Raptive Voices: Meet Kristen Waltz, Producer of Gifts and Happiness
Welcome to Raptive Voices, where we highlight the talented team members who help propel our creators to new heights.
Today we’re featuring Kristen Waltz, Producer of Gifts and Happiness (yes, that’s her actual job title). Kristen spreads joy through her skill for all things gift giving: sending creators gifts during key life moments, celebrating team birthdays and anniversaries, curating Raptive event swag, and more.
We talked to Kristen about how she produces happiness, and why something as simple as chapstick can make a thoughtful gift.
Producer of Gifts and Happiness isn’t a job title you see often. Can you tell us more about what you do and what it is about Raptive that makes this role possible?
Producing happiness sounds better than managing people’s happiness! I love being able to produce happiness all year long. It’s celebrating what life is really about: accomplishments, weddings, babies, along with sending gifts to support people in their hardest moments. It’s a big honor. I get to do those things for both our creators and our team.
At the heart of our company is this goal of knowing the value of each person and what they can bring to the world. The only way we can do that is if we see people for who they are. Gifting is a way that you delight and surprise people. Support them, celebrate them, make sure they are loved and seen in all the moments of their lives.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Our whole team helps me keep an eye on our creators and fill out a form to suggest gift recipients, so each day I check to see if new gift requests have come in. I make sure team birthday and anniversary gifts have gone out. After that, my day-to-day is very different.
I make sure regular branded products are in stock. I have a storage unit so I’m often at the UPS store! I’m on a first-name basis with the woman there and she gets holiday cards from me. If I need a gift for something outside the norm—maybe somebody’s 8-year-old is having surgery—you can’t find a gift box for that. I’m going to put something together myself.
You have a skill for choosing thoughtful, personal gifts for our creators. What’s your secret?
I want to know people as best I can, so I want to know things about them. I check out creator’s websites: what are their favorite colors? Is it a bright design or more neutral? Do they like coffee? Are they vegan? Do they mention any allergies? I notice the things they talk about and use that to inform the things I send as best as I can. I try to make each gift unique to the person I send it to.
Kristen’s Gifting Tips
- Choose an elevated version of what someone likes. You don’t have to spend a lot! Even a fancy chapstick feels really kind.
- If you’re branding an item, choose something more expensive than what someone would buy for themselves. Then they don’t mind that it’s branded.
- If you don’t know someone well, choose something they can use up, like food. They can share it with somebody else and won’t feel like they have to keep it.
What’s been one of your favorite gifts to give?
Some of my favorites are probably kids’ gifts. One of my kids has had a lot of surgery, so when I know a child is having a hard time it’s really special to me. It means a lot to parents when you love their kids well. We celebrated a creator’s birthday with a cheese box once. One creator really wanted a mug for her birthday so I sent her one. It’s fun that people love our company so much they like things with our brand on it.
How do you foster a connection with our creators and colleagues through gifting?
The more personal a gift is, the more creators feel like we’re real people and we see them as real people too. That creates a sense of community and brings us so much closer. Being able to facilitate that is really valuable in the midst of being a remote team.
When we’re able to be in the same space we feel closer, because when things were good or hard we were seen as a person and not just another website or Slack chat. That keeps us connected. Those relationships have been fostered and created because of the role I have. It’s helped create what really is a community and not just a group.
You were one of the earliest employees at Raptive. How have you seen the company and the industry evolve in the last 8 years?
I’ve seen it grow tremendously. When I first started as a temp I would manually put in payments for our creators. The company was so small. And now, the scope to which we can serve our creators—sometimes I get overwhelmed by what we can do and the reach that we have. The growth has been astounding.
It’s a testament to how amazing the creators are and the world they create online. Our team is driven to think creatively about ways to serve and support them, which is really inspiring.
The question at the heart of what we do is always How can we continue to best serve creators in an ever-changing world? What’s the next thing they need? Let’s get them that.
And while we’re at it, can I send them a mug?