I Left My Gift Box Business for a Month and Here’s What Happened

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

After 10+ years of chronic neck pain and a pretty scary looking MRI, I knew I was facing spine surgery. I knew the recovery would be long. But I just didn’t think I’d be going in to face it quite so soon. Picture this. I’m in the surgeon’s office on a Thursday, got immediately approved for surgery, and after a sudden cancellation with another patient, he asked me right then and there to be ready for surgery on Tuesday. I was expecting a three month wait but instead, four days!!! That was four days notice to prep my business to leave it behind for an entire month. I had custom gift design projects in the works. I had ZERO blogs written for the weeks to come. I didn’t even have our Instagram or Pinterest scheduled. My inbox hundreds from being empty. In retrospect, it was probably best that I had very little notice or I may have backed out.

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Image: Lisa Ziesing of Abby Jiu Photography

Happy to report that I’ve been back at work for three weeks now and have been reflecting on what I learned from this experience. Here goes…

Communication is Key

There were a few custom projects that I was scheduled to begin right before leaving for surgery. I emailed each client, explained to them exactly what was going on and reassured them that I would take care of their project immediately upon my return and that we would absolutely still be able to meet their deadline. By communicating all of the facts and laying out a timeline, everyone was 100% understanding, If I had gone out without letting them know, it would not have resulted in the same level of understanding. And rightfully so!

We Really DO Have Systems

As a small business that has grown from just me working out of my basement to a full service gifting studio with employees, it’s sometimes hard to recognize the progression since I’m in it every day. I sometimes question whether or not we really have REAL business systems or if we are just hustling hard and getting lucky each time? Happy to report that I shouldn’t question our operations. Each and every custom project and online order went out the door on time and looking beautiful. Without me. Proof to me that YES, we really DO have systems in place and they are working.

My Team Can Operate Without Me

While this might sound like a scary thought to some, the fact that my team really can operate without me is a beautiful thing. Right before I left they said “Don’t worry. Go and get better. We have this!” and I believed them. My business is only as good as my team so I’m thrilled to know that they carried on without me and executed beautifully. Thanks ladies!!!

People Care

Being a business owner in the first several years can be isolating because you’re working SO hard in some many different areas of the business and having to be good at almost everything. You often don’t have the time to invest in friendships like prior to starting the business and even family can sometimes fall the wayside. (Not okay, but true!). I was blown away by the amount of love and support I received from not only close friends and family but also my extended circle of friends and acquaintances. It reminded me that people really DO care. It also inspired me to resist becoming isolated in my own business and reach out more to others just as they’ve done for me.

Obviously, I never wanted to have this medical condition and the surgery that ultimately became necessary. But I did end up learning a lot about myself and my business in addition to feeling better health-wise. Now, if only I could take a month off for vacation instead! Maybe someday.

Meet Skidmore Student and Aspiring Creative Entrepreneur Nina Clemente // Intern Intro

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

We’ve been fortunate to have amazing interns over the last few years and after only two days on the job, I can already tell that Skidmore student (yet Washingtonian at heart!) Nina Clemente is no exception! As a Business major AND Studio Art major, she is interested in becoming a creative entrepreneur one day and we really hope that having her immersed in our operations this summer will offer her true insight into what’s REALLY involved in running a creative business, specifically this artisan gifting business. She’s already off to great start and I can’t wait for you to meet her!

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Image courtesy of Nina Clemente

Tell us a little about yourself!

Hi everyone! My name is Nina Clemente and I am so excited to be working at Marigold & Grey this summer! This upcoming fall I will be a sophomore at Skidmore College where I am double majoring in Business and Studio Art. Prior to college though, I founded a organization with my brother called, Art 4 The Heart. We started this organization when we saw that when homeless people were transitioning into housing they didn’t have many belongings for their new home. I began to make artwork for them but as demand increased, we reached out to local student artists and asked them to donate their artwork. This artwork provides a sense of comfort and can brighten up the life of a homeless person when they move into their new space. It was a huge honor to have our organization featured in the Washington Post!

In my free time I love to spend time with my family and walk my extremely fluffy dog, Freckles. I also love to create DIY decorations for my dorm room or go all around the city trying every vegan donut I can find.

What are you most excited about for this internship?

I am super excited to get hands on experience and learn how to run a small business. Also since I am majoring in Business and Art I think it will be great to see how art and business can be combined into one great company!

Image courtesy of Nina Clemente

Image courtesy of Nina Clemente

Where else have you been an intern?

Last summer I worked at the YMCA corporate office as a marketing and event intern. I did a lot of graphic design work for them and I helped plan and attend events to promote the YMCA.

What about M&G made you want to apply for the internship?

The moment I heard about M&G I knew I had to apply. It was exactly what I was looking for since it combined my love of business and art. I also applied because I wanted hands-on experience about how to run the daily operations of a business instead of having an internship where I would run and get coffee all day 😊. I also love how M&G pays a lot of attention to detail and care about each gift they send out.

Image courtesy of Nina Clemente

Image courtesy of Nina Clemente

What’s the best gift you’ve ever given? And received?

The best gift I have ever given was a book I made for my mom telling her 50 reasons why I loved her. On each page of the book I wrote a reason why I loved her and drew a picture to represent each reason. The best gift I ever received was when a few days after my birthday my family went to adopt our dog, Freckles.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In the next five years I see myself working at a very creative business or possibly in the fashion industry. One day I also hope to start my own business that will involve art and have a component that gives back to the community.

Image courtesy of Nina Clemente

Image courtesy of Nina Clemente

Please join us in giving Nina a warm welcome! Also, stay close to the blog as she may be making some additional guest appearances in between her social media and gift production duties.

Marigold & Grey Participating in BHLDN Wedding Fair at Anthropologie Georgetown

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

Bridal shows aren’t really our thing but when BHLDN calls, you quickly realize it’s not your everyday bridal show and your answer is “yes, please!”. Which is exactly why THIS Thursday night (April 20th from 6-9 pm) we’re so proud to be displaying amongst DC’s finest wedding vendors at BHLDN’s Wedding Fair at the Anthropologie store in Georgetown. In addition to meeting various vendors, brides-to-be will have the opportunity to browse new BHLDN bridal gown and accessory designs. While admission is free, space is VERY limited so be sure to RSVP here. The best part? Your rsvp entitles you to a “plus one”!

As for us, we’ll be displaying DC-inspired custom wedding welcome gift ideas, up close and personal! We’ll also be revealing our BRAND NEW bridal collection featuring bride-to-be gifts, engagement gifts and bridesmaid gifts! But whatever you do, be sure to stop by our booth to enter to win a gift box comprised of both BHLDN and Marigold & Grey items! And if gifts aren’t enough to tempt you, our good friend Garrette from Brightly Ever After has some tricks up her sleeve to make our booth extra amazing. We can’t wait!

Image: Jessica Pritchard Photography

Image: Jessica Pritchard Photography

Vendor Lineup

Illustrator – Riley Sheehy

Welcome Gifts – Marigold & Grey

Catering – Heirloom DC

Bakery – Catherine George Cakes

Flowers – Holly Heider Chapple Flowers

Wedding Planner – Grit & Grace

Calligrapher – Laura Hooper Calligraphy

Entertainment – Elan Artists (Nation)

Makeup Artist – T Mak Artistry

Photography – Jodi & Kurt Photography

Photo Booth – Pixilated

Stationery – Bella Jenna

If you plan to attend, please make sure you stop by and say ‘hi’. We’d love to meet you in person. Any questions, leave us a comment in the post or reach out via our contact page!

Marigold & Grey Founder a Speaker & Instructor For Esther 4:14 Experience for Women Creative Entrepreneurs

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

Taking a break from gifts, gifts and more gifts for an announcement! I’m so honored to have been chosen as a speaker and instructor for the Esther 4:14 Experience created by business coach and author Monique Melton. I first met Monique through the DC chapter of the Savvy Business Owners group and we became fast friends. I was thrilled when she invited me to be a part of this intimate, retreat-like conference for women creative entrepreneurs.

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Graphic courtesy of Monique Melton

I’ll be speaking on business collaboration and how to leverage it to grow your business. Of course, this is a subject near and dear to my heart as I first spoke on this topic at this past fall’s Inspired Retreat. I’m also teaching a hands-on session on product styling, my absolute passion!!!! I can’t wait to gather with my small group and help them learn how to style ands shoot images using just their camera phone rather than paying for expensive professional images. This is how I started in the very beginning of my business and it’s an essential skill to have.

Registration opens the week of March 28th! For more information, go here, and in the meantime, a huge ‘thank you’ to Monique for including me in this lineup of inspiring women. Can’t wait for September!

Summer Internship Available at Curated Gift Box Company Marigold & Grey

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

It’s that time of year again here in our artisan gifting studio! We are officially in search of a summer intern to assist with marketing and gift production as we head into busy wedding season! Our spring intern Kristina will be graduating from college and sadly, it will be time for her to leave us.

What We Need

-Coursework or completed degree in Public Relations, Communications, Marketing, and/or Business/Entrepreneurship is preferred

-A good eye for design and all things creative!

-Knowledge of WordPress and Photoshop a plus but not required

-Experience with Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and a knowledge of how to utilize them to generate brand awareness, brand interest, brand loyalty and web traffic

-Excellent written and verbal communication skills

-A can-do attitude with willingness to work hard

-A genuine desire to be part of a small business

-Upbeat personality

What You’ll Learn

-Work flow to include ordering, receiving, gift production and delivery coordination

-Relationship building and networking skills with members of the wedding industry

-Relationship building with potential clients and vendors

-Styled product photoshoots from planning to execution to publication

-Analyzing social media analytics from Pinterest, Instagram, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, etc

-How to create and execute a social media strategy

-How to effectively communicate with an online community to gain additional followers as well as deepen relationships with existing following

-How to generate relevant content for a blog and social media

-How to create and manage a marketing calendar

-Current industry trends and how to forecast upcoming trends

Details

Ideal timeframe is mid-May to late August but flexible depending on school schedules

We prefer for our interns to receive college credit for their time with us and are willing to complete all necessary documentation required by the intern’s college or university

This is an unpaid internship requiring 20-40 hours per week

How To Apply

Please submit your resume and cover letter/portfolio to hello@marigoldgrey.com. If you think you’re a good fit for us and us for you, we look forward to hearing from you!

Marigold & Grey Announces Curated Gift Box Partnership with Plum Pretty Sugar

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

I’m not good at keeping secrets and this one has been especially tough to keep under wraps. But the day is finally here to go public with this official partnership! I’m thrilled to announce that two brand new Marigold & Grey curated gift box designs will now be offered exclusively through our friends at Plum Pretty Sugar!

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Image: Red October Photography; Styling: Marigold & Grey

Without further adieu, let’s meet the collection…

Gift One

Designed around a Plum Pretty Sugar robe in their Persimmon Hears Her Wish pattern, we selected a deluxe gift box in crisp white for the gift packaging. Gift contents also include Well-Kept electronic wipes in a feminine botanical print, a bottle of artisan lavender bath salts, Sugarfina Champagne Gummies, a Bijou candle in ceramic floral dish, gold foil calligraphy gift tag with your choice of message: “Will You Be My Bridesmaid”, “Thank You for Being my Bridesmaid” or “For the Bride-to-Be”. Dried eucalyptus is tucked neatly inside just before each gift box is closed with blush satin ribbon. <<Available now with free shipping here!>>

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Image: Red October Photography; Styling: Marigold & Grey

marigold-grey-partnership-plum-pretty-sugar-bridesmaid-bridetobe-curated-gift-box

Image: Red October Photography; Styling: Marigold & Grey

Gift Two

Designed around a Plum Pretty Sugar eye mask in blush watercolor motif, we selected a deluxe gift box in crisp white for the gift packaging. Gift contents also include Well-Kept electronic wipes in a feminine botanical print, a bottle of artisan lavender bath salts, Sugarfina Champagne Gummies, a Bijou candle in ceramic floral dish, gold foil calligraphy gift tag with your choice of message: “Will You Be My Bridesmaid”, “Thank You for Being my Bridesmaid” or “For the Bride-to-Be”. Dried eucalyptus is tucked neatly inside just before each gift box is closed with blush satin ribbon. <<Available now with free shipping here!>>

marigold-grey-partnership-plum-pretty-sugar-bridesmaid-bridetobe-curated-gift-box

Image: Red October Photography; Styling: Marigold & Grey

marigold-grey-partnership-plum-pretty-sugar-bridesmaid-bridetobe-curated-gift-box

Image: Red October Photography; Styling: Marigold & Grey

When a brand you’ve LONG admired reaches out to you to partner, it’s seriously like a dream come true. Our goal is to make thoughtful and beautiful gifting stress-free and easy. We hope this collaboration with PPS helps us accomplish this mission even more! What do you think? Leave us your feedback in comments or reach out via our contact page! xo