Hot Trends for Holiday 2013: We interview RedEnvelope’s expert

November 12, 2013    |    By +
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If you love shopping, fashion and trends, you may have fantasized about becoming a professional shopper. Wouldn’t it be amazing to get paid to travel around the world in search of the best stuff? Indeed, such a dream job exists. Buyers, they are called, get to choose what gets carried in a store or on a website. It’s a powerful job, because you are setting the tone for your customers. And you get to see all the hottest trends and newest ideas before everyone else does. I wanted to see what trends are hot for holiday gifts this year, so I asked Joseph Dolac, director of merchandising for RedEnvelope, to give us the scoop.

joseph-dolac-red-envelopeHow far in advance do you start thinking about Christmas at Red Envelope?

“We’re thinking about Christmas a year to 18 months out. We’re always planning for and thinking about the product assortment and gift ideas throughout the year, though.”

How do you find the products you feature?

“Research. I read a lot of blogs and magazines, I shop cities and neighborhoods for unique products and up and coming designers and artisans. I also attend trade shows across the world. I talk to people everywhere; even at a party, I find that people love to give you feedback on what resonates with them. There’s so much input you can find and pull together. Overall, I love the emotional connection you get with the customer and beyond that, with the person they are giving a gift to.”

What are the big trends you are seeing for the holidays?

“Personalization and customization–it’s a hot trend. People want the opportunity to deliver a gift that makes a ‘wow’ statement.  We’re really excited about our personalized chalkboards, for example. You can change it every day, such as adding to a list of ‘100 Reasons I Love you’ or kitchen blackboard where you can write the menu or something like, ‘Dinner is ready; take it or leave it!’ A sense of humor and personality can come through.

Second, things that have a meaning or a story behind them do very well for us. People want to relay a unique sentiment behind their gift. For example, we pick out the gemstones in our jewelry so there is meaning behind them and then that meaning will work back to the recipient.”

Personalized I Love You Chalkboard ($29.95)


What were your hottest sellers last year?

“Canvas wall art and pillows. We have so many designs. They are go-tos and continue to be very strong sellers.”

Personalized Dinosaur Wall Art ($59.95)



What do you think will be your hottest seller this year?

“Silk, velvet and linen-combination pillows. Mural artwork. We have reinvented some of the ways we express a sentiment with jewelry. For example, we have necklaces that are in Braille and Morse code, so there’s a hidden message. It’s still fashionable but has a meaning and sentiment.” 

Do you have any shopping advice for our readers?

“Look for our new and interesting designers. We are giving smaller designers a showcase before they can become the next big thing–and it’s great for gift givers who are looking for really distinctive and sophisticated gifts by not-yet-discovered artists. For example, Mabel Chong does everything hand-made in San Francisco. Her jewelry incorporates organic pearls and blue topaz.”

RedEnvelope will feature exclusive items with her, Dolac says, like this blue topaz necklace ($89.95).



Dolac continues, “We have recreated our iconic red gift box this year, and we feel it’s such an integral part of the gifting experience, it’s offered at no additional cost. Lastly, shop early. Always shop early!”

Guru Picks

I’ve picked a few of my favorite gift ideas from RedEnvelope. Enjoy!

Kids love to pretend to be monsters, and this Animal Hat and Mitten set ($19.99) makes it easy to transform a cold morning into an opportunity to play.


I love these Waxing Poetic charm necklaces ($49.95), where you can mix and match the charms to create a personalized necklace. It’s the perfect gift for a teenage girl, a writer or a proud mom ($79.95).


A personalized, nickel-plated stainless steel ice bucket ($89.95) looks so classic and is perfect for people who love to entertain.


These ornaments ($9.95) remind me of those TV Christmas movies that aired in the 1960s, the ones that featured stop-motion reindeer.


 Visit for more holiday gift ideas from RedEnvelope and hundreds of other vendors.

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Meet the Gurus

Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.