It was neat, said Spencer Davis, to see how receiving a mysterious gift filled his grandmother with joy.
“It was a couple of years ago, during the holidays,” the owner of Gratitude Gifted recalled recently. “I was visiting my family at Christmas, and my grandma received a wreath in the mail. But it had no card, it was sent anonymously. It was fun to see her light up with joy.”
Davis’s grandmother called her neighbors, her sister, her daughter to ask if they’d sent the gift. None of them had.
“It got me to thinking how cool it would be to do this for people you care about,” Davis said. “Send them a gift, but anonymously, so it isn’t about the thanks or the praise but truly because you care about the person and want to make their day a little brighter.”
Davis knew his business plan sounded like a cliché. “My business partner, Amanda, and I talked about that for two years,” he said. “And we finally decided we didn’t care if we were nurturing a cliché. Our passion is for giving, and that’s what we wanted to do.”
It all came together while the pair were hiking in Sedona. “We connected all the dots and had that ‘a-ha’ moment, and out of that Gratitude Gifted happened.”
Anyone determined to express thanks can purchase a beaded bracelet from the Arizona-based company, which will deliver the bauble along with an anonymous thank-you note.
Davis was surprised by how many people called to ask who sent them costume jewelry. “They can be really persistent,” he said. “But we never tell.”
He hopes those sending their gratitude won't spoil the secret of their largesse. “It’s human nature to want to close that loop,” he knew. “Some people are better than others at keeping their mouths completely shut, though I guess in the end it’s about the act of giving.”
To help keep a customer’s identity secret, Davis insists on authoring the gift’s anonymous note.
“People aren’t as subtle as they think they are,” he explained. “If the card is written in phrases you would normally use, the person receiving it might pick up on that, and then your secret is out.”
But Gratitude Gifting isn't about selling braided bracelets, Davis said. He’d be happy just to know that people were working on being grateful in general, without buying costume jewelry from him. To inspire others to put thankful pen to paper, Gratitude Gifted is preparing to launch a line of gratitude journals. But it's not enough, for example, just to write down things for which you're grateful. You have, Davis insisted, to really think about them.
“It changes your physical state to focus on thankfulness,” he said. “It can alter your daily happiness if you step into a moment of gratitude. I will argue that you can’t be mad when you’re in those moments.”
Davis isn't really sure why people must work so hard at being grateful. “My gut reaction is we live in a world where we’ve learned to expect things instantly. We have super computers and smartphones that put everything at our fingertips. It’s western culture.”
He's trying to vanquish these influences in his own life. “I deleted my social media a few years ago. You become reliant and find yourself wasting your time with all the online technology.”
For now, Gratitude Gifted is reliant on that technology to market its secret messages of thankfulness, which have more recently been selling pretty well.
“That’s because the pandemic has brought a new perspective to all of us,” Davis said. “We realize we took little things for granted, like being able to leave the house. It took losing things to see how good we had it. If you see things through gratitude, life is just better.”