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Then vs Now: 10 Years of Create Gift Love Products

Then vs Now: 10 Years of Create Gift Love Products

This year marks the 10th anniversary of our small business, Create Gift Love. Ever since Emily started the handmade business from her garden shed back in 2012 we have been designing and making personalised keepsake gifts to celebrate all of life’s special moments and milestones – and this year is a milestone of our very own. Ten years, double figures, a whole decade of creating, gifting and loving.

Lots of things have changed since then (we’ve long outgrown the garden shed and now have a team of 15!) but our core principles are still the same. We still design and make everything in-house from sustainable natural materials, and because it all happens within the walls of our Ringwood workshop we are still able to develop new products and update designs quickly and easily. 

We’ve designed a lot of products since 2012 - in fact our overall SKU count recently hit 1000!* Of course, some have been more successful than others but we’re still proud of them all, especially those original designs that continue to be customer favourites all these years later. In this blog post we’re going to take the opportunity to have a wander down memory lane, looking back at three products from the early years of our small business that have stood the test of time, and to see what has changed from then vs now.

*(our new reusable wooden advent calendar was our 1000th design, in case you were wondering)

The Never Forget Keyring - launched in January 2013

Starting off with one of our very first products, the iconic “Never Forget” calendar keyring. A tiny wooden engraved calendar marked with an important date to remember, to celebrate the milestones in your life story - from the magical day you met to the day you became a daddy. 

Tony made the very first Never Forget keyring as a gift to Emily, a ‘save the date’ for their wedding, and the design has hardly changed in the years since. Its simplicity is what makes it such a beautiful keepsake, with the sentiment behind the gift taking centre stage. The main difference now vs 2013 is the addition of the leather strap, which we introduced to replace the original metal chain. It elevates the design, giving the keyring a more premium feel, and makes it more durable and long lasting, a keepsake gift to treasure.

We also offer the calendar design on leather keyrings and wooden coasters.

Create Gift Love 'Never Forget' Calendar Keyring - 2013 design

What our customers said then:

"I have bought this for my fiancé for our wedding day, the product is absolutely beautiful! A fantastic finish and the words look great! Thank you for much for something that is a real one off and will last a life time! I can't wait to give this to him in a few weeks time." - February 2013

Create Gift Love 'Never Forget' Calendar Keyring - 2022 design

What our customers say now:

"This is the most lovely little keyring that our son gave to his Daddy for his first Christmas as a dad, such a lovely idea." - January 2022

The Metal and Leather Photo Keyring - launched in January 2017

This keyring came a little further down the line, designed in 2016 and launched in 2017, but it’s been a bestseller ever since and is perhaps the most recognisable Create Gift Love product. Tony wanted to create a luxurious photo keyring with a really premium feel, to reflect the significance of the occasions our gifts are chosen for. He set about combining a number of processes we had already refined in the workshop – engraving, colour printing and leatherwork – and the “613” was born. (MLM613 is the stock code of this keyring and we all refer to it as “the 613” in the office, because “Personalised Metal Photo Keyring With Leather Case” is a bit of a mouthful!).

Ours was the very first photo keyring to be made like this and it’s incredibly frustrating and upsetting to see so many copycats of our beloved product available online now, but we truly believe that our photo keyring is still the very best. On the surface it doesn’t look like the design has changed much since 2017, other than the switch from a stud closure to a popper, but over the years we’ve made a lot of adjustments. The leather is now cut with a clicker press instead of a laser, giving cleaner edges instead of burnt ones. We've upgraded the quality of our metal rings and sourced the best sustainable vegetable-tanned leather to ensure our keyrings have a real luxury feel. We’ve invested in equipment so that we can offer additional personalisation options. We do all this in an attempt to constantly improve and make sure that our offering is still the best offering, and we’re proud that those copycats can’t compete with the quality of our handmade keepsakes.

The photo keyrings are now available in six leather colours and we also offer versions with engraved messages, calendars and printed photographs on the back. 

Create Gift Love - Personalised photo keyring with leather case - 2017 design

What our customers said then:

"Bought this as a birthday gift for my dad with a picture of the grandchildren in it. Absolutely beautiful! Quality of the leather is fabulous. He loves it!" - January 2017

Create Gift Love - Personalised photo keyring with leather case - 2022 design

What our customers say now:

"I ordered this for my partner for his first Father's Day as I wanted it to be special and I loved it when it turned up so I know he will too. I've since ordered another for my own dad for his first Father's Day as a grandad." - June 2022

The Wooden Coordinate Keyring - launched in October 2015

Coordinates have always been a popular personalisation choice on our keepsake gifts, marking a place where memories are made – your wedding venue, first home or best ever holiday. They’re like a secret code with hidden meanings and we love the way they look engraved on wood.

Our original coordinate keyring was a simple walnut wood tab with a steel link which was a great starting point, but a few years later we decided to give it a little update and offer some new colourways. We changed the shape, making it slimmer and longer to allow for more precise coordinates to be engraved clearly, added our premium leather strap in blush pink or navy blue, and we started offering a wood colour choice to make it a little more customised. The font has changed too, in keeping with the contemporary feel. It’s the same idea and sentiment as the original coordinate keyring but we think the adjustments have transformed it to something even better.

Personalised wooden coordinate keyring - Create Gift Love - 2015 design

What our customers said then:

"My partner loved her keyring and thought it was a very novel way of getting your keys returned to you if you lost them. Really good quality item." - February 2016

Personalised wooden coordinate keyring - Create Gift Love - 2022 design
What our customers say now:

"The keyring looked amazing. Really high quality and exactly what I’d been looking for. 11/10 :) I also really appreciated the format guidance on the ordering page and the simplicity of everything. Thankyou." - March 2022


So there we are, three examples of Create Gift Love keepsakes that have well and truly stood the test of time. There are others too - Emily’s very very first design, the personalised wooden cufflinks that started it all, are still part of our range today. We’re so proud to have reached our 10th birthday and are excited to see where the next ten years take us…almost certainly still making beautiful personalised keepsake gifts here in the UK. Some things never change.

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