- In The Know
- Black Friday 2023
- Changemakers + Doing Good Communities Asian Stories Black Stories Disability Stories Latinx Stories LGBTQIA+ Stories Native Stories
- Exclusive Offers
Across the Yahoo Network
Say goodbye to boring gift wrap — Black-owned brand Unwrp creates museum-worthy wrapping paper
Sat, February 27, 2021 at 9:00:00 AM EST
In The Know is proud to celebrate Black-owned businesses. During Black History Month , our team will highlight a new Black-owned business each day. We encourage you to support today and beyond.
When it comes to gift-giving, one of my favorite parts is not only giving something personal to loved ones but making it look pretty, too. So when I came across Unwrp on Instagram , you better believe I did a double-take.
Unwrp is the gift wrapping company specializing in “elevated gifting,” aka gift wrap that’s almost too pretty to use. Designer Ashley L. Fouyolle founded Unwrp in 2017 in her small Brooklyn bedroom. And it since its start, Nordstrom even featured the brand as a pop-up shop at Nordstrom .
Inspired by her love of art, fashion , bold colors and unique patterns, Ashley translated her passions into gorgeous luxury wrapping paper , gift bags , greeting cards , home goods and even a Japanese style of gift wrap called Furoshiki .
As Ashley likes to put it, it’s “more than just your traditional wrapping paper company — it’s a lifestyle .”
Not only are Ashley’s creations museum-worthy, but the brand ensures its products are eco-friendly. Every product contains 30 percent post-consumer materials that are fully recyclable, carbon-neutral and FSC-certified.
And in case you fall in love with every gift wrap pattern, you have several artists to thank — Unwrp continually collaborates with new artists to design one-of-a-kind patterns that celebrate Black excellence and creativity. Currently, Unwrp is working with 10 different artists to bring the Unwrp brand to life, and each pattern is a work of art in itself.
So the next time you reach for traditional wrapping paper, think again. Unwrp is here changing the gift-giving scene, and you’re going to want to be part of it.
Below, you can support Unwrp by shopping one of our favorite papers of wrapping paper.
Shop: Girls Gift Wrap , $18
Shop: Wild Child Gift Wrap , $18
Shop: Glasses Gift Wrap , $18
Shop: Saucy Gals Gift Wrap , $18
Shop: Blooming Gift Wrap , $18
If you liked this story, read about how the Black-owned brand Clare Paint is changing the paint industry .
More from In The Know:
20 Black-owned fashion brand to support today and always
This brand creates makeup solely for Black Women
How this Black-owned hair care brand, DreamGirls thrived during the pandemic
Listen to the latest episode of our pop culture podcast, We Should Talk:
Popular stories, afro-indigenous creative kara roselle smith educates others through stories of her native ancestors.
Everything at J.Crew is up to 50% off for Black Friday — here are the 7 best deals to grab before they’re gone
Wait, Amazon has the cutest little bottle brush Christmas trees for under $15
I’m here to inform you that the best bra I’ve ever worn is 55% off at Nordstrom today
There are seriously so many cozy J.Crew sweaters on sale for Black Friday — we found 6 under $100
Get Exclusive Deals on the Products You Love
This just in.
Is it even Black Friday if you’re not shopping all of the J.Crew sweaters on sale?
They’re cute enough to stick in your back pocket and carry around forever.
The Natori Feathers bra is simple, pretty, sexy and just about everything you could ever want in a bra.
If you only buy one thing today, it needs to be one of these sweaters on sale.
Wrappers' Delight: A Brief History of Wrapping Paper
Disguising presents with decorative sheets of paper is, like so many other things, an accident of history.
There will likely come a day, sometime in the not-too-distant future, when we look back on wrapping paper with the kind of retrospective condescension we reserve for the most naive elements of our history. Wasting precious paper— killing trees —for decoration! Spending money on a total frivolity! How ridiculous people were back then!
And it is true: The money we spend on it notwithstanding—$2.6 billion annually, per one estimate —there is something quite trivial about wrapping paper. As much as half of the 85 million tons of paper products Americans consume each year, apparently, goes toward packaging, wrapping, and decorating objects—and wrapping paper and shopping bags on their own account for about 4 million tons of the trash we create annually in the U.S. In Britain, per one estimate , people throw away 226,800 miles of wrapping paper over the holidays alone—enough to stretch nine times around the world.
So wrapping paper is expensive. Wrapping paper is wasteful. Wrapping paper is, technically, impractical. That said, however, wrapping paper is also pretty awesome: It's pretty, it's arty, and it's one way, among others, to make even the most impersonal offerings—gift cards, electronics, even ( eeeek ) cash—seem meaningful. For better or for worse, there's just something about a big red bow.
But where did the wrapping tradition come from? Why do we, each time we give a gift, ritually wrap that offering in decorative tree pulp? The short answer is that wrapping, as a practice, has been around for ages—literally, ages. The Japanese furoshiki , the reusable wrapping cloth still in use today, is a pretty faithful rendition of the version that's been around since the Edo period . The Korean bojagi dates from the Three Kingdoms Period , possibly as early as the first century A.D. In the west, using paper as a covering for gifts has been a longstanding, if largely luxury-oriented, practice: Upper-class Victorians regularly used elaborately decorated paper—along with ribbons and lace—to conceal gifts. In the early 20th century, thick, unwieldy paper gave way to tissue (often colored in red, green, and white) that would similarly work to conceal offerings until they were opened. The practice was echoed in a slightly more practical form by stores, which would wrap customers' purchases in sturdy manila papers. (A note , printed in Hardware Dealers' Magazine in 1911, hints at the core pragmatism of this practice: “Whatever your business,” it advises, “leave the freak wrapping papers to the other fellow and you will make friends for your store by this means.”)
In 1917, however, in the United States, all that—the tissue paper, the luxury paper, the “freak” paper—changed. Decorative paper became democratized. According to Mental Floss , which knows of such things, that happened for the same reason so many innovations come about: by accident. A pair of brothers running a stationery store in Kansas City, Missouri, were having an exceptionally good holiday season—so good, in fact, that they ran out of their standard inventory of tissue paper. Not wanting to be hampered by their success, but needing a replacement for the sold-out paper, they found among their supplies a stack of “fancy French paper”—paper meant not for display, but for lining envelopes. Figuring, “hey, why not,” they put that paper in a showcase, setting its price at $0.10 a sheet.
And the paper sold out—“instantly,” Mental Floss notes. So, during the holiday season of 1918, the brothers tried the same trick, offering lining paper as gift wrap. And, again, the sheets were a sell-out hit. By 1919, having confirmed that the lining sheets' sales weren't a fluke, the pair began producing and selling their own printed paper—decorative, and designed for the sole purpose of wrapping gifts. And an industry was born.
The brothers? Joyce and Rollie Hall. Their store? Hallmark.