Jeanee Duval and Dayle Bennett are the creators of Gift Scout, a lovely gift guide built around seasonal trends. These best friends have known each other since grad school, and even though they’re 600 miles apart, they collaborate on the latest lifestyle magazine that’s filled with entertainment spreads, fun DIYs, and of course, gifts! I chatted with the pair just before Mother’s Day to discuss great gifts for mom and entertaining tips for Mother’s Day brunch.
Tell us the story behind Gift Scout. How did the two of you get started?
JD: Dayle and I are best friends. We met in grad design school and our friendship flourished when we both were employees at Hallmark Cards, Inc. We ran the Kansas City craft show circuit together. We encouraged and supported each other with our craft and blogger business and respect each other as designers with our own unique strengths. Now Dayle resides in Atlanta and I in Miami. But 600 miles haven’t diminished our friendship. We speak on the phone weekly.
Back in 2006 or so Dayle got me interested in participating in themed gift swaps on Flickr. You’d join a group and receive a secret pal to send a gift to. It was more fun to gather and package up cute little goodies to mail than it was to receive them. Dayle is a super pro at gift wrapping. She can wrap a gift with three pieces of tape! I don’t know how she does it.
Gift giving was also a big thing at Hallmark Cards. The business of gift giving definitely trickled down to the employees. Every week there was a birthday, wedding, baby or retirement celebration. Themed celebrations with top notch coordinated presentations decked out with decorations, matching cake and gifts were a sight to be seen. Everyone was always trying to top the last party. That is where Dayle and I discovered our love for gift giving and gift presentation.
Dayle and I never worked on a project together. We didn’t even work in the same department at Hallmark. I’d been wanting to find a way to share my trend spotting skills. One night the idea just jumped out to me. A gift guide! And Dayle could showcase her DIY skills. We both love a cute gift guide. But we didn’t want it to be your typical for her / for him guide. So we decided to group the gifts by trends for the season. And Dayle does gifting DIY to coordinate. We went through several names, then Dayle came up with the Gift Scout at the last minute! It’s so perfect. We’re scouting everywhere to give the best gift giving inspiration.
DB: Jeanee covered it!
In the Gift Scout, you cover everything from design trends to DIY manicures. Where does the inspiration for each issue come from?
DB: Jeanee and I are constantly researching ideas for each issue and future issues. The DIY projects are inspired by the trends and the seasons we are covering for each issue. We always try to have gift-wrap solutions and lifestyle DIY in each issue. Our plan works well with Jeanee working on finding the items and applying them to each trend and I work on finding the perfect projects and DIY to tie it all together.
JD: I have tons and tons of trend research that I collect from various sources. Dayle and I go through it and we pick what we’re both drawn to the most. The guide is very girly and feminine. I also try to post some gender neutral items. For the summer issue we plan to focus on dads and grads.
After we choose the trends we go to our private Pinterest board and start pinning gifts and DIY project inspiration that’ll fit into each trend section. Once I start grouping gifts together they start to tell a story. Some trends fall by the wayside while others blossom.
We love your Spring Spread. Any tips for recreating this brunch for Mother’s Day?
DB: We talked about adding entertaining for this issue and Jeanee ran with the idea. We love giving our readers entertaining ideas and can’t wait to share more ideas for entertaining in future issues.
JD: Yes. I totally made the Spring Spread for Mother’s Day or a girl’s brunch. I really wanted to make simple foods look fantastic with presentation. A quick and easy preparation of 1-2 items mixed with a couple of store bought items works best. All it takes is some fresh flowers and coordinating table decor to make the food presentation more festive. Of course a cocktail with patterned paper straws is always a winner! To me, brunch is more about catching up on girl talk than the food.
What’s next for Gift Scout?
JD: We’re working on our third issue for summer. Hopefully we can meet up soon so we can work on an issue together! I miss interacting with Dayle in person. She’s Laverne and I’m Shirley! We’re always looking for brands to work with to feature in the guide.
DB: Yes, we are so excited to work on the next issue. Anything we work on together is fun and exciting. We are natural collaborators. Its a pure joy working with my bestie on any creative project.She is so talented. We love great design and we have blast creating our style guide.
Jeanee and Dayle shared with us some of their favorite gifts for Mother’s Day. See them all in the latest issue of Gift Scout!