Thailand has a very generous culture, and giving and sharing is a normal part of everyday life. Generosity is ingrained in the Buddhist way of life, where people give food to monks every day to gain merit. In Thailand, the art of giving is usually related to food. It was a case of caring and sharing. In the old days, every house would have a garden with mango trees. When the mango season arrived, each house would share their homegrown mangoes with their neighbours as a friendly gesture, and they would get different mangoes in return.
When Thai people see some high quality food or fruit, they usually think of buying it for someone they love and respect, rather than for themselves. I think this is wonderful, and food is a gift that is appreciated by the receiver. Nothing could be better than the gift I got the other day - a basket full of lychees. They were so good, with tiny little seeds, and very sweet. So food shows the sophistication of gifting. It’s a case of giving something special to others that they will appreciate.
When I go to Cambodia I see that when I land, there are literally millions of sugar palm trees around. At the market, they sell palm sugar in beautiful, artistically designed packs. So I always bring back 20-30 packs and give it to friends because everybody enjoys good sugar. And it's a very rare sugar. And in Burma, in fact, they eat sugar after each meal because it has certain enzymes and helps digestion, which is also similar in India.
But food aside, when you give gifts to somebody, first of all, you think of that receiver. You have to see what kind of character, personality or taste he has, and then look for what is suitable for him. And it should also something that you would also like yourself – this is the key factor.
Gifting requires careful research and planning, otherwise it becomes boring and mundane. Without the sense of personalization, gifting becomes a rather dead end business because it is limited to ball pens and mass produced items.
Lotus Arts de Vivre actually began when I designed my own belts and shoes because I couldn’t find anything in the market that I really liked. We then looked around for people who could produce them for us, in both quality and quantity. And so a lot of the designs were made, first for ourselves and for the family, and when friends began to admire the products, we would gift them to friends, then later for customers. They would appreciate these gifts because they were original, handmade, and contained an element of rarity and complexity.
My wife, Helen, has very eclectic tastes. When I first bought gifts for her, I “forced” on her a few fashion items like shoes, but then I noticed she never wore them. After a while, I realized she enjoyed collecting rare spoons, old evening bags and other knick knacks like handmade art deco items. So you really have to know the taste of the person, and try to make them happy and excited.
So if you want the fresh approach to gift, go to the Lotus Arts de Vivre online store. There you'll find items which you can give to make sure that the receiver remembers you. Or you can find items that are keenly collected, or that the receiver has a keen interest in. In either case, you and your gift will never be forgotten. These are the hundreds of designs that we created over the over 40 years for ourselves or for friends and customers, to fulfill a specific a specific request. That is why these items are sure to touch the heart of the receiver, because they were all designed and created with thought, care and craftsmanship that come from the heart.