After years of observing customers, I realized they lost the joy of shopping. They didn’t look for special items that were just right. They just ran the errand of sourcing $25 teacher or $100 thanks-for-referral presents. Holiday shopping was simply checking people off the gift list. From this, I lost the joy of retailing.
So I closed my store Tesoro and launched a new interior home styling business called TWEAK. I think of it as Botox, not plastic surgery, for the house. A style injection. But I soon missed sourcing products and community. I missed retail but didn’t want to go back full time.
I only wanted to be a pop-up shop. My first holiday shop was in Saks Fifth Avenue in 2004. I was the only leased space outside of Louis Vuitton and the furrier. Being there felt like being the new kid senior year. I decided I needed to have my own space. The next year I opened my own free standing store. And then I did it again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And yet again.
tweak The Original Giftery launched in January 2012. Many stores sell items that could make good gifts. tweak sells all pre-wrapped gifts that contain cool items. Instead of employees, we have elves. Who else has a career making gifts all year? We work in a gift factory (giftery) instead of a store. “Elf cards” are gift receipts which are included in all the presents. They not only give a personal touch, letting the recipient know who wrapped the gift (The singing elf Xenia or the painting elf Annette) but also share the tweak contact information.
tweak gifts are affordable, functional and funtastic! tweak stocks home accessories, educational kids toys, and items that make you smack your head in an “I could’ve had a V8” moment because you should have shopped tweak first. You’ll discover items for everyone on your list, all pre-wrapped and mostly under $99! Unable to describe the product mix concisely, we prefer to name the type of person who would shop tweak. Where Harry Potter, Dorothy Draper, Leonardo Da Vinci and Santa Claus would shop if they lived in Hollywood.
For those who are “bah humbug” about buying holiday gifts, owner and giftologist, Tara Riceberg, takes the chore out of gifting by curating the selection, offering only genius designs that are pre-wrapped in TSA-friendly cellophane. She also encourages playing with and touching everything. Customers are invited to put down their coffee and technology and discover the genius, quirky designs with both hands. “You have to engage product to love it,” Riceberg says. That’s why the store policy is “Explore the store! You must touch everything. If you don’t you will miss out on the fun. If you accidentally break something, you must say sorry. We believe in good manners.”
She encourages smelling and tasting, too. “I give customers experiences they can’t have online. I believe value isn’t spending less but getting more for your money. Where else can you “kill the lights”, play ping pong or sample artisanal honey while shopping?”
But, wait there’s more. Always kid friendly, there are hula hoops, a hopscotch court, an air hockey table and even a craft table for customers and their children to make their own gift cards. “Our elves have done the heavy lifting by pre-wrapping the gifts. It’s fun for customers to add their personal touch with the homemade cards.” Plus, the store is designed with wide aisles for oversized strollers and everything is merchandised so that nothing is breakable at grab height. Riceberg believes, “Parents need to relax and not police while in the store. They’re encouraged to let their children do what comes naturally-discover, play and enjoy.”
Riceberg subscribes to the “less is more” concept of retailing—you don’t have to offer everything under the sun; you just have to offer the best! She hopes her customers come happy, but leave happier. Only then is her job done.