A NEW start-up is offering an instant and sustainable way of marking birthdays and anniversaries with "mini-gifting".

Prsnt allows users to buy gifts ranging from a cup of coffee and flowers to homewares and experience days, which are sent through an app.

The recipient is then able to claim the item online or in-person at a store or restaurant using a QR code.

Retailers that have signed up to the app include Costa Coffee, ASOS, the National Trust, Harvey Nichols and even Amazon, with many gifts on the platform costing less than £5 - around the same price as buying a card.

Omid Moallemi, CEO and co-founder of the Brighton-based start-up, said the idea came to him after he was unsure what to do to mark a friend's birthday.

He said: "We are defaulting to using Facebook or sending a text message - it's not that we don't care, it's just that we're all so busy and it's difficult to stay on top of things."

After finding no app that offered a way of finding affordable, meaningful gifts to send to friends and family, he worked with a team to design what he called a "tool for the heart", with personal reminders for birthdays and anniversaries.

Recipients swipe on their screen to remove the digital wrapping paper to reveal their gift, which not only provides a more sustainable way of gift-giving with little waste, while keeping the feeling of unwrapping a present.

Omid said: "If you send a birthday card, that would cost three or four pounds, plus the cost of a stamp. You then have to know their postal address and have to do it a couple of days before.

"That card ends up on the shelf, it sits there for a week, and then it ends up in the recycling or landfill. It's not the most sustainable way forward."

As an alternative, the app has a range of gifts at the same price as a card or a pint at the pub, which Omid said offers "more value than just the money", Omid said, citing a study found that 73 per cent of people that receive gifts don't actually care about their value.

Users can also customise their profile with 'likes' and 'dislikes' to help potential gift-givers know the right thing to get.

Omid also said the app aims to bring people back to the high street after a difficult period for retailers across the country.

"As society returns to pre-pandemic levels, we want to be a catalyst for growth for UK high streets; the aim being for the app to support UK retailers as they open up again after several lockdowns, driving footfall back to the stores either online or in store to help reinvent the high street experience," he said.

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