And this is, like, buying them a gift is just a really nice kind of feeling for them as well. And obviously, they wanna treat their dog and give them everything they can. So then buying a personalized dog blanket, you’re obviously gonna do that.
Will: It’s also a really nice way to treat someone else. For example, like, if I bought you a personalized dog blanket of Maple, for example, you know, that’s gonna be a very sentimental gift for you rather than, you know, something else, just a regular blanket or something else, yeah.
Chloe: And as well, I think that’s a good point, being sentimental because especially at the moment with, rightly so, there’s such a big kind of push on being eco-friendly and sustainable, you don’t wanna do gifting where someone will get it and be like, “Oh, that’s cool,” and then get rid of it. We want people to see gifts and want to keep hold of them and really love them. And I think, like I say, a blanket with Maple’s face on it, for me, I wouldn’t part with that, so.
Will: It’s interesting. I’ve had a couple of guests on, I had a couple of photographers on and artists, like a pet artist, and they’re obviously in that similar industry, people are getting personalized artwork done, or personalized prints, or personalized photos of their dogs. And one thing that is different, I guess, about dogs than just regular gifts and people that love their dogs, by having that personalized, I guess…what’s the word I’m looking for here? It’s like a keepsake, I guess, once the dog passes away [inaudible 00:13:50] because they won’t live as long as the owner.
Chloe: Yeah, definitely. It’s one of the things where it’s just, sort of, like I say, dogs are just a part of people’s families now. And so, and a lot of people see dogs as their children, so why wouldn’t you wanna, kind of, spend that money and get them memories and treat yourself, and treat your dog and treat your friends that love their dog?
Will: So what are some of the trends you’re seeing with dog lover gifts and dog gifts in general at the moment? I mean, you’re exposed to so many different styles and everything, I’m sure, when you’re selecting the gifts.
Chloe: Yeah, like I say, anything personalized does really, really well for the sentimental reason that people want stuff that they can keep and that will mean something to them. And also gifting-wise, it always does well. We do a pair of socks than you can personalize your dog’s face on and they are just so popular because they’re like a funny gift but at the same people are like, “I kind of really like these.”
Will: Actually, I think I have a pair of socks which I was given by someone which has my dog’s face on it.
Chloe: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So yeah, anything personalized does really well. Not only kind of photo [inaudible 00:15:04] personalized but, sort of, anything, kind of, engraved or embossed with, like, the pet’s name on. So we do, like, little hooks, like the dog collar and dog leads that have, like, the dog’s name on, like pet food bowls. Like, just loads of stuff. And people will buy them, people just love, sort of, kitting their pets out with all these cute stuff. And I’d say another trend is probably gifts from a dog to an owner. So say, like, your partner, you were buying a present to your partner from the dog, like that’s quite popular as well. Because like I say, people…Sorry, carry on.
Will: No, I didn’t actually think about that one. I mean, I know that I put my dog’s name on Christmas cards and stuff, but I hadn’t actually thought about giving a present from the dog. So how does that actually work, how does that look like?
Chloe: Some people would, kind of, do a little message saying like from the dog, like, “Happy Christmas, Dad,” or “Happy Christmas, Mom, sorry about chewing up your slippers,” or something like that. Like, it can be something with their face on it, like really cute, get some socks that have, like, a human’s on and a dog’s face on. So that’s quite cute as well.
Will: Oh, that’s nice.
Chloe: Kind of little sort of gift, kind of a little idea of a gift.
Will: Yeah, cool. Yeah, so personalization seems like a key differentiator for what you offer. Would you say that’s fair?
Chloe: Yeah, I think so. I think personalization, to be honest, in the majority of our categories [inaudible 00:16:34] not just dog products, personalization is just one of our biggest sellers because people like the, kind of, almost having something that’s special to them and they can, sort of, “Look, I’ve got…like, this is mine and no one’s gonna have anything like this,” because it’s personalized with, like, whatever, like a picture or a message. So yeah, personalized for us, I think it’s been like a real game-changer.
Will: Okay, so do you wanna tell me a little more about Prezzybox then? You’ve obviously got the dog-related gifts that we just discussed, but give me a holistic picture of everything you’re doing and where people can find more information about what you’re doing and check out the gifts as well.
Chloe: Yeah, so Prezzybox, we’re an online gift retailer. We aim to create moments of happiness by living extraordinary. So you come on our site and find any gift for any person for any occasion. That’s our goal is that if you need to find something for someone, you can get it off Prezzybox. And yeah, prezzybox.com. And then we have all our socials. If you wanna see our office dogs on our socials, follow @Prezzybox on Instagram. We have a whole, like, highlight-reel just with Prezzybox pets and the goats. And yeah, just get in touch and let us if you need help looking for anything specifically. Yeah.
Will: That’s great. I’ll definitely share all of those links with the show notes and everywhere that we’re publishing the podcast. I really love, I guess, the slogan you call it. I read it when I was, you know, surfing your website, but is it bringing enjoyment? Is that what it is?
Chloe: Moments of happiness.
Will: Moments of happiness. When I read that I, kind of, had a little smile on my face and I imagine myself getting a gift that I love or actually, probably more importantly, giving a gift to someone and them having that smile on their face when they opened it. And that’s what we’re all hoping for when we get someone a gift, right? You want them to be excited when they open it. So that really resonated with me, that slogan. And I’m sure everyone would have that experience when they check out all your gifts as well.
Will: Well, Chloe, thanks for much for sharing your insights on dog gifts and gifts in general and all the trends that you’re seeing at the moment. I’m sure there’s gonna be a lot of listeners out there that are ready to jump on your website and check it out and get some personalized dog gifts done.
Chloe: Yeah, sounds amazing. Thanks so much for having me.
Will: You’re welcome. Thank you.
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