Don’t Buy Her Flowers’ founder Steph Douglas shares her top advice for buying presents that will stand out and make the recipient feel great.

When Steph Douglas received countless bunches of flowers after the birth of her children, she felt two things at once: gratitude – and a sense that there must be a better way to send a token of love or congratulations. The seed planted, she duly left her brand marketing job to pursue the concept that had come to her in those early, sleepless days: to create tailored gift boxes that would be more meaningful for new mums.

And so Don’t Buy Her Flowers was born. That was eight years ago, and since then, its remit has expanded beyond mothers to include gifts for him, for couples and even corporate gifts. She says, ‘The last few years have been challenging yet so rewarding, as we saw the demand for ‘thoughtful’ gifts increase as the gift boxes made people smile during lockdowns. We now see new challenges with the cost of living crisis, but have a strong vision and product focus. Our customers are in direct contact all the time via social media and we continue to learn from them and keep human connection as a focus and priority for offering a really thoughtful experience’.

Ahead of the frenzy of Christmas shopping, Steph, who now has three children and lives in London with her husband, shares her top tips for buying truly meaningful presents. And for ever more where that came from, do tune in to her excellent podcast, which is ‘dedicated to honesty, and laughing (or crying) at the ridiculous things life throws at us, with some business chat thrown in’.

  • - How do you want the recipient to feel? Excited? Loved? Relaxed? Cared for? Spoiled? This is always a really good place to start.

  • - Think about their likes and dislikes, definitely not what you like.

  • - Why are you sending them a gift? Is it celebratory, like a birthday or congratulations on the new job? Or do you want them to feel looked after because they’re going through a difficult time? The gift should reflect that.

  • - Is there an event or memory you share? Did you have a brilliant afternoon drinking rosé, or music you used to listen to together? A gift connected to a memory will make it really personal and show some effort went into thinking about what to give them.

  • - If it’s an occasion where they will likely receive gifts from other people, like a birthday or new arrival, think about standing out from other gifts. A lot of people turn to bouquets of flowers, which is where Don’t Buy Her Flowers came from – not only because there are occasions when it’s nice to receive something offering TLC rather than something to look after, but also because if you have more than two or three bunches of flowers, you probably won’t have enough vases!

  • - People love meaningful words, so include a personal note. Let them know you care – it’s always nice to feel loved!

  • - Think about whether the gift is or could be more environmentally friendly – the gift itself as well as the packaging is important and something people notice.

By Nancy Alsop
November 2022

Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.