It is almost the holidays and many of us are still scrambling around trying to choose the perfect gift for a friend, relative or a business partner. What do they want? What do they need? What can we buy? On the 25th of October, a roundtable of “DEBATA NA MALCI” – Book, Wine, Chocolate or USB stick? , was organised by The Slovenia Publishing House, and held at the City Museum of Ljubljana.
We can spend hours in shops asking ourselves these questions. Of course there is another way to select the perfect gift, but it involves changing our perception of what gift giving is all about. The problem is that we think about giving gifts as the exchange of physical objects. A useful alternative is to think of a gift as communication. When you give a gift to someone, what you are actually doing is speaking to them. You buy, make or discover a gift that says something to the recipient. They receive the gift, and if they are perceptive, they understand your message. This may be obvious, but somehow we often forget it when we are choosing gifts. We focus first on the object or the need, then check what message it conveys.
What’s the perfect Slovenian business gift, what do they usually give and receive? This is why we hosted three exceptional guests at our roundtable in Ljubljana’s City Museum: writer Dr. Noah Charney, Mojca Hruševar Rakušček from the Aanima creative agency and one of Slovenia’s best sommeliers, Gašper Čarman. .
We discussed the fact that USB sticks are already the best-selling business gift. Is this fact due to a lack of creativity? Is there a lack of choice, or are the prices of more original and unique gifts unsuitable? What is important to companies when choosing gifts, especially those for business partners from abroad? What are the best gifts for representing our beautiful country? Why do Slovenes not give away certain Slovenian gifts?
Our panel noted that the attitude towards Slovenian products is growing. It is not enough that the product is only Slovenian, but it must also be sincere and authentic. Mojca likes multifunctional gifts that are able to reflect the story of the company. Gašper gives artworks to his employees, because this is a permanent gift that will remain with them, whereas his friends and acquaintances are always expecting him to give a bottle of wine. He does, however, usual buy wines as a souvenir, because at the end of the day that’s his passion.
He suggests taking advantage of the amazing culinary experiences in Slovenia, because the food is a great value and excellent quality – for a similar experience abroad, you would pay at least twice as much, if not more. Therefore, it seems to him that such gifts are especially interesting for foreigners. Noah says that unusual gifts are great, but Slovenes usually don’t dare to be different. He repeatedly highlighted the importance of gift mobility. So that you can carry it off, or post i to the other end of the world. People are also crazy about free things, such as collecting things on walking tours when you visit a place and receive a gift or memento at the end – similar to collecting stamps when you reach the peaks of Slovene mountains.
In the end, the panel’s conclusion was that it seems imperative for each gift to have a story. Every year we strive to achieve this goal, a gift must have a story, be practical and something original.
Many of these products are already available for purchase, and some will even be featured in our THE Slovenia Shop.
Written by Anja Panič and Jana Studen.