With Manhattan Beach-Based 8th and Meadows, the Gift Becomes Personal Again

A company well-received.

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  • Written by
    Tanya Monaghan
  • Photographed by
    Corinne Rushing

In a time of artificial connections, anonymous likes and bland brown boxes on your doorstep, Kristina Durkin has the made the art of giving special and convenient. In 2017 she started 8th and Meadows Gift Co. (8thmeadows.com), an online service where customers can choose from a carefully curated collection of chic, quality items for a number of themed gifting occasions. The gift is sent and beautifully presented to the recipient in an elegant black box along with a handwritten note.

Knowing Kristina’s background, it’s not surprising she has an eye for making things look beautiful. Though she taught for 10 years in the inner school district of Los Angeles, Kristina felt a pull toward fashion. She attended fashion school at night at FIDM while teaching during the day, graduating with a degree in apparel manufacturing management.

She landed a job as a visual merchandiser for Hugo Boss in Beverly Hills, which gave her the perfect grounding in style and class. Now living in Manhattan Beach, she finds inspiration in the laid-back South Bay lifestyle.

Kristina says gifting is her love language. When she buys a gift for someone, a lot of thought and care goes into it. She enjoys not only the gifting process but also the packaging and how it is presented, which she thinks is just as important.

It was while investing her usual care into gift shopping for a friend that an idea dawned on her. “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a one-stop gift shop for all occasions: birthday, thank-you, new baby and housewarming?” she thought. “Wouldn’t it be even better if I didn’t have to drive around town to find just the right gift, didn’t have to wrap the present and then ship it? I would love it!”

“The time, thought and care that goes into putting these gifts together is something that you just can’t get online at some major retailer.”

Kristina’s husband handles the business side of things while she takes on all the creative aspects for the company. She chooses not to limit her shopping only to “gift shows.” Rather she finds fun things just about anywhere, keeping her selections unique and personal. The gifting range stays dynamic because she is constantly inspired by new ideas on her travels. She gravitates to things that she would like to receive herself and likes the idea of the gift box evolving and changing.

Kristina found her clients’ feedback so positive and valuable that she initiated a referral and rewards programs as a thank-you and to encourage repeat customers. But when she hears how much the gift recipient loved it, she feels the reward is her own.

Kristina’s aim is to make the gift as personal as possible for her clients, even adding the special touch of a handwritten note customized by the giver. The personal touch is still a timeless classic.

Although 8th and Meadows can be a handy option, Kristina seeks to give us the connection we miss in our busy, digital lives. “The time, thought and care that goes into putting these gifts together is something that you just can’t get online at some major retailer,” she shares. “When I personalize gifts and write out the gift notes, I really feel that sense of connection and community. I hope whoever receives the gift gets to feel that too.”