Custom gift company the latest tech-y start-up to move into Pike/Pine

(Image: Knack)

(Image: Knack)

11822391_673529589449538_8971537360606685925_nAs one big tech giant continues to build up in South Lake Union, boutique firms with much smaller footprints are finding a home on Capitol Hill.

The latest is Knack, a custom gift service that promises to restore the “delight back into modern gift giving by allowing even the most overscheduled and craft-averse to easily create meaningful, made-by-you-just-for-them gifts.”

Last year Knack was set up as a pop-up shop in the Pacific Place Mall. Now the boutique gift service is entering the world of online commerce by allowing customers put together custom gift packages online.

A Knack representative told CHS they weren’t quite ready to announce the details of their new concept, but would have more information in the coming weeks. Gifts in the pop-up shop included sweets, small house plants, and designer cosmetics.

The new Knack HQ is located at 13th and E Pike, adjacent to the building Central Vacuum Service vacated this year to make way for an expansion of Doghouse Leathers. It’s in the building left vacant when Fran’s Chocolates moved its facility off Capitol Hill in 2013 after 21 years in the neighborhood. Real estate developer Cascade Built also has office space in the building. It recently completed the BASE Capitol Hill microhousing project on 12th Ave.

If you walk by the office these days, you’ll get a peek at some of the products Knack offers. A sign on the glass door notes that visits are by appointment only. The company was founded by Laura Jennings, a Microsoft VP from the company’s earlier days from 1988 to 2001 credited with the company’s Office software’s rise to dominance.

Knack’s move comes on the heels of an active year of small tech firms moving into the neighborhood. Recently-opened Chophouse Row is home to three — mobile technology startups Glympse and Maslow, and digital design firm Tectonic. Earlier this year Killer Infographics moved its offices from Fremont to a space above Six Arms at Melrose and E Pike while start-up FlyBuy established its office on E Pine. The super green Bullitt Center is another example — music tech maker Sonos opened offices there earlier this year to join tenants including the Bullitt Foundation and the University of Washington Integrated Design Lab.

In addition to adding a diversity of economic activity to join the neighborhood’s booming entertainment economy as well as office workers to partake in that entertainment, the opening of new tech offices also creates an alternative route to addressing one affordability concern for Capitol Hill — with more offices, more people who work here may finally be able to afford to live here. We’re not sure if that’s what HALA was getting at.

In the meantime, Knack is hiring:

Launching online in the fall of 2015, Knack is hiring quick thinkers and focused creatives excited about joining our fast-growing startup in the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill. We’re looking for team members who can juggle work, play, and a kaleidoscopic range of tasks with a sense of wit and dedication.

For more information, visit Knack’s Facebook page.

UPDATE 10/20/2015: Knack has launched!

Have you ever given someone a gift so perfect that you could barely wait for them to open it? Chances are, it had nothing to do with how much you spent and everything to do with how much personality and thought you put into it. Perhaps it played off an inside joke between the two of you, or related to an offhand comment that you filed away in your mind for just the right moment. Whatever the inspiration, you just knew you’d created the perfect gift, and you felt as joyful as a 2nd grader bringing home a hand-made macaroni necklace for Mom.

Knack is a new way to make and give incredible gifts, offering gift givers the ability to recapture this joy with a modern online shopping experience that makes it easy and fun for even the busiest, DIY-averse individuals to create and give distinctive, meaningful gifts. Knack allows gift givers to quickly translate their own inspiration and creativity into highly customized gifts that bring joy to both the gift-giver and recipient. Gift makers can choose from over a thousand curated, exceptional quality products from local artisans, independent designers and superior brands. The products, called Knicks, are arranged in a beautiful vessel, like a classic glass jar, premium gift box, paint tin or upcycled bottle.

Every Knick has a story about how they are made or who made them. A few local Knicks include Fran’s Chocolates, a multi-generational confectionary, Mustard and Co., the brainchild of two Midwestern fellows with

a hankering for condiments, Careful it Bites, created by wrangler of rare creatures and adventuring seamstress Kelice Penney, and Moo-Young, lovingly handmade leather bracelets from Francine Moo-Young.
“What makes a gift meaningful is the story behind it, not how much it costs. For example, if I bring peppermint sticks to your house during the holidays, that’s nice. But if I tell you that those peppermint sticks were hand-twisted by a 4th generation mint farmer in northern Oregon, that’s a completely different feeling for both me as the giver and you as the recipient,” said Laura Jennings, founder of Knack. “All of our merchants have similarly wonderful stories creating a truly unique experience for our customers.”
These stories become part of the gift, bound into custom Knackbooks printed on demand for each Knack. A unique reflection of the gift giver and receiver, Knackbooks include a special message from the giver and the individual stories behind every Knick selected to create the Knack. Every gift giver also receives an emailed photo of their finished Knack so they know exactly what their creation will look like when it’s opened by their recipient, and their creative inspiration can be easily shared with friends and family.
Knacks are perfect for every gift giving occasion, from birthdays to baby showers, Christmas to college-bound, hostess to new home, and especially coach and teacher group gifts, where inviting others to contribute Knicks to the gift or share the cost of a Knack is made simple through the Knack site. Whether the occasion is teacher appreciation day, the end-of-season soccer team banquet or a colleague’s wedding, Knack makes group gifting a snap.
“Knack is going to change the way people think about themselves as gift givers and the act of giving a gift. Those who thought of gift giving as a chore will find joy and pride in giving a Knack and find themselves having fun in the process. Just like they did when they were in 2nd grade,” closed Jennings.
Knacks start at $25 and can be shipped anywhere in the United States.
Have a Knack for social @KnackShops on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

About Knack
Born in 2015, Knack is modernizing gift giving by making it easy and fun for even the busiest, DIY-averse individuals to make and give distinctive, meaningful gifts. Founded by technology veteran, Laura Jennings, Knack is unlike traditional online shopping sites. Knack’s simple and powerful marketplace allows gift givers to quickly translate social inspiration in to their own highly personal reality. Gift makers at KnackShops.com can select from over a thousand carefully curated, exceptional items to have beautifully arranged in a keepsake vessel – be it a premium box, classic glass jar, clever paint tin or seasonal specialty vessel. Each Knack gift is accompanied by a custom Knackbook that includes a special message from the giver and the individual stories behind every item selected to create the Knack. The perfect choice for any gift giving occasion, Knack brings delight to both the gift giver and receiver alike. For more information, visit www.KnackShops.com.

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One thought on “Custom gift company the latest tech-y start-up to move into Pike/Pine

  1. “In addition to adding a diversity of economic activity to join the neighborhood’s booming entertainment economy as well as office workers to partake in that entertainment, the opening of new tech offices also creates an alternative route to addressing one affordability concern for Capitol Hill — with more offices, more people who work here may finally be able to afford to live here. We’re not sure if that’s what HALA was getting at.”

    Say what??!