how to pick the perfect gift: a Q&A with half hitch goods

half hitch goods

|  Carrie of Half Hitch Goods, showing off her amazing Rolling Shoppe! |

Friends, I have been so excited to share this Q&A! Carrie Caillouette is the mastermind behind Half Hitch Goods: quite simply the most beautiful, creative, perfectly-curated gifting shop I have ever encountered. (And trust me, I don’t give out that title lightly.) Every single item is carefully considered, lovingly made, and somehow utterly and completely perfect. It’s an absolute treasure trove of gift ideas – for yourself, your spouse, your mom or your crazy Aunt Edna. I promise you, no matter how hard they are to buy for, and no matter what your budget, Carrie’s got the perfect gift…and it’s something you’d absolutely never have come up with on your own.

With Mother’s Day coming up, I asked her to share a few of her tips and tricks for tracking down the perfect gift for absolutely everyone…especially yourself!

{PS: Carrie is also one of my very favorite Instagrammers, and she’s taking over SMC’s Instagram feed all day today! Head over for a peek into her gorgeous world (and a few more fab gift ideas) – you’re not going to want to miss it.}

How did Half Hitch Goods come to be? Tell us your story!
I spent years working as a merchant for a top home furnishings brand, but I was at a place in my career where my job wasn’t making me excited anymore. I can remember waking up every day and debating whether I could call in sick. My husband finally told me, “If you aren’t ready to jump now, you probably won’t ever be ready.” So, I jumped!

I had always craved working with handmade products and individuals who are inspired to create things worth treasuring. I’m really driven by a love for the quality and connection you get from handmade goods – that feeling of discovering a beautiful item that has a story that resonates with you.

I decided to launch Half Hitch Goods online in the winter of 2012, and followed that with the Rolling Shoppe, which is a store that I run out of my 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon. Currently, I’m a little over two years into my entrepreneurial journey. It’s been a wild ride!

What I particularly love about Half Hitch is that every single item in your store is so carefully selected. How do you decide what makes it into the shoppe?
I’m always looking for things that provide an element of discovery, surprise and delight. Everything I carry has a story, some special little journey that makes it more than just a thing. When I choose products, I imagine someone being proud to give it as a gift with excitement, love, and even a bit of adrenaline.

I love creating a mixed, inspiring aesthetic. I think when you mix polar opposites in design, you get an aesthetic tension that folks are really drawn to. And I don’t buy anything for the shop that I haven’t personally tested and tried out!

What have been some of your favorite product discoveries along the way?
This is hard! Each one of the things I pick up for the shop is something I absolutely love. But I’m especially drawn to our Peace Bomb Bangles, which are made in Laos out of bombs that were dropped during the Vietnam War. They’re lightweight, make the most lovely music when they’re worn in multiples, and proceeds go to cleaning up areas in Laos that were damaged during the war.

Our handmade leather goods are also amazing. They’re all made in San Francisco by Mat Brown, and each piece is meant to evolve and wear in, improving over time, which is really the embodiment of owning something with a story.

mother's day gift ideas

Carrie’s favorite Mother’s Day gift ideas – all guaranteed to wow:
Cocktail napkins  |  Hex signet cuff  |  Noble perfume  |  bath salts  |  Mast Brothers chocolate  |  Le Feu De L’Eau andles

I think of your store as such a treasure trove of gift ideas. What’s the secret to finding the perfect gift for someone?
I think it helps to start by considering the occasion, as that can help guide the price and the symbolism you might be looking for.

Next, think deeply about the recipient – who they are and what you love about them. How do they live? What do they like to do? Where have they traveled? What do they already own that they find beautiful and useful? Think of conversations you’ve had. Did he or she mention they love the theater, or they want to get back into walking, or reading more? I also like to think back through special memories I have about a person – trips together, inside jokes, anything that would ignite a memory. Last, think about what might be a luxury for the person, something she might use with delight, but not necessarily buy for herself.

From there, all you have to do is take the time to let something catch your eye, or find a story that connects the person you are shopping for to that item.

My readers know I’m a huge advocate of treating yourself – being as generous with yourself as you are with others. What’s your take?
Totally! When I describe Half Hitch Goods as an “online gift shop”, people immediately feel guilty if they were thinking of making a self-purchase, as if they should only be giving gifts to others. I am always reminding people that it is just as important to treat yourself well, to indulge in beautiful accessories, heirloom housewares or extraordinary edibles. If it is a treasure you know you will relish, it’s worth having.

Where do you find inspiration?
Travel. I love to collect things on my travels, and sometimes I curate a capsule collection of artisan goods from my trips that I showcase on my site.

Three things in your closet that always make you happy?
My cashmere coat by The Podolls, my Mat Brown for Half Hitch Goods belt and a gold signet locket that belonged to my grandmother.

What’s the last thing you bought for yourself?
I found a couple of vintage gathered skirts at one of my favorite shops, Eden and Eden. I love them! They are totally unique, they fit fabulously, and they’re perfect to wear while I’m working at the Shoppe.

What’s your happy place?
Driving in my truck with my dog and my husband.

If you’re as charmed by Carrie as I am (and really, how could you not be?!), do yourself a favor and spend some time on her site. Or better yet, if you’re in the San Francisco area, stop by her pop-up this weekend at The Petaler (get all the deets here). Perfect timing for those Mother’s Day gifts you’re still stressing about. I know I’ll be there!


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3 comments on “how to pick the perfect gift: a Q&A with half hitch goods

  1. Vanessa

    One of my fave blogs covering one of my hippest friends…this feels like Christmas!

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