Growing up, I used to tell people “my dad builds bridges.”
He was an engineer so technically he designed them, but I’m not sure I knew the difference until I was much older. All I knew was that when we went to visit my grandparents, we got to cross one of his bridges. I always felt proud about that. It felt like something important, connecting roads so people could stay connected, too. It wasn’t until years later that I understood my mom was a bridge-builder, too.
What people remember about my mom is what a good listener she was, how she always made them feel important with her attention and time. Mom had only been gone for a few months when I found myself missing out on the extended family news. Without her calls and emails, there were fewer family dinners and gatherings, too. The way that she always listened, checked in to share what people were up to, invited people to get together—that was her bridge-building. No concrete or steel, but with words and kindnesses she brought people together.
If you’re doing the planning and organizing in your family, you’re a bridge-builder, too. And my job is to support you while you build. For years I’ve said that my work is about “celebrating what matters.” We celebrate the many ways that you include other people in your life, in events of all sizes. Choosing people to be together on special days. Welcoming new kids as they marry your kids—and welcoming new babies as your family grows. Letting people know they matter, that they are cherished and loved. That they are connected.
That they belong.
There’s nothing more important to celebrate than this feeling of connection and belonging with our favorite people.
But what qualifies me to help with your celebrations? And who am I, anyway?!
I’m Emily, and I have a confession to make: I haven’t always created party favors. First, I worked in a biotech lab, a great place to use my biology degree and learn about creating concoctions and potions. Then I left to start my own company creating designs for other small businesses.
But it wasn’t until I was making sugar scrubs for holiday gifts one year that I realized I’d found a way to combine both my lab knowledge and design experience. Within months I was experimenting with lip balms and other products, and soon I was making my first wedding favors.
Over the last 14 years, I’ve shipped to 10 countries, created products for spas and hotels like the Beverly Wilshire, and designed thousands of gifts and favors. Whether I’m wrapping up lip balms in the bride’s favorite flavor or tying colorful bows to bring your vision to life, I am privileged to celebrate with you as you create your stories of belonging.
Of course I have my own stories of belonging that I might have already shared with you.
Tell me about that friend you’ve had since the third grade and I’ll just have to tell you about mine—and how grateful I am every day that our teacher encouraged her to befriend the new kid (that was me!). Here we are back in junior high (hello, Gunne Sax dresses!) and at our 20th high school reunion (just a few years ago).
And if you’ve worked with me before, you might know that I’m a sucker for stories about love at first sight. Here’s mine back in 1992 when we first started dating, and more recently on one of our adventures. We’ll celebrate our 25th anniversary later this year.
Finally, I learned from my mom how important it is to make time for people you care about. Here I am after a recent shopping trip with my mom’s sisters, continuing a tradition they started with my mom and their mom. They’ve taught me that celebrations come in all sizes and you don’t need a reason; the special occasion is being together.
Our gifts and favors say I’m so glad we could be together today. I can’t wait to help you celebrate your favorite people and hear your stories of belonging.
I’m so glad you’re here!