It’s a wrap: Westfield woman operates unique business from home


Like many people across the U.S., Amber Blakley lost her job during the COVID-19 pandemic. But instead of sulking, the Westfield resident embraced it as an opportunity.

Blakley, 35, used the time to create a gift-wrapping business. The unique venture was an immediate success, and she now wraps gifts year-round.

“I actually first learned gift-wrapping skills and caught the bug of gift wrapping during my time in the Hamilton County 4-H program,” said Blakley, who participated in 4-H for 10 years. “I did gift-wrapping projects for nine of those 10 years. That’s where I learned the foundation of everything.”

Blakley, who worked for a nonprofit before losing her job, wanted to apply skills she already had and be home with her daughter.

“So, that’s when I started offering custom gift-wrapping services, right in time for the holidays of 2020,” Blakley said. “I got a good amount of business that year just getting started and trying it out. Ever since then, I’ve been offering it year-round for all sorts of occasions.”

Blakley wraps thank-you gifts for teachers and birthdays and even offers services for corporate orders.

“One of the biggest surprises is, I’ve been asked to wrap lots of empty boxes for people to use as décor for holidays or birthday parties or even elementary school classrooms,” Blakley said.

Blakley wraps other items for teachers’ classrooms, too, including a 3-foot-tall gift box to resemble a pineapple. Sheridan Elementary School third-grade teacher Nina Lechner wanted a flamingo and pineapple theme for her classroom.

“She wanted a giant pineapple, so I got a huge box and wrapped it to look like a pineapple,” Blakely said.
Lechner appreciated the box.

“It makes a statement in our classroom,” Lechner said. “It brings joy to the kids and staff alike. It has become a conversation piece, for sure.”

Blakley operates her business from her home, but she also wraps gifts at the Indiana Artisan shop in the Indiana Design Center in Carmel. She wraps gifts for customers who purchase items at the store.

Although Christmas is Blakely’s busiest time of year, Valentine’s Day is a close second.

“I would also be happy to build more business throughout the whole year,” Blakley said. “There are tons of occasions throughout the year and not just holidays people need gifts wrapped for.”

Blakley is also a seamstress and sometimes uses a sewing machine to sew pouches for certain gifts, such as gift cards or money.

“One thing I’d like to offer this year for graduation gifts for Westfield students is sewing a gift card into the shape of a Shamrock,” she said. “Part of what I love about this is, if somebody has a certain idea in mind, I love the challenge of being given that idea and making it happen.”

For Valentine’s Day, Blakley said wine bottles are popular gifts, which wraps in a “fun way.”

“A lot of people say (the gifts) are too pretty to open, but I view it as two gifts in one – the gift inside but also the experience of opening the gift,” Blakley said. “That can create a really special moment for the gift recipient. No, it’s not too pretty to open. It’s an extra gift there for you, and the giver saw you as a special person and wanted to do this extra step for you because you’re special to them.”

Blakley plans to offer gift-wrapping workshops this year for people to learn gift-wrapping skills.

Blakley’s husband, Kyle, is an engineer. They have two daughters, Annabelle and Madeline.

Blakley said she doesn’t wrap her own gifts. Although Kyle doesn’t use her tips, he is “very good” at wrapping.

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Amber Blakley wraps gifts for Valentine’s Day. (Photo by Rachel Greenberg)

Gift wrapping tips   

Amber Blakley has made a career out of her gift-wrapping skills. She uses double-sided tape and, for people who wrap their own gifts, she advises never leaving a raw edge of paper and always folding the paper under a quarter inch.

To make the gifts more fun, Blakley suggests adding an embellishment with ribbon or twine.

“If they’re going for a certain theme, then I definitely try to make that come to life,” Blakley said. “For example, last year I wrapped several gifts for a birthday party with a spy and detective theme. I added a magnifying glass on one of the packages, and another one had fingerprints on it.”

Blakley also suggests using a box when possible since boxes are easier to wrap.

“I hardly ever use gift bags,” she said. “It takes a certain circumstance to do that. There’s no shame in gift bags. They are easy to use and carry. But for me, I like to figure out a way to wrap it without using a bag.