Mel Hwang and Victoria Hui love all things shopping, fashion, beauty, travel and food. They’ve travelled together around the world to places like London, Copenhagen, Portugal and the Netherlands. Mel is currently fixing up her Toronto home while Vic is planning a wedding in May 2020.
But what they love most of all is Rakuten’s Cash Back. (Obvi.)
We sat down with Mel and Victoria to find out what top gift-giving tips they could share. Because who doesn’t love to give (and get) gifts?
Q 1: You two have a lot of similarities. Can you explain how you gift shop for one another?
MH: That’s a tough one! Vic is hard to shop for because we have a similar taste and typically purchase what we like when we like them. I try to be sneaky when we shop together and keep tabs on what she likes.
VH: Our similarities also make it tricky to shop for one another! More often than not, she already has what she wants, but the great thing about liking similar things is that I can easily tell if Mel will like something judging by how much I like it myself.
Q 2: When gifting one another, what do you think about?
MH: I always try to tie a gift back to a memory or moment we’ve shared. I find that gifts are so much more meaningful that way. Whether it’s a joke we shared or something we obsessed over on a trip but didn’t buy, I like for my gift recipient to look at the item and remember an awesome time or feeling.
VH: When it comes to gifts, I always aim to give something that is both functional and sentimental. I try to think about how the recipient will incorporate the gift into their life. Are they in need of a new watch because their current one is broken? Or did they recently get married and want to frame their wedding photos? I always ask myself these sorts of questions so that I can avoid buying a gift just for the sake of getting a gift.
Q 3: How do you personalize a gift?
MH: I try to find gifts that represent an aspect of our friendship or relationship. I’ve always found my favourite gifts to be the ones that are the most sentimental. I’m a cheese ball that way.
VH: Similar to how I choose my gifts, I always make sure that the gift is something functional; that the person receiving it can use every day. Besides that, I love to include a card with a funny story or anecdote as to how I came upon that specific gift. A back story can be as important as the gift itself.
Q 4: What are your must-shop stores when searching for the perfect gift?
MH: That’s a hard one too! There are so many of my favourite retailers on Rakuten.ca. I always stop at Hudson’s Bay first or Amazon (if it’s something more practical). Depending on who the person is, there really is something for everyone. Sometimes I’ll start at Rakuten’s list of retailers and come up with a gift based on the list of retailers before even thinking of the item.
VH: There are so many on Rakuten.ca to choose from. Most of my favourite retailers are available to shop with Cash Back. I find that Indigo always has amazing gift options, Amazon is phenomenal, as well as Best Buy.
Q 5: What gift from the other stands out in your mind and why?
MH: Victoria bought me these coasters last year (that are from Hudson’s Bay) and they sit on my coffee table. There’s a letter for both Dave and I as well as a hashtag. I feel like the # symbol represents so much in our lives and careers right now. I see them every day and it reminds me of how far we’ve both come.
Q 6: Can you please share some tips for successful gift shopping? It can be so hard to know what to get someone!
MH: I think the best thing is to start with the idea of the person – what they mean to you, what you share, what memories you have together. Then also think about what they like and/or what they need. Cross-referencing those makes for the perfect gift.
VH: This is a tricky one! It’s important to know the person I’m shopping for extremely well. The biggest question that I ask myself is if the recipient already has the specific item, or if it’s an item that they’ve had their eye on. This helps to narrow down the options.
Q 7: Do you two have any funny gifting stories? If so, please share…
MH: So many! I like to say that Vic and I are top-notch gift-givers! The funniest one is when she saw me buying fuzzy socks at a Dollar Store and ended up padding my gift one year with fuzzy socks (not from a Dollar Store)!
VH: Yes! Tons! I didn’t even realize this, but over the years I’ve apparently decorated Mel’s entire coffee table with the different gifts that I’ve given her. Whether it’s a coffee table book, a set of coasters, candles, or mugs, I’ve somehow created her entire coffee table vignette!
Gifting is an opportunity to make someone feel special. Including a little note or backstory about how you found the gift can really take that present over the top.
For more inspo from these shopping pros, visit them on social media:
|Mel Hwang||Victoria Hui|
|Mel Inspired YouTube||Victoria Hui YouTube|
|Mel Inspired Blog||The Lust Listt Blog|