The Art of Homemade Gifting

For the 18th post in our corporate values series, Rachael Bentley shares how her family’s emphasis on thoughtful gifts destined her for Team Alyce.

I was raised in a family of makers. From my immediate family to grandparents, aunts/uncles and cousins, something in our blood screams “CREATE!”. Starting at a young age, we were encouraged by our parents to actually make Christmas and birthday gifts rather than spending money that we probably didn’t have on things that our loved ones probably didn’t need. 

Mind you, these ranged in intensity and effort. When I was small and lazy and had limited resources, I would design coupons to give to my parents for things like “one free lawn mowing session.” More recently, I painted an acrylic portrait of the beloved dog we had lost earlier in the year as a Christmas present to my parents, who cried upon opening it (I’ve since turned this into somewhat of a side hustle—if you need a departed pet portrait, you know where to find me…). Regardless of the endeavor, it has become a habit for me to consider the emotional attachment to giving or receiving something that’s truly crafted with consideration.

When I applied to the marketing design open role at Alyce, I uploaded my resume and cover letter and proceeded to input answers into the standard fields. Reaching the end of the form, the last question caught my eye: “What was the best gift you’ve ever given?”

This stopped me in my tracks, and was the first major indicator that I was really going to like Alyce and what they stood for as a company. 

While considering my answer, I thought back to when I was in high school and Mother’s Day was fast approaching. My sister and I brainstormed interesting ways to show appreciation to our mother, who embodies selflessness and compassion. At the time, my sister—a kick-a** musician and audio engineer—was working at a recording studio back home in Cincinnati, and we decided to combine our musical skills and record a song for her. I was on vocals, and my sister recorded each individual instrument for our cover of “Your Mother Should Know” by the Beatles. She even mixed and mastered it in the studio. 

Aside from being an amazing experience to record in a real studio with real equipment, nothing could rival the smile (and tears) from my mom when we popped the disk into a CD player and watched her listen for the first time.

The reward you feel when someone accepts a gift from you that’s actually personal is immeasurable.

When I came into the office to interview for the position in person, our Head of Marketing, Daniel, asked me about my response. As a fellow musician, he was intrigued by my answer, and we connected further by talking a bit about each other’s musical backgrounds. Daniel then dove into Alyce’s core values, the first two of which really resonated with me and ultimately inspired this post: Give First, Give Consistently and Be Crafty. The gifting philosophy I had adopted early in my childhood was something that ended up pertaining to a job at a tech startup in Boston years later, and Alyce has compelled me to reflect on my own love of surprising and delighting those around me in the craftiest and most personal ways I know how.

September 25, 2019
Team Alyce
Team Alyce