The only thing harder than having no ideas for a Christmas present might be having too many. Nearing the tail-end of a year when we’ve all been stress-shopping online (perhaps a bit too much), there’s a plethora of websites, retailers, options and items vying for our attention that we have to sift through, which might make finding the perfect gift a challenge – especially when shopping for multiple people.
Catherine Blackford has the solution. A prime example of turning your hobby into a successful business, she launched gift delivery service Bindle in 2012 to make it easy to gift products from local artisans and makers, and eight years on the ethos remains the same.
“Everyone wants to buy gifts, and I suppose I just wanted to capture how important it is to support Australian business when we’re consuming in an area where we would anyway,” Blackford tells Broadsheet. “So many of our local industries are really suffering this year, so it’s important as a community to get behind them.”
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Each gift set is thoughtfully curated to highlight the best from local producers and creators. Everything is sourced from Australia, from the gifts inside to the packaging they come in, and even the hands that put each bindle together.
The company is also committed to sustainability, using 100 per cent recycled packaging and steering clear of unnecessary plastic where possible. “When someone says ‘hamper’ I suppose it evokes a lot of plastic and stuffing for people, so I really wanted to veer away from that and ensure that Bindle is looking after the planet,” Blackford says.
There are 14 ‘bindles’ to choose from for Christmas, each with a theme that ties all the gift items together. There’s one dedicated to ham – the centerpiece of many Christmas tables – with cloves from Gewurzhaus, Melbourne City Rooftop Honey, Daylesford-made marmalade, whiskey mustard and a ham bag to keep leftovers fresh. Under the Mistletoe is perfect for a night of romance, with Zonzo Estate prosecco, handmade cranberry and rose bark from a Braeside bakery, and a spiced candle with holiday scents. Plus there’s a set dedicated to summer barbeques, a gin-focused hamper, and a mix of treats both naughty and nice, among others.
The Joy to the World bindle includes a bottle of sparkling, shortbread biscuits, handmade chocolate-covered almonds, plum pudding and more, all perfect to share with friends and family. “I think that’s my favourite, especially this year because we haven’t been able to really celebrate or catch-up with family and friends, so I think this one represents hopefully the start of a nicer time,” Blackford says.
The businesses and artisans that Bindle works with constantly changes, to continue promoting smaller operations that need support the most. Blackford also sees each bindle as a chance to share the stories and ethos of makers that customers otherwise might not come across when gift-shopping from larger retailers.
“Each product that we source has a person behind the product that’s created it, and they have a wonderful story to tell. All of those different relationships come together in creating the gift and we want to represent that,” she says. “When someone receives a Bindle gift they’re not just receiving a product, it’s also a gift that embodies lots of different people and their stories."