With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we were so excited to chat with the woman who’s putting love in every box. Melina Davies has transformed her restaurant Olive & Thyme into an intimate lifestyle brand based on a love of giving. The amazing hand-picked gifts in her boxes and baskets each tell their own personal, emotional, and thoughtful stories. We sat down with Melina to hear hers.
Let’s say we’re looking for a little Galentine’s gift for a friend. What would you include in a box for our best mama pal?
As moms we juggle a million things at once, and more often than not we neglect to give ourselves a little “me time” to recuperate. For a busy mama, I would put together a much-deserved spa basket with a soothing candle, the amazing Aenon’s clay mask and body polish, a beautiful crystal to cleanse and promote positivity, and of course every mama needs a half-bottle of Whispering Angel rosé – the perfect recipe for a night of relaxation. As mothers, we give so much and pour so much love into our children each day, so it’s important that we take a moment to refill that love for ourselves, too! Recharging allows you to ensure that your children are getting the best of you each day, because they deserve nothing less!
What special touches would you add to a gift box for a partner?
For a partner, it’s key to include something they love. A bottle of his favorite scotch and a vintage cufflink to match his style, or a beautiful lotion with her favorite scent and a wine that she just adores. I love to create a story about the relationship by including something from a special moment that has connected you to each other, whether that’s a cookbook from the restaurant where you had your first date, or a vintage bottle that you shared to celebrate your engagement. The gesture doesn’t need to be extravagant. It should just be something that is meaningful for you and your partner; a little reminder to each other of just how lucky you are to be together!
What does the perfect Valentine’s Day box for kids include?
Kids’ gifts are some of my favorite to curate, because they can be so fun! In terms of imagination and color, the sky’s the limit! I love to spoil them with artisan cotton candy, heart gummies, sour kissy lips — all overflowing with color. Every kid loves chocolate, so I’ll include pieces from some of our favorite local chocolatiers – chocolate hippos, chocolate-wrapped marshmallows, or delicious buttery toffee. For something that will last beyond that initial sugar rush, a fanciful stuffed doll of a mermaid or robot by Meri Meri, or a hanging decoration of a crescent moon or dream catcher to brighten their day each morning. The philosophy behind all of this is that we can only be kids for so long, so let’s pack in the fun while we can!
Tell us about your approach in putting together a gift box for event attendees. What do you ask the hostess?
When working with the host or hostess of an event, I will first sit down with them and discuss their vision for the overall concept of the event – what they wish to convey, what the mood is, and the emotions they would like to inspire in their guests upon walking in. This exploration process is continued when considering gifts for the event, and we ask ourselves what the gift is meant to represent and what it will mean to their guests. Brainstorming together is the most important step, as the host or hostess will have a deeper understanding of their guests and their expectations.
When you’re putting together a gift box, are there certain elements you always try to include?
Because every gift is crafted to highlight each client’s individual passions and preferences, there isn’t really a formula to apply to all of our gifts. It is truly our goal to hand-pick every item with the recipient in mind, considering what brings them joy and tells their story! A gift box should tell a story from start to finish, so each separate piece is critical to consider in the telling of the tale. Of course, we do have a few of our favorites that we love to share when there’s room for a couple of extra items and the client is open to suggestions!
From your success in the restaurant industry to your amazing curations, you seem to have a real knack for turning ideas into reality. What is the first step you’d recommend other mamas take after coming up with a new idea?
It can be scary to follow through with new ideas! My suggestion is to start by creating a vision board, knowing that there is a fear factor involved in pursuing anything new or outside of your comfort zone. Even if you can’t see the entire picture yet, looking at the pieces of the puzzle in one place every day can help you put together details you might not be able to see when they’re just jumbled around in your head. The most important part is to believe in yourself no matter what, because there may be times when no one else will. Lastly, push through the rough parts and know that no matter what obstacles you face, you will never fail as long as you progress. You can only fail if you give up on yourself.
How do you encourage creativity in your kids?
I strive to lead by example and teach them that their abilities are limitless. We spend time cooking together, taking pottery classes together, building legos, and immersing them into the arts. They grew up listening to jazz, and classics like Oscar Peterson, The Stones and Michael Jackson. They love learning about art and history from museums. By exposing them to art and creativity, I feel that their imaginations will just continue to expand. I want to teach them that they can do anything, by showing them what has been accomplished long before them. Last year we sent my daughter (now seven) to a fashion camp and she sewed a dress by hand! When you support your children’s dreams, they build this incredible confidence that allows them to continue to grow into these amazing little humans! They blow me away every day.
Mamas need love too, so make sure to take time for you, whether that means a spa day, a lunch out with your girls, or simply 20 precious minutes by yourself. With the constant pressure to have a career & raise your kids, we mamas need that time to decompress and feel like a human!
Always support your kids’ dreams, no matter what they are. Always be the safe place for your children to come tell their dreams and wishes to. Be the arms that they can run into without judgement.
For all the seriousness that life gives you, always remember to laugh and live in the moment. Stop and be present for one moment each day, and cherish it while it lasts.