A rise in the number of financially independent women has given a boost to the handicrafts market, according to a design artist nicknamed Yallisa, who specializes in gift wrapping and packaging.
“Financial independence enables women to choose how they spend their money, either on themselves or as gifts,” she said.
“Giving gifts conveys the esteem in which the gift giver holds the receiver, and any gift-wrapping designer should understand that their work is an important part of how successfully such a feeling is conveyed,” she said.
When asked what motivated her to open her own studio and take up this line of work, Yallisa said it was an inner calling, adding that she has enjoyed working with pretty things since she was a child.
Yallisa said that her father worked at a Japanese company when she was young and he often received exquisitely wrapped boxes of wagashi snacks as gifts, adding that she used to peel off the wrapping paper and packaging layer by layer, take out the snacks, and repackage the box.
Though she was always interested in the art of gift wrapping, Yallisa said it is an art that has not received much attention in Taiwan, with little formal education or books on the subject available.
Using fashion magazines or books published abroad, Yallisa worked alone for many years, relying on her eye for color and design before formulating a more developed sense of aesthetics and design quality.
Despite her passion for gift wrapping, Yallisa said that her first job was at Citibank while she also taught a night class on gift design at the Chinese Culture University’s department of further studies.
Yallisa said that for a long time she worked in the bank by day while teaching classes at night, and although holding down two jobs was a burden, the teaching felt more like the pursuit of a hobby than work.
An offer from a department store, via the university, asking her to design a package for it led her new career to take off, Yallisa said, adding that after that first commission, she received a number of other orders.
That was the catalyst for her to open a workshop, Yallisa said, adding that soon after she quit her job at the bank and opened a studio catering primarily to corporate clients.
After starting her workshop, Yallisa said, she came to realize that her craft depends significantly on understanding the finer details of her clients’ needs, especially with regards to the person they are sending a gift to.
Designing gift packages or wrappings is a highly customized process, and knowing the gender, age, preferred color and style of the receiver, as well as what relationship they have with the sender, is crucial, Yallisa said, adding that these details enable her to fully convey the sincerity of the giver.
“Sending a gift is a positive action, and people like that action to resonate so that both sender and receiver are happy,” she said.