They say the best things in life aren’t things, so it might be time reconsider our gifting habits. Founder of Wonder.full Box Saria Moutran researched the gift market extensively and found multiple studies indicating that people get more pleasure from experiences than material objects. After a lot of exploration and a leap of faith, Lebanon’s first “experience box” was born.
Launched just in time for Christmas, Wonder.full Box is a gift idea divided into four categories – adventure, glamour, harmony and gourmet. Gift givers order the boxes online and the giftee receives one of the four specially designed tins along with a catalogue for that category, which features about 10 activity options.
The experience box is more than just a creative present for confused friends – this is an opportunity to discover Lebanon. Through it, people can experience the best the country has to offer. “I think Lebanon needs a boost of positivity and freshness right now,” says Moutran, who lived abroad for a decade before returning to her homeland. “It would have been easy for me to stay [living] abroad…. but something pushed me to come back – the magic of [Lebanon]. We are all here for a reason; with all the troubles that we have, if we’re still here that means there must be something,” she explains, adding that, “Once [clients] open the box they will see that there are so many nice things to do in Lebanon. Let’s look at the positive and wonderful things.”
Indeed there are plenty of awesome experiences to choose from in each category. In “adventure” you could go on a bicycle ride with Cycling Circle to discover Lebanon’s scenery, village by village – or try an even bolder activity in Lebanon’s wilderness. For the local foodies, the “gourmet” box features a variety of food related activities, including a one-on-one workshop with expert chocolatier Chef Pierre Abi Hayla, after which you can take home your own sweet creations. The “glamour” box offers a variety of beauty treatments, but also a less traditional personal styling session with image consultant Maya Moussa, a personalized sewing workshop with Pause Couture, or private dance lessons with titleholder Jeff Hanna. In the “harmony” category you’ll find classic spa treatments as well as alternative ways to seek harmony, like a peaceful nature walk in the Kadisha Valley with exclusive access to private monasteries.
The price of a Wonder.full box experiences range between $75 and $210, and each of the experiences in a category costs exactly the same. Adamant that this is nothing like a voucher, Moutran explains, “you are giving a moment – it’s something unforgettable. These are stories waiting to be lived; something that will soon become a memory. You’re not letting them go to a mall to choose anything they want. You’re giving them very carefully selected, hand-picked options.”
For now Moutran is partnered with approximately 40 providers, each of which she or a trusted accomplice tried out firsthand. She originally shortlisted over 100 businesses but narrowed the choice down to only the best – calling it a “harsh selection.” Her main criteria for choosing providers were of course quality, but also passion. “They have to love what they do, to really believe that what they are doing is making a difference, that they are doing something special which will help you live an unforgettable moment,” says Moutran, adding that she plans to monitor quality through customer feedback.
The young entrepreneur hopes to revolutionize the gift market in the country – and eventually beyond Lebanon’s borders. The experience gift concept already exists in other countries, but Moutran believes it will work well in Lebanon because of our culture. She says,”In the Lebanon we love giving.” And now we have more to give!