Category Archives: Corporate Gifts Vancouver

Title images of MEC staff in front of a MEC storefront

Inside MEC HQ: 3 Tips Employers Can Learn from Employee Recognition Initiatives

06 Apr

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is a company with a mission. They want to inspire people to lead active outdoor lifestyles while being environmentally sustainable and respectful to the world around them. We think we’re in love!

MEC values their culture and strive to create an environment full of people that share their passion for the outdoors, and for social and environmental change. Water cooler chat is often about recent or planned outdoor adventures, current issues, or simply where to find the best locally grown produce.

In 2016 MEC’s employee engagement was rated at 74%, an impressive 8% higher than the national average. In 2016 they were also recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers.

Pull quote and polaroid-style photos of MEC staff

According to Gallup, a critical component of employee engagement is recognition. Workplace recognition motivates employees, providing a self of accomplishment and helps them to feel valued. It also helps increase productivity and retention.

At Saul Good Gift Co, we’re proud to work with MEC to help them provide ongoing recognition to their employees. We’re inspired by this company and the good they are trying to do in the world. We wanted to see what’s under the hood at MEC HQ and what they are doing that makes MEC such a great company to work for. We talked to Anne Scott, MEC’s HR Coordinator to get the inside scoop.

What does MEC’s employee recognition program look like?

Anne: We recognize employees in a number of different ways at MEC, and sometimes a gift box adds a celebratory touch.  Some examples of when we might do this would be: the kick-off or completion of big projects, thank-you gifts for jobs well done, recognizing employee life events like newborns or weddings, and celebrating work events like milestone anniversaries, new managers, new store openings etc.

What challenges were you trying to solve when recognizing your employees?

Anne: We wanted to have some consistency in what employees received for certain events, which is very difficult with having locations across the country. We needed to make it easy for us – having a “go-to” vendor for each type of gift.

We strive to have good quality and meaningful gifts and awards. Something that is reflective of MEC’s values as well as the values of the recipient.

Pull quote and flat-lay image of sample products included in gift baskets

This means aligning ourselves with companies like Saul Good Gift Co, that are ethical, local, community oriented, and have sustainable practices as it relates to environmental impact.

What has been the impact of your employee recognition initiatives? 

Anne: We hear many comments about how receiving the gift is thoughtful, and that it makes staff feel appreciated. We’ve found that receiving a gift box is exciting and meaningful for people. They really feel valued because it’s noticed by colleagues when it arrives, making for a celebration of sort.

How has Saul Good Gift Co helped you achieve your employee recognition goals?

Anne: At MEC we care about how and where the products we sell are made – it’s important to our members and our staff. Saul Good Gift Co makes sure that their ingredients are presented in a way that exudes “local” and their statement or story about what drives them. This is something that is very appreciated by MEC staff, so the visibility of these stories within the gift itself is very important. It helps us, as an employer, convey to our employees that we care.

The quality and variety of the product surpasses that of any other “gift basket” vendor that I’ve been able to find. The team at Saul Good is responsive, flexible and personable – which makes them a pleasure to deal with.

3 Tips other employers can learn from MEC’s employee recognition initiatives

1. Make it about more than work.

MEC makes a point to celebrate milestones in people’s lives as well as their good work. This makes people feel important and valued beyond the work they do.

2. Where there is an opportunity, celebrate your employee with their colleagues.

MEC found that gifts are meaningful for people. The celebration that comes with receiving a gift elevates the feeling of appreciation.

3. Align your company values with the gifts and recognition you deliver.

At MEC gifts are selected because they are local, sustainable and have a story. For example, Saul Good Gift Co, products come from Vancouver artisans. They are packaged by Starworks Packaging & Assembly, a social enterprise established by the Developmental Disabilities Association. When a MEC employee receives one of these gifts, they feel connected to their local community and know that MEC cares.

Our favourite gift baskets for MEC staff include the Department Party, Confectionist and Fancy-Full.

Product shots of the gift baskets showing their ingredients

 

Soft, chewy, handmade caramels

08 Dec

 

artisan-caramel-box

 

Soft, chewy, handmade caramels are an old-fashioned treat made with simple ingredients. Traditional recipes have you combine a mixture of cream, butter and sugars over medium-high heat and voila — caramel!

 

On paper, it seems simple but a great caramel is more than the sum of its ingredients. Many of my personal attempts at caramel making have ended in disaster. The mixture has either burned or crystallized, resulting in a grainy mess. Caramel making is harder than it looks, I’m happy to leave it to the professionals.

 

Imagine my delight when my friends at Saul Good Gift Co. offered to send me a box full of handmade artisan caramels. All of the caramels, none of the kitchen disaster — yes please!

 

One thing I love about Saul Good’s gift boxes is the exterior packaging.The box is decorated with an artful rendering of Canada and a personalized gift tag. It’s slightly mysterious. At first glance, you wouldn’t be able to guess what is inside. This little bit of suspense adds to the fun of opening the gift.

 

 

saul-good-gift-co-packaging

 

 

Inside the box, I found a friendly little postcard and a Fresh Sheet. The Fresh Sheet lists the flavours of the caramels and details about the artisan makers on one side. On the other side, it lists details about the Saul Good Gift Co. I peeled back the wrapping paper to discover a sparkling selection of assorted caramels. It was hard to know where to start. I consulted the Fresh Sheet for the descriptions before digging in.

 

 

fresh-sheet

 

 

I decided to start with a classic Salted Caramel made by Kitchening & Co. from Langley, BC. The folks at Kitchening & Co. are famous for their French macarons and classic chewy cookies . Their caramels do not disappoint. They are generously sized so you can split one in half to share or save it for later. The texture is firm and they have a deep caramelized sugar flavour with a subtle hint of salt. These are a perfectly nostalgic treat.

 

 

artisan-caramel-gift

 

The other two caramel flavours in the box come from Roselle Desserts. Roselle Desserts is a Toronto-based treat shop. I spent more time than I care to admit scrolling through their Instagram. Everything they make looks so tempting. First, I tried their Passionfruit Mango caramel. I am a huge fan of mango so I was happy with the rich, tropical, slightly floral flavor. Next, I tried the raspberry version. It was like eating rich, buttery toast with jam…minus the toast. I really enjoyed the soft texture of these caramels, they were easy to eat.

 

This assortment of caramels would make a great holiday corporate gift for a small office. The individually wrapped caramels can easily be shared with a crowd. I ate more than my fair share and had plenty to share with friends and family.

 

Check out my unboxing video to see what it’s like to get a gift box from Saul Good Gift Co.

 

 

About the Author & Photographer

Jasmine

Jasmine Lukuku is a professional sweet tooth who spends much of her time baking, eating, photographing and writing about treats. She co-founded chocolatecodex.com to share her love of fine chocolate with the world. Follow Jasmine: @chocolatecodex

 

 

 

 

 

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At East Van Roasters, Chocolate is a Vehicle for Social Change

11 Nov

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Vancouver has many fine chocolate shops but East Van Roasters is one-of-a-kind. Located in the Downtown Eastside, EVR is a business with social change baked right into the DNA.

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

Head Chocolate Maker and Director, Shelley Bolton founded East Van Roasters in 2013 as a non-profit social enterprise. Her mission was to create a training and employment program for the women residents of the Rainier Hotel located above the chocolate factory on Carrall Street.

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

The women in the program face multiple barriers to employment and East Van Roasters serves as a place where they can develop skills and build their resumes before rejoining the general workforce.

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Head Chocolate Maker and Director, Shelley Bolton. Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

The business recently expanded to include a second location half a block away. The new location houses a retail bakery as well as the confection production facilities, while the original location operates as the Vancouver’s only bean-to-bar chocolate factory/coffee shop.

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

The social impact of East Van Roasters extends beyond the local level. The chocolate at EVR is made in-house from responsibly sourced cacao beans. This means that the farmers that grew the beans were paid fairly. This is chocolate you can feel good about buying and giving as a gift.

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

Making chocolate is a long process that requires skill and attention to detail. Shelley and her team start with carefully selected raw cacao beans. The beans are sorted, roasted, cracked, winnowed, ground, refined and tempered before being molded into fine chocolate bars and bonbons.

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

If you are a dark chocolate purist, you should try their single origin bars. They are made to highlight the unique flavour properties of the cacao beans. For a real treat, try a couple of bars side-by-side and observe the differences. A bar made of beans from Madagascar will taste drastically different to a bar made of Ecuadorian beans.

 

Jasmine Lukuku of ChocolateCodex. Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Jasmine Lukuku of Chocolate Codex. Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

If you prefer a sweeter treat, EVR has a selection of flavoured bars and delightful filled chocolates and truffles. Some recent standouts include the chocolate dipped cacao nib toffee and layered truffles featuring pâte de fruit. The fillings and inclusions are all selected to work in harmony with the chocolate. Love Nutella? EVR sells its own chocolate nut butters; perfect for slathering on toast or eating with a spoon.

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

Saul Good is proud to include East Van Roasters chocolate in many of our Vancouver Gift Baskets and Canada gift baskets. 

 

topbanner-local-artisan-gift-guide

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About the Author

Jasmine

 

 

Jasmine Lukuku is a professional sweet tooth who spends much of her time baking, eating, photographing and writing about treats.

 

She co-founded chocolatecodex.com to share her love of fine chocolate with the world. Follow Jasmine: @chocolatecodex

 

 

 

 

About the Photographer

leah bio

 

 

Leah Villalobos Bartok is a mother, hiker and lifestyle photojournalist. She has a unique ability to document stories and capture personalities.   

 

View more of her work on Instagram: @photogbyleahv and browse through her site www.photographybyleah.ca 

The Art of Appreciation: how to value people in the workplace

06 Nov

saul-good-christmas-2015-7592

 

 

Top 5 Tips for Meaningful Appreciation

 

 

1) Be public. Always appreciate your team with the whole group present as it makes your statement public and recognized by others. No matter how righteous or private people may be, most people care about how they’re perceived by others. Showing appreciation publicly makes people feel good and creates an open culture where it’s the norm to acknowledge solid team work and achievement. When people feel appreciated, they are more productive, innovative and creative.

 

 

2) Be direct and personal. Attribute your appreciation to an individual and call people out by name. Tell everyone what they did and how it helped you personally. Appreciating colleagues and employees can have incredible results. It can help everyone be more productive as individuals and teams.

 

 

“Dan, I appreciate your creativity from our meeting yesterday with Acme as it helped me provide assurance to the client that we’re the right team for the job.”

 

 

3) Quality counts. It’s all about perception. Recognition through corporate gifts and awards can have a profound effect on relationships. When one receives something of prestige it reiterates the value of the relationship. If a gift is perceived as cheap or of low quality, it can result in the recipient feeling undervalued or at worst humiliated.

 

 

4) Business is all about people and relationships. Appreciation doesn’t have to take the form of executive gifts and fancy luxuries, it can be the small tokens of appreciation given in the right way that makes people feel valued by an organization. We all work way too long and hard to not enjoy our jobs. Be good to each other, because it feels good and it’s great for business too!

 

 

5) Enjoy the Results! The process of appreciating colleagues and employees can have incredible results helping everyone be more productive as individuals and teams. If done well appreciation can make the recipients feel amazing, acknowledged and empowered. If done poorly it can have the opposite effect leaving recipients resentful and questioning their relationship. Unfortunately, it’s not always the thought that counts, it’s in the execution that appreciation maximizes value within your business.

 

 

Top 3 tips for corporate gifts

30 Oct

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christmas gift baskets

It’s easy to give a nice bottle of wine or a fancy box of chocolates, but how do you make your corporate gifts stand out from the rest? 

 

Over the past ten years, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to make people feel special. Our team has customized corporate gift programs for some of Canada’s most successful brands. We love getting to know our clients, their value proposition and their culture. It allows us to inject a piece of their DNA into their gift program.

corporate christmas gift basket

One way to enhance that sense of meaningfulness and appreciation is by telling a good story. Not a story like Moby Dick, but rather a story that connects the gift giver, the recipient and the gift.

 

Our gifts tell a good story

Our gifts tell a good story

 

 

Your brand is the narrator of the story you are crafting.  Tasteful customization of your gift program is a superb way to keep your company in the spotlight without overshadowing the recipient. Here are 3 ways to give gifts that tell a good story.

 

office party throwdown

 

1) Put your brand center stage

 

Once we have clarified the needs of your gift program, we can help you customize branded ribbons for your gift boxes. As the gift recipient digs into the sensory delights of their gift, they will be thinking of your brand.

packaging_-_gift_boxes_custom_ribbon_print

 

Our focus is and always will be on ensuring the gift recipient feels super special and genuinely appreciated. But we never loose sight of the fact that your brand belongs at the centre of the memorable gift giving experience.

 

2) Personalized messages go a long way

 

In our previous posts, The Business Value of Thank-you and Investing in Appreciation, we discussed the tangible value of appreciating your clients, employees and colleagues. Research has revealed that a thoughtful thank-you is essential to strengthening your professional relationships. It is important to take the time to personalize your message and be clear about why you appreciate the recipient.

 

corporate gifts vancouver

 

3) Full circle giving is a darn good story

 

The Saul Good Gift Co. was created as a way to make a positive difference through business. We wanted to offer an alternative to the wasteful nature of gifts that are wrapped in excessive packaging and full of less-than-special stuff. Each of our corporate gifts demonstrate the delicious beauty of sustainability, local purchasing and social responsibility. The recycled cardboard gift boxes feature hand drawn maps of local Canadian cities. The products are all locally handmade and the gifts are assembled by a social enterprise.

 

We’d love to facilitate a gift program that tells the story of your brand. If you would like to get started, you can download our 2015 gift guide and apply for your corporate account. We look forward to following up with you! 

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Gifting: 5 tips for timing & etiquette

06 Nov

corporate gifts

If you want to craft a gift experience that is memorable and meaningful, it is valuable to think of your gift as a great story and your recipients as your captive audience. When you demonstrate thoughtfulness, your generous gesture will make you and/or your company much more memorable.

Tip #1 Send your gifts early

Early December is the ideal timing to send out your corporate holiday gift baskets. The weeks leading up to the holidays can get pretty hectic. So why share the stage with your competition? Being first is a great way to be memorable. We encourage clients to avoid sending out gifts in the last week of December.

Tip #2 Hand-deliver whenever it’s possible

When was the last time you closed a deal without some eye-contact and a handshake? Nothing consummates a relationship like face time. So, do what you can to present your gift personally.

Appreciation in business and corporate gifts

Not only does it demonstrate genuine appreciation, it’s fun too: you get to share in the gift experience and build the relationship. That’s what it’s all about.

 

If hand delivery isn’t possible, check out our $10 flat rate shipping across Canada.

Tip #3 Understand if the gift is for a group or an individual

One of the first questions we ask our clients is if their gifts are being given to groups or individuals. Why? Because gifts for groups should be easy to share. And by sharing we don’t mean dividing up the unopened goodies. You want to avoid the “who wants the tapenade? I’m taking the crackers” scenario.

 

The ideal group gift experience involves a bunch of people gathered around, enjoying their treats and talking about how great it’s been working together.

office party throwdown

Tip #4 Be mindful of diet restrictions

It is helpful if you have information about food sensitivities, allergies, diet restrictions etc. When you select gifts that acknowledge diet limitations, it shows an additional level of thoughtfulness that can really go a long way. Ask us about our gluten free gift options. They are delectable and indulgent. 

Tip #5 Know if it is appropriate to gift alcohol

Lots of people enjoy a nice bottle of wine. Alcohol can be a gift that is truly appreciated but (there’s always a but) when gifting alcohol as a corporate gift you need to be 100% certain that it will be well received. Corporate gifts are about building relationships and the last thing you want to do is make someone uncomfortable or feel insulted by your gesture.

Variables to consider when gifting alcohol:

  • Religion
  • Family history
  • Alcoholism/addiction
  • Personal preference

Bottom line: If you’re not 100% sure your gift recipient is going to enjoy the bottle of wine, beer or spirits, leave it on the shelf.

 

Investing in Appreciation

17 Jun

Appreciation in business and corporate gifts

Appreciation is an art that creates tangible value for your business. It is an investment that strengthens team performance and continually enhances your professional relationships. Meaningful gratitude can be as simple as an announcement at a meeting or a thoughtfully written card. In the book “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace,” co-author Paul White cites that 88% of employees leave their company, not for money, but for feeling unvalued. Here’s a few tips for how to appreciate your staff, teammates and key accounts:

3 Tips for Meaningful Appreciation & Corporate Gifts:

1) Make it Specific & Personal

An extraordinary corporate gift is more than an obligatory gesture. It is an opportunity to nurture meaningful and memorable connections. Make the gift experience all about the recipient and get specific about why you are recognizing them. If you are appreciating your hard working team, it is great to focus on what they specifically did and how this created value for you.

Example:

Joe – Thank you for the excellent design work that you did on our latest project. Your creativity and attention to detail helped me build rapport with our clients.

2) Be Public When Appreciating Your Team

Appreciation is best done publicly and criticism is best done privately. A lot can shift when you set time aside and make appreciation a priority for your business. It encourages this behaviour, so that your team is more likely to echo gratitude amongst themselves. It can help dissolve office politics and prevent turnover of employees.

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3) Always Include a Memorable Greeting Card

Personalize the message by using the recipients name and by using “I” statements. This creates a sense of direct personal connection. You can further personalize your message by referencing a shared experience or a specific attribute of the recipient.

Example:

Corporate Gifts Vancouver

Where the streets are paved with kale

26 May

Sole Food and Saul Good Gift Co.

You may have encountered Sole Food Farms in Vancouver’s Downtown core or enjoyed their produce in meals at your favourite local restaurant. This innovative social enterprise demonstrates how we can address social, environmental and economic issues through thriving local business. Sole Food has been growing since we first met Seann Dory in 2009 on a rooftop in Stathcona. He was dreaming about transforming empty parking lots into vibrant urban farms. It has been inspiring to see how reality has exceeded his dreams. 

Sole Food is taking their social enterprise to the next level and has the goal of opening a pay-what-you can organic produce stand at Main & Terminal along with a full retail location at Vancouver’s Granville Island Market. These permanent produce stands will support farm expansion by creating full time year round employment opportunities for Sole Food farmers while addressing food security and nutrition issues in the inner city. Help Sole Food grow!

Seann Dory - Living the dream

Seann Dory – Living the dream

We started Saul Good Gift Co. because we saw business as an opportunity to address social and environmental issues in our community. By sourcing the best local artisan products, our gifts are meaningful. We appreciate that the folks at Sole Food grow artisan quality produce and we have designed Vancouver corporate gift programs to include Sole Food CSA shares.

1% for the planet

We are proud to support Sole Food through our 1% For the Planet commitment, and love to see how they’ve progressed over just a few years in business. Sole Food is so much more than organic urban farms. In 2013, the Sole Food social enterprise grew 20 tons of food, sold to over 37 awesome restaurants, removed 2,300kg of CO2 from the atmosphere by planting 400 fruit trees, and employed 20 people from the Downtown Eastside. In addition to providing meaningful and accessible employment opportunities, they are also making healthy organic food more accessible to our downtown residents. 

relationships

How sharing is good for your Vancouver business

11 Apr

Written by Christabel Shaler – Saul Good Gift Co. Community Manager

 

The sun was setting over the shoreline of Cortes Island as I built sandcastles with children covered in face paint and blackberry stains. It was 2004 and I was working as a nanny to save up for my next semester at the University of British Columbia. During these long summer days, I was invited to participate in conversations with the family I worked for. They were involved in social ventures and taught me about how business is able to address some of the world’s biggest environmental and social issues.

 

As I approached the completion of my undergraduate degree, I noticed that the pre-existing job market was disintegrating rapidly. I had planned for opportunities that were beginning to wash away in the recession. The competition for opportunities was so fierce that I saw my peers intensely competing for volunteer positions.

 

Despite all the impossible obstacles, I was never able to shake the idealistic ideas of social ventures. I began writing for the Vancouver Observer and learning how to listen to my city. The wreckage of collapsing systems began to give life to conversations about new economies, local economies and sharing economies. Through the process of capturing these stories, I soon realized that the vitality of our local economy depends on interconnection. 

 

Although the concept of sharing may summon warm and fuzzy feelings, it is also practical, logical and good for business. A thriving business is like an organism that needs the right environment and resources to make it thrive. It also requires reduced overhead, so that unnecessary expenses will not crush your dreams alongside your profitability.

 

From my experience working with the Saul Good Gift Co., I have directly experienced the tremendous value of sharing.  

 

modo car

 

In addition to using shared vehicles and shared office space, we also share a social enterprise fulfillment company called Starworks and a unique delivery modality called Zipments (it is like booking a carpool for gift basket delivery in Vancouver) 

 

Sharing improves the quality of our service and connects us with interesting folks in our community. Our work with Zipments has been fun and collaborative. They provide excellent delivery services. We are part of the same local business community and we both care deeply about what we do. It is a refreshingly human experience! 

 

Our shared office at the HiVE is full of great folks doing fascinating work. We can attend events and workshops that connect us with fresh ideas and valuable knowledge. 

the HiVE

According  to Tom Wynn, the HiVE “provides office space for small business, entrepreneurs and sole proprietors who would otherwise be priced out of the downtown market.”

 

Another example of shared work space is the Commissary Connect. This shared industrial kitchen is used by many local artisans featured in our Vancouver gift baskets, such as Batch Sweet Kitchen, the Candid Confectioner and Melliferra Bees. The process of sharing professional kitchen equipment and food storage alleviates the burden of unnecessary overhead expenses. By reducing start-up costs, it makes it easier for local artisans to bring unique delectable products to our food adoring city.

Sharing is positive change woven into everyday life

Our everyday actions and purchasing decisions speak louder than anything. If you want your business to thrive, you need to be able to step back and imagine your personal and professional actions contributing to the economic and cultural vitality of our entire city. You need to be willing to get over yourself and share.

The art of corporate group gifts

14 Nov

Office Party Throwdown

Over the years, we have carefully cultivated an assortment of corporate gift baskets that are tried tested and extremely delicious.

The art of group gift experiences

One of the first questions we ask our clients is if their corporate gifts are being given to groups or individuals. Why? Because gifts for groups must be easy to share.

 

The main reason you want a gift designed for sharing is that you want to avoid the awkward scenario of “Who wants the tapenade? Who wants the little jam?” That kind of conversation is not a team building experience. It can be literally divisive.

 office gifts

The ideal gift experience for a group involves a bunch of people gathered around, enjoying their treats and talking about how great it’s been to work with you over this last year. When you share amazing gourmet gift baskets amongst a team, there is a collective moment of happiness where everyone feels special and appreciated.

 

Easy to share gifts create the framework for a well planned corporate gift program. It is our pleasure to offer gifts that are thoughtfully designed with handmade, heartfelt delights. We specialize in making your gift recipients feel good and we love to make you look good too.

Our Top 3 Corporate Gifts for Groups

The Fancy-Full

fancy-full

The Department Party

department-party

The Office Party Throwdown

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