Great Ideas-a one stop online shop

In Philippine Star Column on August 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm

By the time you read this, it is very possible that the first strains of holiday jingles are being played in your near environment and the malls are slowly turning into Tinsel Town. This is the start of the often-loved and often-dreaded season of giving, and giving, and more giving. It may sound exaggerated but if you happen to really be friends with all of the people in your FB and Google Plus Circles, then a panic attack right after making your lists is inevitable. Mallrat I am not, but I do love giving gifts, hunting for veritable treasures for close friends and families. Nowadays though, combining work and the trials and tribulations of having a life outside of work results in an extremely lazy and sometimes uninspired gift-giving me. Thank goodness there are now options for people like me who want something special, unique but don’t have the energy to hit the shops like they used to do.

Great Ideas, a website created by Cay Rodriguez-Araneta, recently entered cyberspace with the mission of offering unique gift items and ways to package them differently. Their ideas are, of course, not just limited to St. Nick’s special day, but for other occasions such as birthdays, baptisms and even wedding favors. “I’ve always liked giving gifts and wrapping them really nice — each year with a different theme,” explains Araneta. “A couple of years ago, a friend of mine handed out cute bag charms as a way of saying thank you to the gals who treated her to a birthday lunch. This started a tradition,” she continues.

It was searching for the perfect giveaway that led her to the discovery of many unknown suppliers. Seeing the benefit in pooling all these resources, this former food stylist decided to create her one-stop online shop, and Great Ideas finally launched last Aug. 18. In selecting the items for her website, Araneta always weighs their practicality: each has to be something that she can also use for herself. Some of the best-selling items on the site are the Big Ol’ Reversible Bag and the art caddies which are usually ordered as giveaways for birthday parties and for weddings. Almost all of the gifts and the way they are packaged can be customized to fit the buyer’s needs. In fact, Araneta was reluctant to show photos of already-made packages in order to not limit one’s imagination in collaborating with her on the perfect gift and its presentation.

If your inner Santa Claus has decided to turn into a Grinch this year due to budgetary restrictions, have no fear, Great Ideas takes your spending into consideration. “We have personalized paper products that start at P120 then we have wooden pieces in the P2,000 range. There are a lot of exciting things in between, though,” shares Araneta.

Getting the items after ordering online is a breeze. Take note that there is a lead time in the customization process on a per-item basis, but payment can be made via bank deposits and delivery options are also available for bulk orders. You can do all this with a simple phone call or through cyber communication, a good way to avoid the crush of holiday shoppers, not to mention traffic jams and parking problems.

Most of the items found on the site are not ones you would normally find at retail stores, so it makes choosing a special gift, at least for me, that much more fulfilling. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine someone wanting to tailor-fit an event just to accommodate a giveaway.

Stress is certainly a part of our lives, so finding sites like these, in my opinion, bring back the joy of discovery and nurture one’s imagination. One’s own creativity is further enhanced with the spirit of finding something truly special for the people in your lives. Even if it’s a gift en masse for your staff or your co-workers, the simple intention of exerting a little bit more effort in selecting something different, unique and still useful and practical further enhances the spirit of gift-giving. Find fulfillment as Araneta did when she witnessed the silly grin and glint in the eye of a satisfied customer once receiving the finished product. What a great idea she had, indeed.

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To find out more about Great Ideas visit: or call 0917-5342236 or e-mail

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