April 2017

Gifted Hilton Head: All the blessings, none of the headaches

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Most of us don’t like to admit it, but for all the blessedness it’s said to bestow, gift-giving can be downright terrifying. What if she doesn’t like it? What if he already has one? What if it is the wrong size, wrong color, wrong price…? If the mere thought of shopping for gifts brings on a migraine headache, you need more than a BC Powder. You need Gifted Hilton Head.

“I want Gifted to represent a happy, relaxed, fun place to shop where you can find a gift for any occasion at any price point,” said Meredith Taylor, owner of Hilton Head Island’s treasure trove of gifts. And whether you buy a dishtowel or a designer handbag, it’s going to look like a million bucks all wrapped up and tied in a bow. “That’s really important to me. It doesn’t matter if you spend $3, we will gift wrap it.”

Gifted is paradise for givers who have no specific item in mind and just want to browse for ideas, and it’s equally enticing for the customer on a mission. The sheer abundance of inventory is certain to satisfy the most discriminating and bound to spark the imagination of the curious. “I’ve been in retail for 37 years in one facet or another,” Taylor said. “I try really hard to have useful, good quality merchandise at reasonable prices.”

But don’t worry about overwhelm. While the selection is extensive, merchandise at Gifted is creatively displayed by category, much like a mini-department store but with the intimacy of a boutique. You can meander around or quickly zoom in on a collection that strikes your fancy: handbags and totes; baby gifts and children’s items; serve ware and cookbooks; candles, soaps and scented lotions; coastal-themed items, etc.

If it’s jewelry you’re after, you will find sophisticated designer offerings and affordable bling displayed throughout the store. Currently flying out of the jewelry case is Uno de 50, a fabulous line of bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings. Handmade in Madrid, Spain, this jewelry is “chunky and comfortable because it’s so well polished, and it’s exclusive to Gifted,” Taylor said. Gifted is also the only store on the island offering Alex and Ani bangles, which continue to be popular. Other hot items include Lizzy James wrap bracelets, Sughero cork jewelry, and stretch bracelets and pouches from Katie Loxton, a new designer from London.

Luca and Danni bracelets (handcrafted in the U.S.A.) are exclusive to Gifted as well, and in addition, Taylor has commissioned two designs—one representing Hilton Head Island and the other South Carolina—to benefit local animal charities. “I donate $10 per bracelet to either PAL [Palmetto Animal League] or Hilton Head Humane. So far, I have donated $11,000.”

Taylor tries to carry as many products from local and regional artists as possible, e.g., Lowcountry Linens, Flip Flop Pottery, books by local authors, candles and soap made in Beaufort, S.C., Lowcountry-inspired Spartina 449 handbags and accessories, and several lines out of Charleston, S.C. She believes in supporting small, local business, because “that’s what made America great,” she said. “The small, independent mom-and-pop businesses are what started this country. This is partly what makes Hilton Head Island so unique—our local retail and restaurants.”

Perhaps the best part about shopping at Gifted is the no-pressure approach to sales, allowing customers to breathe and browse to their hearts’ content. Taylor’s staff members are on hand to assist with ideas or suggestions but never to rush or interfere with the decision process. “I think that’s part of our appeal. We are friendly, sincere and helpful—very good at guiding you toward something that’s just right,” Taylor said. “We also have the best prices on the island. It’s more fun and more interesting for me to keep things moving, and customers always appreciate good quality and good value.”

Taylor started her career as a corporate buyer and then progressed into sales. She bought her first Gifted store in Pittsburgh and later opened a second location there. In the gift business for over 20 years, she opened the Hilton Head Island store in 2011, selling the two Pittsburgh stores in 2015. Although it was hard to let go of the businesses she nurtured and grew, Taylor said she is happy to be down to one store now and to make Hilton Head Island her primary residence. “The first time I ever drove over the bridge, I felt like this was my place in the world,” she said. “I love the environment, the natural beauty, the positivity of the people; I’ve just always felt like I belong here.”

It’s no wonder locals and visitors alike make frequent stops at Gifted Hilton Head. And for Taylor, the best part is getting to know her customers. “We’re so thankful for the opportunity to meet new people and see them become regulars who return to visit and shop again. The real gift is knowing that they had a happy experience in our store.”

Next time you need a present for yourself or someone you love, stop by Gifted Hilton Head and see what a blessing gift-giving can be. 

Gifted Hilton Head is located at 1000 William Hilton Parkway, Suite J2, Village at Wexford, Hilton Head Island. For more information, call (843) 842-8787 or follow on Facebook to see the newest merchandise.

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