Who are you? & can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Danielle, half of the Lily and Grey sister team! When I’m not working on L&G, I’m the project manager for a nonprofit in Buffalo, NY that supports high-growth potential startups and entrepreneurs. Before that, I got my undergraduate and MBA from the University at Buffalo, with a bit of work at a health insurance company in between. I tend to like to keep myself pretty busy with work but also enjoy traveling, volunteering on boards, and enjoying all Buffalo has to offer these days!
My sister, Melissa, is a history teacher. Her and her husband just recently moved back to Buffalo from New Jersey. She just started a new position as a teacher coach for new teachers. In between a new job and being the creative director for L&G she enjoys spending lots of time with her pup, Charlie, pilates, and traveling.
What exactly is Lily & Grey?
Lily and Grey is your one stop shop for all your gifting needs. We offer a variety of gift options that are “grab & go” or completely customizable. More than 70% of the items we source are from US based companies and other small shops and artisans. When you shop with L&G, you’ll be getting a unique gift that is delivered to you or directly to the recipient, gift ready. We also have partnered with 3 amazing charities (Wish Upon a Wedding, The Soldiers Project, and Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network). Every gift purchase will support a matching charity with 10% of proceeds being donated.
What inspired you to start Lily & Grey?
Melissa and I have always traded ideas for businesses back and forth, and when we landed on the idea for Lily and Grey, we said lets go for it. The idea came from when she was getting married and asked her bridal party to be in the wedding. We said to each other, there has to be an easier way to do this, other than running around to a bunch of stores ourselves or paying shipping for each item online. Then we said, wait… we can do that! We can make gifting easier for people. We also wanted to create gifts for people that focused on sharing the talents of small businesses – you won’t be finding items for our boxes in any of the big box stores.
How did you come up with the name?
I wish we had some great story here. Melissa came up with it and she likes to say it’s for her favorite flowers, lilies and grey – well because for about 4-5 months out of the year, Buffalo tends to be a bit grey! We know we need to work on better origin story of the name, but that’s it for now!
You support charities & other small businesses, can you tell us about that?
Both of our parents are business owners and have always instilled in us and our brother to give back to your community. Helping to support a few charities we’re passionate about was part of our business plan from day 1 and are excited we get to share it with so many. Supporting other small businesses was more organic. When we began sourcing products for our boxes we found that we just loved so many items that happened to be from smaller shops on Etsy and felt really good about choosing products from these artisans over what you can find in a big box store. It also allowed us to get recommendations from our friends on some of their favorite items. A friend of ours who lives in NYC told us about Fatty Sundays pretzels and how amazing they were. Turns out, they two are a sister duo running the company too!
Is there a favorite product?
My favorite product is our Adulting is Hard box – all of the goodies in there are amazing and the perfect pick me up. And for any Parks and Rec fans, sometimes you just need to treat yo’ self!
What is your favorite part about running Lily & Grey?
My favorite part about running L&G is when we get to see photos from our customers or see a review about an order and how thrilled they were with it. Each box is put together by hand and it means a lot when you get great feedback.
What is your least favorite part about running Lily & Grey?
Least favorite part about running L&G is social media planning! I know it sounds like this would be the easiest part about running a business but trust us it’s not. Finding the right balance for posts, coming up with content, and a catchy caption take a lot of effort every day.
How do you spread the word about your company?
See above! Haha – but really social media is our biggest way to reach people. Instagram is a big platform for us to connect with potential customers. Also, we’ve been featured in The Knot on some of their lists – getting this kind of validation really helps us.
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
Just do it and keep going. Working with startups and entrepreneurs every day, I see so many who get tripped up overthinking or not quickly learning from their mistakes, fixing it, and moving on. For us, there’s been plenty of hiccups and bumps over the past year and half, but we’ve just kept going, learning, and growing.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying? 🙂
Not a quote exactly, but one of our mantras is; Wake up. Be Amazing. Repeat!
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Thanks for interviewing us! We love to share our story and hope to inspire some future Boss Babes – so keep up the great work She’s Fit to Lead is doing!