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Gift giving is an art. It’s about granting a secret wish for somebody without obligation. It makes other people happy.

By Christine Curavo


Most people like getting gifts, but for me, giving gifts was always more exciting and meaningful. To see somebody smile—or to surprise them with an unexpected treat—was the best feeling ever.

They say there are no accidents in life, so when I landed a job as an event planner at Apple Computer and learned that one of my responsibilities would be to find unique, extraordinary gifts for our conference attendees, I thought all my dreams had come true. Imagination was rewarded at Apple: If I could think it, I could do it.

Early on, I worked with the clothing company Esprit to design a one-of-a-kind Hawaiian shirt. It became an instant phenomenon—we actually had to keep the shirts under lock-and-key to prevent thieves from raiding our event. But for me, it was an aha moment: I knew I wanted to keep creating unusual gifts for special people.

A few years later, I started to do just that, creating my own company to work with other Silicon Valley companies. By now, I was a seasoned gift master who would go to the ends of the earth—literally—to find items that clients would never forget. In Paris, we worked with Baccarat and Veuve Clicquot for a bubbly sendoff gift. For MINI Cooper, we took clients on a road trip through five European countries, then gave them a sterling-silver beer can that looked like the original MINI Cooper exhaust pipe. It was an inside joke—during production of the original car, somebody forgot to include the exhaust pipe and stuck a beer can in it’s place to pass inspection. People got it and absolutely loved it—so much so that attendees stole cans from each other to build six-packs.



But life got complicated when both parents got sick in 2008. I took a leave of absence from designing corporate events—and gifts—to return home and look after them. The long hours I spent in hospitals that year—cheering up my parents and trying to find special items that would make them feel better, like lavender-laced pillowcases for my mom and ginger candies for my dad—gave me the chance to reflect on my own life and how I might use my skills in a more personal way. 

That’s when I came up with the idea for creating CAREBOX. I had already grown my event company into a multimillion-dollar enterprise, so I knew how to start a company, but I didn't know anything about e-commerce. So, I started at the beginning by designing a logo, building a website and creating my first gift boxes. Next stop: Finding customers for these amazing gifts.

The day I launched my website was also the day I got my first client—a big one, from the corporate world, that wanted a huge order of my gifts for Christmas. That moment was as exciting as creating those Apple shirts in Hawaii. I was officially up and running. 



 Fast-forward five years. Today, CAREBOX has grown into a thriving business, with an ever-changing inventory of surprising gifts, which I see as carefully curated happiness exhibits in an art museum—or, dare I say, even “mini-events.” I still search the world for one-of-a-kind items, only now I do it for people and their life events. I feel such joy when customers call me with their stories. Like the woman who had had a throat operation and couldn’t speak for weeks; she told me that the lavender CAREBOX she received had helped her relax—and she wanted more of my products. Or the gentleman who called about my Gold Standard chocolate box (a playful item filled to the brim with gold dollar chocolate coins)—he loved it so much that he ordered fifty more for his clients.

I am happy to say that CAREBOX has become a place where people celebrate life—a birth, a new job, a new home or a holiday. It’s a way to say thank you, good luck or I’m sorry. There are so many reasons to give a gift, and our website is a place where creative gift giving is easy. Because is there anything better in life than making someone feel great?


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