Wantful – Giving Gifts in Style

by on October 17, 2012 · 48 comments

Giving a gift that’s cherished can be a challenge. You think you’re giving the ideal gift, then the next thing you know your gift appears at whydidyoubuymethat.com. Whether you’re unsure of your loved one’s sense of style or just get flummoxed at the idea of giving gifts, tech can help. Wantful is a website designed to make gift-giving an experience to be enjoyed by both the giver and the receiver.

I recently spoke with John Poisson, CEO of Wantful, about the gift-giving service. “We’re in the business of giving gifts, pure and simple. Our job is to help you discover some beautiful products you just don’t find in mainstream retail, and create an experience around a set of those products that’s beautifully presented with the element of surprise.”

How Wantful Works

Wantful asks you questions about the occasion and the recipient, lets you select how much you want to spend (from $30-$500), then suggests gifts for that person. You select your 16 favorite gifts and Wantful compiles them into a custom-made printed gift book it mails to the recipient so they can pick the gift they want to receive.

Wantful wants to get to know the recipient before suggesting gifts. You’re asked questions such as what’s their style, where they like to spend their free time, whether they like to entertain, and what sort of home they would like to live in. You can also choose from categories such as jewelry, accessories, outdoors and entertaining. You can choose gifts that are tailored to a person’s interests, gifts that are indulgent, or a combination of the two. If you’re in a hurry or want to choose a gift for yourself, you can send an online gift book via email.

Wantful then shows you gifts for you to include in your gift book. Each gift shown is in your price category so the recipient doesn’t have to worry about the cost of the gift or the shipping. You select 16 gifts and Wantful will create a custom gift book with your chosen gifts and mail it to the recipient. They can then choose one of the gifts in the book that they want to receive.

Poisson compared the experience to you creating a pop-up shop for your recipient where they get to walk in and choose what they want. “We often hear that people have a hard time choosing, which is great. That makes the gift giver feel good and it makes us feel good,” said Poisson.

Wantful takes pride in the gifts that are available on its website. “We try to find gifts that you and the person you’re giving to will find exceptional. Our job is to help you discover some beautiful products you just don’t find in mainstream retail, create an experience around a set of those products that’s beautifully presented with the element of surprise and ultimately let them choose an item from the 16 you’ve chosen that they really love the most,” said Poisson.

Wantful offers thousands of products, according to Poisson, and they don’t have inventory, the gifts are sent from their partners. So as long as a gift makes one person happy, the company believes it’s worthwhile to offer the product. The company also just launched a corporate gift-giving program and added wine to its selection of gifts.

The website is stunning, well-designed with easy navigation.  The images are high quality and the pages are uncluttered. Time magazine named Wantful one of its 50 Best Websites of 2012.

Poisson said that their typical customer is from the mid-twenties to mid-sixties. Gift givers are almost equally male and female. “It’s interesting because it shows that guys find Wantful a great place to shop.” Recipients skew more towards females, about 65% female, 35% male.

Wantful can remind you of birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates each year. The site is about a year old so now Wantful is beginning to send out its first annual reminders to its customers. Poisson explained that the site learns from what the recipient chooses and makes more intelligent choices the next time the giver chooses a gift for that person.

Wantful gifts can be sent from anyone around the world. Currently the gifts can only be delivered within the US, but the company plans to expand internationally next year.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an elegant way to give a thoughtful gift, check out Wantful.

Are you looking for an innovative way of sending gifts? Do you like the idea of a gift being chosen from a custom gift book? Do you like sites that suggest gifts based on a recipient’s interests? Let us know in the Comments section below!

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Other Tech News

Yesterday, Apple announced it will be holding a press conference on October 23. Many have speculated that Apple will be announcing the launch of the iPad Mini, reported to be a 7.85″ tablet without Retina display. Other speculation includes Apple announcing a 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display and a new iMac.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced pricing for its Surface tablet, due to be launched on October 26. The 32 GB Surface will cost $499 without the touch cover, $599 with the cover. The 64 GB model will cost $699 and includes the touch cover.

Here is the first ad for the Surface, showing how easily you can dance with this tablet:

Microsoft is also launching its Windows 8 operating system on October 26. Stay tuned to The Wonder of Tech for the latest tech news!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Harleena Singh
Twitter:
October 17, 2012 at 7:21 am

Sounds wonderful Carolyn!

Wantful…what a lovely name in itself. :-)

It would be wonderful if you had some sites like these that can take care of everything – including choosing and delivering the gifts to whom you want. I like the idea that you don’t even have to choose anything, and Wantful chooses those 16 items from the price range of your choice and thereafter it’s their job to send over the list to the receiver who would make the final choice. At least you don’t have to keep thinking if what to choose and whether what you sent would be liked by them or not, which is half the problem in such cases.

I haven’t really tried out any of such sites, though would surely be checking this one out. I wonder if it works for our place too, which is unlikely.

Thanks for sharing and letting us know about yet another wonderful site. :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 17, 2012 at 11:55 am

Hi Harleena, Yes, you’re right, Wantful is a great name!

I’m sorry if I didn’t make it clear in the article. Wantful shows you many more than 16 items. You get to choose which 16 items make it into the gift book. You can add a variety of different gifts or stick with a theme, such as jewelry or food.

I think this is a very elegant way to give gifts, plus I like how the receiver gets to pick as well. Everybody’s happy then!
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Kaarina Dillabough October 17, 2012 at 9:50 am

OMG that whydidyoubuymethat site is a hoot! And what an interesting concept Wantful is.

I’m a big fan of picking out special gifts and cards. Often I’ll see something that reminds me of someone, and I’ll tuck it away for just that special occasion. I’ve recently started crafting one-of-a-kind cards, using my vintage postage stamps, because I still believe in the hand-written note, and the beauty of something unique.

Thanks for sharing this info…I can now bust a gut on the whydidyoubuymethat site and I’ll check out wantful. Cheers! Kaarina
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 17, 2012 at 11:58 am

Hi Kaarina, You’re right, that site is a hoot! You just have to wonder if the givers were clueless or whether they were trying to send a not-so-subtle message?

Wow, what a wonderful idea to give handmade cards. Your receivers must treasure those cards!

I imagine that Wantful’s gift books are kept even after the gift arrives. Getting the book must be a big part of the fun of the process.
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Brian D. Meeks ( October 17, 2012 at 10:10 am

This is a neat idea. I hate buying gifts because of the very stress you mentioned. As such, I’ve simply stopped doing it, and don’t let people buy me things either. I have quit birthdays and Christmas, simply because I worried too much about the gifts I was buying and it made me miserable.

I’m not going to change, but I’m sure this service will be great for other people who have the same problem with shopping.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Hi Brian, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech. Wow, that’s sad that you’ve given up gift giving. Perhaps a site like Wantful could change your mind. John Poisson said that guys often struggle with gift giving which is why they use Wantful so much. You’re not alone in finding gift giving a challenge but sites such as Wantful are very successful in trying to make the process easier and less miserable.
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Aditya October 18, 2012 at 3:21 am

Hi Carolyn,
I guess this type of sites know for what they are here for.Handling everything from the start is a great deal and one have options to choose gifts from.This is a great idea.
And in video i have noticed all have Windows 8 in their surface tablet.But i guess its not even live for now or is it?
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 18, 2012 at 7:36 am

Hi Aditya, Yes, I like that both the giver and receiver have options with Wantful.

Windows 8 and the Surface tablet both debut on October 26.
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Aditya October 19, 2012 at 2:02 am

Oct 26..?And now its just 19th Carolyn,i guess i have to report to the concerned person that they are using pirated Windows 8 … lol :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Lol, Aditya. No worries. Windows 8 was available in beta to anyone who was willing to try it. ;-)
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Hajra
Twitter:
October 18, 2012 at 5:00 am

Looks like a wonderful way to gift. Most of the time I am wondering what to get someone and it gets tough to make choices!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 18, 2012 at 7:38 am

Hi Hajra, Yes, I think we all struggle with choosing the right gift for someone. I like that Wantful suggests gifts for you that you can select, but that the receiver has a choice as well. I think it would be interesting for the giver to see what the receiver ends up choosing.
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Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
October 18, 2012 at 7:32 am

I am not sure if I want to ask you this Carolyn, but I was hoping for Wantful to be available in Norway :-)

I know how hard it is to find the perfect gifts, and especially for people you’ve been around for a very long time. It’s harder and harder to buy gifts for my parents and for my wife, and I spend more and more time trying to come up with some new and creative ideas for gifts. I can sure use Wantful. Sounds like an amazing service.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 18, 2012 at 7:42 am

Hi Jens, Yes, Wantful is very useful to help get a great gift for your loved ones. Wantful only delivers gifts in the US this year, but next year it plans to expand internationally. I hope it comes to Norway soon, Jens! :-)
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Roz Bennetts October 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

Hi Carolyn,

Those Wantful guys have carved themselves out a niche there, I just went to check on their site and used me as an example as I’m always told I’m such a difficult person to buy for by my friends, and they came up with a list of inexpensive accessories (my selection) which I would truly be happy to receive. I imagine others will jump on the bandwagon (and I hope they do because I live in the UK) but they’ll do well for sure!

Roz
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 18, 2012 at 11:54 am

Hi Roz, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, they really have done a great job in developing a wonderful service and showcasing it on their beautiful website. I hope they do come to the UK soon, Roz, to make it easier for your loved ones to bestow great gifts on you! :-)
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Adrienne
Twitter:
October 18, 2012 at 10:32 am

Man Carolyn, I got a big chuckle out of that website… whydidyoubuymethat.com. I probably could have added a few things to that too but my horrible gifts didn’t remain here long. That’s a hoot!

I’m really big at picking out cards but horrible with gifts. I’d rather the person tell me what they want so I can get it because I’m always afraid that they won’t like what I pick out. This site is fabulous because you can make some suggestions based on what you know about them and still give them the opportunity to chose their own gift. I just love that! Great idea… Thanks for telling us about this one.

Ah, another announcement from Apple. Well, I bet there is more excitement brewing.

~Adrienne
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 18, 2012 at 11:57 am

Hi Adrienne, Yes, that website is a hoot. I’m just glad I didn’t recognize any gifts I gave on that site!

I agree, it’s easier for me to pick a great card than a great present. I have some friends who are amazing at getting gifts, those friends are keepers! I love that now I can have an edge in figuring out great gifts to give.

Yes, next week is a huge week in tech. Between Apple’s announcement and Microsoft’s big launches, it will be a busy time for tech! :-bd
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Carol MInarcik October 18, 2012 at 11:54 am

Hello Carolyn, This sounds wonderful and so easy. The holidays are soon to be here and I sure am going to check this service out. After so many years its hard to know what to buy and this sounds like the perfect solution. Thanks for the information.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Hi Carol, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Good point, Wantful will be a great choice for gifts at the holidays. No worries with two people getting the same gift for someone with Wantful!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing in the conversation, Carol!

Sonia October 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Now that is something I am going to use during this holiday season. I can see this working well for corporate customers (select ones that is) and the uniqueness behind it. Lord knows I have received some crappy gifts in the past and they usually end up in my closet collecting dust. I love the concept of giving your recipient the opportunity to see what you felt they might like in a custom catalog just for them. Thank you so much for sharing this because I know some ladies that will love using this. Great write up Carolyn!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 19, 2012 at 11:01 am

Hi Sonia, You’re right, this will be a great service for the holidays. The receiver gets a choice, but Wantful seems so much more personal than a gift card. You’re right, corporate gift giving is a super fit for this service.

I’m so glad you enjoyed this article, Sonia!
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Craig McBreen
Twitter:
October 18, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Hi Carolyn,

“Wantful can remind you of birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates each year. ”

“And suggesting gifts for that person.”

Maybe this year I can choose something other than Godiva chocolates :-)

–Just what every man needs, right? No wonder guys find it a great place to shop … ;-)

And isn’t Microsoft a little late to the tablet party?
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 19, 2012 at 11:06 am

Hi Craig, Lol, nothing wrong with Godiva chocolates. ;-) Actually Wantful has chocolates too so you can include those in your gift book if you want.

Yes, I can see why guys really like to shop with Wantful, it really seems as if you’re giving two gifts, the book and the gift. Plus you can’t go wrong with giving your special someone a choice of 16 different gifts!

Microsoft was late to the smartphone party and is late to the tablet party. That being said, if the Surface integrates well with the desktop Windows 8, people may find compelling reasons to get the Surface. Once people get the Surface, they may, just may, get a Windows Phone. Time will tell, but I wouldn’t count the Surface out. It’s an impressive device.
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Craig McBreen
Twitter:
October 19, 2012 at 11:16 am

Yes, it might just become a guy thing ;-)

Not hating on Microsoft, just another Apple fan-boy … :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 19, 2012 at 11:31 am

Lol, I didn’t think you were hating on Microsoft, just making a perceptive comment. ;-)

Manickam Vijayabanu October 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Hi Carolyn,

Another cool and thoughtful concept. Wantful..! The name sounds really fantastic. At most time, we generally get stuck and find all around as what to gift for our loved once. It could be for our family or friends.

Also, People who really busy and work round the clock can find only very less time to search for unique souvenir at festival occasions, and this would perfectly help them. Wantful Service, price and product quality will determine their success business down the line. :-)

Thanks for sharing the Wantful info :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 19, 2012 at 11:08 am

Hi Manickam, You’re right, sending a Wantful gift is much more convenient than heading to the shopping mall. As the holidays approach, it will be a great incentive for people to avoid crowded malls and shop online. But shopping online can be overwhelming too. Wantful’s curated content of quality gifts really does make it easy. That’s why I was so excited to share this service with Wonder of Tech readers.
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Adeline October 19, 2012 at 2:33 am

Hi Carolyn,
Just when you think there’s nothing more to gift giving, than a new idea turns up.
I’d definitely love to choose a gift from a nice little gift book. But I’m not sure how this will work if you’re a last minute gift picker, as a lot of us are!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 19, 2012 at 11:10 am

Hi Adeline, Yes, I would love to get a Wantful book myself. That would be very cool.

If you’re a last-minute shopper, you can still use Wantful. The gift book can be sent electronically using email. Next year Wantful can remind you ahead of the occasion so that you will have time to have the gift book mailed!
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Sue Price October 19, 2012 at 3:16 am

Hi Carolyn

I too love the name Wantful – I struggle with knowing what to buy people like I guess many of us do. I see by your response to Jens it is not going to help my given I live in Australia. Maybe in the future?

Great idea and I love the video.

Sue
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 19, 2012 at 11:12 am

Hi Sue, You’re right, it is a great name. Such a wonderful, simple name.

Wantful has plans to expand internationally next year. Who knows, in 2013 you may be receiving a Wantful book, Sue!

I love the video too. I watched it a couple of times. :-)
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Sarah Park October 19, 2012 at 5:30 am

Wonderful service from Wantful. This is very helpful especially for those busy people like me who doesn’t have much time going to malls or go online shopping now that Christmas is in the air and gift-giving as well.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 20, 2012 at 9:05 am

Hi Sarah, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! You’re right, Wantful can be a big time-saver for those who want to start their holiday shopping early but don’t want to head to the malls.

Carol Lynn
Twitter:
October 19, 2012 at 10:23 am

How interesting! I really like this idea. I definitely never know what to get someone and either I cop out and just get a gift card or I buy something at the last possible second. I just checked out the site and tried to find a gift for my husband and the first thing that came up was something he already loves and uses!! So I guess it does a pretty good job. Thanks for sharing this, it seems like a really neat idea and a lot more fun than plodding through the mall. I’ll be bookmarking it and checking it out before I worry about my next shopping event!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 19, 2012 at 11:29 am

Hi Carol Lynn, Wow, that’s really cool. Wantful definitely figured out what your husband would like. That’s a great test!

I’m glad you’re bookmarking this site because it’s such a convenient way to give a really thoughtful gift. :-)

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience with us!
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Kristine October 20, 2012 at 6:36 am

Hi Carolyn! Thanks for making this suggestion, I’ve never encountered anything like it before :-) As early as now, I’m trying to come up with a Christmas gift list and I’m worried that I’m not making the right choices…

Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 20, 2012 at 8:58 am

Hi Kristine, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, if you’re worried about choosing the right gift for your special someone, Wantful can help take away that stress. You can choose the suggested gifts you think are best and then have your friend choose the one she likes the best.

Jack October 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm

For the past couple of days I have tearing my hair out, trying to figure out a perfect gift for a friend of mine. I must tell you Carolyn, you are a life saver. I checked out the website and it just popped out a bunch of gifts that was perfect for my friend, I almost felt guilty as I thought ‘I should have come up with that gift’. I bet she will be happy and I didn’t even have to waste hours strolling in the gift shops trying to come up with something worth giving. I am confident now that my gift will not end up in Whydidyoubuymethat.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Hello Jack, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I am so glad that this article was helpful to you. It’s great to hear that Wantful gave you great gift ideas for your friend. You saved a harrowing trip to the mall, a lot of time and gas, and the worry that your gift would end up on whydidyoubuymethat (though I don’t think that would have happened).

Please feel free to stop back by and let us know how your friend likes her gift and her gift book! :-)

Julia October 21, 2012 at 8:34 am

Such a great service! I haven’t heard about anything like that before, but it seems to be the best solution for me! Honestly, I usually get in trouble when I have to buy a gift for somebody that I love, and I always feel disappointed after making the hard decision. But this opportunity can solve all of my problems!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 21, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Hi Julia, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I’m glad you found this helpful. It seems that a lot of readers struggle with gift buying. It’s great that Wantful is able to provide us with gift suggestions and also to let our loved one pick their favorite one.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Julia!

dadblunders October 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I truly love this concept! Giving some personal information and coming up with a list of individualistic style gifts for a person is GREAT! I have been trying to figure out a couple of Holiday gifts and I am going to check this out to see how it works. I hope they are as a wonderful as the concept sounds!

I would love to try the new Surface from Microsoft or at least get to try Windows 8. I am unsure how well I will like it on a computer that isn’t a touch screen (I realize that Windows 8 is touch screen enabled) Oh well, maybe someday this dad will get one…lol

Aaron
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 23, 2012 at 8:25 am

Hi Aaron, Yes, Wantful will be a great resource for you for the holidays. You can get helpful gift ideas and really impress that special someone with a gift book and a gift. Let us know how you like the service after you try it!

I just tested Windows 8 on a computer that wasn’t a touch screen, then tried it on one that was. I much preferred the experience on the touch screen. When I wasn’t on the touch screen computer, I kept trying to touch the screen anyway. If you’re used to using apps on a mobile device, you will have the urge to touch the screen.

If you’re going to get a new computer to use with Windows 8, get a touch screen, even if you don’t think you will be using it. You may discover that you want the feature even if you cringe at the idea of fingerprints on your screen. :-)
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Zainil October 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm

-> Wantful… OMG, what a website it is! :-) It is surely going to reduce half of my pressure.. B-)

-> I was waiting for the launch of Surface & finally it is out… Apparently after few months, another version of surface (apparently Surface Pro)… I hope that comes soon! :-)

Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 24, 2012 at 10:23 am

Hi Zanil, Yes, Wantful can take away a lot of the pressure of buying gifts. The website is a lot of fun to explore. You may even discover a few things for yourself.

Yes, the Surface finally arrives on Friday but there is no word yet on the date or pricing for the Pro model.

Zainil October 24, 2012 at 11:14 am

Of all that I had heard, the pro version of Microsoft Surface will release in January 2013 and would cost around $800! :-O
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Yes, Zainil, I’ve heard that too. We won’t know for sure until Microsoft makes its official announcement but it will be interesting to see how the market feels about yet another tablet at that point!

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