Bespoke gift service Colleague Box is seeking help from the public to decide how to encapsulate the best of Derbyshire in a single package.
The Derby firm, founded in 2020 by husband-and-wife team Adam and Natalie Bamford, is launching a Derbyshire gift box containing items that best-celebrate the county’s heritage, taste and creativity.
Initial research, using the couple’s own knowledge and their subsequent request for ideas from the public via social media, has revealed a wealth of potential products that could easily make an ideal home in the box.
But the pair also unearthed some Derbyshire brands and products that they were either unaware of or had forgotten were from the county.
So, Colleague Box has issued another appeal to see if there are any other worthy contenders out there before the final shortlist of contents is agreed.
Natalie said: “We’ve had some wonderful feedback from people on social media, but we want to leave no stone unturned.
“Plenty of people suggested really famous Derbyshire products, like Bakewell tart, Derbyshire oatcakes, Ashbourne gingerbread, Thornton’s chocolate and Hartington cheese.
“But we were also very pleasantly surprised to discover some amazing new brands – as well as ones we had forgotten were manufactured in the area.
“For example, it’s easy to forget huge brands like Swizzels and Weleda skin products are from Derbyshire. And we’ve learned about other incredible products like the beautiful hand-painted pendants and banners from Darwin & Gray, or the exquisite creations of Cluny Lace Company, which has been running in Ilkeston since 1845.
“Then we have newer companies like Derby doughnut firm Project D, which has seen a meteoric rise in popularity since it launched in 2018. If anything, we’re spoilt for choice!”
Colleague Box has seen an equally meteoric rise since it launched from a kitchen table during the first pandemic lockdown. Initially producing letterbox-friendly gift boxes as a way for employers and colleagues to put a smile on the faces of team members on furlough, the company has since hugely expanded its portfolio of gift parcels.
These have included craft beer boxes, Easter boxes, birthday boxes and ‘starter’ boxes for new employees. Now, with the imminent launch of the Derbyshire Box, the firm is hoping to be able to roll-out regional boxes for other parts of the country in the future.
It is envisaged that the regional boxes will be perfect gifts for businesses to present to visitors from outside the region, or perhaps for hotels or Airbnbs to leave in rooms for their guests.
“Many of us also have friends and family who may have moved away from the area or even emigrated,” said Natalie, “so it would be really nice for them to receive a little reminder of home.”
The cost of the Derbyshire Box is yet to be determined, pending the final choice of contents.
Natalie said: “We’d love to hear more ideas if anyone has any. Not everything can go in the box, but we’re looking for the perfect combination of food, drinks and other products that shout ‘Derbyshire’.”
She added: “Given that so many brilliant products are made here, it may be that we look to create seasonal Derbyshire boxes or collate a different Derbyshire Box each year.”