Leeds entrepreneur Hilary Robinson, talks about My Ruby Slipper the gift idea website
PUBLISHED: 00:16 13 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:26 20 February 2013
Jo Haywood finds out how a young Leeds entrepreneur came up with a real gem of a business idea
You take a gift from under the tree, scramble at the paper with undiluted glee, almost unable to contain your squeals of joy at the thought of what lies beneath the artful wrapping, only to find a book about origami and a pair of cerise mittens with left and right embroidered on each of them.
You then look at your husband/mother/granny (delete as applicable), the generous gift-giver, and wonder what on earth had possessed them.
Unsuitable gift-giving is a story almost as old as the Nativity itself whats the betting Mary pocketed the receipt for the myrrh and swapped it for something more useful, like a crib?
But Leeds entrepreneur Hilary Robinson is hoping her business will put a stop to this perennial problem once and for all. My Ruby Slipper is a website which gives people the opportunity to share information about themselves, their likes and dislikes, with family and friends so they can make more informed gift choices.
She launched the business after seeing a survey that showed 81 per cent of people lose sleep over Christmas and birthday shopping, fretting over the perfect gift, and that 58 per cent never use the gifts they are given, opting instead to chuck them at the back of the wardrobe still pristine in their box.
Do you know what your mothers favourite flowers are? she said. Can you say with certainty what your sisters shoe size is and whether she has her ears pierced? What is your brothers favourite football team?
We all love opening a present that speaks to us about who we are.
Knowing that the gift-giver has really thought about who you are and what you like and love makes everyone feel warm inside. This is what gifts should be about no amount of money can buy that feeling.
Individual wish lists can consist of links to online items, photo uploads or basic descriptions. And they are available globally, so grandparents living in Canada can see exactly what their grandson wants for his birthday without having to utilise devious tactics.
The idea was born out of my own shopping experiences, said Hilary. I always used to carry my dads clothes measurements with me so I could get him the perfect shirt. But I thought: wouldnt it be great if I knew more about him.
This in turn made me think how great it would be if you had a catalogue of info about your loved ones, so you could buy your best friend those heels shes been eyeing up or take your sister to her favourite gig.
The print version of this article appeared in the December 2011 issue of Yorkshire Life
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