In Store - The Gift Guru

If you can dream it, Please & Thank You can perfectly package it

You might say Ruby Weber is in the idea business.

When a corporation or an individual comes to her wanting to impress a client or a special someone, she helps them transform a simple gift into a memory-making experience. Like the business representative who came to her wanting a bunch of T-shirts with logos on them to give to a group of clients visiting from out of town.
"Well, how are you going to present them?" Weber asked him. "Hand them out?" he answered.

She had a better idea. Beautifully package each shirt and use them as welcoming gifts when the clients arrive. It's all about presentation and "perceived value."
"It's the difference between pulling a wrinkled shirt out of a bag and having a gift wrapped shirt arrive in a hotel room," says Weber, who spent 20 years as a corporate marketing executive before setting out on her own entrepreneurial adventure.
But T-shirts are the tip of the iceberg at Weber's unique Virginia Beach-based business. It's called Please & Thank You, and it's part promotional products (anything and everything with your logo on it), part corporate gifts (custom packaged goods and goodies) and part retail store.

Weber and her 12 full- and part-time employees can assemble just about anything—gourmet food items, wine, glassware, wedding and baby items, sports memorabilia, candles, soaps, toiletries, totes, stationery, apparel, pens, baskets, whatever—into cleverly customized packages, often shrink-wrapped in colorful cellophane and tied up tight with a personalized bow and tag.

"If they can dream, we can shrink it," jokes Weber.

And their gift baskets aren't always baskets. They can be buckets, cups, bags with logos, miniature sleds—you name it. They once made a package for a veterinary office out of a kitty scratching post and shrink-wrapped the entire thing. They've also used a chair as a basket. For the 2010 holiday season, they'll be premiering specialized gifts stuffed into stockings.

Packages can be made to suit any budget, from $3 a pop to $300, and custom wrapping is including in the deal.

The Please & Thank You home office doubles as a retail store, tucked away in a corner shopping center off Rosemont Road. It's chock-full of edible treasures and unusual gift items neatly arranged on shelves and in bins for individual purchase or for use in packages.

Please & Thank You is the largest local dealer of Switch Flops, the latest foot fashion craze, and the only outlet in the region selling Sid Dickens collectibles, gorgeous decorative plaster tiles.

But it's the repeat business from property management companies, mortgage companies, manufacturers, even the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, that keep Weber's operation really rolling.

When she started out about a decade ago, it wasn't always smooth sailing.

"I was 45. I said to myself: If I'm going to do it on my own, it's now or never. Probably for about the first five years I asked myself: 'What have I done?'"

Gradually word got out about Please & Thank You."Now things have fallen into place," she says.

Every year in November, Weber hosts a big invite-only holiday season kickoff party for friends and clients. Her team sets up a big tent out back with all sorts of gourmet goodies, libations, a carving station, lots of local who's-who's and a sneak peak at all of their holiday stuff. If you say "please" and "thank you," you might get to be one of them. nHRM

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For more Style articles like this, please see below:

May-June 2010
Discount Digs: Decorate Rich offers posh home pieces at great prices. By Betsy DiJulio

September 2010
Genuine Goldsmith: Hank Viccellio handcrafts his original jewelry collection in Yorktown's Riverwalk. By Kelsey Clayton


October 2010
Baby Love: Local mom turns her passion for crafting into success with an online store for tots. By Kelsey Clayton


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