Vlog Episode 5 // Marigold & Grey Reveals Process for Creating New Gift Box Designs

Posted by: Carla Stubbs | Studio Assistant & Videographer

It’s happening! If you’ve been following along, you know we’ve been working on rebranding, launching a brand new website, and designing a brand new collection of Ready-To-Ship gifts to go live in our online shop at the same time as the new website launches. To be honest, these gifts are some of our favorites we’ve ever brought to market and we aren’t even completely done curating them! In today’s vlog, even though we’re not completely finished, we share a glimpse of this tedious, yet exciting, process of birthing an entirely new collection.

For us, designing a new gift box collection is a very fluid process whether it be for our online holiday collection or our year-round collections. It seems like every day we make at least one small tweak to at least one gift, maybe even more. We tweak and massage and tweak some more until we have that gut feeling that they’re just right. We pride ourselves on making sure gifts are useful AND beautiful so even small choices, like ribbon color for example, can take us days to completely decide. We are going to have at least 35 brand new gifts in the new lineup and we couldn’t be more excited to launch them… as soon as we finish the website, that is!

Stick around to see more behind the scenes content from our biggest gift box collection to date! We cannot wait to show you!

You can catch up on all of our recent episodes here and subscribe so you don’t miss the next one! As a big thank you for enjoying our vlogs, use the code VLOG10 to shop our current Pre-Designed Collection before these particular gifts are gone for good!

Artisan Gifting Business Marigold & Grey Introduces New Operations Manager Heather Shields

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

As you may have read here, here and here, we’ve had a bit of turnover with our oh-so-critical Operations Manager position. But all of that is behind us and we are elated to announce our new Operations Manager Heather Shields who has already been executing projects like a pro. We feel like she’s been with us for months rather than just a few weeks. Since we’re officially introducing her on the blog, we’ve told her that she absolutely HAS to stay since it’s now “blog official”! Thankfully, she agrees!

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Without further adieu, hear from Heather in her owns words…

What attracted you to the operations manager position?

I am so thankful that my sister was following M&G’s Instagram account and flagged the job opening for me when it was originally posted. She knew it would be a great fit and she wasn’t wrong! This position fills my desire to break into the special events industry (yay, gifts!), while still utilizing my project management background.

What were you doing before joining M&G and how do you think it will benefit you in your new position?

For the past three years, I was working as an account and project manager at a media production company in Washington, D.C. It was a fast-paced environment, where I managed multiple projects, timelines, and budgets. I really enjoyed working directly with clients and vendors, and I am eager to take this experience and apply it to M&G’s growing business.

What do you most look forward to about the job?

I am very much looking forward to learning the ins and outs of a small business, as well as having the opportunity to be more hands-on within a company. I can’t wait to grow with this wonderful team and perfect my bow tying skills!

Anna Reynal Photography

Anna Reynal Photography

Fave celebrity wedding?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It may be cliché, but who doesn’t love a royal wedding? Their wedding was magical from start to finish, and I especially loved all of the personal touches that the couple included on their day of.

Fave movie?

A personal favorite is Practical Magic – that midnight margarita scene is everything – but my go-to guilty pleasure is The Lizzie McGuire Movie.

Who inspires you?

All of the ladies in my life! My mom, grandma, and sister especially inspire and encourage me to always view my glass as half full (hopefully with wine).

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Hobbies?

Hanging out with my cat, listening to true-crime podcasts, finding the best brunch spot, and making future travel plans!

Fave travel destination?

The U.K. will forever hold a special place in my heart. I studied abroad in Wales in 2013 and made lifelong friends through the program there. Although, I’d pick Italy if I had to choose one place to visit for the rest of my life…mostly because it’s beautifully romantic, but also for the endless supply of delicious wine, cheese, and pasta. Need I say more?

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Fave Insta account these days and why? 

It’s hard to choose one, so here are a few of my current favorites!

@kimothyjoy – Kimothy is a beautiful artist who creates illustrations to spark social-awareness and change. I definitely recommend checking her out if you need inspiration.

@rupikaur_ – Rupi’s poems are so touching and relatable. I always find myself feeling driven to create and write more because of her.

@magnolia – I (not so) secretly wish the Gaines family would adopt me. I love all of their home renovations, and I’m constantly motivated to do my own DIY projects after seeing their posts.

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

My sister recently got married and, due to budget, she decided to not hire a videographer. I could not allow that to happen with my background in media, so I conspired with her wedding planner and found a few options to share with the then soon-to-be newlyweds. Don’t worry; I wouldn’t dare hire a videographer without their consent! We are now eagerly awaiting the final videos, and they are so thrilled that they can relive their big day over and over again!

One of the best gifts I have ever received was from my grandma on my 25th birthday. She let me choose a set of earrings from her jewelry collection, and then had them altered for pierced ears so that I could wear them. They are without a doubt my favorite (and most meaningful) accessory to date!

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Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Please join us in giving Heather a very warm welcome! She’s stepping into her role just in time to help us prep for our big rebrand and website relaunch coming soon. She’s also going to be with us as we introduce our brand new online collection of ready-to-ship gifts! We’re thankful she’s here for this so we can celebrate together as a team once we cross the finish line! And yes, we hope she’s here to stay!

DC-Based Artisan Gifting Business Announces Mission Statement and Core Values

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

If you read our blog, watch us on our youtube channel, or follow along on social media, you’ll know we’ve had a bit of turnover lately in our Operations Manager position. And with turnover comes new hires and with new hires come more frequent reviews of our Employee Handbook. (You may recall I finally finalized this back in January during my workcation!) Anyway, on the front page of our Employee Handbook, we list our mission statement and core values so it’s clear that these are the driving forces behind everything outlined in the document. We’ve never officially shared these with you before so while they’re on my mind, I figured it’s time. They shouldn’t be kept private. They’re as much for you as they are for us!

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MISSION

To give the gift giver the same amazing experience as the one receiving the gift.

We love to make gorgeous gifts, that’s a fact. But our actual business is all about taking it a step further. Anyone can put pretty things in a box and ship it off to a recipient who’s going to love it. Who doesn’t love a gift, right? Beyond that, we are laser focused on taking the entire process of gifting from start to finish off of our clients’ shoulders so they can get back to doing whatever it is they do best…running a small business, handling marketing for a Fortune 500 company, designing and executing high end weddings, managing a demanding career while planning one’s own wedding, or even running a household like a total boss. We want our clients completely stress-free in the process and this means that we must have the proper systems in place to make it seamless for them. Doing this goes beyond just pretty things in a box.

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CORE VALUES

Titles don’t matter but contribution does.

I believe in this so wholeheartedly that I intentionally made sure it was listed first. We might assign traditional titles around here but no one is above doing anything that is required to satisfy our mission. For example, if operations is bogged down when juggling multiple projects at one time with overlapping deadlines, it is not unheard of for me, the owner, to jump up and build gifts and tie bows. Even if I’m busy doing revenue generating things which some might deem as “more important”, it doesn’t matter! I do whatever it takes. Same with the operations side of things. If there’s a marketing or design project that needs an extra set of hands, they’re happy to contribute. Feedback is welcome from everyone regardless of title and regardless of whether their opinion clashes with mine. In fact, some of our part time interns have come up with some of the best ideas we’ve had. I like it this way. It’s the only way to keep innovating and growing.

Without clients, we don’t have a business. Treat them like gold.

You can have the prettiest Instagram with a bazillion followers or a press page to die for, but NONE of it matters if you don’t have clients. And more importantly, happy clients. Some businesses hide behind the social media and press facade while ignoring the right things and in the end, they’ll fail because businesses aren’t sustained on the number of followers or amount of press you have. These things can certainly help but to us, nothing is more important than happy, loyal clients, stress-free clients.

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Our team is our most important asset.

This might be a controversial statement since as I said above, if you don’t have clients you don’t have a business. But, if you don’t have a team, and a really good team, you won’t end up with the clients you need to achieve long term success. Unhappy employees lead to lukewarm or even unhappy clients. I’d rather have a good team and struggle with low inventory because a good team can do more with less. I’d rather have a good team and have few operational mishaps on a project because a really good team can help smooth things over and still deliver a flawless experience for the client. A bad team will leave you hanging, resulting in leaving your clients hanging, so you must have the culture right first. All else flows from there.

Design and execution are equally important.

I’ve said this before but beautiful boxes aren’t enough. Thoughtful, beautiful gift design is a given. It HAS to be there. But what really sets us apart is whether or not we can actually execute. Can we get all 800 gifts out the door on time to 800 different address requiring 800 different address labels all while juggling multiple other projects at the same time? This matters as much as design does. We have to nail them both.

Do the right thing always. 

This is pretty basic in theory but sometimes harder to live out. For example, we have a delivery go wrong and it’s going to cost us several thousand dollars to make it right. It’s ultimately UPS’ fault but telling the client UPS dropped the boxes isn’t going to fix the gifts and get them to their recipients on time. We have to pay to fix the problem and then scramble to still find a way to meet payroll, pay bills and whatever else we have going on. It might mean not hiring that assistant as early as ew want or going without a professional photographer and taking the product pictures yourself for a while. But we think long term and do what’s right even if it hurts in the moment. We treat our clients the way we wish to be treated.

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We’re really curious. What do you think of our mission and core values? Reach out via our contact page or leave us a comment in this post. We value your feedback and as always, love to hear from you!

Why Our Brand New Ops Manager Resigned After One Month On the Job

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

From a distance, business ownership can appear to be glamorous. You get to make your own hours. You get to make all the decisions. But if you peel back the onion, you’ll realize that the hours are long and making all of the decisions feels like a pressure cooker. While I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for anything, I always strive to be open and transparent when something in small business doesn’t go according to plan.

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Image: Red October Photography

You may recall our new Operations Manager Jean coming on board last month to replace our longtime Director of Ops Kelly Rumpke. I’m sad to say that Jean has already decided to leave us (yikes!) and take a position out of state, closer to where her family lives. Initially when she resigned I was in complete shock. She had only been with us for a month yet already felt like family. Not only did she seem genuinely happy with us, she’s also made huge, drastic, game-changing improvements to our operations in her short time here. As a team, we’ve been clicking and cooperating and communicating and making tough things happen that were admittedly long overdue!

With all of this said, the new corporate position she’s accepted will pay for her MBA in full (a long-term goal of hers) along with tuition reimbursement for her family. As a small business, I simply can’t compete. We were only recently able to begin offering healthcare benefits to our employees, which I was extremely proud of and considered it a huge milestone. But an MBA?! Not quite there yet! We are genuinely happy for Jean as it truly does sound like the opportunity of a lifetime. (Maybe not as fun as what we do at studio M&G, but you get the idea)

Then the fear set in and went like this… “Oh my God, what am I going to say on social media since we JUST got done introducing Jean on the blog, Instagram Stories and even on our new youtube channel?! What will people think? Will they think this is a terrible place to work? Will they worry that our service will suffer? Will they think I’m impossible to work for?” These thoughts went on and on and on. But since I’m a firm believer that the truth will always set you free, I’m choosing to be up-front about the situation that we’re facing. This is the reality of small business and I refuse to hide the ugly parts and act like things are perfect just so our outward appearance can be perceived as perfect.

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Image: Red October Photography

The good news is that we’ve found a solid replacement already. She has a strong background in project management with plenty of experience working under tight deadlines and demanding clients. While we also work under tight deadlines, most all of our clients are gracious and amazing to work with so I suspect she’ll enjoy the change of scenery! We’ll be introducing her more formally when she starts in July but I couldn’t keep this to myself any longer.

Appearance isn’t everything. Things go wrong behind the scenes when you least expect it. They REALLY do. It’s how you handle them that counts the most. Wish us luck as we undergo another transition in this key role, hopefully the last one for a good. long. while.

Vlog Episode 4 // Behind The Scenes of Gifting Business Marigold & Grey’s Spring Wedding Season

Posted by: Carla Stubbs | Studio Assistant & Videographer

Here at Marigold & Grey, spring wedding season is one of our favorite times of the year. While it can get chaotic at time (an organized chaos, as we like to say), we love bringing weddings to life with wedding welcome gift boxes and tote bags that compliment our couples’ wedding aesthetic. Wedding welcome gifts are where we got our start back in 2014 so we always get excited when we get to work on several wedding projects at once!

In this vlog, you’ll see us build, photograph, deliver and ship wedding welcome gifts for four very different weddings! Masculine, navy boxes for Grit and Grace‘s Mad-Men-Meets-West-Elm wedding at the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C., fresh white and green gifts for a Florida wedding (with welcome letters and tags designed by the bride herself!), Virginia welcome bags for a Middleburg wedding with Simply Breathe Events, and classic white and gold gift boxes for an NYC wedding with Strawberry Milk Events. We even managed to mitigate a potential issue when some of our gift boxes arrived damaged.  Thankfully, the next day, another shipment was delivered so we had no problems from that point forward.

Catch up on all of our recent episodes here and subscribe so you don’t miss the next one! Need wedding welcome gifts for your upcoming wedding? Reach out here! We’d love to work with you!

Gift Box Business Welcomes Summer Intern Sami Walker // Intern Intro

Posted by: Jamie Kutchman | Founder

Around here, as a gifting service, summer time is the only time of year where might have any hope of getting a small break in the action. Well, not this summer! With a new brand and website in the works, along with a completely new online collection replacing our current collection, this year’s summer intern Sami Walker is in for a treat. She’s going to learn SO much about the inner-workings of a small business, particularly in the areas of marketing, operations, e-commerce strategy, branding, and the list goes on! We’re so excited to welcome Sami to our team and can’t wait for you to get to know her too!

Without further adieu, let’s hear from her in her own words…

Tell Us a Little About Yourself.

Hi! I’m Samantha Walker and I am going to be a senior at the University of Maryland in the fall.  I’m studying Communications and I work at the UMD’s Department of Sustainability.  I have a passion for fitness and overall mental wellness, so it’s not uncommon to find me practicing yoga in my apartment or teaching mindfulness to my friends.  I also love to travel and am currently planning a trip to Thailand!  Lastly, I’m a HUGE dog person (but cats are cute too).  I volunteer walking shelter dogs in DC on the weekends.

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What are you most excited about?

I’m most excited to experience and participate in the artisan gifting process from start to finish.  I love art and design and I can’t wait to see how the team curates personalized gifts for clients as well as the new e-commerce line.  Additionally, I love to write and hope to be involved in some of the blogging and social media efforts!

Where else have you been an intern?

I work at the University of Maryland’s Office of Sustainability as a Communications intern.  I highlight UMD’s efforts toward becoming more sustainable by researching, interviewing, and compiling this information into articles.  On the side, I waitress at Looney’s in College Park.

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

Marigold & Grey’s online and social media presence is absolutely stunning.  I love pretty things and the gifts M&G makes are so aesthetically pleasing.  Some people hate wrapping Christmas gifts but I love making them beautiful with neat wrapping paper and matching ribbon.  On another note, I really liked the idea of a lifestyle blog accompanying the retail side of the business!

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

One of the best gifts I’ve given was a graduation gift for my boyfriend.  It was a leather padfolio with his name imprinted on the front.  Of course, I included a picture of the two of us on the inside.  The best gift I’ve ever received was most definitely my DSLR camera!

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Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years I see myself doing communications work for either a fashion-goods or fitness/yoga company. I’d like to be living somewhere not far from a coast. And with a rescue puppy, of course!

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Please join us in giving Sami a warm welcome and stay tuned as I’m sure she’ll be making plenty of appearances on our vlog and youtube channel this summer. (You can subscribe here!) She may even be taking over our Instagram Stories here and there!