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Gifting With Paul | Dooney & Bourke

Gifting with Paul

Catch our interview with Paul Havel, an animator from Maine, as he discusses how growing up as the son of a florist has shifted his approach to gift-giving.

We love following you on Instagram. Every photo is another reminder of how much we love New England and traveling. When you’re not exploring dreamy landscapes, how do you spend your time?
I’m a stop-motion animator and co-founder of Dock Square Studio in Kennebunkport, Maine.

When you were a teenager, you worked with your father in a florist shop. What was Valentine’s Day like at the shop?
Valentine's Day was one of the busiest weeks of the year. But it was a different kind of busy, more about volume than customization. The interesting thing about Valentine’s Day is that most customers want to purchase the same thing— a dozen red roses with baby’s breath.

Paul's Approach To Valentine's Gift Giving

"I love to relive those moments by giving her little nostalgic objects that she can unwrap one by one and instantly be reminded of a specific memory, trip, or laugh."

How did that shape your views on Valentine’s Day as an adult?
It made me hate red roses with baby’s breath! I’m kidding. But it did make me want to be more unique in my own approach to Valentine’s Day. Flowers are a great idea, but I prefer a gesture that feels more creative and personal.

What do you do to make Valentine’s Day special for your girlfriend?
Valentine's Day is a nice time to look back on the past year we’ve spent together and reflect on those little moments that remind me of how lucky I am to be with Jackie. I love to relive those moments by giving her little nostalgic objects that she can unwrap one by one and instantly be reminded of a specific memory, trip, or laugh. I thought it would be unique and special this year to wrap them in a Dooney & Bourke bag, and included a few other Dooney items that I know she’ll love.

What is most important to you when investing in leather goods and other luxury items?
I love the look of well-used, well-loved leather goods, and believe that for something to become well-used it must be carried every day. If it’s going to be used every day it needs to be a high-quality classic that will stand the test of time. Dooney & Bourke's Pebble Grain Collection bags have construction and design that lasts decades—I know because my mom has been carrying pebble leather Dooney bags since I was a kid.

How would you describe your style?
Preppy classic. Customized traditionalist. Americana-lover. Maximalist.