“Immaculately packed in a ribboned box — I was stunned. I am not ashamed to say actually cried a little when I opened it … It felt like the most gorgeous luxurious invitation for self-care … I immediately poured myself a bath (and a glass of wine) … The most thoughtful complete spa experience … the bath jelly is a novel indulgent aromatherapy experience, and was impressed with how well it dispersed to turn water milky … body jelly leaves skin plump and nourished and I smelled like a goddess … the votive candle and matches just complete the set … Anyone who ever sends me this as a gift will be firmly in my ‘good books’ for life.”
The gift awards were Alex’s August inspiration – a way to accommodate all of those entrants to the main FreeFrom Skincare Awards who wanted to enter ‘sets’ or gift boxes into the awards but who we could not accept as the focus of the main awards is on the individual product. And maybe there was also an element of fending off all those depressing predictions of ‘second waves’ of the virus (all of which too sadly came true) with some lovely life enhancing gifts. Anyhow, whatever the motivation, he opened the new award in at the beginning of September. And, despite early concerns that it was all too rushed and that we would not get many entrants, by the closing date in the first week of October he had over 80 entries.
They came in for babies, children and men, although most were aimed at women. There were face cleansing kits, face serum sets, collections of soaps, pampering body products, moisturising duos, shampoo and conditioner pairs – and, obviously, home spa kits. And, because he had decided to allow some extra accessories and enhancements, gifts also contained face cloths, soap dishes, bath sponges, loofahs, hair brushes, foot scrubbers, nail brushes, candles, a bee Christmas decoration made of wood from The Great British Bee Co, hair scrunchies, pillow / sleep sprays, a rose quartz crystal and a snuggle wrap for babies….
Because of the time element and because we were trying to keep the entry fee low, just one gift box went out to one of our regular FreeFrom Skincare Awards testers (for the main awards each product goes to 4 different testers) and one was kept for our judging sessions. While all our testers were delighted to receive their gifts, one bit of learning for next year’s awards is getting to know our testers’ gifting tastes. As Alex says, over the years we have learned our testers’ skin types, skincare history, their skin routines and hair routines, what they always use, sometimes use, or never use which enables us to allocate products for testing appropriately. Gifts is a totally different matter.
Some were thrilled with ribbons and prettiness, others didn’t need ‘bells and whistles’ and were more focused on content; some said they enjoyed the thrill of a plain box, and the peeling back of layers of tissue inside to reveal the ‘prize’ of the gift inside, but others said they were happy to see contents pictured on the boxes; ‘wow’ factor was enjoyed by some, but a more pared-back or elegant style preferred by others. Fairly crucial knowledge when you are allocating entries to judge.
The first year of any award will never be perfect as you are inevitably feeling your way. However, we were delighted with the reception that the award got from all of our happy winners and we will definitely be considering a rerun heading up for next Christmas. Meanwhile, if you want to find out who all those winners were so that you can get in your Christmas gift orders – check in to:
And to find out a bit more about the judging process and where we might got with the awards next year, check in to:
Now, I am off to order myself that Home Spa kit – with a glass of one of my excellent Wine Society wines….. A treat to look forward to.