“I’ve always been a collector,” says Stacy London. “I must have been 4 years old when I started my box of treasures with a pen, a cool wallet that my mom gave me, and some accessories. I’ve always collected objects.”
Now the What Not to Wear host, fashion expert, and—it must be said—hair icon is turning her lifelong love of treasure hunting into her next venture. Small Beautiful Things is an Instagram store where you can buy Victorian compacts and mid-century modern barware sourced by London, partly to make use of her impeccable eye and partly to change the way we give (and receive) gifts. “I love to find things for people based on knowing what their interests are, what they love, what they tell me they’re looking for for other people,” she says.
Working with her girlfriend and business partner, Cat Yezbak, London envisions SBT as a gift concierge service “where we keep things on file and look specifically for a group of people you always want to buy presents for.” Here, she shares her top tips for always finding just the right thing.
Know Your Budget
It should go without saying that you don’t need to spend a million bucks to get someone a meaningful gift, but in practice that’s often easier said than done. “Almost everything is under $500,” London says of SBT’s inventory, with a number of items in the sub-$100 range.
Right now, every item in the shop is listed with the instruction to DM for prices—which can feel intimidating but will ultimately help you find the perfect match for both your wallet and your recipient. “You can say to me, ‘Oh, I love this compact, but it’s too expensive,’ and I can show you five other compacts at lower price points that aren’t even on the site yet,” says London.
Know Your Friends
There’s nothing more satisfying than uniting an object with its intended owner, a lesson London learned, in part, from the ultimate domestic goddess herself. “I have this rule based on something I heard from Martha Stewart when I was in my 20s. She had a gift shelf, and she would buy things when she found them,” she says. “If she saw something she knew was great for a person, she would buy it on the spot—you never want to lose something that’s perfect for someone you know.”
This left a strong impact on London, who started to think strategically and specifically about the gifts she was giving. And with her shop, she hopes to help others connect others to their perfect presents—which can require some creative thinking. “Maybe someone is looking for a gift for someone who might be an avid comic book collector,” London says. “And maybe we have a really cool mid-century modern magazine holder that would be a perfect match.”
A good gift, London says, is one that will feel like both the recipient and the giver: “There are a lot of people who look at, say, wedding registries, and they’re like, ‘This isn’t me; I don’t want to give a couple anything from this registry because they’re going to get it from their parents, they’re going to get it from their in-laws.” The present that says something about your friendship will ultimately be way more memorable and cherishable than anything you’d find on a list—and perhaps Instagram is the best place to discover just the thing.
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