The gifting suite we were participating in was the Kari Feinstein Style Lounge - a gifting suite put on by the PR firm Feinstein McGuiness - which takes place five times per year in anticipation of major award shows and film festivals. They approached us at the end of last year about doing the invitations and we jumped at the chance to get our name out there, even though we didn't really know what to expect from it. Now we know it's all about giving, giving, giving - or taking, taking, taking - depending who you're talking to.
The whole thing is a little weird to begin with. How it works is that the sponsors pay to "gift" (aka give away) celebrities their goods. Just because they are celebrities. I totally see the value in it, but it was still a bit odd for me and our little company. I didn't know a lot of the celebs who came through - which was probably a good thing because I talked to them like they were normal people. And for the most part, they were - except for being above average on the looks and below average on the weight. I made the mistake though of assuming they actually were normal. Kristen Bell was at our booth writing her name down (we're doing some stationery for her - hooray!) and said she was sure her Spanx were showing. First of all - she wears Spanx? She's so itty bitty. Secondly, I tell her with a wave of the hand, "Oh no one's looking" and immediately Homer Simpson screams "Doh!" in my head. Really? No one's looking? Everyone looks at celebrities looking for some flaw like Spanx showing. She walked away, I looked down at my little table of paper and was happy I wasn't on the other side.
I really don't mean to be Debbie Downer here. It's just for the first time, I felt the loom of the paparazzi attention and considered what that's like as your life. So I didn't feel so ripped off that they were getting free stuff. The grabby ones, I could have done without. But for the most part, everyone was really very appreciative & complimentary of their paper gifts. And once I got over the whole celeb-craze of it all, it was fun to see the reactions to our things, really exciting to be able to do custom stationery for some big stars and certainly not a bad way to spend a couple days of work - poolside in perfect weather, chatting with pretty and pretty talented people.