COSTA MESA — You can't judge a present by its wrapper, but those exterior trappings might say a little something about the giver.
"I think that it's that extra step for presentation — that's the sweetness of life," said Lynda King, president and founder of King Size Bows, a 12-year-old company that specializes in custom oversized bows.
The company is perhaps best known for the 4-foot-wide red velvet bows gracing the tops of new vehicles in the annual Lexus holiday commercials.
"You can have a great gift, but it's going that extra step," King said. "Everyone appreciates special effort."
King first had the idea for the company in 1989 when looking for a bow to complete her daughter's Christmas gift: a brand-new, white Volkswagen Beetle.
"It was her dream car, but you couldn't find bows that big," King said.
With some maneuvering and "yards and yards and yards of ribbon," she managed to top off the vehicle with a brilliant red bow and present it to her daughter on Christmas day.
In the meantime, King realized two things: that there was an open niche in oversized bows, and that there had to be better way to create them.
After experimenting with some early prototypes made with chicken wire, King's most popular line of bows are now made with heavy, reinforced paper that can be assembled in minutes.
The brightly colored bows, ranging in diameter from 18 to 30 inches with tails from 24 to 40 inches, and costing between $28 and $49, are available though the company's website or at the warehouse at 3303 Harbor Blvd.
The grander bows, which can go past 20 feet in diameter and have tails that wrap an entire building, can cost as much as $10,000, King said.
King employs as many as 30 people during the holiday season to help fill orders and sew the custom bows that go to restaurants, shopping centers, weddings and overseas destinations.
"It's a very fun business," King said. "Everyone is happy when they're buying bows. They already completed the negotiations, they have the gift — they just want a bow."
Clients have included American Express, Nike, Toyota, Pixar, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show".
King ships out about 5,000 more bows each year that customers use to top tables, mattresses, big-screen TVs and countless vehicles.
"My wife absolutely loved it," wrote Dave J, about the bow he bought to top a new car, according to a King Size Bows testimonial. "In fact she has been hauling it around in the trunk all week to show to her friends."
The company also specializes in health-awareness loops and is looking to create a rental program for those who don't want to own a bow outright, King said.
"Sometimes when an individual has a really big gift, they just need a really big bow," King said. "We want them to have that."