GalleryGift's Birth Story
Posted on Mar 29, 2019
Wow motherhood hey! Nobody can prepare you for what lies ahead, they might try their best to explain but it’s not until you become a mother yourself that you can ever truly understand the depth of love, the frustration, the sleep deprivation, the washing, the clutter!
When I was pregnant with my first baby, at 5 weeks till due date we still barely had anything prepared for her arrival. But a beautiful friend arranged a baby shower and it was hands down probably the best thing that anyone has ever done for me. Within one day we were completely prepared! If bub came the next day, we were ready! But she didn’t come the next day, or the week after, she never got her baby butt into gear and came at all and had to be forced out with induction at two weeks overdue. But baby Elodie was healthy, drop dead gorgeous and sooooo snuggly.
Fast forward through the crying curve, developmental milestones, baby led weaning and self/someone else settling ordeals and all of a sudden (and by that, I mean the longest year of my life!) we were fast approaching little Elodie’s first birthday. We wanted to celebrate such a big milestone, in not only hers but mine and her Father’s lives (helloooo- we all survived the first year!!!), so we invited all our closest people to celebrate with us. The baby shower from 10 months ago still seemed so fresh and we were still making great use of those gifts, but both my partner and I have two big, loving and giving families and a beautiful group of close friends so we knew that the “no gifts please” wasn’t going to work on them! But baby Elodie had no need for much at all, our house is small and already had too much stuff in it, so we were unsure what to do about the gift situation.
Leading up to Elodie’s party, I was thinking about an artwork I had on my wall while I was growing up, of unicorns leaping across a magical landscape. I realised that I would love Elodie to have something beautiful on her wall to admire each day like I did, and it would be a great, easy solution for our guests to contribute towards an artwork for her if they wanted to, rather than traipsing around the shops being confused about what to give her. Some people had specific gifts that they wanted to give which was truly lovely and it was nice to have some to open on the day but quite a few loved the idea of being part of a group who collectively bought a gift that she could treasure and that would bring joy every day, possibly for a life time, instead. We ended up with a generous amount to spend on an artwork which we appreciated so much and then, there was the fun part- shopping for an artwork with money in my hand for the first time in my life!
But I hadn’t expected it to be so difficult to actually find an artwork that was suitable for a child. I loved going to galleries to look for an artwork but they were almost never suitable for a child’s bedroom. In the end I contacted a children’s book illustrator and asked if we could commission her to do a drawing for us. She was an absolute delight and loved the story behind why I had tracked her down and she created a stunning drawing that was everything I hoped it would be. Our first ever original art commission and one of our most prized possessions! Even though Elodie was only about 18 months old at the time, she seemed to really understand that this artwork was something very special and that it was just for her.
A few months after this experience, I remember sitting in the dark in the middle of the night, rocking little Elodie back to sleep and thinking about how this group gifting of an original artwork idea is actually a great solution for all sorts of special occasions; weddings, engagements, baby showers, housewarmings, retirement gifts, who wouldn’t love an original artwork that was given to them by their loved ones if THEY got to choose it? I spoke to a few friends and family about it and they confirmed for me that it was a great idea which gave me the motivation I needed to turn this seed of an idea into a business that makes group gifting of original art a really easy process and perfect gift solution for everyone out there!
It has taken many years, a lot of money, time and grey hairs but GalleryGift is now finally at the point of inviting artists to join in the revolution of gifting original art. One of the first artists I have invited to join up is the children’s book illustrator. I am really hoping she comes on board so that many more children can have the same wonderful experience that my daughter and I had a couple of years ago. I am still awaiting her reply but you will be the first to know if she signs up!
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