By Alex Matthews
This woman is passing on the gift of giving – by wrapping people’s presents for them.
Jo Clydesdale has been working as a professional gift wrapper for six years and has wrapped thousands of presents shipped all over the country.
She has been approached by friends, family, strangers and even celebrities to put the perfect finishing touches to their gifts.
Jo, from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, has been asked to wrap everything from a simple bottle of perfume to a family car, and even has clients send her mood boards so she can work out the best paper and ribbon combinations.
Since starting her business WrapperSnapper from her dining table in 2011, she has expanded to fill orders for large corporations and PR firms, and often finds her one-bedroom flat filled with boxes and gifts.
She said: “It gets crazily busy around this time of year, but it is good fun. It’s still amazing to think I have this as a business now.
“It began as a hobby and has now grown into a full-time thing. It’s not just wrapping people’s gifts for them, but sometimes teaching them how to make them look beautiful themselves.
“I’ve had all sorts of people ask me to wrap presents for them. Nowadays it is often PR firms and businesses with hundreds of the same gift to send to various clients.
“But I still happily take on private customers and I’ve even had celebrities’ personal assistants ringing me to ask if I can wrap things for them.
“How much I charge depends widely on the materials I use and how much time it is going to take.
“Some orders can take hours or even days to complete and I’ll be sat in my living room all day doing it. With things like perfume or other more simple boxes, it’s not so much the wrapping that takes time, because you can do that in under a minute easily.
“The time consuming part is cutting each sheet of wrapping paper to exactly the same size so you get a perfect finish.
“Sometimes the client will have specific paper or a certain finish in mind, so I have to follow those guidelines.
“Others will present me with mood boards but let me work out the best themes for the wrapping, so there is a lot of creativity.
“Especially when I’ve had a big order delivered my front room can be filled with other people’s gifts and goodies. It gets a bit crazy in a one bedroom flat, but I manage.”
Jo has always had an interest in fancy wrapping, even improving on her gift wrapping to the family Christmas tree’s detriment by pinching the baubles to stick to the paper.
She began wrapping friends and family’s gifts as a hobby while she was working as a PA for 10 years.
Eventually, in 2011, she was convinced to start WrapperSnapper and, after word of her talent spread, the business grew rapidly.
Jo said: “When I was younger I always to grab the decorations off the Christmas tree and attach the baubles to the presents instead.
“That was where the interest in wrapping started, and soon I was googling about it to find more interesting ways of wrapping gifts.
“From then on I used to do presents for friends and family, until people started saying to me that I should start charging to help other people.
“From there it spread by word of mouth, and I started to get more and more orders coming in. The business just took off from there.”
The toughest gift Jo was asked to wrap was a car, especially because it did not fit her usual technique for dealing with difficult shapes.
She said: “My best advice for anyone trying to wrap something that is a complicated shape is to put it into another box. It makes it look so much smarter and neater, and saves you a whole lot of trouble.
“But you can’t really do that with a car. You’d need a ridiculously large amount of cardboard and wrapping paper.
“In the end I just recommended tying a giant bow around it. I think that shows you’ve made an effort, and it will add a bit of joy to the person receiving it.”
Jo’s top five wrapping tips:
(1) Always use double sided tape so the joins of paper are well hidden
(2) Make sure you have sharp scissors to ensure you cut the ribbon leaving it with a tidy edge (to avoid the fraying)
(3) Use good quality paper to avoid tears and unnecessary creasing,
(4) Always cut your paper to the desired size before you start to wrap (saving you time avoiding the stop / starting)
(5) When wrapping ensure you keep your paper taught to get a smooth wrap avoiding lumps and bumps with trapped air!