Each year we take the time to carefully curate beautiful gift boxes for each of our incredible Ayres Photography couples for the new season. This is the third consecutive year we’ve done it and we have to say, each year we have more and more fun with it! It’s really exciting to seek out these amazing locally made items that we think our couples will absolutely love. The thought of each couple receiving this special surprise on their door step after a long day of work puts a huge smile on our faces and (we hope) a huge smile on theirs as well!
These boxes are no small feat. In fact, they are quite a labor of love! Believe it or not, it takes us a few months to create these bad boys from start to finish. From brainstorming our ideas, to reaching out to the generous and talented Buffalo makers, chatting with each company to collaborate on our ideas of what will fit with the style and overall feel of the box each season. Then there’s the pick ups and drop offs of LOTS and LOTS of goods. Trying desperately not to eat all the treats ourselves as we carefully package each gift box, placing each item strategically for fit as well as keeping it all aesthetically pleasing upon opening. And then there’s the carting of 30+, 12 x 12″ boxes to the post office… we leave that part to Ben :)
But, after all is said and done, not only have we made our couples’ day but we’ve also made lots of new friendships with some seriously incredible and talented Buffalo entrepreneurs. To say that it’s all worth it would be an understatement. Between the opportunities it gives us to network within our community, the exposure it gives to the small locally owned shops, and the love and gratitude it shows to our couples (without them we’d be nothing!! This is all for YOU!), it is 100% worth every second and every cent.
We do have to say, this season’s couples are SUPER lucky – not only did they get an extra gift (we usually include 7 items but this year we just couldn’t make up our mind, so 8 was the magic number!), but the makers we chose this year were ON POINT! Seriously, our minds were blown with the amazing goods we received! Also, apparently at Ayres Photography this year we all had a major sweet tooth, and because of that, this year’s boxes ended up with the theme of sweet indulgences. You’re so very welcome, 2018 couples. We love you so!
Please read on to learn more about each of these thoughtfully chosen goods and their 716 makers!
These are the gifts (and amazing makers) that we chose to include in our 2018 client gift boxes:
The first four makers have quickly become our tried and true. Each year we’ve included offers from Butter Block, Linwood Candle Co., Zandra and Rust Belt Love. While we think it’s important to keep each year’s boxes fresh, new and exciting, we just can’t break away from these four because they are truly just THAT wonderful!! So, once again, here are our staple items…
1. Pop Tarts from Butter Block. Yes, you heard me. Homemade. Pop tarts. They are absolutely delectable. Flaky, buttery, soft and delicious. Colleen (the owner of Butter Block and a wildly talented and lovely lady) makes these little beauties herself and we’re pretty much obsessed with them. From unique flavors such as Lemon Poppyseed, Chocolate Mint, and Key Lime to the childhood classics like Brown Sugar Cinnamon and Strawberry, this girl’s got you covered. IG: @butterblockbuffalo
2. Sweet Grapefruit Soy Candle from Linwood Candle Co. We can’t exactly describe what it is about this particular candle that has us coming back for more every single year. Maybe the fact that it smells EXACTLY like a deliciously sweet grapefruit. Maybe because it completely permeates the air with it’s intoxicating scent. Or maybe because Amy, the owner of Linwood Candle Co., is just as sweet as her candles. We can’t really pinpoint it but we can say with confidence that Amy and her candles are the bomb dot com. IG: @linwoodcandleco
3. Big Balm from Zandra. If you aren’t familiar with Zandra, her name may still sound familiar to you, as she’s recently been on the Today Show and was even nominated for (and received) several young entrepreneur awards. Zandra is an amazingly talented young woman from Buffalo who, get this, started her business when she was just 10 years old! I don’t know about you, but when I was 10 years old I most definitely was not creating homemade, all natural beauty products and packaging them up to be sold to the public. Maybe I had a lemonade stand with a poorly drawn sign made out of poster board and used my profits to go by myself a New Kids on the Block cassette tape. But not Zandra. She had a dream and a hope and a goal, and she set out and made it happen. Not only is her story amazing but her products are incredible as well. AND she donates a portion of each purchase to support girls’ education. There are just way too many reasons to love her and we’re honored to be able to include her in our boxes each year. IG: @zandrabeauty
4. Buffalo Themed Letterpress Card from Rust Belt Love. Alyson has an insanely adorable shop located in the historic Market Arcade building downtown. She’s definitely your go to girl for beautifully designed stationary, cards, invitations and more! She’s just one of those people with a heart of gold and a knack for creating lovely things. She hand draws every single image that is printed on her products! If you’re looking any kind of paper goods for your wedding, this is the girl you want to go see. IG: @rustbeltlove
And now, on to the exciting newcomers…
5. Bonbons from Whimsy Confections. I wasn’t kidding when I said we all had a sweet tooth this year. Michele, owner of Whimsy Confections, definitely picked the right name for her business, with flavors like Strawberry Pop Tart, Cereal Milk, Mimosa, and Blueberry Pancake (just to name a few). She also hand paints each little chocolate candy herself!! Mind. Blown. We highly suggest you go check out her shop on Main Street in Buffalo. But don’t expect to leave empty handed because it’s basically impossible. IG: @whimsyconfections36
6. All Natural Soap from Spruce Up Soap Co. We were SO excited to work with these guys this year. They are insanely nice men and create some really amazing handmade soaps. Their mission statement is “A Simple & Clean Ingredient Skin Care Apothecary” which we totally love. Their products are cruelty free (yay animals!) and made in small batches right here in Buffalo, New York! These men have a clear passion for what they create and hold themselves to very high standards and it shows. Their soaps really made our gift boxes smell amazing!! They also make some really awesome all natural skincare and beard care products for men, so be sure to check them out for all the great guys in your life! IG: @spruceupsoapco
7. Macarons from Blue Eyed Baker. Yes, another sweet! Who doesn’t love a great macaron?! They’re just so dainty and pretty! We were really pumped to have Alexandra on board this year. Her desserts are crazy!!! Hop on over to her website or IG to see what we’re talking about. Be prepared to drool, though. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. She studied in Paris so you just know she knows her stuff, especially when it comes to a French Macaron. Chocolate Hazelnut, Espresso, Salted Caramel, Pistachio… are you drooling yet? Well, we sure are. IG: @blue.eyed.baker
8. Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans from Overwinter Coffee. These guys are cool guys. Period. They roast their beans weekly in very small batches right in Orchard Park, New York so you know the coffee you’re getting is about as fresh as can be. They actually special roasted beans specifically for these gift boxes!! If that’s not love and attention to detail then I don’t know what is. We officially love these guys, for real. As of May 12, 2018 they’re officially open for biz on Genesee Street in Downtown Buffalo! So congrats to them on their brand new store front!! You can also order your freshly roasted beans right from their website! They even offer a coffee subscription for the avid coffee drinker looking for perfect beans and serious convenience. Sign up for weekly, biweekly or monthly shipped, at no additional charge, right to your door! See, I told you they were cool. IG: @overwintercoffee
And that’s a wrap for the 2018 Ayres Photography Client Gift Boxes! What did you think of this year’s gifts??