New on-demand app sends sweet last-minute gifts from top San Antonio boutiques
A Dallas-based shopping app that makes sending a gift from a local store as easy as ordering an Uber to ride there has arrived in San Antonio. Called Afloat, the on-delivery app allows gift-givers to select and purchase presents from top San Antonio indie boutiques.
Like Amazon, gifts will be delivered same- or next-day. Unlike Amazon, they'll be packaged and wrapped beautifully and include a handwritten note.
"Gifting is such a beautiful practice, and important for building and strengthening relationships of all kinds, but it often falls to the bottom of to-do lists," says founder Sarah-Allen Preston in a statement. "Afloat brings the best local shops right to your fingertips, making it seamless to gift thoughtfully on the go."
Afloat launched October 30 in San Antonio with eight participating independent retailers:
- Capri by Sunset & Co., a women's apparel and accessories boutique
- Sunset & Co., a home decor, gift, and monogram shop
- Baker Tatum, a luxury home and gift boutique
- Meadow, a women's apparel and accessories boutique
- Belles & Beaux, a baby and children's clothing store
- Alamo Plants & Petals, a premier floral design shop
- Kismet Bakery, a from-scratch bakery
- Learning Express, a children's toy store
There are more to come, the company says.
"Afloat is passionate about supporting local shops to keep commerce, jobs, creativity, and curators in the local communities... [and] empowering them to compete among the rapidly growing, metasearch tech platforms," Preston says.
No more excuses for tardy birthday presents. Photo courtesy of Afloat
Users simply download the Afloat app or click on the website, shop a menu of gifts from local stores (organized by city and occasion), purchase, and send them directly to a recipient. The gifts are prepared, wrapped, and delivered on the same or next day. A $15 fee includes gift-wrapping, a handwritten note, and doorstep delivery. (Note that out-of-town deliveries are possible but will take longer.)
Preston, a professional event planner in her 30s, says she got the idea for the app during two life-changing events: her divorce and her son's open-heart surgery.
Because she'd always loved to celebrate relationships, holidays, events, and milestones, she says, she wanted a way to express her gratitude personally for the outpouring of love she'd received from family and friends during her most difficult times.
Her solution was Afloat, which allows people to quickly and conveniently send gifts to friends and family for any occasion (not just the "good" occasions, she stresses) while also supporting local brick-and-mortar stores.
"I realized that there was no platform that existed to help me support those going through hard times like I had and celebrate the happy ones, too," she says. "So, I created it. And gifting became Afloat’s love language."
Sarah-Allen Preston created Afloat to help gift givers and local shops, too.Photo courtesy of Afloat
Preston, a Southern Methodist University grad who lives in Dallas, launched Afloat in 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri and then Dallas. The app powers up in San Antonio and Fort Worth this month, and will be in Houston, Nashville, and Atlanta by the end of the year, she says.
Preston says she hopes San Antonio shoppers find it especially helpful during the stressful holiday season.
"It’s so important to gift thoughtfully, but during the holidays, it’s especially hard," she says. "Afloat makes it easy to send local gifts with a very personal touch to neighbors, teachers, friends, and family."
To help celebrate the launch, Preston has created the special promo code LOVECULTUREMAP for free delivery on introductory orders.