Monday, December 10, 2012

My Favorite Thing about the Christmas Crunch!

Although the fourth quarter is crucial in terms of sales, it's also important for another reason.  It's a time when we create connections - between ourselves and our customers, between our customers and the people that are important to them, and also amongst ourselves here at Gilden Tree. 

It's like ringing the starting  bell on a race that starts on Thanksgiving and doesn't end until the last shipping day before Christmas.   It does get crazy and a little stressful at times, but I love it - mostly because of the wonderful, dedicated people we work with.

I've been places where asking to have something special done with an order is considered being a "pain in the you know what."  I've also been places where there is no flexibility so there's never a need to do anything more than what's required.

But call us at Gilden Tree.  Ask someone to do something special for you.  Prepare to be delighted.

It's not that I'm some kind of miracle worker, cheering people on, or running out and doing everything myself.  I don't think Kumy (my partner and husband) and I can take any credit for this, except for perhaps having the extraordinary good luck of finding truly fine people to work here and somehow being able to make them want to stay.

But there is something quietly amazing about the way that everyone pitches in, stays late, makes emergency supply runs, or even brings in treats during crazy busy weeks.  Getting orders out, getting gift-wrap done (and it always looks gorgeous!) taking care of returns, or just helping people navigate our websites is always done kindly, carefully and thoughtfully, even when there are a million orders piled up.  (I wish!)

And nosy me, I love seeing the little notes people include in their gift orders.  I love how good people feel  about sending a gift from Gilden Tree to someone far away, and that we try to do our part to make it the most magical moment of the day for the person who receives it.

Finally, where else can you really be yourself and speak heart to heart with people you only know through the web? Although my posts are few and far between, I always feel like I'm just writing to a friend I haven't seen in a while. 

So enjoy the craziness, the challenges and the special requests in life during the holiday season, and recognize that crazy times are an opportunity to bring out the best in us all.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our Father's Day Gift Guide

Whether he's your Dad or a man who's been like a Dad to you, finding a really great gift for Father's Day can be hard.

He'll say that he doesn't need anything.  "Just let me play golf" or "let me snooze on the couch, and I'll be happy" he'll say.  And the crazy thing is - he probably would be.  Most Dads are fairly low maintenance, and more inclined to do something for you.

But it's important to mark these days.  It's important to let him know that you appreciate him, and that you wanted to do something special for him.  It's good for the soul both to cherish someone and to be cherished.  So make him breakfast in bed, or take him out for a meal.

Buy or make him a card, and if you want, get him a little something that he'll appreciate.  Here are five ideas he'd love.

1. Is he a runner or bicyclist?  Give him a jar of Gilden Tree's Nourishing Foot Cream, a case of  power bars, and a bike/hike trail map of your city or area.
 2. Is he interested in camping?  Give him a set of waffle weave towels to use in camp.  The hand towels are lightweight, big enough to use as a bath towel, and dry incredibly quickly - always important when you're at the mercy of the weather.

3. Does he like to garden?  Get him a really nice pair of work gloves and a nice new bucket.  You can never have too many gloves or too many buckets.  Tuck in a jar of Shea Butter Balm and a hearty bar of soap for a great, simple, practical gift.

4. Is he a lounge on the deck kind of guy?  Give him a lightweight summer robe  - our most popular robe is the classic waffle weave kimono style robe. It's soft, comfortable and very generously sized - perfect for any man, and when you add a beverage of his choice - he'll think he's died and gone to heaven.

5. Does he go to the gym?  Get him a Complete Healthy Feet Kit.  It has a terra-cotta Foot Scrubber, and small jars of foot soaks, scrub, foot cream and balm - just perfect to tuck in his gym bag.

Don't worry about gift wrap.  We offer it for just $5.00, and we always offer a free gift message. Items are placed in a nice brown kraft gift box, and tied with a real green ribbon, and we'll tuck in your gift message, too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gilden Tree's Green Wedding Gift Guide

It used to be so easy.  Young couples would register for china, crystal and silver, or they'd go to a big box store and fill out a wish-list.  All you had to do was go to the list, choose something and the store would wrap and send it for you.

These days, it's a bit harder because most couples already have their own households, either separately or together, or it's a second marriage and they don't need the basic items which used to fill those lists.

Many couples are skipping formal items altogether and are instead making a conscious decision to consume less and choose more sustainable goods.  It's a wonderful way to start a new life together, but can make make the question of what to give the newlyweds all the more perplexing.

Over the years, our creative customers have had us send lots of beautiful, eco-friendly wedding gifts.  So, to help make it simpler, here are three of our favorites!

1. Classic Waffle Weave Bath Towel Sets ($84.99)  and Modern Design Waffle Towel Sets ($84)

Even if they already have towels, they'll love these soft, eco-friendly waffle bath towels because they dry so quickly and because they're made of Natural Cotton that's Oeko Tex Standard 100 Certified.

One of our best-selling wedding gift items - these sets include 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels and 2 washcloths. (Classic set also includes a bath mat.) White is definitely the most popular color, and it's an even split between Modern Design and Classic Waffle Weave.

These are amazing flat weave towels that are soft, super-absorbent and dry so quickly that couples just fall in love with them.  For an extra personal touch - get them monogrammed.  

2. Waffle Weave Throw Blanket ($44)

The joy of consciously choosing a simpler life is reflected in these soft blankets and any couple will find so many ways to use one.

They're perfect for cuddling up in front of the fire, as a car blanket or light camp blanket. You can even take them to the beach, because sand just falls right off and they're machine wash and dry.

Tuck one in with an old-fashioned picnic basket, for a picnic blanket - they're so  soft, warm and easy to live with.  In Sage Green, White, Slate, Orange, Espresso, and Cream.
59" x 77"  Suitable for monogramming.

3. Honeymoon Robe Gift Set ($145)

It's a little bit of luxury that helps make the honeymoon even more special with robes that will last for years.  Two beautiful white waffle weave robes are packed in a chic pandan box, with a candle, chocolates, a cd of romantic music, Shea Butter Balm and Massage Stones (includes easy massage instructions.)

If you've ever traveled in Europe you'll know how soft and comfortable a really good quality waffle robe can be and these are the nicest, thickest kind we've ever seen.  Call or email and and let us help you choose just the right sizes.

We'll be happy to Gift Wrap your gift for just $5 and our gift messages on a pretty card are always free.  Call us toll-free at 888-445-3368 or email us at for help finding the perfect gift.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Simple Joy: Celebrating May Day

Yesterday we offered a May Basket to all our customers (with a Crazy 4-Hour Sale) "tucked" in the basket.  I wonder if anyone else still carries on with the tradition of May Baskets?

I have always loved May Day, and in my neighborhood, we still exchange May Baskets.   We made May Baskets when I was growing up and  the rules were quite simple.  You created a small basket out of paper, and added a few pieces of candy and a little bunch of flowers. 

Then you had to hang the baskets on the recipient's doorknob, ring the doorbell and quickly run and hide, since if the recipient saw you they could kiss you.

Yesterday after work, I rushed home and helped my daughter Maya put together our May Baskets. We were in a time crunch so we just used colorful little paper cups and blue ribbon with Smarties and sprigs of Lilac tucked in. Maya and the neighborhood kids raced all over the neighborhood delivering them and no one, I believe, got caught. 

I love sitting on the front porch watching the kids dash around the neighborhood - lurking behind bushes and cars while they wait for the baskets to be found.   How simple a delight and how unforgettable. 

If you don't already celebrate May Day, maybe it's time to start a new tradition! Next May Day, make May Baskets and deliver them - but better be quick or you might get kissed!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Maybe you already know exactly what to get for your Mom or the woman who's been just like a mom to you this Mother's Day. Lucky you!

This guide is for the rest of us. We want to get something special, memorable and perfect -  in other words - we have no idea what to get.

Lots of guides focus on jewelry, or spa vacations or even things like monogrammed lawn chairs, which seem a trifle beyond the reach of us ordinary mortals.

And most Moms don't really need more little china figurines, or engraved playing cards or other beautiful, fragile little items. The best gifts are the ones that help make every day life a little easier and more pleasant.

Nothing is better than the gift of your time and companionship.  Maybe offer to help sort out a closet, paint the bathroom or plant flower pots together!  You'll never regret the time you spent doing something special with her.

But if you still want to wrap up a little something - make part of the gift spending time together, or giving her a little break.  We've got some great items and ways to make them even more special.

Whatever you choose, don't forget we always offer free gift messages, and lots of items are already gift-wrapped.  If not, gift wrap is only $5.

Here are 6 great gifts for Mother's Day:

#1.Mini Stone Massage Set
A lovely little gift to tuck in with a home-made massage gift certificate from you. Great as part of a "take care of you" gift basket.  Includes a travel size 95% Shea Butter Balm and little massage stone with instructions. ($11)

#2. Zen Weekend Retreat Robe Set
A bit of a splurge - but the set includes a soft waffle weave spa robe, relaxing music cd, a dozen tealight candles and a journal, all packed in a lovely Pandan box with lid. Offer to take over her responsibilities for a weekend and let her just relax and enjoy - either away or at home.($95)

#3. Velour Shower Wrap in Regular or Full-figured 
This amazingly soft wrap closes with snaps instead of velcro and is perfect to pop on after the shower, while putting on makeup, etc.  It's a great way to make her feel pampered and special, and best of all, it's machine wash and dry. $50 - $54

#4. Help a Girl Moisturizing Set
This set includes a tube of our Nourishing Hand Cream, and a tube of our Hand, Nail & Cuticle Salve, both scented with Kiran Forest - a fresh, green scent she'll love.  The set comes in a pretty pandan box, tied with a green ribbon and silk flower.  Best of all, 10% of the sale price is donated to the National TTT Society, which helps send girls to camp. ($25)

#5. Modern Design Waffle Weave Bath Towel 
Get her a couple of fresh new waffle weave towels to spiff up her bathroom.  In White, Cream, Espresso, Sage Green, Orange and Slate.  Many people use these towels for first time while traveling in Europe, so  tuck in a travel book about Italy, too! ($28)    

#6. Complete Healthy Feet Kit 
This is such a great set because it has little jars of our foot soak, foot scrub, foot cream and shea butter balm, scented with Kiran Forest and packed with our famous terra-cotta Foot Scrubber.  Include a gift certificate for a home pedicure!  She'll love it. ($25)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Green Acres in Reverse? Celebrate Earth Day by Becoming More Self-Sufficient!

Something amazing is happening. A sort "Green Acres in Reverse Movement" seems to be taking hold. Do you remember the sophisticated urbanites from the tv show - Oliver and Lisa, who brought the city to the farm? Well, the farm is coming to the city this time around.

From humble beginnings in backyard gardens, Urban Agriculture is spreading into every city and suburb in the country.  Not content just to grow vegetables, urban farmers are keeping bees and chickens - harvesting golden, local honey and fresh, delicious eggs. 

Another new trend taking off is fruit and vegetable gleaning.  In gleaning, folks offer excess fruits and vegetables growing on their property free to "gleaners".  Even home canning is experiencing a resurgence, especially among foodies and locavores.  Part of the appeal is knowing where the food came from, what’s really in the jar and that food can stay delicious without refrigeration. 

It all comes down to doing more with less, which explains a lot about the new popularity of drying clothes naturally. 

The old-fashioned clothesline is making a comeback, because it’s super eco-friendly and leaves clothes smelling as fresh and clean as the summer wind.

So celebrate Earth Day this year by setting up your own clothesline. It’s easy and can be done almost anywhere.

(My grandmother dried all her clothes on a clothesline.  As a kid, I loved running through the cool, damp sheets and clothes.  Even in the dead of winter, clothes would be hung out to dry and then finished in the basement.  My mom said the dry winter air pulled most of the moisture out of them, but on freezing days I'd sure be tempted by the clothes dryer!)

Most everything can be dried on a clothesline, but the thick terry towels we’ve grown accustomed to can take forever to dry.   

Waffle weave towels, which dry quickly indoors – even in damp bathrooms – dry amazingly quickly on a clothesline.  Their flat weave exposes much greater surface area to the wind and sun, hence the quick drying time.    

Make a fresh start this Earth Day and try a waffle weave bath towel.  We have two great styles:  Classic and Modern and eight colors.  Once you get used to them, you won’t want to use terry again.

There are so many great ways to do more with less - and if Oliver and Lisa could do it, so can you!

Monday, April 2, 2012

True Confessions: My 3 Sneaky Tips for Real-Life Foot Care!

Ssh!  Between you and me - I have a confession to make!  Although I am surrounded by racks and racks of fabulous foot care products, my feet aren't always perfect or anywhere close.  Shocking, I know...

Because I do sometimes fall off the foot care wagon, I have a few never-fail, sneaky tips for foot care and I've decided to share them with the world. 

Here are my three favorites:

 Sneaky Foot Care Tip #1:  

A dab of Shea Butter Balm rubbed into heels will make the white lines and dry spots "disappear", so you can wear sandals even if your feet are dry.  Lasts for a couple of hours.

Sneaky Foot Care Tip #2:

I may not remember to take care of my feet every day, but I always watch a little tv - even if it's just the news. I've started keeping a jar of Nourishing Foot Cream in a drawer by the sofa, so even if I'm couch potatoing - I can still moisturize!

Sneaky Foot Care Tip #3:

If you are a barefoot gardener (I am) you can save yourself a lot of scrubbing later on by slathering Shea Butter Balm into cuticles and under your nails before you start.  That way any dirt that gets into your nails comes out much more easily.  In fact, I keep an extra little container of Shea Butter in the garage with my gardening gloves and tools so I won't forget.

So, now you know some of my best-kept secrets.  Remember - knowledge is power, so if you have a great sneaky tip, be sure to share it!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Shea Butter Balm, a Nose and a Happy Dog

Everyone now and then we get an email that goes straight to our hearts and last week, we received this email:

"I have a 17 year old dog.       His nose was so swollen he couldn't breathe through it. Took him to the vet, she said that older dogs can get dry noses and to just put vaseline on it. 

I put your 95% shea butter on his nose instead and after a few days it started to look better. His nose is now back to normal and I now use it as a preventative measure. Thank you.  - Regina S."

I immediately emailed her back, thanking her for sharing this story with us, and asked her what her dog's name was.  His name is Singer - and as you can see from the photo she sent me - he's a beautiful little guy, who doesn't need the aggravation of a sore nose.  

 I love hearing that something so simple and gentle can help not only people, but their animals, too.  Glad your nose feels better Singer!  Thanks again Regina,  for taking the time to let us know about it.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's the Worst Thing You Ever Did To Your Feet?

People sometimes ask me how Gilden Tree started, and I always tell them it's simple - I've always had horrible feet.  So when something works on my feet I know it will work on anyone's feet.  But it got me thinking - how did my feet get so bad?  Partly its genetics, but certainly lifestyle has played a role.

For the first time a couple of days ago, the air smelled of Spring; warm, damp and earth - which made me want to fling off my shoes and reconnect barefoot with my old friends grass and dirt.  So I did and it was glorious!    Hello, Spring!

But going barefoot carries its own risks.  I’ve been a barefoot gardener for many years and I’ve stepped on my fair share of icky things.  Have you ever stepped on or in something awful?  I'd love to hear about it!

To get you started, I’ll tell you about the worst thing that ever happened to my feet.

When I was a child, I roamed barefoot (against the most competent medical and legal advice of my grandmother) all over her farm.  I never actually stepped on a rusty nail, thereby avoiding “lockjaw” which was her main fear, nor did I slip into the pigpen, and so thankfully  was not eaten by the pigs, either.

But she was right, there were unseen risks in going barefoot, and I’m not talking about the germ theory, although I’m dead sure I banged right up against it. 

I am going to assume that you know what a cowpie is.  If not, please google it.  I learned the hard way that a cowpie which looks entirely dry isn't always safe to step on.  I was minding my own business, dreamily crossing the pasture, probably looking up at the clouds, when I stepped on what appeared to be a “dry” cowpie.  Unfortunately, there was  gooey cowpie lurking right below the surface, which oozed up between my toes, and completely surrounded my tough little foot. 

By the time I got back to the house, I was so miserable my  Grandma didn't have to say a word. She just hosed my foot off and sterilized it with blackberry brandy or something like that. From that day on, things were different.  Sort of.  I didn't start wearing shoes, but I did watch for cowpies.

So what’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to your feet - either stepped on or in?    Tell us your story and you could win a prize!