Gift registries can be intimidating. Dean Driver makes them easy
FASHION. PLATE. | Dean Driver knows how to make a tabletop pop — and how to make it easy on you to choose your gifts. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)
BY RICH LOPEZ
Perhaps the one wedding tradition same-sex couples might waffle on is signing up for that beg-a-thon, the gift registry. Forget whether to do so (you should); the real question is, where can you find that particular china pattern you once saw in a magazine?
The answer to that question is probably Dean Driver. With his new company, Consilium Lifestyle Collections, Driver makes what could be a daunting (even intimidating) task for same-sex couples possibly the easiest job out of all the wedding planning.
“I don’t know if the average gay couple feels comfortable going into stores,” Driver says. “They may, but many retailers just aren’t reaching out to gay couples.”
Teaming up with Consilium Creative Marketing, Driver created what may be the first by-appointment source of its kind in Dallas to provide a wedding gift registry for same-sex couples. While the services are for everyone, Driver believes that this personal touch can bring comfort to any gay newlyweds hesitant about how to sign up for gifts. It also gives them a home field advantage when looking for fine tabletop products and more.
“The way we do business is changing, and this has afforded me the ability to do in-home consultations and also wedding registries,” Driver says. “I come to the client with samples to get an idea of their lifestyle and suggest products and can see what will work with what’s already in the home.”
The affable Driver knows his stuff. After working with tabletop industries for years in large markets like New York, he has access to many luxury brands and even unique home products. The usual china and crystal items are no problem, but items like linens and household accessories are more easily available through him.
Driver’s first piece of advice on getting started with a registry: Don’t be intimidated.
“I demystify all that for you,” he says. “That’s what I’m here for. I’ll make it easier for you. And people shouldn’t think that everything offered in a registry costs so much. We do have some unique options that are moderately priced.”
Consilium has only been around for a few months, but it has burst out of the gate with a selection of up to 50 brands, some exclusive to them. And with Driver’s knowledge and background, he can pretty much get anybody anything they want.
“I’m a sort of an expert in tabletops, and I have my finger on the pulse of the industry,” he says. “I go to Paris, to Milan and see all the new patterns. And if you saw a plate in a magazine and brought it to me, I could pinpoint what it is. When I say anything, I mean anything — and you may be only person in the country to have it.”
Something his company can guarantee is the death of that most dreaded wedding tradition: The return. Once items are selected for the registry, gift givers don’t have to worry about buying an item that’s already been purchased. Instead, the company does gift cards only, which are beautifully packaged for the giver to present.
“This prevents exchanges or duplicates,” he says. “Plus, clients may change their minds and gift cards give them an opportunity to get something else. And it’s a little more green without all that wrapping paper and shipping to worry about.”
Driver and company seems to have gotten rid of all the excuses couples can make to partake in registering for gifts. Being that a wedding is a life-changing event, Driver mostly wonders why not go all out?
“Couples shouldn’t shy away from getting nice things,” he says. “This is the one time to get the nice stuff, so why not? Anything you want, I can get.”
The only caveat — Driver encourages people to use the nice stuff everyday.
“Yeah, don’t pack it away in a cabinet like our parents did,” he says.
Of course, if there’s one thing gays know how to do it’s merchandise.
The AIDS Outreach Center in Tarrant County marks its 25th anniversary this year, and one of the first celebrations will be the agency’s 19th annual AIDS Walk on Sunday, April 23.
You can read more about the history of AOC and plans for this year’s AIDS Walk in the Friday issue of Dallas Voice, but you can get a head start on the walk by going to the kick-off party Thursday night, Feb. 17, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Tommy’s Hamburger Grill, 5228 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth. Tommy’s — who have, I have heard, some of if not the best burgers in Cowtown — will be providing free beer and burgers for the event. And walk coordinator Penny Rowell — along with other AOC staff members and walk organizing committee members — will be there with all the information you need to get involved and get walking to raise money for AOC.
Rowell said she will be working the party to get folks interested in being AIDS Walk team captains by helping out with ideas for recruiting team members and raising funds. (Of course, I figure they had most people at “free burgers and beer.”)