Here on the Forever Bride podcast today and we have a very special guest. A good friend, Brittany, the owner and founder of B+D Custom Crafts. Stay tuned we'll be talking all things gift Ideas and personalized gifting!
[Ashley] Hi everyone! This is Ashley and this is the Forever Bride podcast. I am so excited to have one of my very dear friends in the studio today. Brittany has been with Forever Bride for a couple of years now. She is the founder and owner of B+D Custom Crafts. Brittany, thank you so much for being here today!
[Brittney] Thank you for having me! I’m so excited to be here.
[Ashley] I feel so formal sitting here with Brittany. This is going to be way too much fun. I'm really excited to have you here, because it's crazy, just a couple of years ago I remember sitting in a coffee shop and and meeting with you and your mom, your business partner, and hearing about this amazing idea that you have and how this whole company started. So before we go into this - I'm really excited to talk to you guys about all the gifts that you have and kind of the new trends and bridesmaids gifts - tell me more about about you and your mom, Debbie, and how B+D started.
[Brittney] Yeah absolutely! It's so fun to be here. Like you said, when we first chatted it was just a seedling of an idea. We had literally been maybe like two months old when we first chatted. So it's fun, fun to see how much we've grown since then and how much we've gotten to know you and the Forever Bride team. So thank you for having us. But B+D started.. Well we had the idea a couple of years ago. It just grew from my love for creating personalized gifts for my own friends and family. Ever since I can remember I've been crafting. I used to make my own birthday cards, used to make my own gifts, and so this company is really just the manifestation of what I love to do for other people. And like I said, about two years ago we were literally driving in the car talking about an upcoming friend’s event. My mom and I were like why don't we start doing this full time?! Like why are we only doing this every once in awhile when we have a specialty event instead of making this into a company and start selling the things that we love to do and so that was kind of where B+D was born. It took us about a year to start actually putting some shape to that and figuring out what this is and how can we make and help people create gifts beyond just one off pieces? How do we make this into a company? And about a year ago we officially launched as a website: bdcustomcrafts.com. And since then we've been able to grow the company, and quite dramatically, from just being a crafting company to also being a party decor company, a customized gifting company. And it really all ladders up to helping our friends and family and our clients friends and family create and enjoy these personalized gifts and experiences. In a matter of a couple of years we were able to grow and do what we love and help other people do what we love to do as well.
[Ashley] I love it. I think that's such such a trend right now. We were talking before the show just about how gifting has changed so much. And I'm sure this is probably gonna be published in a couple weeks. But we are coming up on the holiday and really gifting has changed so much. It's not about the gift itself anymore as the experience or the memory that is sometimes tied to it. So tell me a little bit more about when this was starting. Tell me specifically what you guys were doing with these crafts, because they started with crafting parties instead of just giving someone you know a beautiful piece of decor or a gift. It was actually something that you guys did together. So tell me about that because I think you can actually purchase like the whole craft set, right?
[Brittney] Yes, we almost have two sides. You can either do it yourself and we bring together all the materials that you would need to recreate a look or design of your choice. And then we also have the finished piece that's available. Either way, there's been a lot of love that's gone into both of those pieces and a lot of times we like to work with local makers to make those pieces. So you're not only giving a personalized gift but you're giving something that's been made locally. Again it just stems back to, this is what I love to do. It makes me so happy giving gifts to people. And so we had a lot of friends and family and people in our circle that were like I want to do that. I see all this inspiration on social media. I have no idea how to make that gift that I see and give it to the person that I care about. How can I do that? And so the company is structured around you see something and we help you bring it to life. And whether it's taking an idea of ours and putting a personal spin on it to give it to your own friends and family or us helping you create something from scratch, everything is designed around that one of a kind gifting process.
[Brittney] So we also like to say it's not just about giving the gift itself. That's almost like the end of the road. We like to say we want our clients to enjoy the process that it took to get there as well. So finding the idea, planning, creating it, setting it up, and then giving it itself. So there's really a memory to be created all around the process, from how much fun you had thinking of that person, and finding the perfect gift for them, to then giving it to them, seeing how happy they are that you took the time to do that, and then enjoying it afterwards long after and looking back down the road and being like, “Oh remember when you gave me that really cool thing? I still appreciate that! It was so kind and thoughtful of you.” And so it's almost like this cyclical process, where it's not just about the end result. We want our clients to enjoy the whole process and that memory that you're creating.
[Ashley] Yes. Well and you guys do parties. So instead of just giving the individual gift, which gives you the personalization, but these parties where you can actually get a bunch of your girlfriends together, get your family members together, and we've seen these for bachelorette parties, we see them for bridal showers, for birthday parties. Yep, you actually came and helped me with my daughter's first birthday party!
[Brittney] Oh my gosh it was so it was so great.
[Ashley] My daughter's really into art and so you know we were thinking about doing something special for her fifth birthday party. A lot of her friends were doing these ninja camps or the bounce house things and that's not her. You know she's more artistic, she's a little quieter. And so I instantly thought of you. And it was wonderful. I'm sure we can probably post some pictures from her party. It was so it was her ideal birthday party. We had we had you and your mom come and we had these beautiful words and wood cut outs and the little kids got to pick their different word or their different pattern. You had all the paint ready to go, because Lord knows I would be lost at Michaels or one of the craft stores. You had all the supplies and everything was set out beautifully and the kids had so much fun and it was something special that those kids got to take home. They still talk about it and it was the best birthday party I could have done for my little girl. They loved it.
[Brittney] It was just such a fun day and we're so glad we were able to help you with that, because like you said, you know some kids just want that little fun activity to do and it's quick and easy. So like I was saying, we do crafting classes and we have a variety of activities that are great for kids as young as five up to adults and their friends and families and we can come to you. Or else you can come to us at our new home at the Mall of America and we can host a fun little event for you whether it's a paint night, like we did for Ashley's daughter, or we can do monogramming, we can do weaving, all sorts of fun activities and options for groups to get together - whether it's for a birthday party, a bridal shower, or a bachelorette party. We did a baby shower a couple weeks ago, so whatever the event is you're looking for fun, funny, unique activity, we can do that for you.
[Ashley] That's awesome. Speaking about bridesmaids and bride activities, you guys do a lot of personalization with the different gifts that you have that are available for purchase! We're seeing that as a trend of how to ask your bridesmaids. So tell me some of your favorite pieces that you've seen people do to propose. Maybe for those listening what is a bridesmaid proposal? Let's start there.
[Brittney] So a bridal proposal is the proposal after the big proposal of getting engaged where you're looking for a fun way to invite your friends and family to help celebrate your big day. So that could be asking someone to be your bridesmaid, or your maid of honor, to being your attendant, to just being just coming into town and celebrating with you. So whatever it is that you want to get the party started and inviting people to join you for your big day. And we've seen bridal proposals really really blow up in terms of popularity and you know doing something that's more personalized. I know even a couple of years ago when my friends started getting married it used to be a little champagne bottle and maybe a wine glass and a little card. But now nowadays you start to see that brides are wanting to do something special. Take that a step further and do personalized champagne glasses or personalized wine glasses. All the way up to customize gift sets, which is what we specialize in, and all of our gift sets are a la carte so you can gift those individual items or else we can help you put together a full personalized set - whether it's adding in beautiful leather tassel key chains that are hand cut in Duluth. We also have beautiful key chains for Leather Works out of St. Paul. We have probably about 50 to 60 different notebook and stationery options from local favorites, Wit & Delight and Moglea. We have fun little pouches that you can give. Candles from Excelsior Candle. So lots of fun beautiful options that you can combine to make a personalized, memorable gift for your bridesmaids and your family.
[Ashley] I love it. Well it seems like your inventory and the options just keep growing!
[Brittney] Yes, it’s growing exponentially and that's why it's hard for me to keep track of all the options, because we have so many great relationships with local makers in town. And we're always keeping an eye out and listening to what our clients are asking for. So any time we're chatting with folks that have recently gotten engaged we're like, “So what are you looking to give? What's on your list of to dos before your wedding?” And a lot of times they'll give us a couple of ideas and if we hear those ideas multiple times we're like, it sounds like that's something that might be a good option for us to add.
[Brittney] So even in the past couple of months we've started adding lots and lots of beautiful options, and affordable options too, because a lot of times we'll see with these big bridal proposals it seems it can be very expensive and it can seem like it's out of reach for a lot of people when really it doesn't have to be. And that's what we like to pride ourselves on. As well as, not just helping you create that personalized gift, but helping you stick within your budget, because again it goes back to that experience. If you're not enjoying making that gift you're not going to look back with fond memories of that experience if you're just thinking about how expensive it was and how out of budget it was. We want you to be happy throughout this process.
[Brittney] So we make it easy to gift really beautiful handmade premium items that are also affordable and high quality and so we have lots of great relationships with partners in the Minneapolis area and some of the things we also source are made in the U.S. by female designers. So we like to prioritize working with local, as well as you know U.S. made gifts, that are easy to personalize and we'll move from little gifts to gifts.
[Ashley] And the presentation is so beautiful! I've come to see you at the Fourpost and at some of our events and not only is your presentation beautiful, I am not crafty! Lord knows I need to have someone help me put it together, but more importantly, the time. The time that you are saving not running around to all these different little stores, walking up and down the aisles, the time that you are saving by not having to do all these things and when you're planning a wedding it's not just your bridesmaids, it's anyone who's throwing you a shower. Also, you build really great relationships with your vendors; like your officiant, your photographer, your wedding planner. Those are all people that you need to be thinking about gifts for. So to be able to work with one company and have your list and you guys have have a large enough database of these beautiful items. So tell me, I mean with you guys growing at the rate that you are and just building these great partnerships, what you offer to brides and customers is growing. What's next?
[Brittney] Oh my gosh. I'm just trying to get through this holiday season right now. I think the biggest thing that we want to do is continue to listen to our brides and our couples and our clients to see where they want us to go and how we can continue to be of service to them and help. But I think naturally we want to continue to grow our gifts and offerings. So not only just offering bridal and specialty gift sets, but going into the corporate space as well and doing large scale gifting. We have some great wholesale and retail partnerships in town. So it is continuing to grow those relationships. Right now we're in four or five stores in the metro area. We're going to be in Mara Mi and Russell and Hazel, which is super exciting. Check them out if you haven't been there already. We're also in Gathered Goods out in Excelsior and we're also at Queen Anna in the North Loop. So yes, they carry some of our small stationery items. But yeah, so just continue to grow those relationships and continue to grow our gifting capabilities and then also continue to grow our crafting class options. A lot of different shops in town are doing the wine and canvas night. They're doing a lot of you know activities that have almost been overdone a little bit. And people are looking for something new and different to do with their groups whether it's for a night out or their bridal shower or whatever it is. And so we always like to stay ahead of that and offer something new and different. That's kind of the next step of crafting.
[Ashley] So people can either go to your website to learn more which is bdcustomcrafts.com or even more fun if they're looking to do some shopping is to come visit you at your new location! You have an actual store front. It's called the Fourpost, it is this brand new pop up at the Mall of America. It's on the second floor on the east side. For those of you who know the mall as well as I do it's the old J. Crew. Tell me about Fourpost, because this is really exciting and this is kind of a new concept that we're seeing in the Twin Cities.
[Brittney] Yeah Fourpost is such a cool store. So it used to be known as RASS. It was over by Williams-Sonoma. They've since rebranded and we reopened two weeks ago to Fourpost. And it's essentially this really awesome shop that features Minnesota makers, as well as emerging brands from around the country. So I'd say about 95 percent of us are small Minnesota businesses that are just getting started. And then there are three international brands and U.S. based brands in there. But it's a great way for us new and upcoming businesses to get our first foothold into the retail space because it's the Mall of America and getting a shop at the Mall of America isn't easily attainable. And so it's nice because it's almost a little mini market inside of the mall. So you've got the big massive expansive mall. Then, you've got this beautiful shop that's really modern and unique and just fun to walk through and you've got shops from all different categories. You've got us. that are crafting and specialized gift. Then, you've got your food, you have apparel, you have decor, you've got essential oils, you've got everything across categories! And it's just a fun way to shop local, support local businesses, and come and see us at our physical location, because like Ashley said, we have our website, but it's a fun way to actually touch and feel and look at everything live and chat with us live about what your needs are and what you're looking to create. And we're more than happy to sit down with you and chat about what we can do for you!
[Ashley] I'm so excited for you guys. It's just been so amazing just to see the company grow and and really as an entrepreneur you've listened to your customers needs. You've listened especially in the bridal industry, this industry is changing rapidly. I feel like you and Debbie have done a great job of really keeping your ears open to what brides today are looking for, what their needs are. I mean girls today are busier than they've ever been and planning a wedding. I mean we all know it's not easy and so I think this is just such a great way for people to connect with someone locally with really great high quality products. Gifts that people really want and love. I have one of your ring dishes, which is just the cutest little thing I forgot to mention that earlier. You have a whole collection of these beautiful ceramic ring dishes which are beautiful. So again we'll have all these notes up on our show notes page. We'll have links to your website, ways for you guys to connect with Brittney if you do have any questions, and you can find more information on the Forever Bride page. Plus, you guys have a listing and a special little deal or discount if they mentioned Forever Bride when they come see you! Brittney, thank you so much for being on here today. It was wonderful.
[Brittney] Thank you for having me!
[Ashley] Thank you guys for listening. Cheers.