Men – do you secretly dread the idea of shopping for a woman’s birthday or Christmas gift? Do you find yourself permanently out of clues as to what your partner REALLY wants to unwrap? Forever in dread of that underwhelmed expression on your mother or sister’s face as the gift you sort-of resorted to fails to dazzle and amaze?
You’re not alone – in fact you could argue you’re in a terrifyingly huge demographic. However – help is at hand thanks to Ask Her Friends – a website dedicated spefically to the more *ahem* inspirationally challenged among us who simply haven’t got a scooby doo what to buy for the women in our lives that will show just how much they actually mean to us.
The site is based on info gathered from asking ‘normal women’ (their words not mine) what they actually want, ultimately leading to a ‘catalogue’ of suggestions (the site itself doesn’t actually sell goods itself but links to where you can order goods). It’s free and easy to register as a user – name, email and password is all you’ll need to provide – and is fairly intuitive to use.
Once inside the site there are various useful things to browse through – you can peruse the ‘catalogue’ or look through some of the site’s other features. There’s pages for ‘shop of the week’ and ‘what’s hot’, an ‘expert advice blog’ and also a collection of ‘best ever’ stories – collected from real people on the subject of the best or worst gifts they’ve received by category (one sample – “DON’T buy us underwear – especially the sexy type – this is a gift for you, not us” – granted but if we started saying that we’re buying ourselves sexy ladies underwear you’d start asking ALL SORTS of questions). You can also suggest items or submit stories and ideas.
The site really comes into its own with the ‘Idea Map’ function. This is essentially a short questionnaire to determine who the gift is for, the kind of relationship you have with them, the monetary range you’re looking at and what clues you DO have as to what they may like. The site then generates an ‘advice list’ (you can have several of these stored on your profile) giving you several suggestions as to what to buy. Where this is particularly brilliant is that you can then e-mail this list to friends – including most importantly FEMALE friends who know the person you’re buying for – or connect with your social network profiles and contact them that way. When contacted they are then given a link to the online list where they can leave feedback or comments on what has been recommended.
In practice I found that contacting people via facebook was particularly useful – you specify users to contact via an interface and they receive a message direct to their Facebook inbox (not their wall), maintaining secrecy. The email option is also good – the e-mail itself lists the items as well as containing a link to the site (although junk filters may cause a problem). Twitter I would avoid for two reasons – firstly it generates a tweet to all followers (and odds are you are buying for one of them in the first place), and secondly the tweet I looked at gave a generic link to the log in page of the site (not the advice list – which you also don’t end up directed to after registering). Ask her friends have come back to us and said ‘we’re getting the link fixed as it shouldn’t do that, it should link to the advice list.’ So that should be all updated soon.
There are a few glitches I would say need ironing out, but ultimately this is a fantastic idea and a site that is well worth visiting and joining. Speaking as someone who is very much a member of the site’s target audience, I’ll definitely be using it – even if I claim I didn’t…
You could get your partner some gorgeous Freya underwear or treat her for a day out at a spa!
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